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UN Warns COVID-19 Could Double Food Insecurity In 9 African Countries-katamablog

A photo of the United Nations emblem

The spread of COVID-19 risks devastating countries across East Africa, where food insecurity could more than double in just three months, the United Nations warned Tuesday.

The UN’s World Food Programme (WFP) estimates that some 20 million people currently do not have secure provisions of food across nine countries in the region: Burundi, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Kenya, Rwanda, Somalia and Uganda.

Compared to other parts of the world, these countries have so far registered few confirmed COVID-19 cases, with numbers still counted in the dozens or hundreds.

However, due to their often weak economies and poor health infrastructure, they are considered highly vulnerable to the impacts of the mounting crisis.

“WFP projections are currently that the number of food insecure people in the region is likely to increase to 34 or up to 43 million during the next three months due to the socioeconomic impact of COVID-19,” spokeswoman Elisabeth Byrs told journalists in a virtual briefing.

In the worst-case scenario, “food insecurity will have more than doubled,” she stressed, adding that nearly half of the projected 43 million people affected were expected to be acutely food insecure.

READ ALSO: UN Tells Firms To Make Worker Returns Safe As COVID-19 Lockdowns Ease

She said the WFP urgently needed more than $500 million for just the next three to six months to scale up its operations in the Horn of Africa and wider East Africa.

The pandemic, which to date has killed more than 210,000 people worldwide out of more than three million infected, has created an “unprecedented crisis,” Byrs said.

“It is not just a supply side problem, such as drought or locusts, or a demand side issue, such as a recession. It is both, at the same time and on a global scale,”

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UK to regulate Google and Facebook

UK to regulate Google and Facebook

The U.K. government said Friday, Nov 27, that it plans to create a Digital Markets Unit (DMU) to enforce “a new code to govern the behavior of platforms that currently dominate the market, such as Google and Facebook.”

The aim is to protect smaller competitors and give consumers more control over personal data.

Under the new code, some of the world’s biggest tech companies may have to be more transparent about the services they provide and how they use consumers’ data. They may also be forced to give consumers a choice over whether to receive personalized advertising, and they won’t be able to place restrictions on customers that make it difficult for them to use rival platforms. 

The DMU, which will be part of the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), will start work in April 2021.

The government said the DMU may be given the power to suspend, block and reverse decisions made by large tech companies. The DMU could also order them to take certain actions to achieve compliance with the code, and impose financial penalties for non-compliance, the government said.

Digital Secretary Oliver Dowden said in a statement: “I’m unashamedly pro-tech and the services of digital platforms are positively transforming the economy — bringing huge benefits to businesses, consumers and society.

“But there is growing consensus in the UK and abroad that the concentration of power among a small number of tech companies is curtailing growth of the sector, reducing innovation and having negative impacts on the people and businesses that rely on them. It’s time to address that and unleash a new age of tech growth.”

Britain’s announcement comes as US tech giants are facing increasing scrutiny around the world over their power and as other countries step up their regulatory powers.

“Our new, pro-competition regime for digital markets will ensure consumers have choice, and mean smaller firms aren’t pushed out,” said Business Secretary Alok Sharma.

The measures are due to come into force after Britain goes it alone at the end of a post-Brexit transition period from the European Union.

Next month the EU is to present its own major legislation called the Digital Services Act, which will set out rules for strict oversight over big tech.

Google reacted by saying it wants to “work constructively” with the new regulator.

Facebook said it remains “committed to working with our UK industry partners to find ways to support journalism and help the long-term sustainability of news organisations.”

It is preparing to launch its Facebook News service in the UK, which works with news media and includes original reporting.

Maradona’s Lawyer Demands Probe into Legends’ Death, Accuses Medics of ‘Criminal Idiocy’-katamablog

Maradona Undergoes Surgery on Brain Blood Clot

Diego Maradona’s lawyer on Thursday demanded an investigation into the football legend’s death accusing medics of ‘criminal idiocy’ as grieving fans filed past his coffin at the presidential palace in Argentina.

According to Matias Morla, the World Cup winner was left for 12 hours without aid before he died of a heart attack aged 60, just two weeks after he was discharged from hospital following surgery to remove a blood clot on his brain.

He also claimed it was ‘criminal idiocy’ that an ambulance took 30 minutes to arrive and vowed that the circumstances surrounding Maradona’s death would be ‘investigated to the end’.

Maradona’s body was taken to the presidential palace in an ambulance Thursday morning, where it is lying in state, covered in an Argentinian flag and his signature number 10 shirt.

Thousands of fans streamed past Maradona’s body at the palace clapping, pumping their fists, and throwing flowers, flags, and football shirts at the foot of the casket on the first of three days of national mourning.

Maradona’s family and closest friends came at dawn before the start of the public wake, before scuffles briefly broke out as crowds jostled to enter and police had to hold people back.

The coffin procession took place just hours before Maradona is due to be buried on the outskirts of Buenos Aires, in the same Jardin de Paz cemetery where his parents were also laid to rest.

‘Maradona for me is the greatest thing that happened to me in life. I love him as much as my father and it’s like my old man died,’ Cristian Montelli, 22, one of the mourners at the palace today.

‘If I die young, hopefully upstairs I can play ball and watch a Boca game with him,’ added Montelli, who had a tattoo of Maradona’s face on his leg, after he saw the casket.

Others gathered last night outside the Buenos Aires stadium where Maradona began his career and which has since been renamed in his honour, setting up a makeshift shrine to celebrate the legendary World Cup winner.

Maradona’s death has also been keenly felt in Europe, especially in Naples where he steered an unfashionable side to two Italian league titles and where fans let off flares in tribute outside the stadium last night.

Diego Maradona: Football Legend Dies at 60 from Cardiac Arrest

November 25, 2020 Reading Time: 3min 0  0 0

Diego Maradona has died at the age of 60 after suffering a cardiac arrest, according to multiple reports.

The football legend had a heart attack at his home just two weeks after leaving hospital where he underwent surgery on a blot clot in his brain.

Maradona, regarded as one of the greatest footballers of all time, helped Argentina win the World Cup in 1986, the pinnacle of an illustrious career.

He played club football for Boca Juniors, Napoli and Barcelona among others and was adored by millions for his brilliant skills.

Maradona was responsible for the infamous ‘Hand of God’ that eliminated England from the 1986 tournament.

Maradona left hospital on November 11 just eight days after being admitted for emergency brain surgery.

The iconic former Argentinian footballer was driven away from the private Olivos Clinic just before 6pm on Wednesday as hundreds of fans of photographers tried to get a glimpse of him.

Maradona was hospitalised the previous week and had to have an emergency operation to remove a blood clot from his brain.

Argentinian TV reporters travelling on motorbikes filmed the ambulance carrying him leaving before following the vehicle to transmit every inch of his journey.

His lawyer, Matias Morla has said that the 60-year-old would continue to receive treatment for alcohol dependency.

29 JUL 1986: DIEGO MARADONA THE CAPTAIN OF ARGENTINA HOLDS UP THE WORLD CUP AFTER HIS TEAM HAD BEATEN WEST GERMANY 3-2 IN THE FINAL IN THE AZTECA STADIUM IN MEXICO CITY.

Maradona, who was well known for having a wild lifestyle during and after his playing days, had a gastric bypass operation to lose weight in 2005 and was once more hospitalised two years later for alcohol-induced hepatitis.

Diego Maradona, Argentina (playing in what would be his last match in a World Cup) holds off the challenge from Nigeria’s Mutiu Adepoju (Photo by Peter Robinson – PA Images via Getty Images)

Maradona, who won the World Cup with Argentina in 1986 and was the coach of Gimnasiay Esgrima in his home country, had been admitted to hospital on several occasions since his retirement. He almost died of cocaine-induced heart failure in 2000 and underwent years of rehabilitation.

He also fell ill at the last World Cup in Russia, where he was filmed passing out in an executive box when Argentina took on and beat Nigeria in Group D.

More to followTags:alcohol-induced hepatitis.Argentina win the World Cup in 1986BarcelonaBoca JuniorsDiego MaradonaFootball Legend Dies at 60greatest footballers of all timeHand of Godiconic former Argentinian footballerMaradona dies of Cardiac ArrestNapoliprivate Olivos ClinicHomeBREAKING

Trump Ready to Leave White House If Electoral College Votes for Biden-katamablog

Trump Wants Female nominee for Supreme Court

US President Donald Trump said on Thursday he will leave the White House if the Electoral College votes for Democratic President-elect Joe Biden.

In the nearest he has come to a concession, Republican Trump said if Biden is certified the election winner by the Electoral College he will depart the White House. Biden is due to be inaugurated on Jan. 20.

The Electoral College is due to meet on Dec. 14.

Trump made the comments at the White House after speaking to US troops during the traditional Thanksgiving Day address to US service members.

Biden won the Nov. 3 presidential election with 306 Electoral College votes – many more than the 270 required – to Trump’s 232. Biden also leads Trump by more than 6 million in the popular vote tally.

Covid-19 Vaccines for Africa ‘Might Not Be Available Until Second Quarter of 2021’

Trump has so far refused to concede the election and continues to claim without evidence that the election was marred by widespread fraud, and that he and not Biden won it.HomeHEALTH

Covid-19 Vaccines for Africa ‘Might Not Be Available Until Second Quarter of 2021’

November 27, 2020 Reading Time: 2min 0  0 0

Africa may have to wait until the second quarter of 2021 to roll out vaccines, according to the continent’s top public health official.

“I have seen how Africa is neglected when drugs are available” in the past, John Nkengasong, Director of the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.

Africa last week surpassed two million confirmed coronavirus infections. Nkengasong warned that “it’s clear the second wave (of infections) is here on the continent

of 1.3 billion people.

He told reporters that it will be “extremely dangerous” if more developed parts of the world vaccinate themselves and then restrict travel to people with proof of a vaccination.

The Africa CDC has been discussing vaccine options with Russia, China and others as it seeks not to be left behind in the race to obtain doses. Nkengasong said the continent will need about 1.5 billion doses, assuming two per person, to reach the 60% coverage needed for herd immunity.

The Africa CDC is “very, very encouraged” by promising news from a handful of COVID-19 vaccines in clinical trials, though the cold storage needed to roll out some of them in Africa will be a major challenge, Nkengasong said. He cited such logistics in his prediction for when vaccinations in Africa will begin.

“The worst thing we want for the continent is for COVID to become an endemic disease” in Africa, he said.

The World Health Organization’s Africa chief, Matshidiso Moeti, in a separate briefing said the goal is to vaccinate 20% of the population on the continent by the end of next year.

But the WHO warned that a study of the 47 sub-Saharan African countries in its region found that only just under half, or 49%, have “identified the priority populations for vaccination and have plans in place to reach them,” and just 24% have adequate plans for resources and funding.

It could take more than $5 billion to roll out a COVID-19 vaccine in Africa to priority populations alone, the WHO says — and that doesn’t include the costs for delivering the vaccines.

In one hopeful development, authorities have begun distributing 2.7 million antigen tests throughout the continent, which Nkengasong said is “perhaps a game-changer” that allows for faster and easier testing.

So far, about 21 million tests have been conducted across Africa’s 54 countries.

Rita Osakwe/Agency Reports

Again, FG, ASUU meet in Abuja over lingering strike -Katamablog

The federal government and the leadership of the Academic Staff Union of Universities are locked in another meeting in Abuja.

The meeting comes exactly one week after government added N15 billion to the N50 billion offer it gave the union for the revitalisation of the universities and earned allowances of the lecturers.

ASUU indicated its resolve to take government’s offer to its members for their decision, prompting a one week shift for another meeting.

In his opening remarks, Labour and Employment Minister, Chris Ngige, said government was in receipt of ASUU’s response to its offer before now , though he did not disclose the contents.

Graphic: Woman allegedly slaughters her mother in Akwa Ibom-Katamablog

Graphic: Woman allegedly slaughters her mother in Akwa Ibom

A woman allegedly killed her mother and chopped the body into pieces in Ikot Ekpene, Akwa Ibom.

According to an eyewitness, Emmanuel Umanah, who posted the photos from the crime scene, the shocking incident happened at Umoh Obot road off Nto Akpan Inyang Street in Ikot Ekpene.

Some of the photos shows the suspect carrying the body pieces in a bowl before she was tied up and bundled into a police van.

Graphic: Woman allegedly slaughters her mother in Akwa Ibom
Graphic: Woman allegedly slaughters her mother in Akwa Ibom
Graphic: Woman allegedly slaughters her mother in Akwa Ibom

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WAEC postpones 2020 WASSCE for private candidates till Nov. 30

The West African Examinations Council (WAEC) has postponed the West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) for private candidates, 2020 Second Series.

The council’s Acting Head, Public Affairs, Mr Damianus Ojijeogu, issued statement to newsman on Monday in Lagos.

According to Ojijeogu, the examination, which was initially scheduled to commence on Saturday, Nov. 14, will no longer hold as planned, due to circumstances beyond the council’s control.

The West African Examinations Council (WAEC), Nigeria, wishes to inform all registered candidates for the WASSCE (Private candidates, 2020 Second Series) and the general public that there has been a change in time table.

The examination was initially scheduled to commence on Saturday, Nov. 14, but has now been rescheduled to commence on Monday, Nov. 30.

“The council wishes to reassure candidates that the new timetable for the conduct of the  examination, will be released soon.

“We regret any inconveniences this might cause our dear candidates and members of the general public,” he said.

By: Kate Adubor.

Breaking: Waec releases 2020 SSCE results – An improved performance. Katamablog.com

The Head of National Office of the West African Examinations Council (WAEC), Mr Patrick E. Areghan. At a press briefing announced the release of the senior secondary school certificate Examination (WASSCE) 2020.

The examination was simultaneously and successfully conducted throughout the five member countries with the same international Timetable.

However, the processes leading to the release of results have been completed. A total of One Million Five Hundred and Fouty-Nine Thousand Seven Hundred and Forty (1, 549,740) candidates registered for the examination from Nineteen Thousand One Hundred and Twenty – Nine (19, 129) recognized secondary schools in Nigeria.

One Million Three Hundred and Thirty – Eight Thousand Three Hundred and Forty- Eight (1, 338,348) candidates, representing 86.99%, obtained credit and above in a minimum of any five (5) subjects (i.e with or without English Language and / or Mathematics).

One Million Three Thousand Six Hundred and Sixty Eight (1, 003, 668) candidates, representing 65.24% obtained credits and above in a minimum of five (5) subjects, including English Language and Mathematics.

The analysis of the statistics of the performance of candidates in the examination shows that out of the 1, 538, 445 candidates that sat the examination, 1, 338, 348 candidates, representing 65.24% obtained credits and above in a minimum of five (5) subjects, including English Language and Mathematics.

The percentage of candidates in the WASSCE for school Candidates, 2019, that is, those who obtained credits and above in a minimum of five (5) subjects, including English Language and Mathematics, 64.18% representing a marginal 1.06% improvement in performance.

The results of Two Hundred and Fifteen Thousand One Hundred and Forty-Nine (215,149) candidates, representing 13.98% of the total number of candidates that sat the examination, are being withheld in connection with various reported cases of examination malpractice. Investigation is on going and report will be presented to the appropriate Committee of the council for determination in due course.

The results are being uploaded on the results website, candidates that have fulfilled their financial obligations to the council can access their performance on the Waec website: http://www.waecdirect.org.

The results checker PIN and Serial Number can be found on candidates’ Smart Identify Card. Certificates of candidates whose results have been fully processed and released will be ready within the next 90 days, counting from today.

By: Kate Adubor.