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While Nigerians groan under a worsening insecurity crisis, a newly released data has revealed another equally worrying challenge.

 

 

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☕️QUICK BITES

Australia. Tens of thousands of people across the country protested against sexual violence, harassment, and gender inequality. This came after a wave of sexual assault allegations involving politicians surfaced.
China. Yesterday, Beijing got hit with the worst sandstorm in 10 years, causing hundreds of flight cancellations and reported school closures. China has long dealt with high levels of pollution – mainly from its coal-powered plants and manufacturing.
Vatican. A new catholic rule endorsed by Pope Francis bars priests from officiating same-sex unions saying that God "cannot bless sin." The two-page decree issued by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, states that although gay people are welcomed in the church, priests are not allowed to bless homosexual unions because gay relationships are not part of "the Creator's plan." 
European Union: Several EU countries rolled out more coronavirus restrictions this week in a bid to slow down the spread of more contagious variants of the virus. Under a new lockdown that affects three-quarters of Italy's population, businesses and schools in "red zone" regions have been ordered to shut their doors. France, Serbia, Bosnia, and Montenegro jave also imposed similar restrictions.

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ONTHISDAY

1905 Albert Einstein finishes his scientific paper detailing his Quantum Theory of Light, one of the foundations of modern physics

1969 Golda Meir becomes Israel's 4th Prime Minister, the first and only female to hold the office

2012 Bolton Wanderer footballer Fabrice Muamba collapses and is rushed to hospital during a live football match against Tottenham Hotspur

ECONOMY

One in three Nigerians jobless

 

Image Source: Punch

The Story
While Nigerians groan under a worsening insecurity crisis, a newly released data has revealed another equally worrying challenge.

What's that?
Nigeria’s unemployment rate rose from 27.1% in the second quarter of 2020 to 33.3% in the fourth quarter of 2020, the latest figures from the National Bureau of Statistics said on Monday. A third of the 69.7 million-strong labour force in Africa’s most-populous country either did nothing or worked for less than 20 hours a week, making them unemployed, according to the Nigerian definition. Another 15.9 million worked less than 40 hours a week, making them underemployed.

How did things get so bad in that short time?
The combined unemployment and underemployment rate for the period was 56.1%. Nigeria’s finances were knocked by last year’s drop in the price of oil, which accounts for 90% of foreign-exchange earnings and about half of the government’s income. This, unhelpful policies which discourage investors and the effecs of the pandemic are contributing factors. Africa’s largest economy has now surpassed South Africa to sit at second on a list of 82 countries whose unemployment rates are tracked by Bloomberg. Namibia leads the list with 33.4%.

Under the Buhari administration.
The country’s jobless rate has more than quadrupled over the last five years as the economy went through two recessions, casting a shadow over the efforts to implement policies to drive growth and create jobs by the Buhari administration. More than 60% of Nigeria’s working-age population is younger than 34. Unemployment for people aged 15 to 24 stood at 53.4% in the fourth quarter, and at 37.2% for people aged 25 to 34. The jobless rate for women was 35.2% compared with 31.8% for men. SOURCE

SECURITY

Report: 618 schools shut in Northern Nigeria over insecurity

Image Source: France24

The Story
While Northern Nigeria has been known to be educationally behind, the impact of ravaging insecurity has worsened issues as no fewer than 618 schools have remained closed in six northern states over the fear of attack and abduction of pupils and members of staff, a ThisDay tally has shown.

When did cutting the head become a solution to headache?
The six states where some schools have remained closed are Kano, Katsina, Niger, Sokoto, Yobe and Zamfara. In Sokoto, the state government has closed all boarding schools along border towns. The state Commissioner for Security and Career Affairs, Col. Garba Moyi (rtd), said the measure was to avoid the abduction of pupils just as it happened in Katsina, Niger and Zamfara States. He added that the state Governor, Hon. Aminu Tambuwal, had directed the state commissioner for education to merge those schools with the ones in towns. The paper reported that 16 boarding schools were affected.

How long will the schools remain shut?
The Commissioner for Education in Kano state, where 4 tertiary institutions and 12 secondary schools have been closed, Mr Muhammad Sunusi Kiru, said the closure became necessary due to the rising number of abductions of schoolchildren in neighbouring states. The Yobe State government also closed all boarding schools as part of proactive measures to safeguard pupils’ lives. The commissioner, however, said all day schools were to continue with their normal academic activities. The News Agency of Nigeria quoted the commissioner as saying that further statements would be made concerning the reopening of the schools as soon as possible.

What are they doing to fix the insecurity problem?
All secondary schools in Niger State have been closed by the state government for two weeks from 12 March. The Commissioner for Education, Mrs. Hannatu Salihu, said the closure of the schools was to enable the government to make adequate security arrangements to protect the pupils and workers. In the wake of the abduction of 42 persons from the Government Science College, Kagara, the state government had closed only the boarding schools in Rafi, Mariga, Magama and Shiroro LGAs, which were believed to be prone to bandits’ attacks. With the closure of all secondary schools in the state, about 496 schools were affected.

The Zamfara State Government also closed boarding schools along the border towns after the Jangebe incident, during which 279 pupils of Government Girls Secondary School in Jangebe were abducted. Governor Bello Matawalle reacted by shutting 10 schools along the borders with Sokoto and Katsina States. In Katsina, the state government had initially shut down all its 38 boarding schools after the abduction of 344 pupils of Government Science Secondary School, Kankara. But the Commissioner for Education, Prof. Badamasi Lawal, later announced the reopening of four out of the 38 boarding schools after a meeting with zonal inspectors of education and permanent secretaries. SOURCE

INTERNATIONAL

Ten years after Fukushima, Japan remembers 'man-made' nuclear disaster

 

Image Source: CBC.CA

The Story
Last week was the tenth anniversary of the nuclear accident at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant in Ōkuma, Fukushima Prefecture, Japan.

What caused it?
The meltdown was caused by the Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami. It was the most severe nuclear accident since the Chernobyl disaster in 1986. In the aftermath of the 2011 accident, 160,000 people in the area were evacuated, forced to leave behind their homes, belongings, and animals. In 2011, Sakae Kato was the 47-year-old owner of a small construction business. Reeling from the shock of finding dead pets in the abandoned houses he helped demolish, Kato decided to stay behind, to rescue and care for the abandoned cats, and one dog.

Interesting! How many was he able to rescue?
The cats gave him a reason to remain on land that's been owned by his family for three generations. But life is not easy. His wooden house is falling down, and with no running water, he must fill bottles from a nearby mountain spring and drive to public toilets. Now 57, Kato has buried 23 cats in his garden, but still looks after 41 cats and the dog in his home and another empty building on the property.

Till death do us part!
He leaves food for feral cats in a storage shed he heats with a paraffin stove. "I want to make sure I am here to take care of the last one," he said from his home in the contaminated quarantine zone. "After that I want to die, whether that be a day or hour later." On February 25, Kato was arrested on suspicion of freeing wild boar caught in traps set up by Japan’s government last November. A vet from Tokyo who helps Kato said local volunteers were caring for the cats on his property, but that at least one had died since Kato was detained. SOURCE

INTERNATIONAL

Slowing Their Rollout

 

Image Source: Axios

The Story

European countries are hitting 'pause' on the AstraZeneca vaccine.

Catch me up.

Since the UK approved the shot in December, the AstraZeneca vaccine – created with the University of Oxford – has been given to more than 17 million people in the EU and UK. The two-dose shot has proven to be 82% effective against the original coronavirus variant. But since last week, about a dozen European countries have delayed or temporarily suspended their use of the vaccine. Yesterday, Germany, France, Italy, and Spain said 'yeah, we'll pause too.'

Why's that?

There are concerns that the AstraZeneca vaccine could be tied to reports of blood clots. Out of the more than 17 million vaccinations, there have been 37 reported blood clots in the legs or lungs. And one reported death in Denmark. AstraZeneca is urging calm and says the rate of blood clots in this population is "much lower" than what would happen in the general population. The World Health Organization and European regulators agree there's no link between the shot and the reports – but are meeting today to discuss. Meanwhile, health experts worry that pausing vaccinations could have adverse effects. Especially for countries that have seen a sluggish rollout.

Who has not accepted AstraZeneca?

United States. America's still reviewing trial data but could approve the two-shot vaccine as soon as next month.

Weighing the cost-benefits

AstraZeneca is one of four shots in the EU that are helping combat the pandemic there. And now several countries are putting a part of their vaccine campaign on halt as they look into the shot's potential side effects. SOURCE

WHAT ELSE IS FRESH...

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PICKS OF THE DAY

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Economies can survive a stock market crash. Financial Times

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Money Talks - The retail revolution—shopping's data-driven transformation | Podcasts. The Economist

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The Future Of Events Through The Eyes Of Industry Professionals. Forbes

The German language is beautifully adapting to the oddities of pandemic lifestyles. Fast Company

TODAY'S TRIVIA

1. The record number of World Cup goals is 16, scored by who?
a. Zlatan Ibrahimovic
b. Miroslav Klose
c. Diego Maradona

2. Which Ballon d'Or-winning footballer had a galaxy named after them in 2015?
a. Lionel Messi
b. Cristiano Ronaldo
c. Neymar

3. English rock star Elton John was twice the owner of which football club?
a. Manchester
b. Real Madrid
c. Watford

QUESTION & ANSWER

QUORA QUESTION: 

Why doesn't the USA recognise the International Criminal Court in the Hague?

Colin Riegels

The US hates the ICC with a rare degree of passion. The primordial fear of the US is that any international court will get hijacked by countries who have an axe to grind with the US, and will use the court as a way of persecuting US soldiers and politicians.

And to be fair, they have some reasonable grounds for those fears. Other bodies formed with high minded ideals (such as the UN Committee on Human Rights) have in the past been totally hijacked by some of the world’s worst human rights offenders, and are now just used as a mouthpiece to attack the US and Israel.

And campaigners in other countries often try to sue US officials in the national courts asserting that they are “war criminals” and the like.

To be fair, the ICC has not (yet) descended to that level, and there are good reasons for thinking it never will. There are lots of criticisms of the ICC (principally that it is ineffectual), but there are a lot of safeguards built in. Countries like the UK and France don’t love the idea of their soldiers potentially being charged in another country, but they have made their peace with it and joined the ICC for the greater good.

If the US simply didn’t want to join the ICC, that would probably be fine. But the US actively campaigns against the ICC and actively seeks to destroy it - threatening countries who try to join it. It is one reason (although certainly not the only one) why the court struggles to fulfill its mandate. SOURCE

TRIVIA ANSWER

1. The record number of World Cup goals is 16, scored by who?
a. Zlatan Ibrahimovic
b. Miroslav Klose
c. Diego Maradona

2. Which Ballon d'Or-winning footballer had a galaxy named after them in 2015?
a. Lionel Messi
b. Cristiano Ronaldo
c. Neymar

Cristiano Ronaldo - Galaxy Cosmos Redshift 7 (CR7)

3. English rock star Elton John was twice the owner of which football club?
a. Manchester
b. Real Madrid
c. Watford

LITERATURE

Fiction
Your Delicate Body- Caleb Azumah Nelson

Essay
The Daily Chaos of an Anxious Life by Rockebah C Stewart

Satire
Bible Scholars Say Early Mistranslation Distorted Story Of Jesus Crucifying The Romans

Poetry
Ukombozi & Other Poems by Zafrina Nyawira Muthoni Njenga

JOBS CORNER

 

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