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Tunisian Institute Studies Treat Parkinson’s Disease Using Reptile Venom

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The Pasteur Institute of Tunis has announced the selection of the research project of the African Initiative for Excellence in Scientific Research, to treat Parkinson’s disease using toxins (venoms) from reptiles (snakes and scorpions).

As a joint initiative, launched by the Swiss Federal School of Applied Sciences in Lausanne, Switzerland, and the Mohammed VI University of Applied Sciences in Morocco, the project aims to promote scientific research on the African continent by supporting the capacities of young researchers.

It is led by Dr. Ines Albini at the Institut Pasteur Tunis, as well as six other selected projects, which will benefit from funding under this programme for a period of four or five years by the African Initiative for Excellence in Scientific Research.

The initiative encourages cooperation between researchers and experts to develop effective and sustainable solutions to various challenges facing African countries and the rest of the world in several areas of health.

Since the beginning of her work at the Pasteur Institute of Tunis, Dr. Albin said she has specialised in conducting research to treat ageing diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s using reptile toxins.

She is the only woman Researcher whose project has been selected among the six projects to be supported. A deadline will be set for a preliminary meeting next spring at the Mohammed VI University, depending on how the global epidemiological situation develops.

The meeting will include workshops with the participation of many academics and experts, she added.

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Nigeria Ports Authority Commences Electronic Call Up System

The NPA also stated that about 7000 trucks have been certified fit for the proposed digitalised call up system. Henceforth, in order to access the ports, trucks must approach the ports from a holding bay or truck parks with a bar code.

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As part of efforts aimed at finding a permanent solution to truck congestion around Apapa and its environs, the Nigerian Ports Authority has commenced the Electronic Truck call-up system designed for the management of truck movement and access to and from the Lagos Ports Complex and the Tin Can Island Ports, Apapa, Lagos.

With effect from today 27th February 2021, the ETO app will be responsible for the scheduling, entry and exit of all trucks into the ports.

According to the NPA, about 7000 trucks have been certified fit for the proposed digitalised call up system.

Henceforth, in order to access the ports, trucks must approach the ports from a holding bay or truck parks with a bar code.

Players in the maritime sector have expressed optimism toward the commencement of the electronic call-up system, saying it will improve access and reduce corruption.

One of the executives of the National Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO), Alhaji Abdullahi Inuwa said the call-up system will put an end to artificial bottlenecks on the port access road.

Speaking further, the National Vice president, Association of Nigerian Liscenced Customs Agents (ANLCA), Kayode Farinto asked the NPA management to be steadfast in enforcing the call-up system.

Farinto said the ongoing repairs on the Oshodi-Apapa expressway must also be completed in good time for the call-up system to be effective.

“The road should be put in adequate place because there is nothing the call-up can achieve without a proper port access road.” he said.

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Zamfara, Kano States Close Schools After Schoolgirls Abduction

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Following the abduction of more than 300 school girls from the Government Girls Secondary School, Jangebe, in Talata-Mafara Local Government Area, the Zamfara State government has ordered the closure of all boarding schools in the state.

In the same vein, the Kano State government has closed down twelve schools in reaction to the rise in abductions in the region.

Zamfara State Governor Matawalle, in a broadcast on Friday evening expressed his sympathies with the affected families and said he’s in communication with security agencies to secure the release of the students.

He said helicopters have been deployed to help the rescue mission, while he appealed to the parents of the abducted girls to be more patient.

Matawalle said the disarmament operation going on in the state will continue as the continuous availability of weapons to rogues makes security more challenging to achieve.

Nigeria has recorded the abduction of more than 1,000 students since 2014, with two major abductions of school pupils already recorded in February 2021.

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Togo Bribe Scandal: French Group Fined $14.55M, Industrialist on Trial

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Vincent Bollore, a French industrialist, businessman, media owner and billionaire, will go on trial over bribery allegations involving a Togolese official, a court in Paris has ruled.

Also, the court fined the Bollore Group $14.55 million over the case, which involves the bribing of an official in Togo to win a contract to run the port of Lomé a decade ago.

Bolloré, Gilles Alix, managing director of the Bolloré group and Jean-Philippe Dorent, international director of the Havas agency, a subsidiary of Bolloré, had accepted an appearance on prior admission of guilt (CRPC, a sort of “plead guilty” at the French) and the payment of a fine of $450,000.

However, the judge in Paris ruled that the corruption trial of a leading French industrialist should go ahead, despite his guilty plea.

The court decided that the case against Bolloré was so serious that it should not be settled, as agreed with prosecutors, with a $450,000 fine.

Jean-François Bohnert, in a statement on Friday, said Bollore Group will pay a 12 million-euro ($14.55 million) fine following a transaction with prosecutors in the alleged bribery case.

The transaction effectively puts an end to the legal proceedings in the case against the conglomerate.

“The investigation had concerned the corruption of foreign public officials, abuse of trust and complicity in breaches of trust committed between 2009 and 2011,” the financial prosecutor said.

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