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Rural Development: Ugwuanyi inaugurates 12km Ugwuomu Nike-GO Uni Road

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Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State, on Tuesday, reiterated his administration’s continuous support for development of the state’s rural areas, in keeping with the solemn promise in his inaugural address, in 2015.

Stressing that “the major interest of government should be in the rural areas,” Gov. Ugwuanyi maintained that he purposely captured rural development in his inaugural address to ensure that the dwellers are given a sense of belonging.

Speaking during the inauguration of the 12km Ugwuomu Nike-Godfrey Okoye University road, in the outskirts of Enugu East Local Government Area, the governor stated that the project, which traverses the two communities of Emene and Ugwuomu Nike will not only provide easy access, pleasant commuting experience but will also considerably reduce in travel time.

He also stated the road will stimulate local commerce as well as economic expansion with its associated enhancement of quality of life of the populace “who had never known asphaltic concrete road before this intervention”.

Gov. Ugwuanyi recalled that the construction of the road commenced in 2018 following his administration’s release of funds to Godfrey Okoye University to execute the project on direct labour basis, under the superintendence of the University’s Physical Planning Department.

Stressing that alleviating the suffering of the people of the state, especially in the rural areas, through the provision of critical infrastructure and expansion of economic opportunities has been a major plank of his administration, the governor expressed profound gratitude to God for the enablement afforded the state government to undertake the massive project, among others, in spite of the nation’s economic, security and public health challenges.

He maintained that despite his administration encountering two recessions in five years, God has made it possible for all the state government has achieved so far with the meager resources at its disposal.

His words: “Our administration has executed several landmark projects within the Enugu East Local Government Area, including newly constructed Nike Lake Junction-Harmony Estate-Amorji Nike- Adoration Pilgrimage Centre-Orie Emene Road; Eke Obinagu Junction –Onwunwenabo Akpuoga Nike Road; the rehabilitated National Orthopedic Hospital Junction –Airport Roundabout-Orie Emene –Eke Obinagu Junction (old Enugu –Abakiliki Road); two new Customary Court Buildings and the rehabilitated Abakpa Nike Health Centre.”

He acknowledged the diligent execution of the road by Godfrey Okoye University, under the watch of the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Christian Anieke as well as the support and cooperation of the traditional ruler, Town Union leadership and members of the Ugwuomu Nike community towards the project’s success.

Pouring encomiums on Gov. Ugwuanyi for the completion of the road project, the Vice-Chancellor of the University, Prof. Anieke, who described him as a “loving, caring, deeply religious, indescribably generous, politically sagacious, and unwaveringly focused Governor”, pointed out that “there is more to this road that meets the human eye”.

The Vice-Chancellor added that “it is therefore not just a road but life, defined and redefined, shaped and reshaped. And perhaps life transmogrified”, saying: “With this road all levels of human interactions have been smoothened like the beautiful asphalt of the road. With this road the economic life of all the communities will be improved tremendously and blossom incandescently like Flame of the Forest.

“With this road, an olive branch of invitation, as well as warm embrace, has been given by this administration under our beloved Governor to more than 20 European companies that will be domiciled in the GO Uni-European Business Park of Godfrey Okoye University”.

Stating that Gov. Ugwuanyi has written his name in gold and in the hearts of the people of Emene, Nkwubor, Ugwuomu Nike and Godfrey Okoye University, Prof. Anieke said that the governor “has never failed to underscore the importance of a friendly handshake of the private sector and the public sector, a handshake that will be mutually benefited to both”.

According to the Vice Chancellor, “the Enugu State Government stretched its financial hand and invited Godfrey Okoye University to do this road. Godfrey Okoye University, filled with gratitude and encouraged by such deep trust and goodwill on the part of government, embarked on this project that is worth about One billion, five hundred million naira and completed it in December last year.

“Let me thank His Excellency, Rt. Hon. Dr. Ifeanyi Lawrence Ugwuanyi (Gburugburu) and his administration for making the completion of this project possible. I would also like to thank the Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Enugu for his support and efforts to ensure that this project is completed.

“I thank the Physical Planning Unit of Godfrey Okoye University, the Enugu State Ministry of Works and Infrastructure, the Hon. Commissioner for Works, Engr. Greg Nnaji and his workers, Eketeson, Williangy, Mr. Nnamani Icheku and his team for doing the asphalting of the road and also all those who assisted us in different ways to ensure the completion of this project,” the elated VC said.

Appreciating Gov. Ugwuanyi for the road, the jubilant people of Ugwuomu Nike Community said that the governor has not only wiped their tears but has also given them a sense of belonging as human beings.

Speaking on behalf of the community, the President General of Ugwuomu Nike Town Development Union, Nnanyelugo Felix Nnamani, told Gov. Ugwuanyi that “our people have gone through hell over the years and from time immemorial but you have suddenly brought us joy”.

His words: “You (Ugwuanyi) is on record, the first Executive Governor of Enugu State that stepped his feet on Ugwuomu soil and your light is showing boldly in Ugwuomu. We can’t thank you and the State Executive Council enough for remembering Ugwuomu Nike. We therefore beseech God Almighty to hold you, your family and your government in His bold hands for greater results in service to humanity”.

One of the climaxes of the event was the conferment of a Chieftaincy title of “the Okaa Obulu-Uzo 1 of Mbuluanwuri Nike” on Gov. Ugwuanyi, by the traditional ruler of the autonomous community, HRH Igwe Dr. M.A Ogbuchi, in recognition of the governor’s good works.

Dignitaries at the event, include the member representing Enugu East/Isi-Uzo Federal Constituency, Hon. Prince Cornelius Nnaji, the State Commissioner for Works and Infrastructure,Engr. Greg Nnaji, the Chairman of Enugu East LGA, Hon. Alex Ugwu, the Bishop Emeritus of the Catholic Diocese of Enugu, Most Rev. Dr. Anthony Gbuji, the Chairman, Board of Trustees of Godfrey Okoye University, Prof. Bartho Okolo, and the Management Team of the University, among others.

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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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