Five Britons Test Positive For Coronavirus In France

Scientists are at work in the VirPath university laboratory, classified as “P3” level of safety, on February 5, 2020 as they try to find an effective treatment against the new SARS-like coronavirus, which has already caused more than 560 deaths. AFP


Five British nationals including a child have tested positive for the new coronavirus in France, the health minister said Saturday, adding that they had all stayed at the same ski chalet.

France has now detected a total of 11 cases of the novel coronavirus. The new “cluster” is centred on a Briton who had returned from Singapore and stayed in Contamines-Montjoie, near Mont Blanc in the French Alps, Health Minister Agnes Buzyn said.

“They show no serious signs” of a life-threatening infection added Buzyn, herself a doctor.

The Briton at the centre of the new cases is now in Britain and was not counted among the French tally, she told a press conference.

In addition to the five Britons who have tested positive for the virus, six other Britons staying in the same chalet in late January have also been hospitalised for observation, the minister said.

Authorities in France and Singapore are now trying to contact people who came into close contact with the initially infected Briton, she said.

He was on a business trip and had stayed at a hotel for an event with 94 other foreigners, according to senior health official Jerome Salomon who attended the press briefing along with Buzyn.

Other “clusters” have been identified in Malaysia and South Korea around people who attended the same event, he said.

“The new British cases in the French ski resort included a child, showing that this virus is not limited to older, more vulnerable people and one infected person can cause a cluster of cases,” said William Keevil, professor of Environmental Healthcare at the University of Southampton.

“Singapore is a major transport hub in Southeast Asia, so going forward, we may well find further international cases that have travelled through Singapore,” added Michael Head, senior research fellow in global health at the same university.

“The French ski resort will have citizens from numerous other countries there, so there are implications for potential onward transmission. Most of the six previous cases in France appear to have been treated successfully, though all are still in the hospital,” he said.

One man, an 80-year-old Chinese national, is nonetheless “still in critical condition” in a Paris hospital, Salomon said.

The novel coronavirus which erupted in Wuhan, central China, in December has already infected more than 34,500 people and killed more than 700, according to the latest official figures from China.

Separately the French government ministry issued a  warning against any travel to China unless there was an “imperative” reason to go.


P&ID Deal: EFCC Re-Arraigns Two Britons


The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has re-arraigned two Britons, James Nolan and Adam Quin, who are said to be at large.

Both men were arraigned on Thursday before Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court in Abuja, the nation’s capital.

They are both directors of Goidel Resources Limited, a Designated Non-Financial Institution (DNFI) and ICIL Limited.

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The defendants were brought to the court for their alleged involvement in the controversial Process and Industrial Development Limited deal.

They were arraigned on 32 counts bordering on money laundering and tax evasion.

The EFCC alleged that both men were directors of two companies that failed to report to the anti-graft agency a single deposit of $125,000 into a local account.

They were also accused of failing to comply with local requirements to declare their activities to the Federal Ministry of Trade and Investment.

The charges relate to the 2010 contract with British Virgin Islands-based P&ID for a 20-year gas development deal.

Meanwhile, the court has continued with the cross-examination of the prosecution witness.

Queen Urges Divided Britons To ‘Seek Common Ground’

 Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II attends the State Opening of Parliament in the House of Lords at the Houses of Parliament in London on June 21, 2017. Carl Court / POOL / AFP


Queen Elizabeth II has emphasised the need for Britons to come together to “seek out the common ground”, in what has been viewed as an appeal to overcome divisions over Brexit.

Speaking to members of the Women’s Institute (WI) near her Sandringham estate in eastern England, the 92-year-old said people should never lose sight of the bigger picture.

“Reflecting on a century of change, it is clear that the qualities of the WI endure,” she said, noting the foundation of the institute in 1915, to encourage contributions to World War One.

“The continued emphasis on patience, friendship, a strong community-focus, and considering the needs of others, are as important today as they were when the group was founded all those years ago.

“Of course, every generation faces fresh challenges and opportunities.

“As we look for new answers in the modern age, I for one prefer the tried and tested recipes, like speaking well of each other and respecting different points of view; coming together to seek out the common ground, and never losing sight of the bigger picture.

“To me, these approaches are timeless, and I commend them to everyone.”

Her message, delivered in a meeting late on Thursday, comes amid intense argument in parliament about Britain’s exit from the European Union, which is scheduled for March 29.

The royals tend to steer well clear of politics, and as head of state, the queen, in particular, is careful to stay neutral in public.

In her traditional Christmas broadcast to the nation last month, she offered a similar message of unity, warning against “tribalism”.

“Even with the most deeply held differences, treating the other person with respect and as a fellow human being is always a good first step towards greater understanding,” she said.


Briton Arrested In Egypt For Spying


A 19-year-old British man has been arrested in Egypt on suspicion of spying, his family told the BBC on Friday.

Muhammad Abul-Kasem, 19, was detained in the northern port city of Alexandria on his arrival from Libya on November 21, the report said.

The British Foreign Office said it was “seeking more information from the Egyptian authorities following the arrest of a British person in Alexandria, as well as permission for consular access”.

The statement made no reference to the spying allegations.

Abul Kasem’s family said he was detained after the authorities found a photograph of a military aircraft on his mobile phone.

The family explained that Abul-Kasem took the picture from his plane’s window as it came in to land in Alexandria.

The report comes on the heels of a row between Britain and the United Arab Emirates over the life sentence the Gulf state handed British academic, Matthew Hedges, last week.

Hedges was pardoned and allowed to return to his family on Tuesday following strong diplomatic pressure from London.


EU Leaders Seal Brexit Deal, Urge Britons To Back May

Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May / AFP


European Union leaders formally agreed to a Brexit deal at a Brussels summit on Sunday, urging Britons to back Prime Minister Theresa May’s package, which faces furious opposition in the British parliament.

The 27 leaders took barely half an hour to rubber-stamp a 600-page treaty setting terms for Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union on March 29 and a 26-page declaration outlining a future free trading relationship. May joined them shortly afterwards for what will be a brief meeting to seal the accord.

“This is the deal,” European Union chief executive Jean-Claude Juncker told reporters on his way into the meeting, saying he believed May would get it through parliament and ruling out big new concessions.

“Now it is time for everybody to take responsibility — everybody,” said Michel Barnier, the Frenchman who has ground out the withdrawal treaty over the past 18 months.

Juncker called it “a sad day”, saying Brexit was a “tragedy” and tough on both sides.

“I believe that the British government will succeed in securing the backing of the British parliament,” Juncker said, declining to comment on what might happen if May fails.

“I would vote in favour of this deal because this is the best deal possible for Britain,” he added.

In a sign of worries ahead, Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite tweeted after the deal was endorsed in the summit chamber that the exit process was “far from over”.

Barnier called the package a basis for close future ties, insisting: “We will remain allies, partners and friends.”

French President Emmanuel Macron said the Brexit vote showed Europe needed reform. He stressed that Paris would hold Britain to tight EU regulations, notably on the environment, in return for giving it easy trade access.

The departure of a nation long sceptical of deeper EU integration was, Macron said, neither a moment for celebration nor mourning, but Britons’ free choice.

Trump’s Meeting With Queen Elizabeth II Annoys Many Britons

Trump's Meeting With Queen Elizabeth II Annoys Many Britons
US President Donald Trump speaks with Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II as US First Lady Melania Trump looks on at Windsor Castle in Windsor, west of London, on July 13, 2018.
Brendan Smialowski / AFP


Queen Elizabeth II welcomed US President Donald Trump for tea at Windsor Castle on Friday — a meeting which many Britons find the toughest part of his already contentious trip to swallow.

Trump walked ahead of the 92-year-old while inspecting troops and did not bow when he met her — a couple of minor protocol breaches — but the meeting went smoothly.

Trump was gracious about the British sovereign in a newspaper interview out Friday in which he attacked Prime Minister Theresa May’s strategy on Brexit.

However, his previous comments about the Royals have been less tactful, including boasting he would have slept with Diana, Princess of Wales “without even hesitation”, and saying “who wouldn’t” photograph the Duchess of Cambridge topless.

Some 1.86 million people signed a petition at the June 2017 general election, wanting to prevent Trump from making a state visit “because it would cause embarrassment to Her Majesty the Queen”.

His four-day trip to Britain is not a state visit — with the formal trappings of a carriage procession and certain banquets — but it bears many of the hallmarks, including time with the head of state.

A YouGov poll of 1,648 British adults conducted on Monday and Tuesday found that half thought Trump’s working visit to Britain should go ahead, with just over a third thinking it should be cancelled.

However, the meeting with Queen Elizabeth on his first visit to Britain as US president still seems to rankle.

Just one in three (35 per cent) thought the monarch should meet Trump, as opposed to half (49 per cent) who thought she should not.

‘Great and beautiful grace’

Trump was treated with a guard of honour when he arrived at Windsor Castle, west of London. The Coldstream Guards gave a royal salute and played the US national anthem.

The two heads of state inspected the guard before watching them march past, in the castle’s quadrangle.

The Trumps then went for tea with Queen Elizabeth.

“For so many years she has represented her country, she has really never made a mistake. You don’t see, like, anything embarrassing. She is just an incredible woman,” Trump told The Sun newspaper.

“My wife is a tremendous fan of hers. She has got a great and beautiful grace about her.”

His previous comments about members of the royal family have not been so generous. Buckingham Palace said no other royals will be meeting him at Windsor.

Trump has previously spoken about Prince William’s wife Kate and his late mother Diana. William, second in line to the throne, is the monarch’s grandson.

In a 1997 interview, just weeks after Diana’s death, US radio host Howard Stern asked Trump if he “could have nailed her”.

Trump replied: “I think I could have.”

In 2000, Stern asked Trump if he would have slept with Diana. The tycoon replied: “Without even hesitation.

“She was crazy, but these are minor details.”

‘Only herself to blame’

In 2012, after Kate was photographed sunbathing topless in France, Trump weighed in on Twitter.

“Who wouldn’t take Kate’s picture and make lots of money if she does the nude sunbathing thing. Come on Kate!” he wrote.

“Kate Middleton is great — but she shouldn’t be sunbathing in the nude — only herself to blame.”

Trump will not be meeting Queen Elizabeth’s eldest son and William’s father Prince Charles, the heir to the throne.

A January 2017 report in The Sunday Times newspaper said Trump and Charles would not meet during his visit to Britain due to their strongly divergent views on climate change.

Prince Charles is a keen environmentalist.

A source close to Trump was quoted as saying: “He won’t put up with being lectured by anyone, even a member of the royal family. Frankly, they should think twice about putting him and Prince Charles in the same room.”

There have been 13 US presidents since Queen Elizabeth’s reign began in 1952, and, including Trump, she has met them all, barring one: Lyndon B. Johnson.


Britons Vote In Election Expected To Strengthen May’s Brexit Hand

Britons Vote In Election Expected To Strengthen May's Brexit HandBritons voted on Thursday in a snap election predicted to give Prime Minister Theresa May a larger parliamentary majority, which she hopes will strengthen her hand in looming divorce talks with the European Union.

A final survey backed other opinion polls in the last 24 hours, suggesting that the Conservatives had widened their lead following a tricky campaign in which their support appeared at times to be ebbing away.

However, as many as one in five voters was still undecided this week after a seven-week campaign overshadowed in the later stages by two Islamist attacks that killed 30 people in Manchester and London in less than two weeks.

Most polling stations had increased security as they opened at 0600 GMT, with armed police expected to reinforce regular officers at some locations.


Experts Urge FG To Convert Waste To Wealth And Job Creation

Waste, EnvironmentEnvironment experts have urged the Federal Government to convert Nigeria’s industrial, municipal and domestic waste to wealth for the country and jobs for the citizens.

The experts, who are specialised in waste and asset management say Nigeria has thousands of tonnes of waste from its large population which can be recycled or converted to energy for power generation.

Speaking at the forum on Wednesday on Assets and Waste Management in Abuja, the British Deputy High Commissioner to Nigeria, Simon Shercliff, noted that at least 90,000 Britons earn a living managing waste.

He asked Nigeria to tap into this opportunity which environmentalists said was a great option in economy diversification.

The experts, however, noted that before Nigeria’s waste can be converted to wealth, public enlightenment is necessary before legislation and enforcement will follow.

They also expressed the need for the government to buy into the programme for it to be possible.

In their remarks, the Ogun State Commissioner for Environment, Bolaji Oyeleye, and a consultant, Chidi Umeano, also proposed waste management as a good source of income for Nigeria, considering the increasing population.

Channels Television’s Omelogo Nnadi, reports that Nigeria’s population has been estimated to hit 250 million by 2050, adding that this increase in population also means a huge increase in waste generated, both domestic and industrial.

Tunisia Launches Security Clampdown After Attack

tunisiaA day after a deadly attack at a beach resort in Tunisia, the government has deployed extra security to tourist sites and vowed to close down mosques accused of inciting violence.

Tunisia’s Prime Minister, Habib Essid, said army reservists would be deployed to archaeological sites and resorts.

He also said that about 80 mosques accused of “spreading venom” will close within a week.

Yesterday, a gunman went on rampage at a holiday resort, killing 38 people.

Authorities said most of the victims in the attack near Sousse were Britons.

It was also recorded that the suspected gunman was later shot dead.

According to Media reports, the health ministry said, eight Britons, one Belgian and one German had so far been identified among the dead.

One citizen of the Irish Republic has also been confirmed dead.

It was the second major attack on tourists in Tunisia since March, when militants killed 22 people, mainly foreigners, at Bardo museum in Tunis.

ISIS ‘Jihadi John’ Named As Mohammed Emwazi

isThe masked Islamic State IS militant known as “Jihadi John”, who has been pictured in the videos of the beheading of Western hostages, has been named as Mohammed Emwazi.

Mohammed Emwazi, a Kuwaiti-born British man in his mid-20s from west London, He is a British computer programming graduate from a well-to-do London family.

Emwazi first appeared in a video last August, when he apparently killed the US journalist James Foley.

He was later thought to have been pictured in the videos of the beheading of US journalist Steven Sotloff, British aid worker, David Haines, British taxi driver, Alan Henning and American aid worker, Abdul-Rahman Kassig also known as Peter.

The black-clad militant brandishing a knife and speaking with an English accent was shown in videos released by Islamic State IS, apparently decapitating hostages including Americans, Britons and Syrians.

The 26-year-old militant used the videos to threaten the West, admonish its Arab allies and taunt President Barack Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron before petrified hostages cowering in orange jump suits.

Emwazi’s name was first disclosed by the Washington Post, citing unidentified former associates, but two U.S. government sources who spoke on condition of anonymity confirmed to Reuters that investigators believed Jihadi John was Emwazi.

Jihadi John became a menacing symbol of Islamic State brutality and one of the world’s most wanted men.

Hostages called him John as he and other Britons in IS had been nicknamed the Beatles.

Emwazi who was born in Kuwait, came to Britain aged 6 and graduated with a computer programming degree from the University of Westminster before coming to the attention of Britain’s main domestic intelligence service, MI5

Situation In Iraq Worries International Community

Iraq_CrisisThe international community has been worried over the humanitarian situation in Iraq.

Nearly 30,000 Yazidis have fled into the mountains for fear of being killed.

Islamic States militants have been targeting Christians and Kurds for a couple of weeks now and those who fled may be in even greater danger with lack of food and water and other basic necessities.

While deliberations continue as to giving the Kurds weapon to fight insurgents, Britain says its major concern is that the militants could grow strong enough to target people on the streets of Britain, unless it takes action.

This usually involves the use of all resources – aid diplomacy and military prowess to help bring about what it calls a stable world.

The British Prime Minister, David Cameron said in an interview, that a humanitarian response to Islamic state militants was not enough and they could only be kept in check via a firm security response.

The militants have reportedly taken over large parts of northern Iraq and Syria in the past few weeks. But Kurdish forces, supported by US airstrikes, have reclaimed Mosul Dam, important to Iraq’s electricity generation.

Mr Cameron’s fear, is that if intense counter-attacks are carried out, then it is only a matter of time before the terrorist movement will target the UK.

The UK has been involved in providing supplies to people stranded as a result of the fighting, providing a series of air drops, especially for those who have fled towards the mountains.

But Mr Cameron will not tolerate any sympathy towards s militants from Britons. He has suggested that anyone walking around with Isil flags or trying to recruit people to their terrorist cause, should be arrested.

He has also stressed his perception of the Iraqi crisis,which he did not see as a war on terror, but as a battle between Islam on the one hand and extremists who want to abuse Islam on the other.

The group is estimated as having about 400 recruits from the UK, and some 69 people suspected of Syria-related Jihadist activists have been arrested in the UK.