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Believe me, No state in Nigeria is held, controlled by Boko Haram, Buhari tells the world

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President Muhammadu Buhari, Saturday boasted that no state in Nigeria is currently under the control of Boko Haram terrorists.

He said that his administration is doing everything possible to win the war against terrorism in Nigeria, noting that he has recaptured all territories held by Boko Haram in 2014 and also liberated thousands of Nigerians held against their will by this dreaded group. Speaking at the world economic forum in Jordan, Buhari opined that the world has changed and urged every nation to be corporative. “Cooperation amongst sovereign nations is no longer a choice. It is an absolute necessity”, he said.

He equally called for social and economic inclusion, noting that they are the root causes of many challenges the world is facing. His words, “In this digital age where physical borders no longer exist to protect even the most secured nations, the only way to overcome predatory and divisionary forces is for all well-meaning nations to work together for the greater good of mankind. “Simply put, cooperation amongst sovereign nations is no longer a choice. It is an absolute necessity. In the last ten years, the world as we knew it has completely changed.

“ We have seen and experienced significant shifts on many fronts. In Technology; Population and Migration; Trade and Geopolitics; Climate change; and many more. “For some nations, these trends have had positive impacts. But of course, we have also seen the negative and destructive outcomes of these trends in other countries. “ It is my view, that no region of the world has felt the full impact of these dramatic shifts and shocks like the Middle East and Africa – North and Sub-Sahara. “On one hand, our region is blessed with a very young, vibrant, enterprising and dynamic population. We also have valuable natural resources that are the envy of many nations.

“These assets and endowments contributed to our region experiencing some of the highest economic growth rates in the world. “ On the other hand however, we have also been hosts to some of the deadliest conflicts in recent history. The deaths, damage and destruction caused by terrorist groups such as Al Qaeda, ISIS and Boko Haram over the last ten years will take decades to repair.By the special grace of God, today, most of these terrorist organizations have been significantly degraded. The world came together to achieve this. Now, we are faced with the task of rebuilding.

“It is at this point that we must ask ourselves how we, as a region, got to this point. The answer, at least in the case of Nigeria, is the lack of social and economic inclusion. As Nigeria celebrated being the largest economy in Africa and one of the fastest growing economies in the world, Nigerians were migrating in droves through harsh desert conditions and across treacherous seas to seek what they believe would be a better life in Europe.

“Ladies and gentlemen, I strongly believe that the lack of social and economic inclusion was the root cause of many challenges we are experiencing. Today, our population is one hundred and ninety million people. By 2050, it is estimated that we hit three hundred and ninety million making us the third most populous country in the world. This means we must start working now to ensure this population is productively engaged.

“In the last four years, we focused on security while implementing inclusive policies. On the security front, we made significant gains in fighting Boko Haram. We have recaptured all territories held by Boko Haram in 2014. We have liberated thousands of Nigerians held against their will. “Today, I am pleased to say no territory in the Federal Republic of Nigeria is held or controlled by Boko Haram.

We are extremely grateful to the many countries that have stood with Nigeria to confront this global scourge and in particular, the Kingdom of Jordan under the leadership of His Majesty, the King. “Furthermore, our economic diversification and social inclusion policies are also yielding positive results.

Our country has now returned to the path of growth. We are making gains in the ease of doing business indices. A key driver for growth is the agricultural sector where we aggressively pushed agricultural policies that empowered millions of our rural citizens.

“In the spirit of “Building New Platforms of Cooperation”, we partnered with the Kingdom of Morocco to domesticate fertilizer production in Nigeria and revive over two million tons of abandoned fertilizer blending plant capacity.

“The outcome is we created tens of thousands of jobs in agriculture, logistics, manufacturing and retail sectors. We are able to achieve moderate growth. But it was inclusive. Nigeria is now at a new dawn and embarking on a new development trajectory. We are determined to industrialise Nigeria leveraging our comparative advantage.

“We recognize the private sector as the engine of growth and a veritable partner in our economic agenda. The Middle East is a natural partner. Africa and the Middle East must therefore focus on policies that will deliver shared economic prosperity for all our citizens. On trade and investments for example, we can do more.

Africa represents only five percent of Jordan’s trade with the world. But we have the resources, the people and the markets to do more. “Opportunities exist in key job creating sectors such as Agriculture, Health, Tourism, ICT, Infrastructure as well as Textile and garmenting to mention a few. Our new, inclusive and diversified Nigeria is definitely open for business. Our population, resources, policies and programs make it the most attractive investment destination in Africa. “As friends and allies, we must therefore cooperate and leverage on our relative strengths. We must remain open to “Building New Platforms of Cooperation. As we deliberate over the next two days, I would ask all leaders present to reflect on our collective experiences. We must identify how we can work together.

“Today, we are living in a new world. In this new world without borders, my personal view is stability and sustainability can only be achieved through inclusive economic growth, and enhanced cooperation amongst nations. I thank you all for listening and I wish you a very successful and productive summit.”

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President Putin signs law suspending INF Treaty

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Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a federal law to suspend the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty – an arms control treaty between the U.S. and the Soviet Union (and its successor state, the Russian Federation).

A relevant document was posted on Wednesday on the official legal information website.

“To suspend the Treaty Between the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and the United States of America on the Elimination of Their Intermediate-Range and Shorter-Range Missiles signed in the city of Washington on December 8, 1987,” the document says.

The INF Treaty, formally Treaty Between the U.S. and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics on the Elimination of Their Intermediate-Range and Shorter-Range Missiles; was an arms control treaty between the U.S. and the Soviet Union (and its successor state, the Russian Federation).

U.S. President Ronald Reagan and Soviet General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev signed the treaty on Dec. 8, 1987.

The U.S. Senate approved the treaty on May 27, 1988, and Reagan and Gorbachev ratified it on 1 June 1988.

The INF Treaty banned all of the two nations’ land-based ballistic missiles, cruise missiles, and missile launchers with ranges of 500–1,000 kilometers (310–620 mi) (short medium-range) and 1,000–5,500 km (620–3,420 mi) (intermediate-range). The treaty did not apply to air- or sea-launched missiles.

By May 1991, the nations had eliminated 2,692 missiles, followed by 10 years of on-site verification inspections.

U.S. President Donald Trump announced on 20 October 2018 that he was withdrawing the U.S. from the treaty, accusing Russia of non-compliance.

The U.S. formally suspended the treaty on 1 February 2019, and Russia did so on the following day in response to the U.S. withdrawal.

Russia, which denies the allegation, later followed suit. Moscow accuses the United States of breaking the accord itself, a claim rejected by Washington.

The INF Treaty was the first of its kind to eliminate an entire class of missiles.

It banned the United States and Russia from developing, producing, and deploying ground-launched cruise or ballistic missiles with ranges of between 500 and 5,500 kilometers.

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Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, others sign new OPEC Charter Saudi

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The Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and the non-member countries of the organisation (OPEC+) on Tuesday signed a draft Charter of Cooperation’ in a bid to further strengthen their partnership. 

The charter now replaces the `Declaration of Cooperation’, which was reached in Dec. 2016 between the two groups.

Speaking at the end of the 6th OPEC and non-OPEC Ministerial Meeting in Vienna, Mr Salvador Fernandez, President of the bloc’s Council  reaffirmed the continued commitment of the member countries to a stable market as stipulated in the cooperation.

“Participating producing countries are committed to promoting the interest of  producing nations.

“The efficient, economic  and secure supply to consumers and a fair return on invested capital as well as the return of confidence and investment to the oil industry,” Fernandez said. 

Fernandez, who is also the Venezuelan Petroleum Minister, said that the meeting focused on recent oil market developments and immediate prospects as well as collaborative efforts by members. 

Mr Alexandra Novak, Russia’s Energy Minister and Co-chair of the meeting, described the charter as not only “historic, but a basis for solidifying cooperation.

“It is not only a historic document which solidifies our cooperation, but also a solid foundation for future analysis of the market and basis for decision-making to stabilise the market.’’

Novak, who noted the successes achieved through the Declaration of Cooperation, said that the market was currently in a better shape than it used to be.

“To further stabilise the market, we have decided to significantly intensify monitoring in bid to forestall potential uncertainties that could destabilise the market,” he said.

The new agreement is seen as a move by the bloc to remain relevant in the oil market which has been transformed by booming U.S. shale oil output.

Nigeria and 13 other OPEC member nations as well as some non-member countries have already signed the charter. 

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Australian man dies 10 days after eating gecko at a party

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Australian father-of-three David Dowell was in “absolute agony” before he died, suffering from a salmonella infection potentially caused by a Christmas party dare involving a gecko.

More than six months on, his family is still searching for answers after hearing conflicting accounts from those who were at the party and going without details from the coroner.

It would have been David’s 35th birthday last Tuesday, June 25, but instead of celebrating, his family held a vigil.

Beside the Logan River where he liked to go fishing, they placed paper boats in the water with messages they never got to tell him.

David left behind partner of 15 years Allira and three daughters – Alyssa, Claudia and Sage – as well as four siblings and nieces and nephews, one of whom was born four weeks after his death.

Hannah Dowell, David’s sister, said nobody had a bad word to say about her brother.

“He was one of a kind … just a great person and the kids have lost one of the best dads ever,” she said.

On Saturday, December 1, David went to a Christmas party. The next day he didn’t feel well but thought it was just a hangover.

“Then on Monday, it was coming out both ends and he was really sick and the moment he started throwing up and it was green, that’s when they rang the ambulance,” Hannah said.

“When they got there, the (paramedics) didn’t even want to take him (to hospital). They said he just had gastro and his partner said: ‘no, you’ve got to take him; it’s not just gastro’.”

On Tuesday, December 4, David was diagnosed at the Mater Hospital with a salmonella infection.

Salmonella is a foodborne pathogen, which can also be transmitted from person to person.

The bacteria attach to small intestine cells and start multiplying, causing a gut infection, but in severe cases, the bacteria can move into the bloodstream.

In most cases, it only causes diarrhea, stomach cramps and fever, but in compromised patients, those with health conditions or the young and old, it can be much more severe.

David’s family thought chicken was the cause of the salmonella.

Then on the Sunday, according to Hannah, David’s partner, Allira, was talking to one of his friends and remembered “Oh, David ate a gecko that night I’m pretty sure”.

“She [David’s partner] told the doctor and the doctor said ‘that could have been it’,” Hannah said.

“But there has been no evidence that he actually ate it because there was: ‘Oh yeah I saw him eat it’. And then: ‘No, I didn’t see him eat it’.

“It was a dare, so he might have intended to eat it and then thrown it away.

“At the end of the day, we don’t know whether he actually ate the gecko. David never mentioned it.”

University of Queensland school of agriculture and food sciences deputy head Mark Turner said the gecko theory was plausible.

Dr Turner said a wide range of warm- and cold-blooded animals carried salmonella, including turtles, snakes, frogs and geckos, which have the bacteria in their gut.

“It’s possible that if the gecko was eaten, as it was being digested, the salmonella was released, but I have never heard of anything like this before,” he said.

“It just goes to show that things as innocent as geckos can carry disease bacteria.”

In the Mater, David was not well and his symptoms were particularly confronting.

Hannah said he was very bloated, resembling someone six months pregnant. His urine was black, his vomit was green and after a few days he had fluid on his lungs.

“When I went up and saw him, he was just in absolute agony,” she said.

“Mum was asking them (doctors) because he had a blockage, ‘can’t you just operate?’ They said no.”

David’s mother, Michelle, said fluid leaked from his stomach.

“His testicles were swollen up to grapefruits and there was fluid leaking from them and they [doctors] said that was normal, it was just all of the fluid in his stomach cavity,” she said.

The Mater Hospital could not go into detail regarding David’s case because of patient confidentiality.

“Mater offers its deepest condolences to the family of Mr David Dowell. Mr Dowell’s case was referred to the Coroner, who determined Mater had provided appropriate care and no further action was required. Mater is unable to comment further on the case due to patient confidentiality.”

In a statement, the Coroners Court said: “After consideration of the hospital records, the coronial registrar finalised the investigation by authorising the cause of death certificate to issue without coronial autopsy.”

David was described as “a big kid” who loved gardening. He once wandered off at Oktoberfest to go to the toilet and his family found him in the smoking area talking to everyone.

“That was the kind of person he was … I’m so grateful that I got to spend time with him. I’m glad that he was my brother,” Hannah said.

“We went to the local pub and people who didn’t really know him [David] were coming up and saying how awesome he was.”

David’s family said they hoped another family would not have to go through what they had.

“Look out for the signs and realise how bad salmonella can be, so we can prevent it from happening to someone else,” Hannah said.

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