FRESH FM TOP NEWS THIS WEEK

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The hottest and most trending news articles for this week in all categories captured in one shot. Find articles ranging from News to Sports, to Politics, to Entertainment, to Economy, to Metro plus, and many other categories. See below the top news for the week:

NEWS

* Katsina mass abduction: Outrage over Buhari’s failure to visit school, 333 still missing, says gov

Prominent groups and Nigerians from different walks of life, on Sunday, took a swipe at President Muhammadu Buhari over Friday’s abduction of students of the Government Science Secondary School, Kankara, Katsina State. Most of those who reacted said Buhari had failed and said they were shocked that the President had not visited the school despite the fact that he is in Katsina State on a weeklong vacation. The Middle Belt Forum, on Sunday, asked the President to resign from his position having failed to tackle the security challenges facing the country. Also, Some residents of Kankara staged a peaceful protest in Kankara, Katsina State, on Sunday, to demand the prompt rescue of secondary school students abducted by bandits on Friday.

Meanwhile, the United Nations Children Fund has condemned the abduction of the students and called for their immediate and unconditional release. The UNICEF Regional Director for West and Central Africa, Marie Poirier, in a statement on Sunday, described the attack on the school as a violation of the children’s rights.

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* Video of Buhari visiting cows sparks criticisms

A video showing the President, President Muhammadu Buhari, visiting his cows in Daura Katsina State, barely hours after hundreds of boys were abducted by bandits has elicited criticisms from several social media users. In a video posted on social media on Monday by Sahara Reporters with the time stamp December 12, 2020, however, Buhari is seen with his aides touring his ranch. The video comes barely a day after Buhari, who is also in Katsina State, failed to visit the school, but sent a delegation from Abuja to visit the school and sympathize with the families of the victims.

Sahara Reporters Publisher, Omoyele Sowore, said it was obvious that Buhari was not competent and it was time for him to go. “600 Students got kidnapped in Katsina and he ignored them; instead the lifeless President went to visit his cows! The moment we get it that the Buhari regime can’t be redeemed, we will come to the inevitable conclusion that #Buharimustgo,” Sowore tweeted. Another Twiter user, @TFatombi, tweeted, “Cows with benefits. 600 lives meant nothing to him.” “Where a man’s treasure is that’s where his heart is,” tweeted @AdemolaAgunbia3.

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* Boko Haram claims kidnapping of hundreds of Katsina students

Jihadist group Boko Haram on Tuesday claimed responsibility for the abduction of hundreds of school students in northwest Nigeria. “I am Abubakar Shekau and our brothers are behind the kidnapping in Katsina,” said the leader of the group that was also behind the 2014 abduction of hundreds of schoolgirls in Chibok, in a voice message. Tuesday’s claim of responsibility marks a major turning point in the advance of jihadist groups in northwest Nigeria.

At least 333 students are still missing since the attack late Friday on the all-boys Government Science Secondary School in northwestern Katsina state. The attack was initially blamed on armed groups locally known as “bandits”, who are active in the unstable region where kidnappings for ransom are common. The army said Monday it had located the hideout of the men, and that a military operation was under way.

More than 100 gunmen on motorcycles stormed the rural school north of Kankara town, forcing students to flee and hide in the surrounding bush. A number of boys were able to escape, but many were captured, split into groups, and taken away, residents told News men. The kidnappings occurred in the home state of President Muhammadu Buhari, who condemned the attack and ordered security stepped up in schools, with those in Katsina state closed.

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* Hundreds Of Schoolboys Abducted In Katsina Released

Hundreds of students abducted from a school in Kankara Local Government Area (LGA) of Katsina State have been released, authorities in the state have said. The Katsina State Governor, Aminu Masari, confirmed the release of the students on Thursday, a week after they were kidnapped by gunmen. According to him, the boys are presently kept safe in Tsafe, a local government area in Zamfara State.

Governor Masari noted that the boys would be brought back to Kankara in Katsina State on Friday. Mr Suleiman Tsiga, who is the Information Officer of Ƙanƙara LGA, also confirmed the release of the students to newsmen. He disclosed that the state governor, Aminu Masari, had directed that the children be moved to Ƙankara LGA secretariat before he changed his decision for security reasons.

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* 26 generals test positive for COVID-19, SGF in isolation

About 26 Generals have reportedly tested positive for COVID-19, about one week after the death of the General Officer Commanding, 6 Division, Port-Harcourt, Rivers State, Maj. Gen. John Irefin, who died of complications from the disease. The infected military officers were believed to have had contact with the deceased during the Chief of Army Staff’s annual conference 2020, in Abuja, last week. The conference was cancelled following Irefin’s passage and the participants, including the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai; the Minister of Defence, Bashir Magashi; and GOCs from nearly all the army divisions nationwide, were directed to go on self-isolation.

Meanwhile, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, has gone into self-isolation after some members of his household tested positive for COVID-19. Mustapha, who is also the chairman of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, made this known in a statement Sunday.

* IPOB launches security outfit against criminal herdsmen

The Indigenous People of Biafra has launched a security outfit  against criminal herdsmen. The Media and Public Secretary of the group, Emma Powerful, announced this in a statement on Sunday. He said  the security outfit would guard and protect “the whole Biafra land from  the rampaging Fulani herdsmen terrorists  and other criminal groups in our land.”

The statement read in part, “The sole aim and objective of this newly formed security outfit known as  Eastern Security Network is to halt every criminal activity and terrorists attack on Biafraland. “We therefore, advise every robber, kidnaper and other criminals to steer clear from Biafra land or brace up for the worst. We must defend Biafra no matter the price. “Any attempt to sabotage this Security Network will be stoutly resisted. IPOB is a peaceful movement but ready to defend our land and people no matter the cost.”

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* Insecurity: Professor Recommends Mass Recruitment Of Local Hunters

The Rector of Kaduna Polytechnic, Professor Idris Bugaje has called for the massive recruitment of local hunters from every Local Government Area of the 19 Northern states in order curb the menace of Boko Haram terrorists in the northeast and bandits attacks in the northwest and other parts of the region. Part of his recommendations is that the hunters must be given a short training on communications and intelligence gathering during operations and thereafter be provided with weapons and other logistics that will enhance their operations. The security network according to the academician should have a Commander in each local government, who will be given the mandate to clear the bandits in their Local Government Areas.

Professor Bugaje also suggests that members of the Civilian Joint Task Force should be absorbed into the Army or Police at the end of the exercise, or better a new Security Outfit should be created for each state to assist in fighting crime in a sustainable way. He also described as very embarrassing bandits attack on a boarding secondary school in Kankara, Katsina State, where over 300 school pupils went missing in a week when the President was on a private visit to his State.

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* Sack service chiefs, Northern elders tell Buhari after schoolboys kidnap

Northern elders have expressed concerns on the worsening security situation in the region, saying Friday’s attack on Government Science Secondary School, Kankara, in Katsina State, had further confirmed their position that the region was only now at the mercy of terrorists, bandits, and other criminal elements.

The elders, under the aegis of Coalition of Northern Elders for Peace and Development, pointed out that the continuous stay in office of the service chiefs whom they noted, have been exhausted with nothing more to offer in security service, was emboldening the adversaries in their increasing dastardly actions against the country. They reiterated their earlier call on President Muhammadu Buhari to seek foreign help, saying any further delay by the president may lead to the extinction of the region following increasing mass killings of its people by the terrorists.

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* Block SIMs Without NIN After Two Weeks, FG Tells Telcos

The Federal Government has issued an ultimatum to all telecommunications operators in the country to block all Subscriber Identification Modules (SIMs) without National Identification Number (NIN). It also ordered the network operators to ask all their subscribers to provide valid NIN to update their records and suspend SIM registration. It warned that violations of the directives by any network operator would be met by stiff sanctions, including the possibility of withdrawal of operating licences.

The spokesman for the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Ikechukwu Adinde, noted in a statement on Tuesday that the meeting was convened on Monday by the Minister, Dr Isa Pantami. According to him, the meeting resolved that the submission of NIN by subscribers would take place between December 16 and 30, 2020. The government stated that after the deadline, all SIMs without NINs should be blocked from the networks while a Ministerial Task Force comprising the minister and all the CEOs, among others, as members would monitor compliance by all networks.

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* Reps Ask NCC To Extend Deadline On Blocking SIM Cards Without NIN

The House of Representatives has asked the National Communications Commission (NCC) to extend the 31st December deadline issued to sim card owners to submit their National Identification Numbers (NIN) to their network providers to prevent blocking. The motion was moved on Wednesday during plenary by the House Minority Leader, Ndudi Elumelu. According to the lawmaker, two weeks is too short for 200million Nigerians to conclude the process.

The House lauds the intention of the NCC, for security reasons but wants the process to be extended to 10 weeks, considering the difficulty experienced by Nigerians in attaining the NIN. The Federal Government on Tuesday issued an ultimatum to all telecommunications operators in the country to block all Subscriber Identification Modules (SIMs) without National Identification Number (NIN). It also ordered the network operators to ask all their subscribers to provide valid NIN to update their records and suspend SIM registration.

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* FG Orders Network Providers To Cancel NIN ₦20 Retrieval Charges

The Federal Government has ordered all network providers to cancel the N20 charge for the retrieval of the National Identification Number (NIN) with immediate effect. Nigeria’s Minister of Communications and Digital Economy,  Isa Pantami gave the order in a statement issued on Friday. “The Minister’s directive which takes immediate effect is an intervention aimed at making the process easier and affordable,” the minister said.

“In a letter conveying the implementation of the directive, the Executive Vice Chairman NCC and the Director-General of NIMC informed Dr Pantami that the relevant authorities had met with, and negotiated a waiver with the Mobile Network Operators in that regard. “By this waiver, all Nigerians, subscribers and applicants can access the service using the *346# code for their NIN retrieval at no charge for the duration of the NIN/SIM Card integration exercise.”

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POLITICS

* Reps Reject Bill Seeking Age Limit For Aspirants Of Political Offices

The House of Representatives has rejected a bill seeking an age limit for aspirants of certain political offices in the country. During plenary in Abuja on Wednesday, the lawmaker representing Aboh Mbaise/Ngor Okpala federal constituency in the House, Bede Eke pleaded with his colleagues to allow the bill scale through second reading.

He reminded them that the bill is an extension of the Not-Too-Young-To-Run bill and the #EndSARS protests. The lawmaker was however repeatedly interrupted by his colleagues who were openly opposed to the bill.

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* Bello inaugurates 21 women as Kogi Local govt vice chairpersons

Kogi State women have commended the State Governor, Yahaya Bello for inaugurating 21 women as vice chairmen of local governments in the state. hey said the state has kept to 35% affirmative action on women inclusiveness in politics. They said it was encouraging that the governor has given women pivotal roles in his administration.

The women  spoke through the Secretary to the State Government(SSG), Dr. Mrs. Folashade Arike Ayoade during the swearing in of the 21 Local Government Chairmen alongside their 21 women vice chairpersons by governor Yahaya Bello in Lokoja. The SSG said women under the administration of Bello have been “politically liberated from long time relegation, oblivion  and were indebted to his administration for such opportunity.”

 

* Ex-Senators, ex-Reps press Tinubu to run for President

A group of former senators, House of Representatives members and other politicians across the Southwest geo-political zone has urged the National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, to contest as president in the 2023 election. They spoke on Tuesday at the unveiling of the group’s logo in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital.

The group is christened South West Agenda (SWAGA) and led by Senator Dayo Adeyeye. It comprises politicians including the immediate former Oyo State Deputy Governor Alake Adeyemo, Senator Adesoji Akanbi and former members of House of Representatives, including Bosun Oladele and Rotimi Makinde. Membership of the group spreads across the six states in the Southwest. The group said members came together to actualise the agenda for the Southwest to produce the next President in 2023. The group noted that Asiwaju Tinubu possesses all the qualities and experiences needed to lead Nigeria as the next President.

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* PDP Berates Buhari, Asks President To Tackle Insecurity

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has berated President Muhammadu Buhari over the state of insecurity in the country. Speaking to journalists on Wednesday during the inauguration of new road projects in Bauchi State, the PDP National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus, asked the President to tackle the nation’s security challenges.

While noting Nigeria is in distress, Secondus insisted that President Buhari has failed to tackle the security challenges. Secondus explained that President Buhari has left the country worse than he met it, adding that if he were in his shoes, he would declare a state of emergency on security in the country and change the entire security architecture. His remarks come a week after over 100 gunmen stormed the Government Science Secondary School in Ƙanƙara Local Government Area of the state and abducted over 333 students of the school.

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ECONOMY

* Buhari Orders Immediate Opening Of Four Land Borders

President Muhammadu Buhari has ordered the immediate opening of four land borders. The borders are Seme in the southwest, Illela in Sokoto State, Maigatari in the northwest, and Mfun in the south-south. The announcement was made by the Minister of Finance at the end of the 28th virtual FEC meeting on Wednesday. The President also directed other land borders to be opened by December 31, 2020.

Buhari had on December 8, 2020, revealed plans to reopen its land borders. He explained that the closure of the nation’s land borders was part of the efforts by the government to control the smuggling of weapons and drugs into the country. The President asked the thirty-six state governors to work more with traditional rulers and community members to improve local intelligence gathering that would aid the work of security agencies.

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* World Bank Finally Approves $1.5billion Loan To Strengthen Nigeria’s Economy

The World Bank has finally approved Nigeria’s request for a $1.5 billion loan. This was announced in a statement by World Bank on Tuesday noting that the facility is a five-year Country Partnership Framework (CPF) that will last from 2021 to 2024. World Bank Board of Directors approved the $1.5 billion for two projects, which include: Nigeria Covid-19 Action Recovery and Economic Stimulus – Program for Results (Nigeria CARES) and the State Fiscal Transparency, Accountability and Sustainability Program for Results (SFTAS).

The CPF will focus on four areas of engagement which include investing in human capital by increasing access to basic education, quality water, and sanitation services; improving primary healthcare; and increasing the coverage and effectiveness of social assistance programs. Promoting jobs and economic transformation and diversification by supporting measures to unlock private investment and job creation and increasing access to reliable and sustainable power for households and firms. The CPF will also focus on boosting digital infrastructure, and developing economic corridors and smart cities, to provide Nigerians with improved livelihoods.

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* Food Prices Increase As Nigeria’s Inflation Hits 14.89%

Nigeria’s headline inflation has increased for the 15th consecutive month to 14.89% in November 2020, from 14.23% in October. The report which was released on Tuesday by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) also shows a spike in food inflation which jumped to 18.30% in November from 17.38% the previous month, while core inflation declined to 11.05%.

The statistics office attributes the rise in the food index to increases in prices of major food commodities including potatoes, yam, and other tubers, as well as fruits and vegetables. Urban inflation was up to 15.47% while rural inflation was seen at 14.33% also in the month of November. “The highest increases were recorded in prices of passenger transport by air, medical services, hospital services, repair of furniture, passenger transport by road, maintenance and repair of personal transport equipment, vehicle spare parts, hairdressing salons, and personal grooming establishments, pharmaceutical products, paramedical services, and motor cars,” NBS noted in the report.

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* Senate Passes Finance Bill, 2020

The Finance Bill, 2020 has been passed by members of the Senate Chamber of the National Assembly in Abuja. This followed the consideration of the report of the Joint Committee on Finance, Customs, Excise and Tariff, Trade and Investment, as well as Public Procurement by the lawmakers during plenary on Tuesday. The bill proposes various amendments to existing tax laws and financial regulations in response to the negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the Nigerian economy.

One of the objectives of the bill is to provide financial relief for taxpayers by reducing the applicable minimum tax rate for two consecutive years of assessment, as well as reforming the commencement and cessation rules for small businesses. During Tuesday’s plenary, the Senate also adopted the recommendations of the Committee on Communications on the 2021 Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) budget proposal.

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* Benin Traders Anxious For Nigeria’s Borders To Reopen

The main border crossing between Benin and Nigeria was buzzing following the announcement it would reopen after more than 16 months, relieving thousands who suffered from the closure. Nigeria said Wednesday it was lifting the closure of its borders with neighbouring Benin and Niger imposed in August 2019 in a move it said would curb the smuggling of rice and other commodities and bolster domestic agriculture.

Early Thursday, traders, taxi-drivers, and goods carriers amassed on both sides of the Seme-Krake border, located along the Atlantic Ocean. “I am so emotional I want to cry,” said Jacqueline Watchinou, a reseller who had to pick up work as a house cleaner to support her family. “Last night we had a party to celebrate,” she said, hoping the reopening would put an end to her financial troubles. In the town’s small restaurants, people cheered joyfully, as women nearby draped in colorful clothes brought wooden chairs to sit on and wait.

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* Nigeria Suspends Issuance Of Free Trade Zones Licenses

The Nigerian government has suspended the issuance of licenses for the operation of the Free Trade Zones (FTZ) in the country. Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Adeniyi Adebayo, announced the decision on Monday at the inauguration of the panel set up for the evaluation of the performance of FTZs.

He stated that all applications for FTZ licenses would henceforth not be processed, pending the completion of the panel’s assignment. Adebayo noted that the key objective of the panel led by him was to provide a set of recommendations to improve the government’s strategy on FTZs based on a thorough evaluation of the current operations of FTZs. Adebayo was worried that FTZs have not performed to expectations in terms of impacting positively on the industrial development of the country as witnessed in developed countries.

 

EDUCATION

* Banditry: Zamfara Govt Orders Closure Of 10 Schools

The Zamfara State government has ordered the immediate closure of some Boarding and Day Schools in the state. Mr Ibrahim Abdullahi, who is the Commissioner for Education, made the announcement while briefing reporters in Gusau, the state capital. He explained that the affected schools were those that share borders with Katsina, Kaduna, and Sokoto States.

The commissioner noted that the three states were prone to banditry, saying that the decision was important to forestall any form of attack on the schools. He added that the action was necessary considering the security situation in the country and to prevent what happened at the Government Science Secondary School in Kankara, Katsina State. Abdullahi assured parents and guardians that the safety of the students was paramount to the state government.

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* Kano Govt Shuts Schools, Health Institute

Kano State Governor, Abdullahi Ganduje, has ordered the immediate closure of all public and private schools in the state. The Kano State Commissioner of Education, Sanusi Kiru, who disclosed this to newsmen on Tuesday evening, said the state government also closed down “all public and private health training institutions, including schools of basic/postbasic nursing and midwifery, schools of health technology and school of hygiene with immediate effect.”

The commissioner asked parents whose children are in boarding schools to pick them on Wednesday. Although the state government did not give the reason for the immediate closure, it is believed to be connected to the abduction of 333 students of Government Science Secondary School, Kankara in neighbouring Katsina State on Friday night.

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HEALTH

* FG Approves Five-Year Plan To Reduce Hunger

The federal government has approved a five-year nutrition action plan that will help to reduce hunger and malnutrition across the country, the Presidency said on Tuesday. The plan was approved by the National Council on Nutrition, which is chaired by the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo. Titled the “National Multi-Sectoral Plan of Action for Food and Nutrition (NMPFAN) 2021-2025”, the plan will guide the implementation of interventions and programmes to address the problems of hunger and malnutrition across all sectors in Nigeria.

“The approved plan will reduce the proportion of people who suffer malnutrition by 50%; increase exclusive breastfeeding rate to 65%,” the statement said. “It will also reduce stunting rate among under-five year olds to 18% by 2025 through the scaling up of priority high impact nutrition specific and nutrition sensitive interventions. “The plan recommends the adoption and implementation of strategies aimed at improving the nutritional status of Nigerians by tackling under nutrition and stunting, among others.”

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* Nigerians To Receive COVID-19 Vaccine By End Of January – FG

The Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, has said that Nigerians should expect to receive the COVID-19 vaccine by the end of January 2021. He stated this on Wednesday during the 28th Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting at the Council Chamber of the State House, Abuja presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo. According to the Minister, a technical working group in the Ministry of Health is working on which vaccine will best suit Nigeria.

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WORLD

* Bomb Kills Deputy Governor In Afghan Capital

A deputy governor of Kabul province and his aide were killed Tuesday by a bomb in the Afghan capital, officials said, the latest in a wave of targeted killings in the country. Mahbobullah Mohebi died when a bomb attached to his vehicle detonated while he was on his way to his office, the interior ministry said. Mohebi’s secretary, who was traveling with him, was also killed, and two bodyguards were wounded.

Hours later, in the central province of Ghor, a similar bomb killed Abdul Rahman Akshan, the -deputy chief of the provincial council. Akshan was killed and his two bodyguards were wounded when a “sticky bomb” attached to his vehicle detonated in the city of Feroz Koh, a local official said. Violence has raged across the country since the Taliban and the Afghan government launched peace talks in Qatar in September.

Afghanistan — and especially Kabul — have seen a spate of murders of prominent figures, including journalists, clerics, politicians, and rights activists. Last week a female news anchor was shot dead in the eastern city of Jalalabad, the second journalist to be murdered in less than a month. The capital has been hit by rockets twice this month and recently battled major attacks on educational centres, including a massacre of students at a university campus.

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* Electoral College Confirms Joe Biden’s Victory

Joe Biden was confirmed as the next US president on Monday as the Electoral College formalized his victory over Donald Trump, all but closing the door on the incumbent’s efforts to overturn the result of the 2020 election. As Biden appealed to Americans to “turn the page” on the divisive contest, electors met across all US states to seal his win, with California pushing Biden over the majority of 270 votes — and clearing the way for him to take office on January 20.

The 200-plus-year-old Electoral College procedure is merely a formality in confirming the will of the people expressed at the polls, but the process carried added significance given the turbulence of last month’s election and Trump’s refusal to acknowledge his own defeat. California’s electors burst into applause as the presiding officer read out the tally of 55 in favor of Biden and none opposed — confirming Barack Obama’s former vice president as the nation’s 46th president.

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* Eswatini Prime Minister Dies After Contracting COVID-19

The prime minister of Eswatini, Africa’s last absolute monarchy, died in a South African hospital on Sunday after contracting coronavirus, the government said in a statement. Ambrose Dlamini, 52, had been hospitalised in neighbouring South Africa in early December, two weeks after testing positive for Covid-19.

Dlamini had announced in mid-November that he had tested positive for coronavirus but said that he felt well and was asymptomatic. Dlamini, a businessman but political novice, was named prime minister in October 2018. The head of government’s role is limited in Eswatini where the current king, in power since 1986, names all ministers and controls parliament. Formerly known as Swaziland, the kingdom of Eswatini has reported over 6,700 coronavirus cases and 127 deaths among its population of 1.2 million people.

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* US Begins COVID-19 Vaccinations As Its Death Toll Passes 300,000

The United States kicked off a mass vaccination drive Monday hoping to turn the tide on the world’s biggest coronavirus outbreak, as the nation’s death toll passed a staggering 300,000. The start of the desperately awaited vaccine program coincided with several European countries announcing new lockdowns amid spiraling infections, highlighting how the road to ending the global pandemic is still long.

New York nurse Sandra Lindsay became the first person in America to receive the Pfizer-BioNTech shot, live on television, six days after Britain launched the West’s vaccine campaign against Covid-19. “It didn’t feel any different from taking any other vaccine,” said Lindsay, a critical care nurse at the Long Island Jewish Medical Center. “I hope this marks the beginning of the end of the very painful time in our history,” she added.

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* 78-Year-Old Ouattara Sworn In For Third Term As Ivory Coast President

Ivorian President Alassane Ouattara was sworn in for a controversial third term on Monday, urging the opposition to help defuse tensions after election-related violence claimed 85 lives in the West African powerhouse. The ceremony was attended by 13 African counterparts as well as French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian and former French president Nicolas Sarkozy — but boycotted by the opposition, as was the October 31 election that returned Ouattara to power.

“I ask all political parties to seize this new opportunity… to defuse tensions through dialogue,” the 78-year-old president said, noting publicly for the first time that legislative elections will be held in the first quarter of 2021. Ouattara promised the creation of a national reconciliation ministry in the next government, while stressing that “violence and intolerable acts… should not go unpunished”. It was a tacit warning to several opposition leaders who were arrested in the wake of the election, with legal proceedings over “sedition” launched against them.

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* Somalia Cuts Diplomatic Ties With Kenya

Somalia announced on Tuesday it is severing diplomatic ties with Kenya, accusing Nairobi of “recurring” interference in its political affairs as Mogadishu prepares for long-awaited elections. Tensions had been rising between the neighbours and the announcement came as Kenya hosted the leadership of Somaliland, a breakaway state not recognised by the central government in Mogadishu which considers the territory part of Somalia.

Information Minister Osman Abukar Dubbe told reporters that Kenyan diplomats in Mogadishu had been given seven days to leave and that Somalia’s envoys were being recalled from Nairobi. “The government took this decision to respond to recurring outright political violations and interference by Kenya against the sovereignty of our country.”

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SPORTS

* Lewandowski Beats Ronaldo, Messi To Win FIFA Best Player Award

Bayern Munich forward, Robert Lewandowski, has won the award for The Best FIFA Men’s Player of the Year for 2020. The Polish national team captain was named ahead of Barcelona and Juventus stars – Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo – to win the coveted prize. He emerged the winner of the prize after he helped Bayern to win a treble – the Bundesliga league, Champions League, and the DFB-Pokal trophies. Lewandowski, who finished as the top scorer in all three competitions, scored his 250th goal in the Bundesliga to help Bayern seal an important win over Wolfsburg in a match that ended 2-1 on Wednesday.

Nicknamed ‘The Body’ and dubbed a ‘machine’ by his wife, the Poland forward has already scored 18 goals in 17 games this season. “He deserved it more than anyone else. He played the season of his life,” said Bayern Munich chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge after Lewandowski’s 55 goals in 2019/20 were a key factor in Bayern winning the treble.

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* Liverpool’s Klopp Wins FIFA Best Men Coach

Liverpool’s coach, Jurgen Klopp, has been crowned as the best male coach in football at the 2020 FIFA Awards. Klopp, who won the award in 2019, beat Leeds gaffer Marcelo Bielsa and Bayern Munich boss Hans-Dieter Flick to the 2020 version.

“As someone who is becoming accustomed to making history, Jurgen Klopp shouldn’t be surprised at becoming the first man to win The Best FIFA Men’s Coach Award in successive years,” FIFA said. “Having picked up the prize in 2019 after leading Liverpool to the European title, he retains the crown thanks to a remarkable, record-breaking domestic campaign.

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* Premier League Agrees To Concussion Substitutes

The Premier League said Thursday that it had agreed to permit permanent concussion substitutes from next month after football’s lawmakers authorised extensive trials using them. However, in a meeting on Thursday club bosses in England’s top flight voted for a third time against increasing the number of allowed substitutes from three to five despite the International Football Association Board (IFAB) also extending that rule on Wednesday.

IFAB said the trials using concussion substitutes could begin in January, and the Premier League bosses decided they would be looking at a maximum of two per side per match. “With player welfare the Premier League’s priority, clubs agreed in principle to introduce additional permanent concussion substitutions following approval of the trial by the International Football Association Board yesterday,” the Premier League said.

 

* Italian Cyclist Riccardo Ricco Banned For Life

Italian cyclist Riccardo Ricco, who was thrown off the Tour de France in 2008 for taking a blood-boosting drug, has been banned for life, the national anti-doping agency announced. The 37-year-old had already been handed a 12-year ban that was due to expire in 2024.

He must also pay a 4,000 euro ($4,850) fine and costs of 378 euros, Nado Italia said in a statement issued Monday. A once-promising rider known as “The Cobra”, Ricco’s career collapsed when he was found to have taken the banned blood-booster CERA during the 2008 tour.

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* Aston Villa Captain Grealish Gets Nine-Month Driving Ban

Aston Villa captain Jack Grealish was given a nine-month driving ban on Tuesday after crashing his Range Rover during the coronavirus lockdown in March. Grealish was sentenced at Birmingham Magistrates’ Court after previously pleading guilty to two charges. The 25-year-old’s vehicle hit two parked vehicles in Dickens Heath, Solihull, West Midlands.

As well as the driving ban, England midfielder Grealish was also fined £82,499 ($110,271). A judge was told that a witness said Grealish smelled of “intoxicating liquor” and was slurring his words immediately after the crash on March 29. Grealish was involved in the incident less than 24 hours after issuing a Twitter video message urging people to stay at home to save lives and protect the NHS.

* Chinese FA To Introduce Salary Caps In Top-Tier CSL

China’s football association will introduce salary caps for top players from January 1, in a move that could dampen the country’s allure for foreign talent. It said the move was aimed at “curbing ‘money football’ and an investment bubble.” Salary caps will also be for China League One and China League Two players. The caps are the latest effort in recent years to rein in spending among Chinese clubs after a series of well-known foreign stars moved to the country on eye-watering contracts.

Chinese nationals playing in the top-tier Chinese Super League will have their annual salaries capped at five million yuan ($764,000) before tax, while foreigners can be paid a maximum of three million euros ($3.65 million), the CFA said in a statement Monday.

 

ENTERTAINMENT

* British Spy Thriller Author, John Le Carre, Is Dead At 89

John le Carre, the British writer best known for his Cold War espionage novels “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy” and “The Spy Who Came In From The Cold”, has died aged 89, his agent and family said Sunday. The author, a former British intelligence officer whose real name was David Cornwell, wrote 25 novels and one memoir in a career spanning six decades, selling 60 million books worldwide.

His wife of nearly 50 years, Jane, and sons Nicholas, Timothy, Stephen and Simon, said in a statement that he died on Saturday night after a short battle with pneumonia. “We all grieve deeply his passing,” they said, thanking staff at the hospital in Cornwall, southwest England, for their care. “We know they share our sadness,” they added. His friend, the novelist Robert Harris, called le Carre “one of those writers who really was not only a brilliant writer but he also penetrated popular culture — and that’s a great rarity”.

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* Omah Lay, Ms Tems, four others remanded in Ugandan prison

The Nigerian trio of Stanley Didia, aka Omah Lay; Temilade Openyi, alias Ms Tems; and Muyiwa Awomiyi have been remanded in a prison in Uganda. Omah Lay was remanded at Kitalya prison and Ms Tems at Kigo prison. They were charged in a magistrate court in Makindye, Uganda, on Monday for “negligently doing acts likely to spread an infectious disease C/S 171 of the Penal Code Act.”

The Ugandan police said earlier plans of releasing them on police bond were suspended after their casefile was sanctioned by the Office of the DPP. They were jointly charged with four other Ugandans and remanded till Wednesday. The crew got arrested in Uganda by Katwe Police after performing at a concert in the country. They were arrested alongside the manager of the venue one Dungu Ivan and the Events manager Prim Kasana.

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* Twitter To Drop Periscope Mobile App For Live Streams

Twitter on Tuesday said its Periscope mobile app for live streaming video will shut down by March as use of it declines and the cost of maintaining it goes up. Twitter bought Periscope in 2015 before it launched and as the popularity of now defunct Meerkat signaled keen interest in people broadcasting video from smartphones.

“We have made the difficult decision to discontinue Periscope as a separate mobile app,” the team said in a blog post. “Over the past couple of years, we’ve seen declining usage and know that the cost to support the app will only continue to go up over time.” Periscope features have been woven into Twitter over time, the team noted.

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* Star Wars’ Boba Fett Actor Jeremy Bulloch Dies At 75

British actor Jeremy Bulloch who played infamous bounty hunter Boba Fett in the original “Star Wars” films has died at the age of 75. He died on Thursday in hospital in Tooting, south London, “following health complications, including several years living with Parkinson’s disease”, his website said.

“Jeremy had a long and happy life as an actor and was best known for his roles in the films Summer Holiday, Star Wars and James Bond,” it added. Bulloch appeared in several classic television shows in the 1970s and 80s including “Doctor Who” and “Robin of Sherwood”, and had supporting roles in three James Bond movies. But he is best known for playing fan favourite Boba Fett in “The Empire Strikes Back” and “The Return of the Jedi”.

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METRO PLUS

* Mob Set Anambra Police Station On Fire Following Shooting Of Motorcyclist

A mob on Wednesday set ablaze a police station in Igboukwu in the Aguata Local Government Area of Anambra State following the shooting of a motorcycle operator. According to the eyewitnesses, police officers on duty in the area killed a commercial motorcyclist on Tuesday night after shooting him over extortion. Angered by the killing of their colleague, commercial motorcycle operators gathered and moved to the police station to set it ablaze.

The police spokesperson in the state, Haruna Mohammed confirmed the incident and noted that an investigation has been launched into the incident. He added that the Commissioner of Police, John Abang has also ordered the detention of policemen involved. The Commissioner of Police further appealed for calm and assured the public that justice would be done in the case and the outcome of the Police investigation shall be made public.

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* Church founder, herbalist get four-year imprisonment for trading in human parts

A Kwara state Chief Magistrates’ Court sitting in Ilorin, on Monday, sentenced a church founder, Pastor, Gabriel Josaya, aka Eli-Wakuku, to four years’ imprisonment for dealing in human parts. Josaya, who is the prophet and founder of St. Moses Orimolade Cherubim and Seraphim Church, Ilorin, was convicted after a long trial and sentenced to four years’ imprisonment with no option of fine by Chief Magistrate Mohammed Ibrahim.  Josaya was sentenced along with his accomplice, Gabriel Moyosore, a herbalist, who bought human skulls from him.

The men were convicted of conspiracy, trespass and unlawful possession of human parts. The police first information report revealed that Josaya unlawfully gain entry into a cemetery, where he exhumed human skulls and sold them to various customers at the rate of N8,000 per skull. A human skull was discovered in possession of Moyosore and he confessed to the crime, the FIR added. The Investigating Police Officer, Peter Ibiyemi, told the court in his evidence that Josaya confessed that he had exhumed over 200 human skulls from the Muslim Cemetery, Osere area of Ilorin. He added that Josaya began the business in 2009 and that he carried out his operation mainly at night and singlehandedly.

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* Two Feared Dead As Port Harcourt Residents Rush For Christmas Food Items

No fewer than two persons have been feared dead in a stampede that occurred in Obio/Akpor Local Government Area of Port Harcourt, Rivers State. The incident occurred on Tuesday morning at the Rumudara/Tank of the East/West road in Obio/Akpor Local Government Area as customers of an online marketing firm, Inksnation besieged the company for the food items.

Hundreds of customers, who registered with the company, gathered at its office with the hope of shopping for items with the money in their electronic wallet. The situation turned worse when the crowd increased and struggled to enter the premises and the firm could not control the people who turned out. Following the stampede from the huge crowd, many fainted while two others were reported dead. Rivers State Police Public Relations Officer, Nnamdi Omoni confirmed the incident. He added that an investigation have been launched into the incident and those found culpable will face the law.

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