Tag Archives: asia

Coronavirus: ACI world gives advise to airport operators ..


Airports Council International (ACI) World, has advised airport operators and authorities to develop communication, screening, entry/exit controls and coordination with the health authorities to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

The virus has so far killed 81 people and infected 3,000 others. In its advisory bulletin titled, ‘Transmission of Communicable Diseases’, ACI warned that the outbreak is of considerable concern to the aviation industry, adding that “in the coming days and weeks, ACI expects to see national regulators and health authorities react to the spread of the virus by introducing measures directly affecting aviation.


It stated: “From an operational perspective, ACI is committed to assisting airports. Airport members are advised to refer to the guidelines for outbreaks of communicable disease.”

ACI World’s report states that screening measures adopted by airports should be complementary to the type of communicable disease in order to reduce its international spread. The organisation stated that if the transmission of the disease has occurred during the incubation period, the impact of screening is expected to be significantly lowered. This is expected to have happened with the corona virus, but local requirements should be followed.


Its Director General, Angela Gittens said: “The health and welfare of travellers, staff and the public, and to reduce the oppourtunities for dissemination of communicable diseases, are the priorities for the aviation industry following the recent novel corona virus outbreak.

“The guidance we have issued reiterates a number of options and best practices that airports and national authorities can use to protect against communicable diseases that might pose a serious risk to public health. The recommendations are designed to reduce exposure to an infectious agent at airports and to improve the response to health-related emergencies by establishing standards and procedures for rapid decision-making and action.”


In a related development, the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), in collaboration with Port Health Services, has commenced sensitisation of port users and stakeholders across the nation’s seaports to check people who are entering the ports.

The sensitisation is on the need to take precautionary measures to ensure that the virus does not enter Nigeria through the seaports or land entry points.


To this end, Nigeria has placed vessels from some Asian countries especially China, Japan, Thailand and South Korea on strict surveillance, as the disease has already claimed several lives in some of these countries.

Daily Sun learnt that the restrictions also extended to all the land borders as part of precautionary measures as the virus been detected in some African nations.


Speaking with Daily Sun, the General Manager, Corporate and Strategic Communications of NPA, Jatto Adam, said that a lot of sensitisation and awareness has been going on to ensure that people take necessary measures especially at the ports.

“We are liaising with Port Health Services because they are the one in charge of goods going and coming out of the ports to ensure that people who are entering the port are well checked,” Adam said.

All the relevant agencies such as the Nigeria Customs Service, Nigeria Plant Quarantine Services and the Nigeria Immigration Service, among several others have all been put on red alert.

A statement by the Port Health Services issued out to stakeholders on the outbreak of the virus reads in part: “Port Health Services wishes to notify all port users, agencies and stakeholders of the outbreak of corona virus in China, Thailand, South Korea and Japan that any vessel coming to Nigeria through the above named countries must notify the Port Health Services 48 hours before arrival to forestall any outbreak of this virus in Nigeria.”


#Newsworthy…

Coronavirus: Kenyans not evacuated from China yet ..


Kenya ambassador to China has said the government has no plan to evacuate citizens in China’s city of Wuhan – the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak.

“The option for evacuation should not be an immediate concern for now,” Sarah Serem, who is back in Kenya, told a local TV station.

See Citizen TV Kenya’s other Tweets
Report this social embed, make a complaint
Other countries have been making plans to evacuate their citizens from Wuhan, but Ms Serem said China was in a better position to deal with the virus, NobleReporters learnt


There are several suspected coronavirus cases in Africa:

1. Kenya: A student, who had been studying in Wuhan, is quarantined at a hospital in the capital, Nairobi, after arriving in the country on Tuesday. The results of tests to determine whether he is infected with coronavirus will be known by the end of Wednesday.


2. Ethiopia: Four Ethiopians, among them three students who had been in Wuhan, are in isolation at a hospital in the capital, Addis Ababa. The junior health minister tweeted on Tuesday that initial results tested negative, but blood samples had been sent to South Africa to confirm the results.

3. Ivory Coast: A student, who returned Ivory Coast from Beijing on Saturday, is undergoing further tests after showing flu-like symptoms.


#Newsworthy…

Coronavirus: Australian scientists recreated virus, finding cure ..


A cure seems to be in sight for the deadly coronavirus after a team of Australian scientists announced that they have recreated the virus.

The breakthrough annoucement made by researchers at the Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity in Melbourne on Wednesday January 29, is expected to quicken the creation of a vaccine.

Doherty Institute Deputy Director, Mike Catton told reporters that they will share the sample which was grown from an infected patient with the World Health Organization and laboratories around the world.

He said;

“We’ve planned for an incident like this for many, many years and that’s really why we were able to get an answer so quickly. This is a step, it’s a piece of the puzzle that we have contributed.”

The recent coronavirus outbreak has killed 132 people in China and infected close to 6,000, after the flu-like virus broke out in the central Chinese city of Wuhan at the end of 2019. Though no death has been reported outside China, there are at least 47 cases confirmed in 16 other countries including in Thailand, France, the US and Australia.

While Chinese authorities said the virus can be trasnsmitted during its incubation period, WHO insisted that it remains unclear whether it is contagious before symptoms appear. WHO added that the incubation period can range from two to 10 days.

Commenting on how the virus is being transmitted, Dr Catton said;

“An antibody test will enable us to retrospectively test suspected patients so we can gather a more accurate picture of how widespread the virus is, and consequently, among other things, the true mortality rate.

“It will also assist in the assessment of effectiveness of trial vaccines.”


#Newsworthy…

Coronavirus: Nearly 1,300 new cases in China ..


The death toll from the coronavirus outbreak in China soared to 106 on Tuesday with nearly 1,300 new cases confirmed authorities said, as the infection that emerged in the central province of Hubei late last year continued to spread.
The health commission in Hubei, the epicentre of the outbreak, said 24 more people had died from the virus and 1,291 more people had been infected, raising the total number of infections there to 2,714.


At least 4,520 people have now been infected, mostly in China, but cases have also been confirmed elsewhere in Asia, as well as in Europe and North America among people who had recently been in Wuhan, reports al-Jazeera.
The Chinese government has sealed off entire cities in Hubei, isolating some 50 million people in a vast quarantine that it hopes will curb the spread of the disease. Long-distance buses and some public transport networks have also been shut down elsewhere in the country.


Al Jazeera’s Scott Heidler, reporting from Beijing, said scientists were trying to find out more about the new virus, which is thought to have originated in wild animals.
“What’s really concerning about this virus and there are so many layers to it, is how quickly – and this is coming from health officials here – it has spread,” he said. “Every morning we wake up and the numbers have increased dramatically so that is the focus. Trying to understand this virus (and) how it spreads. There is still a lot that is not known about it.”


The US Consulate in Wuhan, the city at the centre of the outbreak, was preparing to fly its diplomats and some other Americans out of the country.
Japan, Mongolia, France and other governments are also preparing evacuations.


School return postponed
China has extended the Lunar New Year holiday until Sunday, and on Tuesday said it would postpone the start of the next semester for schools and universities across the country.

The education ministry did not provide a date for teaching to resume.
But a statement from the ministry said teaching institutions would reopen on a case-by-case basis.
School administrators had been instructed to “require students not to go out, not to gather, and not to hold or participate in centralised activities”, the statement added.


#Newsworthy…

Coronavirus: Facebook, the first U.S firm to stop workers from moving towards china ..


Facebook has become the first big US firm to tell staff to avoid travelling to China, as the death toll from the coronavirus rises.

The tech giant said it was acting “out of an abundance of caution” to protect its employees.


Other global companies have introduced travel restrictions and car makers are taking staff out of the country.

More than 100 people have died of the disease, and confirmed cases have risen above 4,500.


China has imposed further restrictions on travel in and out of Hubei province, where the virus originated, as it tries to curb the spread of the virus and transport links in and out of the capital Wuhan is effectively in lockdown.

Some domestic firms have responded by extending the Chinese New Year holiday and asking staff to work from home.


Facebook, which has a division in China selling products such as Oculus virtual reality headsets, has asked employees to halt non-essential travel to mainland China and told employees who had travelled there to work from home.

“We have taken steps to protect the health and safety of our employees,” a spokesman for the social media giant said.


• Death toll from China virus outbreak passes 100

• Coronavirus: How worried should we be?

• China coronavirus: Your questions answered


The US government has asked Americans to “reconsider” planned visits to China and is advising against travel to Hubei province. Washington has also said it plans to fly consular staff and US citizens out of Wuhan. Governments of several countries are considering helping their nationals to leave the city.

South Korean companies are also taking steps to protect their employees from the potential infection.


Home appliances company LG has put a complete ban on travel to China and has advised employees on business trips in the country to return home as quickly as possible. Chipmaker SK Hynix has urged staff to avoid all non-essential travel to China.

Car makers
Several international car companies have production sites around Wuhan, which is China’s seventh biggest city and a major motor manufacturing hub.


French car making group PSA, which owns the brands Peugeot and Citroen, has said it would bring French staff and their family members, a total of 38 people, out of Wuhan.

Japan’s Honda Motor, which also operates in Wuhan, has said it is planning to fly about 30 of its Japanese staff home.


Nissan, which is building a plant with Wuhan-based Dongfeng, has also said it will evacuate most of its Japanese staff and their families from the city.

Car makers are also being affected by the Chinese authorities’ decision to delay the reopening of their businesses after the Lunar New Year holiday.


In Shanghai, Tesla, General Motors, and Volkswagen have all been affected by the city’s government extending the break to 9 February.

All three companies have either their own factories in the city or operate plants through ventures with local partners.

In Wuhan, travel from the city of 11 million people has been severely restricted and non-essential vehicles have been banned from the roads. However the city’s mayor said millions of travellers had already left the city ahead of the holidays, before the lockdown was implemented.

Across China, other several major cities have suspended public transport systems, taxis and ride-hailing services


#Newsworthy…

Coronavirus: China mobilizes medical staff..


China’s death toll from the coronavirus discovered at the end of last year has risen to 80 and the total number of confirmed cases has risen to 2,744 cases as of January 26, the national health commission said in a statement on its website.

Meanwhile, China is mobilising medical staff to aid Hubei Province where local medical system was overwhelmed by a novel coronavirus outbreak. After the first group of medical teams arrived, 12 additional teams of more than 1,600 medical staff will be sent to aid coronavirus control.

Ma Xiaowei, director of the National Health Commission, said Sunday at a press conference that the medical staff will be sent out shortly, adding that authorities are also coordinating supplies urgently needed to control the outbreak, reports Xinhua.

Ma said the commission has called upon and sent more than 900 medical staff in seven teams to Hubei. The military also sent a 450-strong medical team.
More than 1,000 others are on standby, he said.
The central government allocated 1 billion yuan (143 million U.S. dollars) to fight the outbreak, sent its reserves of medical supplies and coordinated the transfer of protective clothing, face masks, gloves, and protective goggles to the hard-hit areas, Ma added.


#Newsworthy…

India celebrates 71st republic day..


The Indian government on Sunday celebrated the 71st Republic Day amid tight and adequate security measures.
The main function was organised at Rajpath in New Delhi, the national capital, where India’s military might and cultural diversity was fully displayed.

Indian President Ram Nath Kovind unfurled the Indian national flag, following which the national anthem was played. In accordance with the tradition, a booming 21-gun salute was also presented to mark the beginning of the parade, N.Rs learnt

The Republic Day ceremony started with Prime Minister Narendra Modi visiting the National War Memorial, where he paid tributes to the Indian soldiers who died fighting for the country.


Kovind saluted the parade and flypast. The military contingents, police and paramilitary marched past the podium, with colourful cultural performances being showcased during the parade.

“A spectacular parade of forces and a majestic flypast by military today marked the 71st Republic Day,” an official said, adding that the parade had showed the country’s military prowess, state-of-the-art defence platforms, and diverse culture.


Indian army’s battle tank Bhishma, infantry combat vehicle Ballway Machine Pikate and the air force’s new Rafale fighter jet, Chinook and Apache helicopters were the main highlights during the parade. For the first time, Anti-Satellite Weapons (ASAT) from Mission Shakti and the Dhanush artillery were at display.

A contingent of paramilitary Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) women bikers, 21 of them on five motorcycles, performed daredevil stunts during the parade.


According to the officials, over 20,000 security personnel from police and paramilitary were deployed in Delhi to ensure that no untoward incident takes place. Authorities also installed CCTV cameras and face-recognition cameras at Rajpath as part of the security.

The telecast of the parade and cultural pageant along with commentary in Hindi and English was available on the state-run television Doordarshan News. The state-run broadcaster All India Radio also broadcast the running commentary of the event for listeners.

Several VIPs and foreign dignitaries attended the event. President of Brazil Jair Messias Bolsonaro was the chief guest at the parade.

The parade started from Vijay Chowk and proceeded towards the Red Fort grounds.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi took to twitter to greet people on Republic Day.


#Newsworthy…

Coronavirus: 2,000 cases in China..


The death toll from the new virus in China has risen to 56 with 1,975 total cases reported.

The figures reported Sunday morning cover the previous 24 hours and mark an increase of 15 deaths and 688 cases.

The government also reported five cases in Hong Kong, two in Macao and three in Taiwan.


China’s leader on Saturday called the accelerating spread of a new virus a grave situation, as cities from the outbreak’s epicenter in central China to Hong Kong scrambled to contain the illness.

Travel agencies have been told to halt all group tours.


Millions of people traveling during the holiday have fueled the spread of the outbreak nationwide and overseas after it began in the city of Wuhan in central China’s Hubei province.

Wuhan, where the outbreak started, is banning most vehicles in downtown areas to restrict people’s movement, while Hong Kong is closing schools for two weeks.


According to The Associated Press, President Xi Jinping’s remarks, reported by state broadcaster CCTV, came at a meeting of Communist Party leaders convened on Lunar New Year — the country’s biggest holiday whose celebrations have been muted — and underlined the government’s urgent, expanding efforts to control the outbreak.

At the entry of one market in Wuhan, a worker was seen giving hand sanitizer to shoppers.

The vast majority of the infections and all the deaths have been in mainland China, but fresh cases are popping up.

Australia and Malaysia reported their first cases Saturday, and other countries reported additional ones.


#Newsworthy…

Coronavirus: Symptoms come after virus spread – Researchers..


A new coronavirus that has spread to almost 2,000 people is infectious in its incubation period – before symptoms show – making it harder to contain, Chinese officials say.

Some 56 people have died from the virus. Health minister Ma Xiaowei told reporters the ability of the virus to spread appeared to be strengthening.

Several Chinese cities have imposed significant travel restrictions.


Wuhan in Hubei, the source of the outbreak, is in effective lockdown.

Wuhan: The London-sized city where the virus began
How do you quarantine a city – and does it work?
The infections were at a “crucial stage of containment”, Ma Xiaowei said.


Officials announced that the sale of all wildlife in China would be banned from Sunday. The virus was initially thought to have originated in animals.

In humans, the incubation period – during which a person has the disease, but no symptoms yet – ranges from between one and 14 days, officials believe.


Without symptoms, a person may not know they have the infection, but still be able to spread it.

This is a significant development in our understanding of the virus and the lengths China will have to go to stop it.


People with Sars (the last deadly coronavirus outbreak to hit China) and Ebola are contagious only when symptoms appear.

Such outbreaks are relatively easy to stop – identify and isolate people who are sick and monitor anyone they came into contact with.


Flu, however, is the most famous example of a virus that you spread before you even know you’re ill.

We are not at the stage where people are saying this could be a global pandemic like swine flu.


But stopping such “symptomless spreaders” will make the job of the Chinese authorities much harder.

There are still crucial questions – how infectious are people during the incubation period and did any of the patients outside China spread the disease in those countries before becoming sick?


And why did China’s National Health Commission say the transmission ability of this virus is getting stronger?

What’s it like in Wuhan?
Sophie, from the UK, is inside locked-down Wuhan. She told the BBC: “We’re pretty much stuck.”


“We’ve been stuck in the house four days. We found out about the virus on 31 December. It’s just got worse and worse. Now it’s really bad,” she said.

“It’s scary, we’ve heard the virus can stay in the system for two weeks without somebody showing signs they’re sick.

With no taxis on the streets, volunteer drivers are bringing people to crowded hospitals.

“There are no cars, so we are responsible for bringing people there (to hospital), and we take them back, afterwards we will do disinfecting. All for free,” Yin Yu told AFP news agency.


“We’re fine,” another driver, Zhang Lin, said. “There has to be someone who does this. We’re from Wuhan, and even you guys [journalists] are here to help us, our own citizens should also come out to do this. This is our job.”

What is the virus?
The virus itself is a new, or “novel” coronavirus – a family that normally affects animals.


One human variant causes the common cold, but another, Sars, killed hundreds in a major outbreak in 2003.

Coronavirus: How worried should we be?
Has China learned lessons since deadly Sars epidemic‎?
This new virus causes severe acute respiratory infection.


Symptoms seem to start with a fever, followed by a dry cough and then, after a week, lead to shortness of breath and some patients needing hospital treatment.

At the end of Saturday in China, there were 1975 cases and a further 2,684 suspected cases, China’s National Health Commission said.

How has it spread?
Sunday is the second day of the Year of the Rat – and the rapid spread of the disease coincides with the Lunar New Year festival, one of the busiest travel periods in the Chinese calendar.

From Wuhan, a city of 11 million people in Hubei province, the disease spread to neighbouring cities and provinces in smaller numbers. By Saturday, cases were reported across China.


China’s travel industry counts cost of coronavirus
How is China coping with the coronavirus outbreak?
But the disease also spread by air travel, and several countries are dealing with a handful of cases.


A small number of infections have been reported in neighbouring Asian nations, but also further afield.

Cases have been confirmed in Japan, Taiwan, Nepal, Thailand, Vietnam, Singapore, Australia, the US, and France.

Wuhan woman who ‘cheated’ checks found in France
UK coronavirus tests come back negative
Coronavirus sparks anxiety among Chinese overseas
Other countries have carried out tests on suspected cases – for example, the UK tested 31 people, but all results came back negative.

The US is extracting its consular staff in Wuhan, while Japan and the UK have both said they are considering evacuating citizens.


#Newsworthy…

Pretty actress commit suicide, leave note..


According to Times of India, an Indian television actor Sejal Sharma was found hanging in her flat at Mira Road on Friday. She left behind a suicide note.

The Kashimira police has registered a case of accidental death. Two of her friends, including a room mate who were reportedly in the flat are being questioned.


Sejal (26) who acted in the Star Plus serial ‘Dil Toh Happy Hai Ji’ was living on rent on the second floor of Royal Nest housing society, Shivar Garden, Mira Road. Her show that began in January 2019, abruptly ended in August. In the serial she essayed the role of Simmi Khosla, the adoptive sister of the lead actor.

Police said that she was found hanging from the ceiling fan of her bedroom at around 5 am. A suicide note found on her stated that nobody should be blamed for her suicide. Police said that the cause of the death is being investigated.


Her friends said on condition of anonymity that Sejal was under depression after her television show came to an end. She was looking for work but nothing had come her way.

Police are also investigating the love angle as some of her friends have hinted at a relationship angle that had added to her depression.

Originally from Udaipur in Rajasthan, Sejal had come to Mumbai in 2017 to pursue her acting career. It was her first television serial. Prior to that she had done a few commercials on televisions, including with actor Aamir Khan and cricketers Rohit Sharma and Hardik Pandya.

The body has been taken to the Pandit Bhimsen Joshi government hospital in Bhayander for autopsy. Police said that they are waiting for her parents to arrive


#Newsworthy…

Court jailed pastor for inciting revolution


China on Monday jailed the leader of an unofficial Protestant church for nine years for “incitement to subvert state power”.

Pastor Wang Yi, whose Early Rain Covenant Church was the target of a government crackdown last year, was also found guilty of “illegal business operation” by a court in Chengdu, southwest China, according to an announcement on an official court website.

Wang was detained in December 2018 in a raid by authorities in which dozens of members of his “underground church” disappeared.


China’s officially atheist government is wary of any organised movements outside its own control, including religious ones.

Protestants in the country are split between unofficial “house” or “underground” churches like the Early Rain Covenant Church, and state-sanctioned ones where Communist Party songs also feature in the order of service.


Catholics are similarly divided between unofficial churches led by bishops recognised by the Vatican and those who follow official prelates.

Wang was convicted in an open trial by a court in Chengdu, where his Early Rain Covenant Church had been based, the city’s official court website said.


The charge of inciting subversion has often been used against dissidents as a way to silence criticism of the government and the Communist Party.

Shortly before being detained, Wang wrote a post on his church’s Facebook page criticising the Chinese government for repressing Christians, saying “the Party can flourish for a while, but it cannot last forever.”


“The Party can kill my body, but it cannot kill my soul,” Wang wrote.

‘Chilling effect’
Patrick Poon, a Hong Kong-based researcher with Amnesty International, said Wang’s sentence would “have a chilling effect on other house churches in China.”


“The message is very clear — you will be the next Wang Yi if you don’t register and follow the Communist Party’s line on religion,” Poon told AFP.

Wang’s church was among a number of prominent “underground” churches shut down by the government in 2018 as part of a crackdown on religion, especially on followers of Islam and Christianity.


Beijing-based Zion Church, one of China’s largest “underground” Protestant churches, was banned by city authorities in September 2018 for operating without a licence after dozens of officials stormed its premises.

Earlier that year, unauthorised versions of the Bible were pulled from Chinese online retailers.


In November, politburo standing committee member Wang Yang said at a forum that Beijing should even alter religious scripture to fix “contents not in line with the progress of the times.”

Reinterpreting religious doctrines would show “religious circles’ responsibility for their own beliefs” and was in line with the “Sinicisation and modernisation of religions,” Wang said.


He said Beijing should “effectively resist the erosion by extremist thoughts and heresies” by making its own re-evaluation of religious texts.

China has faced international condemnation for rounding up an estimated one million Uighurs and other mostly Muslim ethnic minorities in internment camps in the northwestern region of Xinjiang.

China Flag

An investigation found in October that China’s efforts to erase minorities’ religious identity in Xinjiang have included the destruction of burial grounds where generations of Uighur families were laid to rest.

Beijing has sought to portray its crackdown in Xinjiang as a programme to combat extremism and terrorism.


#Newsworthy…

US and China goes head-to-head as trump halts new tarrif

The US and China have announced a preliminary trade agreement.

The so-called phase one deal will see billions of dollars in tariffs removed or delayed.

US stocks hit a fresh record on hopes there will be a continued softening of trade tensions between the world’s two largest economies.

A fresh wave of US tariffs on Chinese imports was due to take effect on Sunday. However, this has been cancelled for now.

If the new, higher tariffs had gone ahead, Chinese-made goods such as smartphones, clothing and toys would have become more expensive for Americans just ahead of Christmas.

US negotiators are reportedly offering to significantly reduce existing tariffs on about $360bn (£270bn) worth of Chinese imports.

In return, China has promised to buy large quantities of US soybeans, poultry and other agricultural products.

The agreement is a deal in principle, which means if China breaks any part of the agreement, the Trump administration has the ability to re-implement tariffs.

Analysis box by Katie Prescott, Business correspondent

There’s some festive cheer for American shoppers and businesses as the Christmas decorations, game consoles and iphones that were due to be hit with a 15% tariff are now off the hook.

The share of these goods coming from China is around 85%, according to Bloomberg analysis, which would have made it difficult for companies to source them from elsewhere.

America’s business lobby group – the influential Business Roundtable has long been lobbying against the tariffs, saying they would be very damaging to the US economy. As the boss of JP Morgan Jamie Dimon put it “it’s what happens to people’s psyche and confidence and businesses”.

The International Monetary Fund estimates that the US-China trade war could shave almost a percentage point off of global growth this year.

But there has been push back from others, such as Trump’s trade advisor Peter Navarro, who feel the US should keep the pressure on what are widely accepted as China’s unfair business practices. Replacing ‘trade’ with ‘aid’ (subsidies) for the American farmers who have suffered since China put reciprocal taxes on the likes of soybeans.

It’s worth noting that this ‘phase one’ deal is just the beginning of the end. America imports $550bn dollars worth of products from China – and tariffs will remain on $370bn dollars of that.

#NewsWorthy

Russia banned for four years from participating in all sporting events.

By the World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada)…

It means the Russia flag and anthem will not be allowed at events such as the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympics and football’s 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

But athletes who can prove they are untainted by the doping scandal will be able to compete under a neutral flag.

Russian prime minister Dmitry Medvedev said the ban was part of “chronic anti-Russian hysteria”.

“It is obvious that significant doping problems still exist in Russia, I mean our sporting community,” he said. “This is impossible to deny.

“But on the other hand the fact that all these decisions are repeated, often affecting athletes who have already been punished in one way or another, not to mention some other points – of course this makes one think that this is part of anti-Russian hysteria which has become chronic.”

Wada’s executive committee made the unanimous decision to impose the ban on Russia in a meeting in Lausanne, Switzerland, on Monday.

It comes after Russia’s Anti Doping Agency (Rusada) was declared non-compliant for manipulating laboratory data handed over to investigators in January 2019.

It had to hand over data to Wada as a condition of its controversial reinstatement in 2018 after a three-year suspension for its vast state-sponsored doping scandal.

Wada says Rusada has 21 days to appeal against the ban. If it does so, the appeal will be referred to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (Cas).

Wada president Sir Craig Reedie said the decision showed its “determination to act resolutely in the face of the Russian doping crisis”.

He added: “For too long, Russian doping has detracted from clean sport. The blatant breach by the Russian authorities of Rusada’s reinstatement conditions demanded a robust response.

“That is exactly what has been delivered.

“Russia was afforded every opportunity to get its house in order and rejoin the global anti-doping community for the good of its athletes and of the integrity of sport, but it chose instead to continue in its stance of deception and denial.”

But Wada vice-president Linda Helleland said the ban was “not enough”.

“I wanted sanctions that can not be watered down,” she said. “We owe it to the clean athletes to implement the sanctions as strongly as possible.”

A total of 168 Russian athletes competed under a neutral flag at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang after the country was banned following the 2014 Games, which it hosted in Sochi. Russian athletes won 33 medals in Sochi, 13 of which were gold.

Russia has been banned from competing as a nation in athletics since 2015.

Despite the ban, Russia will be able to compete at Euro 2020 – in which St Petersburg will be a host city – as European football’s governing body Uefa is not defined as a ‘major event organisation’ with regards to rulings on anti-doping breaches.

Fifa said it had “taken note” of Wada’s decision, adding: “Fifa is in contact with Wada to clarify the extent of the decision in regards to football.”

In a statement, the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) said: “Those responsible for the manipulation of data from the Moscow laboratory before it was transferred to Wada appear to have done everything possible to undermine the principles of fair and clean sport, principles that the rest of the sporting world support and adhere to.

“This sincere lack of respect towards the rest of the global sporting movement is not welcome and has zero place in the world of sport. It is only right that those responsible for this data manipulation are punished.”

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) said it “supported” Wada’s decision.

How did we get here?

Rusada was initially declared non-compliant in November 2015 after a Wada-commissioned report by sports lawyer Professor Richard McLaren alleged widespread corruption that amounted to state-sponsored doping in Russian track and field athletics.

A further report, published in July 2016, declared Russia operated a state-sponsored doping programme for four years across the “vast majority” of summer and winter Olympic sports.

In 2018, Wada reinstated Rusada as compliant after the national agency agreed to release data from its Moscow laboratory from the period between January 2012 and August 2015.

However, positive findings contained in a version courtesy of a whistleblower in 2017 were missing from the January 2019 data, which prompted a new inquiry.

Wada’s compliance review committee (CRC) recommended a raft of measures based “in particular” on a forensic review of inconsistencies found in some of that data.

As part of the ban, Russia may not host, or bid for or be granted the right to host any major events for four years, including the 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

What was the reaction?

Whistleblower Grigory Rodchenkov, the former Russian anti-doping official who fled to the United States after his allegations about a state-sponsored doping programme, says there remains “more to do”.

“Finally, fraud, lies and falsifications of unspeakable proportions have been punished in full swing,” he said in a statement.

“Those involved in the corruption of certain sports such as track and field, weightlifting, skiing, biathlon and bobsled, should be punished retroactively. The results of the London and Sochi Olympic Games should be reanalysed and reconsidered with the new knowledge available today.

“We only have a few months to reanalyse the samples from the 2012 London Games because, according to Wada rules, we only have eight years to review.

“There is a whole generation of clean athletes who have painfully abandoned their dreams and lost awards because of Russian cheaters. We need to take the strongest action to bring justice back to sport.”

UK Anti-Doping (Ukad) chief executive Nicole Sapstead said Wada’s decision to impose a ban on Russia was the “only possible outcome” to “reassure athletes and the public and continue the task of seeking justice for those cheated by Russian athletes”.

However, Travis Tygart, chief executive of the US Anti-Doping Agency, said not imposing a blanket ban on all participation by Russian athletes – even under a neutral flag – is a “devastating blow” to clean athletes.

“The reaction by all those who value sport should be nothing short of a revolt against this broken system to force reform,” he said, adding that it was “another horrendous Groundhog Day of Russian corruption and domination”.

“Wada promised the world back in 2018 that if Russia failed yet again to live up to its agreements, it would use the toughest sanction under the rules. Yet, here we go again; Wada says one thing and does something entirely different.”

British powerlifter and Paralympic medallist Ali Jawad, who is a member of UK Anti-Doping’s athlete commission, said Wada had been “soft”.

“To protect the next generation of Russian athletes, we need to make sure Russia and the system is punished to the fullest extent,” Jawad told BBC Radio 5 Live.

“The only way we can change that is meaningful change and what kind of message does this send out to the future generation? That, actually, state-sponsored doping, we are going to treat it softly.”

Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson told Radio Wales that Wada has now “stepped up” and moved forward after “not taking it as seriously”.

“There are a couple of things; there will be clean Russian athletes, it is a shame for them, but there are lots of clean athletes that have been affected by anyone who has doped,” she said.

“For the athletes who are clean, the British athletes that have lost out, Goldie Sayers, the British bobsleigh team who get their medals years later, it is no recompense.”

Triple Olympic medallist Kelly Sotherton, who was retrospectively awarded her 2008 heptathlon bronze after Russia’s Tatyana Chernova failed to have a doping ban overturned, says she understands why tougher sanctions were not imposed.

“I think they are thinking of the majority of athletes who are doing the right thing, not the wrong thing,” she said.

#Newsworthy

Just in💥💥💥 Donald Trump was called an “erratic old man” by the North korean.

Again, North Korea has insulted U.S. President Donald Trump, calling him a “heedless and erratic old man” after he tweeted that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un wouldn’t want to abandon a special relationship between the two leaders and affect the U.S. presidential election by resuming hostile acts.

A senior North Korean official, former nuclear negotiator Kim Yong Chol, said in a statement that his country wouldn’t cave in to U.S. pressure because it has nothing to lose and accused the Trump administration of attempting to buy time ahead of an end-of-year deadline set by Kim Jong Un for Washington to salvage nuclear talks.

“As he is such a heedless and erratic old man, the time when we cannot but call him a ‘dotard’ again may come,” Kim Yong-chol said, referring to personal insults and threats of nuclear war that ?Kim Jong-un and Mr. Trump exchanged two years ago.

In a separate statement, former Foreign Minister Ri Su Yong said Trump’s comments were a “corroboration that he feels fear” about what North Korea might do when Kim’s deadline expires and warned Trump to think twice if he wants to avoid “bigger catastrophic consequences.”

The North Korean official also said? that? Mr. Trump’s latest tweets showed that ?the president was “an old man bereft of patience.”

Mr. Trump had on Sunday, ?warned that the North Korean leader should not “void his special relationship with the President of the United States or interfere with the U.S. Presidential Election in November” by resuming ?hostile acts.

“Kim Jong Un is too smart and has far too much to lose, everything actually, if he acts in a hostile way … North Korea, under the leadership of Kim Jong Un, has tremendous economic potential, but it must denuclearize as promised.” he tweeted

#Newsworthy…

Lagos: Sanwo-olu seeks Chinese investors.

The recent investment visit of the Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, with some members of the state Executive Council to China could be the starting point of efforts by the administration to meeting the numerous expectations of Lagosians who have been looking forward to the emergence of the Greater Lagos agenda promised by the government.

As Nigeria’s economic capital largely tagged the nation’s Centre of Excellence, Lagos has for years remained the toast of most upwardly looking Nigerians who see it as a home of opportunities where their aspirations of quality life, jobs, infrastructure, and security can be met.

For those who dare, such expectations have always turned out to be true while for others without ambition, the dream ends up as a nightmare.

Today the new Lagos administration appears set to assist resilient and hardworking residents attain their dreams going by recent efforts to stimulate the various sectors of the economy through partnerships with the private sector and multilateral agencies within and outside the country.

With years of neglect arising from declining revenues and surging rural -urban migration, much of the Lagos infrastructure appear largely degraded due to severe pressure from rising urban population leaving it to gradually acquire the status of a jungle where nothing appears to work.

This began to happen when factories, companies and business premises that provided the jobs for most residents suddenly started going out of business due to the nation’s harsh operating environment, traffic gridlock, mountains of refuse dumps, poor power supply and other infrastructural inadequacies were beginning to turn the nation’s centre of excellence into one of the world’s worst places to live in.

But in line with the new administration’s promises to restore the Lagos pride, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, recently reached out to investors, financial institutions, multilateral agencies, institutions and government agencies in Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Beijing for collaboration towards achieving his Greater Lagos Agenda.

The investment drive was part of the government’s strategic move to rekindle global confidence in the capacity of Lagos State to realise its potential as one of Africa’s leading economies, and indeed its most populous city.

Since coming on board as the Lagos state governor, the citizens have been looking up to Mr Sanwo-Olu to deliver on his election promise of T.H.E.M.E.S, representing Traffic Management & Transportation, Health & Environment, Education & Technology. They have been looking forward to the government to create the 21 Century Lagos Economy, where Entertainment & Tourism as well as Security & Governance, would become the springboard for driving and measuring the Greater Lagos Agenda of this administration.

While in China, the Governor demonstrated his audacity drive his vision with several high level meetings with the Chinese authorities. It is indeed a new dawn for Lagos as the government has hit the ground running towards building a Greater Lagos that the residents would be proud of through collaboration and partnership.

To build a functional city supports business growth, the Governor is reaching out to more developed economies and societies for models and support to build a 21century Lagos that would meet the people’s expectation.

Building strategic alliances

For instance, during the China business visit, Mr Sanwo-Olu, reached out to his counterpart, Mr. Ma Xingrui, Governor of China’s Guangzhou Province, where they both signed a Twin City Agreement between Lagos and Guangzhou Province.

The agreement was so critical to the Lagos delegation considering that what Lagos is to Nigeria, is also what Guangzhou is to China. This strong affinity and the excellent infrastructure in the Chinese city have further emboldened the Sanwo-Olu administration to press forward with its economic and industrial regeneration as it seeks to replicate what the government of the province has done for its 44.2 million people.

Guangzhou is the biggest city in China, and has remained an important port in southern China for centuries, and so Sanwo-Olu’s choice of the city for a twin-city partnership is the result of his appreciation of its Beta+ Global Global City ranking, and more perhaps because the intensity of Mr. Ma Xingrui’s strides, judging by its estimated 22 million population.

From all indications, the partnership agreement between Lagos and Guangzhou stands as a deliberate step by Governor Sanwo-Olu, who is already stretching out his hands beyond the Atlantic in his bid to understand how most cities are able to attract the best companies, the top talents, and the most investment funds.

All together the investment trip has revealed that the right mix of business activities, human capital, information exchange, political engagement, and positive experiences that help organisations and people to thrive can indeed make one city more attractive than the other.

The Lagos Smart-City Agenda

From the Guangzhou Traffic Management Centre, the Lagos government delegation realised that managing the entire vehicular traffic and handling emergency services are just a click of the buttons. The orderliness on the roads of Guangzhou, a city with a major terminus on the silk road, perfectly matches the picture of Sanwo-Olu’s ideal Lagos.

The tour, after a demonstration of responsiveness to distress calls by emergency agencies, triggered an action that will make Lagos smarter. With about 7million people in 5 million vehicles and 200 commercial buses on Lagos roads daily, the Governor is convinced that things can be handled differently to bring orderliness to Africa’s most populous city.

On his discussions with technology giants on how to transform Lagos into a smart city, the governor said he held very fruitful discussions with Huawei and Ehang, as well as other reputable urban development organisations including Zhuhai Holding Investment Group, on the socio-economic importance of Lagos to the world, and Africa in particular.

“We are at the stage of building critical infrastructure that will make our city more habitable. We want technology to drive economic innovation, public security, health management, waste management, traffic management, government processes and services to the public” Governor Sanwo-Olu, said while reassuring the companies about the state’s readiness to take its rightful place in the comity of megacities in the world by rapidly transforming into a smart city.

In all these discussions Governor Sanwo-Olu signalled to the potential partners that “We do not have the big cheques to sign for this total transformation now, but it is a journey we know will take us into the future we really should be as Africa’s most populous city and 7th largest economy. The vitality of our 22 million people and political stability are valid collateral that should provide comfort in the collaboration we are seeking”, holds tangible hope.

Already, Huawei, with impressive footprint in smart-city development in South Africa, Dubai and across Asia, said through the head of its Nigeria office, Eric Zhang, during a tour of its Campus in Shenzhen, with the company’s Global VP, Enterprise Business Group, Mr. Laurent Fan, Vice President, Government & Public Utility, David Zhang and, Global Public Safety Expert, Peter Goulding, that “Huawei is excited that Lagos State is planning digitisation of its assets, processes, operations and public service facilities”.

“I am familiar with Lagos State and I know that the State needs this transformation and is capable of embarking on it. As someone who is very familiar with Nigeria and Lagos State especially, our company Huawei is ready to work with Lagos on the transformation journey. I know that transforming Lagos into Smart-city is an exercise that will happen in phases, but the most important requirement is government commitment, which you have demonstrated”, he added.

Similarly, the Ehang, the China-based world’s leading autonomous aerial vehicle (AAV) technology platform company’s delegation led by Ms. Shiny Biu, the company’s Director, Strategic Cooperation said “the company is open to partnering with the State and is open to discussing the appropriate models that will fittingly serve the goals of the two parties”.

With Ehang, the Governor thinks that “like other megacities in the world, Lagos State is still faced with some challenges that will require very innovative solution. For Instance, emergency situations will require urgent and speedy response, just as when there are security challenges because safety of lives and property are very important to our government”.

This may mean that the Governor is considering collaboration in urban air mobility including passenger transportation and logistics, smart city management and aerial solutions, because Ehang is the forerunner of cutting-edge AAV technologies and commercial solutions in the global Urban Air Mobility industry.

Trade, Investment & Industry

To keep Lagos ahead and sustain its status as a foremost economy in Africa, the state would need to leverage its influence to attract quality investments, global businesses and large-scale enterprises. With its GDP of $136billion and nominal per capital income of about $5,000, indications are that the potential of the state are yet to be fully exploited.

The governor’s knock on Chinese investors’ doors to domesticate their businesses in Lagos is a further demonstration of his commitment to see the state emerges as an industrial hub capable of competing with China in the years ahead.

#Newsworthy…

Just in – China set to move sales of electric vehicles come 2025.

China should adopt a plan that will see electric vehicles make up a quarter of all autos sold in the country in six years’ time, the industry ministry said Tuesday, as the sector struggles with falling sales.

A draft blueprint for the development of the “new energy vehicle” sector — which includes hybrids and fully-electric vehicles — comes after the government withdrew subsidies for carmakers earlier this year.

China is the world’s largest new energy vehicle market, but sales of electric motors plummeted 34 percent on-year in September, according to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM).

The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology’s draft proposal said China should seek to ensure one in four of all vehicles sold in 2025 were either hybrids or fully-electric vehicles.

The measures are partly to ensure the country meets its air pollution targets, and to reduce Beijing’s dependence on imported oil.

China would also continue to develop electric vehicle battery technologies, improve infrastructure for hydrogen fuel cell vehicles and driverless cars, it said.

The draft proposal, which includes guidelines for the development of the new energy vehicle sector from 2021 to 2035, is open for public feedback until December 9.

A previous state target set in 2017 had called for 20 percent of cars sold to be electric vehicles by 2020, but the draft released Tuesday gave no indication whether China was on track to meet that goal.

Fuelled by rising incomes and government sales incentives, China is the golden goose upon which the global automotive industry has staked its future.

But after years of strong growth, car sales fell last year for the first time since the 1990s, hit by a slowing economy, US trade tensions and a Chinese crackdown on shady credit practices that has crimped car-financing channels.

Passenger vehicles sales in China have now fallen for 15 consecutive months, according to the CAAM.

The government had earlier said it was planning to impose quotas requiring carmakers to maintain a certain percentage of new energy vehicles in their Chinese production.

#Newsworthy…

Gulf Cup: Rivals Qatar, UAE to face-off for s’final spot

Asian champions and hosts Qatar are set to face regional rivals the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in a decisive football match at the 24th Arabian Gulf Cupin Doha.

Kick-off for the sold-out Group A encounter is at 5:30pm local time (14:30 GMT) on Monday at the Khalifa International Stadium, a 40,000-capacity venue, in the Qatari capital, reports al-Jazeera.

A semi-final berth is up for grabs at the biennial regional tournament after both teams lost to Iraq and recorded wins over Yemen in their opening two group matches.

Qatar need a draw to advance on goal difference, while a win for the 2017 finalists UAE will see them through to the knock-out stage.

“We will enter Monday’s game against the UAE with an aim to win. I know even a draw is good for us against them, but it’s always risky to play for a draw. We are taking it as a final,” Felix Sanchez, Qatar’s Spanish coach, said at a news conference.

UAE coach Bert van Marwijk from the Netherlands admitted his side has a tough task ahead.

“In my opinion, they [Qatar] are the best, but we will have our destiny in our hand as we have our chance. We have to give our best to win against them,” he told reporters before the match.

The UAE, along with Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, were included late in the draw after they reversed their earlier decision to boycott the football event over a two-year-old diplomatic dispute with Qatar.

The trio, along with Egypt, continue to impose a land, air and sea blockade on Qatar after severing ties in June 2017 accusing it of “supporting terrorism”, a charge repeatedly and vehemently rejected by Doha.

But their football teams’ decision to participate and reports that the Saudi team took a direct flight from Riyadh to Doha for the tournament have signalled a thaw in ties, according to some analysts.

‘Lower stakes’

Qatar, ranked 55 in the world, head into Monday’s encounter with a superior head-to-head record against the UAE: 12 wins and 10 losses. The UAE are placed at 71, according to FIFA’s latest rankings.

The two sides last faced off in a highly charged AFC Asian Cup semi-final earlier this year, which Qatar won 4-0 en route to their maiden Asian title.

That bad-tempered game in January in Abu Dhabi saw Emirati fans loudly booing and whistling throughout the Qatari national anthem, while dozens sat for its duration before standing for the UAE anthem.

Local fans also hurled shoes and bottles at Qatari players during the match.

The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) later sanctioned the UAE Football Association with a fine of $150,000 and ordered its national team to play a home match behind closed doors.

Tensions also boiled over days after the match with the UAE FA lodging a complaintover claims the Qatari team used two ineligible players during the tournament.

The Emirati appeal was subsequently dismissed by the AFC just hours before the kick-off for Qatar’s final against Japan.

Dismissing concerns of a hostile rematch in Doha, Ali al-Salat, the head of media for 24th Arabian Gulf Cup, said: “The fans, I think, are aware of the importance of this competition.”

“We won’t see these kinds of things and what happened in the Asian Cup it doesn’t represent all the fans of football at that time, just a few people who have done that.”

Kristian Coates Ulrichsen, author of The Gulf States In International Political Economy, concurred.

“I don’t expect the Qatari supporters to behave in the same way that marred the semi-final of the Asian Cup in Abu Dhabi earlier this year,” he told Al Jazeera.

According to Christopher Davidson, a UK-based expert on the Middle East, the “stakes are much lower” in sporting terms.

But he added: “No government can be expected to control the behaviour of each and every one of its citizens, and the prospect of a couple of rogue fans acting out of line seems a very real one.”

All eight teams will be in action on Monday – the last day of the group stage. The other Group A match features Yemen against Iraq, who have already booked their place in the semi-finals.

In Group B, 10-time winners Kuwait face Bahrain, while the defending champions Oman are up against three-time winners Saudi Arabia.

#Newsworthy…

Control, and then more control; China decides Mandatory Face Scans For Phone Users

China will require telecom operators to collect face scans when registering new phone users at offline outlets starting Sunday, according to the country’s information technology authority, as Beijing continues to tighten cyberspace controls.

In September, China’s industry and information technology ministry issued a notice on “safeguarding the legitimate rights and interests of citizens online”, which laid out rules for enforcing real-name registration.

The notice said telecom operators should use “artificial intelligence and other technical means” to verify people’s identities when they take a new phone number.

A China Unicom customer service representative told media that the December 1 “portrait matching” requirement means customers registering for a new phone number may have to record themselves turning their head and blinking.

“In next steps, our ministry will continue to…increase supervision and inspection…and strictly promote the management of real-name registration for phone users,” said the September notice.

Though the Chinese government has pushed for real-name registration for phone users since at least 2013 — meaning ID cards are linked to new phone numbers — the move to leverage AI comes as facial recognition technology gains traction across China where the tech is used for everything from supermarket checkouts to surveillance.

Online, Chinese social media users reacted with a mix of support and worry over the December 1 facial verification notice, with some voicing concerns their biometric data could be leaked or sold.

“This is a bit too much,” wrote one user on Twitter-like Weibo, commenting under an article about the new rules.

“Control, and then more control,” posted another.

While researchers have warned of the privacy risks associated with gathering facial recognition data, consumers have widely embraced the technology — though China saw one of its first lawsuits on facial recognition last month.

In early November, a Chinese professor filed a claim against a safari park in Hangzhou, eastern Zhejiang province for requiring face scans for entry, according to the local court.

In addition to mobile users, Chinese social media site Weibo was forced to roll out real-name registration in 2012.

Oversight of social media has ramped up in recent years as part of the Chinese government’s push to “promote the healthy, orderly development of the Internet, protect state security and public interest”.

#Newsworthy…