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IYC raises alarm over killings, sea piracy, kidnappings on Rivers waterways

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The leadership of Ijaw Youths Council (IYC) Worldwide has raised the alarm over incessant killings, sea piracy, kidnappings and other criminal activities perpetrated by gunmen along the Bonny and Antoni waterways in River State.

In a statement, signed and issued by the President, Ijaw Youths Council (IYC) Worldwide, Peter Timothy Igbifa, to Muhabarishaji via email on Wednesday, the group described the recent criminal activities as alarming, barbaric and saddening.

The statement which noted that the people now travel with fears, adding that it has also affected economic activities, especially as most people engage in buying and selling as their means of livelihood.

The statement reads in part,” We have watched with chagrin, the incessant killings, sea piracy, kidnappings and other criminal activities perpetrated by gunmen along the Bonny and Andoni waterways in Rivers State.

“These traveling routes have become death traps because these daredevil marauding beasts have converted them to their conquered territories operating at will without fear of any security interventions.

“Just recently, two passengers were reported dead and many others missing after pirates seized two commercial boats around Dema Abbey Community on Bonny waterways. This unfortunate development led Bonny residents to troop to the streets in protest.

“In fact, the criminal activities along these waterways are alarming, barbaric and saddening. Our people travel in fear. It has negatively impacted on economic activities especially as most people engage in buying and selling as their means of livelihood. This means that they must travel to Port Harcourt through the waterways to bring in goods to their various communities. Unfortunately, they now travel at the mercy of merciless bandits.

“There is an urgent need to sanitise the waterways and dismantle the camps of these criminals. We are calling on the state and local government to collaborate with security agencies to ensure the safety of our people.

“The military and the marine police should identify the red zones on the waterways and create checkpoints to tackle this criminality. There should also be regular and constant patrols along the affected waterways to restore the confidence of travelers.

“We are calling on the chairpersons of Andoni and Bonny local government areas to be more proactive instead engaging in reactionary approaches each time these criminals attack their victims. They should explore the possibility of constituting youths into local vigilant groups and empower them to patrol the waterways.

“The council under my leadership cannot fold its hands and watch our people suffer helplessly in the hands of daredevil criminals. Therefore, we are working with the Eastern Zone to activate a robust security plan and strategy to assist the government in tackling this menace.

“We are warning youths to desist from crime and embrace legitimate means of livelihood. Enough of this senseless and heartless attacks on our innocent mothers, fathers and daughters who are working hard to make a living.”

IYC raises alarm over killings, sea piracy, kidnappings on Rivers waterways

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Ireland

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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Ireland

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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Iran

Exports to Iraq via Mehran near 800,000 tons in 10 months

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Exports to Iraq via Mehran near 800,000 tons in 10 months

Rouhollah Gholami, director-general of Ilam Customs Administration made the announcement on Sunday, construction materials, steel products, glass and tiles were the main products exported via Mehran during the eight-month period.

He noted that the trade between Iran and Iraq through the Mehran border crossing is on track with all coronavirus-related health protocols in place.

According to Gholami, 250 trucks carrying Iran’s export goods cross the Mehran border to Iraq daily.

Iran’s exports to Iraq via Mehran checkpoint stood at $1.18 billion during the last fiscal year (March 2019-20).

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