Foreign

United States COVID-19 cases top 1.8 mln: Johns Hopkins University

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Meanwhile, the national death toll reached 105,003, according to the tally.

New York remains the hardest-hit state with 371,711 cases and 29,833 fatalities. Other states with over 100,000 cases include New Jersey, Illinois, California and Massachusetts, the tally showed.

(XINHUA)

https://nnn.ng/united-states-covid-19-cases-top-1-8-mln-johns-hopkins-university/

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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Sport

Nadal stunned by Schwartzman in Italian Open quarter-finals, Djokovic survives Koepfer

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Defending champion Rafa Nadal crashed out of the Italian Open with a stunning 6-2 7-5 defeat by Argentine Diego Schwartzman in the quarter-finals on Saturday.


The nine-times Rome champion, who had won all nine previous meetings against Schwartzman, struggled with his serve throughout the match.

He made a series of uncharacteristic unforced errors that proved to be his undoing.

The Italian Open was the Spaniard’s first tournament in over seven months and while he cruised through the previous two rounds, his rustiness showed from the outset against the 15th-ranked Schwartzman.

Nadal committed 30 unforced errors to Schwartzman’s 17 and had his serve broken five times.

“Losing that many serves, you can’t expect to win a match,” Nadal said. “So that’s something that I have to fix. I know how to do it.”

Nadal will now travel to Paris, where he will look to clinch a record-extending 13th French Open title.

Schwartzman will face Denis Shapovalov in the semi-finals after the Canadian defeated Grigor Dimitrov 6-2 3-6 6-2 for his 100th tour-level match win.

Earlier in the day, Novak Djokovic overcame a mid-match wobble against Dominik Koepfer before securing a 6-3 4-6 6-3 win over the unseeded German and a semi-final spot.

The top-ranked Serb had sailed through the previous two rounds, his first matches since being defaulted at the United States Open for hitting a line judge with a ball.

But he faced a potentially tricky test when Koepfer levelled the contest at one set apiece.

However, Djokovic regained his focus to close out the victory and stay on course for his 36th ATP Masters 1000 crown.

He takes on Casper Ruud for a place in the final after the Norwegian battled past fourth seed and local hope Matteo Berrettini 4-6 6-3 7-6(5) in their last-eight clash.

“Clay is definitely Casper’s preferred surface. This is where he feels most comfortable. It’s semi-finals and it’s anybody’s game,” said Djokovic, who will be targeting his 30th victory from 31 matches this year.

“I’ll do some homework and be ready for that one.”

In the women’s draw, 2018 French Open champion Simona Halep advanced to the semi-finals when her opponent Yulia Putintseva retired due to a lower back injury while trailing 6-2 2-0.

The top-seeded Romanian will now meet Spain’s ninth seed Garbine Muguruza, who survived an early scare against Victoria Azarenka to beat the United States Open runner-up 3-6 6-3 6-4.

Halep said: “Every time I played well against her (Muguruza), I was as much as possible aggressive.

“If I play my best game, and if I feel great physically on court, I have a big chance to win the match. But every time is different, because she’s playing so hard. You don’t really know what to expect. It’s tough.”

Two-times champion and fourth seed Elina Svitolina of Ukraine, who skipped the United States Open to prepare for the claycourt swing, was stunned by Czech Marketa Vondrousova 6-3 6-0.

Number 12 seed Vondrousova will face compatriot Karolina Pliskova in the semi-finals after the defending champion survived a mid-match scare to beat Belgium’s Elise Mertens 6-3 3-6 6-0.

(
Edited By: Olawale Alabi)
Source: NAN

 

 

https://nnn.ng/nadal-stunned-by-schwartzman-in-italian-open-quarter-finals-djokovic-survives-koepfer/
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United States initiates ‘snapback’ process to reimpose sanctions on Iran – Pompeo

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The United States has initiated the so-called snapback process to restore almost all previously lifted UN sanctions against Iran, United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement on Saturday.


“Today, the United States welcomes the return of virtually all previously terminated UN sanctions on the Islamic Republic of Iran, the world’s leading state sponsor of terror and anti-Semitism,” Pompeo said.

He said the snapback of previously terminated UN sanctions became effective at 8 pm Washington time (0000 GMT).

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif rejected the United States move, saying that the snapback mechanism and reimposed sanctions were invalid.

“This step is not supported by the UN Security Council because the United States is no longer in the nuclear agreement and accordingly no longer plays a role in UN resolution 2231,” Zarif said referring to the resolution in which the UNSC backed the Iran nuclear deal signed in Vienna in 2015.

The move by Washington was merely a “propaganda trick” ahead of the United States election, Zarif said on Iranian state television.

Washington’s plans to reimpose international sanctions on Iran have been met with overwhelming opposition from other countries.

Other members of the UN Security Council (UNSC), including key United States allies who are part of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, have rejected Washington’s move and have vowed to ignore it.

Under the nuclear deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), Tehran limited its nuclear activities in return for sanctions relief.

“Sanctions are being re-imposed on Iran pursuant to the snapback process under UN Security Council resolution (UNSCR) 2231. On August 20, the United States notified the President of the Security Council of Iran’s significant non-performance of its JCPOA commitments,” Pompeo said in the Saturday statement.

“Virtually all @UN sanctions have returned on Iran, the leading state sponsor of terrorism and anti-Semitism.

“This includes a permanent extension of the arms embargo. This is great news for peace in the region!” Pompeo added on Twitter.

He later added that Washington would soon “announce a range of additional measures to strengthen enforcement of @UN sanctions on Iran.”

“Our maximum pressure campaign on the Iranian regime will continue until it stops spreading chaos, violence, and bloodshed,” he said.

United States special representative for Iran and Venezuela Elliott Abrams had already signalled Washington’s determination to reimpose sanctions on Tehran earlier this week.

The United States launched a formal bid in August to revive the UN sanctions under the “snapback” mechanism included in the Iran deal.

Those sanctions include the indefinite extension of an arms embargo that would otherwise expire in October.

But few countries believe Washington’s move is legal, as United States President Donald Trump unilaterally exited the JCPOA in 2018.

Washington said it would provide more information this weekend and next week on how the United States intended to enforce the global sanctions.

“In the coming days, the United States will announce a range of additional measures to strengthen implementation of UN sanctions and hold violators accountable,” Pompeo said in Saturday’s statement.

“Our maximum pressure campaign on the Iranian regime will continue until Iran reaches a comprehensive agreement with us to rein in its proliferation threats and stops spreading chaos, violence, and bloodshed,” Pompeo asserted.

Trump is likely to address Iran in his speech next week to the UN General Assembly’s largely online meeting of world leaders.

The stand-off between the United States and other member states over the issue threatens a diplomatic crisis at the world body.

Edited By: Emmanuel Yashim
Source: NAN

https://nnn.ng/united-states-initiates-snapback-process-to-reimpose-sanctions-on-iran-pompeo/
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Pirlo says Suarez unlikely to join Juventus after all

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Juventus are unlikely to sign FC Barcelona and Uruguay forward Luis Suarez afterall, coach Andrea Pirlo said on Saturday as he prepared for the start of the new Serie A season.


Pirlo, who replaced Maurizio Sarri last month in spite of having no senior coaching experience, will make his debut at home to Sampdoria on Sunday.

He said Juventus needed a centre-forward but that there was not enough time for Suarez to obtain an Italian passport.

Juventus have already used up their limit of two non-EU signings following the arrival of Brazilian midfielder Arthur and United States international Weston McKinnie.

They will only be able to add Suarez if he can obtain an EU passport.

“We’re all waiting for a centre-forward. There is still a long way to go in the transfer window. So, we’re calm and happy, we’re not in a hurry,” said Pirlo.

“Suarez is difficult because it takes a long time to get the passport. So, it’s unlikely that it could be him”.

Although Suarez is eligible for Italian naturalisation as his wife is a citizen of the country, the process usually takes several years.

This is a detail overlooked in much of the speculation linking him to the Serie A champions over the last month.

Pirlo said Cristiano Ronaldo and Dejan Kulusevski would share the role against Sampdoria.

“Neither Kulusevski nor Ronaldo will start in the classic centre-forward position. They will try to move according to what the other does,” said Pirlo.

“There will be rotations to allow as many people as possible to arrive in the area.”

The 41-year-old said he was relaxed ahead of the new season where he would be expected, at the minimum, to bring Juventus a tenth successive Serie A title.

“After a month of Juve I have no doubts, but many certainties,” he said. “I have fitted in well, now the pitch will do the talking.”

(
Edited By: Olawale Alabi)
Source: NAN

 

 

https://nnn.ng/pirlo-says-suarez-unlikely-to-join-juventus-after-all/
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