HERE ARE THE HIGHLIGHTS
- INEC TO COMMENCE PHYSICAL REGISTRATION IN JULY.
- PRESIDENT BIDEN DECLARES STATE OF EMERGENCY IN FLORIDA.
- U.N DEMANDS END TO ISRAEL’S SETTLEMENT EXPANSION IN WEST BANK.
- SEVERAL DIE, SCORES INJURE AS TORNADO SWEEPS THROUGH VILLAGES IN CZECH REPUBLIC.
The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, will commence physical Continuous Voter Registration, CVR, on Monday, July 19.
INEC’s Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, gave the hint at a news conference and launch of online portal for the CVR exercise in Abuja, saying the decision was made in view of security concerns in the country.
Yakubu explained that while the online registration would commence on June 28 nationwide, physical registration at its local government and states offices would commence on July 19.
The INEC boss, who decried the recent attacks on the commission’s offices nation-wide, however assured that high premium will be placed on securing the lives of registrants and staff as well as the protection of the expensive registration equipment to be deployed for the forthcoming exercise.
United States President, Joe Biden, has declared a state of emergency in Florida, following the collapse of a 12-storey residential building near the city of Miami, which left at least one person dead and nearly 100 others unaccounted for.
In a statement released by the White House, President Biden authorized the Department of Homeland Security, and Federal Emergency Management Agency, FEMA, to coordinate all disaster relief efforts.
While addressing newsmen, local officials said dozens of survivors have been pulled out of the rubble but desperate search for other survivors is still ongoing.
Meanwhile, authorities have begun taking DNA samples from relatives of those still missing in case only remains of their family members are found in the rubble of the collapsed 40-year-old high-rise building.
United States president, Joe Biden, will today meet with his Afghan counterpart, Ashraf Ghani, to discuss Washington’s future support for the south Asian nation.
This comes as the Afghan leader faces the cold reality of the end of 20 years of U.S military presence in the country and as the government forces struggle to repel advances of the Islamist militia group, Taliban.
While addressing reporters, White house Deputy Press Secretary, Karine Jean-Pierre, said the U.S oval office meeting will focus on America’s ongoing commitment to the Afghan people and security forces, adding that president Biden will also reaffirm U.S support for a negotiated peace deal.
The U.S president had earlier asked the congress to approve the sum of 3.3 billion dollars in security assistance for Afghanistan next year and amid plans to send 3 million doses of vaccines there to help it battle Covid-19.
N’ ZEALAND/HATE SPEECH
The authorities in New Zealand are concluding plans to strengthen the country’s hate speech laws and increase penalties for inciting hatred and discrimination.
The move comes after a royal commission investigating the deadly 2019 Christchurch attack by a white supremacist recommended changes to hate speech and hate crime laws.
Reacting, officials revealed that under the proposal, any person caught stirring up, maintaining or normalizing hatred would be sentenced to a minimum of 3 years imprisonment or be made to pay a fine of up to 50 thousand New Zealand dollars.
They added that the proposal also provides for the protection of trans-gender, diverse and intersex people from discrimination in addition to the present laws banning hostility against a person or group on the grounds of their colour, race or ethnicity.
Authorities in Australia’s biggest city of Sydney are struggling to contain a spike in the highly contagious Delta or Indian Covid-19 virus variant in the city.
Speaking in an interview with newsmen, leadership of the Australian Medical Association therefore called for a complete lockdown of Sydney so as to prevent the virus from spreading and causing possible deaths.
Reacting, New South Wales State Premier, Gladys Berejiklian, disclosed that people who live or have worked in the four local government council areas in Sydney in the last two weeks have been ordered to stay at home except for emergency purposes.
Officials had earlier issued health alerts for more than a dozen new venues scattered across as Australia reported about 30,400 infections and 910 deaths across the country.
The United Nations is asking Israel’s new government to halt its ongoing expansion of settlements in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.
U.N Mideast Envoy, Tor Wennesland, gave the charge while addressing members of the U.N Security Council, UNSC.
While speaking, Wennesland expressed deep concern over Israel’s plan to expand illegal settlements in occupied Palestinian territories, maintaing that that the Israeli settlements constitute a flagrant violation of U.N resolutions and international law.
In the meantime, a 2016 U.N Security Council resolution had earlier demanded a halt to the settlement expansion, which it said jeopardizes the possibility of a future Palestinian state as well as the achievement of a just, lasting and comprehensive peace.
In a move seen as a tightening of China’s grip on Hong Kong, the country’s Chief Executive, Carrie Lam, has carried out a major cabinet reshuffle.
Addressing a press conference in Victoria, the capital city, Lam named the country’s former Police Chief, John Lee, as the assistant Chief Executive, which is the number two job in government.
Lam also announced that deputy police commissioner, Raymond Siu, would become the city’s new police chief following the approval of china’s state council.
The reshuffle comes a year after the introduction of national security legislation that critics say had systematically dismantled the civil and political rights of Hong Kong’s 7.5 million people.
China is planning to send its first manned mission to mars in 2033 under a long-term plan to build a permanently inhabited base on the red planet and extract its resources.
The head of China’s main rocket maker, Wang Xiaojun, told a space exploration conference in Russia that the crewed launches to mars are planned for 2033, 2035, 2037, 2041 and beyond.
Information has it that the ambitious plan is part of measures to build a base on the red planet, in an intensifying space rivalry with the United States.
Meanwhile, China is also planning to set up a base at the south pole of the moon and is deploying robotic expeditions to Asteroids and Jupiter around 2030.
A tornado that swept through several villages in the Czech Republic has killed no fewer than four people and left more than 100 others wounded.
A regional governor, Jan Grolich, disclosed to reporters that winds of at least 219 kilometer per hour blew the roofs off buildings in the south-eastern Breclav and Hodonin districts, uprooting trees and overturning cars.
Grolich lamented that around one thousand homes had been affected adding that efforts are ongoing to provide accommodation for people whose roofs had been destroyed.
On her part, a spokeswoman for the South Moravian Rescue Service, Michaela Bothová, disclosed that dozens of people had been taken to hospital by medical services and three of them had died.