A Palestinian senior official on Monday urged the international community for immediate measures against Israel's annexation of the land in the West Bank, after the latest remarks by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on imposing sovereignty on occupied territory.
"The international community can and should leverage its collective influence to chart a new and credible multilateral political, legal and financial approach to stop Israel's illegal actions of condemning the region to perpetual conflict," said Hanan Ashrawi, a member of Palestine Liberation Organization Executive Committee, in a press statement.
Her remarks came a day after Netanyahu said in a recorded speech that he is "confident" that U.S. President Donald Trump will allow him to fulfill his election promise to impose sovereignty on parts of the West Bank "in a couple of months."
Ashrawi said the Palestinian leadership applauded the statements by China, Russia, the European Union, France, Germany, Belgium, Spain, Ireland, Italy and Norway that all reject Israeli plans for annexation of Palestinian territory.
"These statements reflect a global and principled commitment to the standing and universal application of international law, which strictly prohibits annexation," she noted.
The only constructive way is through multilateral and powerful collective intervention focusing on international law, the Palestinian official concluded.
Israeli officials have repeatedly threatened to annex parts of the occupied West Bank, including vast areas of the Jordan Valley and Dead Sea area, and to impose sovereignty over the Jewish settlements built there.
Considered one of the main causes of the breakdown of the Palelstinian-Israeli peace talks in 2014, Israeli settlements have been deemed illegal by the international community.
A total of 40,000 face masks donated by China were handed over to two local hospitals in Ireland's second largest city Cork, local media reported on Sunday.
The Echo, a daily newspaper largely circulated in the southern part of Ireland, said on its website that the donated face masks were handed over to the two largest hospitals in Cork, namely Cork University Hospital and the Mercy University Hospital.
Speaking at the handover ceremony at the Mercy University Hospital, John Sheehan, Lord Mayor of Cork, said: "This donation, at our time of need, illustrates the depth of the relationship between Cork City and China."
"We are truly appreciative of this support and it once more underlines how challenges like COVID-19 can only be overcome by people working together," he said.
According to the report, the face masks donated include those from Shanghai, Hangzhou and Wenzhou, all located in China's eastern coastal region.
Further donations of personal protective equipment are expected to arrive in Cork from China in the coming weeks, said the report.
Ireland will place another 150- to 200-million-euro (about 162- to 216- million U.S. dollars) order of personal protection equipment (PPE) from China if changes are made to the rules on the wearing of face masks, reported the Irish national radio and television broadcaster RTE on Sunday, citing an official.
The report quoted Paul Reid, CEO of the Health Service Executive (HSE), a state agency responsible for the public health service in Ireland, as saying that HSE would normally spend 15 million euros a year on PPE, but recently placed a 208-million-euro order for such equipment from China due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
He said that Ireland needs to build a self-sufficient model of PPE through developing a stronger indigenous supply model for the provision of PPE, which will not only help the country to cope with the future public health emergency but also offer an opportunity to stimulate the economy.
The official further noted: "We will have to look at the Irish health system through new lens, and the fundamentally challenge how we deliver services into 2021 as COVID-19 will be with us for a long time."
Currently, the Irish government does not require ordinary people to wear face masks in public places as it virtually bans people from leaving homes during the pandemic, but it could make face mask-wearing a must in certain public areas such as on buses after the current stay-at-home order is eased.
If so, the demand for face masks will inevitably shoot up in the country, said local watchers.
The government has ordered all the people to stay at home except in some special circumstances until May 5 in order to stop the spread of the disease.
Latest official figures showed that as of Saturday, nearly 19,000 people in Ireland had been infected with COVID-19, and over 1,000 of them had died. (1 euro=1.082 U.S. dollars)
Some Nigerian Women in the United Kingdom (UK) on Sunday donated food items to some less privileged people in Lagos state as part of effort to cushion the effect of the lockdown occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The women made the donation under the auspices of Elite Golden Ladies, U.K. and Ireland and distributed them through Bishop Augustine Okereke at the Word and Praise Missionary Church headquarters in Lagos.
Spokesperson of the group, Ms Asa Blessing-Chijiekwu, in a statement issued in Abuja, said the President of the organisation, Mrs Nkechi Okezuruonye, was touched by the plight of poor widows and less privileged people during the lockdown.
“We chose Lagos because of its large population and considering the risk factor associated with densely populated areas; Lagos has intimidating population more than any other part of West Africa.
“This explains why the state has the highest number of confirmed COVID-19 cases going by the record of Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and World Health Organisation (W.H.O), and the number keeps rising.
“When you consider the effect of the lockdown in Lagos, being the economic nerve centre of Nigeria/Africa, you will understand the level of hunger and hardship that will hit the poor people if they can’t get help.
“This is why we sent relief materials and food items all the way from UK to reduce the effects of hunger in the land and encourage the people to hold on till this storm is over.
“What we are doing now in Lagos will determine our next move within and outside Lagos taking into consideration the costs of logistics and data of COVID-19 confirmed cases in other states as the cases may be,” Okezuruonye was quoted as saying.
She further explained that the donation was through fund raising, and financial contributions of members who are willing to reduce the hardship of Nigerians.
Okereke said the food items would impact positively on the lives of the beneficiary whose means of daily income had been affected by the lockdown directive.
“We have a list of poor widows and the less privileged in our locality and they were informed about the donation from the Elite Ladies in UK; I know they will continue to remember the association in their prayers.
“When God is allowed to take the centre stage of any organisation, failure will never be found in their vocabulary of language and expression.”
The beneficiaries collected food items including rice, noodles, vegetable oil and tomato paste.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Elite Golden Ladies, a non-religious organisation, had previously supported less privileged people at Hopeville Rehabilitation Centre in Uturu, Abia State and diabetic patients at the Ukpor General Hospital in Anambra among others.
Edited By: Bayo Sekoni/Ismail Abdulaziz (NAN)
Players at the Premier League’s top clubs should “stick to their guns” and resist pressure to take pay cuts during the COVID-19 shutdown, ex-Manchester United captain, Roy Keane said on Friday.
Professional soccer in England has been suspended since March 13 due to the pandemic and some Premier League clubs have furloughed non-playing staff under a government scheme.
Players at some clubs have accepted wage deferrals while Arsenal’s players and coaching staff agreed a 12.5% salary reduction.
“The way I look at it now, particularly after the way I left Manchester United, I wouldn’t take a pay cut from anybody if I was at one of the bigger clubs,” Keane told Sky Sports television.
“I know there is pressure on players, but it is nobody’s business what you do with your wages. You take your wages and if you want to be generous, go ahead and do it.
“I don’t think players should feel pressured by clubs, particularly the bigger clubs, to take pay cuts,” added the former Ireland midfielder, who left United in 2005 in strained circumstances.
Keane said a player’s individual contract was a personal matter between him and the club and it was nonsense to suggest all should do the same.
He added that it was always made clear to him when negotiating deals that it was a business.
“When the clubs with billionaire owners in the background come to the players and say they are in trouble —tell them no, no, you honour the contract,” he said.
“This idea that we should be getting players to give up their wages at these big clubs, forget about it because these clubs are the first to tell you, ‘This is a business, lads, this is how it works’.”
Former United and England defender Gary Neville repeated a call for the Premier League to come up with a package to help clubs in the lower divisions survive.
“I’ve gone from opportunity, to despair, to almost now pleading with somebody at the Premier League just to do the right thing for the game,” he said.
“Why am I on calls with chairmen and owners of EFL League Two (fourth-tier) clubs who are desperate, who don’t know how to pay their next wages?; they are worried the clubs are going to go bust for the sake of a few million pounds”
A further 222 people had died of COVID-19 over the past 24 hours in Ireland, bringing the country's death toll to 1,014, according to figures released on Friday by the Irish Department of Health.
The department also reported another 577 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the day, bringing the total cases to 18,184.
Tony Holohan, Chief Medical Officer with the Department of Health, said in a Friday statement that "Every indicator to date suggests that the growth of this disease has either stabilized or suppressed."
"It shows that when public health advice is followed, we can suppress this virus in the long term," he said, urging the public to keep sticking to the restrictions announced by the government to fight against the pandemic.
Earlier in the day, Dublin Bus, a public bus operator in the Irish capital, reported notable increases in people using its services.
Commenting on the phenomenon, Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar appealed for people to keep abiding by the current COVID-19 restrictive rules.
"People breaking the rules should bear in mind the consequences...it could be having to extend the current lockdown for two to three weeks," local media quoted him as saying.
The Irish government virtually locked down the country by announcing a "stay-at-home" order towards the end of last month.
The order, which will remain in place until May 5, forbids people from leaving their homes unless under special circumstances such as going outside for essential work or for buying food and medicine.
National Health Service (NHS) staff members clap outside Royal Berkshire Hospital during the weekly "Clap for Our Carers" campaign in Reading, Britain on April 23, 2020. (Photo by Tim Ireland/Xinhua)
Passengers can seek refund from airlines if their flight is cancelled, said a statement issued by the Irish Commission for Aviation Regulation (CAR) on Thursday.
CAR is a national enforcement body in Ireland, which is tasked with the monitoring and regulation of the European Union (EU) legislation covering Air Passenger Rights.
The statement of CAR came at a time when many local passengers are facing the refund issues after their flights have been cancelled due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Though airlines are entitled to offer vouchers to passengers after the cancellation of their flights, passengers can choose to accept or refuse them, said CAR.
If passengers refuse to accept vouchers, airlines must refund them within seven days, it said.
Passengers who seek refund from the airline can report their matter to CAR on its website if they can not solve the issue with the airline within six weeks after they have lodged their complaint to the airline, said CAR, adding that it will only handle the refund issues with cancelled flights that were meant to depart out of Ireland.
If the cancelled flight started in another EU country, passengers need to contact the enforcement body for that country, it said.
Michael O’Neill has left his job as Northern Ireland manager after eight years in charge.
The move was due to the proposed rescheduling of international fixtures caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Irish Football Association said on Wednesday.
O’Neill, who is also the manager of English Championship (second-tier) side Stoke City, was set to oversee Northern Ireland’s Euro 2020 playoff semi-final away to Bosnia and Herzegovina which was initially scheduled for March 26.
However, with the European governing body, UEFA, likely to reschedule the game for September after it pushed the Euros back a year, O’Neill, 50, said this was the best time to step down.
“After careful consideration and following discussions with the Irish FA, I feel it is only fair that now is the right time for me to step aside.
”I would have loved the opportunity to manage Northern Ireland in the UEFA 2020 playoff game and the chance to qualify for another major tournament, but the current situation means that this is no longer possible.
”It was important to leave the association and team in the strongest possible shape in order to not only have the best chance of qualifying for Euro 2021, but allow the new manager time to build upon the success that we have had during my eight-year tenure, ” O’Neill had said in a statement.
O’Neill took charge of the Northern Ireland in 2011 and oversaw their qualification for Euro 2016, the nation’s first major international tournament in 30 years, where they were knocked out in the last 16.
Global soccer has been brought to a virtual standstill by the new Coronavirus outbreak, with all major European leagues, as well as European club competitions suspended.
Edited By: Chinyere Nwachukwu/Maharazu Ahmed (NAN)
The Irish government announced on Tuesday that the ban on gatherings of more than 5,000 people in the country will run through the end of August.
"Local authorities have been advised by Government that event promoters should be informed that events requiring licenses in excess of 5,000 will not be considered for the period up to the end of August," said the government in a statement.
The Irish Department of Health on Tuesday reported another 44 COVID-19-related deaths, bringing the total fatalities to 730.
Tuesday also saw 388 new cases, pushing the total infections to 16,040, said the department.
The Irish government has banned all mass gatherings since March 24, and the ban is expected to be reviewed on May 5 when a set of restrictive measures is supposed to come to an end.
Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar has told the Irish public that even if the restrictions are eased after May 5, they will be done in a "bit-by-bit" way instead of being done "in one go."
On Sunday night, Irish Health Minister Simon Harris warned in a twitter message that any complacency in the battle against COVID-19 would be "disastrous" and could potentially be "fatal."
His warning came amid reports that some European countries hit by the pandemic have started to ease their lockdown measures.