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COVID-19: US to impose fresh restrictions, says Biden


US President Joe Biden said on Friday “in all probability” new guidelines or restrictions would be imposed in the United States in response to a resurgence of Covid-19 cases.


Asked if Americans should expect new recommendations from health authorities or new restrictive measures, the president responded, “in all probability,” before leaving the White House by helicopter for the weekend.


He did not specify what steps could be taken.


US federal authorities, local officials and businesses have boosted health protocols in recent days in the face of surging cases spurred by the spread of the highly contagious Delta variant.


Biden added, however, that the country had had “a good day” on Thursday in terms of vaccinations.


 “Almost a million people got vaccinated,” he said, as his administration works to revive a sluggish inoculation campaign.


“I am hopeful people are beginning to realize how essential it is.”


US health authorities this week recommended that even vaccinated Americans again wear masks indoors in areas with high infection rates.


The federal government has also tightened health regulations for its millions of employees, who must now either be vaccinated or wear masks and be tested regularly, even in areas with low case numbers.



News World Update

Bomb blast kills four footballers, injures five others

Four footballers have been killed after an explosion, believed to have been caused by a bomb, ripped through their bus on Friday in Somalia.

NDTV reports that ten players from the Jubaland Chamber of Commerce and Industry club in Somalia were heading to a game at the Kismayo City Stadium in the southern part of the country when the blast occurred.

“The players were riding in a bus when the explosion went off, presumably inside the vehicle. There are investigations going on, but we presume the device was planted onto the bus,” said police officer, Mohamed Sadiq.

Sadiq added that four football players were killed and five others sustained injuries.

“I saw the burning bus and three dead bodies of the players – this was horrible because football players are not politicians,” an eyewitness, Said Adan said.

Meanwhile, there was no instant claim of responsibility for the bomb blast in Kismayo, the capital of the southern state of Jubaland, which borders Kenya.

Jubaland was the first state to commence voting this week in long-delayed national elections in Somalia that the Al-Qaeda linked Al-Shabaab jihadist group has threatened to interrupt.

The extremists group have been fighting to overthrow the federal government since 2007 and frequently attack government, security and civilian targets.

News World Update

Malawi president travels to UK for virtual conference due to poor internet connection


Lazarus Chakwera, the president of Malawi, is said to have travelled to the United Kingdom (UK) to attend a virtual conference owing to bad internet connection in his country.

Chakwera, left his country to attend the Global Education Summit which is hosted by the British prime minister, and Malawi being one of the beneficiaries of the programme needed representation.


The Malawian president in defence of his action said the internet connection in his country is not reliable and that may affect his participation.


Chakwera listed 10 delegates who accompanied him on the journey, including his wife and daughter, but he reportedly dropped the minister for foreign affairs.

According to him, his daughter was included in the delegation to take care of his wife who is not feeling well and to give physical support.


The president’s reason for embarking on the journey sparked criticism in Malawi and some critics accused him of nepotism.

News World Update

Equatorial Guinea blasts ‘illegal’ UK sanctions against president’s son


Equatorial Guinea Saturday slammed as “unilateral and illegal” British sanctions against the son of the country’s veteran president, known for his wildly extravagant lifestyle, over corruption allegations.


The UK on Thursday imposed sanctions on Teodorin Obiang, the vice president of the central west African country and the president’s son, for his involvement in the misappropriation of state funds into his own personal bank accounts.


The Foreign Office said Obiang had made corrupt contracting arrangements and solicited bribes.


It alleged he had splurged $500 million (425 million euros) on mansions around the world, luxury cars and a collection of Michael Jackson memorabilia including a $275,000 crystal-covered glove that the singer wore on his 1987-89 “Bad” tour.


“The unfounded sanctions imposed by the British government find their justification in the manipulations, the lies… that some non-governmental organisations promote against the good image of Equatorial Guinea”, an official statement from Malabo said.


The vice president “has not made any investment in the United Kingdom,” it said, terming the measures “unilateral and illegal”.


The sanctions, which provide for an asset freeze and entry bans into the UK, were taken as part of a global anti-corruption regime by the British government that also targeted four other individuals in other countries on Friday.


“The action we have taken today targets individuals who have lined their own pockets at the expense of their citizens,” British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said in a statement.


The only Spanish-speaking country in sub-Saharan Africa, oil- and timber-rich Equatorial Guinea is one of the most enclosed nations in the continent.


President Teodoro Obiang, who has ruled with an iron fist for 42 years, is frequently accused by rights groups of abuses.


His jet-setting son is increasingly seen as the president’s designated successor.




News World Update

UK freezes assets of Alex Saab, Venezuelan envoy, over ‘serious corruption’


The United Kingdom has frozen the assets of Alex Saab, a special envoy of the Venezuelan government who allegedly exploited two of Venezuela’s public programmes which were set up to supply poor Venezuelans with affordable foodstuffs and housing.


Saab was sanctioned alongside Alvaro Vargas, his associate.


The Venezuelan envoy is currently detained in Cape Verde and facing extradition to the United States for corruption charges.


Teodoro Obiang Mangue, vice-president of Equatorial Guinea; Kudakwashe Tagwirei, a Zimbabwean businessman, and Nawfal Al-Sultan, an ex-governor of Iraq, were also sanctioned by the UK for their involvement in corruption.

According to Dominic Raab, UK foreign secretary, the individuals were sanctioned under the UK’s global anti-corruption sanctions regime.


Raab said the sanctions target cases of serious corruption which have deprived developing countries of vital resources and individuals who have lined their own pockets at the expense of their citizens.


“This second set of Global Anti-Corruption sanctions targets corrupt individuals who have lined their own pockets through misappropriation, with their greed causing untold damage to the countries and communities they exploit,” Raab said.


 “The UK will impose asset freezes and travel bans against these individuals to ensure they will no longer be able to channel their money through UK banks or enter the country.


“The new sanctions announced today target five individuals involved in serious corruption in Equatorial Guinea, Zimbabwe, Venezuela and Iraq. The individuals designated today are:


“Alex Nain Saab Morán and Alvaro Enrique Pulido Vargas for exploiting two of Venezuela’s public programmes which were set up to supply poor Venezuelans with affordable foodstuffs and housing. They benefitted from improperly awarded contracts, where promised goods were delivered at highly inflated prices. Their actions caused further suffering to already poverty stricken Venezuelans, for their own private enrichment


“Teodoro Obiang Mangue, vice president of Equatorial Guinea, and son of the current president, for his involvement in the misappropriation of state funds into his own personal bank accounts, corrupt contracting arrangements and soliciting bribes, to fund a lavish lifestyle inconsistent with his official salary as a government minister. This included the purchase of a $100m mansion in Paris and a $38 million private jet



“Kudakwashe Regimond Tagwirei for profiting from misappropriation of property when his company, Sakunda Holdings, redeemed Government of Zimbabwe Treasury Bills at up to ten times their official value. His actions accelerated the devaluation of Zimbabwe’s currency, increasing the price of essentials, such as food, for Zimbabwean citizens


“Nawfal Hammadi Al-Sultan has been involved in serious corruption in his role as Governor of Nineveh province, Iraq, where he misappropriated public funds intended for reconstruction efforts and to provide support for civilians, and improperly awarded contracts and other state property. Al-Sultan is currently serving a combined five-year prison sentence in Iraq for corruption offences, including wasting five billion Iraqi dinars (approximately £2.5 million) through fictitious public works”


The foreign secretary added that the UK is committed to fighting corruption and holding those responsible for its corrosive effect to account.


“These measures follow the first tranche of UK sanctions under the Global Anti-Corruption sanctions regime in April, which targeted 22 individuals involved in serious corruption cases in Russia, South Africa, South Sudan and Latin America,” he said.


The financial restrictions will also apply to any entities owned or controlled by the persons designated.

News World Update

Son of E/Guinea leader, Obiang buys Michael Jackson’s glove for N113M


Teodoro Obiang Mangue, son of Equatorial Guinea long serving president, has no inhibitions splashing the cash as he did when he bought a glove worn by Michael Jackson at $275,000, about N113M.

Britain is exasperated by his excesses and on Thursday sanctioned him for misappropriating millions of dollars which London said was spent on luxury mansions and private jets.


Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said Obiang Mangue, who is also vice president of Equatorial Guinea, had participated in “corrupt contracting arrangements and soliciting bribes, to fund a lavish lifestyle inconsistent with his official salary as a government minister”.


Britain said Obiang had bought a $100 million mansion in Paris, a $38 million private jet, a luxury yacht, and dozens of luxury vehicles including Ferraris, Bentleys and Aston Martins.


The foreign ministry said he also bought “a collection of Michael Jackson memorabilia including a $275,000 crystal-covered glove that Jackson wore on his “Bad” tour.


France seized many assets of Teodoro Obiang Mangue two years ago.


His father President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo has ruled Equatorial Guinea since taking power in a coup in 1979, eleven years after independence from Spain.


The country grew rich in the past few decades due to the exploitation of its oil reserves, but more than 76% of the population live in poverty, according to the World Bank.

News World Update

Jeff Bezos finally visits space — 9 days after Richard Branson


Jeff Bezos, the world’s richest man, has completed a brief trip to space, nine days after Richard Branson, the founder of Virgin Group, became the first billionaire to travel to space in his spaceship.


Bezos, the 57-year-old businessman, alongside four other persons, on Tuesday, took off in New Shepard, a rocket named after Alan Shepard, the first American in space.


The spacecraft, built by Blue Origin, a rocket company owned by Bezos, rose from the company’s launch site in Van Horn, Texas, shortly before 9:15 and returned safely just after 9:30 Eastern time.


Blue Origin has launched New Shepard 15 times, and all had landed safely in space without anyone onboard.


Even though the flight did not enter orbit, it was a milestone for the company that the investor started more than 20 years ago, the first time a Blue Origin vehicle carried people to space.


According to report, one of the three persons that travelled with Bezos on the New Shepherd is Mark Bezos, his 50-year-old brother, who is also the co-founder and general partner at HighPost Capital, a private equity firm.


Oliver Daemen, an 18-year-old student from the Netherlands, who had purchased a ticket on the second flight, happened to be the third passenger, while Mary Wallace Funk, an 82-year-old American astronaut, completed the team of four that landed on space with Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon.


On July 11, Richard Branson, the founder of Virgin Group, had become the first billionaire to travel to space.


The commercial astronaut, who travelled with five crew members on a Virgin Galactic spaceship, known as VSS Unity, described the journey as “Magical”.


Shortly after arriving, he had announced that Virgin Galactic, his commercial spaceship, plans to begin commercial space flight services in 2022.

News World Update

Critically wounded wife of slain Haiti president says killers didn’t allow him to talk


The widow of slain Haitian leader Jovenel Moise, who was critically wounded in the attack that claimed his life, on Saturday issued her first public remarks since the assault, calling on the nation not to “lose its way.”


“I am alive, thanks to God,” Martine Moise said in an audio message posted on her official Twitter account three days after her husband was shot dead in their home.


“I am alive but I have lost my husband Jovenel,” she added.


The authenticity of the remarks, made in Creole, was confirmed to AFP by Haiti’s minister of culture and communications, Pradel Henriquez.


Martine Moise was rushed to a Haitian hospital after the attack in the early hours of Wednesday, before being evacuated to Miami for treatment.


According to Haitian authorities, an armed commando of 28 men — 26 Colombians and two Haitian-Americans — burst in and opened fire on the couple in their home.


So far, 17 have been arrested, and at least three were killed. A handful remain at large, police say. No motive has been made public.


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“In the blink of an eye, the mercenaries entered my home and riddled my husband with bullets … without even giving him a chance to say a word,” Martine Moise said in her audio message.


“I am crying, it is true, but we cannot let the country lose its way,” she said. “We cannot let his blood… have been spilled in vain.”


Her husband’s killing has plunged already troubled Haiti — the poorest country in the Americas — into chaos.


Amid deep uncertainty over its political future, the international community has called on the impoverished Caribbean country to go ahead with the presidential and legislative elections slated for later this year.


“I will not abandon you,” Martine Moise said.


She promised to engage in a direct exchange with Haitians on Facebook “in the near future.”




News World Update

Mayor of Johannesburg, Geoff Makhubo dies of COVID-19

Geoff Makhubo, the Mayor of Johannesburg has died of complications after contracting COVID-19.

This was announced on Friday as South Africa’s economic hub is undergoing a severe third wave of the pandemic.

Makhubo had recently been transferred to hospital after falling ill.

South Africa, a country of almost 60 million, is increasingly in the grip of the highly contagious Delta variant of the Coronavirus.

Pretoria and Johannesburg are particularly hard hit, with almost two thirds of the country’s new infections being registered there.

According to reports on Worldometer, South Africa is the continent’s worst-hit country in terms of absolute numbers, with 2.1 million Coronavirus cases documented there.

News World Update

Pope Francis to lead Sunday worship from hospital bed

Pope Francis would be leading Sunday noon blessing from Rome’s Gemelli hospital as he recovers from intestinal surgery, the Vatican has announced.

Although the Pontiff has begun walking and working and no longer running a fever, his recuperation could take longer than the seven days initially anticipated.

Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni who made the announcement in a statement on Friday also said the Pope spent a quiet day with “normal clinical progress”, was eating regularly and continuing his scheduled treatment.

The Pope had part of his colon removed last Sunday,

This marks the first time since Pope Francis election in 2013 that he will not read the prayer from the Vatican, except for when he was away on trips.

However, it is not the first time a Pope would lead the prayer, known as the Angelus, from the hospital.

Pope John Paul II, who reigned from 1978 to 2005, was in the same hospital about 10 times and read the Sunday prayer from there, either from the window or with only audio when he was too ill to get out of bed.