Ivory Coast. The prime minister of the Ivory Coast, Hamed Bakayoko, has passed away from cancer. This marks the second time within a year that the country’s premier has died.
World. A new WHO study – the largest of its kind – found that nearly one in three women experience physical or sexual violence in their lifetimes. And that the violence starts early: by their mid-20s, a quarter of women who've been in a relationship have likely experienced intimate partner violence.
Japan. Officials will prohibit foreign spectators from attending the 2021 Olympic and Paralympic Games in person in an attempt to limit potential COVID-19 outbreaks. Originally scheduled for last summer, the pandemic caused the first-ever Olympic postponement for a reason other than war. The games are currently scheduled from Friday, July 23, to Sunday, Aug. 8.
Vaccine. Denmark and Norway have announced that they will pause the use of AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine after reports of the vaccine causing blood clots. The Danish authorities would not confirm the number of incidents but confirmed at least one death caused by the vaccine. Austria has also stopped using the current AstraZeneca vaccines the country possesses as they investigate a death resulting from a similar reaction.
1455 First record of Johannes Gutenberg's Bible, letter dated this day by Enea Silvio Piccolomini refers to the bible printed a year before
1894 Coca-Cola is sold in bottles for the first time in a candy store in Vicksburg, Mississippi
2019 Dozens charged in US college admission scandal by US federal prosecutors, including actresses Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman
Nigeria records worst trade deficit in two decades
Image Source: Punch
The Story Nigeria recorded its worst trade deficit in at least 20 years in the fourth quarter of 2020, a report by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) has shown.
Tell me! According to the 2020 fourth quarter Foreign Trade in Goods Statistics report released by the statistics bureau on Tuesday, Nigeria’s annual merchandise trade deficit in 2020 stood at N7.37 trillion. An analysis of the data shows that aside from that it represents the second trade deficit recorded since 2014, last year’s balance of trade figure is the worst recorded by the nation since at least 2000.
Figures? The NBS in its report said in the fourth quarter of 2020, Nigeria’s total merchandise trade stood at N9.12 trillion, representing 8.9% over the level recorded in the third quarter of 2020. However, the figure was 9.9% lower when compared to the fourth quarter of 2019. The export component of trade stood at N3.19 trillion, an increase of 6.7% over the preceding quarter but a drop of 33% over the previous year.
How did Import compare to Export? According to the report, the share of exports in total trade declined to 35% in Q4 2020 from 47% a year earlier. “On the other hand, total imports reached a record high at N5.92 trillion in Q4 2020, an increase of 10.1% over the preceding quarter, and 10.8% over the preceding year,” it said. Imports also accounted for 65% of total trade in Q4 2020, compared to 53% the previous year. On an annual basis, total trade was valued at N32.4 trillion in 2020, or 10.3% less than the value recorded in 2019.
As the value of imports nearly doubled the value of exports, the NBS said trade deficit rose to its highest level and a fifth consecutive quarterly deficit at – N2.73 trillion in Q4 2020, an increase of 14.30% compared to the preceding quarter. While the value of total imports in 2020 stood at N19.8 trillion, which is 17.3% higher than in 2019, the NBS said total exports was valued at N12.5 trillion, or 34.8% less than in 2019. SOURCE
Tanzanian leader in critical condition
Image Source: BBC
The Story Tanzania’s President John Magufuli is being treated in a hospital in India and is in a critical condition, opposition leader Tundu Lissu has told the BBC, citing well-placed sources.
What's his ailment? He has had coronavirus and a cardiac arrest, and was in a Nairobi hospital in Kenya before being transferred to India, Mr Lissu said he was told. Nicknamed “The Bulldozer”, president Magufuli, who has not been seen in public for 11 days, has faced criticism for his handling of COVID-19. The East African country has not published its coronavirus cases since May and refuses to buy vaccines.
What! In January, Magufuli said vaccines for the disease were 'dangerous'. “Vaccines are not good. If they were, then the white man would have brought vaccines for HIV/AIDS,” he said. The 61-year-old president has called for prayers and herbal-infused steam therapy to counter the virus. Earlier this month, at a funeral for a top presidential aide, Magufuli said Tanzania had defeated COVID-19 last year and would win again this year. The aide died hours after the vice-president of the country’s semi-autonomous islands of Zanzibar, who was being treated for COVID-19.
Has the government confirmed his illness? Mr Lissu, who disclosed the transfer to India, said he had been told that President Magufuli was flown to Kenya for treatment at Nairobi Hospital on Monday night. There has been no official confirmation from the government, which has warned against publishing unverified information about the Tanzanian leader, last seen at an official event in Dar es Salaam on 27 February. Lissu told the BBC that the government’s silence was fuelling rumours, was irresponsible, and the president’s health should not be a private matter.
Lissu said it would not be a surprise to Tanzanians that Mr Magufuli had contracted coronavirus as he had been reckless in the face of the virus. “He has never worn a mask, he has been going to mass public gatherings without taking any precautions that people are taking all across the world,” Mr Lissu told the BBC’s Africa correspondent Leila Nathoo from exile in Belgium. “This is someone who has repeatedly and publicly trashed established medicine, he’s relied on prayers and herbal concoctions of unproven value.” SOURCE
Niger's President Wins World's Biggest Ca$h Prize for Leadership
Image Source: Bloomberg
The Story Niger’s President Mahamadou Issoufou, who’s due to step down next month after serving two terms, was named the 2020 w!nner of the world’s largest leadership prize — a $5 million award made by Sudanese biIlionaire Mo Ibrahim’s foundation.
Is it a real reflection of his performance? Issoufou is the sixth w!nner of the Ibrahim Prize for Achievement in African Leadership since it was introduced in 2006 to promote good governance in the world’s poorest continent. Previous recipients include former presidents Joaquim Chissano of Mozambique, Festus Mogae of Botswana and Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia. “In the face of the most severe political and economic issues, including violent extremism and increasing desertification,” President Mahamadou Issoufou has led his people on a path of progress,” Mogae, who chairs the Mo Ibrahim Foundation’s prize committee, said in a statement on Monday.
Any pointers to this progress? Indicating how well Niger has been impacted by the outgoing president, Mogae said; “Today, the number of Nigeriens living below the poverty line has fallen to 40%, from 48% a decade ago.” Issoufou, 69, first took office in 2011 after years of political instability in the West African nation, including four coups since independence from France in 1960, and won re-election in 2016. He’s set to be succeeded by his close ally Mohamed Bazoum, 61, a former interior and foreign minister.
How was the new man chosen? Bazoum won a run-off vote against ex-president Mahamane Ousmane on 21 February. The election paved the way for Niger’s first transfer of power by the ballot box. The vote was not without its own controversy, though, as it was followed by widespread protests and Internet shutdowns. Opposition leader Hama Amadou, who was barred from running and backed Ousmane in the run-off, was arrested and charged with trying to overthrow the government.
Niger, the world’s fifth-biggest uranium exporter, ranks as the world’s least-developed country among 189 in the United Nations’ Human Development Index. Ibrahim started Celtel International BV. in 1998 and built it up to be Africa’s third-largest mobile phone company. Kuwaiti mobile-phone operator Zain bought 85% of Celtel for $3.4 biIlion in 2005. SOURCE
Far away elections tearing Senegal apart
Image Source: AP News
The Story Senegal's next presidential election, which is still three years away, appears to be tearing the West African country apart already.
How? Riot police in armed personnel carriers fired tear gas and rubber bullets at crowds in Senegal’s capital on Monday, hours after authorities released opposition leader Ousmane Sonko from custody following days of violent protests in one of West Africa’s most stable democracies. Upon his release, the 46-year-old politician blamed his arrest on President Macky Sall, accusing the incumbent leader of seeking to sideline his future political prospects before the country’s 2024 election.
What's the incumbent's response to this? While acknowledging the economic challenges in the country, which is made worse by the Covid-19 pandemic, Sall agreed to reduce the nightly curfew that many merchants blame for deepening their hardships, and admonished the people against violent conducts that do not help to improve their lot. “I understand your concerns and the anger you feel about the hard life you have to live in, mainly due to the unemployment accentuated by COVID-19,” Sall said. “But when you ransack a business you don’t create jobs, you destroy them", he added.
Why should an election that is three years away be a problem now? After easily w!nning reelection in 2019 with more than 58% of the vote, Sall's opponents fear he will seek to extend his mandate with a third term, like Presidents in neighboring Guinea and Ivory Coast did last year. Sall, though, hasn’t commented publicly on his intentions yet. While Sall has been credited with infrastructure and development projects, his critics say that progress has come alongside the sidelining of political rivals.
Demonstrators have sought to undermine Sall’s business ties with former colonizer France, attacking more than a dozen supermarkets opened by French retailer Auchan. Total gas stations also have been targeted by the protesters in Dakar. The sight of burned-out cars and boarded-up shops is a rarity in Senegal, which has never suffered the military coups and dictatorships that have destabilized so many of its neighbors in West Africa over the past half-century. SOURCE