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U.S withholding WHO’s funding ‘ll affect coordination of COVID-19 – Guild



Trump claims his decisive action made Jerusalem capital of Israel

The Medical Guild in Lagos State says the U.S Government’s decision to stop funding of the World Health Organisation (WHO) will definitely impact on WHO’s ability to coordinate the response to COVID-19 pandemic.

The guild’s Chairman, Dr Oluwajimi Sodipo, made the observation on Sunday in Lagos, noting that the U.S’ decision to stop funding WHO at this critical time, may not be the best decision.

Medical Guild is an umbrella body for all medical doctors working in the employment of the Lagos State Government.

American President Donald Trump had presented the freezing of U.S funding to the WHO, following moves by WHO, which President Trump suspected were not in the best interest of his country and the citizens.

Specifically, Trump was disappointed that WHO totally failed to timely raise global alarm on COVID 19 which has killed over 30,000 Americans; in addition to claims that the body perceivably is too “China-centric” in its response”.

On the orders of Trump, the U.S, one of the key founding members of — and the largest donor to — WHO, announced its intention to freeze its funding for the agency, pending a review of WHO’s actions during the Coronavirus pandemic. The review could last for up to three months.

Trump’s administration has been increasingly critical of the agency, which for months has guided the world in how to tackle the deadly Coronavirus.

Reacting, WHO Director-General, Tedros Ghebreyesus, said the agency regretted the U.S decision to withdraw its funding.

According to Sodipo, WHO is the body primarily responsible for the coordination of the response to COVID-19 and other diseases of international importance.

“No country can fight COVID-19 alone, because it is an easily contagious disease that requires collective efforts of all.

“WHO should still be funded by the U.S, because it is going to affect the ability of the organisation to be able to coordinate the response to COVID-19.

“WHO has representatives, who are deployed to different countries to work along side other local health authorities in these countries.

“So, once they now have a decrease in funding, it means WHO will not be able to have these representatives, and it will now weaken the response of those countries in tackling COVID-19,” Sodipo said.

Also read:  WHO chief bemoans U.S. decision to pull funding

He, however, urged Nigerians who might have the virus to key into the central system by alerting the appropriate body, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, in charge of managing COVID-19.

The chairman said it would be illegal for anybody to access private health facilities for the treatment of COVID-19, adding that adequate action should be taken against such persons.

“Government policies are clear; anybody that tests positive needs to be brought in, get admitted, no matter the severity of the illness, because the aim is to prevent community spread.

“The elite in the society need to live by example, because it is one thing to make rules and regulations; the problem is following those rules and that has been the challenge,” he said.

Notwithstanding Dr. Sodipo’ s view, several Nigerians however supports Trump’s decision, noting that WHO was seemingly biased in its handling of the pandemic.


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U.S. strikes 2 targets in Syria in response to ‘continued attacks’



The U.S. military struck two facilities in eastern Syria used by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and Iran-affiliated groups in response to “continued attacks” against U.S. personnel in Iraq and Syria, the Pentagon said on Sunday.

The strikes were conducted against a training facility in Abu Kamal and a safe house in Mayadin in the eastern governorate of Deir Ezzor, U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said in a brief statement.

The U.S. struck similar targets in eastern Syria in October and earlier in November.

Pro-Iranian militias have intensified their attacks on U.S. military bases in Syria and Iraq in recent weeks as a response to the Israeli military campaign in Gaza.

The security situation in the entire region has been particularly tense since Oct. 7, when Hamas militants staged deadly attacks in southern Israel.

Israel is responding with an overwhelming air and ground offensive in Gaza.

As a deterrent, the U.S. has moved more weapons systems, warships and air squadrons to the Eastern Mediterranean, and is deploying several hundred troops to the Middle East to support US units there.

U.S. President Joe Biden had ordered Sunday’s action to make it clear that the U.S. was defending itself, its personnel, and its interests, Austin stressed.

The U.S. is prepared to take further necessary measures to protect its own people and interests.

  • dpa
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Russia writes off $23bn debt for Africa – Putin



Russia sends almost 12m tons of grain to Africa says Putin

…Pledges additional $90 million***

Vladimir Putin, the Russian President, says the Russian Government has written off $23 billion debt burden of African countries.

Putin spoke at the plenary session of the ongoing second Russia–Africa Summit 2023 held from July 27 to July 28.

He said Moscow would allocate an additional $90 million for these purposes.

Putin said Russia was advocating the expansion of representation of African countries in the UN Security Council and other UN structures.

“Russia and Africa strive to develop cooperation in all areas and strengthen ‘honest, open, constructive’ partnership.

“Russia will also assist in opening new African embassies and consulates in Russia,” he said.

According to him, the reopening of embassies in Burkina Faso and Equatorial Guinea is going as planned.

He said sovereignty was “not a one-time achieved state,” and it must be constantly protected.

Putin also offered assistance to Africa in countering threats such as terrorism, piracy, and transnational crimes adding that it would continue to train personnel from African countries.

He assured that Russian businesses have a lot to offer partners from Africa.

Putin said transition to national currencies and the establishment of transport and logistics chains would contribute to the increase in mutual trade turnover.

“Russia is ready to provide trade preferences to Africa, support the creation of modern production sectors, agricultural sector, and provide assistance through relevant international structures and agencies.

“Russia will always be a responsible international supplier of agricultural products,” he said.

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U.S. Coastguard Finds ‘debris field’ Near Missing Vessel



A “debris field” has been discovered within the search area for the missing Titan submersible, the U.S. Coastguard (USCG) said on Thursday.

The agency said a remotely-operated vehicle made the discovery near the wreckage of the Titanic on Thursday.

The hunt for the missing deep-sea vessel is still an “active search and rescue” mission after it lost communication on Sunday.

The vessel was about 700 kilometres south of St John’s, Newfoundland, during a voyage to the Titanic shipwreck off the coast of Canada.

Coastguard officials said they were “evaluating the information” following Thursday’s debris discovery.

A press conference will be held at the Coastguard base in Boston to “discuss the findings” at 8pm (1900 GMT).

Rear Admiral John Mauger, the first Coastguard district commander, and Captain Jamie Frederick, first Coastguard district response coordinator, will lead the press conference.

Founding member of the Board of Trustees of The Explorers Club, Hamish Harding, was on board the undersea craft, alongside UK-based businessman Shahzada Dawood, his son Suleman Dawood, and OceanGate’s chief executive and founder Stockton Rush, as well as French submersible pilot Paul-Henri Nargeolet.

The USCG said the ROV that made the discovery was from the Canadian Horizon Arctic ship – with the debris being found on the sea floor near the Titanic wreckage.

Assistance from the Royal Air Force (RAF) is due to arrive in St John’s on Thursday after it confirmed a request was received overnight for help with the movement of additional commercial equipment.

Two RAF planes, a C-17 Globemaster and A400 Atlas, departed RAF Lossiemouth in north-east Scotland on Thursday.

A British submariner and equipment from a UK firm have been sent to help the search at the request of the U.S. Coastguard, Downing Street said.

Royal Navy submariner Lieutenant Commander Richard Kantharia, who was on exchange with the U.S. Navy, has been seconded to the search and rescue team.

OceanGate Expeditions estimated the oxygen supply on the 6.7 metre-long vessel would last 96 hours, giving rescuers a deadline of around midday on Thursday.

Experts said the chances of finding the sub and rescuing those inside were diminishing.

Former Royal Navy submarine captain Ryan Ramsey told the PA news agency: “The outlook is bleak, that’s the only word for it as this tragic event unfolds and almost the closing stages of where this changes from rescue to a salvage mission.”

The Titan is believed to be about 900 miles east and 400 miles south of Newfoundland.

It is not known how deep the vessel is, with the seabed being around 3,800 metres from the surface. 

– dpa

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