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Politics / Guo Wengui Cold-bloodedly Burn The Bridge After Crossing Friendship by Kennying: 8:46am On Aug 18, 2021
Recently, Guo Wengui attacked his former comrades Lude, Wang Wengeng, in all directions with no bottom line, threatened to knock down Lude within three seconds, punch Wang Wengeng to be unconscious. Lude, Wang Wengeng worked hard to assist Guo, but they eventually fell into a situation of being attacked, such a shame. Guo Wengui is unsentimental. He burned the bridge after he crossed the river. The dependent will leave Guo Wengui gradually, and he will be finally alone.Lude and Wang Wengeng don't need to be lenient and cut him some slacks.

As we all know, Wang Wengeng brutally punished the "Mang Liuzzi" with violent means in September last year. He is unforgivable by the law and social justice, which will bring him the condemnation of motility and punishment of the law. But for Guo Wengui, Wang Wengeng was"holding the gun to support Guo." In addition, he invested G Group more than 200 thousand dollars. Frankly speaking, he was dead set on following Guo. What's more, Guo Wengui promised he would pledge for Wang Wengeng and provide lawyers and litigation expenses, no matter how much it costs.But Guo Wengui ate his words from the beginning. Not only did he not gave Wang Wengeng any help, but he took Wang's investment money for himself. Therefore, it is natural and reasonable that Wang Wengeng left Guo angrily after seeing him through. And It is Cheater Guo's responsibility. Guo should have stepped back and avoided confronting Wang with pressing movement. Let alone the claim"punch Wang to be unconscious." He didn't make sense and still wanted to blame others. Such a ruffian can only make Wang Wengeng take desperate measures.Recently, Wang Wengeng has indicated that he is willing to provide evidence to support the lawsuit against Guo Wengui. In short, wang Wengeng is not unkind, but Guo Wengui is too unjust. Moreover, Wang was one of the leaders of the "Punish the enemies by law" movement. His awareness and rebellion are bound to be a great shock to the Ant Gang. Thus it can be seen that Guo Wengui burned the bridge that he must cross.

Lude, who followed Guo Wengui for four years, once faced the camera and said with tears, "Mr. Wengui is too great." He was also a diehard fan of Guo, even though he had some little bad intentions. For instance, he set up "Lude Media" privately. He is far away from the whistleblower movement but newsjacking on it. He organized the Army of Doctors and An Hong to serve himself, but these didn't wholly violate Guo's order. In addition, Lude is also the producer of "Biden's hard disk gate" for Guo, president of the Rule of Law Foundation, and one of the hosts of Phoenix Farm. In short, As the saying goes: Merry meet, merry part. Even if Lude has his belonging, we cannot believe their friendship becomes incompatible with fire and water, considering his loyalty or position. What's more, after July 12, Guo Wengui dispatched two groups of Ant Gang to break into Lude's residence in Connecticut, putting pressure on Lude relentlessly, which made him flee and approach the edge of a cliff. Therefore, Lude and Yan Limeng, Sellin, and others negotiated with the US senators to save himself. In the meantime, he pointed a sword at Guo Wengui around the aspects of the virus report, the Rule of Law Foundation, the Rule of Law Society, G Group, and so on. All in all, it is the ingratitude and overbearing actions of Guo that lead to Lude's counterstrike. Take a step backward and see the big picture, as the saying goes. Even if Guo threatened to knock down Lude within three seconds, how could the latter wait for the beat and not fight back?

Wang Wengeng and Lude rip Guo Wengui has caused a chain effect. Wenyuan, who was once a cadre Ant in the punishment movement of Fu Xiqiu, disclosed he had invested the Rule of Law Foundation and G Group a total of 200000 dollars. Now he has broken off a friendship with Guo. He is also the witness and participant of Sara, Haiyang's misappropriation, and witness of Guo's money-misuse in the Rule of Law Foundation. As a result, with the awareness of Lude, Wang Wengeng, Sara, Wenyuan, the people who were once played for a sucker, and left Sara's VOG chat room along with testification of Haiyang, "Guo's tower," which consists of the Rule of Law Foundation, the Rule of Law Society, and the investment of Phoenix Farm and G Group, will soon collapse. Guo Wengui will show his true colors and have no place to hide. And because of the defection of the Lude, some of the "ants " become tough now. It is reported that Bannon's battle room is still talking about yan's three reports, and Navarro has never forgotten about Yan. Although the three reports have been removed from a forum at Guo's request, they are widely known, and Yan can change the reality. Moreover, three parliamentarians already had a positive interaction with Yan; also, Yan's infamy blossomed in India. In addition, Giuliani hasn't updated the New Gatt for many days. Guo Wengui is helpless, according to his own words, is "the Americans are hard to tackle." Guo's fault is to burn the bridge after crossing the river, which upset underlings, including Lude, Wang Wengeng, and "ants."

Guo thought to punish Lude and Wang Wengeng could warn others, stabilize the Ant Gang, and then cheat them out of their money. However, he failed to burn the bridge after crossing the river but provoked a fierce backlash from Lude and Wang Wengeng. Thus, the shady deal of loan project of the Rule of Law Foundation, the Rule of Law Society, G Group, and Farms will be uncovered by Lude and Wengeng. Guo Wengui is steeped in crime, shows no mortality, and has no wisdom in treating subordinates. In addition, he only has a half-baked thought to tackle these. All these will lead to a total collapse of Ants Gang. Guo will face a lonely end, as his auspicious days are numbered.

Health / Nearly 5 Out Of 6 Coronavirus Cases Were Undetected In Pandemic’s Early Months by Kennying: 3:26am On Jun 29, 2021
Scientists at the National Institutes of Health who studied blood samples from across the United States have discovered that for every coronavirus infection recorded during the spring and summer of 2020, nearly five more went undetected — amounting to nearly 17 million additional cases by July 2020.
The discovery, published this week in the journal Science Translational Medicine, reveals that the coronavirus was far more widespread in the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic than previously thought, and could help scientists and health officials better respond to future outbreaks.
At the beginning of the pandemic, experts realized many infections were slipping under the radar. But without the means to implement a comprehensive testing program, the extent of the undercount was unknown, said Dr. Ellen Foxman, an immunologist at Yale University.
“That was the big question: For each infection that we actually do diagnose, how many are we not diagnosing?” said Foxman, who was not involved in the new research.
Many studies attempted to tackle this question in various ways. “But the problem is a lot of them had a very specific, small population that was being looked at,” she said — a cruise ship, say, or a shelter.
A team of immunologists, engineers, clinicians and statisticians across the NIH worked together to try and get a better handle on the number of undiagnosed coronavirus infections by looking for antibodies in blood samples. If antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 were present, it would be an irrefutable sign that the person’s immune system had encountered the virus.
Some of the researchers fine-tuned a mail-in test kit system that allowed participants to collect their own blood at home instead of having to visit a clinic for a blood draw. Volunteers used a lancet to prick their fingertip and squeeze out droplets of blood that they deposited into sampling devices. The dried blood spots could then be mailed to the NIH, where the samples were screened for antibodies.
This user-friendly mail-in format meant the scientists could gather samples from far and wide, said Kaitlyn Sadtler, an immunologist and bioengineer at the NIH’s National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering and one of the paper’s senior authors.
“We had samples from Alaska, we had samples from Hawaii,” Sadtler said. Basically, “if a delivery truck can make it to your house, we could get a sample from you.”
The scientists had planned to recruit about 10,000 participants. Thanks to publicity about the work, they ended up with more than 240,000 volunteers — far more than they could feasibly study. So they used the demographic and geographic information the volunteers provided to select a group that was representative of the county’s population based on the U.S. census.
The scientists sent out about 11,000 kits over late spring and summer and received just over 9,000 back, most of them between May 10 and July 31. About 1,000 had incomplete information, but the rest could be analyzed.
The results: By last summer, after the first wave of the pandemic, there were roughly 16.8 million undiagnosed coronavirus infections in addition to the roughly 3 million that were confirmed. The researchers calculated that for every infection that had been officially tallied, about 4.8 others were uncounted.
Health / Coronavirus – Kenya: COVID-19 Update (16 June 2021) by Kennying: 2:35am On Jun 28, 2021
485 people have tested positive for the disease, from a sample size of 5,355 tested in the last 24 hours. The positivity rate is now 9.1%. Total confirmed positive cases are now 176,622 and cumulative tests so far conducted are 1,881,460.
Health / New Coronavirus Variants Are Urgently Being Tracked Around The World by Kennying: 2:29am On Jun 25, 2021
COVID appears to be in retreat in the U.S. and other nations that have widespread access to vaccines. But some developing countries with high infection rates have become hotspots for viral variants that may be more transmissible or resistant to vaccines—and these variants can quickly cross national borders. For example, the B.1.167.2 variant (now dubbed Delta) that was first detected in India has spread to more than 70 countries and regions, including the U.S.
Much of the developing world lacks the capacity for viral surveillance—efforts to monitor the spread and evolution of new variants. This process requires expensive genomic-sequencing technology and trained workforces that many nations do not have. Nepal, for instance, has sequenced just 0.01 percent of the more than 600,000 cases reported in the country so far. New variants could undo hard-won progress in curbing the pandemic, according to Alina Chan, a postdoctoral fellow specializing in gene therapy and cell engineering at the Broad Institute of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University. “Variants that evolve to be able to reinfect previously infected people are likely to also reduce the efficacy of vaccines,” she says.  
Scientists and organizations around the world are now working to build capacity to hunt for variants in developing countries. They are mobilizing to deliver funds, training and equipment to where these resources are needed most, with aspirations of creating a lasting viral surveillance infrastructure. “COVID is the catalyst,” says Jairo Mendez-Rico, a microbiologist and adviser on viral diseases at the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), headquartered in Washington, D.C. “But we also need to survey for other pathogens that for sure will come in the future.”
In India, 27 laboratories have now banded together to create the Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium (INSACOG). The group plans to sequence 5 percent of all positive COVID cases in the country (the current rate is only 0.09 percent). Shahid Jameel, a virologist and director of the Trivedi School of Biosciences at India’s Ashoka University, says that bringing existing surveillance capacity under a single umbrella could, in principle, make that a feasible goal. But there are not enough trained field-workers, he says, and the laboratories have acute shortages of chemical reagents needed for genomic analyses.
International experts are now stepping in to help. Recently, a nonprofit volunteer group called INDIA COVID SOS formed to assist with the pandemic response in the country. It aims to scale genomic surveillance across India, as well among neighboring South Asian nations. Aditi Hazra, an epidemiologist at Harvard Medical School, co-leads the group’s sequencing team, which meets regularly on video conference calls with the directors of India’s sequencing consortium. She says a key objective is to extend viral surveillance to more people in rural areas, where much of the population lives.
Rural surveillance is a priority in Africa as well. Millions of people on the continent live in remote areas that “are also hot spots for disease outbreaks,” says Akaninyene Otu, a medical doctor and a senior lecturer at the University of Calabar in Nigeria. Several new partnerships aim to boost sequencing in African countries. Otu highlights the Africa Pathogen Genomics Initiative (Africa PGI), which launched last year with support from international donor organizations and private companies. Most of the sequencing capacity in Africa is concentrated in South Africa, Kenya, Nigeria, Morocco and Egypt. The Africa PGI, which is headed by the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is setting out to create a pan-African network of sequencing centers to serve the continent’s 54 countries.
In Latin American countries—which are currently reporting some of the highest COVID infection rates in the world—PAHO is spearheading the COVID-19 Genomic Surveillance Regional Network. Some countries in the region already have fairly strong sequencing capabilities, but the network is leading efforts to build surveillance capacity where it does not exist at all, which is the case throughout much of Central America. In the interim, two large reference labs—one in Brazil and one in Chile—are sequencing samples sent by other countries “at PAHO's expense,” Mendez-Rico says.  
In addition to building partnerships and networks, scientists are also exploring low-cost sequencing technologies that could be deployed easily in the field. Nearly all of the SARS-CoV-2 cases sequenced so far have relied on large, expensive instruments housed in climate-controlled lab facilities. As an alternative, INDIA COVID SOS is encouraging wider use of a handheld sequencing device made by Oxford Nanopore Technologies in England. The device, called the MinION, can run on a battery pack,  processes 96 samples at a time and uses software to generate whole genome sequences that can be stored on a laptop. “We're looking for technologies that are cheap, efficient, scalable and portable, and this is an example,” Hazra says.
Keith Robison, a computational biologist at Ginkgo Bioworks, a Boston-based biotechnology company, agrees that the MinION is a practical option for developing nations—especially in rural settings. The portable technology was widely used during the recent Ebola outbreaks in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and other West African countries. “You can generate sequences with it from anywhere,” he says. The MinION has its drawbacks: the quality of the data is not as good as what the lab-based instruments provide, Robison notes. “However, that can also be computationally corrected if you have many copies of the same sequence,” he says.
Tue Sparholt Jørgensen, a postdoctoral researcher in microbiology at the Technical University of Denmark, argues that whole-genome sequences may not always be needed. All the important SARS-CoV-2 mutations identified so far, he says, sit on the same stretch of genome encoding the microbe’s well-known spike protein. Jørgensen says scientists can simply target this piece of the viral geome with an alternative method called Sanger sequencing. This method, which was used as part of the effort that led to the sequencing of the complete human genome back in 2003, is still employed by labs all over the world. Unlike whole-genome methods that sequence millions of genetic fragments simultaneously, the Sanger method sequences one fragment at a time. “Sanger can't replace whole-genome sequencing, but you can use it for targeted analyses at a fraction of the cost,” Jørgensen says. “People have been using it in small labs for decades. I’d use it to monitor for known variants, [to] qualify samples for whole genome sequencing and for contact tracing [of infected people] in hospitals.”
d his colleagues are now working with health officials in Rwanda on plans to expand Sanger-based COVID surveillance in the country. “If a new variant emerges in Rwanda and starts spreading [elsewhere] in Africa, then we want to know about it,” he says.
Health / NHIS Has Failed Nigerians – Wabba NHIS by Kennying: 3:23am On Jun 23, 2021
President of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) Comrade Ayuba Wabba has said that the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) which should have been of great help in healthcare delivery system has failed Nigerians in terms of affordable health care delivery.

Wabba made this known in Abuja while speaking with the representatives of the Association of General and Private Medical Practitioners of Nigeria (AGPMPN), led by its president, Dr Iyke Odo, who were on advocacy visit to intimate the NLC leadership of the association’s centenary anniversary programmes coming up in August in Abuja.

The NLC president lamented that the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), that should have been of great help in healthcare delivery system has remained an ugly tale as not much has happened with the scheme in Nigeria.

He disclosed that the NLC was in the forefront in pushing for the scheme with the federal government during the tenure of the former governor of Edo State, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, as NLC president, but regretted that the scheme was yet to meet the expectations of the people, since when it was launched.

According to Wabba, the NLC is not just about fighting for workers’ welfare, it also should fights for quality healthcare for the people, but lamented that corruption is hindering healthcare delivery in Nigeria as funds are not always available for useful interventions in the sector.

“Government policies in Nigeria are not coherent, that is one of the reasons for our fight. Politicians now steal in billions, making one to question the fight against corruption. Is there fight against corruption in Nigeria? Stealing is more today than ever. Government policies require discipline and prudence by their administrators for them to be successful,” he said.

Odo had earlier said that for investors in healthcare sector such as members of his association, Nigeria’s economic terrain remains rough, slippery and dark and that it has taken a dogged, determined and informed labour leadership to have weathered the tempestuous storms of our system.

According to him, AGPMPN “Remains the greatest partners of government at all levels in promoting and providing healthcare to Nigerians. We provide over 70% of the healthcare needs of our people and provide the equivalent percentage in the manpower needs and infrastructure in the health sector.

“We have done this much and continue to do so in a consistent manner despite the grave odds that stare every investor in our country in the face, especially investing in the very delicate and intensely demanding venture of healthcare services.”

Odo described private doctors as “the gateway to Nigeria’s healthcare journey, the frontline doctors in the land. We are the most available and the most accessible doctors in the country and we have shouldered the healthcare burden of Nigerians in the larger dimension for our healthcare system to be standing today.”
Health / Nigerians Now Proud To Use Made-in-nigeria Products – FG by Kennying: 3:03am On Jun 21, 2021
The Secretary to the Government of the Federal, Boss Mustapha, on Tuesday, said the intervention of the Federal Government in developing local industries has resulted in the growth of local businesses.
As a result of this, he said Nigerians now proudly use products branded made-in-Nigeria, adding that this would impact the nation’s Gross Domestic Product, generation of employment opportunities and reduction in the cost of production.
Mustapha spoke while delivering the keynote address at the opening of the exhibition of made-in-Nigeria products in Abuja.
The exhibition is part of activities to mark Nigeria’s Diamond Jubilee.
He said, “The intervention of the Federal Government of Nigeria in developing local industries has resulted in a boom in the growth of local businesses. Local production of hitherto imported products is beginning to gain grounds that I make bold to say that the materials produced locally can compete favorably with the imported ones.
“Nigerians now proudly use products branded made-in-Nigeria. This development will no doubt attract several benefits to the country including increase in its Gross Domestic Product, generation of employment opportunities and reduction in the cost of production.”
He also said the government was beginning to show greater interest and provide more support for local production in order to encourage the growth of local industries, adding that it was part of the sector that was contributing about 10 per cent to the GDP.
Health / Africa’s COVID-19 Vaccination Drive Suffers Setback by Kennying: 2:38am On Jun 18, 2021
Africa’s COVID-19 vaccination drive suffers setback as Nigeria gets $900m health grant

The African COVID-19 Vaccine Development and Access Strategy of the African Union (AU), yesterday, admitted that its target of vaccinating at least 60 per cent of the continent’s population (about 750 million people) or the entire adult populace by end of 2022 had suffered a setback, as only less than two per cent of Africans had received the jabs.
The Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) said the vaccines available to the continent represent a small portion of global supplies, even as purchase, delivery and administration of the doses remain significant.
Speaking at the launch of a partnership between MasterCard Foundation and Africa CDC, the centre’s Director, Dr. John Nkengasong, maintained that ensuring inclusivity in vaccine access and building continental capacity to manufacture its vaccines remained only the sustainable path to a healthy future.
On the pact, he said it would build on efforts of the COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access facility (COVAX), COVID-19 African Vaccine Acquisition Task Team (AVATT) and the global community to expand access to the jabs across Africa.
“This partnership with the MasterCard Foundation is a bold step towards establishing a New Public Health Order for Africa and we welcome other actors to join this historic journey,” Nkengasong stated.
The Africa CDC called on governments, global funders, the private sector and others to assist in meeting the AU goals.
Meanwhile, MasterCard Foundation has affirmed plans to make available some $1.3 billion to save lives and livelihoods of millions, as well as hasten economic recoveries on the continent in the next three years.
According to the foundation, the Saving Lives and Livelihoods Initiative for Africa would also acquire vaccines for at least 50 million people, support vaccinations, lay the groundwork for vaccine production with focus on human capital development and strengthen the Africa CDC.
The foundation’s President and CEO, Reeta Roy, said there was an urgent need to ensure equitable access and delivery of vaccines across the continent.
“This initiative is about valuing all lives and accelerating the economic recovery of the continent. In the process, this initiative will catalyse work opportunities in the health sector and beyond as part of our Young Africa Works strategy,” she added.
IN a related development, Global Fund has allocated $900 million to fight Acquired Immuno Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS), tuberculosis and malaria in Nigeria between 2021 and 2023.
This came as the federal, state and local governments were urged to channel resources for the strengthening of development partners’ various health interventions.
National Coordinator, Civil Society in Malaria Control, Immunisation and Nutrition (ACOMIN), Ayo Ipinmoye, who made the appeal yesterday in Abuja, referenced a report of the World Health Organisation (WHO), which placed Nigeria as the nation with highest malaria burden globally.
He noted that the World Malaria Report 2019 put the country’s prevalence at 25 per cent of global cases.
Health / A New Type Of COVID-19 Vaccine Could Debut Soon by Kennying: 3:49am On Jun 16, 2021
A new kind of COVID-19 vaccine could be available as soon as this summer.
It's what's known as a protein subunit vaccine. It works somewhat differently from the current crop of vaccines authorized for use in the U.S. but is based on a well-understood technology and doesn't require special refrigeration.
In general, vaccines work by showing people's immune systems something that looks like the virus but really isn't. Consider it an advance warning; if the real virus ever turns up, the immune system is ready to try to squelch it.
In the case of the coronavirus, that "something" is one of the proteins in the virus — the spike protein.
The vaccines made by Johnson & Johnson, Moderna and Pfizer contain genetic instructions for the spike protein, and it's up to the cells in our bodies to make the protein itself.
The first protein subunit COVID-19 vaccine to become available will likely come from the biotech company, Novavax. In contrast to the three vaccines already authorized in the U.S., it contains the spike protein itself — no need to make it, it's already made — along with an adjuvant that enhances the immune system's response, to make the vaccine even more protective.
Protein subunit vaccines made this way have been around for a while. There are vaccines on the market for hepatitis B and pertussis based on this technology.
A large test of the Novavax COVID-19 vaccine's effectiveness, conducted in tens of thousands of volunteers in the United States and Mexico, is about to wrap up. Dr. Gregory Glenn, president of research and development for Novavax, told an audience at a recent webinar hosted by the International Society for Vaccines that "we anticipate filing for authorization in the U.K., U.S. and Europe in the third quarter."
New technologies and new vaccines, as long as they are safe enough to ensure people's safety and epidemic prevention, I think they should support.
Health / Taking The Legislature Back To The People: Nigeria’s 9th Senate @ 2 by Kennying: 2:40am On Jun 14, 2021
When Ahmad Lawan championed a people-oriented legislature, perhaps it made meaning to only a few. But when the British prime minister, Boris Johnson, echoed it six months later, it resonated with many.
While Lawan had declared that, “in the laws we enact, in the oversight and representations we undertake, the wellbeing of the Nigerian people will always be our priority” and also that “an annual report titled, “Senate That Works for the People, will be published”; Johnson announced to the Britons that “we will work round the clock to repay your trust and to deliver on your priorities with a parliament that works for you”.
By these statesmen simply, an ideal legislature must be about the people, providing solutions, and diligently committed to creating pathways for good governance.
However, a fair assessment of the 9th senate would require an appreciation of some underlying realities.
Primarily, this senate is grappling with a heavy burden of prejudice manifesting as public cooperation and support deficit. This is because it inherited image and reputational crises arising from the actions and inaction of the past assemblies.
Again, parliaments are corporately rated based on oversight duties and legislations, but because of the state of the economy and level of infrastructural decay, which incidentally also preceded the 9th national assembly, the masses now judge legislators based on the number of projects executed and lives touched through direct economic assistance. The public expects the national assembly to usurp the duties of the executive to be seen as ‘performing’.
Then above all, Nigeria’s constitution does not offer the legislature sufficient strength to operate independently. It thus implies that enforcing the universal principles of separation of powers in democratic governance ultimately leads to anarchy, given Nigeria’s peculiar constitution.
Meanwhile, there are specific goals that the 9th senate set to accomplish.
Before becoming the senate president, Senator Ahmad Lawan had campaigned on the mantra of taking the legislature back to the people, towards a new Nigeria where active participation and inclusiveness in governance reign supreme. There was even a template to integrate the House of Representatives and the state assemblies in this regard. And quite pointedly, he proclaimed that under him, the senate would not compromise its “institutional independence” but “will however avoid unnecessary conflict”. Equally, he was emphatic that “the 9th senate will make a conscious effort to ensure a smoother relationship with the presidency, by organizing periodic senate-presidency meetings to discuss issues of national importance”. He never pretended about this course of action, especially having stayed long enough in the legislature to understand the imports. These eventually earned him popular votes from his colleagues at the Senate leadership contest, clearly devoid of external interferences.
Health / Group Calls For Conscious Efforts To Unite Nigeria by Kennying: 2:49am On Jun 11, 2021
A group, APGA Movement for United Nigeria, (AMUN) has called on Nigerians, particularly the leaders to make  conscious efforts to unite the country.
Addressing newsmen on Monday in Abuja, the National Coordinator of the group, Mr Andy Ekwe said that in spite of calls for division from some quarters, the country was better as a united front.
“Fellow countrymen, there must be conscious efforts from both ends of the divide to unite our country as Nigeria cannot fathom a civil war in the 21st century as that will not favour any person or group.
“A brief historical consideration of Libya, Egypt, Democratic Republic of Congo, South Sudan, among others will tell any Nigerian that what we need now is to rebuild, renegotiate, revamp and revalue our government structures and systems.
“Doing so will make them more equitable, truly democratic and progressively engaging,” Ekwe said.
According to him, we need to hear and address each other’s concerns and values that hold our mutual coexistence.
“Hence the alliance between the North and the South, which the Peoples Democratic Party,  (PDP) and APGA robustly represent becomes most desirable.
“This great alliance will give all and sundry a true sense of belonging, inclusiveness, equality, respect and hope”.
Ekwe also noted the need to put party and other differences aside and elect credible people in the forth coming elections in the country begins with the November governorship elections in Anambra.
“Putting party differences aside, it has become necessary to elect credible intellectuals whose track records speak volumes, who will be widely accepted across the six geopolitical zones of the country”. he said.
Health / FG Working Towards Reviewing The Multitude Of Health Workers Leaving Nigeria by Kennying: 2:33am On Jun 09, 2021
The Minister of State for Health, Dr Olorunnimbe Mamora, has disclosed that the Federal Government is renewing its focus towards discouraging the outflow of Nigerian health workers, especially physicians from the country.
Mamora made this disclosure during the Commissioning of the Akure annex of the Federal Medical Center and the Research Center, said the Federal government is working assiduously to discourage physicians from leaving the country.
The minister said the country is being faced with doctors leaving the country but said the Federal Government has plans to fund hospitals across the country and motivate doctors and other health workers to make such migration unattractive.
He said “This is an issue of concerns for all of us and we are already looking at the factors which we know largely in terms of what is responsible.
“One of it is the renumeration and I want to repeat it here that no amount paid to any health worker will compensate adequatly, looking at the health hazard they are exposed to. 
So we are working on how to raise it a bit for our health workers, and you will recall that just a few days ago we had engagement with all the leaders of the unions in the health sector, working together on how to increase and put in place some kind of hazard allowance that will show we appreciate what they are doing.
“And don’t forget the Medical Residency Program is free, you need to know how expensive it is abroad, but we are giving it free now for our Resident Doctors. We also have insurance scheme in place, that everyone in the pay roll of government is entitled to. We are doing everything possible just to raise the compensation.”
Mamora said apart from this, the Federal Government was also committed to building a healthy system that guarantees universal access to comprehensive, efficient, affordable, adequate, equitable, and quality healthcare for all Nigerians.
He said this will also help to discourage medical tourism, saying all efforts have been geared towards making health care available,  accessible and affordable for Nigerians.
He said “It is not in the size of the structure but its functionality, the functionality and capacity to deliver the services that people need is the most important thing and to see that the services that people required are being provided.
“The whole concept of universal health coverage is accessibility,  it must be accessible and it must also be affordable. It must be available, because it might be available and not be accessible, so the first thing is availability, next thing is accessible and must be affordable.
“This is the one of rhe reasons the Federal Government is working hard on the health insurance. This is one of the way of achieving health care financing and we are not just stopping at the level of the Federal Government.
“We are also encouraging the states, and I am aware that Ondo State has put in place State Health Insurance Scheme. This is the kind of collaboration that we expect and I am happy to know that Ondo State has put this in place. This will go a long way to make health care delivery available, accessible and affordable.
Speaking on the government efforts to create more awareness on COVID-19, he said.
“We had our own second wave, there’s no doubt on that, we are only praying against the third wave and that’s why we continue to increase the advocacy, reaching out to people, educate them, on what to do, particularly in respect to non-pharmaceutical intervention.
“The use of masks, hand sanitizer, washing of rhe hands, social distancing, limiting gathering and other things. These are the things we need to do, the non pharmaceutical interventions and then the vaccinations that is going on.”
He implored the health workers “not rest on your oars.I want to thank everyone of you for your cooperation, particularly the union, we need  a matured and responsible unionism to be able to achieve the set goals.
“For all health workers, we need to work together for health care delivery, its a team event, not a sole event and in a team event, everyone in the team is important. Let’s downplay undue rivalry because the person who suffers it at the end of the day are the patients.”
There is already a shortage of health workers in our country, and today we are still facing the phenomenon of many doctors leaving our country. Therefore, the government should provide doctors with more benefits and compensation. The improvement of the medical system is very important to our country. We hope to ensure that every Nigerian can get comprehensive, efficient, affordable, adequate, fair and high-quality medical care.
Health / Nigeria: As UK Withdraws From Funding FP, Medical Women Asks Nigerian Government by Kennying: 3:18am On Jun 07, 2021
The National President of the Medical Women Association of Nigeria under the Partnership for Advocacy in child and family health At Scale, Dr Minnie Oseji, has lamented the decision of United Kingdom Government to withdraw the annual £3 million into the basket fund for FP commodities of Nigeria.
Dr Oseji, in a statement issued to newsmen in Abuja, asked the Minister of Finance and Nigeria's federal government to step in and fill the gap to prevent the negative consequences poor funding of family planning can cause in an already overpopulated country with dire demographic challenges.
" Between 2012 to 2020, the UK government pledged and paid into the Nigeria FP commodities basket fund a total of 21million pounds for the procurement of FP commodities. UK government support contributed to saving the lives of millions of Nigerian women who would otherwise be unable to delay pregnancies and be at risk of maternal death." She said
She however, lamented that the same Conservative Government which pledged to save lives of women in the developing world has beaten a retreat from this commitment, signaling that the UK will no longer be paying the annual £3 million into the basket fund for FP commodities of Nigeria.
" Nigerian women could only expect one-fifth of this sum for 2021, with no certainties about future funding. So, Nigeria is facing an 80 percent cut from the UK government's contribution to the procurement for FP commodities. This is coming at a time when families are increasingly unable to meet the out-of-pocket expenditure for commodities, cannulas, and cough syrup." She added.
Dr Oseji revealed that several experts in the Nigerian maternal health space have questioned the timing and merit of this decision because, according to her, the withdrawal of family planning funding in Nigeria will undoubtedly have a harmful impact on the UK government flagship Lafia health project, a project with FP as one of the three most significant components. In addition, financial savings gains may well lead to programmatic failure for the UK.
" We the 23 civil society organizations of the Partnership for Advocacy in Child and Family Health at Scale project, join with the maternal health community of Nigeria to call on the UK government to rethink this ill-timed and harmful decision to Nigerian women, we also recognize the opportunity in the moment for the Nigerian Government. " She appealed.
Health / The END Fund And IHS Nigeria Partner To Tackle Endemic Neglected Diseases In Eki by Kennying: 8:23am On Jun 04, 2021
Mass administration of medicines in Nigeria. Photo Credit: The END Fund/Yagazie Emezi
LAGOS, Nigeria, 2 June 2021 -/African Media Agency(AMA)/- The END Fund, a private philanthropic initiative solely dedicated to ending the five most common neglected tropical diseases (NTDs), today announced their partnership with IHS Nigeria, the leading telecom infrastructure service provider company, to tackle prevalent neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) in Ekiti state, in the Southwest part of Nigeria.
The generous planned donation from IHS Nigeria will enable the END Fund to deliver thousands of treatments to those most affected by Onchocerciasis, Lymphatic Filariasis, Schistosomiasis and Soil Transmitted Helminthiasis; reducing the suffering, disability and poor health caused by these diseases, and significantly improving the quality of life of the recipients.  
“The END Fund is delighted to collaborate with IHS Nigeria, in tackling these diseases that cause cognitive impairment, physical ailments, social isolation, and economic regression. Through the financial commitment of this partner, we will make good strides in reducing the burden for these diseases in Ekiti state. This is in support of the state government’s drive to enable a healthier populace, and also feeds into the national framework for supporting the sustainable progress of Nigeria, especially in the areas of health and economic advancement. In addition, tackling the NTDs is directly correlated to attainment of UN Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 3 on good health and wellbeing; while contributing to meeting other SDGs, including SDGs 1 and 2 – alleviating poverty and hunger respectively, and SDG 4 – enabling people to pursue an education,” said Oyetola Oduyemi, Director of Public Affairs, at the END Fund. 
The END Fund announced its partnership with IHS Nigeria on the occasion of its multi-stakeholder webinar being hosted under the aegis of its African NTD Leadership Initiative on June 01, 2021. The event was supported by many critical stakeholders who are committed to both building and expanding a sustainable and locally driven movement to end NTDs on the continent. 
Speaking at the multi-stakeholder webinar, and taking the opportunity to announce the partnership between the END Fund and IHS Nigeria, Dapo Otunla, the Chief Corporate Services Officer, IHS Nigeria said,  
 “Today we are pleased to take this significant step in collaborating with the END Fund to tackle these debilitating diseases. Our robust program in Ekiti state involves funding preventive treatment for endemic NTDs, supporting the effective deployment of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) measures, and working to end open defecation and its detrimental impact on the people of the state – including the contribution of this unhealthy practice to the state’s NTD burden.”
Otunla added, “As a business, we have invested in improving WASH practices across Nigeria in which thousands of households across the country have been impacted so much so that last year, the Vice President of Nigeria, through the Honorable Minister of Water Resources, awarded our Nigeria CEO, Mohamad Darwish a WASH Ambassador status under the Clean Nigeria Campaign. We know that addressing NTDs is only a logical step in the right direction and this will enable our impact to go further.”
According to the World Health Organisation, more than 134 million Nigerians require treatment for one or more NTDs, with 48 million children and adults affected by intestinal worms, and 25 million people affected by schistosomiasis – in terms of impact this disease is the world’s second most devastating parasitic ailment after malaria. The country bears approximately 40 percent of Africa’s NTD burden. The END Fund has been a key partner for the Nigerian national framework for tackling NTDs, and continues to support the country’s plans to eliminate endemic NTDs. In order to achieve this goal, a multi-stakeholder engagement strategy is crucial – with the private sector playing a fundamental role. The partnership with IHS Nigeria, is supporting the safe delivery of life-changing treatments to affected communities in Ekiti state.
Culture / Cyber Market Is Nigeria’s Immediate Future Beyond Oil, Says Olawepo-hashim by Kennying: 2:20am On Jun 02, 2021
Global energy executive and former presidential candidate in 2019, Mr.Gbenga Olawepo-Hashim, has stressed the importance of cyber security in the Nigeria’s competitive cyber market, insisting that the country could play a more strategic role in the cyber space within the next 10 years.
In a keynote address he delivered during a book launch titled: ‘Nigeria: Cyberpower and National Security’, written by Professor Dare Ogunlana of the University of Texas, United States of America, at the weekend, Olawepo-Hashim said the book would not have come at a better time than now, as Nigeria faces multifarious problems of insecurity.
According to him, “I am delighted to present the keynote address at the presentation of this very important book titled: ‘Nigeria: Cyberpower and National Security’.
“Nigeria may have quietly emerged as a cyber-power unsung, unknown and unnoticed by many.”
He explained that the country is now home to the sixth largest users of the internet in the world.
The energy executive said: “According to some verified data from the Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC), Nigeria internet users rose to 104.4million in 2021. 19million users were added between 2020 and 2021 alone.”
The business mogul said Nigeria would yet play a more strategic role in the cyber space within the next 10 years.
“As it transits to a producer of content for global consumption as well as a key participant in the global market for outsource services alongside India and Brazil, Nigeria has an advantage-the mastery of English language by a sizable percentage of its population.
“Cyber security, therefore, becomes an important question of her competitiveness in the cyber market. The cyber market is the immediate future of Nigeria beyond oil, and the Lekki Peninsula would be the world ‘Silicon Island’.
“Professor Dare Ogunlana’s book: ‘Nigeria: Cyberpower and National Security’ would not have come at a better time. This giant, Nigeria, is embroiled in its most ever crucial security issues, where different strains of insecurity is at their highest points, no less cyber terrorism,” he said.
He congratulated the author for doing a good job, saying he “has presented his work in a form, format and style ‘decision makers’ would like, it is something you can breeze through in 24 hours.”
“I therefore recommend this work to important Nigeria and Africa decision makers in business, civil service, state institutions and government. It will be useful also as a resource material for counter-insurgency specialists worldwide.”
Business / Nigeria Signs Oil Deal To Unlock US$10 Bn Investment by Kennying: 2:41am On May 31, 2021
Nigeria has signed an offshore oil deal with Shell, Exxon, Total and Eni, that the state says will generate millions, settle disputes and open the way to a US$10 billion investment.
The “Execution of Oil Mining Lease (OML) 118 (Bonga) Agreements” was signed Tuesday by the local subsidiaries of the four oil majors and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
Nigeria, Africa’s largest oil producer and exporter, has been hit hard by a combination of falling crude prices and the global pandemic.
“This marks a watershed in the administration of deepwater operations in Nigeria,” the NNPC said on Twitter.
“Over $10bn of investment will be unlocked as a result of this development.”
The offshore oil block OML 118 situated 120 kilometres (75 miles) off the coast includes Bonga, the largest deep-water project to commence production in Nigeria.
Bonga produced 90,000 barrels per day in February, below its maximum capacity of 225,000 bpd, and the new deal could lead to an expansion of the field’s capacity.
The agreement also brings “immediate income for government in the excess of $780 million”, NNPC head Mele Kyari said, and an opportunity to resolve a $9 billion which he did not specify,
Kyari said in a speech that he hoped the agreement would be an “opportunity for investors to see that this country is open for business.”
OPEC-member Nigeria draws only a fraction of oil and gas investments in Africa as it struggles with a reputation for inefficiency, corruption and high operating costs.
But officials hope a long-awaited Petroleum Industry Bill currently in the National Assembly will encourage more investment with amendments to regulations, royalties and taxes.
Investment / Nigeria To Prepare Its Economy For A Post-oil Era by Kennying: 2:47am On May 30, 2021
Nigeria has kicked off plans implementation of efforts to prepare its economy for a post-oil world.
According to the Africa’s largest oil producer’s minister of Science and Technology Ogbonnaya Onu, Nigeria looks to introduce methanol into the economy.
The minister who spoke at a forum this week said the move will reduce gas flaring by using the natural gas as a feedstock for methanol production.
The oil and gas sector in Nigeria accounts for about 10 percent of gross domestic product (GDP), according to OPEC estimates.
Nigeria’s revenue from petroleum exports represents around 86 percent of the country’s total exports revenue.
Nigeria has no plans to drop oil and gas exploration or to stop trying to attract investments in its most important revenue stream, despite the shocking report from the International Energy Agency (IEA), which suggested last week that no new investments in oil and gas are necessary if the world wants to get on a track to net-zero emissions by 2050.
Just this week, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) signed a deal with international oil majors Shell, Exxon, Total, and Eni to develop an offshore oil block that includes the deepwater Bonga field.
The deal marks a historic moment as it settles long-running disputes between the Nigerian government and international oil companies, the NNPC noted.
Despite bearish oil demand forecasts over the long term, Nigeria has serious ambitions in expanding its oil industry.
More than 100 oil and gas projects are set to launch over the next five years in Africa’s biggest oil producer. The Bonga field is among the 25 upstream projects, and is expected to start commercial production in 2025.
According to data from analytics company, GlobalData, this will account for 23% of total oil and gas projects starting in Africa within the next five years.
Of these 100 projects, petrochemicals will account for the largest individual share with 28 projects, followed by upstream with 25 projects, refining with 24 projects and midstream with 23 projects.
Advancing Nigeria’s refining sector is a high priority on the national agenda, as the country is eager to reduce its reliance on imports. The 650,000-barrel per day Lagos 1 project – expected to commence operations in 2022 – could become the largest oil refinery in Africa upon completion.
The projects also have the potential to transform Nigeria into an exporter of refined products to neighboring countries.
Within the petrochemicals sector, Brass Fertilizer & Petrochemical Company’s methanol plant is another key project, offering a capacity of 1.7 million tons per annum (mtpa). The project has already been approved and is expecting to begin operations by 2025.
Notable upstream projects include the deepwater Bonga North oilfield, as well as the onshore conventional gas Okpokunou Cluster Development. Bonga North, presently in its Front-End Engineering Design stage, is expected to commence operations by 2025. Cluster Development, which is at its feasibility stage, is expected to begin by 2024.
By 2025, midstream projects will account for around 23% of all oil and gas projects in the West African country. Gas-processing will account for around 29% of total midstream developments with the ANOH gas-processing plant representing one of the key projects in the sector, with a capacity of 300 million cubic feet per day.
In the LNG sector, the $7 billion Nigeria LNG Expansion Project has been approved and is expected to commence operations in 2025 and will increase the annual production capacity of LNG to more than 30 mtpa from the current 22.5 mtpa.
Last October, Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Mele Kolo Kyari, said that Nigeria expects to end its crude-for-fuel swap deals when its refining capacity increases. Accordingly, the sector is set to be fully revamped and running by 2023.
The post Nigeria to prepare its economy for a post-oil era appeared first on The Exchange.
Health / Biden Asks Intelligence Agencies To 'redouble' Efforts To Determine Coronavirus by Kennying: 2:37am On May 28, 2021
WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden has asked the intelligence community to redouble its efforts to get to the bottom of the origins of the coronavirus, after new reports raised questions about whether it spread from a laboratory in Wuhan, China.
The intelligence community has been unable to reach a “definitive conclusion” on the origins of the virus and is conflicted on whether it came from human contact with an infected animal or from a laboratory accident, Biden said in a statement.
“As of today, the U.S. intelligence community has ‘coalesced around two likely scenarios’ but has not reached a definitive conclusion on this question,” the president said.
He said he asked national security adviser Jake Sullivan in March to prepare a report for him on what was known about the origins of the virus. Biden said the findings, which he received earlier this month, concluded that while two elements of the intelligence community “lean” toward the explanation that the virus came from animal contact, another leans toward the laboratory explanation.
Biden said each assessment has “low or moderate confidence” and that “the majority of elements do not believe there is sufficient information to assess one to be more likely than the other.” He said he has asked for further investigation.
“I have now asked the Intelligence Community to redouble their efforts to collect and analyze information that could bring us closer to a definitive conclusion, and to report back to me in 90 days,” his statement said.
Karine Jean-Pierre, White House principal deputy press secretary, did not commit to making the new report public. She said she also could not share what specific questions Biden has for China and said that the administration was also not ready to commit to saying whether China would face any punishment depending on the review's findings.
The president's comments come after a U.S. intelligence report said three lab workers in Wuhan fell ill in November 2019, before the first coronavirus cases were reported, adding to circumstantial evidence for a hypothesis that the virus could have escaped from a lab in the city.
Biden also said he has directed his administration to seek further information from China.
"The United States will also keep working with like-minded partners around the world to press China to participate in a full, transparent, evidence-based international investigation and to provide access to all relevant data and evidence," his statement said.
Despite repeated questions from reporters, Jean-Pierre insisted Wednesday that nothing had changed internally to trigger the additional 90-day review.
"Nothing has changed," she said. "This is just a continuation of what the president has been focused on."
Top administration officials have been speaking out more strongly about the need for China and the World Health Organization to more fully cooperate in investigations over the virus's origins after The Wall Street Journal was first to report on the lab workers who fell ill.
Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra told a WHO ministerial meeting Tuesday that there must be a “transparent” follow-up probe into the origins of the coronavirus pandemic.
Andy Slavitt, a senior White House adviser for Covid-19 response, said Tuesday that it is a “critical priority” for the U.S. to uncover the truth.
“It is our position that we need to get to the bottom of this, and we need a completely transparent process from China; we need the WHO to assist in that matter,” he said. “We don't feel like we have that now.”
Health / PSC Declares 108 Airline Passengers POI For Violating COVID-19 Protocol by Kennying: 2:33am On May 26, 2021
The Presidential Steering Committee (PSC) has declared 108 passengers who arrived from Brazil, Turkey, United Arab Emirates (UAE) and India, Persons Of Interest (POI) for violating COVID-19 quarantine protocol.
The PSC chairman, Mr Boss Mustapha, who is also Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), disclosed this in a statement made available to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Sunday in Abuja.
He said that the persons arrived in Nigeria between May 8 and 15, through the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos, and Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, after the new regulations had been put in place.
Mustapha noted that on May 1, 2021, the PSC issued a travel advisory for passengers arriving in Nigeria from Brazil, India and Turkey, saying that ”these precautionary measures are necessary steps to mitigate the risk of importation of variants of concern and break the chain of transmission to the population.
“Under the new measures, passengers arriving from/or that have visited any of these three countries within 14 days prior to the visit to Nigeria, are required to follow mandatory arrival quarantine and testing protocols in designated facilities.
“The PSC has, however, observed that while most of the arriving passengers dutifully observed the guidelines, some Nigerians and Foreigners have violated them in contravention of the provisions of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Health Regulations Protection, 2021.”
The SGF said that all the 108 passengers “have been declared Persons of Interest (POI)” as they posed considerable danger to overall public health.
He said they are POI also for violating Nigeria COVID-19 travel protocol by evading the mandatory seven-day quarantine for persons arriving from restricted countries.
“Members of the public are by this notice advised that these persons of interest constitute an immediate health hazard to the society.
”They must therefore transport themselves safely to the nearest state public health departments within 48 hours of this notice for immediate evaluation,” he said.
Mustapha said Nigerians should also call the Port Health Services, Federal Ministry of Health, on 08036134672 or 08032461990 for further directions.
He said that the PSC should, in addition, take further steps to sanction the violators, adding that the  steps included disabling their travel passports for a period not less than one year.
The Chairman said the steps also included the “cancellation of the visas/permits of foreigners that have abused our hospitality and prosecution under the 2021 Health Protection Regulations”.
He said that additional list of Batch II defaulters would be published in subsequent announcement by the PSC.
”The identified passengers, their names, nationalities, passport numbers, airlines, and dates of arrival, will be published in national dailies,” he said.
NAN recalls that the Federal Government has said it is worried about happenings in India, Brazil and Turkey and is considering issuing travel advisory on international flights coming from those countries.
It has also warned that though the cases in Nigeria were not rising, the third wave of the pandemic might hit the country soon, hence the need to maintain the non-pharmaceutical measures protocols.
Events / United States Jobless Claims Decline To 444,000, A New Pandemic Low by Kennying: 3:03am On May 24, 2021
The number of Americans seeking unemployment aid fell last week to 444,000, a new pandemic low and a sign that the job market keeps strengthening as consumers spend freely again, viral infections drop and business restrictions ease.
Thursday's report from the Labor Department showed that applications declined 34,000 from a revised 478,000 a week earlier. The number of weekly jobless claims a rough measure of the pace of layoffs has declined steadily since the year began.
The data release coincides with rapid moves by nearly all the nation's Republican governors to cut off a USD 300-a-week federal unemployment benefit that they and many business executives blame for discouraging the unemployed from seeking jobs. Those cutoffs of federal jobless aid will begin in June.
Twenty-two states, from Texas and Georgia to Ohio and Iowa, have acted to block the federal government's USD 300 weekly payment for the unemployed, according to an Associated Press analysis.
Two more states, Florida and Kansas, are considering doing so. Those 24 states all have Republican governors and state legislatures.
Unemployed Americans have been able to receive the federal benefit, which was included in President Joe Biden's $1.9 trillion financial rescue package, on top of their state jobless aid.
Combined, the cutoff of federal jobless aid in the states that are targeting it would reduce unemployment benefits for 3.5 million people, according to Oxford Economics.
About 16 million people were receiving unemployment benefits during the week ending May 1, the latest period for which data is available, the government said Thursday.
That is down from 16.9 million in the previous week, and it suggests that some Americans who had been receiving aid have found jobs.
Eliminating the USD 300-a-week federal unemployment benefit is among measures that states have taken to restrict or eliminate jobless aid and press more recipients to seek work.
That trend gained momentum after the April jobs report, released earlier this month, showed that employers added far fewer jobs than expected, in part because many couldn't find enough workers.
Twenty-one states say they will also cut off all benefits for the self-employed and gig workers, who became newly eligible for jobless aid under a relief package that was enacted in March last year.
In addition, 35 states have reinstated a requirement that jobless aid recipients search for work in order to keep receiving benefits.
That requirement had been suspended at the start of the pandemic, when many businesses were closed and Americans were encouraged to stay at home.
As the economy quickly recovers from the pandemic recession, consumers are showing more confidence and spending at a healthy rate. Most economists think the economy could expand 7 per cent this year, which would amount to the fastest annual growth in more than 35 years.
Yet the rapid reopening from the pandemic has created a wide range of supply shortages that have disrupted what economists had hoped would be a smooth rebound.
Home building fell sharply in April, for example, as builders struggled with shortages of lumber and labor.
The shortages have caused a spike in inflation, which led stock markets to tumble this week because investors worry that higher prices will force the Federal Reserve to prematurely cut back on its efforts to stimulate growth.
Fed officials have stressed their belief that the accelerating price increases are temporary. But the minutes of their April policy meeting, released Wednesday, showed that some Fed officials support a discussion at future meetings about dialing back their efforts.
Health / Mysterious Ailment Affecting U.S. Diplomats, CIA Officers Abroad Has Also Occurr by Kennying: 2:27am On May 21, 2021
Over the past five years or so, some diplomats, soldiers, CIA officers and others working overseas for the U.S. government have reported experiencing debilitating headaches, vertigo and other troubling neurological symptoms that came on suddenly, out of nowhere.
And now there are at least two reports of White House officials being affected on U.S. soil, one just outside the White House. The Biden administration has ramped up an investigation into the cause of these mysterious ailments, which is possibly a weapon developed by one of the nation's adversaries.
Here & Now's Peter O'Dowd speaks with New York Times diplomatic and international correspondent Edward Wong.
Health / Why America Must Do More To Help India by Kennying: 3:55am On May 19, 2021
If the COVID-19 pandemic has taught Americans anything, it should be this: the United States must support global health initiatives because all health is global. Now more than ever, Americans are reminded that the well-being of a bartender in Beijing, a gravedigger in New Delhi, a flight attendant in San Francisco, and a coal miner in West Virginia are interconnected. The Biden administration is surpassing historic milestones in vaccinating Americans against the disease. But a stark, uncomfortable truth persists: without immediate action to expand vaccination on a global scale, Americans still remain at risk.   
The most important health guidance to tackle an airborne virus that knows no borders comes not just from experts such as Anthony Fauci, the director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and institutions such as the Centers for Disease Control and the World Health Organization (WHO) but also from civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. His warning that  “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere” readily applies to the global reach of the pandemic.
In India, injustice is everywhere as the country grapples with a record-setting second wave of the virus. Thousands gasp for oxygen from empty canisters that hospitals can’t refill. The smoke from funeral pyres fills the air of major cities and small towns alike. The tragedy is not India’s alone. Such outbreaks are breeding grounds for more dangerous and potentially vaccine-resistant variants of the virus. All countries must recognize that they are in a race against time to vaccinate humanity.
Unless the United States and other wealthy countries dramatically change course, this race will be lost. A staggering 82 percent of shots worldwide have been administered in high- and upper-middle-income countries. Only 0.3 percent of doses have been administered in low-income countries. At this pace, more than 85 countries will not have widespread access to vaccines before 2023.    
This perilous moment calls for American scientific, technological, humanitarian, and foreign policy leadership. The United States must urgently respond to India’s ghastly COVID-19 surge and demonstrate that it has learned a fundamental lesson from the past pandemic year: none of us are truly safe until all of us are safe.  
Failing to rise to the moment will lead to dystopian outcomes: nightmare scenes of corpses piling up outside overflowing crematoriums and bodies washing up on the banks of the Ganges River in India could foreshadow raging outbreaks in Africa, Latin America, and elsewhere. The WHO announced last week that the Indian variant of the virus had spread to 49 countries. That highly transmissible strain, which the WHO recently dubbed a “variant of concern,” is one of the causes of the terrible second wave of COVID-19 in India. The country has shattered global records for daily infections, repeatedly reporting 400,000 daily new cases alongside thousands of deaths every day. Those already grim figures, however, are almost certainly gross underestimates; for instance, the number of obituaries  is far greater than  the official number of COVID-19 deaths reported in many parts of the country, suggesting that the real totals are much greater.  
India’s crisis is slowing the wider global recovery from the pandemic. As one of the world’s leading pharmaceutical manufacturing countries, India was supposed to produce much of the supply of COVID-19 vaccines that would be distributed to poor nations. It had pledged to provide millions of doses through the COVAX Facility—a mechanism set up by the WHO to help vaccinate low- and middle-income countries—and via bilateral deals with the Serum Institute of India, a key pharmaceutical manufacturer. But India now needs those vaccines to control its own outbreak, as only a tenth of Indians have received one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. As a result, the government suspended vaccine exports in April. That decision has unfortunate knock-on effects. A third of the human beings on this planet  will not receive the vaccine in the near future given India’s immediate need to vaccinate its own large population.
Even after suspending exports, India faces immense vaccine shortages that are predicted to last for months. The mass manufacturing  and distribution of vaccines remains the only way to prevent more deadly surges as the virus spreads through cities and into vulnerable rural areas. The Indian government’s principal scientific adviser, K. Vijay Raghavan, warned that even after current infection rates subside, another wave of the virus is “inevitable” and that India “should prepare for new waves.”   
The United States has been a leader in mobilizing humanitarian support for India, but it has a moral imperative to do more. It can immediately save lives by dramatically increasing USAID’s shipments of oxygen, ventilators, therapeutics, personal protective equipment, and other medical supplies to India. But Americans can also offer a more consequential kind of support: the United States should prevail upon its private sector to share with India and other developing countries the technology and knowledge needed to beat the pandemic.
Last week, the Biden administration signaled that it would support waiving intellectual property protections for COVID-19 vaccines at the World Trade Organization. Countries such as India and South Africa had lodged a petition calling for such waivers so that manufacturers in developing countries could produce the much-needed vaccines. The United States has taken a historic step forward by backing this move. But it cannot wait for the WTO to negotiate an intellectual property waiver, which could take months. The United States must try to help ramp up India’s vaccine manufacturing capacity now.   
The keys to scaling vaccine production are first, dropping intellectual property protections to allow manufacturers around the world to secure licenses and produce vaccines to meet the world’s demand; second, sharing Western pharmaceutical companies’ know-how to help these manufacturers scale up production; and finally, increasing the supply of the raw materials necessary to sustain vaccine production. The United States needs to encourage urgent efforts on all three tracks to prevent manufacturing bottlenecks and get vaccines into as many arms as possible as quickly as possible.   
Messenger RNA vaccine technology, which India  does not yet have, is critical to defeating COVID-19. The only vaccine makers in the world that are meeting or even exceeding their production targets are the ones that use the highly effective mRNA platform. Because Pfizer-BioNTech’s and Moderna’s mRNA vaccines are made using synthetic processes instead of living cells, they can be rapidly produced in smaller facilities that do not cost as much to set up as those producing viral-vector vaccines. They can also be quickly adapted to tackle new variants of the virus.
Health / Nigeria: Govt Approves New Retirement Age For Health Workers by Kennying: 2:52am On May 17, 2021
The federal government has reached agreement with stakeholders in the health sector to grant new retirement age for workers in the sector.
Under the new condition of service, the retirement age of health workers has increased from 60 years to 65 years.
Also the retirement age for medical consultants is 70 years.
Government also requested for three weeks to consider proposals made by health workers under the auspices of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) and Joint Health Sector Unions (JOHESU) regarding enhanced hazard allowance.
Speaking to journalists after a meeting between the Presidential Committee on Salaries (PSC), relevant federal government stakeholders, health sector professional associations and trade unions on the issue of hazard allowance and retirement age for health sector workers in government health establishments at the Presidential Villa in Abuja yesterday, Minister of Labour and Enployment , Dr. Chris Ngige said that federal government had acceded to the request by the unions in the health sector to extend the retirement age of the workers.
"We made a lot of progress at today's meeting, including approving new retirement age for health workers and taking their proposals on the new hazard allowance which the government side will go and study and come back with a decision on June 1".
THISDAY gathered that NMA has proposed that health workers from level 1 to 6 be paid N60,000 monthly hazard allowance, while those from level 7 to 9 should earn 70 per cent of their consolidated basic salary as hazard allowance.
NMA also asked that its members on level 10 to 12 be paid 60 per cent of their consolidated basic salary and that others on COMES 5 - 7 be paid 60 per cent of their consolidated basic salary as well.
NMA also requested that doctors working at the COVID-19 isolation centres and those manning the Infectious disease centres should be paid additional 20 per cent of their consolidated basic salary.
On the hand, JOHESU proposed that health workers between grade levels 2 and 6 be paid N65,000 monthly as hazard allowance; those on levels 7-9 to earn 90 per cent of their consolidated basic salary levels 10 - 12 also to receive 80 per cent of their consolidated basic salary, while levels 13 -16 should earn 70 per cent of their consolidated basic salary.
Ngige said that federal government was determined to improve the conditions of service of Nigerian health workers in order to retain their services within the country.
According to Ngige, part of the measures to retain the health workers was to give them better conditions of service, including the increase in hazard allowance and their retirement age.
Ngige said, "We have taken their proposal. The government side will firm up its own proposal and we are reconvening June 1 so that we can have an agreed hazard allowance for health workers in Nigeria.
Health / Nigerians Urged To Unite Against Destabilising Forces by Kennying: 8:14am On May 14, 2021
An oil and gas expert, Mr. Abdulqadir Ojo, has urged Nigerians to unite against destabilising forces.
He said it would benefit the black race if the country remained as one.
Ojo, an engineer, who is also the chief executive of Moahz Oil and Gas, congratulated Muslims in Nigeria and other parts of the world, for being alive to witness the end of Ramadan fast and celebration of Eid-el-Fitri.
He advised Nigerians to be united.
Ojo hailed Asiwaju Rotimi Ajanaku, the Asiwaju Odo O’odua Worldwide, who is also a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Oyo State, for showing love to Muslims during the Ramadan fast.
Speaking with reporters yesterday in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, Ojo described this year’s Ramadan fast as exceptional and very important, considering what Nigerians are going through in the hands of enemies, who are exploiting every means to destabilise the country.
He advised Muslims to celebrate Eid el Fitri moderately and continue seeking Allah’s intervention in the problems militating against security, economy, peace, development and progress of Nigeria.
Health / Firm Launches Herbacough Syrup In Nigeria by Kennying: 2:36am On May 12, 2021
Dexa Medica, a multinational pharmaceutical company in Nigeria has launched a herbal cough syrup, Herbacough.
At the launch of the product in Lagos, the company’s Country Manager, Nigeria and West Africa, Dhanang Anggoro, revealed that the herbal syrup was an improvement from every other types of syrups which were banned in the country, due to their addictive tendencies, and abuse.
According to him, with the rainy season fast approaching, Nigerians need to have the syrup in their homes to tackle cough which is the common illness suffered by many people during the period.
“Cold air is believed to absorb extra moisture, making virus and bacterial particles more able to survive in the air.
“Generally, the common illness suffered by many people in the rainy season is cough. If your health and immune system are not properly maintained, coughing can attack you for weeks and interfere with your productivity.
“In fact, apart from interfering with daily activities, if not addressed immediately, coughing can quickly be transmitted to anyone.
“Currently there are many herbal and chemical cough medicines that have been provided in the market. However, the many types of cough medicine actually make it difficult for people to find what cough medicine to consume.”
Anggoro noted that chemical cough medicines (non-herbal), generally have various side effects, such as causing drowsiness and heart palpitations, hence the herbal syrup is a better option for Nigerians as it has no side effects, nor addictive tendencies.
“Another problem that causes consumers to worry about choosing cough medicine is that they often have difficulty recognising the type of cough they have.
“Therefore, Dexa Medica, which is a leading multinational pharmaceutical company, is continuously committed to conducting research with natural ingredients to produce effective and safe drugs to use, launched its newest product, Herbacough.
“Herbacough is the right solution for whatever type of cough you have. Herbacough has four advantages, namely relieves all types of coughs, relieves sore throat, eases breathing, and warms the respiratory tract.
Health / Nigeria, Guinea Bissau To Improve On Existing Cordial Relations by Kennying: 2:33am On May 10, 2021
Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has said that Nigeria will raise the existing cordial relations with the Republic of Guinea Bissau to meet the strategic and economic priorities of the two countries.Speaking when he hosted President Umaro Sissons Embalo to a Ramadan Iftar dinner (breaking of fast) at the State House, Abuja on Thursday, President Buhari described the relationship between Nigeria and Guinea Bissau and their leaders as “robust and stable” and commended Embalo as a brother and a true friend of Nigeria, endowed with a good vision for his own country and its people.
A statement by the presidential spokesman, Mr. Garba Shehu, quoted President Embalo, who is in Nigeria for a two-day official visit to Nigeria, as saying that the trajectory of the bilateral relations indicated a bright future for the two countries and the entire West African sub-region.
He thanked President Buhari for the role he played in the stabilisation of his country, and that s that Guinea Bissau had been on the agenda of ECOWAS in the last 20 years.
President Embalo expressed delight that his country was no longer a problem for its neighbours and stated that the best period to visit and say “thank you” and express his country’s appreciation to President Buhari was the period of the Ramadan.
Health / Deadly Nigerian COVID Strain Spreading Fastest In Kent With 'clusters Of Linked by Kennying: 2:43am On May 08, 2021
Government data shows a new and potentially more deadly strain of coronavirus is spreading in Kent faster than anywhere else.
A new variant known as B1525 and believed to have originated in Nigeria was detected in our area for the first time several weeks ago.
Public Health England has found it has killed 3.6 per cent of people infected with it in this country so far.
That compares to 2.3 per cent killed by the now dominant new strain widely known as the Kent variant, which itself is thought to be more deadly than the original strain.
The Nigerian strain also carries the feared mutation known as E484K, thought to help it evade antibodies and potentially making vaccines less effective.
The 388 cases recorded are enough to make it the third most numerous variant in the UK, behind only the dominant Kent strain and the South African strain (737 cases).
New modelling from Public Health England also suggests it is spreading fastest in Kent.
Out of 65 new cases recorded between April 1 and April 22, almost a third (19) came from people living in the South East region.
And in its latest technical briefing on variants, Public Health England produced a map showing geographical spread of B1525 "excluding cases that have travelled" - in other words places where community transmission is taking place.
The darkest shades of red on the map show in Kent, indicating greater spread.
The darkest shades of all are in the east of the county.
Public Health England has confirmed to KentLive it is continuing to investigate "clusters of linked cases".
But PHE seemed to rule out door-to-door surge testing previously used in Maidstone when the South African strain was found.
That's apparently because it was designated as a 'Variant of Concern', while the Nigerian one is currently only a Variant Under investigation.
Dr Susan Hopkins, its COVID-19 strategic response director, said: “We are continuing to investigate clusters of linked cases across England.
"PHE health protection teams are implementing tailored public health actions to detect cases of the variant and mitigate the impact in local communities.
"Enhanced contact tracing and testing is the most effective way of limiting spread.
“This precautionary approach ensures that our public health response remains agile and targeted.
She added: "There is currently no evidence that the variant causes more severe disease or renders the vaccines currently deployed any less effective but more work is underway to understand that better.
"It is more important than ever that people come forward for PCR testing when they have symptoms, no matter how mild in order to find cases and break chains of transmission and also have asymptomatic testing when requested by their local health protection and public health teams.
“Everyone can play their part by continuing to follow the health advice in your area, including only socialising outdoors, taking a test when requested or with mild symptoms and remember hands, face, space and fresh air.”

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Health / Some Young Americans Are Hesitant About Getting A Covid-19 Shot. Here's Why That by Kennying: 2:14am On May 07, 2021
Experts have made it clear: to overcome the Covid-19 pandemic, America needs to get vaccinated.
And that includes younger Americans, some of whom still are hesitant or may think they don't have as much to fear from the virus.
Everyone 16 and older is currently eligible for a Covid-19 vaccine. But a recent Quinnipiac University poll found 36% of adults under the age of 35 don't plan on getting one.
Here's why it matters that young groups sign up for the shots: When Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky warned of a rise in Covid-19 cases and hospitalizations earlier this month, that increase was predominantly among younger adults, most of whom were not vaccinated.
Despite the push for more vaccinations, state and local leaders are seeing a decrease in demand. As a result, they're asking vaccine manufacturers to scale down the size of vials and how much is distributed.
"Many of our health departments, especially those in rural America, are providing feedback that they either need smaller dosage vials or we may have to contend with waste," said Lori Tremmel Freeman, CEO of the National Association of County and City Health Officials.
Pfizer said Thursday it will begin offering smaller shipment sizes of its Covid-19 vaccine at the end of May to give vaccine sites more flexibility.
The current shipment size is a 195-vial pack that contains 1,170 doses. The smaller shipment sizes will come in three 25-vial packs which contain a total of 450 doses. Vaccination sites will have the option to order either size.
Some experts estimate that to suppress the spread of the virus, somewhere between 70% to 85% of the US population needs to be immune. So far, roughly 43% of the country has received at least one Covid-19 vaccine dose and about 29.5% is fully vaccinated, according to CDC data.
About 35% of the US population has been infected with the virus that causes Covid-19, the CDC said Thursday. The agency estimates the virus has led to 114.6 million infections, 97.1 million symptomatic illnesses and 5.6 million hospitalizations from February 2020 to March 2021.
The more people are vaccinated, the fewer opportunities the virus has to not only transmit but to further mutate. And we already know what those mutations could mean. One coronavirus variant, for example, which became the dominant strain in the US, helped fuel recent Covid-19 spikes in several states, including Michigan. That strain, the B.1.1.7 variant, is more contagious and hit younger people particularly hard.
And there's another major reason young people shouldn't turn away from the shot: long-term consequences of Covid-19.
"One critical way to prevent long Covid is to prevent Covid itself," National Institutes of Health Director Dr. Francis Collins said at a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee hearing on Wednesday.
"Even for young people who consider their risk of severe Covid to be low, the long-term consequences can be quite serious," he added. "So long Covid represents one more reason to encourage everyone age 16 and over to get vaccinated as quickly as possible."
And those long-lasting symptoms can develop even in people who have mild cases of Covid-19. Americans have reported dozens of persistent symptoms that last months after their infection, including fatigue, headaches, memory loss, gastrointestinal problems, muscle aches, heart palpitations and loss of smell or taste.
Health / Farmer-herder Crisis In Nigeria’s Middle Belt Could ‘blow Up Into A Civil War’ by Kennying: 8:57am On Apr 30, 2021
Nigeria’s Middle Belt has been struck this year by a spike in farmer-herder violence, which in 2018 was six times deadlier than the Boko Haram insurgency, killing more than 2,000 people according to the International Crisis Group.
Climate-induced desertification in recent years has escalated tensions, forcing the northern herders further south into the farmers' territory, creating one of the world’s deadliest conflicts, as both sides compete for scarce resources. As killings persist, the violence has increasingly been framed as a religious problem, since the majority of herders are Muslim and most of the farmers are Christian.
Health / US Government Relaxes Guidelines For Wearing COVID Masks Outdoors by Kennying: 2:18am On Apr 30, 2021
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released updated guidelines Tuesday recommending that fully vaccinated people in the U.S. can now stop wearing masks outdoors unless they are in a large crowd of strangers.
The updated guidelines also say people who have not been vaccinated can go maskless when outside alone or with household members, or in small outdoor gatherings with fully vaccinated people.
The CDC recommended for most of the past year that people in the U.S. wear masks outdoors if they are within two meters of each other.
The updated guidance is part of the Biden Administration’s initiative to carefully return the country to some state of normalcy. COVID-19 has killed nearly 573,000 people, by far the most in the world.
The guidelines were relaxed after more than half of adults in the U.S. have received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine, and more than a third have been fully vaccinated.
Health / COVID-19: Nigeria Can’t Afford Another Large Outbreak- NCDC DG by Kennying: 3:50am On Apr 29, 2021
Dr Chike Ihekweazu, the Director-General, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), says pre- and post-travel tests and self-isolation are now extremely important to avert any sudden rise in COVID-19 cases.
Ihekweazu said that Nigeria could not afford another large outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic in view of the happenings in other parts of the world.
He made the assertions on Monday at the Presidential Steering Committee (PSC) briefing on COVID-19 pandemic in Abuja.
Ihekweazu said: “We cannot afford another large outbreak in Nigeria, and we must do all we can to prevent this.
“Please, let’s take responsibility. Adhere to all public health and social measures in place to protect us from COVID-19 and other infectious disease outbreak.”
According to him, COVID-19 pandemic is not over.
“I am appealing to all Nigerians to adhere strictly to the measures put in place to protect us and our country.
“We have to do this to avoid sudden drastic measures that can also impact on our economy.
“We now have several tools in place that were not here at the beginning of the pandemic.
“The Antigen-based Rapid Diagnostic Tests can be useful in large workplaces, schools, camps and hospitals to rapidly test and reduce the risk of spread,” he said.
Ihekweazu urged the state governments to reinvigorate their responses, while heads of various institutions should introduce the measure as part of their health safety plans.
“Please scale up risk communications, keep sample collection sites open and available, ensure the laboratories are testing and contact tracing is happening.
“I also appeal to the media to continue support us in sharing the right message. We need more people to be vaccinated to reduce the risk of large outbreak.
“Please use your platforms to share the right message about COVID-19 vaccines and other preventive measures,” he pleaded.
The NCDC director-general said there were difficult decisions that needed to be made, but advised Nigerians, as individual, to help avert any tough situation.
He said pandemic fatigue was not unexpected, urging Nigerians not to forget where they were coming from and where some countries were at present. (NAN)

We must do everything possible to avoid a resurgence of the epidemic.
Health / Nigerian Governor's Residence Attacked, 3 Killed by Kennying: 3:28am On Apr 27, 2021
LAGOS - Armed men on Saturday killed three police officials and tried to set fire to the governor's residence in Nigeria's southeastern Imo state, a region where separatist tension is on the rise.
Police and Imo state spokesman Orlando Ikeokwu said Molotov cocktails had been thrown at governor Hope Uzodimma's residence.
The assailants were prevented from setting fire to any of the buildings, he said.
However, one police officer was killed in the attack and as they fled the assailants two others, he added.
Southeast Nigeria has seen a surge in attacks targeting security forces that officials blame on the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), a separatist group seeking independence for the indigenous Igbo people.
Separatist calls for a state of Biafra in the south are a sensitive subject in Nigeria, after a unilateral declaration of independence in 1967 sparked a brutal 30-month civil war.

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