More than 180,000 people in the world have died from the novel coronavirus, nearly two-thirds of them in Europe, since it emerged in China last December, according to an AFP tally based on official sources.
In total, 180,289 deaths have been recorded worldwide for 2,596,383 infections, according to the tally at 1740 GMT. There were 112,848 deaths in Europe for 1,263,802 cases on the hardest-hit continent.
The United States is the country with the most deaths at 45,153, ahead of Italy with 25,085, Spain 21,717, France 21,340 and Britain with 18,100.
Ten years after the demise of Oladapo Olaitan Olaonipekun, popularly known as Dagrin, rapper MI Abaga has eulogized the late rapper. He took to social media to share stories of himself and Dagrin to mark the 10th anniversary of the rapper’s death.
MI in a series of tweets on Wednesday shared his experience with Dagrin and how much the rapper inspired his second album ‘MI2’.
The former Chocolate City rapper and boss narrated how Dagrin’s lyrics, and the wide acceptance of the late rapper’s ‘CEO’ album, inspired him towards making the album.
One of the stories MI shared about his experience with Dagrin took place in Satellite Town in Lagos. He was there to perform in Sound Sultan‘s end of the year party and ended up being blown away by Dagrin’s performance of his then-unreleased hit song, “Pon Pon”.
The ‘Chairman’ singer admitted that he was a little intimidated by Dagrin’s talent and energy.
He wrote, “In 2008 I was in a conversation with @elbama about some artists he was A&Ring for (YQ and LaLa) and he played me a LaLa song that had a rap verse in it. I remember playing that record for a friend of mine Sola and she just kept laughing during the verses.
“Every single line and she would pause it, laugh and try to explain what he was saying. I was blown away. I mean who writes verses so good that every line is quotable.
“That December Sound Sultan asked me to perform at his Satellite Town end of yr party and I remember sitting behind stage watching Dagrin perform a yet unreleased PonPon. I was blown away. This guy was the truth he was going to eclipse every rapper in the game.
“When PonPon dropped it shook the streets and airwaves in a way nothing had since Eedris and nothing did again till Baddoo. The energy, the flow, the power in his voice. This was HIPHOP!!!!! I knew I was a fan an even a little intimidated by the brilliance of this guy.
“DJ Neptune asked me to reproduce our 123 record and I remember DaGrin came to my room studio in Palmgrove to record. Simple guy. Talented. We gisted and laughed the whole time, spoke about trading collaborations and he hopped on a bike and was headed home.
“A few months later his album dropped.. without the CEO album, there is no MI2. I was chasing the template he set. Something so powerful but so easy for the everyday fan to relate to. The epiphany came one day sitting in Obanikoro and watching a street dude rap every lyric of his.
“By 2009 Christmas he was becoming the biggest rapper in the country… on every show… I remember him showing up to an end of year oil company party with a bulletproof vest on.. his energy consumed the hall that day.
“I saw him a few days before his accident… played a charity football game together… dapped it up… and everyone went home… I remember I was headed into Benin for a gig when I heard on radio… Dagrin was in an accident. Damn.. the country actually stopped.
“I don’t know if you guys remember.. but LUTH was packed every day till he passed… it spoke to the impact of his talent… his story… his charisma… and his person.. one of the greatest rappers ever in my book… DaGrin the CEO. 10 years gone but never forgotten!!! RIP”
Nigerian songwriter and singer, Olawale Ashimi (popularly known as Brymo), has attributed his failure to win numerous musical awards to his refusal to play at award shows or pay for the trophies.
“I’m their daddy though. And if you are judging all these by awards, local or foreign, I’ll have you know that I refused to play, even pay cash in some instances is why I’m not decorated…” Brymo tweeted in apparent reaction to a claim on his meagre trophy cabinet.
In a series on interactions with Twitter users, the singer also declared himself “Africa’s best,” adding that “Don’t let them tell you we are a niche, we are the whole industry, everybody’s grandma home and abroad knows who BrymO is.”
The artiste’s tweets and replies led to him trending on Nigerian Twitter on Tuesday.
The “Ara” singer has, however, garnered a few awards and recognitions since his 2007 debut album Brymstone.
He won the Recording of the Year award for the song ‘Ara’ at the Hip Hop World Awards in 2012. In the same year, he also bagged the Most Gifted Afro Pop Video of the Year at the Channel O Music Video Awards.
At the 2013/2014 All Africa Music Awards, he won the Songwriter of the Year award for the song ‘Down.’
He was nominated in the Best Recording of the Year, Best Alternative Song, and Best Performer categories at the 2019 Headies.
The World Health Organization on Wednesday urged the United States and China to join forces to fight the coronavirus pandemic, saying there would be “many more body bags” without international unity.
“The United States and China should come together and fight this dangerous enemy,” WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a virtual briefing in Geneva, following criticism from US President Donald Trump that the UN health body “blew it” and was “very China centric”.
Tottenham boss Jose Mourinho has accepted he was in the wrong for holding a one-on-one training session with midfielder Tanguy Ndombele in a public park in London.
Mourinho was pictured on social media flaunting government rules by meeting up with the midfielder Tuesday, even though they kept to social distancing guidelines.
Fellow Spurs players Davinson Sanchez and Ryan Sessegnon were spotted running side by side in a separate session, while Serge Aurier filmed himself on Instagram running alongside a friend.
“I accept that my actions were not in line with government protocol and we must only have contact with members of our own household,” said the Portuguese manager.
“It is vital we all play our part and follow government advice in order to support our heroes in the NHS and save lives.”
London Mayor Sadiq Khan told the BBC the players and Mourinho should be leading by example.
“My concern is people, particularly children, who might support Spurs or follow football may see these images, pick up a paper, watch the internet and think, well if it’s OK for them, why isn’t it OK for me?” he said.
The Premier League has been suspended since mid-March due to the spread of COVID-19.
The British government has introduced a strict series of measures to prevent the spread of the virus and Tottenham have reminded players of their responsibilities.
The club said last week they would be using the government’s furlough financial assistance programme for non-playing staff, a move that was seen as controversial and attracted a lot of criticism.
Leftist US Senator Bernie Sanders suspended his presidential campaign Wednesday, clearing the way for rival Joe Biden to secure the Democratic nomination and challenge Donald Trump in November.
The feisty 78-year-old democratic socialist shook up the 2020 race with his relentless pursuit of “economic justice” for all Americans and a demand for universal health care.
But he acknowledged his campaign had fallen short, as party voters determined Biden would be a stronger candidate to go up against Trump in the general election.
“I have concluded that this battle for the Democratic nomination will not be successful,” Sanders told supporters in a livestream from his home, where he has remained for the bulk of the coronavirus pandemic that put all in-person campaigning on hold.
“Vice president Biden will be the nominee,” he said, adding that he congratulated his rival, a “very decent man, who I will work with to move our progressive ideas forward.”
Sanders, who challenged Hillary Clinton for the party’s nomination in 2016, mounted a formidable 2020 bid.
He raised astonishing amounts of money from record numbers of donors, becoming the frontrunner early this year and earning the most votes in the first three state-wide contests.
But he was eclipsed by a surging Biden, who won the vast majority of remaining primaries and now holds a commanding lead in the all-important race for delegates who choose the nominee.
Sanders brought his liberal ideological platform — including a call for universal health care and a $15 hourly minimum wage — into the mainstream.
“Together we have transformed American consciousness as to what kind of nation we can become, and have taken this country a major step forward in the never-ending struggle for economic justice,” Sanders said.
Several lawmakers have come out in support of his policies, and Biden has shifted leftward to incorporate some Sanders positions, although he does not support Sanders’s Medicare for All plan.
Biden seeks party unity
Biden immediately hailed Sanders as “a good man, a great leader, and one of the most powerful voices for change in our country.”
He urged Sanders supporters to join his campaign, which already has the backing of nearly all other ex-rivals in the race including senators Kamala Harris and Amy Klobuchar, and former Indiana mayor Pete Buttigieg.
“I see you, I hear you, and I understand the urgency of what it is we have to get done in this country,” Biden said in a statement to Sanders and his supporters.
“I hope you will join us. You are more than welcome. You’re needed.”
Trump made his own pitch for Sanders’s supporters, though in a more abrasive tone.
“Bernie Sanders is OUT!” the president posted on Twitter, saying Senator Elizabeth Warren helped split the liberal vote by remaining in the race during key contests, thereby helping Biden, the Democratic establishment’s clear choice for the nomination.
“The Bernie people should come to the Republican Party, TRADE!” Trump said.
Trump won the 2016 election with help from disaffected working-class voters who believed they were being left behind by politicians in Washington.
Sanders also appeals to those voters.
On Wednesday he warned the coronavirus was causing an “economic meltdown” that has resulted in millions of lost jobs and a scramble for many to regain access to health insurance.
Sanders said he would not remain in an unwinnable campaign that would “interfere” with important anti-coronavirus work while the country is gripped by crisis.
Biden said his focus is on ending the pandemic, but promised to continue campaigning despite the logistical challenges.
“First things first: how we’re going to keep America safe and get this crisis under control and provide economic assistance,” he said during a virtual fundraiser.
And he repeated a pledge to choose a woman as his running mate — a topic on which he said he has asked former president Barack Obama for advice.
“I’m going to need a woman vice president who has the capacity, has strengths where I have weaknesses,” Biden said.
Sanders stressed he would remain on the ballot and seek to gain as many delegates as possible in order to “exert significant influence” over the direction of the party.
Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday announced additional payouts to health professionals working on “the frontline” of the country’s fight against the coronavirus.
Putin listed the bonuses as part of new measures to support Russians during the epidemic after health officials reported over 1,000 new COVID-19 cases.
The president also urged the public to be patient with the lockdown to help slow the spread of the infection.
“For most people, to be inside four walls is dreary and miserable,” he said during a video call with regional governors.
“A breakthrough in battling the infection will depend on our discipline and responsibility,” he said.
The country is realising how crucial the work of doctors is “for the first time in decades”, said Putin, promising 10 billion rubles ($132 million) for monthly bonuses to health care employees nationwide.
Doctors treating coronavirus patients would be paid an additional 80,000 rubles ($1,059) per month, while nurses, ambulance medics and drivers would get between 25,000 and 50,000 rubles.
“These specialists are on the front line,” Putin said, ordering an increase in their state insurance to the level enjoyed by members of the armed forces.
Russia on Wednesday reported 1,175 new coronavirus cases, bringing the total to 8,672. The epicentre of the epidemic in Russia is Moscow, with 5,841 cases.
So far, Russia has recorded only 63 deaths from the virus.
Google is saying thank you to all coronavirus helpers with a series of Google Doodles over the next two weeks.
To honor public health workers and researchers in the scientific community for their tireless work on the frontlines of the coronavirus pandemic, Google’s landing page looks a bit different today. If you visit Google.com, instead of the usual search engine fare, you’ll see Google’s logo has been transformed into one with emergency services workers when the day before, it used to be an animation of a heart floating to a researcher to represent our collective gratitude during this global crisis.
To recognize the global surge in “searches for how to thank healthcare workers,” Google released a “Thank You” video aimed at the medical professionals “sacrificing so much to save so many.” The video ends on the important note of how we can “help save lives by staying home” and a link to the google.com/covid19 information and resources site.
“Over the next two weeks, our Doodles will honor other essential frontline workers, including healthcare workers, first responders, and the many people keeping services like sanitation, food service, public transit, schools, and more up and running. Thank you to all the people who are working to save lives and keep communities safe during this pandemic.” the tech company says.
During this time of global crisis, it is crucial that we heed information from the most accurate sources and curb the spread of misinformation about the virus.
Global trade growth is expected to plummet by up to a third in 2020 due to the new coronavirus pandemic, the World Trade Organization said Wednesday, adding the numbers would be “ugly”.
“World trade is expected to fall by between 13 percent and 32 percent in 2020 as the COVID-19 pandemic disrupts normal economic activity and life around the world,” the WTO said in a statement.
The pandemic could provoke the deepest recession in living memory, World Trade Organization chief Roberto Azevedo also warned.
“As we face what may well be the deepest economic recession or downturn of our lifetimes, we should aim to make the most of all potential drivers of sustainable growth to reverse this situation,” he told a virtual news conference in Geneva.
Neymar “will always be welcome” back at Barcelona, the Spanish giants’ striker Luis Suarez told Mundo Deportivo on Wednesday.
Neymar left Barca in a world record move to Paris Saint-Germain in 2017 but has been persistently linked to a possible return to the Camp Nou.
Suarez told the paper: “Everybody knows ‘Ney’, we all know the affection we have for him in the dressing room.
“His ability is indisputable and he still has so much to show. He will always be welcome in the changing room, we appreciate him a lot.”
Suarez, 33, recovering from right knee surgery, said it was “complicated” to talk about players joining Barca at this time of crisis with the coronavirus pandemic.
“But I can talk about players, and these are huge players,” he commented when asked by the paper to discuss the rumours linking the 28-year-old Neymar with a Barca return.
The Uruguayan also had warm words for Inter Milan’s Lautaro Martinez, the 22-year-old Argentine whose name also been associated with a move to Catalonia.
“Lautaro is a player who is progressing in Italy, he is a flexible centre-forward, with spectacular moves and that shows what a great a striker he is.”
Questioned about how any eventual new signings would fit in Suarez said: “There will always be a healthy rivalry between us, and while we are all focused on the same objective, that is winning, any players who come in to help the team achieve its aims will always be welcome.”
He then turned to last week’s deal with the club to cut players’ wages by 70%, with Barca captain Lionel Messi accusing the club of undermining the squad during negotiations.
“There were some things that were said that were false, like that the players didn’t want to see their salaries reduced, that some were against it.
“That they (club management) were saying that without being part of the squad was annoying. It annoyed all the players.”
Suarez emphasised all the players were united from the start in wanting to help the club as much as possible.
“The deal was delayed because it’s not easy to revoke the salary of 22-23 players.
“It was worked out between the club and the players’ lawyers, but it wasn’t easy to do.”