New orders in German manufacturing industry drops in August: Destatis



(Xinhua/NAN) The German Federal Statistical Office (Destatis), on Monday announced that new orders in Germany’s manufacturing industry in August decreased by 0.6 per cent compared to the previous month.

Compared to August 2018, industrial orders in Germany even declined by 6.7 per cent, nurturing worries that Europe’s largest economy was moving toward recession.

The German Ministry for Economic Affairs, said that industrial economy remained subdued for the moment, and noted that the weakness in demand was continuing.

Destatis noted domestic orders declined strongly by 2.6 per cent compared to the previous month, while foreign orders still showed a slight plus of 0.9 per cent.

According to the Destatis, incoming orders from the euro zone increased by 1.5 per cent and rose by 0.4 per cent for the rest of the world.

After an initial decline of 2.7 per cent had been reported for July, Destatis revised the decline in orders upwards to only 2.1 per cent.

It said real turnover in the manufacturing industry in August was 1.3 per cent higher than in the previous month.

However, Germany’s five leading economic research institutes had significantly lowered their economic forecasts in 2019.

Meanwhile, the institutes expected an increase in gross domestic product of only 0.5 per cent, 0.3 percentage points less than in the spring forecast.(Xinhua/NAN)


Edited by Yahaya Isah/Felix Ajide

General news

SSG urges Rivers residents to sustain Gov. Wike’s peace building efforts



The people and residents of Rivers have been enjoined to support and sustain the peace building efforts of Gov. Nyesom Wike for a more progressive and peaceful state.

The Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Dr Tammy Danagogo, made the call on Friday when some Ministers and Ambassadors for Peace in the Niger Delta Region visited him in Port Harcourt.

Danagogo said that the people and residents of Rivers were duty bound to join the state governor to nurture and sustain the peace in their various environments.

According to him, Gov. Wike had been doing everything within his means to support and partner with all security agencies to fast track the developmental agenda of the `NEW administration’ of Rivers.

The SSG also said that sustainable peace was desired  in all parts of Nigeria, especially for citizens in the North West and North East, who now live in constant fear because of the precarious security situation in that part of the country.

He urged the ministers to keep up the good work, continue to take the pains of going into the Niger Delta creeks to reorient the youths and encourage those who are yet to lay down their arms to do so.

“No amount of money is too much to reorient our youths if the resources are available. That is why I think one of the best presidents Nigeria ever had was the late President Musa Yar’Adua who set up the Niger Delta Ministry, Amnesty agencies with resources.

“If the monies were judiciously used, I think it would have been meaningful for our people through the reorientation and education to develop skills for empowerment of the youths.

“Yar’Adua was a president that had a lot of foresight and empathy.’’ Danagogo said.

He further observed that the issues of security,  the ecology  and topography in Rivers like other parts of the Niger Delta made contract sums much more expensive as compared to what was obtainable in other parts of the country.

He urged them to keep praying for the State in accordance with the Holy scriptures that directed Christian faithful to pray for the peace of Jerusalem.

The President of the group, Bishop Samuel Richard told the SSG that they were working and praying for the peace of the Niger Delta and especially Rivers.

He noted that the association formed 14 years ago would also organise `a Peace Prayer Summit, one million man march for peace’ whenever the COVID-19 restrictions were lifted.

He enjoined the SSG to join hands with the association to win the souls of the youths in the Niger Delta.


Edited By: Felix Ajide (NAN)

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COVID-19: Oyo death toll hits 37



The Oyo State Government says it has recorded two new COVID-19 related deaths as the death toll in the state hits 37.

The Oyo State COVID-19 Emergency Operation Centre disclosed this on Tuesday via its official Twitter account @covid19oyo_eoc.that it was the latest statistics released by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC)

It, however, disclosed that no new coronavirus cases were recorded in the state on Monday.



“Sadly, there has been 2 additional deaths as a result of complications from COVID19.

“Please continue to stay safe.

“#OwnYourAction #OYA #ProtectYourself,” the centre tweeted.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the total number of COVID-19 confirmed cases is 3,050, while the number of active cases in the state is 1,330.

A total number of 1682 coronavirus patients have recovered from the highly contagious virus in the state.

NAN reports that the state continued to hold the third spot for total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the country, with Lagos and FCT leading in the first and second positions respectively.

Edited By: Emmanuel Okara (NAN)
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Beijing 2022 racing towards green Games




“Beijing!” The city’s name was called at an IOC Session in Kuala Lumpur on July 31, 2015 to be announced as the host city of the 2022 Olympic Winter Games.

Five years on, Beijing, the first city to host both summer and winter Games, and the co-host city of Zhangjiakou, are en route to staging a ‘green, inclusive, open and clean’ Games as promised.

Despite the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, all the Games’ competition venues and related infrastructure will be completed by the end of this year, with sustainability given priority from the very beginning, in line with reforms introduced through the Olympic Agenda 2020.


Once an industrial complex, Shougang Park will stage the Big Air event, where top snowboarders will compete against a backdrop of coolant towers. Its iron ore storage towers were converted to house the headquarters of the Beijing 2022 Organizing Committee – where decisions were made to maximize the use of existing venues and facilities.

And thanks to a successful 2008 Games, legacies were abundant.

Of the 2022 Games’ 44 venues and facilities, 25 are renovated from existing ones, six are temporary, and six were part of the city’s plan before the bid. Only seven of them, or 16 percent of the total, are newly built for the Games.

The “water cube,” the swimming and diving venue from 2008, has been converted into the “ice cube” featuring a transferable rink for curling events.

“Thanks to the Winter Games, the facility was upgraded and energy consumption lowered. Its new form will bring new income, and the cost of water-ice conversion is much lower than building a new venue,” said Yang Qiyong, general manager of the venue.

This July 28, 2020 photo shows the iconic “Water Cube” swimming venue from the 2008 Olympics, which now has become the “Ice Cube”. (Xinhua/Zhang Chenlin)

This July 28, 2020 photo shows the iconic “Water Cube” swimming venue from the 2008 Olympics, which now has become the “Ice Cube”. (Xinhua/Zhang Chenlin)

The Bird’s Nest stadium, another symbolic legacy from 2008, will stage Beijing 2022’s opening and closing ceremonies, just as it did 12 years ago. The National Indoor Stadium, which hosted 2008’s gymnastics, trampoline, and handball events, will play host to the men’s ice hockey competitions, while the women’s event will be staged at the Wukesong Sports Center, a basketball venue from 2008, which is capable of switching between two kinds of playing surfaces within six hours.

According to Ding Jianming, deputy director of the Beijing Major Projects Construction Headquarters Office, venues in the Beijing competition zone will all be transferable between summer and winter sports.

In the Zhangjiakou competition zone, the Genting Snow Park, which will host freestyle skiing and snowboard events at Beijing 2022, was also renovated from the existing ski resort. Surplus stones after the evacuation and filling process were used in other parts, including building temporary roads and slope protection.


Ensuring Olympic venues are adequately used after the event is a challenging task facing every organizer, and Beijing is no exception.

The National Speed Skating Oval, the only newly-built ice sports venue for the 2022 Games, has seen its main structure completed. Nicknamed the “Ice Ribbon,” the site boasts the most extensive full ice design in Asia, with an ice surface area of 12,000 square meters.

“The purpose is to give full consideration to post-competition utilization and provide hardware support for mass fitness and to meet various needs,” said Ma Jin, design director of the ice making project.

He went on to explain that the ice in the oval has adopted a submodule control unit, which can divide the ice surface into several areas and make ice according to varying standards.

During ordinary times, it can hold more than 2,000 people and be utilized for ice hockey, speed skating, figure skating, curling, and other ice sports all at the same time.

The National Speed Skating Oval, also known as the “Ice Ribbon”, is the only newly-built ice sports venue for the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics. (Xinhua/Zhang Chenlin)

The National Speed Skating Oval, also known as the “Ice Ribbon”, is the only newly-built ice sports venue for the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics. (Xinhua/Zhang Chenlin)

Like the “Ice Ribbon,” all venues in Beijing will not only display international and domestic sports events but will open to the public after the 2022 Games.

Alpine skiing, bobsleigh, skeleton, and luge are not familiar sports for many Chinese people, meaning organizers needed to pay extra attention to post-game utilization when designing the National Alpine Ski Center and National Sliding Center in the Yanqing competition zone. Ski tracks will be developed in the surrounding area for primary and intermediate skiers while competition tracks will stay in place for high-level competitions.

Just like the 2008 Games, Beijing 2022 strives to leave legacies that will help fuel the passion for winter sports in the country and encourage people to adopt a healthy lifestyle.

Sustainability is also reflected in the eco-friendly measures adopted along the process.

“To reduce the adverse impact on the ecological environment, Beijing 2022 will prioritize ecological protection in the whole process of venue planning, construction, operation and post-match utilization,” said Liu Xinping, director of the Sustainable Development Division of the Beijing 2022 General Planning Department.

In addition to the Olympic Village, all trees in the entire Yanqing competition zone for Beijing 2022 were registered and had their profiles marked with a QR code. (Xinhua/Zhang Chenlin)

In addition to the Olympic Village, all trees in the entire Yanqing competition zone for Beijing 2022 were registered and had their profiles marked with a QR code. (Xinhua/Zhang Chenlin)

At the bottom of the Xiaohaituo mountain in the Yanqing competition zone, a protected 20 hectares of trees constitutes part of the Winter Olympic Forest Park, which is currently under construction.

What makes them different is that each of them has a profile – scan the QR code attached to them and you can learn about their “life.”

“We tried our best to leave the trees where they were when we designed the competition courses. If that was not possible, we moved some of them to nearby sites, or transplanted them down to the Winter Olympic Forest Park,” Liu said.

In fact, a detailed investigation of local wildlife was conducted well before construction started in order to protect biodiversity. The contractor, Beijing Enterprises J.O Construction, formed an independent department to address ecological protection.

“Although we tried to avoid trees in designing construction sites when we tried to set up a tower crane, we found it may cause potential harm to the nearby trees if the machine was to be set at the optimal location. So we changed the plan, replaced it with a larger model with longer jibs, although it took us quite a lot of extra effort to re-design,” recalled company director Liang Dedong.

For animals, temporary migration paths were built and working times were cut short during the initial phase of construction to ensure they could migrate freely and safely.

“By spring 2019, over half of the birdhouses we set were occupied and our infrared camera also captured gorals, roe deer, wild boar and other animals that are commonly seen in the area,” Liang noted.


The 2012 London Olympics was a catalyst for ISO 20121, an international standard for sustainable event management, the certification of which every subsequent Olympic and Paralympic Games will be required to obtain.

Beijing 2022 was certificated in November 2019 and sought to push further. Its own sustainability management systems were the first of their kind in China to receive third-party certification. For the first time in Olympic history, it integrated three international standards for sustainability management, environmental management and social responsibility. Covering the entire process in all areas in Games preparation, Beijing hopes to set examples for future Olympics.

This photo taken on July 30, 2020 shows the construction site of the National Ski Jumping Center in Chongli District of Zhangjiakou City, north China’s Hebei Province. (Xinhua/Zhang Chenlin)

This photo taken on July 30, 2020 shows the construction site of the National Ski Jumping Center in Chongli District of Zhangjiakou City, north China’s Hebei Province. (Xinhua/Zhang Chenlin)

The “Evaluation Standards for Green Snow Sports Venues,” developed by governments of Beijing municipality and Hebei province, have filled the gaps at home and abroad in green venue construction.

“The green Winter Olympics is not only in terms of venue construction but also in the procurement of goods, projects and services related to the preparation and corresponding standards have also been formulated. We also push forward the ‘Low-Carbon Management Work Plan for Beijing 2022 Olympic and Paralympic Games,’ which gives out specific numbers to reduce carbon footprint,” Liu said.

Technology came in to help as Beijing led the way.

“Using the wind of Zhangbei County to light up Beijing.” A poetic slogan explains how the world’s first flexible DC power grid with a 500 kV four-terminal ring structure functions – renewable energy generated in Zhangjiakou, where the county belongs, will be transmitted to Beijing, providing 10 percent of the total energy consumption in the capital and make it possible, for the first time, for all Olympic venues to achieve 100 percent use of green electricity.

All competition venues for Beijing 2022 are slated to be completed by the end of 2020. (Xinhua/Zhang Chenlin)

All competition venues for Beijing 2022 are slated to be completed by the end of 2020. (Xinhua/Zhang Chenlin)

For the first time, natural carbon dioxide will replace ozone layer-harming Freon as a refrigerant in ice-making in the venues, which will reduce carbon emissions equivalent to that of 3,900 cars a year, cutting emissions to nearly zero.

Building the country’s first bobsleigh, skeleton and luge track, the contractor started from scratch to develop multiple independent intellectual property rights and construction standards and finished the track with a 360-degree loop.

The awning of the track, the world’s first steel-wool structure, not only combines China’s traditional wood structure with the modern steel one but also “greatly reduce direct sunlight and preserve the heat, thus minimizing energy consumption,” as introduced by Li Changzhou, deputy general manager of the contractor.■
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Live COVID-19 updates: Africa’s confirmed COVID-19 cases pass 890,000-mark: Africa CDC




The following are the updates on the global fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

ADDIS ABABA — The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases across the African continent reached 891,199 on Thursday, the Africa Center for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) said.

The Africa CDC, a specialized healthcare agency of the 55-member African Union (AU) Commission in its latest situation update issued on Thursday, said that the number of deaths related to the COVID-19 pandemic rose to 18, 884 as of Thursday, up from 18,507 on Wednesday.

ADDIS ABABA — Ethiopia’s confirmed COVID-19 cases reached 16,615 after 805 new COVID-19 positive cases were confirmed on Thursday, the Ethiopian Ministry of Health said.

This is so far the highest daily increase in the Horn of Africa country.

JERUSALEM — Israeli researchers have found that a viral infection in a pregnant woman’s body can harm the fetal brain cells, even if the fetus is not infected with the virus, Weizmann Institute of Science (WIS) said Thursday.

This may be caused by the mother’s immune system response to a virus, affecting the fetal brain cells, according to a WIS research, published in the journal Molecular Psychiatry.

COPENHAGEN — Denmark can expect to be hit by a second COVID-19 wave this September, according to findings presented in a press release by the University of Southern Denmark (SDU) on Thursday.

Based on simulations using a scientific method of calculation rooted in the methods of particle physics and developed in association with colleagues from the University of Lyons in France, the SDU projected that around the 35th to 37th weeks of this year, Denmark risks being hit by a new wave of COVID-19 infections as strong as the first that hit the country in the spring.

LONDON — British car production plunged by 42.8 percent in the first half (H1) of 2020 year on year, recording the weakest six months since 1954, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders said Thursday.

Data revealed that British car production was 381,357 units in H1 amid the hard hit caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

VIENTIANE — Lao Prime Minister’s Office on Wednesday has released a notice urging everyone to continue to take precautions against the COVID-19 pandemic, even as many lockdown measures were lifted.

Under the notice, which will be in effect from Saturday to August 31, authorities and people countrywide must remain vigilant and continue to abide by measures determined by the National Taskforce Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control.

NEW DELHI — Federal health ministry Thursday said India cannot count on herd immunity to stop the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic given its demography and scale, instead, it will have to rely on a vaccine.

“In a country with the size of the population like India, herd immunity cannot be a strategic choice or option. It can only be an outcome, and that too at a very high cost as it means millions of people would have to be infected, get hospitalised and many would die in the process,” said Rajesh Bhushan, secretary in the ministry of health at a press briefing.

BEIJING — Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Thursday called on China and Indonesia to focus on cooperation in fighting the COVID-19 epidemic and promoting development.

During a video meeting with Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi, Wang said currently COVID-19 was spreading globally, which endangered human health, impacted the world economy and threatened global stability.

KUWAIT CITY — Kuwait on Thursday reported 626 new COVID-19 cases and one more death, raising the tally of infections to 66,529 and the death toll to 445, the Health Ministry said in a statement.

Currently, 8,754 patients are receiving treatment, including 134 in ICU, the statement added.

The ministry also announced the recovery of 863 more patients, raising the total recoveries in the country to 57,330.

BEIJING — Beijing has been inspecting storehouses of refrigerated meat and aquatic products as part of its efforts to guard against COVID-19 “importation” through cold-chain foods.

At a press conference on COVID-19 prevention and control on Thursday, the city’s market regulation administration said authorities had inspected 4,719 such storehouses. Seafood products from three companies were removed from the shelves during the inspection.

WARSAW — The Polish Health Ministry announced on Thursday that 615 COVID-19 cases were confirmed over the past 24 hours, which is a new daily record in the country since the start of the pandemic.

The country officially had a total of 45,013 confirmed cases, with 1,709 deaths since March, when the first patient was diagnosed.

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