Tag Archives: Switzerland

Top Story: 3 Africans up for WTO top job

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After the chief of the World Trade Orgnization Roberto Azevedo stepped down on Monday, the organization is facing multiple crisis without a captain to steer the ship.

While the situation could drag on for several months, the race to find his replacement is on.

Eight candiadtes have put their name into the hat to replace him, including three from the African continent.

The hopefuls are Kenya’s Amina Mohamed, Egypt’s Abdel-Hamid Mamdouh, Nigeria’s Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and Eypt’s Abdel-Hamid Mamdouh.

If either of the first two candidates are selected, it could be not just the first African to take the helm of the WTO, but also the first woman in the role.

Two Europeans, two Asians and one Latin American are also vying for the top job.

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But the role comes at a tough time.

The coronavirus pandemic has hammered global trade and who ever succeeds Azevedo will also have to curb trade tensions between the United States and China.

The global trade body also faces attacks from Washington, which has crippled the WTO dispute settlement appeal system and has also threatened to leave.

The WTO has two main roles. It negotiates trade deals between its 164 members and also acts as a mediator for any disputes between countries.

Azevedo leaves the WTO to join Pepsi.

SOURCE: NOBLE REPORTERS MEDIA


#Newsworthy…

COVID-19: Britain to enforce quarantine on arrivals from Jamaica, Switzerland

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Britain said on Thursday it will reimpose quarantine for travellers from the Czech Republic, Jamaica and Switzerland, but ease restrictions on arrivals from Cuba in a bid to keep coronavirus infection rates down.

The decision, which will come into effect from 0300 GMT on Saturday, will require travellers from those three countries to self-isolate for 14 days following spikes in cases.

“Data shows we need to remove the Czech Republic, Jamaica and Switzerland from our list of #Coronavirus Travel Corridors to keep infection rates DOWN,” Transport Secretary Grant Shapps wrote on Twitter.

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“Data also shows we can now add Cuba to those countries INCLUDED in Travel Corridors,” he added, warning that people thinking of travelling abroad should be prepared for the advice to change at short notice.

Quarantine was imposed last week on Croatia, Austria, and Trinidad and Tobago, following France, the Netherlands and several other countries on the list as governments across Europe grapple with fears of a second wave of virus infections.

Britain, which has been the hardest-hit European country by COVID-19, registering more than 41,000 deaths to date, has itself seen its number of confirmed cases creeping up in recent weeks.

Officials announced more than 1,500 new cases on Thursday, its highest total since mid-June, although hospital admissions and death rates remain low.

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The UK had no quarantine measures in the early stages of the pandemic but in June imposed a blanket self-isolation requirement on all arrivals.

Weeks later it carved out “travel corridors” which exempted travellers from certain countries from quarantine.

However, the measures were reintroduced for arrivals from Spain in late July, catching airlines by surprise — as well as thousands of Britons leaving for their holidays.

The country’s struggling tourism sector has criticised the quarantine policy as overbearing and called for more targeted testing at ports of entry.


#Newsworthy…

COVID-19: Switzerland down to historic recession.

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Switzerland has plunged into recession after the coronavirus pandemic caused a “historic” 8.2-percent slump in economic activity in the second quarter, official figures showed Thursday.

“In the second quarter, Switzerland’s GDP (gross domestic product) suffered the biggest decline since records of quarterly data began in 1980,” the economic affairs ministry (SECO) said in a statement.

During the first quarter, the wealthy Alpine nation’s economy shrank 2.5 percent compared to the previous quarter, it said, revising the figure slightly from the 2.6 percent announced in June.

Recession is defined as two consecutive quarters of contraction.

SECO pointed out that Switzerland was by no way unique, with the global economy also in sharp recession as the pandemic rages worldwide.

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To date, more than 820,000 people have died out of the some 24 million infected globally by the novel coronavirus.

SECO stressed that in Switzerland, which has seen over 1,700 deaths and more than 40,000 cases, the “GDP decline remained limited in an international comparison.”

An elderly man wearing a protective face mask walks in a street in Lausanne, Switzerland, on August 18, 2020, amid the COVID-19 outbreak, caused by the novel coronavirus. Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP

During the second quarter, Switzerland saw manufacturing slump nine percent, with growth in the country’s sizeable pharmaceutical industry preventing a steeper decline.

Exports of goods, excluding precious metals and other valuables, plunged 9.4 percent.

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Switzerland’s service sector was meanwhile hit hardest by the measures taken to contain the pandemic, it said, with accommodation and food services for example plummeting over 54 percent.

SECO pointed out that tourism-related services had a smaller share of GDP than in most neighbouring nations.

But internally, the measures, which shuttered shops and restaurants, hit private consumption hard, pushing it down 8.6 percent.

Overall, SECO said, domestic demand recorded a “historic decline”, with imports of goods falling 14.3 percent and services more than 22 percent.


#Newsworthy…

[Nigeria] FG awaits $200m from 2 countries – Malami

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The Federal Government says Nigeria is awaiting the return of $200million from the Netherlands and Switzerland.

According to the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr Abubakar Malami, the money is part of proceeds from the Oil Prospecting Licence (OPL) 245 Malabu oil deal.

Mr Malami disclosed this on Tuesday at a one-day capacity building workshop organised for judiciary correspondents in Abuja, the nation’s capital.

At the event, he presented a scorecard of the Ministry of Justice in the last one year during which he outlined the efforts of the present administration in the war against corruption.

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“On the fight against corruption and associated recovery of looted and illicit assets, I am happy to inform you that within the period in contention, Nigeria succeeded in recovering $311 billion from U.S. and New Jersey and the money has been repatriated to Nigeria,” Malami said.

The minister said due to the anti-corruption crusade, the Federal Government facilitated the recovery of $62 billion arrears from oil companies as part of its Production Sharing Agreement (PSA).

He explained that the money has been paid into the Federal Government treasury for utility development such as the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, Kano-Abuja Expressway, and the Second Niger Bridge, in line with the agreement reached with the foreign partners.

Malami also disclosed that over N685 million was recovered through the help of whistle-blowers within the last one year while N500 million was recovered from forfeited vessels, trucks, and barges.

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Elsewhere, the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, said the government has recovered looted funds in excess of N800 billion with over 1,400 convictions secured.

Mohammed, who also addressed reporters in the nation’s capital, stated that the present administration’s fight against corruption was as strong as ever.

While stressing that there were records to back up his claim, he said Nigerians have recently been inundated with allegations of monumental corruption in a number of government agencies.

He listed some of the agencies to include the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF), and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).


#Newsworthy…