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BREAKING: AGF orders NDLEA to stop screening of 5,000 recruits

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Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, has directed the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) to put screening of 5,000 new recruits on hold.

The ordered was contained in a statement Friday night by Dayo Apata, Solicitor General of the Federation.

Apata is also the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Justice.

NDLEA had asked the candidates to go to the agency’s academy, Citadel Counter-Narcotics Nigeria, (CCNN) at Katton-Rikkos, Jos, Plateau State.

They are to appear for the screening and documentation exercise between January 10 and 23, 2021.

But Malami said though the exercise is long overdue and necessary for the actualization of the NDLEA mandate, “the timing is ill-advised and inappropriate.”

The AGF cited the current and alarming wave of COVID-19 pandemic across the country.

Malami directed Apata to seek advice from the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 on the public health implications of the NDLEA exercise.

The minister directed the NDLEA Chairman “to stay further action on this matter pending the receipt of clarification/advice from the Presidential Task Force”.

The chairman was further requested to notify the applicants of the development accordingly.

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SA news on 25 Jan: ‘Earthquake off SW coast’ – and six other major stories

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After a busy weekend, we’re beginning a new week in lockdown. But there’s plenty to sink your teeth into on Monday 25 January, and the news comes thick and fast this morning. Gwede Mantashe stands accused of money laundering, Cyril Ramaphosa has promised a new ‘basic income grant’ for SA, and… an off-shore earthquake has been reported.

TODAY’S LATEST NEWS IN SOUTH AFRICA, MONDAY 25 JANUARY

Earthquake may send ripples to South Africa

A 5.1 magnitude earthquake was registered off the south-western coast of South Africa on Sunday – but it’s unlikely to have a serious impact on our shores. That’s because the epicentre was 2 000km away, towards the Antarctic. But with SA being the nearest other landmass, the seismic shift could trigger some gnarly waves. Not that surfers can enjoy them…

Presidential news: Cyril Ramaphosa reveals Lekgotla resolutions

Basic income grants, COVID responses, and a clearer immigration strategy dominated the Lekgotla talks:

“The lekgotla has agreed that, in the context of the continuing COVID pandemic, we need to consider the extension of basic income relief to unemployed people who do not receive any other form of state assistance. An important decision of this Lekgotla is to convene an Economic Summit that critically looks at what COVID has accentuated poverty.”

“The lekgotla recognised that a coherent, integrated and efficient approach to immigration and border management is important for economic development and social stability. Immigration laws need to be implemented more rigorously and consistently, in line with our Constitution and international commitments and in pursuit of our national interests.”

Cyril Ramaphosa

Tropical Storm Eloise forces ‘Level 10 weather warnings’

On Sunday afternoon, a statement from the meteorological authority explained that Limpopo and Mpumalanga are in for a rough ride over the next couple of days, due to the impact of Tropical Storm Eloise.

The Level 10 weather warning came into effect from 13:00, and is likely to remain until 23:00 on Monday. SAWS warn that there will be a ‘serious strain’ on the emergency services during this time.

Premier problems for Mpumalanga’s maskless mourner

Police Minister Bheki Cele has revealed that he is ‘concerned’ about the behaviour of Mpumalanga Premier Refilwe Mtsweni-Tsipane, after she attended the funeral of Jackson Mthembu without wearing a mask. Her conduct enraged South Africa’s online community, and a SAPS investigation will now take place.

On Sunday evening, SAPS confirmed that the wearing of a mask in a public place is non-negotiable. However, Bheki Cele also stressed that those who fail to wear a mask upon verbal instruction could face a stint in jail.

AfriForum has launched an urgent court application this weekend, as they aim to force through the use of Ivermectin – which, according to some studies, can slash COVID-19 death rates by over 80%. The lobby group believes that the time has now come to weigh ‘risk against reward’, and they want to see the drug fast-tracked towards approval.

Gwede Mantashe’s money laundering woes

Gwede Mantashe‘s alleged links to a money laundering venture have been slammed by the DA on Sunday. Shadow Minister Kevin Mileham, whose portfolio includes mining and energy, believes that President Ramaphosa ‘would be doing South Africa a great service’ if he were to remove his ANC colleague from office.

Media reports on Sunday state that the Gwede Mantashe Foundation has been complicit in a scheme involving several subsidiary companies. The minister’s wife is also thought to be benefiting irregularly from a government contract. The fresh allegations weave a rich tapestry of intrigue and financial misgivings.

Lil Wayne thanks Trump for pardon – with a new song

Aye, nothing says ‘cool anti-establishment artist’ quite like thanking a president for his work…

Rapper Lil Wayne has dropped his first song since being pardoned by Donald Trump on Thursday 21 January. The former US president pardoned more than 100 people during his last day in office on Tuesday 19 January 2021, including the 38-year-old rap star, who had pleaded guilty to illegally possessing a loaded weapon on a private jet.

LATEST WEATHER FORECAST, MONDAY 25 JANUARY  

Take a look at weather forecasts for all nine provinces here.

LIVE TRAFFIC NEWS AND UPDATES FOR CAPE TOWN, JOHANNESBURG AND DURBAN

Stay one step ahead of the traffic by viewing our live traffic updates here.

HOROSCOPE TODAY

Free daily horoscope, celeb gossip and lucky numbers for Monday 25 January.

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Ireland’s billionaires’ fortunes increase by €3.28bn during pandemic

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The 1,000 richest people on the planet recouped their Covid-19 losses within just nine months, while it could take more than a decade for the world’s poorest to recover from the economic impacts of the pandemic, a new report from Oxfam revealed today.

Mirroring this global inequality trend, Ireland’s own nine billionaires saw their fortunes increase by €3.28 billion since March — a tenth of which would pay for a Covid-19 vaccine for every person in the Republic of Ireland.

Meanwhile, essential workers – such as our carers and supermarket and factory workers — cared for our vulnerable and kept our food supplies running throughout the pandemic — quite often on minimum or low-paid wages.

Inequality Virus report

Oxfam’s The Inequality Virus report, published to coincide with the opening day of the World Economic Forum’s ‘Davos Agenda’, highlights how Covid-19 has the potential to increase economic inequality in almost every country at once, the first time this has happened since records began over a century ago.

A new global survey commissioned by Oxfam of 295 economists from 79 countries, including Ireland, reveals that 87 percent of respondents, including Jeffrey Sachs, Jayati Ghosh and Gabriel Zucman, expect an ‘increase’ or a ‘major increase’ in income inequality in their country as a result of the pandemic.

Financial crash

This thinking was shared by 85 percent of Irish economists who participated, with most estimating it would be the worst increase in inequality in Ireland since the financial crash of 2008.

Rising inequality means it could take at least 14 times longer for the number of people living in poverty to return to pre-pandemic levels than it took for the fortunes of the top 1,000, mostly white male billionaires, to bounce back.

Jim Clarken, chief executive of Oxfam Ireland, said: “We stand to witness the greatest rise in inequality since records began, with the deep divide between the rich and poor proving as deadly as the virus itself. Around the world the impact of Covid-19 is magnifying and exacerbating existing inequalities – as well as racial and gender divides. One of the most extreme and unjust indicators of inequality we are seeing around the world right now is between those who have access to life saving vaccine and those who don’t’.

“Rigged economies are funnelling wealth to a rich elite who are riding out the pandemic in safety, while those on the frontline— our shop assistants, healthcare workers, and factory workers — are struggling to pay the bills and put food on the table, and often do not have benefits such as paid sick leave.

“The world’s ten richest men have seen their combined wealth increase by half a trillion dollars since the pandemic began —more than enough to pay for a Covid-19 vaccine for everyone and to ensure no one is pushed into poverty by the pandemic. At the same time, the pandemic has ushered in the worst job crisis in over 90 years with hundreds of millions of people now underemployed or out of work.

“In Ireland, the fallout of the pandemic on employment has disproportionately hit young adults as well as people in low-paid occupations, all of whom are more likely to be paying rent. Without significant government intervention, we are looking at a return to long-term unemployment, increasing risks of homelessness and economic insecurity for younger generations in Ireland.

“In addition, women and marginalised racial and ethnic groups are yet again bearing the brunt. They are more likely to be pushed into poverty, more likely to go hungry, and more likely to be excluded from healthcare.

“Long before Covid-19 disrupted our lives, in Ireland and across the world, women sustained our societies through their paid and unpaid care work. They continue to do so as we manage this public health crisis and as the social and economic consequences unfold. However, there is a lack of attention to gender equality in much of the economic decision making that has taken place since the onset of the pandemic.”

Road to recovery

Oxfam said the road to recovery will be much longer for people who were already struggling pre-Covid. When the virus took hold, over half of workers in poor countries were living in poverty, and three-quarters of workers globally had no access to social protections like sick pay or unemployment benefits.

Clarken concluded: “Extreme inequality is not inevitable, but a policy choice. Governments around the world must seize this opportunity to build more equal, more inclusive economies that end poverty and protect the planet.

“The fight against inequality must be at the heart of economic rescue and recovery efforts. Governments must ensure everyone has access to a Covid-19 vaccine and financial support if they lose their job. They must invest in public services and low carbon sectors to create millions of new jobs and ensure everyone has access to a decent education, health, and social care, and they must ensure the richest individuals and corporations contribute their fair share of tax to pay for it.

“These measures must not be band-aid solutions for desperate times but a ‘new normal’ in economies that work for the benefit of all people, not just the privileged few.”

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Taoiseach says ‘Ireland is committed to fighting antisemitism, racism’ at Holocaust memorial

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Taoiseach Micheál Martin addressed a virtual commemoration in the Mansion House in Dublin this evening to mark National Holocaust Memorial Day.

Tomi Reichental and Suzi Diamond, the two remaining Holocaust survivors in Ireland, also addressed the event which was organised by Holocaust Education Trust Ireland.

Holocaust Education Trust Ireland works with teachers, students and the wider community to educate about the Holocaust and its place in today’s society.

Mr Martin said: “Education is an important tool in deepening our understanding of the Holocaust…Ireland is committed to fighting antisemitism and racism.

“Today’s ceremony will be addressed by two Holocaust survivors, Tomi Reichental and Susie Diamond, last year’s ceremony marked the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz and as we move further away from the horrors of the Holocaust, the value of being able to share the personal experience of Tomi and Susie is incalcuable.”

 

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