Sunday, 10 May 2020

China says new spacecraft makes successful return to Earth

Chinese space agency says prototype vessel was in orbit for two days and 19 hours and completed a number of experiments.

 A simulated landing process of Chang'e-4 lunar probe is seen through the monitor at Beijing Aerospace Control Center in Beijing. A Chinese spacecraft in 2019 made the first-ever landing on the far side of the moon 

China says its new prototype spacecraft has "successfully landed", marking an important step in the country's ambitions to operate a permanent space station and eventually send astronauts to the moon.
Launched on Tuesday, the spacecraft arrived safely at a predetermined spot on Friday, the China Manned Space Agency said, adding that the vessel's cabin structure had been confirmed on site as being intact.

The test ship was launched with a cargo capsule aboard a new type of carrier rocket from the Wenchang launch site on the southern island of Hainan. The agency said the ship was in orbit for two days and 19 hours and had completed a series of experiments.

The safe landing followed a drawback in an earlier part of the test when an unspecified "anomaly" occurred during the return of the cargo pod, which was designed to carry equipment.

The spacecraft is one day expected to transport astronauts to a space station that China plans to complete by 2022, and eventually to the moon.

The new prototype expands the number of crew that can be dispatched to space from six to three in a previous model.

 China is playing catch-up to the United States, which is the only country to have sent a man to the moon

 Observers said the successful mission marked a milestone for China.Andrew Jones, who reports on China's space activities for the SpaceNews website, said the country can "move forward with its space station plans, and the first module can now be launched in early 2021."

"The successful landing of the new spacecraft from a high orbit also shows that China is serious about sending astronauts beyond low Earth orbit, something only NASA has accomplished, and ultimately sending its astronauts to the Moon. "he added.

Chen Lan, an independent analyst at, which specializes in China's space program, added: "We can say that China now has a manned space capability similar to that of the United States and Russia."

China has invested heavily in its space program in recent years.

The assembly of the Chinese space station Tiangong, whose name translates to Heavenly Palace, is expected to start this year and be completed in 2022.

China became the first nation to land on the other side of the moon in January 2019, deploying a lunar rover that has traveled about 450 meters (1,500 feet) so far.

Source :News agencies
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Thursday, 7 May 2020

Pressure mounts on President Muhammadu Buhari to lockdown Nigeria

The Federal Capital Territory Youth Task Force (FCT) at COVID-19 has again advised President Muhammadu Buhari to lockdown Nigeria due to increasing cases of coronavirus.


Itsey Sagay, chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee against Corruption (PACAC), in his suggestion, said that Nigeria should remain locked up for two months.

Buhari administration officials have also denounced the level of citizen compliance since the ease of closure.

On Thursday, the Progressive Student Movement (PSM) joined calls on the federal government to impose a new "stay home" order.

PSM President Bestman Okereafor spoke in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).

Okereafor expressed concern about the facilities, equipment and training of health workers in the states.

“The Federal Government, as a matter of urgency, must declare a state of emergency in states with a high level of confirmed cases of COVID-19 basically to reduce the spread of the pandemic.

"The state of emergency should come in these states through strict enforcement of the blockade for at least two weeks.

"This measure had become essential after the increase in interstate movement, especially in the night hours despite the current nightly curfew imposed by the Federal Government to guarantee the containment of the pandemic," he said.

The Nigerian Center for Disease Control (NCDC) says the country has registered 3,145 confirmed cases; the death toll has passed 100.

Source: Daily Post

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Amirka za ta sassautawa Irak takunkumi

Sakataren harkokin wajen Amirka Mike Pompeo ya bi sahun wakilan kasashe wajen taya sabon firaiministan Irak Mustafa Kadhimi murna, tare da yin bisharar sassauta takunkumi har na tsawon kwanaki 120 a kasar ta Irak


Firaminista Mustafa Kadhimi mai shekaru 53 ya taba rike mukamin shugaban hukumar leken asirin kasar, da dama daga cikin 'yan majalisar dokokin kasar sun tsoratar game da nadin Mustafa Kadhimi a matsayin firaministan sakamakon alakar sa da kasar Amirka. Kasar ta Irak ta afka rikicin siyasa bayan tsohon firaiminista ya sauka daga mukaminsa a bara biyo bayan ballewar zanga-zanga a kasar sakamakon rashin aikin yi tsakanin al'umma da kuma zargin masu rike da mukaman gwamnati da arzurta kan su da kudaden kasar.

Sabon Firaminista Kadhimi zai kama aiki a wannan Alhamis din, a lokacin da Irak ke fama da matsalar karyewar tattalin arziki da yaduwar cutar Coronavirus a fadin kasar da kuma billar zanga-zanga a yankuna daban daban na kasar.

Source: DW Hausa

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COVID-19: 256 Nigerians return from UAE Arrive In Lagos

The federal government has successfully evacuated the first group of Nigerians trapped abroad amid the coronavirus pandemic.


On Wednesday, 256 Nigerians arrived in Lagos from Dubai on an Emirates Airline flight.

The Emirates flight is expected to be the first of at least two other flights scheduled to evacuate Nigerians in the coming days.

According to the Foreign Office, talks are underway with British Airways on Friday to transport 300 Nigerians from London; Arrangements are also being made with Ethiopian airlines for a flight from New York to Abuja next Monday.

More than 4,000 Nigerians are waiting to be evacuated worldwide back home, Foreign Minister Geoffrey Onyeama said Monday.

Going into isolation

Returning Nigerians are expected to be quarantined for 14 days at selected hotels upon arrival, the foreign ministry said Tuesday.

Quarantine is necessary to guarantee the status of the coronavirus of each returnee.

The Foreign Ministry said it has made arrangements for hotel accommodation in Lagos and Abuja, which will be used to quarantine incoming citizens.

The hotels have been inspected by the "Port Health Services, the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, the Nigerian Center for Disease Control, the Office of the National Security Adviser, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the IPC," said the ministry.

A global pandemic stops everything

Evacuations have become important as the coronavirus pandemic continues to sweep the world.

The new coronavirus has killed at least 254,532 people since the outbreak first emerged in China last December, according to an official source count compiled by AFP on Tuesday.

The virus has particularly devastated the airline industry, with countries closing borders, forcing travellers to cancel their travel plans.

Other countries have been in the news for evacuating their nationals from foreign soil in their home countries.

The United States has evacuated at least 1,000 Americans from Nigeria since the WHO declared the new coronavirus to be a pandemic.

Nigeria's efforts to evacuate citizens abroad have been hampered by various obstacles, including the ability to secure quarantine facilities for returnees upon arrival, according to Minister Onyeama.

Source: Channels TV

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Merkel says Germany's re-opening will have 'emergency brake' in case Covid-19 spikes

Chancellor Angela Merkel announced steps on Wednesday to ease the corona virus lock-down in Germany but at the same time launched an "emergency brake" mechanism allowing for renewed restrictions in case infections pick up again. 

 In declaring the end of the first phase of the pandemic in Germany, Merkel said there was still a long way to go in the battle against the virus, which has affected Europe's largest economy.

The government will decide on an economic stimulus package in June, Merkel said, adding that this was a "very ambitious" time frame.

Germany went into closure in March to contain the spread of the coronavirus. Its reproduction rate has been declining for several days, and Merkel said it was now consistently below 1, which means that one person with the virus infects less than another on average.

"We are at a point where our goal of halting the spread of the virus has been achieved and we have been able to protect our health system ... making it possible to discuss and agree on new relief measures," said Merkel reporters.

Under measures agreed with Germany's 16 federal state leaders, people from two households will be allowed to meet and more stores will be opened, provided hygiene measures are applied.

But the guidelines on people staying 1.5 meters (5 feet) away from each other and wearing mouth and nose masks on public transportation will still apply.

Germany's Bundesliga soccer league may resume in the second half of May, Merkel said.

Schools would gradually reintroduce all students and expand emergency care for kindergarten-age children, with details to be regulated by the states.

People in nursing homes can receive regular visits from "a permanent contact person," Merkel said after talks with regional leaders.

Their plan includes an "emergency brake," a fail-safe system under which restrictions would be reintroduced if an area registers more than 50 new infections per 100,000 residents within seven days.

"If something happens locally, we will not wait until it has spread throughout the republic, but we will act locally," Merkel said.

She said she had a good feeling about Wednesday's decisions, particularly given the emergency brake, but warned: "We have to be careful not to lose control of this."

The number of confirmed cases of coronavirus in Germany increased by 947 to 164,807, data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases showed on Wednesday. The reported death toll increased from 165 to 6,996.

Federal and state governments will wait and see how the relaxation measures are developed, Merkel said, adding: "We are now facing a phase where there will be much more contact (person-to-person) than has been the case so far."

"We are following a bold path. We can afford to be a little bold, but we must be cautious."

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Deadly gas leak at India chemical plant, hundreds hospitalised

At least nine dead and 300 to 400 people admitted to local hospitals in Andhra Pradesh state's Visakhapatnam district.
 Rescuers evacuate people following agas leak incident at an LG Polymers plant in Visakhapatnam

At least nine people have been killed and several hundred admitted to hospitals after a gas leak at a chemicals plant on the east coast of India, police said on Thursday.
Swarupa Rani, an Assistant Commissioner of Police in Visakhapatnam, told Reuters news agency that at least nine people had died and between 300 to 400 others were hospitalised. Another 1,500 people had been evacuated, mostly from a neighbouring village. 

The commissioner of the Visakhapatnam city corporation said styrene leaked from the plant during the early hours of the morning, when families in the surrounding villages were asleep.
Srijana Gummalla told Reuters that the plant had been reopened in the past few days after India relaxed a nationwide lockdown, that had been imposed on March 25 to contain the spread of the new corona virus.
South Korean battery maker LG Chemical Ltd, the owner of the facility, located about 14 kilometres (8.6 miles) away from Visakhapatnam city, said the gas leak had been brought under control.
"We are looking into the exact damages, cause of the death and details of the incident," the company said in a statement.

Rani earlier told AFP news agency that the gas leaked out of two 5,000-tonne tanks of the plant located in Andhra Pradesh state.
"We received an emergency call from the local villagers around 3:30am local time [22:00 GMT] in the morning today. They said there was some gas in the air," she said.

Source : Aljazeera 

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New government confirmed in Iraq after six months of uncertainty

New Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi says coronavirus and accountability for protester deaths will be priorities.

 The Iraqi parliament approved a new government on Wednesday, after six months without one, as parties squabbled for the last minute over cabinet seats in backroom deals.

Prime Minister Mustafa al-Khadimi, Iraq's intelligence chief and a former journalist will head the government, but will begin their term without a full cohort of ministers after several candidates were rejected.
Former Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi, who led a provisional administration, resigned last year after thousands of people took to the streets demanding the departure of Iraq's ruling elite accused of leading the country to dysfunction and economic ruin.

The battle over government portfolios since Abdul Mahdi's resignation in November prevented two previous prime minister nominees from forming a cabinet.

Kadhimi's candidates for cabinet positions, including interior, defense, finance and electricity, were approved with the support of the majority of lawmakers present.

The vote on oil and foreign affairs ministries was delayed as the parties failed to agree on the candidates. They rejected Khadmi's options for justice, agriculture and trade.

"The security, stability and flourishing of Iraq is our way," Kadhimi wrote on his Twitter account after Parliament voted for his cabinet.

He said his priorities would be to tackle the coronavirus pandemic and hold those who killed protesters in previous months of anti-government unrest accountable. 

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Wednesday, 6 May 2020

CAN rejects Infectious Disease Control bill, advises on the way forward

The Nigerian Christian Association, CAN has expressed concern over the Infectious Disease Control bill before the House of Representatives.


He argued that it should not become law in the national interest.

CAN's opinion was contained in a letter dated May 4, 2020, by its Secretary-General, Joseph Daramola, to the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila.

CAN urge the House of Representatives to immediately suspend debate on the bill in the general interest of Nigerian citizens.

"However, if you insist that there is merit in this unacceptable bill, we insist that this bill must go through a public hearing," he said.

CAN told lawmakers that courts on numerous occasions rejected parliamentary laws and legislation, including government executive orders, that violate any of the fundamental human rights provided in the Constitution.

The organization also questioned the intention behind the bill and advised leaders and members of the House of Representatives to immediately allow the spirit of God to prevail over the primary intentions and ambitions.

He called on lawmakers not to pass what he called the "controversial, hazy and unpleasant bill in the general interest of Nigerians."

"This bill is not what is currently expected from the House of Representatives, but rather, the development of vaccines that will stop this COVID-19 pandemic of more murders of our citizens," advised CAN.

Source: Daily Post

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