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China suspends more flights as Winter Olympics closes in

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On Friday, China suspended dozens of international flights due to an increase in Omicron cases around the world, while Shanghai slowed tourist activity in an effort to prevent local COVID-19 infections as imported cases increased.

Cities across China are becoming more vigilant against COVID-19 ahead of the Lunar New Year travel season later this month and as Beijing readies to stage the Winter Olympics beginning Feb. 4, with many local governments urging residents not to leave town unnecessarily.

Shanghai’s tourism and culture authority said travel agencies and online tourism companies must once again halt organising group tours into and out of Shanghai after it reported five new domestically transmitted infections on Thursday, all linked to an arrival from overseas.

The order, in line with a national guideline to cut tourist activities in provinces where new infections have emerged, came less than a month after Shanghai lifted a suspension that had come into effect in November.

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China has dramatically cut back on international arrivals during the pandemic, but the number of infected travellers arriving in Shanghai, a major financial hub, during the first 10 days of January, exceeded those for all of December.

China has reported local transmissions of the highly-contagious Omicron variant in the northern city of Tianjin and three other cities but has not said how many Omicron cases it has detected in total.

Authorities, however, have warned that Omicron adds to the increased risk of COVID-19 transmission as more people return to China from overseas for the Lunar New Year holiday.

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China on Friday announced that 30 inbound international flights from several countries were suspended due to COVID-19 cases, including four more from the United States. So far this year, China has announced the cancellation of 74 flights from the United States. read more

Athletes and other personnel involved in the Olympics are arriving largely on special charter flights and immediately entering a strictly enforced “closed loop” that separates them from the wider population.

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Unlike some other Chinese cities, Shanghai has largely refrained from broader curbs that risk disrupting normal routines and has taken a more surgical approach. This week it raised the “virus risk” level only for a small bubble tea shop where three of the five local infected people worked.

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Crime

Lagos teenager dies after father’s beating

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Lagos teenager dies after father’s beating

The Police in Lagos State have begun an investigation into the death of a 19-year-old boy allegedly beaten to death by his father.

The Lagos Police Public Relations Officer, SP Benjamin Hundeyin, confirmed the incident on Thursday.

 

Also read: Police arrest man with human skull in Ogun

 

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The spokesperson said that the Alagbado Police Division received a report of the alleged crime on Tuesday.

He said, “At about 12.00 p.m. on July 5, at about 2.00 p.m., one Olumide gave his son, Adeyemi a deep cut under moderate correction, at his right hand side with a shovel over an undisclosed offence.”

Hundeyin said that the young man sustained injury as a result of the impact of the shovel attack

“The young man was immediately rushed to the hospital for treatment.

“But when the injury became serious, he was taken to the General Hospital Ikeja, where he gave up the ghost as a result of tetanus infection, as confirmed by the doctor on duty.

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“The scene was visited by detectives of the division.

“However, the father of the victim is currently at large and the case is under investigation,” he said.

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Crime

Police hunt ‘area boys’ for killing final-year Bayelsa varsity student over N150 levy

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Police hunt ‘area boys’ for killing final-year Bayelsa varsity student over N150 levy

There is outrage in Amassoma, Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of Bayelsa State following the stabbing to death on Monday of a final-year student of the Niger Delta University.

Community sources who spoke to our correspondent on Wednesday said the victim, Francis Palowei, was at the Sand Dump, a popular spot among the students for relaxation and socialising when some youths in the area stabbed him to death when he failed to give them N150.

 

Also read: From lounge to Kirikiri prison, Nigerian DJ alleges police brutality

 

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Palowei, who hailed from Obrigbene community in the Ekeremor Local Government Area of Bayelsa State, was expected to graduate on Wednesday, July 24, 2024, when the university would hold its next convocation.

Theheute gathered that men of the Nigeria Police Force had gone to the community and started searching for the perpetrators.

According to one source, who pleaded anonymity, students of the institution have also joined in the search for the perpetrators while the shock of the incident has made some students shun classes, with a greater majority attending classes.

The Public Relations Officer of the university, Indoni Engezi, who confirmed the incident, told Theheute that the incident did not affect academic activities as “the university is a different community.”

Engezi said the issue affected the host community, Amassoma, and that the police were already on top of the situation.

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“The owner of the sand dump does not charge any fees for using the premises, but some youths usually charge N150 from anyone who wants to use the premises”, he said.

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The Police Public Relations Officer, Musa Mohammed, said the Commissioner of Police, Francis Idu, had deployed additional manpower to the community to maintain the peace.

Mohammed said the police had launched a manhunt for the killers.

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FG gets over $751m World Bank loan

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FG targets 2.1 million barrels of daily production by December 2024

The Federal Government has obtained $751.88m out of the recently approved $1.5bn loan by the World Bank.

The loan under the Nigeria Reforms for Economic Stabilisation to Enable Transformation, Development Policy Financing Programme project was disbursed on June 28, 2024, documents from the global financial institution seen by Theheute indicated on Wednesday.

 

Also read: School Feeding: FG To Explore PPP As World Bank, UNICEF, Pledge Support

 

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This loan project is a part of the broader $2.25bn approved by the World Bank for Nigeria on June 13, 2024, to bolster Nigeria’s economic stability and support its vulnerable populations.

The $1.5bn loan comprises two separate agreements between Nigeria and the World Bank: An International Development Association credit of $750m, and an International Bank for Reconstruction and Development loan of $750m.

The amount disbursed includes the entire $750m from the IDA loan and $1.88m from the IBRD of the World Bank, with an undisbursed balance of $748.13m.

It also had fee charges of $1.88m.

The proposed DPF for Nigeria consists of a standalone operation with two tranches designed to support significant reforms in alignment with the government’s economic stabilisation and recovery priorities.

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This operation is structured around four key results distributed across two pillars, which include increasing fiscal oil revenues from 1.8 per cent of Gross Domestic Product in 2022 to 2.7 per cent by 2025, boosting non-oil fiscal revenues from 5.3 per cent to 7.3 per cent over the same period, expanding social safety nets to assist 67 million vulnerable Nigerians, and raising the import value of previously banned products from $11.3m to $54.6m by 2025.

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The Federal Ministry of Finance is tasked with the implementation of these reforms, working under the oversight of the World Bank, which collaborates with other key national stakeholders such as the Central Bank of Nigeria and the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation to monitor and assess the progress and impact of these reforms.

The World Bank will provide supervision and support throughout the implementation process, ensuring that the operation’s goals are met efficiently and effectively.

According to the financing agreement documents for the loan, Nigeria is expected to meet certain conditions to get the entire funds.

Recall that both IDA Credit and IBRD loan agreements have the same requirements, according to the loan agreement documents obtained from the World Bank.

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Some of the actions to be undertaken under this loan project include a presidential executive order mandating all fiscal transfers to the Federal Government, including those from crude oil sales and gasoline imports, to be executed at the prevailing market exchange rate within a specified implementation period.

The submission of a draft bill to the National Assembly to progressively increase the VAT rate to at least 12.5 per cent by 2026 and allow input tax credits for capital and services.

Also, the World Bank included a submission of a revised bill to the National Assembly mandating the use of the national social registry as the primary targeting tool for social investment programmes.

The documents read, “No withdrawal shall be made of the single withdrawal tranche unless the bank is satisfied, after an exchange of views as described in paragraphs (a) and (b) of Section 3.01 of Article III of this agreement based on evidence satisfactory to the bank with the progress achieved by the borrower in carrying out the programme;

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“That the macroeconomic policy framework of the borrower is adequate;

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that the actions described in Section I.B [which are the key requirements presented in the next section of this report] of this schedule have been taken.

“If, after this exchange of views, the bank is not so satisfied, it may give notice to the Borrower to that effect and, if within 90 days after the notice, the borrower has not taken steps satisfactory to the bank, concerning paragraphs (a), (b) and (c) above, then the bank may, by notice to the borrower, cancel all or any part of the unwithdrawn loan balance.”

So far, Nigeria has made progress in some areas, such as increasing petrol prices and implementing cash transfer programmes.

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