CORONAVIRUS: How an Italian migrant imported the disease into Nigeria and the race to curtail its spread

CC™ Global Health News

In a near replay of the July 20, 2014 Ebola Virus Disease episode when Liberian Patrick Sawyer imported the Ebola virus into the country undetected through the Muritala Mohammed International Airport, MMIA, an Italian national has imported the COVID-19 virus into the country through the same airport on February 25th 2020.

The Federal Ministry of Health and the Lagos State Ministry of Health had, in early hours of Friday February 28th, confirmed the case in Lagos. It is the first case of COVID-19 to be reported in Nigeria and in sub-Sahara Africa and the third in Africa after Egypt and Algeria since the outbreak occurred in China in December 2019.

Lagos state Commissioner for Health, Prof Akin Abayomi, told reporters during an emergency press briefing in Lagos on Friday, that the index case – a consultant with Larfarge Cement Company, Ewekoro, Ogun State - came into Nigeria on the 25th of February from Milan, Italy for a brief business visit.

According to Abayomi, the patient, a traveller, initiated his journey from Milan, Italy, on Monday, 24th February, transited through Istanbul on-board a Turkish Airline aircraft and arrived Lagos on Tuesday night, spent the night in an hotel near the airport and on Tuesday morning, he moved on to his business in Ogun State, a corporate entity.

"He carried out his business within Ogun State within the confines of the company. And on Wednesday he spent the night in their accommodation, a guest house. By the afternoon, he started to develop symptoms of high fever and body pains. He presented through the company medical facility, where investigation began. He gave a history of his origin of Italy, where we know there is a young outbreak."

Abayomi said it was astute of the medical personnel to keep him over night in an isolated environment.

"They contacted us at the biosecurity unit in Lagos for assistance and we immediately asked them to transfer the case to Lagos. He was brought to our high containment facility in Yaba on Thursday morning. Immediately, he arrived, he was put in strict isolation and appropriate tests were ordered.
Lagos responds promptly, begins contact tracing - Prof Akin Abayomi

"Within hours we received signals that the test in the laboratory was showing signs of positivity. At that point, we informed the Federal Minister of Health, the incident commander in the state, Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu and the Minister informed higher authorities in Abuja.

Noting that it was self important at that time to put together information for the public, Abayomi stated that the patient remains in strict isolation at the containment facility in Yaba and was doing well with supportive therapy.

In response to the development, the Lagos state government immediately started tracing persons that might have had contact with the index case from the airport through Lagos to Ogun State. According to Abayomi, this is important in order to start the isolation and containment of exercise that will break the cycle of transmission of the disease. He said Lagos has set in motion efforts to expand its isolation capacity.

"The important thing to know is that the patient is confined and we have started to identify his contacts all the way to the airline. That process started about 3.00am this morning. We would like to assure everybody that we are on this case to ensure that we can identify everybody that he must have come into contact with.

"His symptoms are subsiding and he does not have signs of respiratory disease which is a good thing, but he does have fever and body pains. If he had respiratory illness it is probably like that he may be more contagious than he is at the moment.

"At our infectious disease facility, we have ramped up capacity to isolate suspected cases. We are now sitting on an about 80-bed isolation facility because of the emergency funds that have been released by the incident commander. We need more capacity in case we have an increased number of cases in Lagos."

Abayomi said Lagos has a very aggressive public awareness campaign going on and has engaged in extensive training across the hierarchy of health professionals in Lagos.

"In addition we are building capacity to diagnose in Lagos and right now we can run the test in two centres in Lagos, one is in the biosecurity facility and the other at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, LUTH. We are in constant contact with the Nigeria centre for Diseases Control, NCDC, and Minister of Health in Abuja."

Officials of the Port health services on ground at the airport were unable to detect that the Italian was carrying the virus because he manifested no symptoms. The Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, explained that it was not a failure of screening. At an emergency press briefing in Abuja on Friday morning, he told journalists that most people who are infected with the coronavirus, may experience only mild illness and recover easily.

"It is not a failure of screening because coronavirus symptoms may not manifest within the first several days, so the person that is infected may not show any signs at all within the first few days or five days and then the symptoms begin. So if that person has traveled within that window, that person gets through anywhere and may not be noticed.

According to Ehanire: " The Italian went through the screening without symptoms and by the time he got to his house, I think a day or two after, he started to feel unwell and wisely enough he went to a hospital and there the doctors examined him and I believe they found that malaria was negative and they knew his travel history and they immediately referred him for a test in Lagos at LUTH testing centre and there it was discovered that he was positive for coronavirus and immediately put under isolation. In fact he has been put on isolation from the referral hospital in a special ambulance.

"As a matter of fact we need to commend the hospital for thinking ahead, not wasting time and taking necessary measures and commend Lagos state government for responding very appropriately. There was free thinking on the side of the hospital and on the side of the driver to transport him under those special conditions to the Federal infectious disease hospital in Lagos. He has immediately been put under very strict isolation, receiving treatment and the information I have this very morning is that he is stable.

"The symptoms for people will not be equally severe. And in fact there are speculations that up to 80 percent of people who get the coronavirus infection may show only mild symptoms or none and 20 percent will get very severe symptoms but all this is still under investigation. As we know this novel coronavirus even if it is new, it's behaviour is not very clear and there is a rapid flow of information coming up about it which is just beginning to enlighten the public. The scientists are working very hard to know more about it".

On tracing of the contacts, Ehanire said; "We are looking at all those people whom this man has been in touch with backwards from the day he was admitted. The first point of call whenever anybody enters the country is the Port Health services.

The Port Health services will be working with the airline to get the passengers manifest and find out where this gentleman was, and also where he sat and also those who sat around him and set up a monitoring system for all passengers and the crew members of that particular flight in order to get information to monitor their state of health within the next 14 days.

And further questioning of the gentleman will also reveal to us where he was and all the places he went. All we know now is that he came from Milan where he was before' it doesn't seem that he ever was in China. So he may have acquired it as a form of community infection from his own country."

Speaking on the issue of quarantining of travelers, Ehanire recalled that the World Health Organisation, WHO, has advised all countries that there is no need to put every single traveler into quarantine.

"There are some other countries who choose to do differently but we follow the guidelines of the WHO which say that screen all persons who are entering your country, check their travel history, if they are coming from a country that has a high rate of coronavirus, invite them for further questioning, give them a phone number to call and take their phone number and advise them in the interest of their own families and friends to stay in self isolation for 14 days and report any symptoms immediately.

"Not only that, if you do not call, we call you and find out how you are and if you have any suspicious symptoms we send an ambulance to get you. Our focus is on the multifunctional international airports in Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt, and Kano. Enugu Airport has been closed and I understand it will be opened very soon but we are also preparing for that possibility.

According to the Minister, the level of preparedness continues to improve in Nigeria every day. "Training is going on, the people that we call the port health workers are receiving training, they are visited by the NCDC to continue to sharpen their skills, preparedness, and knowledge. We are constantly looking at where there are weaknesses. Even the forms the passengers fill when they arrive we continue upgrading, immediately we discover that there is a gap some where we upgrade it and repair the gaps that are in there. So everything is been done to improve preparedness and improve ability to respond rapidly.



Amọtẹkun: Tinubu's atavistic balderdash and the suspension of good governance into the abyss of tyranny

Bola Ahmed Tinubu
CC™ Viewpoint - By Editor-in-Chief

It was not only inevitable, but also predictable that the purported heir to the legacy of the legendary Yoruba and African sage (Chief Obafemi Awolowo) would speak at some point on the establishment of Amọtẹkun, the Western Nigeria Security Network. 

Many in Western Nigeria had been clamouring for him to state his position on the establishment of the regional community security outfit, but this writer never held his breath as I knew it would be a waste of time.

Why? Some would ask and the answer is quite clear. Bola Ahmed Tinubu's agenda is and has always been his own; inordinate, self-centered, lacking in vision and essentially subject to myopic revision, including sacrificing the future of the Yoruba race on the altar of personal ambition and self aggrandizement.

When the response finally came, I and others with a more realistic outlook on things were not disappointed. Instead, we were vindicated in our expectation that it would be exactly the way it came out. Steeped in self absorption, flippantly disregarding arrogance, and light on veritable substance and decisive cogency.

For anyone to have expected anything less than the jaundiced chattercrawl offered by the self proclaimed Asiwaju, would amount to suspending the genetically predisposed spectre of muted expectations when dealing with the likes of Tinubu, into the abyss of great expectations.

For those who continue to hope above all hope and continue to be disappointed, please note this cautionary tale; Bola Tinubu is no Obafemi Awolowo and would never qualify for the singular honor of sagehood, even if satan himself was the arbiter of that designation.

The current APC regime under the rudderless stewardship of the Fulani irredentist, Muhammadu Buhari, is the most evil regime in the contentious history of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Amọtẹkun is the perfect checkmate to the clandestine designs of the three headed Fulani jihadist insurgency presided over by the Sultan of Sokoto, Nasir El Rufai and President Muhammadu Buhari.

That the so-called Asiwaju preferred to punt (in American football parlance) rather than affirm a commitment to the true ideals of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness (as enshrined in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria) is emblematic of the leadership dearth that has not only befallen the Yoruba nation, but the national landscape as a whole.

For the avoidance of doubt, this current mal-administration is the most corrupt, blood-thirsty and inhumane in Nigeria's history and unless there is a formidable resistance against the draconian proclivities of Buhari's murderous marauders, the future of Nigeria's corporate existence as a nation hangs perilously in a balance.

That any Northern figure would even utter the sligtest semblance of opposition to the formation of Amọtẹkun should tell you that they have lost their collective minds and do not wish well for the Yoruba race and Nigeria as a whole. With the formation of the Hisbah Corps, among other supposed regional and state security outfits in Northern Nigeria, not to mention the adoption of full fledged Sharia law (against the letter of the Nigerian Constitution in response to a Christian President at the time), one wonders where these rabid dogs and ethno-religious bigots got the gall and untoward temerity to deprive others of the right to self defense!

One has never witnessed the level of insecurity we see in Nigeria today and the trurh remains that President Muhammadu Buhari has been unresponsive (by design) to the murderous activities of his kinsmen, the Fulani Herdsmen. Worse still, the continued release of Boko Haram fighters for supposed reabilitation constitutes a slap in the face to the families of soldiers and civilians who have lost their loved ones to the animals claiming religion as justification for their heinous crimes. 

Buhari has not only failed to address the growing insecurity in the nation, his administration has also championed the activities of corrupt politicians, provided they are members of the ruling APC.

The United States government recently kicked against the possible release of soon-to-be repatriated stolen Abacha loot to one of the most corrupt leaders in Northern Nigeria, Governor Abubakar Bagudu of Kebbi State. 

According to Bloomberg News, the U.S. Department of Justice says Bagudu was involved in corruption with Abacha. The DoJ also contends that the Nigerian government is hindering U.S. efforts to recover allegedly laundered money it says it’s traced to Bagudu. The DoJ said in a Feb. 3 statement that Bagudu, 58, was part of a network controlled by Abacha that “embezzled, misappropriated and extorted billions from the government of Nigeria.” Bagudu is the chairman of an influential body of governors representing the ruling All Progressives Congress.

So much then for the so-called anti-corruption crusade as Nigeria's case has become that of having the thieves watch themselves. 

The Southwest Governors must not back down in this fight to secure the future and prosperity of the Yoruba race against the clandestine plots of its enemies, including those from within. The Governors will be held accountable by the Yoruba masses and they will have no place under the sun to hide from, should they sell the Yoruba race to Tinubu and his co-horts. 

Buhari has always been a failure. He was redeployed during the Nigerian Civil War after the group he oversaw suffered serious casualties in the 4 Sector (Onitsha region) at the hands of Biafran forces. As a soldier and a person, he has always been a fraud and has masked his incompetence, bigotry and wickedness with polymeric platitudes that only the truly discerning can see. Even this writer was fooled but fool me twice, shame on me!

The die is cast and Nigeria is at a crossroads. Muhammadu Buhari may indeed be the last President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Enough is enough!


Former Nigerian Minister: Obama and Hillary have blood on their hands for 'helping Boko Haram'.....

CC™ Viewpoint - By Anthony Murdoch

A former Nigerian Minister has called out former U.S. President Barack Obama along with Hillary Clinton for their “sheer wickedness” in helping terrorist group Boko Haram by “funding and supporting” the 2015 election of the country’s current leader who, after being elected, canceled contracts to eradicate the terrorists.

Femi Fani-Kayode, a former Nigerian Minister of Culture and Tourism, and Aviation, said that Obama and Clinton, along with John Kerry have “blood...on their hands.” 
“What Obama, John Kerry and Hilary [sic] Clinton did to Nigeria by funding and supporting [Muhammadu] Buhari in the 2015 presidential election and helping Boko Haram in 2014/2015 was sheer wickedness and the blood of all those killed by the Buhari administration, his Fulani herdsmen and Boko Haram over the last 5 years are on their hands,” Fani-Kayode stated in a Feb. 12 Facebook post. Fani-Kayode does not clarify what part Clinton, who was U.S. Secretary of State only until 2013, may have played in Buhari’s election. 
Local Catholic archbishop Augustine Obiora Akubeze recently sounded the alarm that much of the blood being spilled comes in the form of religious persecution against Christians. 
Fani-Kayode stated that had Donald Trump been president of America in 2015, matters “would have been very different.”
“Boko Haram would have been history and the Fulani herdsmen would never have seen the light of day,” he said.
Fani-Kayode backed up his claims by highlighting a recent interview from a former military contractor Eeben Barlow whose company was hired to eradicate Muslim terrorists from Nigeria. 
Barlow, chairman of a private army group called “Specialised Tasks, Training, Equipment and Protection International,” said in a Jan. 5 interview with Aljazeera that he was subcontracted in 2014 with assisting the Nigerian government under then-president Goodluck Jonathan to help eradicate the Boko Haram threat. 
In the interview, Barlow says that one of the first acts of the then-new President Buhari in 2015 was to terminate his contract.  He also said that Buhari’s presidential campaign was funded by the US government under President Barack Obama.
“In one month, we took back terrain larger than Belgium from Boko Haram. We were not allowed to finish because it came at a time when governments were in the process of changing, said Barlow. 
“The incoming President, President Buhari was heavily supported by a foreign government, and one of the first missions was to terminate our contract.”
When asked by the interviewer to name who the foreign government was, Barlow responded: “Yes, we were told it was the United States, and they had actually funded President Buhari’s campaign. The campaign manager for President Buhari came from the US, and I am not saying the United States is bad, I understand foreign interests, but I would have thought that a threat such as Boko Haram on the integrity of the state of Nigeria ought to be actually a priority. It wasn't.”
Fani-Kayode interpreted Barlow’s comments as an affirmation that Obama and Clinton share responsibility for the terrorism and bloodshed taking place in Nigeria today. 
“This man (the military contractor) has spoken the bitter truth. I said it at the time and throughout the 2015 presidential campaign but Nigerians would not listen,” said Fani-Kayode
“Those of you that still love the evil called Barack Obama should listen to this and tell me if you still do,” added Fani-Kayode.
Fani-Kayode worked as the campaign chief for the former President of Nigeria, Goodluck Jonathan, in his failed bid to get re-elected as President in 2015. Jonathan was President from 2010 to 2015. Muhammandu Buhari won the 2015 Nigerian election and was recently re-elected in 2019 to a second term. He also served as the head of the Supreme Military Council (military government) of Nigeria from 1983 to 1985, after grabbing power in a military coup d'état. 
Terrorism, which includes the persecution of Christians, has been on-going in Nigeria for years. The Muslim terrorist group Boko Haram has wreaked havoc in the country’s northern and middle belt region. Earlier in the month, about 5 million Christians across Nigeria protested the recent murder of well-known Pastor, Lawan Andimi. He was kidnapped and then murdered by Boko Haram on January 20.  
One of Boko Haram’s most well-known acts of terrorism in Nigeria was the 2014 kidnapping of the Chibok schoolgirls. Boko Haram kidnapped over 250 girls ranging in age from 16-18 from a Government Girls Secondary School in Chibok. The kidnappers forced the girls to convert to Islam and took them hostage as sex slaves. As of today, only 112 of the girls taken have been freed. 
The Muslim Fulani herders are also responsible for attacks against mostly Christians in other regions of the African nation. According to Open Doors USA’s 2019 World Watch List, Nigeria places as the 12th worst country in the world for the persecution of Christians. 
Recently, the president of the Nigerian Catholic bishops’ conference, Archbishop Augustine Obiora Akubeze, called on western nations to do more to make people aware of the persecution of Christians and others taking place in Nigeria. 
In his interview, Barlow notes that he finds it inexplicable that the United Nations, “has sat and watched people get slaughtered and not gone to their rescue.” 
He also added that he finds it hard to buy the argument that securing peace in an area the size of Africa is impossible, saying: “I cannot understand how people can claim that they want to secure peace and bring about peace when they watch people being slaughtered. People cannot tell me that the area is too big to control, that is absolute nonsense. And if people say that, they are really trying to cover their real inability to do their jobs.” 
Barlow later added the reason for the need for private armies is due to the United Nations not doing their job, saying: “Private Military companies would not be necessary if national armies and the United Nations were actually able to, actually fulfill their mandates. So, I don’t think the world should lay the blame before us. They should go and look why we exist.” 
In 2015, then former U.S. Congressman Steve Stockman said that Obama was deliberately holding back helping the Nigerian government from defeating Boko Haram, because of Nigeria’s opposition to same-sex “marriage.” 
When Goodluck Jonathan was President of Nigeria, he signed into law the Same-Sex Marriage Prohibition Act, in early 2014. It was met with an outcry from the Obama administration. Nigeria’s bishops gave their support for the law. 
The law enacts a 14-year prison term to anyone who joins a “same-sex marriage contract or civil union”, as well as those who aid or help such actions. It also bans gay clubs and organizations, as well as any public demonstrations of fondness between homosexuals. 
The Nigerian Bishops have also been critical of the Buhari government, saying they are not doing anything to aid the affected regions that are under attack from the terrorist groups. One Bishop, Matthew Hassan Kukah, recently said that the government of Nigeria is, “using the levers of power to secure the supremacy of Islam.” 
In April of 2019, Archbishop Matthew Man-oso Ndagoso from northwest Nigeria warned about the on-going persecution of Christians. He said that “Christians are being killed like chickens,” and that there was little time to act to help stop the atrocities. 
At the time, Archbishop Ndagoso appealed to the Trump administration, as well as to the world in general for help, saying: “Any person, any organization, any institution that has influence: let this influence be used for the common good. And right now, let that influence be used for the common good of so that peace may reign in our country. This is my call.” 
Buhari met with Trump in 2018, a meeting at which Trump promised his government would work to end the massacre of Christians in Nigeria. 
In a Feb. 15 open letter to Buhari, Fani-Kayode urged him to take the situation in Nigeria seriously, calling him out directly for what he says is inaction in fighting Boko Haram.  
“I have written it because our nation is entering into dangerous and precarious waters and I sense that something will give very soon,” said Fani-Kayode in the letter. 
“Over the last 5 years hundreds of thousands have died under your watch and virtually all have been killed by those from your core northern region. You turned a blind eye to it and even encouraged it. Today belongs to you but let me assure you that tomorrow belongs to those of us that you have killed, persecuted, oppressed and treated with disdain and contempt,” the letter states. 
Source - Lifesite News
Contact information:
Pete Baklinski contributed to this report


The Gypsy King eviscerates the Bronze Bomber as the bully gets bullied by the crafty pugilist

Fury (L) dominated the fight and bullied the bully
CC™ Breaking Sportswire

It was bound to happen eventually. At some point, Deontay Wilder's lack of true boxing pedigree and his penchant for depending on his only potent arsenal, the 'big right hand', was bound to catch up with him. 

Saturday night at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, it did, and in being exposed as raw, unpolished and seriously deficient in the rudimentary attributes of the sweet science, Wilder lost something even more critical than his WBC title belt; he lost the aura of invincibility that had aided him in his assault on the heavyweight division. 

That aura of invincibiity and intimidation, he may never get back and if he thinks I am full of hot air, he may want to ask someone who was better skilled than him by eons about that, yes, the legendary Mike Tyson. Tyson was never the same after the shock loss to Buster Douglas, also in February, 30 years ago in Tokyo.

Unlike the Tyson loss that was a shocker, this actually was not as any true student of the sweet science of boxing familiar with Fury's skill set, would have seen this coming, particularly after watching what Fury did to Wilder in the last fight, with little or no preparation. This time, not only did Fury have enough time to prepare, but he also changed trainers and came in with the right tactical approach and weight that ensured the total dominance he had on this night. 

In the end, Fury taught Wilder a lesson, one I hope Wilder learns from and ultimately motivates him to go back to the basics and become a true student of the sport. Boxing is not MMA. In the sweet science of boxing, the true artist eventually owns the canvas and ultimately decides what the finished piece looks like. The finished piece on Saturday night at the MGM Grand Garden Arena was not pleasing to the eye for the fans of Deontay Wilder, but it was for the sport of boxing. 

Wilder may want to think twice about triggering that rematch clause as Fury is essentially a bad match-up for him. 


Oluwo of Iwo suspended by Osun Monarchs' council for six months.....

Osun State Governor A. Oyetola
CC™ Nigeria News

.....he should have been suspended for much longer and the Osun State Governor should look into deposing this thug masquerading as a royal father. 

The Osun State Traditional Rulers' Council, yesterday, suspended the Oluwo of Iwo Kingdom, Oba Abdulrosheed Akanbi, for six months for allegedly assaulting a fellow monarch, Agbowu of Ogbaagbaa, Oba Dhikrulahi Akinropo. The council also constituted a committee headed by Orangun of Ila, Oba Wahab Adedotun, to further investigate the tussle involving Oluwo and Obas in Iwo land.

The royal fathers at their emergency meeting held at the Osun State Government Secretariat, Abeere, presided over by the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, arrived at the decision to suspend Oba Akanbi.Oba Akanbi has, however, declared his suspension by the council as porous and lacking logic. 

He accused the council of toeing a political line during the meeting. Speaking on the development on behalf of the 15 aggrieved monarchs in Iwo land, the Onigege of Igege, Oba Kazeem Adio Orioye, lauded the resolve of the council, saying more proactive steps needed to be taken by the state government toinstill discipline in the traditional institution in the state.

Oba Oriye urged the state government to even sack Oluwo for the alleged offence, adding: "Iwo is a prominent town and it doesn't speak well for the town to parade such an Oba like Oluwo. While we appreciate the decision of the Osun Traditional Rulers Council to suspend him, we want the state government to sack Oluwo.

"Oluwo will assault us more if he continues to be king. He has once abused some prominent Obas in Yoruba land and if nothing is done to stop his behavior, he will cause further damage to Yoruba monarchy."

Reacting through a statement issued by his press secretary, Alli Ibraheem, Oba Akanbi said the resolution of the Obas does not portray the council in good light as they refused to address the allegation that he punched a monarch, which was the reason for the meeting.

He noted that any suspension from council was subject to the approval of the state government.

Describing the suspension as audio, he said the council was wrong to have announced his suspension without the approval of the state government. "The highest level of injustice is for the council to say I was rude to the same Ooni who presided over a meeting where they said I was suspended. I was never suspended. The suspension reported by the media is just from the monthly Osun State Traditional Council meeting, which is subject to the approval of the state government. "It is sad to note that Osun State Traditional Council could be so political.

They said I was rude to Alake, Ooni and Alaafin and the same Ooni presided over the same meeting that purportedly pronounced my suspension from the council's meeting. If this should stand, many monarchs will not be encouraged to regard the council. It is just an audio pronouncement and an insult to the state government without consultation by the council.

"We were invited to address the allegation that I punched another Oba. The AIG and government officials came to the meeting as witnesses and gave account that I didn't beat any Oba. May be because the truth from the witnesses didn't go with their expectation, they hatched unfounded excuse to make an audio suspension."It is purely political and there are many things attached but we keep mute to see how far this will stand," Oluwo said.


Report: Bloomberg would sell business interests if elected U.S. president

CC™ Politico

Mike Bloomberg would sell the financial data and media company he created in the 1980s - which bears his name and made him a multibillionaire - if he is elected U.S. president, a top adviser said this week.

Bloomberg would put Bloomberg LP into a blind trust, and the trustee would then sell the company, adviser Tim O'Brien said. Proceeds from the sale would go to Bloomberg Philanthropies, a charitable giving arm that funds causes from climate change to public health and grants for American cities.

The only restriction Bloomberg would put on the sale is that it not be sold to a foreign buyer or a private equity company, O'Brien said. Bloomberg, a Democrat, is currently chief executive of the company.

"We want to be 180 degrees apart from Donald Trump around financial conflicts of interest," O'Brien told The Associated Press. "We think it's one of the biggest stains on the presidency, and Trump's record is his refusal to disengage himself in his own financial interests. And we want to be very transparent and clean and clear with voters about where Mike is on these things."

Indeed, as one of the world's wealthiest people, Bloomberg would have an extraordinarily complicated financial picture to untangle if he wins the presidency. His commitment to selling the company stands in stark contrast to the Republican Trump, who refused to fully divest from his business, instead putting his assets in a trust controlled by his two adult sons and a senior company executive. He has continued to make money from his properties.

Bloomberg said in 2018, when he was considering a presidential run, that he would consider selling his business if elected. The company is not currently for sale. He retained ownership in the company when he served as New York City mayor from 2002 to 2013, but gave up his title of chief executive.
O'Brien's comment comes amid increasing scrutiny of Bloomberg's wealth and business holdings from his rivals for the Democratic presidential nomination.

If he won the White House, the exact timeline for a sale isn't clear, O'Brien said. There's also been no decision on what would happen to Bloomberg Philanthropies.

Walter Shaub, former director of the Office of Government Ethics, said such an action would need to follow complex rules and be approved by the ethics office. The administer of the blind trust would need to be an institution, not a person, and it's not clear how a trustee would navigate confidentiality requirements when trying to sell off a private company, Shaub said. There are no comparable examples of any executive branch official putting a large private company into a blind trust and up for sale, he said.

He said it would be smart for every candidate to set up meetings with the office now to begin discussing potential conflicts of interest.

"Bottom line: It could be a costly mistake for any candidates to make firm commitments to establish qualified blind trusts without first having their attorneys meet with OGE's Director and legal staff," Shaub tweeted.

Bloomberg created his own company in 1981, after he was fired from the investment bank Salomon Brothers with a $10 million severance payment. His new venture created the Bloomberg Terminal, a dedicated computer system with proprietary software that allowed Wall Street traders, buyers and sellers to see financial transaction data in real time. The terminal quickly became a must-have product around the financial world and has been used by entities including the World Bank and the Federal Reserve Bank.

Bloomberg then grew the business to include a financial news arm, which has morphed into a major news wire service. The outlet has faced criticism for allowing its reporters to cover the campaign butblocking them from reporting in-depth investigations into Bloomberg or his Democratic rivals.

Newsroom leaders didn't impose similar restrictions on reporting regarding Trump. Bloomberg has also faced renewed scrutiny over lawsuits filed by women at his company alleging discrimination or hostile treatment. Bloomberg has said he won't release women from any nondisclosure agreements they've signed with the company.

Bloomberg entered the presidential race in Novemberand has been steadily climbing in national polls, buoyed by $400 million in advertising. Worth an estimated $60 billion, he is entirely self-funding his campaign.

Associated Press [AP]


Fareed Zakaria: The absence of meritocracy in Trump's Nigeria travel ban

CC™ Introspective - By Fareed Zakaria PhD 

A report by Zakaria on the immigrant visa ban imposed on Nigeria by the Donald Trump administration trended recently on social media.

The Trump administration had justified the restriction on the basis of national security concerns, claiming that the affected countries have gaps in their security protocols surrounding travel which exposed the U.S. to terror threats.

A report by Zakaria on the immigrant visa ban imposed on Nigeria by the Donald Trump administration trended yesterday on social media. The presenter of a weekly programme on CNN, "Fareed Zakaria GPS", made a case for Nigeria, saying U.S. authorities justified the ban with national security concerns but data available proved otherwise.

Citing CATO institute, Zakaria said four of the six countries listed in the ban - Nigeria, Myanmar, Tanzania, and Eritrea - had no records on terror-related deaths caused by foreign-born attackers between 1975 and 2017. "The argument does not really make sense”, he said.

He added that Nigerians are the most educated immigrants from sub-Saharan Africa in the U.S. of which 59 per cent aged 25 and older have at least a bachelor's degree, according to migration policy institute, which is nearly doubled the proportion of the Americans born in the U.S. (33 per cent).

Zakaria argued that if the government was truly worried about security from the countries, it would ban all visas, not just immigrant visas. He said the government’s decision to target only permanent visas, leaving the temporary visas, suggests something else is going on. 

According to him, when Trump unveiled the new immigration plan in 2019, he said he wants English speaking immigrants who could assimilate easily and give back to the country.

Zakaria said if that is what Trump wants, Nigerian immigrants who make up the largest group of Sub-Saharan Africans in the U.S. as of 2017 “check all those boxes. They are some of the most educated immigrants in America.

Nigerian immigrants tend to work high skilled jobs, 54 per cent are in largely white-collar positions in business, management, science, and the arts compared to the 39 per cent of people born in the U.S.,” he added.

This, according to Zakaria’s analysis, means that Nigerian immigrants have significant spending power.

The American journalist also cited a new report by the New American Economy, which states that Nigerian immigrants in the U.S. in 2018 made more than $14 billion and paid more than $4 billion in taxes. The report also states that Nigerian diaspora around the world sent back almost $24 billion in remittances, contributing to the Nigerian economy that is “more dynamic than many people, including Trump himself realize”.

According to the journalist, the Centre for Global Development reported that Nigeria is a country where the middle-class is increasing in education and aspiration. It is also America's second-largest trade partner and the U.S. wants to double its investments and trading in Africa.

President Donald Trump had some weeks ago extended the country's controversial travel ban list to impose visa restrictions on six more countries. Nigeria, which happens to be the largest economy in Africa and the most populous nation on the continent, was included in the list.

While the Trump administration included Nigeria on the travel ban list to keep America safe from terrorists, CNN report concluded that the decision was not smart.

Source: CNN


Finidi George: Gernot Rohr can't take Super Eagles to the next level

Gernot Rohr celebrates 'Golden Bronze' at AFCON 2019
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Super Eagles legend, Finidi George has carpeted the current coach of the Super Eagles and declared that the former Bordeaux manager is not the right head coach to lead Nigeria’s latest golden generation to glory. 

George has also called for Gernot Rohr to be held responsible for the Super Eagles’ poor showing at major tournaments, and hence a better replacement should be hired.

Rohr has been in charge of the Super Eagles since August 2016, leading the team to the 2018 FIFA World Cup and the 2019 African Cup of Nations.
However, his team failed to make it past the group stages at the Mundial. Nigeria also settled for a third-place finish at the AFCON (a tournament they could easily have won) after losing a semifinal tie to a Riyad Mahrez-inspired Algeria.
Finidi believes he has seen enough of the German coach to conclude that he is not the best for the Super Eagles job.
Finidi was a member of the Clemens Westerhof-led Nigeria side that conquered Africa in 1994 and also caught the attention of the world at the USA ’94.  The former international is convinced that Rohr does not have the quality of the Dutch manager.
“After Westerhof, I have not seen any other good foreign coach that we have had. Look at what happened in Russia. The team that Rohr took to Russia, individually were better than the team Keshi took to Brazil and got to the second round. But Rohr didn’t take us anywhere,” Finidi asserted.
The former Real Betis winger is convinced that one of the problems Rohr has is that his Super Eagles team does not have a distinct playing style.
“In the first place, I don’t know what kind of football we want to play. Sometimes when I look at the team, I don’t know if we want to play counter-attack, or we want to play the passing football like Barcelona or Man City, I never know.
“During the Nations Cup I was watching, but I couldn’t see any discernible pattern. I could not see the strength in that team, where you can say if Musa, Chukwueze, or any other person has the ball, something is going to happen.
“A team must have that culture, must-have game-changers.”
Rohr is keen to extend his current coaching contract with the Super Eagles beyond the summer when it expires. 
Source: Soccernet


American biotech company says it has developed a coronavirus vaccine

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An American biotech company says it created a coronavirus vaccine three hours after getting access to the virus' genetic sequence on Jan. 9, and now scientists are racing to get the vaccine on the market in record time.
Inovio Pharmaceuticals is based in Pennsylvania, but scientists in its laboratory in San Diego made the discovery.
"We have an algorithm which we designed, and we put the DNA sequence into our algorithm and came up with the vaccine in that short amount of time," Inovio's research and development director Dr. Trevor Smith told KVUE.
China has reported 254 new daily deaths and a spike in new daily virus cases of 15,152, after new methodology was applied in the hardest-hit province of Hubei as to how cases are categorized.
Inovio's vaccine for COVID-19, as health officials have named the virus, could be ready as early as this summer. Inovio's stock jumped to $5.32 a share a few days after the company announced it was selected to work on a coronavirus vaccine. Shares are now at $3.34, back to where they were a month ago.
The American company is partnering with Beijing Advaccine, a Chinese company, to work on the vaccine.
"Inovio's participation in this developing effort is based on the ideal suitability of its DNA medicine platform to rapidly develop vaccines against emerging viruses with pandemic potential, proven vaccine development capabilities, and a strong track record of rapidly generating promising countermeasures against previous pandemic threats," the company said in a statement on Jan. 30. 
"Inovio was the first to advance its vaccine (INO-4700) against MERS-CoV, a related coronavirus, into evaluation in humans."
Another U.S. company, Maryland-based Novavax, is aiming to make a coronavirus vaccine in as little as three months. Such vaccines usually take years to develop.
For the record, the first U.S. case of the Wuhan coronavirus was reported in Snohomish County, Washington State.
Source: Fox Business


Key Trump ally accused of participating in OSU sexual abuse cover-up

Ohio Congressman Jim Jordan
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Ohio congressman and former Ohio State assistant wrestling coach Jim Jordan has been accused of participating in the cover-up of widespread sexual abuse in OSU’s wrestling program.
Jordan was accused by Adam DiSabato, who was the team captain in the late 1980s and early 1990s. DiSabato was appearing in front of a hearing in the Ohio legislature as a witness for House Bill 249, which would waive the statute of limitations and allow the OSU athletes who had been abused to sue the university.
DiSabato told the House Civil Justice Committee that several team officials, including Jordan, were aware that the team’s open shower facilities put them at risk of being abused and harassed by a team doctor, but did nothing about it. Then DiSabato detailed a phone conversation between him and Jordan, in which Jordan asks DiSabato to help him cover up wrongdoing.
[DiSabato] also said Jordan called him repeatedly in July 2018, after media outlets quoted his brother, Michael DiSabato, saying Strauss’ abuse was common knowledge to those surrounding the wrestling program, including Jordan.
“Jim Jordan called me crying, groveling… begging me to go against my brother…That’s the kind of cover-up that’s going on there,” he said.
“Are you guys going to do what you’re voted to do?” he told lawmakers later. “That’s the only reason I’m here.”
Jordan’s name has already come up in this scandal numerous times. When the news broke in April 2018 that Dr. Richard Strauss had been accused of sexually abusing over 150 OSU wrestlers between 1978 and 1998, Jordan denied knowing anything about it, despite being an assistant wrestling coach from 1987 to 1995.
Jordan continued to deny having any knowledge of student sexual abuse even after independent investigators released a report in May 2019 that concluded that Strauss, who had been employed by OSU’s athletics department and student health center until he was suspended in 1996, abused at least 177 male student athletes and patients. Strauss died by suicide in 2005.
A spokesman for Jordan called DiSabato’s accusations “a total lie.”
Source: Yahoo News


Reds Chief Executive Peter Moore: Liverpool won’t sign Gerrard to get him Premier League medal

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Liverpool will not be exploring the option of bringing Steven Gerrard back to the club so that he can claim a Premier League winners’ medal, says the club’s chief executive Peter Moore.
Many supporters at Anfield have called for a legendary figure to be re-signed so that he can claim the prize which eluded him throughout a distinguished playing career.
Gerrard came close to tasting domestic glory while on Merseyside, but suffered a collection of agonising near misses.
He is now three years into retirement and the current manager of Scottish giants Rangers.
Moore admits that would present a sizeable obstacle in any discussions over a return to Liverpool, while a current member of Jurgen Klopp’s squad would also be asked to step aside.
With all of that taken into account, there is considered to be no chance of Gerrard making an emotional return to his roots at the age of 39.
Moore told Soccer Laduma: “Let me explain what would have to happen.
“So the question is, ‘can we bring Steven Gerrard back to get a Premier League medal?’ and the question I ask you is: which player do you want to cut from the squad to make that happen?
“If you haven't noticed, he's the employee of a different football club at the same time as well.
“Look, we all love Stevie G and we're all very proud of him for his managerial career, but I keep seeing this 'bring him in on a five-day contract so he can win a medal' [but] it just doesn't happen that way.
“Chemistry in a dressing room is important. Can you imagine that? That you have to cut a player, to say 'you're not going to get a medal'?
“It's not like they're handing these things out to everybody, you've got a squad, right? And thirdly, you can't add a player to a squad once it's locked. Other than that, it's really possible.”
Those at Liverpool are determined to keep focus locked on the present and future, rather than nostalgic glances to the past.
A record-breaking campaign is currently being taken in, with Klopp proving to be the perfect ringmaster in a stunning 2019-20 production.
Moore said of the German tactician: “I think what you see what Jurgen Klopp on the television – a lot of managers, what they are like in front of the cameras or when they're being interviewed, they're different than in real life.
“Well, that's not the case with Jurgen Klopp. The situation with Jurgen is that you've got a German manager that has all the Germanic tendencies of detail, of focus, of looking at the opposition in an incredibly analytical way.”


U.S. cities and states with confirmed coronavirus cases

Chinese President Xi Jinping (center) - AP
CC™ Health News

As the coronavirus outbreak continues to worsen in China, there are 12 confirmed cases in the United States. The most recent U.S. patient was confirmed Wednesday, February 6, in Madison, Wisconsin. Worldwide, the virus has infected tens of thousands of people and killed more than 1,000, almost all in mainland China.
Here's what we know about the cases in American cities and hospitals:
California – 6 confirmed cases
There are six confirmed cases of the coronavirus in California: two people in Santa Clara County, two people in San Benito County, one person in Los Angeles County and one person in Orange County, according to the California Department of Health.
Five of those patients had recently returned from Wuhan, China — the epicenter of the outbreak. Health officials said there was also one case of person-to-person transmission when a traveler infected their spouse. Both are reported to be in stable condition.
Illinois – 2 confirmed cases 
On January 24, coronavirus was confirmed in a woman in the Chicago who had returned from Wuhan, China, a few days earlier. She was being treated at St. Alexius Hospital in Hoffman Estates, CBS Chicago reported
On January 30, health officials said the woman's husband, who had not been in China, was also diagnosed with the virus. This was the first known case of human-to-human transmission of coronavirus in the United States.
They were released from the hospital into home isolation on February 6. The couple issued a statement through the hospital saying, "the care and the services we've received have been great ... but we're definitely looking forward to getting home and getting life back to normal."
Arizona – 1 confirmed case
According to the Arizona Department of Health Services, one person in the state has been diagnosed with coronavirus. 
The infected person recently returned from Wuhan, China and is a "member of the Arizona State University community but does not live in university housing," CBS Phoenix affiliate KPHO reports. The person lives in Tempe, Arizona, an ASU spokesperson confirmed.
Washington – 1 confirmed case
A 35-year-old man from the Seattle, Washington area was the first person diagnosed with the coronavirus in the United States. He had traveled to Wuhan, China and arrived at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport on Wednesday, January 15.
"While the current situation poses a public health threat, we have no evidence the virus is spreading in Washington so the risk to the general public is low," the state's Department of Health says. 
The man was treated at Providence Regional Medical Center Everett and then released, officials said in a statement February 3. "The patient remains in isolation at home and is being monitored by the Snohomish Health District, in coordination with his care team at Providence," the statement said.
The man, who was not publicly identified, issued a statement asking for privacy and saying: "I am at home and continuing to get better. ... I would like to thank the doctors, nurses, and entire team at Providence who cared for me. I appreciate all of the concern expressed by members of the public, and I look forward to returning to my normal life." 
Massachusetts – 1 confirmed case 
A man in his 20s was diagnosed with coronavirus in Boston on February 1, according to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. The man had recently traveled home from Wuhan, China. He is a student at the University of Massachusetts-Boston, but does not live in a campus dorm, CBS Boston reports.
"We are grateful for him seeking medical attention immediately," said Dr. Monica Bharel, the Boston Public Health Commissioner. 
Wisconsin – 1 confirmed case
On Wednesday, February 5, officials in Wisconsin confirmed one person in Madison was infected with coronavirus. 
The patient "had recently traveled to Beijing, China, and interacted with individuals from Wuhan, China, and presented with symptoms consistent with the virus upon their return to Madison," UW Health said in a statement. The main symptoms of the illness typically include fever, cough and shortness of breath.
"Since initial treatment at University Hospital, the patient has been self-quarantined at home," the statement said. In an update Friday, February 7, health officials said the patient remained in home isolation and was doing well.
Source: CBS News