Switzerland. Switzerland plans to ban Muslim women from wearing burqas and niqabs in public places. 51% of voters supported a ban on people covering their faces in a nationwide referendum over the weekend. France, Belgium, and Austria have introduced similar bans.
Israel/UK. The benefits of a quick vaccine roll-out are paying off. In Israel and the U.K., two of the fastest movers, restrictions are being eased. Nearly half the population of Israel holds a "green pass" that shows they've been vaccinated. Meanwhile, in the U.K.—where a third of the population has now received at least one shot—schools are reopening.
United States. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has been accused of sexual harassment by a a growing number of women. Currently five women have come forward sharing stories of their discomfort when working or general interactions involving him Cuomo has dismissed the statements given from the women that have spoken out and resisted the calls for his resignation.
Middle East. Tensions are rising in the Middle East after a drone attack on Saudi Arabian oil installations over the weekend by Iran-backed Houthi rebels over the weekend. The attacks caused no injuries or loss of property, according to a spokesman for the Saudi Energy ministry. Brent crude rose as much as 2.9% to $71.38 a barrel in early trading this morning, before giving up those gains.
418 Jews are excluded from public office in the Roman Empire
2000 The NASDAQ Composite stock market index peaks at 5132.52, signalling the beginning of the end of the dot-com boom
2010 Carlos Slim becomes the first Mexican and person from an emerging economy to top Forbes Richest Person list, with net worth of US$53.5 billion
2018 16 people die after being struck by lightning at a church in Nyaruguru District, Rwanda
2020 Russian lower house of Parliament passes legislation to allow Vladimir Putin to hold office of President for life
Ghost families in Borno IDP
Image Source: Vanguard
The Story It has been suggested that the authorities might not have an accurate figure on the number of internally displaced people (IDPs) in Nigeria.
How is that? BORNO State Governor, Prof. Babagana Zulum, during an unannounced visit to an IDP camp in Maiduguri, discovered 650 ghost households. The governor had around midnight on Sunday showed up at Mohammed Goni College of Islamic Legal Studies in Maiduguri, where IDPs from Abadam Local Government Area of northern Borno were being camped, and ordered a headcount of the IDPs.
Why did he order the count? According to a statement by the governor’s Spokesman, Mallam Isa Gusau, the governor on arrival at the camp immediately closed the entrance and supervised a headcount to identify actual IDPs ''in order to put a stop to rampant cases of dubious residents pretending to be displaced''. At the end of the headcount which ended past 1am, it was discovered that out of 1,100 households in the records of humanitarian officials, 650 households were ghost IDPs.
What's the motivation of those behind this? The ghost IDPs were accused of spending day times at IDP camps to share food meant for IDPs, and towards the night, return to their homes to sleep, even as they are captured in another scheme with which the government distributes relief materials to the vulnerable persons living in communities.
In humanitarian system, a household normally consist of at least six persons who are either related through families, or chose to stay together for the purpose of receiving household aids. SOURCE
Bill against discrimination against old people
Image Source: Punch
The Story A bill which seeks to protect old people from discrimination has passed second reading in the Senate.
What discrimination? The Older Persons (Rights and Privileges) Bill 2020, sponsored by the Senate Committee on Women Affairs, seeks to protect them from age-related discrimination and prescribes a six-month jail term for anyone who discriminates against anybody that is above 60 years in Nigeria. It also recommends N2m fine against any corporate institution which commits such offence against older people in the society.
What motivated the Bill? Titled, “A bill for an Act to provide certain rights and privileges for older persons, to provide health, economic reliefs and to protect their social and related matters", the Bill seeks to aide the old in dealing with the challenges of that phase. Other provisions made for the older persons in the bill include; free education up to secondary level for any illiterate older person who is willing to acquire formal knowledge, 50% discount on land, sea and air transportation and it mandates commercial vehicle operators, management of airlines and shipping lines to ensure compliance.
How will the qualified access its provisions? The bill recommends that the National Identity Management Commission issue a certificate of older person to anyone who attains the age of 60 years for them to qualify for all the rights and privileges contained in the proposed legislation. It also imposes a one-year jail term on any one, who unlawfully issues certificate of older person to anyone below the age of 60.
The bill also forbids anyone from subjecting older persons to solicit for alms. On the financial implication of the 50% discount for businesses, it says, “All utility companies, hotels, holiday resorts referred to in this subsection shall file documentation of discounted geriatric services to the Federal Inland Revenue Service in their tax returns for commensurate reliefs". SOURCE
The cyberattacks on America
Image Source: New York TImes
The Story While the Biden administration gets to work on various challenges like health and economy, an area of immediate concern is the proliferation of cyberattacks by rivals as the administration seeks to deter intrusions on government and corporate systems.
Tell me! The issue became more urgent at the White House, the Pentagon and the intelligence agencies in recent days after the public exposure of a major breach in Microsoft email systems used by small businesses, local governments and, by some accounts, key military contractors. Microsoft identified the intruders as a state-sponsored Chinese group and moved quickly to issue a patch to allow users of its software to close off the vulnerability.
How serious was the breach? While the main targets and level of damage are yet to be established, the fear is that espionage and theft may be a prelude to far more destructive activity, such as changing data or wiping it out. This happened while Washington was still planning to begin retaliating against Russia for the large-scale hacking of American government agencies and corporations which went undetected for months until it was discovered by a private cybersecurity firm late last year.
American officials continue to try to better understand the scope and damage done by the Chinese attack, but every day since its revelation has suggested that it is bigger, and potentially more harmful, than first thought. The initial estimates were that 30,000 or so systems were affected, mostly those operated by businesses or government agencies that use Microsoft software and run their email systems in-house. (Email and others systems run on Microsoft’s cloud were not affected.)
Any immediate response from the government? The first major move is expected over the next three weeks, officials said, with a series of clandestine actions across Russian networks that are intended to be evident to President Vladimir V. Putin and his intelligence services and military but not to the wider world. The officials said the actions would be combined with some kind of economic sanctions — though there are few truly effective sanctions left to impose — and an executive order from Mr. Biden to accelerate the hardening of federal government networks.
Taken together, the responses will start to define how President Biden fashions his new administration’s response to escalating cyberconflict and whether he can find a way to impose a steeper penalty on rivals who regularly exploit vulnerabilities in government and corporate defenses to spy, steal information and potentially damage critical components of the nation’s infrastructure. SOURCE
The Kids Aren’t Alright
Image Source: UNICEF
The Story Child marriage, defined as a union before the age of 18, is increasing at an alarming rate across the developing world.
Despite the increasing outrage/advocacy against it? According to a report released Monday from the UN Children's Fund, coronavirus is reversing years of hard-earned progress toward keeping young women in school. The pandemic has intensified factors that drive child marriage, such as lack of education, economic hardship, parental death, and teen pregnancy -- the latter is amplified by disruptions in getting contraception. The story of Sapana, a Nepal teenager who dreamed of becoming a government official, is a sad example of Covid-19's impact on this subject.
Each night, in her hut along a bumpy dirt road, the 17-year-old lit a single solar-powered bulb dangling from the ceiling and hit the books, plotting out a future much different than her mother’s. But as the coronavirus crept across Nepal, closing the schools, Sapana lost focus. Stuck in her village with little to do, she struck up a friendship with an out-of-work laborer. They fell in love. Soon they married. Sadly, Sapana has given up her professional dreams, with no plans to return to school, following the birth of her now two months old baby.
A worsening situation! The report predicts that in this decade an additional 10 million girls will be at risk of child marriage. What especially worries children's advocates is the clear link between marrying early and dying young. The World Health Organization lists pregnancy complications and childbirth as the leading cause of death in girls aged 15 to 19 in developing countries. Plus, the risk of infant mortality is much higher among the children of child brides.
Solutions? In addition to social, political and economic improvement, there is increased need for reorientation. Activists who fight child marriage say they are working in the most difficult conditions, and their work is made even more difficult by people who feel strongly about what they see as the benefits of child marriage. “Marrying daughters in their young age has made me happier. It’s our practice,” said Mina Kondu, who said she recently doctored her 16-year-old daughter’s birth certificate, making her appear to be 19, which was still below Nepal's legal age but close enough.
In some cases, young girls are forced by parents or other authority figures into marriage with older men. But child advocates also worry about the young women who, because of the pandemic’s impact, are drifting away from school and see early marriage as their only option, abandoning ambitions for an education and a better life. SOURCE
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