EU member states have agreed on an emergency gas plan that aims to soften the impact of a potential total stoppage in Russian gas supplies, dpa has learned.
The plan provides for a voluntary 15 per cent reduction in member states’ natural gas consumption between Aug. 1, and March 31, 2023, diplomats told dpa early on Tuesday morning.
In addition, a mechanism would be created to trigger a bloc-wide alert in the event of widespread gas shortages and to implement binding savings targets.
The agreement sees the stringent terms of the commission’s first draft considerably watered down, with various get-out clauses introduced and the threshold for the introduction of binding savings targets also being raised.
Under the terms of the amended agreement, binding savings targets can now only be enforced by the European Council rather than by the EU Commission.
The approval process for the revised plan was due to begin later on Tuesday at a special meeting of EU energy ministers.
Diplomats said that the qualified majority required should be easily achieved.
Exceptions agreed upon would mean that countries including Cyprus, Malta and Ireland would not have to save gas as their gas systems are not directly connected to those of another member state.
Mandatory gas savings can also be reduced in certain circumstances, including when filling gas storage facilities, in the event of power shortages and for the industrial use of gas as a raw material.
Russian energy giant Gazprom, had announced on Mnday that it was reducing gas supplies to Germany through Nord Stream 1, from 40 per cent of total capacity to 20 per cent.
Such a scenario was precisely what prompted EU Commission President, Ursula von der Leyen, to submit a proposal for EU-wide gas conservation, a commission spokesperson in Brussels said on Monday evening.
During consultations among EU member states, only four member states expressed major reservations over the gas saving agreement, diplomats said.
Germany is among the countries heavily dependent on Russian gas and is a strong supporter of the emergency plan.
Economy Minister Robert Habeck is expected to attend the ministers’ meeting on behalf of the German government later on Tuesday.
Cyprus has re-introduced the mandatory wearing of face masks indoors for all people over the age of 12, as coronavirus cases rise, the Mediterranean resort island's Health Ministry announced on Wednesday.
The ruling, which takes effect on Friday, was announced by Health Minister Michalis Hadjipantela after a cabinet meeting.
It follows a new spike in Covid-19 infections in recent weeks, with the Health Ministry recording 19,503 positive cases from June 25 to July 5.
The decision represents a U-turn for authorities, who had lifted the previous face mask mandate on June 1.
Hadjipantela cited a rise in Covid-related hospital cases, saying infected people moving freely without masks were a contributing factor.
According to the epidemiological report from the Ministry of Health last week, three people died from Covid-19 and 75 patients were hospitalized, four in serious condition.
On June 28, face masks were reintroduced for visiting pharmacies, clinical laboratories and government testing sites for Covid.
Face coverings should also be worn when visiting hospitals, nursing homes, and on public transportation.
Many scientists urged authorities to reinstate the mask following the latest spike in Covid cases and hospitalizations, attributed to the prevalence of the highly infectious Omicron BA4 and BA5 subvariants.
Authorities were hesitant to reinstate face masks amid the peak tourism season, fearing missed arrivals, especially when neighboring destinations don't have mask mandates.
Coronavirus infections in the Republic of Cyprus since the pandemic began in March 2020 have reached 515,596 and 1,075 deaths, out of a population of about 900,000.
The 2023 Presidential Candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, has appointed three additional aides into his media team.
Abubakar, in a statement signed by his Media Adviser, Mr Paul Ibe, gave the names of the three appointees as Eta Uso, Abdulrashhed Shehu and Demola Olanrewaju, adding that the appointments took immediate effect.
Uso, according to Ibe, is appointed as Special Assistant Digital Media, Operations to the former vice president.
Uso is an alumnus of the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, and a U.K trained Advanced Computing and Internet systems expert from the University of Wales, Bangor.
He is a member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Computer Society, United Kingdom, and Nigeria.
“Abdulrasheed, a professional media specialist with proven track record of excellence – with a decade of experience on the job at various media firms, is appointed Special Assistant, Broadcast Media.
“He is a graduate of Mass Communications from ISM Adonai, Benin Republic and Masters in International Relations and Diplomacy, Maryam Abacha American University and Masters in Journalism and Broadcasting at Girne American University, Cyprus,” he added.
Ibe also listed Olanrewaju as Special Assistant Digital Media Strategy.
Olanrewaju is a communications and public relations strategist with a background in Nigeria’s history and political ideologies, developed during his days as a Students Union Leader at the University of Ado Ekiti.
“He is involved in the startups of a number of businesses and brings media industry knowledge, digital media engagement and creative writing skills to shape perceptions, craft narratives and messaging for individuals, businesses and organisation,” Ibe said.
The Director-General, National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), Dr. Fatima Waziri-Azi, says there is more of internal trafficking than external trafficking.
Waziri-Azi disclosed this on Thursday in Benin at a meeting she held with stakeholders and partners of the agency in Edo.
She explained that this was because 83 per cent of trafficking in Nigeria happened within states, within communities, across state lines, adding that only 12 per cent accounts for trans-border trafficking.
“Simply because the media spotlight on people in Italy and all that, we think we have more of trans-border trafficking.
“No. Internal trafficking is happening before our eyes. Domestic servitude is a crisis in Nigeria, forced labour too.
“Human trafficking is, therefore, a national crisis. Every state is affected, though each state has its own peculiarity”, she said.
She sued for more sensitisation of the public against human trafficking, noting that there was huge ignorance of the public on issues relating to human trafficking.
Waziri-Azi urged the participants to focus on is sensitisation.
“Gone are the days when we think human trafficking is offline, it’s now online. So we have increase in fake jobs advertorials and fake scholarships.
“These are the modern trends human traffickers use in luring their victims, with Dubai, India and Cyprus the trending destinations, ” she said.
The director-general, who described human trafficking as a 150-billion-dollar criminal enterprise and the second trans-national organised crime after drug trafficking, said that human trafficking was an enterprise for professional criminals.
She explained that this was because there were two sides to the crime, as there were the professional criminals enterprise who trafficked people for the sole purpose of killing them and harvesting their organs.
She added that this was because there was at present a global shortage of organs for transplant.
She disclosed that the flip side of human trafficking was recruiters who actively target vulnerable communities to recruit their victims.
Waziri-Azi, however, said that some Nigerians fell prey to the human traffickers because of misinformation and disinformation.
She called for a robust continued synergy among all stakeholders to stem the tide of human trafficking.
Earlier, Mr Nduka Nwanwenne, Zonal Commander, Benin Zonal Command, in his opening remarks, disclosed that since the creation of the zonal command, no fewer than 774 suspected human traffickers had been arrested in the zone.
He also said that the zone had secured 80 convictions of arraigned human traffickers since the creation of the zone.
He said 2,695 survivors, comprising 144 males and 2,551 females, had passed through NAPTIP shelter.
Nwanwenne noted that partnership was key element in the fight against human trafficking.
He pledged to continue to carry out the mandate of the agency with support from stakeholders.
“We can change the narrative on human trafficking”, he pointed out.
Nigeria’s candidate, Mrs Esther Eghobamien-Mshelia, has been elected to the UN Committee on Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) in a keenly contested election held at the UN headquarters, New York.
The UN correspondent of the News Agency of Nigeria reports that Eghobamien-Mshelia was elected to fill one of the 12 vacant positions, to serve for three years from 2023 to 2026.
CEDAW is the body of independent experts that monitors implementation of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women.
The CEDAW Committee consists of 23 experts on women’s rights from around the world.
Speaking with NAN after the election on Thursday, Mr Muhammad Bandiya, Minister Counsellor First Committee and Elections, Permanent Mission of Nigeria to the UN, said Eghobamien-Mshelia ‘s victory was outstanding.
The official said Eghobamien-Mshelia scored 137 votes out of 187 votes, adding that only 94 votes were needed to be elected to the position.
Bandiya said 24 Member States nominated candidates to fill the 12 vacant seats, noting that one of the members withdrew its candidacy, making it 23 candidates.
He said from the 23 Members States, 10 countries from Africa contested and three countries won the election, namely Nigeria, Uganda and Egypt.
“Twelve Member States elected are Nigeria, Cuba, Uganda, Egypt, Sri Lanka, Israel, Spain, Estonia, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria Trinidad and Tobago as well as Japan,’’ he said.
Meanwhile, Bandiya listed the Member States that lost the elections as Algeria, Georgia, Germany, Ukraine, Zimbabwe, Cameroon, Burundi, Benin, Cyprus, Cote d’ivore and Burkina Faso.
Earlier, Eghobamien-Mshelia in an interview with NAN, unveiled her agenda as she pledged to implement robust gender responsive investment initiatives.
“We do have a long way to go to realise gender equality and for me, artificial intelligence, robotics are sub-sectors to understand in promoting gender issues.
“As a new digital economy is unfolding, I think, gender issues should be central to that, and I believe that a general recommendation on gender and digital economy is something I will work with you to achieve.
“We can push that in the CEDAW so that we have a clearer framework of a linkage between the new digital economy and gender issues.
“We need to understand the link between digital economy and gender issues so that we don’t reinvent discrimination and for us who in developing countries, there are new, emerging investment opportunities from the global North,” she said.
Eghobamien-Mshelia said she would bring her wealth of experience in gender issues to implement her vision and the mandates of CEDAW.
She said she would make women’s livelihoods count in the economic growth of states evolving digital economy, world of robotics and artificial intelligence through partnerships and collaboration.
Eghobamien-Mshelia said her vision was to protect women’s rights through digital and multi-sector response to Gender Based Violence as well as promoting women in leadership in public and private sector.
NAN reports that Eghobamien-Mshelia had served as a member of CEDAW Committee in 2018 to fill the void occasioned by the demise of Nigeria’s representative.
While she served, she set up the CEDAW Hub as a virtual support tool to enhance understanding of CEDAW among stakeholders for the two years.
More than 100 grassroots women’s organisations have been trained and are assessing the hub till date. (
Kosovo to apply for EU candidate status
Pristina, June 10, 2022 Kosovan Prime Minister Albin Kurti announced that his country intended to make an official application for EU membership by the end of the year.
He said this at a news conference with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz on Friday.
Kosovo, which had been an independent country since 2008, currently only had the status of a potential candidate in the EU.
Formerly a province of Serbia, the population of Kosovo is now majority Albanian.
Serbia continued to claim Kosovo as its own territory and five EU members Spain, Greece, Romania, Slovakia, and Cyprus had not recognised Kosovo as an independent state.
Scholz is on a two-day tour of five of the Balkan states.
The Kosovan capital of Pristina was the first stop before he travelled on to Belgrade later in the day. (
Austrian minister argues for possibility of border controls within EUBorderBrussels, June 10, 2022 Austria’s interior minister, Gerhard Karner, on Friday called for a stronger border policy for Europe.The minister said that security demands needed to be balanced with freedom of movement as the EU debated its refugee policy.Ministers of the interior from around the EU have come to Luxembourg to debate a range of issues, including a new solidarity mechanism to ease the migrant burden on Greece, Cyprus, Italy, Malta and Spain.The mechanism would see other EU countries taking in refugees arriving in southern Europe by boat.Karner emphasised the need for strong outer borders and also called for the possibility of border controls taking place between EU countries in future.“Freedom of movement is important, yes. It is an essential part of the European Union.“But we also have to ensure security, and this is of such importance, that border controls within the EU can be necessary in some situations.”Countries including Germany, France, and Austria had undertaken temporary border controls for years, against illegal immigration or terrorism concerns.The European Court of Justice decided in April that members were only allowed to prolong such controls in the event of a new and serious threat to public order or internal security. (
Head Coach Jose Peseiro has called up captain Ahmed Musa, deputy captain William Ekong and 25 other players to the camp of the Super Eagles.
This is ahead of this month’s 2023 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying matches against Sierra Leone and São Tomé and Príncipe.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Nigeria will host Sierra Leone at the Moshood Abiola National Stadium in one of the Day 1 matches in the campaign on Thursday.
The Super Eagles will then fly out of the country to Marrakech, Morocco, to play away to São Tomé and Príncipe on June 13.
A statement by Ademola Olajire, Director of Communications at the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) on Saturday, said coach Peseiro also invited goalkeepers Francis Uzoho and Adewale Adeyinka, defenders Olaoluwa Aina, Calvin Bassey, Sani Faisal, Oluwasemilogo Ajayi and Chidozie Awaziem,
“Others invited by the Portuguese tactician include midfielders Joseph Ayodele-Aribo, Alex Iwobi and Innocent Bonke.
“Also included in the list are forwards Moses Simon, Terem Moffi, Cyriel Dessers and Emmanuel Dennis – who were all part of the squad that played Mexico and Ecuador in prestige friendlies in U. S.
“Peseiro has added Israel-based goalkeeper Adebayo Adeleye, defenders Abdullahi Shehu, Zaidu Sanusi, Leon Balogun and Kenneth Omeruo, midfielders Oghenekaro Etebo and Frank Onyeka, and forwards Victor Osimhen, Samuel Chukwueze, Ademola Lookman and Sadiq Umar,” the statement said.
FULL SUPER EAGLES SQUAD FOR SIERRA LEONE AND SÃO TOMÉ & PRÍNCIPE
Goalkeepers: Francis Uzoho (AC Omonia, Cyprus); Adewale Adeyinka (Akwa United); Adebayo Adeleye (Hapoel Jerusalem, Israel)
Defenders: Olaoluwa Aina (Torino FC, Italy); William Ekong (Watford FC, England); Abdullahi Shehu (AC Omonia, Cyprus); Zaidu Sanusi (FC Porto, Portugal); Chidozie Awaziem (Alanyaspor FC, Turkey); Oluwasemilogo Ajayi (West Bromwich Albion, England); Calvin Bassey (Glasgow Rangers, Scotland); Sani Faisal (Katsina United);
Leon Balogun (Glasgow Rangers, Scotland); Kenneth Omeruo (CD Leganes, Spain)
Midfielders: Joseph Ayodele-Aribo (Glasgow Rangers, Scotland); Alex Iwobi (Everton FC, England); Oghenekaro Etebo (Watford FC, England); Innocent Bonke (FC Lorient, France); Frank Onyeka (Brentford FC, England)
Forwards: Ahmed Musa (Fatih Karagumruk, Turkey); Samuel Chukwueze (Villarreal CF, Spain); Moses Simon (FC Nantes, France); Victor Osimhen (SSC Napoli, Italy); Cyriel Dessers (Feyenoord FC, The Netherlands); Ademola Lookman (Leicester City, England); Sadiq Umar (UD Almeria, Spain); Terem Moffi (FC Lorient, France).
Global multi-asset broker Exness (www.Exness.com) recently obtained its license from the Kenya Capital Markets Authority (CMA). The company is now authorized to operate as an online broker without trading in the African country.
The new license will allow Exness to offer trading products to its Kenya-based clients under a secure regulatory environment. It will strengthen the corridor's presence in sub-Saharan Africa.
Known for its better-than-market trading conditions, Exness has been experiencing continuous growth since its inception in 2008. In March 2022, the company reported a record trading volume of over $2 billion, marking an industry first.
Sub-Saharan Africa is an important part of Exness' strategic expansion plans. With a license from the South African Financial Sector Conduct Authority under its belt since 2021, Exness's successful acquisition of the Kenya license represents its commitment to the SSA region. He plays a vital role in expanding Exness's global and African presence.
"The CMA license is an important step for Exness to develop an even more powerful presence in Africa," said Paul Margarites, Exness Regional Business Director for Sub-Saharan Africa.
"Thanks to our FSCA license, we are off to a good start in establishing our reputation on the continent in 2021. We look forward to bringing our products and services to more traders in Africa through our new license."
Founded in 2008, Exness Group is a multi-asset broker recognized for its diversity of trading products and client-centric approach. At Exness, traders can interact with a wide range of financial instruments, including stocks, indices, cryptocurrencies, forex, precious metals, and commodities.
Exness licenses contribute to its reliability and reputation. In addition to its Kenyan and South African licenses, the group holds licenses from a number of other financial regulatory authorities. Examples include the UK's Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), the Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission (CySEC), and the Seychelles Financial Services Authority (FSA).
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Every day, United Nations peacekeepers work to protect millions of vulnerable people in increasingly dangerous places in the world's most fragile political contexts.
From protecting civilians in war-torn areas and building social cohesion, to ensuring the safe delivery of humanitarian aid, rebuilding infrastructure and providing livelihood skills to impoverished communities – peacekeepers work with local partners. and international governments to help create conditions for political solutions and sustainable development. .
Ahead of the International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers (May 29), whose theme this year is People Peace Progress: The Power of Partnerships, here are five ways peacekeeping partnerships drive change.
1. Promotion of climate action
Climate change exacerbates the risk of conflict and hampers recovery. Increased drought, desertification, floods, food insecurity, and water and energy shortages in many parts of the world are making it difficult for conflict-affected communities to rebuild their lives. UN peacekeeping is on the front lines of these aggravating crises.
In December 2021, 70% of the Unity region of South Sudan was submerged in water, following the worst flooding in 60 years.
The UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), in partnership with humanitarian organizations and local authorities, took immediate action and Pakistani peacekeepers built 70 kilometers of embankments to protect the city, the camps for families displaced people, the airport and the roads that provide vital access. for both humanitarian aid and trade.
On January 4, 2022, UNMISS and its partners celebrated 100 straight days of fighting rising waters. In a truly communal effort, the displaced families surveyed the perimeter, looking for cracks in the mud dams.
Reflecting on the remarkable effort of all the partners involved, UNMISS Bentiu Field Office Chief Hiroko Hirahara explains: “What I can proudly tell you is that everyone came together. I mean, this is the beauty of the people in Bentiu that we can be discussing here, there, everywhere, but once the situation arises, everyone joins. We are working in solidarity. I think we're making progress."
2. On the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, peacekeepers have continued to protect civilians from violence and maintain peace, while supporting national responses to the pandemic.
During the pandemic, radio has been an essential channel for disseminating timely and accurate information about COVID-19 transmission, prevention, treatment, and best practices, especially in local communities. At a time when most people were working remotely due to rising COVID-19 cases, MONUSCO Radio Okapi host Jody Nkashama was in the studio, trying to stop the spread by keeping listeners informed.
"We defied fear to serve more than 24 million listeners with reliable information about the pandemic, which had sparked various rumors and loss of life, with a negative impact on the national economy," explains Nkashama.
Beyond providing vital information and combating dangerous misinformation about the virus, Radio Okapi, run by the United Nations Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO), played an important educational role for young students. As millions of children were unable to attend school due to stay-at-home orders, Radio Okapi stepped in to fill the void.
3. Support local livelihoods
For peace to last, conflict-affected communities must be supported to rebuild their livelihoods. Peacekeepers provide and fund skills and vocational training workshops and services to help local communities generate income to support their families.
In South Sudan, healthy livestock is not only a symbol of social status, but also a lifeline for many families, helping them put food on the table, meet nutritional needs and educate their children.
A weekly veterinary clinic is a longstanding tradition in Malakal, South Sudan, thanks to Indian peacekeepers serving with the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS). Between 2006 and 2015, and then in 2018, after a lull during the conflict in the region, Indian peacekeepers provided free veterinary services and training to local farmers to ensure the health of their livestock.
With no other veterinarians treating animals in Malakal, UNMISS veterinary services saved lives and livelihoods.
“Helping people maintain their livelihoods goes a long way in helping peacebuilding efforts in this young nation,” says Lt. Col. Philip Varghese.
4. Building national capacity to maintain peace and security
Peacekeeping missions work with host governments to build and enhance national capacities to maintain security, public order, and effective police and judicial mechanisms.
In March 2022, the UN Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) launched the “Zia siriri ni Akomandé” operation, (“may peace reign”) in the northwest of the country.
The operation aims to reduce the influence of illegal armed groups and the impact of explosive devices by increasing patrols and aerial reconnaissance missions.
Working closely with local communities and the national military, peacekeepers conduct patrols to assess the security situation and also learn about the concerns of local communities. During recent patrols, communities highlighted a lack of medical supplies and access to schools.
In response, peacekeepers have provided daily clean drinking water, school supplies and sports equipment, as well as free medical care, including for women and children. Roads have also been rehabilitated to improve living conditions and access to services. “The number of incidents and attacks in the area has drastically decreased in recent weeks, proof that there is a real impact of the actions of our units,” according to Lt. Col. Abdoul Aziz Ouedraogo.
5. Support women and youth in building sustainable peace
The leadership of women and youth is crucial in shaping solutions that impact lives and lead to peace and development. UN peacekeeping operations support the meaningful participation of women and youth to ensure that their priorities are central to political and security decisions.
Decades of conflict have divided the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities. In 2021, a project facilitated by the United Nations Mission in Cyprus (UNFICYP) and sponsored by the Embassy of the Netherlands helped bring together women from both communities through a centuries-old tradition: weaving.
The Klotho Women's Initiative created projects on the loom that enabled Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot women of different ages to exchange their weaving skills.
“In the beginning, we felt like strangers, but through this bi-communal collaboration we realized that we are the same,” explains Hande Toycan, a Turkish Cypriot. "By meeting each other, learning about each other's lives and habits, we will slowly pave the way to peace."
“Until now, I had no contact with the Turkish Cypriots,” says Greek Cypriot Flora Hadjigeorgiou. “The first time I came into contact with a Turkish Cypriot was through the Klotho project. At the age of 65."