COVID-19: Trump Says US On Top As Outbreak Shuts Largest Cities

In this file photo US President Donald Trump gives a thumbs up during a "Keep America Great" campaign rally at Wildwoods Convention Center in Wildwood, New Jersey, January 28, 2020.
In this file photo US President Donald Trump gives a thumbs up during a “Keep America Great” campaign rally at Wildwoods Convention Center in Wildwood, New Jersey, January 28, 2020.

 

New York and Illinois followed California Friday in locking down to stem the coronavirus pandemic as President Donald Trump declared the United States was already “winning” the war despite a rapid rise in confirmed cases and deaths.

The move effectively seals off America’s largest cities — New York, Los Angeles and Chicago — with New Jersey also preparing to follow and Connecticut shutting.

But Trump insisted there was no need for a national lockdown, arguing that other parts of the US weren’t hurting as much as its most populous states.

Governor Andrew Cuomo ordered non-essential businesses to close and banned gatherings in New York state, a day after his counterpart Gavin Newsom told California’s 40 million residents to stay home.

“We’re all in quarantine now,” Cuomo told reporters, warning of civil fines and mandatory closures for anyone violating the order, which takes effect on Sunday evening.

The escalation came as COVID-19-linked deaths in the US rose to 216 — more than doubling in three days — with more than 16,600 confirmed infections, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University.

Despite the surge, Trump said the world’s number one power was “winning” and “going to win this war.”

“Those are really two hotbeds. Those are probably the two hottest of them all in terms of hotspots,” Trump told the daily White House news conference, adding that states in the American Midwest were not registering as many confirmed cases.

“So no, we’re working with the governors and I don’t think we’ll ever find that necessary,” he added.

But shortly afterwards Illinois Governor J.B Pritzker announced an immediate stay-at-home order for the state “to avoid the loss of potentially tens of thousands of lives.”

“The only strategy available to us to limit the increase in cases… is to mitigate the spread of coronavirus in the most robust manner possible,” he said.

The order is in place from Saturday evening until April 7, Pritzker added.

The head of the US Army Corps of Engineers, Todd Semonite, said the agency was working on refitting more than 10,000 hotel and dormitory rooms in New York into temporary hospitals to alleviate the burden on health centers.

“We would like to think we can do this in three or four weeks and try to go as fast as we can,” he said.

The number of confirmed infections in New York state jumped past 7,000 Friday, largely because of an increase in testing, Cuomo said, as he announced he would pass an executive order mandating that only essential businesses can remain open from late Sunday.

He stressed that essential services included grocery stores, pharmacies and food delivery.

Cuomo said that under “Matilda’s Law,” named after his mother, “non-essential gatherings of individuals of any size” were canceled.

‘Strong Steps’ 

He ordered residents to exercise alone and not hold group activities outside, such as basketball.

He said citizens should avoid public transport “unless urgent and absolutely necessary.”

“New York state (is) on pause,” he said.

“These actions will cause disruption. They will cause much unhappiness. I understand that,” Cuomo added.

He dismissed references to the measures as “shelter-in-place,” which they have been called in California, but the rules effectively amount to the same thing.

California’s statewide directive, which went into force Thursday evening, also instructs residents to remain at home unless necessary.

It allows gas stations, pharmacies, banks and laundry services to remain open while restaurants can still provide take-out and delivery.

“They are taking strong steps. I applaud them,” Trump said, referring to Cuomo and Newsom.

Trump also announced Friday that the US and Mexico have agreed to restrict non-essential travel across their border beginning on Saturday.

He said the move, similar to one already announced with northern neighbor Canada, was necessary to prevent the “spread the infection to our border agents, migrants, and to the public at large.”

On Capitol Hill, US senators began critical negotiations over a $1 trillion emergency stimulus package to help Americans ravaged by the coronavirus.

The version unveiled late Thursday includes onetime “recovery rebates” of up to $1,200 for adults earning under $99,000 annually, and hundreds of billions of dollars in loan guarantees to industries hard hit by the crises including airlines and small businesses.

Wall Street stocks finished a volatile session much lower Friday, with the Dow down 4.6 percent, bringing the market’s worst week since 2008 to a grim conclusion.

Antimalarials Not Formally Approved, But Access Is Being Expanded – FDA

US President Donald Trump listens to FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn (R) speak on the latest developments of the coronavirus outbreak, in the James Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House March 19, 2020 in Washington, DC. Brendan Smialowski / AFP
US President Donald Trump listens to FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn (R) speak on the latest developments of the coronavirus outbreak, in the James Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House March 19, 2020 in Washington, DC. Brendan Smialowski / AFP

 

The Food and Drug Administration says though antimalarials have not been formally approved as cure for the Coronavirus, still the agency is expanding access so that authorities could gather more data.

President Trump had on Thursday said that the US is fast-tracking antimalarial drugs for use as a treatment against the new coronavirus.

FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn speaking on the matter said the access being granted falls under what is called “compassionate use.”

READ ALSOWoman With Coronavirus Gives Birth To Healthy Baby

Mr Hahn notes that, “If there is an experimental drug that is potentially available, a doctor could ask for that drug to be used in a patient. We have criteria for that and very speedy approval for that.

“As an example, many Americans have read studies and heard media reports about this drug chloroquine, which is an anti-malarial drug.

“It’s already approved, as the president said, for the treatment of malaria as well as an arthritis condition.

“That’s a drug that the president directed us to take a closer look at, as to whether an expanded use approach to that could be done to actually see if that benefits patients.”

The announcement follows encouraging research into chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine in France and China, but many in the wider scientific community have cautioned more work is needed to prove they really work for COVID-19.

Chloroquine is a synthetic form of quinine, which has been used to treat malaria since the 1940s. Hydroxychloroquine shares a similar mechanism of action but is less toxic.

French drug maker Sanofi on Wednesday said it stood ready to offer the French government millions of doses of hydroxychloroquine, sold under its brand name Plaquenil, in light of a “promising” study carried out by Didier Raoult of the IHU Mediterranee Infection in Marseille.

Raoult reported this week that after treating 24 patients for six days with Plaquenil, the virus had disappeared in all but a quarter of them. The research has not yet been peer reviewed and published.

Trump Places Travel Ban On Europe Over Coronavirus

US President Donald Trump addresses the Nation from the Oval Office about the widening novel coronavirus (Covid-19) crisis in Washington, DC on March 11, 2020. Doug Mills / POOL / AFP
US President Donald Trump addresses the Nation from the Oval Office about the widening novel coronavirus (Covid-19) crisis in Washington, DC on March 11, 2020. Doug Mills / POOL / AFP

 

US President Donald Trump announced a shock 30-day ban on travel from mainland Europe over the spiralling coronavirus pandemic that has sparked unprecedented lockdowns, widespread panic and another financial market meltdown on Thursday.

Trump’s unexpected move in a primetime TV address from the Oval Office pummelled stock markets, as traders fretted about the economic impact of the outbreak that is on a seemingly relentless march across the planet.

The World Health Organization also sounded another global alarm bell on Wednesday, officially classifying as a pandemic the virus that has infected more than 124,000 people with 4,500 deaths, according to an AFP tally.

“This is the most aggressive and comprehensive effort to confront a foreign virus in modern history,” Trump said, after the president had been criticised for his response so far.

Trump’s ban affects travellers from Europe — but not Britain — as the continent grapples with a burgeoning crisis.

Hardest-hit country Italy on Wednesday clocked more than 2,300 new cases over the previous 24 hours and infections in Spain jumped by a quarter to more than 2,100.

In Germany, Chancellor Angela Merkel quoted experts saying that “60-70 percent of the population will be infected if the situation” continues without a vaccine in sight.

Italy is in the grip of a lockdown never before seen in peacetime, shutting all stores except pharmacies and food shops in a move that has emptied world-famous tourist sites in Rome, Venice and Florence.

“I can’t even recognise Rome now,” 30-year-old Muscovite Yekaterina said while posing alone for a photo by the usually bustling Trevi Fountain in the heart of Rome.

People in Italy have been told to keep at least a metre (three feet) from each other and handshakes are frowned upon. Italians have found themselves starting to talk to each other a few steps apart — while often laughing about the regulations along the way.

“As soon as the emergency has passed, we will organise a free carbonara day for doctors, nurses and healthcare workers,” said a closing note by a restaurant in Rome’s popular Trastevere neighbourhood.

‘Sell sell sell’

Following similar stimulus steps taken around the world, Trump announced measures aimed at shoring up the world’s top economy from the pandemic, including deferring tax payments for some individuals and businesses — a move he said amounted to $200 billion in liquidity.

But markets took fright at the announcement. Australian stocks suffered their worst one-day drop since the 2008 financial crisis, dropping 7.4 percent despite the earlier announcement of a multi-billion-dollar stimulus package in the country.

“Travel restrictions equal slower global economic activity, so if you need any more coxing to sell sell sell sell after a massively negative signal from overnight trading in US markets it just fell in your lap,” said AxiCorp’s Stephen Innes.

White House officials were also forced into a clarification after Trump announced the “tremendous amount of trade and cargo” from Europe would be banned.

Washington later stressed the measures, that come into effect from “midnight Friday”, would apply only to humans, not goods or cargo.

The State Department later advised Americans to reconsider travel abroad, as Johns Hopkins University’s coronavirus tracker put the number of known US cases at around 1,300, with 36 dead.

‘Alarming’ inaction

The World Health Organization had earlier warned that the spread and severity of the illness was due to “alarming levels of inaction.”

“We have never before seen a pandemic sparked by a coronavirus,” WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said, adding that its new designation would not change the response to the outbreak.

The majority of cases have been in China, where the outbreak emerged in December.

But as the number of new infections has steadied, hotspots have emerged elsewhere, with Italy, Iran and Spain among the worst impacted.

Olympic cancellation ‘unthinkable’

Demonstrating that the illness can affect people from all walks of life, Hollywood superstar Tom Hanks announced Thursday that he and his wife had tested positive.

“To play things right, as is needed in the world right now, we were tested for the coronavirus, and were found to be positive,” said the 63-year-old actor, who is in Australia for a film.

Hanks and his wife went into isolation at an Australian hospital.

The pandemic also continued to disrupt cultural and sporting events around the world as authorities tried to prevent large gatherings.

New York’s annual St Patrick’s Day parade was scrapped for the first time in more than 250 years.

England’s top-flight football league saw its first cancellation while E3 — the world’s premier video game trade show, due to be held in June in Los Angeles — was called off.

In the US, the NBA said it was suspending play starting Thursday after a Utah Jazz player tested positive.

The impacts on sporting events fuelled concerns about the fate of the 2020 Olympics in Japan that are due to start in July, but Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike said it was “unthinkable” that the Games would be cancelled.

 

AFP

Trump Says He Has No Need For Coronavirus Test

U.S. President Donald Trump talks to reporters at the Capitol after attending the Senate Republicans weekly policy luncheon with Vice President Mike Pence (R) on March 10, 2020 in Washington, DC. Samuel Corum/Getty Images/AFP
U.S. President Donald Trump talks to reporters at the Capitol after attending the Senate Republicans weekly policy luncheon with Vice President Mike Pence (R) on March 10, 2020 in Washington, DC. Samuel Corum/Getty Images/AFP

 

US President Donald Trump said Tuesday he would be happy to get a coronavirus test but that he has been told there’s no need, despite having had contact with several lawmakers who chose to self-quarantine.

“I feel extremely good. I feel very good but I guess it’s not a big deal to get tested and it’s something I would do,” Trump told reporters in Washington.

However, the White House doctor declared there was “no reason to do it,” Trump added. “There’s no symptoms, no anything.”

Trump’s health has come under the spotlight as the coronavirus spreads in the United States, with three Republican lawmakers who met with the president having being exposed recently to someone who had tested positive.

One of those deciding to go into self-imposed quarantine was Trump’s pick for White House chief of staff, Mark Meadows, although his test result was negative.

Another, Matt Gaetz, who traveled with Trump on Air Force One on Monday, said Tuesday that he had also tested negative.

First Coronavirus Death On US Soil Confirmed, Trump Calls For Calm

US President Donald Trump speaks during a press conference in New Delhi on February 25, 2020. Mandel NGAN / AFP

 

The first fatality from the novel coronavirus has been confirmed on US soil, as President Donald Trump on Saturday urged Americans not to panic.

Health officials said the man who died in Washington state was one of a handful with no known links to global hot zones to have contracted the virus — indicating that the pathogen was now likely spreading in communities.

The death occurred in King County, the most populous in the state and home to Seattle, a city of more than 700,000 people, officials told AFP.

The victim was in his 50s and had “underlying health conditions,” said Jeff Duchin, public health officer for Seattle and King County.

“It is a sad day in our state as we learn that a Washingtonian has died from COVID-19,” Washington state Governor Jay Inslee said in a statement, sending condolences to the victim’s loved ones.

Inslee declared a state of emergency over coronavirus, freeing up funding for state agencies and allowing the use of the Washington National Guard, if necessary.

Speaking at a White House news conference Trump said that “additional cases in the United States are likely,” but added that “healthy individuals should be able to fully recover.”

“Our country is prepared for any circumstance,” Trump insisted, calling on “the media and politicians and everybody else involved not to do anything to incite panic.”

Trump identified the victim as “a wonderful woman,” but the CDC later said it had misinformed the president in an earlier briefing.

Washington state also reported on Saturday the country’s first case of coronavirus in a health care worker and the first possible outbreak in a nursing home.

This comes after the states of Oregon and California confirmed late last week the first instances of infected US patients who had not traveled overseas or come in contact with anyone known to be ill.

“While there is still much to learn about the unfolding situations in California, Oregon and Washington, preliminary information raises the level of concern about the immediate threat for COVID-19 for certain communities in the United States,” the CDC said.

‘We will see more cases’

Trump said he would meet with leaders of big pharmaceutical groups at the White House on Monday to discuss treatments and efforts to develop a vaccine to combat the virus.

The president said the number of cases detected by the US public health system now stood at 22. Combined with patients who were repatriated from abroad, the overall number of infected on US soil is now about 70.

“We will see more cases,” Health Secretary Alex Azar told the White House press conference.

“But it’s important to remember, for the vast majority of individuals who contract the novel coronavirus, they will experience mild to moderate symptoms.”

Their treatment will be to remain at home and treat the symptoms as they would the flu, he added.

The president and other officials also announced a more complete ban on travel from Iran, which has seen a rapid spread of the disease, and encouraged Americans to avoid travel to hard-hit areas in Italy and South Korea.

Vice President Mike Pence, charged by Trump to lead efforts against the virus, said that an existing ban on travel from Iran had been expanded to include any foreign national who has visited the Islamic republic within the last 14 days.

Trump also said the United States was ready to assist Iran with its coronavirus outbreak and that “all they have to do is ask.”

An American citizen died of the new coronavirus in early February at the Chinese epicenter of the global outbreak, the city of Wuhan, the US embassy confirmed at the time.

Worldwide, the virus has hit about 60 countries across the globe, with more than 2,900 people killed and over 85,000 infected since it was first detected at an animal market in Wuhan late last year.

Weinstein’s Conviction ‘Great Victory’ Says Trump

US President Donald Trump speaks during a press conference in New Delhi on February 25, 2020. Mandel NGAN / AFP

 

Harvey Weinstein’s conviction for rape and sexual assault was a “great victory” for women and sends a “very strong message”, US President Donald Trump said Tuesday.

The Hollywood movie producer was found guilty on Monday by a New York court in a verdict hailed as a historic landmark by the #MeToo movement against sexual misconduct.

“From the standpoint of women, I think it was a great thing,” Trump said at a news conference in India.

“It was a great victory. And sends a very strong message, very, very strong message.”

Weinstein, 67, was acquitted of first-degree rape and predatory sexual assault, charges that could have seen him jailed for life.

But he faces up to 29 years in prison for criminal sexual acts in the first degree and third-degree rape.

He was remanded in jail but was later admitted to Bellevue Hospital Center in Manhattan with chest pains.

“He was a person I didn’t like,” Trump said at a press conference in New Delhi. “I just was not a fan of his. I knew him a little bit, not very well.”

Trump, who will lead the Republican party into elections in November, said Weinstein was closely linked to the Democratic Party.

“The people that liked him were the Democrats,” he said.

“Michelle Obama loved him. Hillary Clinton loved him. And he gave tremendous money to the Democrats.”

More than 80 women have accused Weinstein of sexual misconduct since allegations against him ignited a global reckoning in 2017 against men abusing positions of power.

With many claims too old to prosecute, the jury considered charges related to just two: ex-actress Jessica Mann and former production assistant Mimi Haleyi.

Weinstein is due to be sentenced on March 11.

AFP

Huge Rally For Trump As US President Arrives India

A cutout of US President Donald Trump is seen as people wait beside a street to catch a glimpse of his motorcade in Ahmedabad on February 24, 2020. Mandel NGAN / AFP
A cutout of US President Donald Trump is seen as people wait beside a street to catch a glimpse of his motorcade in Ahmedabad on February 24, 2020.
Mandel NGAN / AFP

 

US President Donald Trump arrived in India on Monday for a lightning visit featuring a huge rally at the world’s biggest cricket stadium and other high-profile photo opportunities, but likely short on concrete achievements.

Trade tensions have grown between the world’s two biggest democracies as Trump’s “America First” drive collides with fellow protectionist strongman Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “Make in India” mantra.

While sharing concerns about China and deepening defence ties, India has bristled at Trump’s offer to mediate over the Kashmir dispute with Pakistan, and at unease in Washington over a citizenship law criticised as anti-Muslim.

The billionaire and the tea seller’s son were due to address a huge rally of around 100,000 people at the world’s biggest cricket stadium in Modi’s home state before Trump and First Lady Melania fly to the Taj Mahal to watch sunset.

Excited crowds began queueing at 4:00 am to get into the brand new stadium for the “Namaste Trump” rally, payback for a “Howdy Modi” event in Houston last year in front of cheering Indian-Americans where Trump likened Modi to Elvis Presley.

“We hope the US liberalises its visa regime for skilled workers. They need it and India has too many young skilled and talented people,” said student Maunas Shastri.

Preparations have been feverish for the visit, with workers rushing to finish the stadium and building a wall that locals said was to hide a slum. Stray dogs, cows and monkeys have been moved away.

Parts of the Taj Mahal, the white marble “jewel of Muslim art” according to UNESCO, were given a mud-pack facial to remove stains while efforts were undertaken to lessen the stench of the adjacent river.

Trump told a rally on Thursday that “six to 10 million people” would be along the route of his motorcade, but this appears to have been a misunderstanding. Organisers said there will be tens of thousands.

Thousands of posters with the words were erected every 10 metres (yards) along Ahmedabad’s major roads. Sellers of flags and masks of Modi and Trump were doing brisk business.

Trump tweeted en route to India — in Hindi — that he was “eager to come to India” while Modi responded by saying that “guests are next to God”, a well-known saying.

‘Tariff king’

But behind the platitudes and apparent warm rapport between the two leaders lies a fraught relationship worsened by the trade protectionism of both governments.

Trump has called India the “tariff king” and said before the visit that Asia’s third-largest economy has been “hitting us very, very hard for many, many years”.

Rather than a wide-ranging trade deal, reports said Trump and Modi may instead ink smaller agreements covering Harley-Davidson motorcycle imports and American dairy products, as well as defence pacts.

Also on the cards could be the supply of six nuclear reactors, the fruit of a landmark atomic accord in 2008.

An Indian government spokesman said the world’s fifth-largest economy “would not like to rush into a deal”, adding that the issues involved were “complicated”.

“The big missing deliverable at least for now seems likely to be the one both countries had sought, which is the trade deal,” Tanvi Madan from the Brookings Institution told reporters.

Other points of friction include defence, with Russia remaining India’s biggest supplier despite a possible $2.4-billion deal for American helicopters.

The US has pressured India to stop buying Iranian oil, while US businesses have raised concerns over New Delhi’s plans to force foreign firms to store Indian consumers’ personal data inside the country.

In Washington, India has faced criticism over its clampdown in restive Kashmir, and a recently passed citizenship law that critics say is anti-Muslim and which has led to ongoing protests across the nation.

A senior US administration official told reporters Trump would raise concerns about religious freedom in the Hindu-majority nation during the trip, “which is extremely important to this administration”.

“We are concerned… and I think that the president will talk about these issues in his meetings with Prime Minister Modi and note that the world is looking to India to continue to uphold its democratic traditions, respect for religious minorities,” the official added.

Trump also ridiculed Modi last year for “constantly telling me he built a library in Afghanistan”.

“That’s like five hours of what we spend… And we are supposed to say, ‘oh, thank you for the library’. I don’t know who is using it in Afghanistan,” Trump had said.

Trump Tells Congress To ‘Expunge’ His Impeachment After Senate Acquittal

US President Donald Trump announces his Middle East peace plan in the East Room of the White House in Washington, DC on January 28, 2020. Trump says his plan ‘could be the last opportunity’ for Palestinians.
MANDEL NGAN / AFP

 

President Donald Trump called Friday on Congress to “expunge” his impeachment for abuse of power following his acquittal in the Senate.

“Should they expunge impeachment in the House? They should because it was a hoax,” he told reporters at the White House.

Trump was impeached in December on two charges related to his campaign to get Ukraine’s government to start a corruption investigation into his Democratic election opponent Joe Biden.

On Wednesday, the Republican majority in the Senate cleared Trump in only the third impeachment trial of a president in history.

READ ALSO: Coronavirus: Canada Repatriates 174 Citizens From China

Trump has emerged from his victory in a furious mood, describing his Democratic opponents as “evil.”

The Republican minority leader in the House of Representatives, Kevin McCarthy, has said that if his party wins back control of the chamber in the November general election it will seek to overturn, or expunge, the impeachment.

Trump also turned his anger on the Democratic speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, who demonstratively ripped up a copy of his State of the Union speech in Congress on Tuesday after Trump delivered it.

“That was terrible, it was a terrible — so disrespectful,” he said, “and actually very illegal.”

AFP

Only Buhari Can Finish Off Boko Haram – The Week In Quotes

 

Insecurity is a major concern for Nigeria at the moment and this issue has continued to trigger debates and protests across the nation.

Here are some top quotes from the passing week, that highlight the socio-political atmosphere within the country at this time.

Also listed are a few other quotes from events that made the news last week, with coronavirus and death of basketball legend, Kobe Bryant, taking making the headlines.

1. President Buhari is going to finish off these terrorists, he alone can do it.

The Presidency says President Muhammadu Buhari is the best man to destroy the Boko Haram insurgents in the northeast and bring an end to their carnage in Nigeria.

2. The president’s decision is the product of a comprehensive and systematic assessment that was conducted by the Department of Homeland Security, as well as in partnership with other federal agencies.

The US Government speaks on new bans imposed on Nigeria and other countries.

3. Mr President has lost control of security” adding that the nation is “in danger and we are in trouble.

The main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) asks President Muhammadu Buhari to resign for ‘failing to secure the nation’ and ‘putting her democracy under threat’.

4. Once again, I call on President Trump to consider adopting measures that individually target those in government who have failed in their duties, rather than target the entire Nigerian population.

Former Presidential Candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar is unhappy about the US Government’s decision to place Nigeria on its travel ban list.

5. President Buhari should resign because he has failed to solve the security challenges in the country, years after Nigerians voted the APC government into power.

The Senate Minority Leader, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to resign over the security situation in the country.

6. Comrade Oshiomhole’s ambition to be the ‘ultimate godfather in Edo State is not worth the lives and safety of millions of Edo people.

Edo State Government asks the Presidency and the Inspector General of Police to call the National Chairman of the APC, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole to order and let him know that no one can be above the law of the land.

7. Accordingly, President Muhammadu Buhari has established a committee, to be Chaired by the Hon. Minister of Interior, to study and address the updated U.S. requirements.

President Buhari sets-up a committee to ‘study’ US travel ban.

8. Ask INEC to give you the result of Imo, even excluding that of Governor Hope Uzodinma. You will find that Emeka ought not to have been declared. For me, it is shocking that nobody is interrogating INEC.

The National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Mr. Adams Oshiomhole, says Mr. Emeka Ihedioha of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) should not have been declared governor of Imo State.

9. In Akwa Ibom, they don’t hold elections but write results.

Mr Mike Igini indicts his predecessors in Akwa Ibom, saying elections do not hold in the entirety of the state.

10. I am of the opinion that Agba should be released because I think he was just youthfully excited.

Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River says he thinks the embattled journalist (Agba Jalingo) should be released from prison.

11. This is for Burna Boy.

Angelique Kidjo dedicates Grammy Award to Burna Boy, she beat the Nigerian artist in the Contemporary World Music Album.

12. Completely devastated.

Vanessa Bryant speaks out for the first time since her husband Kobe Bryant and daughter Gianna were killed in a horrific helicopter crash.

13. This is a celebration of the 20 years of the blood, the sweat, the tears, the broken-down body, the getting up, sitting down to everything, the countless hours, the determination to be as great as he could be.

LeBron James vows that he and his Los Angeles Lakers teammates would continue the legacy of club icon Kobe Bryant.

14. Tonight is for Kobe.

Top nominee Lizzo kicks off the 2020 Grammys with a tribute to the late basketball legend Kobe Bryant.

15. Speechless and shocked!! REST IN HEAVEN MAMBA.

Twitter reacts to reports of the death of NBA superstar Kobe.

16. Terrible News.

US President Donald Trump says he is sorry to hear reports that basketball legend Kobe Bryant died in a helicopter crash.

17. This is a historic day.

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hails a US peace plan for the Middle East as a “realistic path to a durable peace” that assures Israeli sovereignty over the Jordan Valley.

18. Senator Abaribe’s call on President Buhari to resign is foolish.

Presidential spokesman, Garba Shehu, describes as foolish, the call by Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe asking President Muhammadu Buhari to resign.

19. I will show you that I am Edo State Governor.

Governor Obaseki of Edo state warns APC chairman, Adams Oshiomhole.

20. Our great party would be presenting our petitions to the embassies of the United States of America, the United Kingdom, and the European Union on the State of Affairs in the country.

Leaders of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) call for the intervention of the United States, United Kingdom, and the European Union in the judgment of the Supreme Court on Imo governorship tussle.

21. We will be harder on bandits.

President Muhammadu Buhari says harder times await bandits whose disruptive activities have brought sorrow to Nigerians, kept many away from their means of livelihood, and heightened insecurity in parts of the country.

22. While I commend the effort of Aisha Babangida for putting the event together, I would like to also suggest that Former first ladies should continue to explore avenues for sharing their experiences.

Ten years after her demise, former first ladies including Patience Jonathan and Turai Yar’Adua on Thursday gathered in Abuja in remembrance of Maryam Babangida.

Travel Ban: Atiku Gives Trump Five Reasons To Reconsider Position

 

Former Presidential Candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar is unhappy about the US Government’s decision to place Nigeria on its travel ban list.

The US Government had announced on Friday that citizens from Nigeria, Eritrea, Myanmar, and Kyrgyzstan won’t be allowed to apply for visas to immigrate to the U.S.

According to the country, its new policy is part of efforts to tighten security for countries that don’t comply with the U.S. minimum security standards or cooperate to prevent illegal immigration.

But Atiku took to Twitter on Saturday to express his displeasure with the situation while giving reasons why he believes the policy should be reconsidered for Nigeria.

One of such reasons is that he believes the ban does not take into account, the pro-American sentiments of the Nigerian public and the solidarity which previous Nigerian administrations have had with the United States.

He also asked the Trump administration to consider the pivotal role that Nigeria, in partnership with the US, played in bringing peace to Liberia – an American sphere of influence, that now enjoys democracy because “Nigerian blood and money paved the way for peace in that nation”.

Read Also: Trump Imposes New Travel Ban On Nigeria, Five Other Countries

A third reason according to Atiku is that Nigeria is one of the biggest trading partners of the US.

He also says Nigeria has consistently voted in support of the United States and her allies at the United Nations and other multi-lateral world bodies.

Finally, he believes that placing a ban on the entire country, rather than dealing precisely with specific elements in government which he says are to blame for the nation’s inefficiencies, is unfair.

“The current Nigerian administration may have its deficiencies and deep faults, but the Nigeria people ought not to be punished for their inefficiencies,” Atiku said.

“Once again, I call on President Trump to consider adopting measures that individually target those in government who have failed in their duties, rather than target the entire Nigerian population”.

Read Atiku’s Full Statement Below.

US Travel Ban on Nigeria: Punish Those Responsible, Not the Nigerian People

I received with sadness the policy of the government of the United States of America to place Nigeria on its travel ban list.

While I understand the reasons given by the Trump administration (the failure of the Muhammadu Buhari led administration to share information and to address issues of terrorism), the ban does not take into account the pro-American sentiments of the Nigerian public and the solidarity previous Nigerian administrations have had with the United States.

I urge the government of President Donald Trump to consider the history of US-Nigerian relationships. Nigeria was one of the few African nations that joined the US led coalition during Operation Desert Storm in 1990-1991, when the United States championed the liberation of Kuwait.

The Trump administration may also consider the pivotal role Nigeria, in partnership with the US, played in bringing peace to Liberia, an American sphere of influence, that now enjoys democracy because Nigerian blood and money paved the way for peace in that nation.

Nigeria has also consistently voted in support of the United States and her allies at the United Nations and other multi-lateral world bodies. This is even as we are perhaps the biggest trading partner that the United States has in Africa, even where we had alternatives.

Nigerians love the United States and have been a major force for the positive development of that great nation: 77 per cent of all Black doctors in the United States are Nigerians. Nigerians are also the most educated immigrant community in America Bar None.

Surely, the US stands to benefit if it allows open borders with a country like Nigeria that is able to provide skilled, hardworking and dedicated personnel in a two-way traffic.

The current Nigerian administration may have its deficiencies and deep faults, but the Nigeria people ought not to be punished for their inefficiencies.

Once again, I call on President Trump to consider adopting measures that individually target those in government who have failed in their duties, rather than target the entire Nigerian population.

Trump Imposes New Travel Ban On Nigeria, Five Other Countries

 

President Donald Trump has imposed a new travel ban restricting immigration from Nigeria, and five other countries in an expansion of his administration’s policy blocking travel from certain nations.

In line with the new policy, citizens from Nigeria, Eritrea, Myanmar, and Kyrgyzstan won’t be allowed to apply for visas to immigrate to the U.S.

According to the US government, the policy was designed to tighten security for countries that don’t comply with the U.S. minimum security standards or cooperate to prevent illegal immigration.

READ ALSO: Coronavirus: WHO Lists Nigeria, 12 Other Nations As Top Risk African Countries

The Wall Street Journal reports that in line with the policy, two other countries, Sudan and Tanzania, will be barred from participating in the diversity visa lottery, which randomly awards green cards to 50,000 immigrants from underrepresented countries annually.

According to US officials, the new restrictions are set to take effect on Feb 21 and will apply only to new visa applications. Immigrants who were issued valid visas before that date will still be able to move to the U.S.

Nigeria and the five other countries listed will join a list of seven nations that faced significant travel restrictions under President Trump’s original travel ban which was issued earlier in 2017.

Trump Says Reports Of Kobe Bryant’s Death Are “Terrible News”

 

US President Donald Trump said he was sorry to hear reports that basketball legend Kobe Bryant died in a helicopter crash in California.

“That is terrible news!” Trump tweeted.

READ ALSO: NBA Legend Kobe Bryant Killed In Helicopter Crash

Bryant died in a helicopter crash in suburban Los Angeles, celebrity website TMZ reported, saying five people are confirmed dead in the incident.