countries

Cuba blames unrest on U.S. interference as Joe Biden backs protests

Cuba blamed historic protests that took place over the weekend on U.S. “economic asphyxiation” and social media campaigns by a minority of U.S.-financed counter-revolutionaries, while U.S. President Joe Biden said he stood with the Cuban people. The streets of Havana were quiet on Monday, although there was a heavy police presence. Outages in mobile internet – the only way many Cubans have of accessing the web – were frequent. Chanting “freedom” and calling for President Miguel Diaz-Canel to step down, thousands of Cubans joined street protests here from Havana to Santiago on Sunday in the biggest anti-government demonstrations on the Communist-run island in decades. At least 80 protesters, activists, and independent journalists had been detained nationwide since Sunday, according to exile...

Roberto Martinez to stay on as Belgium coach

Roberto Martinez will stay on as Belgium coach despite the country’s European Championship exit and attempt another tilt at a major title at next year’s World Cup, he said in an interview with Belgian newspapers on Friday. Martinez, whose contract runs until after next year’s tournament in Qatar, had not given any clarity on his plans since Belgium were beaten 2-1 by Italy in Munich in the Euro 2020 quarter-finals a week ago in a major disappointment for the team, who have spent the last three years top of the Fifa rankings. “I’m staying as coach. When I feel I no longer have anything to contribute is when I will leave,” he said. “But I don’t have that feeling now. I was a bitterly disappointed to be knocked out but now I’m looking ahead to the World Cup in Qatar. And also the Nations Leag...

UNICEF to supply AU states 220 million coronavirus vaccines

The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has signed an agreement with Janssen Pharmaceutica NV to supply up to 220 million doses of the J&J single-dose vaccine to all 55 member-states of the African Union (AU) by the end of 2022. Some 35 million doses are to be delivered by the end of this year, UNICEF stated in a statement issued on Thursday in New York. The agreement, between UNICEF and Janssen Pharmaceutica NV, will help implement the Advance Purchase Commitment (APC) signed between the African Vaccine Acquisition Trust (AVAT) and Janssen last March. That agreement secured an option to order another 180 million doses, bringing the maximum access up to a total of 400 million doses by the end of 2022. The AU established AVAT in November 2020 to deliver COVID-19 vaccines to the African continen...

Haiti police say they have president’s suspected killers, still hunting masterminds

Haiti’s police has killed or apprehended the suspected killers of President Jovenel Moise, officials said on Thursday, and are hunting for the masterminds behind the assassination that stunned the impoverished Caribbean nation. Moise, 53, was shot dead early on Wednesday at his home by what officials said was a commando of apparently foreign, trained killers, pitching the poorest country in the Americas deeper into turmoil amidst political divisions, hunger, and widespread gang violence. Police Chief Leon Charles said in a televised briefing on Thursday that authorities had tracked down the suspected assassins to a house near the scene of the crime in Petionville, a northern suburb of the capital Port-au-Prince. A fierce firefight lasted late into the night and six suspects were taken in c...

NCDC: Confirmed case of Delta variant of coronavirus detected in Nigeria

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), on Thursday, said it had detected a confirmed case with the SARS-CoV-2 Delta variant, also known as lineage B.1.617.2. The variant was detected in a traveller to Nigeria following the routine travel test required of all international travelers and genomic sequencing at the NCDC National Reference Laboratory, Abuja. The Delta variant is recognised by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as a variant of concern, given its increased transmissibility. Facts indicated that the variant has been detected in over 90 countries and is expected to spread to more countries. The variant has also been linked to a surge in cases in countries where it is the dominant strain in circulation. According to NCDC, “there are ongoing studies to understand the impact ...

Coronavirus: England to lift mask, distancing rules July 19

Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Monday revealed plans to lift most of England’s legal coronavirus restrictions, including face masks and social distancing from July 19, urging personal responsibility rather than government edict. Johnson had initially aimed for a full reopening on June 21, but was forced to push back the date because of a surge in the highly contagious Delta variant. That variant now accounts for nearly all new Covid-19 cases in Britain, and infection rates have soared, sparking concern. But mass vaccinations have stopped a resultant surge in hospital admissions or deaths. “This pandemic is far from over, it certainly won’t be over by the 19th,” warned Johnson. “We must reconcile ourselves, sadly, to more deaths from Covid. “There’s only one reason why we can contemplate g...

UNN vice chancellor: Coronavirus pandemic most global challenge since World War II

Prof. Charles Igwe, the Vice-Chancellor of University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN) has said that COVID-19 pandemic is arguably the most global challenge since world war II. Igwe said this in Nsukka on Monday during UNN 1st Annual International Conference titled: “A Whole New World; Research, Development and Innovation in the Pandemic Era.” He said that COVID-19 which has killed many people across the globe as well as infected many others has affected the economy, lives, people’s ways of living in virtually every country of the world. “COVID-19 pandemic is the most serious global challenge since the world war II the world has witnessed. “As this has affected the economy, people’s ways of life and behaviour of entire people of the world,” he said. He commended federal government on handling the ...

Coronavirus: Saudi Arabia suspends UAE flights

Saudi Arabia has suspended flights to three countries, including the neighbouring United Arab Emirates, to protect against a coronavirus variant, the interior ministry said Saturday. The move comes seven weeks after the oil-rich kingdom permitted fully immunised citizens to travel abroad, after a ban on foreign trips that lasted more than a year. The UAE, and especially Dubai, is a key leisure destination for Saudis. Flights to and from the UAE, alongside those to Ethiopia and Vietnam, will be suspended from Sunday, an interior ministry official said, quoted by the state news agency SPA. Saudi citizens and residents returning from these countries will be required to quarantine for 14 days, it added. Citizens would be banned “from travelling directly or indirectly, without obtaining prior p...

Ekiti governor urges Nigerians to rise up, defend democracy

The Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum, and Governor of Ekiti State, Kayode Fayemi, has called on Nigerians to rise to the defence of democracy in Nigeria with a view to advancing the development of the country. Mr Fayemi made the call Tuesday in Abuja when he visited the Canadian Ambassador to Nigeria, Nicolas Simard, at his residence. The visit by the NGF Chairman was part of the Chairman’s shuttle diplomacy to representatives of the diplomatic corps in Nigeria, which is one of the initiatives of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum’s secretariat towards engendering inter-governmental synergy between global governments at the subnational level. Mr Fayemi’s visits on Monday took him to the residence of the Canadian ambassador to Nigeria, and the embassy of the People’s Republic of China and...

Nigeria adds South Africa to its coronavirus ‘red list’ for arriving travellers

Nigeria is adding South Africa to its “red list” of countries for which there are stringent restrictions for arriving passengers, officials said during a briefing on Monday. Nigeria is introducing the restrictions due to the spread of the Delta variant in South Africa, Chikwe Ihekweazu, the head of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, said. The country joins India, Brazil and Turkey on the list. “In Nigeria, we haven’t found the Delta variant yet,” Ihekweazu said during the briefing. Non-Nigerian passport holders and non-residents who visited the countries on the list within 14 days are barred entry from Nigeria, while passport holders and residents must undergo a seven-day quarantine in a government-approved facility at cost to the passenger. They are also required to take Covid-19 tes...

Nigerian government says no immediate plan to ban cylinder imports

The Federal Government says it had no immediate plan to ban the importation of gas cylinders as part of its LPG expansion and implementation plan. Mr Dayo Adesina, Senior Special Assistant on Domestic Gas in the office of the Vice-President, made the disclosure in an interview with newsmen on Sunday in Abuja. He said that the government was working on first building local capacities before contemplating a ban. According to Adesina, who is also the Programme Manager of the National LPG Expansion and Implementation, Nigeria still has a lot of cylinder deficits to fill in meeting the LPG expansion plan. He explained that the plan was to get LPG to the remotest of villages and discourage use of firewood and other fuels that are inimical to the environment. Adesina said that of the nation’s ove...