Items filtered by date: Monday, 14 October 2019
New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced more funding and support on Monday to target violent extremist content online, just months after an alleged white supremacist live-streamed a massacre at two mosques in Christchurch.
 
The attack on March 15 that killed 51 Muslim worshippers was live-streamed on Facebook, and the video was shared on Twitter, YouTube and Facebook-owned apps Whatsapp and Instagram.
 
Ardern said the government was investing 17 million New Zealand dollars (10.73 million dollars) over four years to boost New Zealand’s ability to find, stop and stamp out terrorist and violent extremist content online quickly.
 
The investment would be used to double the investigative, forensic, intelligence and prevention work of the Department of Internal Affairs, she announced at a press conference.
 
A new team of 17 people will be dedicated to tackling such content, the government said in a statement.
 
The new department’s powers include investigating and prosecuting those committing offences through both proactive detection and working with international and domestic partners, it added.
 
“Our online world must be a force for good where we can exchange ideas, share technology, and maintain civil liberties while protecting New Zealanders from objectionable content,” Ardern said in the statement.
 
“Countering violent extremism online is an important part of our response to the March 15 terrorist attacks,” she added.
 
Silicon Valley tech giants and world leaders have endorsed a movement by Ardern called “Christchurch Call” which aims to establish ethical standards for tech companies and media outlets to avoid amplifying violent extremist content online.
 
Their commitment was tested last week as social media firms scrambled to scrub footage of a shooting outside a German synagogue that was live-streamed on Amazon’s gaming subsidiary Twitch.
 
As with Christchurch, full copies and portions of the German video quickly began appearing elsewhere online, shared both by supporters of the gunman’s anti-Semitic ideology and critics condemning his actions.
 
Ardern said in a press conference later that the attack in Germany last week was another reminder of the threat of online extremism.
Published in World
President Rodrigo Duterte has made a bloody war on drugs his signature campaign, to the approval of most voters, despite international outrage about the bloodshed amid fears many suspected dealers have been killed by police in staged encounters and by death squads.
 
Duterte has rejected the accusations.
 
In testimony that has raised questions about the government’s campaign, witnesses in Senate inquiries have accused police chief Oscar Albayalde of protecting officers who sold confiscated narcotics back onto the black market.
 
Albayalde denied the accusations and had ruled out resigning.
 
On Monday, he referred to the hearing and the fact he was being implicated in the scandal and said he was stepping down to make way for a new police chief.
 
“After careful thought and deliberation, I have come to the decision to relinquish my post as chief of the Philippine National Police,” Albayalde said in the speech to police officers.
 
Published in World

Prof. Sulaiman Akanmu, a Professor of Haematology and Blood Transfusion at the College of Medicine, University of Lagos, advised air travellers to know what is thrombosis and the risks.

He said that knowing the dangers would guard against coming down with thrombosis, a deadly condition caused by the formation of potentially deadly blood clots (blood that has turned into solid form) within the blood vessels.

Akanmu gave the advice at a media briefing organised by Sanofi, a multinational pharmaceutical company, to mark the 2019 World Thrombosis Day on Sunday.

World Thrombosis Day is marked annually on Oct. 13 and it focuses attention on the often overlooked and misunderstood condition of thrombosis, an urgent and growing health problem.

Some people known to have passed on from thrombosis include actor James Stewart, Rapper Heavy D and Nigerian Star, Goldie Harvey, who died after returning from the 55th Grammy Awards in 2013.

Akanmu said “when the blood clot forms in the vein, it is referred to as Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT).

“Part or whole of the clot can detach and travel in the circulation to lodge in the lungs, causing a condition referred to as pulmonary embolism (PE). Both DVT and PE are collectively referred to as “Venous Thromboembolism” (VTE).

“Travellers, particularly air travelers, are more particularly associated with Venous Thromboembolism.

“This occurs especially in individuals who already have inherited or genetic predisposition of thrombosis.’’

According to him, the environment in the economy class makes this happen, especially the environment up in the sky.

“Generally in the sky, the pressure there is completely different from the one on surface and this makes us, while in the sky, to lose more fluids.

“People become more dehydrated, which is what we call Low Blood Viscosity, which means resistance to flow, the flow of blood becomes more sluggish and the sluggishness predisposes to thrombosis.’’

The haematologist said that passengers in the Economy class of an aircraft were usually clamped and they don’t do “ Air Exercise’’.

He also advised air travellers to take water intermittently while on-air and take less alcohol.

“The location where the thrombus occurs is at the back of the knee and that is where we have popliteal vein.

“Nearly 90 to 95 per cent of air travellers in economy class would have thrombosis at the knee because it is constricted.

“This, however, does not affect passengers in first class and business class because there is space and room for walking exercise,’’ he said.

For long-distance land travellers, Akanmu said, it is also advisable to stop at every two or three hour interval to help reduce the risk of thrombosis, especially for those with history of inherited predisposition.

Published in Travel & Tourism

Ghana has a serious flood problem. Over about 50 years, 4 million people have been affected by floods, resulting in economic damage exceeding USD$780 million. At least one major flood disaster has occurred every year over the past 10 years.

Floods are not uncommon in West Africa. Rainfall variability and land use changes have made them increasingly common throughout the region.

In Ghana’s urban areas, like Accra and Kumasi, floods are mostly triggered by seasonal rainfall combined with poor drainage, the dumping of waste into waterways and the low elevation of settlements. In northern Ghana, some floods are caused by spillage from a dam in Burkina Faso.

The floods expose communities to health risks, food shortages and mental stress.

The problem is Ghana’s government currently reacts to the floods using coping strategies. These don’t deal with the underlying risks, are expensive and don’t consider that floods will get worse. The government must take steps towards more proactive flood risk management.

Reactive strategies

After every flood, the country’s national disaster management organisation – along with the military, police, and other emergency personnel – is deployed for rescue and emergency relief.

The government then repairs damaged infrastructure, clears waterways and demolishes properties built close to drainage channels.

The problem is this doesn’t deal with the underlying causes of the floods, or prepare people for them. Money that could go towards future prevention is instead spent on perpetual cycles of recovery.

These coping strategies will get more costly because the flood risk is set to get worse. The amount of rainfall classified as “heavy” is projected to increase between 2010 and 2050, with the wet seasons projected to get wetter and the dry seasons drier.

This will be felt intensely in the urban areas as populations continue to grow. Already, about 40% of Accra is classified as “highly prone” to flooding. This will increase as, due to more building, less water will drain into the soil.

The case for flood risk adaptation

The government needs to make the country more resilient and able to withstand the challenges posed by intense and frequent floods.

Ghana participates in a variety of adaptation programmes. Like the resilient cities network and the Africa Adaptation Program. But this hasn’t translated into action.

The government has also taken on projects to protect against floods, but these are focused on the coastal areas. For example the Keta sea defence project.

The current greater Accra Metropolitan Area sanitation and water project is constructing drains and culverts in Accra. But this isn’t a major part of the project.

Much more needs to be done. Ghana must fully transition from coping strategies, to proactive, long-term measures. These include:

  • Structural flood protection measures – like storm drains or levees. These need to be constructed to protect all at risk areas, and not just the coastal areas

  • Improve early warning systems to ensure timely flood risk alerts. This should include; a 24 hour monitoring and warning service during peak rain seasons and an education program to help communities understand the risk, respect the warnings and know how to respond

  • Social protection – like affordable social housing – which will move more people out of informal settlements built in flood prone zones

  • Strategies aimed at improving the natural environment – for example, creating riparian buffer zones that protect and expand wetlands so that vegetation slows and absorbs flood waters

  • Encourage households to adapt and advise on actions they can take, like using more water resistant building materials

  • Restore lagoons and rivers

  • Proper waste management. Ghana has a huge solid waste problem. Poor disposal of solid waste often leads to the blocking of drains and drainage systems, preventing flood waters from flowing through

  • Moving homes and businesses out of flood prone locations. They can choose to do this, or the government can facilitate it by buying out at-risk properties

  • Build new homes on elevated ground or foundations

  • Strict planning to avoid construction in flood-prone areas

  • Deal with spillage from dams by building canals that channel the water. These can be dammed and the water used for irrigation.

The initial cost of adaptation measures will be expensive, but it will pay off. Research shows that for every US$1 spent on flood risk reduction, it saves at least US$4 to US$9 otherwise spent in an emergency response when disaster occurs. The Netherlands is a classic example of a country that has taken flood risk adaptation seriously. A quarter of the country is below sea level and 60% of its people in flood-risk areas but the measures it has taken have reduced the likelihood of major flooding.

Ghana can take advantage of predictions and past experiences of floods to aggressively pursue flood risk adaptation. Failure to do this will increase flood disasters, and social and economic disruptions.The Conversation

 

Jerry Chati Tasantab, PhD Candidate, School of Architecture and Built Environment, University of Newcastle; Jason von Meding, Senior Lecturer in Disaster Risk Reduction, University of Newcastle; Kim Maund, Head of Discipline-Construction Management, University of Newcastle, and Thayaparan Gajendran, Associate professor, University of Newcastle

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Published in Economy

Nigeria women have been urged to promote indigenous African products, a feat if adhered to, would reduce unemployment not only among youths but among the entire workforce.

The Chairman, Yoruba Tennis Club, Olawunmi Agbaje, made the pronouncement while declaring open the 4th Naija Fair, tagged Afro-Naija Expo 2019, with the Theme: “Promoting Indigenous African Products”, organised by Yoruba Tennis Club, Ladies Wing, that took place at the premises of the Club House in Lagos at the weekend.

Agbaje, who commended the initiatives of the Ladies Wing of the Yoruba Tennis Club for their initiatives at supporting the men fold in stimulating commerce in the state and contribute their quota to the development of the state, said it would be an added advantage if the group could intensify efforts at promoting indigenous African products, which without any iota of doubt would further assist the state and the country commercial-wise.

“Let me commend the Yoruba Tennis Club, Ladies Wing, for their initiatives at organising trade fair like this every year with different titles that would stimulate our women to be more active and relevant. Meanwhile, I would not fail to advise you to intensify efforts at further promoting indigenous African products which would further stimulate commerce in the state and Nigeria in general”, Agbaje said

The Chairperson of the Ladies Wing, Titilola Agbaje, said the 4th Edition of the fair, with the theme “Afro-Naija Expo, has something for everyone, adding that the Fair was conceived by the Ladies’ Wing made up of the spouses of members of the Club, in 2016 as one of the events to commemorate the 90th anniversary of the club.

She maintained that this year’s edition was targeted at promoting all ranges of indigenous African products, thus creating a bridge between manufacturers, their products and consumers.

She emphasised that the products that were exhibited were indeed world class.

“This year’s edition with the theme, “Afro-Naija Expo: Promoting Indigenous African Products” would remain indelible because it would be remembered to promote all ranges of indigenous African products, which would no doubt serve as bridge between manufacturers, products and consumers”, she said.

The Chairperson, Planning Committee for 2019 Fair, Omotunde Lawson, expressed appreciation to members of the committee for their effort at making this year’s exhibition a successful one, just as she commended the exhibitors and other sponsors of the fair.

The Trade Marketing Manager, Nigerian Bottling Company, Ms Adedolapo Adebowale, commended the initiatives of the Ladies’ Wing, Yoruba Tennis Club for the fair, just as she advised women to be more passionate about business as women were more passionate than men business-wise.

The 4th edition of the Yoruba Tennis Club, Ladies Wing Naija Fair had in attendance different exhibitors both locally and internationally  including public and the private sectors.

Published in Business
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