Category Archives: Happening

COVID-19: U.S daily report changes. [Live Updates]

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49,286 cases in 24-hour period reported in the US as death toll hits 128,000 while infections in India surpass 600,000.


  • New United States coronavirus cases rose by nearly 50,000, according to a Reuters tally, marking the biggest one-day spike since the start of the pandemic. More than half of new cases each day come from US states of Arizona, California, Florida and Texas, home to 30 percent of the country’s population. More than 128,000 people have died in the US due to the pandemic. 
  • The United Nations Security Council has unanimously adopted a resolution demanding an “immediate cessation of hostilities” for at least 90 days in key conflicts including Syria, Yemen, Libya, South Sudan and Congo to tackle the coronavirus pandemic.
  • New Zealand’s health minister, David Clark, resigned on Thursday, following recent slip-ups in the government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic and personal mistakes.
  • Italy’s hard-hit northern region of Lombardy accounted for considerably more than half of the nation’s latest confirmed 187 coronavirus cases – raising the total to 240,760 nationwide. The Health Ministry also reported 21 new deaths, raising to 34,788 the total of known deaths.
  • Close to 10.7 million people around the world have been diagnosed with the coronavirus, over 5.6 million have recovered, and more than 516,000 have died, according to Johns Hopkins University.

#Newsworthy…

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ICPC urges communities to own, monitor projects. | Details

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The Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) in collaboration with the Nigeria Institute of Quantity Surveyors have urged communities to own up projects executed in their areas.

The Head Constituency and Executive Project Tracking Group (CEPTG), Mr Tanko Abdullahi, made the call during project tracking of rural road at Amuro in Afikpo-North Local Government Area of the state.

Abdullahi said it was important for people to monitor projects situated in their areas to encourage competence, development and prevent substandard ventures.

According to him, the Commission created various enlightement activities to inform the public on its fight against corruption, acts that amount to wrong doing and to get them to be part of the crusade.

He called on town unions, traditional rulers, women, youth leaders and individuals, among other groups to show interest in taking responsibilities of the project.

The head further gave complaints platforms of the ICPC, if suspicious fraudulent act in the execution was discovered.

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Abdullahi urged them to make use of the ICPC dissatisfaction toll-free telephone lines on 08031230280-2, 07056990190-1, email [email protected] and social media platforms, icpcnigeria1, icpc_pe.

“Once a project is awarded, communities should own the project by monitoring its execution to ensure quality work is done and not abandoned.

“They should help protect the projects from thieves and vandals so that money spent is not wasted, thus would pose the community to suffer the need.

“The projects is for the benefit of your community, therefore, do everything you can to ensure your community is not deprived of its use or benefit,” Abdullahi said.

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The Chairman, Nigeria Institute of Quantity Surveyors, Ebonyi Chapter, Mr Ogbonna Ndubuisi, maintained that bill of quantity was key in tracking projects execution.

Ndubuisi said its application during an exercise would help to track worths, specifications and standards of project to be executed.

He described the bill as a document that encompassed work to be done and cost attached.

“It is used during tracking and also for evaluation,” Ndubuisi said.

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Dr Kelechukwu Okezie, the Director, Neighborhood Environmental Watch Foundation and member of the tracking team, said that more enlightement programme would enable the general public to understand activities of the team.

He said that such responsibility by communities was key in fighting corruption through constituency and execution projects tracking.

“When projects are sited in a community, it is expected that they own up the project by monitoring,” Okezie said.

Noble Reporters Media learnt that the team embarked on tracking construction of a supposed 700 meters rural access road in the community but 600 meters was executed.


#Newsworthy…

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Top Story: CAC deregister Ohanaeze Ndigbo

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The Corporate Affairs Commission, CAC, has reportedly scrapped the registration earlier granted to a splinter Ohaneze Ndigbo group.

The commission in a statement on social media on Tuesday said that it withdrew the registration of the splinter Ohaneze group which appointed one Basil Onyeachonam as its president general because it has not fulfilled all the requirements for registration.

The statement by the CAC reads: “This is to inform the general public that the certificate of registration No. IT 1444918 issued inadvertently to the Trustees of OHANEZE NDIGBO GENERAL ASSEMBLY has been withdrawn by the Corporate Affairs Commission.

“The Trustees of the Association have been advised to return the said certificate to the commission as same has been cancelled. The conditions for the issuance of the certificate have not been fully fulfilled,” it concluded.

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Reacting to the development yesterday, the Deputy Publicly Secretary of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Mr Chuks Ibegbu said that the main stream Ohanaeze Ndigbo led by Chief John Nnia Nwodo was in support of the move by the Corporate Affairs Commission.

He said: “There are due process to register such an organisation and it was not followed. The circumstance that led to the registration should be probed. Something must have gone wrong in CAC. I think that the enemies of Ndigbo are at work.

“These chaps are enemies of Ndigbo and desperadoes. They should be arrested for impersonation.

“Ohanaeze leadership under Nwodo is intact. There is no crack whatsoever. Enemies of Ndigbo are behind this and we shall soon unmask them,” he added.


#Newsworthy…

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Protest in Edo over allege dismissal of 200 workers

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No fewer than 200 ad-hoc workers of the Edo State COVID-19 Mobile Screening Task Force on Tuesday took to the streets of Benin City, the state capital, to protest their alleged dismissal and non-payment of their two months remuneration.

The protesters, comprising medical doctors and related experts who went round the state during the period of the lockdown to take random samples from residents of the state, blocked the gates to the State Hospital Management Board office, and also went to lodge their grievances with the State House of Assembly.

One of the data collectors, Mr Emmanuel Ojie, said they had worked for over two months with the attendant risks associated with the job without being appreciated.

According to him, “We are owed May and June. We only reported to our duty post today to discover that we have been relieved of the job without being paid. We have no fewer than 26 groups, consisting of eight persons per group.

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“The group consist of doctors, medical laboratory scientists and others.

“In the course of this job, we staked our lives. At least three of my colleagues in the same group went on isolation as a result of Covid-19.

“We have been working everyday in the last three months, including public holidays. They said they were going to pay us N90, 000 per month.

“Nobody has told us why we are being owed and we really do not care why we are relieved of the job, but we need our money because we worked for it.”

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Speaking in the same vein, another data collector, Patience Efe, said they had to embark on the protest because of the method of dispersal by the Incident Manager of the task force, Dr Andrew Obi.

“The development is annoying because Dr. Andrew Obi chose to disperse us through a social media platform. Things are not done that way because for over two months, we risked our lives without pay.

“We need to know where we stand. It is not easy to come out as front liners to risk our lives without being paid for it. That is why we had to embark on this peaceful protest,” Efe said.

Efforts to speak with the State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Patrick Okundia, failed, as he did not pick up several calls on his phone.

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Also, when contacted, the State Covid-19 Incident Manager, Dr Andrew Obi, said he was in a meeting.

“I am in a meeting right now and will call back in two hours,” he said.

However, the Special Adviser to Governor Godwin Obaseki on Media and Communication Strategy, Mr. Crusoe Osagie, in a statement, said the taskforce was demobilised after the state exceeded its target to screen and test over 500,000 and 5,000 persons respectfully.

According to him, “The screening exercise was massive and crosscutting. The officials were inundated with lists of persons, who were said to have participated in the exercise.

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“So, we are carefully vetting the lists before making the final payment. The outstanding allowances would be paid before the end of the week.”

Osagie added that “The taskforce for the screening exercise was set up in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. The government, upon the outbreak of the pandemic in the state, based its response on the data polled from an epidemiological study done in partnership with the University of Benin Teaching Hospital (UBTH).

“This led to the setting up of a taskforce to embark on a massive screening and testing of 500,000 and 5000 persons across the state.

“The target has been achieved and surpassed. This has led to the modification of our response to the pandemic. With this, the taskforce was demobilised across the screening centres at mobile posts, borders and several other locations.”


#Newsworthy…

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Taraba declares 3-day public holiday

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Taraba Government has declared Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, as public holidays to enable residents of the state participate in the local government council poll slated for June 30, 2020.

The Chief Press Secretary to Governor Darius Ishaku, Alhaji Hassan Mijinyawa, disclosed this in a statement on Monday in Jalingo.

He explained that the public holiday would enable civil servants to travel to their respective wards and vote.

He said: “The public holiday is to enable civil servants to travel to their respective wards and vote during the local government election slated for Tuesday, June 30, 2020.

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“The governor also urged people of the state to be orderly, law-abiding and conduct themselves peacefully while discharging their civic responsibilities.”

Meanwhile, a coalition of Civil Society Organisations under the auspices of Eyes on Democracy of Nigeria (EDON) has activated a situation room to monitor Tuesday’s election to ensure that it is free, fair and credible.

The State EDON Chairman, Alhaji Muktar Madaki in a statement on Monday, disclosed that a comprehensive report on the electoral process would be made immediately after the election.

He said: “We have been observing the preparations by Taraba State Independent Electoral Commission (TSIEC), and we are so far satisfied with the developments.”


#Newsworthy…

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Breaking: U.S protest not about Black Lives but about RFID Microchip – Pastor Chris

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The President of Love World Incorporated, Pastor Chris Oyakhilome, said on Sunday the protests and riots that trailed the murder of an African-American, George Floyd, in the United States last month were not about black lives.

Oyakhilome, who disclosed this in a televised sermon, said the protests were part of a grand scheme to get rid of the police and implant microchips into Americans and other citizens of the world with a view to controlling them.

He added that once the police had been taken off the streets, microchips would be implanted into citizens and gives the government the information, required to reduce crime.

The preacher had claimed in April that the COVID-19 pandemic and the movement restrictions directed by the Federal Government were part of a ploy to introduce 5G technology in the country.

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The US protests also known as American Spring began on May 26 as a response to the killing of Floyd, a 46-year-old man who died during an arrest, after a Minneapolis Police Department officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes as three other officers looked on.

Oyakhilome said: “There are many who don’t know what is going on in the United States with the riots. It’s not about the guy that died, it is not about black folks, and it is not about black lives matter. I will tell you what it is about. From protests to riots and then more people have died since then and the call for disbanding, abrogation, cancellation and defunding of the police.

“Why is that? (Do) you think it is limited to the United States? No, it is not. Why are they doing it? It is part of the game. It is simply because they want to come in with the alternative method for security. What is that alternative method? It is total control- RFID microchip. That is what it’s about.

“And so, you are going to find people getting rid of their police and you will see cities experimenting one after the other. The cities say no police, everyone must get the microchip. And with that, you are going to know everybody. They will know everyone and crime will be controlled and they have got the media to hype it and in spite of its failure, they will praise it like the best thing in the world. That is what it’s about.”


#Newsworthy…

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Pollution in Arctic tundra: Russian mining giant admit

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A Russian mining giant behind an enormous Arctic fuel spill last month said it had suspended workers at a metals plant who were responsible for pumping wastewater into nearby tundra.

Norilsk Nickel cited a “flagrant violation of operating rules” in a statement on Sunday, announcing it had suspended employees responsible for dumping wastewater from a dangerously full reservoir into wildlife.

The incident occurred at the Talnakh enrichment plant near the Arctic city of Norilsk, the company said, one month after the unprecedented fuel leak led President Vladimir Putin to declare a state of emergency.

More than 21,000 tonnes of diesel leaked from a fuel storage tank at one of the company's subsidiary plants near Norilsk. The fuel seeped into the soil and dyed nearby waterways bright red.

A source told Russian Interfax news agency on Sunday that in the most recent case, approximately 6,000 cubic metres of liquid used to process minerals at the facility had been dumped and that the discharge had lasted “several hours”.

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It was impossible to determine how far the wastewater had dispersed, the source said.

Independent newspaper Novaya Gazeta published videos from the scene showing large metal pipes carrying wastewater from the reservoir and dumping foaming liquid into nearby trees.

The journalists claimed the factory deliberately funnelled the wastewater into wildlife areas and hastily removed their pipes when investigators and emergency services arrived on the scene.

The Investigative Committee, which probes serious crimes, said it had received reports of “unauthorised dumping of liquid waste into the tundra” on the site of the facility, and had opened an inquiry.

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Heavy machinery used to clear the pipes crushed a car delivering officials to the scene, national Novaya Gazeta newspaper reported.

No injuries
Interfax said no one was injured in the incident which was also being probed.

Norilsk Nickel spokeswoman Tatiana Egorova earlier on Sunday told the AFP news agency that employees of the factory had pumped out “purified water” and that an internal investigation was under way.

Russia’s natural resources agency said the decision to remove water from the reservoir was taken to avoid an emergency after heavy rains and recent tests had caused water levels to increase dramatically.

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The local emergency services in a statement said the wastewater was unlikely to reach the nearby Kharayelakh River.

The massive fuel spill last month took place at a plant owned by a subsidiary of Norilsk Nickel, which had said the fuel tank had collapsed or sank due to melting permafrost due to climate change.

Putin declared an emergency situation after the accident and the head of Norilsk Nickel, oligarch Vladimir Potanin, promised to pay the costs of the clean-up.

The Russian authorities said earlier this month they had cleared the spill from the surface of a river, but the full clean-up could take years.


#Newsworthy…

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Resident Doctors in LAUTECH commence 5-day warning strike

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University Teaching Hospital chapter, has called on its members to embark on a five-day warning strike from June 29.

This was contained in a statement jointly signed by the NARD President, Dr Abraham Akinbola and the General Secretary, Dr Abubakar Usman.

The statement, made available to newsmen on Sunday in Ibadan, hinged the action on a resolution from a virtual congress of the association.

Recall with NRM that the association had earlier issued a 14-day ultimatum to the state government and its management, which expired on June 25. “Arising from a virtual emergency general meeting of the association, held on June 25 and attended by more than two-third of our congress members, we deliberated extensively on the 14-day ultimatum issued to Oyo State government, which expired on June 25. “Our congress resolved to commence a five-day warning strike, beginning from June, 29 till July 4. “This conclusion we regrettably came to after we had exhausted all avenues for discussion,” it said.

The association observed that despite several pleas to the government, both officially and through many news media, to look into LAUTECH teaching hospital, Ogbomoso’s case, government had remained adamant.

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Recall, NobleReporters, that the association had demanded for the payment of their outstanding two-year half salary arrears, culminating into one year full salary, from Jan. 2016 to Dec. 2017.

The association had also called for the implementation of the new minimum wage salary, which other workers in the state have been enjoying since January, and the payment of corrected CONMESS salary scale.

Others demands were provisions for adequate personal protective equipment (PPE) to fight COVID-19 pandemic, upgrade of hazard allowance for health workers in the hospital and placement of members on group life insurance package.

The association said that with the several pleas issued and expiration of ultimatum given to government, no tangible effort or response had been received from the government.


#Newsworthy…

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News+: Man forced to keep paying child maintenance after discovering daughter of 14 isn’t his

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A man has challenged the Child Maintenance Service, CMS decision to force him to keep paying child maintenance even after discovering his daughter of 14 years does not belong to him.

The Hull resident, who wasn’t named in order to protect the privacy of the child in the case, had already paid £38,000 of child maintenance to his ex over 14 years before his she revealed the truth to him.

After her confession in October 2019, the Child Maintenance Service (CMS) sent a letter to the man, confirming that he was not the biological father of the girl but they said the man still had to pay £2,000 arrears before the matter could be fully closed.

They calculated a payment of £36.40 per month to pay off the arrears, despite acknowledging that he “is not the parent of this child”.

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Speaking to Hull Live, the devastated man said:

‘As someone who is currently paying for a child that the CMS have confirmed is not mine, I think it is very important to highlight how they get away with what is effectively breaking the law.

‘At the end of last year, my ex told me my daughter was not mine, which considering she was 14 years old at the time came as a bit of a shock.

‘I was obviously devastated, especially as I am a father of two disabled boys who I care for full time.

‘I have literally given my ex tens of thousands over the last 14 years that could have been spent on them, although I am more upset because I loved my ‘daughter’ with all my heart and did my best for her.

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‘I asked how that works because the child is not mine and they had confirmed that. So here I am paying arrears I do not owe, for a child that is not mine.

Despite series of arguments over the payments, he said the CMS stood firm on their decision.

On how they handled his case, he added:

“It is a farce and the CMS should be ashamed.”

Hull West and Hessle MP, Emma Hardy urged the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to “urgently review” the case. She said the case should have been resolved without the input of an MP and a journalist.

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After the Hull Daily Mail publicised the bizarre decision, the CMS agreed to wipe the man’s arrears.

A spokeswoman for the CMS told Hull Live:

‘Following further information, we have reviewed the case and will be in contact with him as soon as possible to discuss our decision.

‘Arrears were incurred before the case was closed in October 2019.

‘Following our review of the case, we have decided that Mr [name] does not have to pay arrears.’


#Newsworthy…

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Ajimobi’s legacies still in Oyo – Alao Akala

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Former Oyo State Governor, Adebayo Alao-Akala, said on Saturday the late Abiola Ajimobi left behind enduring legacies for the people of the state.

Alao-Akala stated this in a condolence message he personally signed and made available to journalists in Ibadan, the state capital.

He said: “Kemi and I are deeply saddened. Senator Abiola Ajimobi was a man of principle who championed truth, justice and kindness.

“I am comforted in the fact that the late Ajimobi left behind enduring legacies for the people of Oyo State to enjoy for generations.”

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Alao-Akala described the ex-governor as a passionate public administrator and a powerful voice of moral conscience.

“He was a brother, friend and political associate; a passionate public administrator and a powerful voice of moral conscience who served Oyo State and his country for decades with dignity and integrity.

“We have lost a giant. My brother, Ajimobi, was a fearless leader, a protector of democracy, and a fighter for the people of Yoruba nation.

“Our world is dimmer without him in it.

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“He was a politician of high repute and immense clout. All his life, he defined his politics and pitted his tent early in life with the progressive school,” the former governor added.

He said the late Ajimobi’s decision to set up the reconciliation committee for All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state was informed by his desperation to see a united party.

Alao-Akala was sad the deceased did not live to see him reconcile aggrieved members of the party.

He pledged that the committee would deliver on the desired mandate of the late All Progressives Congress (APC) chieftain.


#Newsworthy…

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Egypt beating ‘the drums of war’ – Libya

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Abdurrahman Shater, official with UN-recognised GNA, warns Egypt to stop its intervention and backing of Khalifa Haftar.


Libya’s internationally recognised government has denounced Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi’s threats of military intervention, saying his comments were akin to “beating the drums of war”.

El-Sisi on Saturday warned forces loyal to the Government of National Accord (GNA) based in Tripoli not to cross the current front line between them and forces loyal to renegade commander Khalifa Haftar, whom Cairo backs.

The Egyptian president, who visited an airbase in Matrouh near the Libyan border, alluded to the possibility of sending “external military missions if required” adding that “any direct intervention in Libya has already become legitimate internationally”.

Abdurrahman Shater, a member of the GNA-allied Libyan High Council of State, said his country’s security and democracy have been in danger since el-Sisi insisted on bringing in military troops that Libyans did not accept.

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“Take your hands off us, do not repeat the tragedy in Yemen,” he tweeted.

Shater also said Egypt has intervened in Libya’s internal affairs for four years.

El-Sisi told his army to “be prepared to carry out any mission here within our borders, or if necessary outside our borders”.

“Sirte and Jufra are a red line,” he said.

Conflict in Libya: Another initiative
Forces loyal to the GNA, which is headed by Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj, have driven Haftar’s self-styled Libyan National Army (LNA) from large swaths of territory in the west of the country as well as strategic towns near the capital, Tripoli.

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GNA forces have now launched a campaign, moving eastwards, to capture the Mediterranean city of Sirte from forces loyal to Haftar, who was forced to offer a ceasefire after facing a string of defeats in recent weeks.

The ceasefire, backed by Cairo, has been rejected by the GNA and its backer Ankara, which on Saturday demanded that the LNA withdraw from Sirte.

The Egyptian president stressed “any direct interference from Egypt [in Libya] has now acquired international legitimacy, either with the right to self-defence or at the request of the only legitimate elected authority in Libya, which is the House of Representatives [Tobruk].”

Al Jazeera’s Malik Traina, reporting from the Libyan city of Misrata, said el-Sisi’s remarks on Saturday were largely ignored by the GNA and its forces.

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“A GNA military commander we spoke to earlier said their forces are adamant and that they will enter Sirte. It’s important to note that these are forces know the territory well,” Traina said.

“In 2011, forces primarily from Misrata were responsible for entering Sirte and killing longtime ruler Muammar Gaddafi.”

Meanwhile, Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry on Sunday told the Saudi-based Al Arabiya TV his country prioritised a political solution to the conflict, adding that the GNA misinterpreted el-Sisi’s comments.

With Turkish support, the GNA has reversed a 14-month assault on the capital by the forces loyal to Haftar, who is backed by Russia, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt.

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Both Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have expressed their support for the Egyptian president’s statements.

“Saudi Arabia stands by and supports Egypt on the right to protect its borders and people,” Saudi Arabia official news agency said in a statement.

Additionally, the UAE foreign ministry said it supports all actions by Egypt to ensure its stability and security.

The LNA still controls eastern and southern Libya, including most of the country’s oil facilities, and the city of Sirte, at the centre of a recent military escalation.


#Newsworthy…

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In push to make Juneteenth National Holiday. #BLM

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When President Donald Trump announced last week that he would hold a campaign rally in Tulsa on June 19, the backlash was swift. The speech was to take place near the site of a 1921 race massacre, and June 19 is celebrated each year as Juneteenth, in honor of the day in 1865 when enslaved men and women in Texas found out they were free.

Trump’s team quickly pushed the rally to June 20, but the attention to the holiday has not faded. As a global conversation about race has continued amid the protests that have followed the deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor, several prominent companies, such as Twitter, Target, Nike and the National Football League, have declared Juneteenth a company holiday. (TIME is also observing Juneteenth as a company holiday.) Advocates who have spent years pushing for more awareness of Juneteenth now hope this moment may help them finally reach their goal: the declaration of a national Juneteenth holiday.

Every year, Texas Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee introduces a resolution to recognize the historical significance of Juneteenth. Introduced June 15, this year it has more than 200 co-sponsors — and that’s not all: she also plans this week to introduce a bill to make Juneteenth a federal holiday.

The road to such a holiday becoming a reality may be long, the Democrat acknowledges, noting it took nearly 20 years for Martin Luther King Jr. Day to become a national holiday, but she’s optimistic that the time is right for increasing awareness about slavery and how its legacy has carried over into modern racism.

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“There needs to be a reckoning, an effort to unify. One thing about national holidays, they help educate people about what the story is,” Jackson Lee says. “Juneteenth legislation is a call for freedom, but it also reinforces the history of African Americans. We’ve fought for this country. We’ve made great strides, but we’re still the victims of sharp disparities. Our neighborhoods reflect that. We’ve been denied the same opportunities for housing, access to healthcare and, in 2020, [during] COVID-19, all of the glaring disparities are shown. Because of that, I think this is a time that we may find people who are desirous to understand the history not necessarily only of African Americans, but the history of America.”

The origins of Juneteenth
Some details about the origins of Juneteenth are lost to history, and many of those details that do survive only became more widely known later on.

On June 19, 1865 — two and a half years after Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation and two months after Confederate General Robert E. Lee surrendered at Appomattox — the Union Army’s Maj. General Gordon Granger reached Galveston, Texas. There, he read aloud General Orders No. 3: “The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free.”

Why it took two and a half years for the news of emancipation to reach Galveston is not clear, but a combination of factors are thought to have been at play. According to Rashida Harrison, Assistant Professor of Social Relations and Policy at James Madison College at Michigan State University, the most popular theories involve the idea that “there weren’t enough Union generals who could get over there, white slave owners wanted to maintain hold [on enslaved people] by not alerting them, and slaveholders wanted to get one more crop out of enslaved folks.” Some stories about why it took so long for news to hit are the stuff of legend, such as one that says Lincoln sent a soldier on a mule to ride to Texas spreading the news along the way.

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In fact, however, the scene in Galveston was one repeated frequently throughout the South. “Juneteenth is the best-remembered date but it’s by far not the only date; as the Union Army continues to win battles and occupy territory, versions of General Orders 3 are read throughout the South,” says Greg Carr, Chair of the Department of Afro-American Studies at Howard University. African Americans in Mississippi and Alabama have celebrated emancipation in May, for example, and William H. Wiggins Jr.’s 1987 book O Freedom! Afro-American Emancipation Celebrations details some of these stories.

After General Orders 3 was handed down, many formerly enslaved African Americans left the Galveston area to find family members who had been sold away from the region. As they moved north or west, they brought Juneteenth with them. In years to come, many would return to Texas to celebrate its anniversary, and to this day many Juneteenth celebrations are like homecomings or family reunions. (Carr also points out a George Floyd connection to this history: a formerly enslaved man named Jack Yates led to 1872 effort to wrangle land in the Third Ward of Houston, where Floyd grew up, for Juneteenth celebrations; that land is now known as Emancipation Park, and a rally to remember Floyd, who was a graduate of Jack Yates High School, took place in the park on May 30.)

But, as history has made clear, freedom from slavery didn’t mean freedom from white supremacy. Local and state laws, policing practices and lynchings restricted the “absolute equality” promised by General Orders 3. Thus, the holiday has come to represent a promise unfulfilled, and each Juneteenth is a time to both reflect on that need and to bolster the hope that full equality and freedom can yet be achieved.

The movement to make Juneteenth a national holiday
In the 1960s, the civil rights movement brought a new push for America to live up to those ideals — and with it came a renewed awareness of Juneteenth.

One turning point in awareness came in the aftermath of the assassination of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. in April of 1968. At the time of his death, much of King’s work was focused on economic justice, and he was in the middle of planning a Poor People’s Campaign march for the coming months. After he died, the work went on — including via a Solidarity Day rally held in Washington, D.C. that Juneteenth. Organized by King disciple Ralph Abernathy, the rally, which boasted more than 50,000 participants, capped off about six weeks during which activists lived in an encampment called Resurrection City to raise awareness of inequality. Wiggins believes that the success of the rally helped inspire participants to host Juneteenth celebrations in their own communities in the years and decades that followed.

It was during this period that the modern effort to make Juneteenth a national holiday developed. Amid a widespread push to raise awareness of Black history, many felt that the American calendar ought to reflect that past. The fight over a national Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday — which would first be celebrated in 1986 — was underway, and some felt that Juneteenth was also a crucial part of the story. Thanks to the efforts of State Representative Al Edwards — known as “Mr. Juneteenth” — Texas became the first state to make Juneteenth a state holiday in 1980. (Edwards died this April.)

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In 1994, a group of ministers in New Orleans founded the National Juneteenth Observance Foundation, in the wake of a period of uproar over police brutality that echoes today. Around that time, it was being reported that the majority of police brutality complaints in the U.S. were directed at New Orleans, per a draft of a 1992 Department of Justice study. As Rev. John Mosley, one of the co-founders, tells TIME, “We were inspired by the horrific incidents [such as the videotaped beating] of Rodney King and the mistreatment of Black people by police in New Orleans and others around the country.”

Today, every state except North Dakota, South Dakota and Hawaii has some sort of Juneteenth observance, according to the National Juneteenth Observance Foundation. Over the last 25 years, the group has developed a network of organizers in each state and advocates that Congress make Juneteenth a national observance, like Flag Day, or an official federal holiday, like Thanksgiving. To help promote the holiday, the group created a Juneteenth Flag, with a broad red stripe to represent the blood Black people shed to create the country and a white star over the blue horizon, guiding them towards freedom in the future.

“We wanted to use Juneteenth to call attention to the world that things are not right, and Black people are people too, and we want equal treatment for being people too,” Mosley says. “It was not just to have a party and have a good time. It’s a rallying cry for us.”

Cliff Robinson, who in 1997 started the website Juneteenth.com as a clearinghouse for information on Juneteenth celebrations, says that the growth of the Internet in the 1990s and social media in the 2000s has made Americans much more aware of the holiday. Its history became further part of the national conversation when Ralph Ellison’s posthumously published second novel entitled Juneteenth, with a key plot point occurring during a Juneteenth celebration, came out ahead of the holiday in 1999. Certain TV shows like Black-ish and Atlanta have run Juneteenth episodes, too — but, Robinson says, nothing so far generated momentum for the holiday the way news of the Trump rally did.

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Opal Lee of Fort Worth, Texas, the 93-year-old Juneteenth advocate who started the recent “Make Juneteenth a National Holiday in 2020” petition on Change.org thinks that coronavirus stay-at-home orders have also allowed time for the significance of the protests and Juneteenth to finally sink in. “I hate to say the pandemic helped,” she says, “but people have had to stay home, and they are doing thinking and noticing that they didn’t have time to do.”

What Juneteenth means today
As companies declare Juneteenth a corporate holiday, many Americans are learning about the day’s history for the first time, and scholars hope that long overdue conversations about white people’s role in this story will finally take place.

Juneteenth is “a way to enter conversation with people who have experiences, memory, culture different than yours and helps us imagine living together in a plural country,” Howard University’s Carr points out. “What we’ve seen over the last two centuries is an attempt to forge a national identity without first engaging in a truthful reflection of how the idea of freedom and liberty is taken for granted. This country’s national narrative does not apply to everyone and everyone doesn’t observe it.”

Even within the African American community, the full story behind Juneteenth is not known; at Howard, the historically Black university where Carr teaches, he says his students from Texas or activist families will know what Juneteenth marks, and the rest might recognize the name but not know what it means, underscoring society’s lack of understanding of Black history.

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Michigan State’s Harrison hopes the attention to the holiday will spark discussions about not just that history, but also the present.

“Even as freedom is a legal right, the actualization of that freedom is thwarted at different institutional levels,” she says. “There is a push to maintain control of every aspect of life. That control is met, however, with persistence and struggle on the part of African Americans. One of the most pressing institutions responsible for controlling and minimizing those freedoms is that of the criminal justice system—and more specifically the branch of policing and Law Enforcement.”

At a time when incidents of racial violence are making headlines on a daily basis, Opal Lee sees Juneteenth as an opportunity for a national conversation about why these incidents still take place, and a reminder of the power of voting for elected officials who will pursue reforms. And for her, the crusade to make Juneteenth a national holiday is personal: It brings back memories of Juneteenth 1939, when she was 12 years old and a white mob burned down her family’s home because her parents had bought a house in a white neighborhood.

“We need to get together. We need to be unified,” she says. “Juneteenth is a unifier. Things haven’t advanced as fast as they should. We’ve come a long way, but we’ve got a long way to go.”


#Newsworthy…

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FG, Doctors’ Meeting to halt proposed strike ends with no ‘Hope’

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The meeting between the Federal Government delegation and the National Association of Resident Doctors on Tuesday ended in a deadlock.

The striking doctors refused to reconvene after a brief recess and their president, Dr Aliyu Sokomba, told Channels Television that they are not ready to shift position until their demands are met.

However, the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige insists that the meeting was successful, as most of the demands are being resolved

He later noted that the representatives of the striking doctors have informed them that their members do not agree with the resolutions from the meeting so far, and as such cannot call off the strike until some tangible evidence of commitment from the government is received.

Also speaking, the Minister of Health says the government has the obligation to protect the health of citizens, and since the doctors are not ready to resume, certain steps must be taken.

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He also noted that a circular has been sent out to all government hospitals to open a register from Wednesday, to take note of doctors that will resume for work.

The register closes by 12:00 pm.

This comes days after the doctors embarked on an indefinite nationwide strike.

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According to Sokomba, the union took the decision to go on strike as a result of the failed series of meetings between the doctors and the Federal Government in the last two weeks.

He said the meetings have failed to resolve the lingering industrial disputes which include the non-payment of special allowances for the resident doctors.

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He also decried the deplorable state of hospitals and the lack of protective equipment for members of the union treating COVID-19 patients.

Dr Sokomba added that this has exposed many of their colleagues to coronavirus and resulted in the death of some of them.


#Newsworthy…

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COVID-19: Lagos interrupt plan to reopen Worship Centres

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The Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu announced the decision to stop the planned reopening of worship centers (mosques and churches ) on Friday, June 19 and Sunday, June 21.

The governor made this known at a press briefing on Tuesday.

According to him, the development is as a result of the rising cases of COVID-19 in the state.

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On Monday, Nigeria recorded a total of 573 new cases of the coronavirus, bringing the total number of cases in the country to 16,658.

As has become normal, Lagos reported the highest figures with 216 new cases, bringing the total number of cases in the state 7,319.


#Newsworthy…

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France govt reverse killer chokehold ban – Police hails

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Under pressure from police, the French government has backed away from a ban on chokeholds during arrests.

France’s interior minister announced a week ago that the maneuver would be abandoned, in the face of growing French protests over police brutality and racial injustice unleashed by George Floyd’s death in the U.S.

But French police responded with five straight days of counterprotests, arguing that the ban deprived them of a key tool to subdue unruly suspects.

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On Monday, the national police director sent a letter to police, obtained by The Associated Press, saying chokeholds will no longer be taught in police schools but can continue to be used “with discernment” until alternatives are found.

Police unions hailed the reversal.


#Newsworthy…

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Reps urge contractors to deliver quality job amid Ekiti bridge collapse

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Chief Femi Bamisile, the Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Federal Roads Maintenance Agency (FERMA), on Sunday, urged the contractor handling the rehabilitation of the collapsed Ureje bridge in Ado Ekiti to deliver quality job.

Bamisile said, while addressing newsmen in Ado Ekiti, that he had been at the forefront of the struggle for the rehabilitation of the bridge since it was submerged by flood in 2019.

He said that the contractor, Dipcrest Nigeria Limited, should provide an alternative road to mitigate the hardship being experienced by residents, as it had almost excised a section of the metropolis from the capital city.

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Bamisile, representing Ekiti South Federal Constituency II, said the provision of the alternative road had become expedient, owing to the strategic nature of the axis to the people and the survival of the state’s economy.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that other eminent Ekiti indigenes, including Chief Afe Babalola (SAN), had earlier condemned the sudden closure of the road by the contractor without providing alternative route. NAN also reports that the bridge, located on Ado-Ijan-IkareAkoko road, collapsed in 2019 due to flooding.

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The collapse of the bridge had sparked up protests among residents, as the entire Ureje axis, a suburb of Ado Ekiti, was cut off from the city.

Bamisile said that the contractor could not but deliver quality job, taking into cognisance the hardship being faced by the residents. He said: “Our people have suffered on this road since the flooding started in 2018. Lives have been lost and property damaged. So this rehabilitation is a big relief to all of us.

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“The residents of the area and the Afe Babalola University, which represents the second largest employer of labour in Ekiti, lost several millions of naira when the bridge collapsed, as it hindered economic activities along that route.

“Considering all these, I appeal to the contractor not to disappoint the people by completing the work on time and according to specification, so that their means of livelihood will not be crippled for too long.”

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On the protest allegedly being planned by residents over sudden closure of the bridge without alternative route, Bamisile pleaded for their understanding. He said that such action might prevent the project from being completed on time.

“I want to let our people know that protest is not the best option for now.
”It is only when the contractor fails to deliver good work or drag the job unnecessarily that we can begin to think of taking some actions,” he said.


#Newsworthy…

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#BlackLivesMatter: ‘The Flash’ Actor in regret over racist tweet.

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The Flash actor, Hartley Sawyer who has played Ralph Dibny a.k.a. Elongated Man on the series for the past three seasons, has been fired from the CW series after his tweets containing misogynist and racist references surfaced a few days ago.

Though Sawyer’s Twitter account has been deleted, his old tweets however began to circulate at the end of May. In one of the tweets from 2012, the actor wrote;

“The only thing keeping me from doing mildly racist tweets is the knowledge that Al Sharpton would never stop complaining about me.”

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He also wrote in another tweet;

“Enjoyed a secret boob viewing at an audition today.

Sawyer also shared tweets which referred to assaulting women and one read “Date rape myself so I don’t have to masturbate.”

See more of his tweets below;

Following the outrage Sawyer’s tweets incited, CW and the series producers Warner Bros Television and Berlanti Productions have confirmed his sack in a statement released on Monday June 8.

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It read;

“Hartley Sawyer will not be returning for Season 7 of The Flash. In regards to Mr. Sawyer’s posts on social media, we do not tolerate derogatory remarks that target any race, ethnicity, national origin, gender, or sexual orientation. Such remarks are antithetical to our values and polices, which strive and evolve to promote a safe, inclusive and productive environment for our workforce.”

The Flash executive producer, Eric Wallace also shared his thought on the firing of Sawyer from the long-running Arrowverse series.

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Referring to Sawyer’s social media posts, he wrote;

“They broke my heart and made me mad as hell, and they’re indicative of the larger problem in our country. Because at present, our country still accepts and protects the continual harassment — unconscious or otherwise — terrorizing and brutalizing of Black and Brown people – which is far too often fatal. That’s why our country is standing up once again and shouting “ENOUGH” to bring about active change”

Sawyer has issued an apology in which he said he is incredibly sorry, ashamed and disappointed in himself for his ignorance back then.

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He wrote on Instagram

My words, irrelevant of being meant with an intent of humor, were hurtful, and unacceptable. I am ashamed I was capable of these really horrible attempts to get attention at that time. I regret them deeply.
This was not acceptable behavior. These were words I threw out at the time with no thought or recognition of the harm my words could do, and now have done today.

I am incredibly sorry, ashamed and disappointed in myself for my ignorance back then. I want to be very clear: this is not reflective of what I think or who I am now.
Years ago, thanks to friends and experiences who helped me to open my eyes, I began my journey into becoming a more responsible adult – in terms of what I say, what I do, and beyond. I’ve largely kept that journey private, and this is another way that I have let so many down. I still have more work to do.
But how I define myself now does not take away the impact of my words, or my responsibility for them.


#Newsworthy…

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World Milk Day: Peak Milk celebrate, visit ‘Isolation Centre’


Nigeria’s leading dairy brand, Peak Milk, recently served nourishing Peak breakfast to health workers and patients at select isolation centres in Lagos to mark the World Milk Day celebration.

Observed on the 1st of June annually across the world, the World Milk Day is set aside to actively encourage the daily consumption of milk and dairy.

This year, Peak Milk re-emphasised this message by serving healthy milk- filled breakfast to healthcare workers and patients – especially those at the frontline of the COVID-19 battle.

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Marketing Director at FrieslandCampina WAMCO, makers of Peak, Chris Wulff-Caesar, spoke on the geaturey.

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He said: “In a show of gratitude for their valour and service to humanity, we catered healthy breakfast meals to caregivers and their patients at isolation centres in Lagos.

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“Being the leading milk brand in Nigeria, Peak has made it imperative to celebrate World Milk Day by championing this breakfast of hope; as it provides an opportunity to further raise awareness about the benefits of consuming dairy”.

In celebrating this year World Milk Day, Peak Milk has also partnered with Nutrition Society of Nigeria to enlighten Nigerians on the importance of incorporating milk into their daily food plan, particularly at breakfast, through relevant media platforms.

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Dairy giant and makers of Peak, FrieslandCampina WAMCO pioneered the Dairy Development Programmes (DDP) in Nigeria in 2011 and has continued to spread its ‘Grass2Glass’ message by showcasing how it’s increasing the quality and quantity of raw milk production in Nigeria.

Also, through these programmes, FrieslandCampina WAMCO supports local dairy farmers while improving food and nutrition security in Nigeria.

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“Now more than ever, it’s very important to reiterate that milk is nutritious, Milk is healthy and the composition in terms of macro and micronutrients is unique as only a few servings a day result in significant intake levels of multiple nutrients.

“It is also amazing to know that nutrients in it, contributes to building a strong immune system. Milk keeps you going”, Wulff-Caesar concluded.


#Newsworthy…

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Breaking: Microsoft replacing ‘People’ with Artificial Intelligence


While in recent years LinkedIn employs more journalists to improve our experience of News on the platform, the media industry is being hard hit by the layoffs of the pandemic. This is also a time when automation will increase.

In the 2020s, AI replacing journalists and media is really going to come to pass. It will remake the industry.

Microsoft News and MSN is increasingly being run by robots even as Chinese state media’s latest innovation, is an AI female news anchor. Just as social media has changed how we experience the world in real-time, (the recent Floyd Protests come to mind), AI is increasing influencing how we consume, currate and even write (summarize) up content.

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Increasingly News apps are can be fully automated via highly aggregated content systems that tracks our personal preferences. For Microsoft itself, this always means a changing of the guard, and LinkedIn could be next. Microsoft is laying off dozens of journalists and editorial workers at its Microsoft News and MSN organizations.

Media layoffs continue at a frantic pace during the Great Shutdown furloughs where some 40 million Americans have lost their jobs. If AI is the future, AI is also the disruptor for many of these jobs. If you work at LinkedIn curating and choosing stories, your days are likely also numbered. The curating of stories from news organisations and selection of headlines and pictures for the MSN site is currently done by journalists, but that’s changing.

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The new reality is of course that there is a global shift away from humans in favor of automated updates for news. The pandemic is all about learning to run a more efficient workforce with a move to remote work, 4-day work weeks and in some cases more automation. These layoffs are part of a bigger push by Microsoft to rely on artificial intelligence to pick news and content that’s presented on MSN.com, inside Microsoft’s Edge browser, and in the company’s various Microsoft News apps.

China’s ethics around AI are already changing the world. ByteDance’s Toutiao changed the world forever for how AI will intersect News. Microsoft has to keep up with this new reality. One staff member who worked on the Microsoft MSN team said: “I spend all my time reading about how automation and AI is going to take all our jobs, and here I am – AI has taken my job.”

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“I spend all my time reading about how automation and AI is going to take all our jobs, and here I am – AI has taken my job.”
Around 50 contract news producers will lose their jobs at the end of June, the Seattle Times reports, but a team of full-time journalists will remain. It’s not clear how soon some of the jobs at LinkedIn could be impacted in a similar move. But frankly, it sort of seems inevitable.

The team working on the Microsoft site did not report original stories but still exercised editorial control, selecting stories produced by other news organisations. That’s exactly what many of the LinkedIn journalists actually do. How quickly do AI-human hybrid systems go full on robot AI?

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While manual curation of news stories ensures that headlines were clear and appropriate for the format, it can be streamlined for an AI-human hybrid workforce of the future of journalism on these platforms, apps, microsites and so forth. Content curation is not journalism when tech has disrupted what the media used to stand for in a world of clickbait, SEO and “increasing user views and engagement”.

During the Pandemic even more journalists will churn from their old careers. Journalists are now facing redundancy and often have longstanding experience in the industry, must now compete with new AI systems and the impact of digital evolution which has partially destroyed local journalism and the integrity of information in many areas of the world.

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It’s demoralising to think machines can replace us, but as the world changes, AI enters the workforce and we must adapt along with it. Many tech companies are experimenting with uses for Artificial Intelligence in journalism, and Microsoft needs to keep up with the times.

The future of robot journalism is bright, even as many of the top apps for news with AI are made in China. The Toutiao aggregation model will likely disrupt how many Western platforms do news. This is because their personalization of the content to the user is superior, something LinkedIn’s algorithm and social feed struggles with.

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Algorithms have transformed social media into something not altogether human, with echo and sentiment bubbles, bots and parodies like the recent Twitter vs. Trump debate occur.

We cannot say that AI replacing journalists is necessarily a good thing. Facebook, Google and Microsoft’s foray into AI of News might not end well for us, as the quality of journalism and news continues to deteriorate. While these companies pretend to invest in local journalism, we have to be skeptical.

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Meanwhile the eyeballs are going to news aggregation apps Toutiao style like SmartNews, for example. Super platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn and Google’s intersection with news while a part of our life, is only likely a fragment of how we follow current events.

Is an AI of news world better than what we had in the past? Microsoft is replacing people with AI, and it added ‘these decisions are not the result of the current pandemic.’


#Newsworthy…

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14 Days Strike Notice Sent to Nigerian Govt.


Nigerian doctors would embark on an indefinite strike if the Federal Government failed to address their demands within 14 days.

The Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) stated this on Saturday in a communique issued at the end of its virtual 40th Ordinary General Meeting (OGM) and Scientific Conference.

The communique was signed by NARD National President, Dr Sokomba Aliyu and Publicity Secretary, Dr Egbogu Stanley.

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The NARD 40th OGM was held under the theme: ‘Health inequalities and social determinants of Health in Nigeria.’

The virtual OGM, attended by 74 Chapters of the association from across the country, deliberated on issues affecting the nation’s health care system and welfare of its members.

“NARD calls on the Federal and State governments to provide adequate personnel protective equipment such as N95 respirators, gloves etc. to all health workers.

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“NARD also demands immediate recall of the sacked resident doctors at Jos University Teaching Hospital and payments of their salaries.”

According to the association, 26 resident doctors at the Jos University Teaching Hospital were illegally disengaged without recourse to the law governing Residency training.

“The association also demands for universal implementation of the Residency Training Act in both Federal and State Teaching hospitals.

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“NARD demands immediate implementation of the revised hazard allowance, and payment of COVID-19 inducement allowance,” the communique said.

“OGM resolves that urgent steps be taken to ensure that the fate of our members at the State Tertiary Health Institutions be improved through engagement with the various state governments and relevant stakeholders.

The association enjoined the Federal Government through the National Assembly to ensure full capture of the residency training funding in the 2021 Appropriation Act.

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It also demanded for payment of arrears of the consequential adjustment of the new minimum wage to its members at both Federal and state tertiary health institutions.

The Association condemned what it called “the illegal deductions in salaries” of members by some state governments and demanded for immediate refund.

“NARD observes the slashing of salaries of our members at state tertiary health institutions with particular reference to Kaduna state government that cut the salaries of health workers by twenty five percent.”

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It also called on security agencies especially in Lagos, Delta and Abuja to stop the harassment and assault of doctors while carrying out their legitimate activities.

“OGM observes non implementation of the revised hazard allowance, the non procurement of life insurance, non-payment of the death benefits claims and COVID-19 inducement allowance of doctors in various health institutions.

“NARD observes non-payment of arrears of the consequential adjustment of new minimum wage to some of her members.

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It also observed with concern, the non-implementation of revised CONMESS and skipping arrears by some state governments in various state tertiary teaching hospitals.

The NARD noted the shortage of medical staff especially resident doctors in most health institutions across the country and called on the government to address the problem.


#Newsworthy…

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Breaking: BRT publicise fare hike.


The operator of the Lagos Bus Rapid Transit (BRT), Primero Transport Services Limited, said on Thursday it had secured the state government’s approval to increase its fares across all routes with effect from Friday.

The BRT operator had withdrawn its services since Monday over losses occasioned by COVID-19 new transport guidelines that mandated it to commute only 20 passengers per trip instead of 70.

The Managing Director of the company, Fola Tinubu, told journalists on Friday that the management of the firm had decided to increase its pricing effective from Friday.

He said: “We are going to increase our pricing effective from tomorrow, Friday, May 29. We agreed on this after our talk with the Lagos State government.

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“Everywhere commuters are paying N200 for a trip, it is going to be N300 and everywhere commuters are paying N300 per trip, it is going to be N500.

“We are increasing our fares. We have secured the permission of the regulator (Lagos State Metropolitan Area Transport Authority (LAMATA).”

He said the firm understood the plight of the people and the economic situation, but the step became imperative to keep serving the commuters diligently and to provide a world-class service for them.

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Tinubu added: “We are doing this not to punish anybody or to victimize anybody but because of the circumstances we found ourselves forced us to do it.

“We need to make sure the company is on a sound financial footing, and if we don’t do this, the buses will not be available in the long run and there will be no way for us to fix buses and bring new buses.

“The business must be on a solid financial footing. Without this, the company cannot survive, and if the company does not survive, it will even cost commuters more in the long run.

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“We understand that this is going to put some hardship on people but if we don’t do this and the company goes under, it will even cost the people more.”

He added that the number of passengers on the buses would also increase to 42 with no passenger standing on the buses as against 20 earlier approved by the government to curb the spread of COVID-19.


#Newsworthy…

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