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Manchester Police Say Apparent Suicide Bomber Triggered Blast

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  • Manchester Police Say Apparent Suicide Bomber Triggered Blast

Manchester, England (AP) — The Latest on the blast at an Ariana Grande concert in northern England (all times local):

8:45 a.m.

A Czech woman who was at the Ariana Grande concert in Manchester says that “there was almost no security check, rather zero. They let us get in without any check if we have anything with us.”

Nikola Trochtova told the Czech public radio that “the only thing they were interested in was if we had any bottles of water with us. They almost didn’t check our bags, they didn’t take a look.”

She says she was leaving the venue when she heard an explosion at the entrance, but learned the details only after returning to her hotel.

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8:35 a.m.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel says it’s “incomprehensible” that someone would target a pop concert to kill and wound people.

Merkel said in a statement Tuesday that the attack at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester “will only strengthen our determination to keep acting together with our British friends against those who plan and carry out such inhuman deeds.”

She added: “I assure people in Britain that Germany stands beside you.”

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8:20 a.m.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker says Europe is mourning with Britain after a bomb killed 22 people at a concert in Manchester.

Juncker said in a statement Tuesday that “today we mourn with you. Tomorrow we will work side by side with you to fight back against those who seek to destroy our way of life.”

He adds: “It breaks my heart to think that, once again, terrorism has sought to instill fear where there should be joy, to sow division where young people and families should be coming together in celebration.”

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8:10 a.m.

NATO’s chief is expressing solidarity with Britain after a bomb attack in Manchester killed 22 people, just as leaders of the military alliance prepare to meet to discuss counter-terrorism.

Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said in a tweet Tuesday that “NATO stands with the U.K. in the fight against terrorism.” He also said his thoughts were with all those affect by the “barbaric” attack.

President Donald Trump and other NATO leaders at to gather in Brussels on Thursday to discuss ways the military alliance can do more against terrorism.

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8:00 a.m.

The German government is offering condolences to Britain after the deadly explosion at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester.

Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel wrote Tuesday on Twitter: “Terrible news from Manchester! Our thoughts are now with our British friends. United we stand.”

Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokesman, Steffen Seibert, tweeted: “Our thoughts (and) prayers are with the people in #Manchester affected by the blast. We mourn for the dead (and) hope the injured can recover fully.”

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7:45 a.m.

France’s government is offering sympathy and solidarity following the bombing at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester which killed 22 people.

In a statement, French President Emmanuel Macron said France would continue to work with Britain to fight terrorism. Macron said he would speak with British Prime Minister Theresa May to stay abreast of developments.

Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo also expressed solidarity.

Paris has grim experience with the type of attack that struck Britain, after multiple Islamic State attackers struck a concert hall, the national stadium and cafes and bars on Nov. 13, 2015, killing 130 people.

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7:30 a.m.

The White House says President Donald Trump is being provided updates on the Manchester concert explosion by his national security team.

Trump is in the midst of his first overseas trip as president. He’s meeting Tuesday in Bethlehem with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and speaking at Yad Vashem, the Holocaust memorial in Jerusalem.

His spokesman Sean Spicer provided the update on Twitter.

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7:20 a.m.

Manchester police say an apparent suicide bomber set off an improvised explosive device at the end of an Ariana Grande concert.

Police raised the death toll to 22 early Tuesday, and dozens more have been reported injured.

Chief Constable Ian Hopkins says forensic investigations are continuing to determine if the attacker had accomplices. He provided no information about the individual who detonated the device.

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7:10 a.m.

Greater Manchester Police have raised the death toll in a blast at an Ariana Grande concert to 22.

The force’s chief constable, Ian Hopkins, said Tuesday they believe one person carried out the attack. Police are trying to determine if the person acted alone or had support in the Monday night blast.

Police say some 400 officers were deployed overnight to help with the investigation.

Officials say children are among the victims.

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7 a.m.

Police say they are treating an explosion at an Ariana Grande concert in northern England as terrorism. Greater Manchester Police says the blast killed at least 19 people, and the ambulance service says 59 people have been taken to hospitals.

Greater Manchester Police Chief Constable Ian Hopkins says police are treating the blast as an act of terrorism “until we know otherwise.”

There was panic after the explosion, which struck around 10:30 p.m. (2130 GMT) Monday night as Grande was ending the concert.

Grande, who was not injured, tweeted hours later: “Broken. From the bottom of my heart, I am so so sorry. I don’t have words.”

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6 a.m.

Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn says he and Prime Minister Theresa May have agreed to suspend election campaigning until further notice.

Corbyn said Tuesday he is “horrified” by the events in Manchester and that his thoughts are with the families and friends of those who have died and been injured.

Campaign events ahead of the June 8 general election will now be put on hold as Britain comes to grips with the incident and its aftermath.

Corbyn says he had spoken with May after the explosion.

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5:45 a.m.

Australia’s prime minister has told the Australian Parliament that the deadly explosion at Manchester Arena appeared to be a “brutal attack on young people everywhere.”

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said the British were treating the blast that killed at least 19 people and injured more than 50 as a terrorist attack, although its cause was unknown.

Turnbull says: “This incident, this attack, is especially vile, especially criminal, especially horrific because it appears to have been deliberately directed at teenagers.”

In Tokyo, a spokesman for the Japanese government condemned the attack.

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4 a.m.

Campaigning has been suspended in Britain’s national election after a deadly explosion at Manchester Arena.

Prime Minister Theresa May canceled campaign events Tuesday after the blast, which killed at least 19 people and injured more than 50. She is due to chair a meeting of the government’s emergency committee, COBRA, later.

Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron canceled a campaign tour to Gibraltar after the explosion.

Britons are due to go to the polls on June 8.

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3:45 a.m.

A number of Manchester taxi services offered free rides to people stranded by the incident.

The taxi companies posted messages about the free rides on Twitter after an explosion at Manchester Arena after an Ariana Grande concert Monday night. The blast killed 19 people and injured dozens more.

The service could also be used by people trying to get to local hospitals to look for loved ones.

In addition some city residents opened their homes to provide overnight lodging for people who were stranded by the shutdown in some train services because of the incident.

City officials said the true spirit of Manchester was surfacing in the hours after the incident.

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3:35 a.m.

The Department of Homeland Security says there is no evidence of credible threats against music venues in the U.S., as England reels from an explosion at an Ariana Grande concert late Monday.

The department says the U.S. public may experience increased security in and around public places and events.

DHS says it is closely monitoring the situation at Manchester Arena and working with U.K. officials to obtain additional information about the cause of the explosion.

The government is urging U.S. citizens in Manchester to heed directions from local authorities and be vigilant about their security.

The explosion killed at least 19 people and injured dozens. Police say they are treating as a terrorist attack.

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3:20 a.m.

Frantic loved ones of young people missing after an explosion at an Ariana Grande concert have taken to Twitter and Instagram with their photos and pleas for help.

Many Manchester residents responded early Tuesday with offers of shelter and details on locations where displaced concert-goers had been taken in.

The 23-year-old Grande, true to her youthful fan base, is a social media phenomenon with 105 million followers on Instagram and 45.6 million followers on Twitter. Her fans, proud “Arianators,” were among those who took to Twitter with prayers and tears.

Fellow stars offered condolences as well.

Taylor Swift tweeted, “My thoughts, prayers and tears for all those affected by the Manchester tragedy tonight. I’m sending all my love.”

Ellie Goulding, Cher (fresh from a big night at the Billboard Awards) and Katy Perry were among others to tweet their support.

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and Investing.com, with over a decade experience in the global financial markets.

Government

SERAP Urges FG to Slash Politicians’ Allowances

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The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has urged the Chairman of Revenue Mobilization Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC), Elias Mbam, to urgently review upward the remuneration, allowances, and conditions of service for Nigerian Judges, and reduce the remuneration of President Muhammadu Buhari and other political office-holders in order to address the persistent poor treatment of Judges, and improve access of victims of corruption to justice.

The appeal came on the heels of a nationwide industrial action by the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN) to press home their demand for financial autonomy for the judicial arm of government, and the federal government silence on the judiciary workers’ strike that has grounded court activities across the country.

In a letter dated April 10, 2021, which was signed by SERAP Deputy Director, Kolawole Oluwadare, the organisation said Judges should get all they are reasonably entitled to, and that it is unfair, illegal, unconstitutional, and discriminatory to continue to treat Judges as second-class people, while high-ranking political office holders enjoy lavish salaries and allowances.

SERAP expressed concern that the remuneration and allowances of Judges have fallen substantially behind the average salaries and allowances of political office-holders such as president, vice-president, governors and their deputies, as well as members of the National Assembly.

The letter read in part: “According to our information, the last review of the remuneration, allowances, and conditions of service for political, public and judicial office holders carried out by RMAFC in 2009 shows huge disparity between the remuneration and allowances of judges and those of political office holders.

“Judges’ work is very considerable but they cannot give their entire time to their judicial duties without the RMAFC reviewing upward their remuneration and allowances, and closing the gap and disparity between the salaries of judges and those of political office holders such as the president, vice-president, governors and their deputies, as well as lawmakers.

“We would therefore be grateful if the recommended measures are taken within 14 days of the receipt and/or publication of this letter. If we have not heard from you by then, the Incorporated Trustees of SERAP shall take all appropriate legal actions to compel the RMAFC to comply with our requests.”

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COVAX Delivered 38m Vaccine Doses To Over 100 Countries, Says WHO

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The World Health Organisation (WHO) yesterday announced that more than 100 countries have received life-saving COVID-19 vaccines from COVAX, the global mechanism for equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines.

It said the milestone comes 42 days after the first COVAX doses were shipped and delivered internationally, to Ghana on February 24th.

In a statement, the United Nations’ Agency revealed that COVAX has now delivered more than 38 million doses across six continents, supplied by three manufacturers – AstraZeneca, Pfizer-BioNTech and the Serum Institute of India (SII).

Of the over 100 economies reached, 61 are among the 92 lower-income economies receiving vaccines funded through the Gavi COVAX Advance Market Commitment (AMC).

It, however, said despite reduced supply availability in March and April – the result of vaccine manufacturers scaling and optimising their production processes in the early phase of the rollout, as well as increased demand for COVID-19 vaccines in India – COVAX expects to deliver doses to all participating economies that have requested vaccines in the first half of the year.

According to the CEO of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, Dr. Seth Berkley, “In under four months since the very first mass vaccination outside a clinical setting anywhere in the world, it is tremendously gratifying that the roll-out of COVAX doses has already reached 100 countries.

“COVAX may be on track to deliver to all participating economies in the first half of the year yet we still face a daunting challenge as we seek to end the acute stage of the pandemic: we will only be safe when everybody is safe and our efforts to rapidly accelerate the volume of doses depend on the continued support of governments and vaccine manufacturers. As we continue with the largest and most rapid global vaccine rollout in history, this is no time for complacency.”

The WHO Director-General, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said: “COVAX has given the world the best way to ensure the fastest, most equitable rollout of safe and effective vaccines to all at-risk people in every country on the planet.

“If we are going to realise this great opportunity, countries, producers and the international system must come together to prioritise vaccine supply through COVAX. Our collective future, literally, depends on it.”

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Approved Ibom Deep Sea Port, Proposed $1.4B Fertilizer Plant Will Change Akwa Ibom’s Economic Status – Gov. Udom

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Akwa Ibom State Government has said the approved Ibom Deep Seaport and the proposed $1.4 billion Fertilizer and Ammonia Plant are expected to change the economic status of the state.

The State Governor, Mr. Udom Emmanuel, made the assertion in an Easter message to the people of the state.

He maintained that with the recent approval and take off of the federal government’s approved Oil and Gas Free Zone and the ongoing construction of the Sterling Petrochemical Plant at Eastern Obolo, the state would be ready to dump its status as a civil service state.

The governor said the fertilizer and ammonia plants should be supported by all indegenes and residents irrespective of political affiliation because of its capacity to change the economic fortunes of the state.

The governor who commended President Muhammadu Buhari for approving the industrial projects in the state said construction work on the Ibom Deep Seaport would commence very soon.

“In recent past, we have been blessed with life-changing projects such as Sterling Petrochemical Plant in Eastern Obolo, where construction is in an advanced stage.

“Two months ago, the Federal Executive Council, (FEC) approved the license for us to commence the construction of our long desired Ibom Deep Seaport. Work would soon commence on this gigantic project. These are huge achievements for our State and our people.

“Ibom Deep Seaport will open up our economic fortunes; create employment and wealth opportunities for our people and throw open our State as a major maritime hub in our nation.

“We thank the President and the Commander in-Chief of the Nigerian Armed Forces, Muhammadu Buhari (GCFR) for this kind approval,” he said.

Continuing, Emmanuel said: “About three weeks ago, we signed a $1.4 billion Fertilizer and Ammonia plant with our Moroccan counterparts. The plant will again create huge employment and other supply chain activities for our people, which will transform us from a civil service oriented state to a fast industrialising one.

“These are huge achievements that should gladden the hearts of every Akwa Ibomite irrespective of political affiliations.”

He reminded the people of the state that the essence of Easter would be lost if the resurrection of Christ is not allowed to illuminate their souls through love and sacrifice to one another.

“Let the fishermen in the ocean fronts of Mbo, Okobo, Eastern Obolo and Ibeno love one another. Let the farmers in the rice plantations at Ini, Ikono, Ika, Onna and Nsit Ibom love one another.

“Let the civil servants and public servants, politicians in all political parties, members of all denominations, preachers of all faiths, love one another.

“When we let love drive our every action and every thought, when we let it drip from our lips and from our hands, then shall the joy of Easter be complete, and our State shall surely attain the lofty height set for it by our ancestors when they named it Akwa Abasi Ibom State.” the Governor stated.

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