SUEZ CANAL REOPENS PARTIALLY
Egypt’s Suez Canal Authority (SCA) says the massive container ship Ever Given has been successfully refloated after being stranded in the Suez Canal for almost a week.
SCA Chairman, Osama Rabie said the direction of the ship, which was stuck in the shallow side of the waterway, changed by 80 percent.
He added that efforts will continue in the coming few hours until the direction of the ship is 100-percent changed.
The 224,000-ton container has been stuck and blocking the vital waterway since last Tuesday, after it lost the ability to steer amid massive winds and a sandstorm.
The incident caused temporary suspension of navigation in the man-made canal, keeping at least 321 ships in wait.
ARRESTS MADE FOLLOWING EGYPT TRAIN CRASH
Egyptian authorities have ordered the arrest of eight people over last week’s fatal train collision that killed 18 people.
The prosecutor general ordered that the two drivers their two assistants, the guard of a traffic control tower, the head of traffic control in Assiut and two other guards be remanded in custody.
The number of those killed in the tragedy has been reduced to 18, down from the 19 cited by Health Minister, Hala Zayed on Saturday.
Egypt has seen frequent accidents on its railway system due in part to poor maintenance and lack of investment.
One of the deadliest train disasters occurred in 2002 when 373 people died after a fire broke out on a train travelling south of Cairo.
UMPTEENTH RESCUE MISSION OFF THE LIBYAN COAST
The International Organization for Migration (IOM) says 483 illegal migrants have been rescued off Libya’s western coast.
The UN migration agency said the illegal migrants were rescued in two separate operations by the Libyan Coast Guard.
The IOM said while its teams were there to provide emergency assistance, including medical support, the agency maintains that Libya is not a safe port.
The agency estimated that more than 4,500 illegal migrants were intercepted or rescued so far this year, off the Libyan coast and ended up in arbitrary detention.
Libya is a preferred point of departure for thousands of immigrants who attempt to cross the Mediterranean Sea to reach European shores.
YOUR GOLD FOR OUR LOAN
Nigeria’s Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Olamilekan Adegbite says banks will soon allow Nigerians, particularly Small and Medium Enterprise owners, to use gold as loan facility collateral. The minister said discussions are ongoing with financial institutions to create products to accept gold from Nigerians and give them credit within the worth of the commodity.
All an interested Nigerian needs to do is to approach the bank, drop the gold in its vault and collect a certificate to that effect. The certificate can be used to obtain a loan from either the same bank or another financial institution.
SARAH OBAMA PASSES AWAY (1922-2021)
Tributes are pouring in for Sarah Obama – the matriarch of the Obama family. She was the step-grandmother of former President of the U.S., Barrack Obama. Sarah Obama died Monday morning at a hospital in western Kenya. Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta has eulogized her as a virtuous woman and an icon of family values. Former Prime Minister Raila Odinga also hailed the late Obama for her leadership after her husband’s death. Odinga said she utilized her grandson’s rise to promote the education of girls and fight social ills through her foundation. Obama’s half-sister, Auma Obama, also tweeted that her heart is broken, while adding that she was blessed to have her for so long.
Tanzania’s new President Samia Hassan has suspended the director-general of the country’s Ports Authority after an audit report showed embezzlement of government funds at the state corporation. This is her first key decision since assuming office.
Samia announced the suspension of Deusdedit Kakoko after receiving an audit report for the financial year 2019/20. She expressed concern that the ports authority had not accounted for about 4 billion Tanzanian shillings. Samia ordered urgent investigations into the loss of public funds. The president also warned that action would be taken against other state corporations, including Air Tanzania, which reportedly made a loss of 60 billion shillings. The Auditor General’s report indicated that the revived national carrier had been recording losses in the last five years.
Dozens of people have died following an attack on the town of Palma in northern Mozambique. Omar Saranga, a spokesperson from the Defence Department, said seven people were killed trying to escape a siege on a hotel. Hundreds of others, both locals and foreigners, were rescued. The area has been under attack by militants since Wednesday. Witnesses have described hiding out while waiting to be rescued by boat. Marine traffic websites showed a string of vessels around Palma, and the port of Pemba to the south, as people tried to escape by any means – cargo vessels, passenger ships, tugs and recreational boats.
SOUTH AFRICA’S PRESIDENT VISITS ASPEN FACTORY IN GQEBERHA
South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa and Deputy President, David Mabuza have arrived at the pharmaceutical giant Aspen in Gqeberha, formerly known as Port Elizabeth, in the Eastern Cape.
Both men were accompanied by other senior government officials
The visit focused on the process of producing the COVID-19 vaccine at the sterile manufacturing facility.
Aspen Pharmacare collaborated with Johnson & Johnson to establish the capacity required for the manufacturing of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine, at Aspen’s facility in Gqeberha.
Aspen has invested over R3 billion in the facility which will further provide life-saving medicines for domestic and export markets.
SISI HAILS SUEZ CANAL OPERATION
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi has hailed the operation to free the huge cargo ship that has been wedged in the Suez Canal creating a logjam in the key shipping route. Sisi said by restoring matters to their normal course, with Egyptian hands, the whole world can be assured of the path of its goods and needs that are carried through this navigational artery. An international journalist shared a video of the 400 meter-long Ever Given ship sailing since it got stuck last week.
REGIONAL LEADERS ‘REACH UNDERSTANDING
The leaders of Somalia’s semi-autonomous states of Jubbaland and Puntland have been convinced to participate in talks to end the electoral deadlock in the country.
The two regional heads met their Galmudug, South West and Hirshabelle counterparts to reach an understanding that talks with the central government should resume in Mogadishu.
Puntland and Jubbaland previously refused to participate in a meeting with President Mohamed Farmajo, arguing that he must not chair talks because his term ended on February 8.
The envoys of the U.S., the UK, the EU and the UN in Mogadishu have told Speaker Mohamed Mursal that an extension of the president’s and parliament’s terms is unacceptable.
BEYOND THE CONTINENT
AUSTRALIAN PRIME MINISTER, SCOTT MORRISON RESHUFFLES CABINET
After weeks of shocking revelations about workplace culture and the treatment of women in federal politics, Australian Prime Minister, Scott Morrison has been forced to rearrange his cabinet. Christian Porter will no longer be attorney general, but has been allocated the science and technology portfolio. Porter has strongly rejected an allegation that he raped a girl in 1988 when he was 17. He will be replaced as attorney general and industrial relations minister by Michaelia Cash. Morrison also promoted several female lawmakers as part of a broader cabinet reshuffle today.
The Australian city of Brisbane will enter another snap three-day lockdown to contain a coronavirus outbreak which has grown to seven cases. The Queensland state capital – home to over two million residents – will begin the lockdown at 5pm local time today.
In January, the city also shut down for three days due to a single case. After the lockdown was announced, locals rushed to shops to stock up on goods despite officials urging this was unnecessary. The city has seen very few locally acquired cases since Australia’s first wave of the virus a year ago. The Brisbane outbreak, first reported on Saturday, marks the first cluster of community transmissions in Australia in almost a month.
5G EAST AFRICA ROLLOUT
Safaricom has announced that it will launch East Africa’s first 5G network, powered by Nokia. It will utilise Nokia’s 5G Single Radio Access Network (SRAN) technology and 5G FastMile gateways enable ultra-fast Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) services provide 5G network services in Kenya.
The move will benefit enterprises across the energy, healthcare, education, transport and entertainment sectors and will help to kick start digitalization initiatives across the region. Safaricom showcased the capabilities of the 5G network with three use cases at a launch event in Nairobi, namely 5G hologram, Ultra-HD video communication and virtual fashion shopping.
TODAY’S MIDDAY RECAP IS BROUGHT TO YOU BY MOJISOLA ADEBOLA, SHERIF LAWAL AND ISREAL EFEROBOR.
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