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UK Threat Level Raised to Highest Level After Manchester Terror Attack

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  • UK Threat Level Raised to Highest Level After Manchester Terror Attack

The United Kingdom terror threat level has been raised to the highest level of “critical,” meaning further attacks may be imminent, the British Prime Minister, Mrs. Theresa May, has said.

The revelation, it was gathered, came after investigators were unable to rule out Manchester bombing suspect Salman Abedi acted alone.

Twenty-two people were killed and 59 injured on Monday night when a suicide bomber attacked concert-goers at Manchester Arena where a United States pop singer, Ariana Grande was billed to perform.
But May said military personnel would now be deployed to protect key sites.

She added that military personnel might also be seen at other events, such as concerts, and would work under the command of police officers.

Reacting to the attack outside her Downing Street office, after a meeting with security and intelligence chiefs, May disclosed that the police believed they knew the identity of the bomber.

Describing all terrorist acts as “cowardly,” she was quoted by Reuters as saying that “this attack stands out for its appalling sickening cowardice, deliberately targeting innocent, defenceless, children and young people who should have been enjoying one of the most memorable nights of their lives.”

The prime minister also said security services were working to see if a wider terror group was involved in the attack.

Meanwhile, the Islamic State terror group yesterday claimed responsibility for the suicide bomb attack.

According to Reuters, the Islamist terror group, which has in recent times been forced from its occupied territories in Syria and Iraq, had claimed the attack was in revenge against “Crusaders”.

But this claim is being disputed by Western experts, who noted that the group had offered two contradictory accounts of the attack, which also did not tally with the British police version.

The US director of national intelligence, Dan Coats, said the US has not confirmed the claims by IS, adding: “They claim responsibility for every attack. We have not verified yet the connection.”

However, the Manchester police said it had arrested a 23-year-old man in South Manchester in connection with the attack, which fell less than three weeks before the national election.

Besides the arrest of the yet-to-be-identified 23-year-old man, the British police also raided a property in the Fallowfield district of the city, where they were said to have carried out a controlled explosion, in search for accomplices.

Also, witnesses in the Whalley Range district said armed policemen had surrounded a newly-built block of flats along a usually serene tree-lined street.

The attacker, who was later identified as Salman Abedi was believed to have blown himself up.

He was born in Manchester though with Libyan roots, the BBC said.

Greater Manchester Police said its priority was to establish whether Abedi had worked alone or not.

In the aftermath of the attack, rated as the deadliest in the UK since the 2005 by four British Muslims who killed 52 in a London subway, both the cities of Manchester and London have been on high alert as more policemen were drafted into the streets.

The attack occurred on Monday by 10.30p.m. local time at a concert venue in the northern English city just as thousands of fans were filing out of venue’s four exits.

Witnesses reported hearing a “huge bomb-like bang” in the arena and described being knocked from their feet by an explosion. According to the accounts, dozens of injured, and possibly dead, people, including children, were littered on the floor.

Other accounts described the scene of panic that ensued as the revellers stampeded towards the exits.

By 1.10 a.m local time yesterday morning, 19 people have been confirmed dead and over 50 others injured. But the casualty figures have since risen to 23 dead.

In her initial reaction after the attack, Prime Minister May said her thoughts were with the victims and families of those affected in “what is being treated by the police as an appalling terrorist attack.”

Greater Manchester Police Chief, Constable Ian Hopkins, corroborated May’s statement that the police “are currently treating this as a terrorist incident until we have further information,” adding: “This is clearly a very concerning time for everyone. I want to thank people for their support and ask them to remain vigilant.”

So far, not many in the fatality list have been identified. But among the few that have been identified was an eight-year-old girl, who is the youngest known victim.

Her mother and sister were among 59 people injured in the attack. In all nearly half of those reported dead were children. The names of the three victims released are: Saffie Rose Roussos, eight, Georgina Callander and John Atkinson, 28.

The AP said the attack sparked a night-long search for loved-ones — parents for the children they had accompanied or had been waiting to pick up, and friends for each other after groups were scattered by the blast. Political parties in the UK have meanwhile suspended their campaigns for the general election following the attack, while the US pop star, Ariana Grande, whose concert was attacked, tweeted she was “broken”.

The attack which sent shock waves far beyond British shores has been condemned by world leaders. CNN quoted the US President Donald Trump as calling those behind the attack “evil losers.”.

Trump had said he would not call the plotters of attack “monsters,” because they would like the term. “We stand in absolute solidarity with the people of the United Kingdom,” he said.

Also condemning the attack, the Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull described the incident as “brutal attack on young people everywhere.”

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted: “Pained by the attack in Manchester. We strongly condemn it. Our thoughts are with the families of the deceased and prayers with the injured.”

A Japanese government spokesman said: “If this is a terrorist attack, such abhorrent acts of terrorism cannot be justified for any reason, and Japan firmly condemns such an act of terrorism.

“I would like to express my heartfelt condolences to the victims and families of the deceased and my prayers to a swift recovery for the wounded. Japan stands in solidarity with the people of the UK.”

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tweeted: “Canadians are shocked by the news of the horrific attack in Manchester tonight. Please keep the victims and their families in your thoughts.”

Also, Nigeria’s Acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, has condemned in strong terms what he described as despicable terrorist attack on innocent people in Manchester on Monday.

According to a statement by his spokesman, Mr. Laolu Akande, Osinbajo who condoled with the government and people of UK on the loss of its citizens in the attack, encouraged Prime Minister Theresa May that light would always prevail over darkness.

“On behalf of the people and Government of Nigeria, Osinbajo expresses heartfelt condolences and solidarity with the government and people of the UK in this period of grief.

“Describing the attack as a dastardly act and heinous crime, Osinbajo assures Prime Minister Theresa May that the prayers and thoughts of Nigerians are with the British people as they mourn the victims, many of the them being young people.

“Osinbajo is confident that light of the civilised world will always prevail against the darkness of depravity, and he trusts that Britons and citizens of other nations across the world will continue to show resilience and courage in the wake of such terrorist crimes.

“He prays that God Almighty will comfort the bereaved families and also wishes a speedy recovery for the injured,” the statement added.

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

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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US Intelligence Says ISIS and Al-Qaeda Are Planning to Attack Southern Nigeria

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The United States has warned the Federal Government of Nigeria that Al-Qaeda and ISIS are planning to attack Southern Nigeria.

This was disclosed by Dagvin Anderson, the Commander of the US special operations command, Africa.

According to Dagvin Anderson, AlQaeda is planning to expand into the Southern part of Nigeria and other parts of West Africa.

He, however, said the US will continue to share intelligence with Nigeria.

We have engaged with Nigeria and continue to engage with them in intel sharing and in understanding what these violent extremists are doing,” he said.

And that has been absolutely critical to their engagements up in the Borno state and into an emerging area of northwest Nigeria that we’re seeing al-Qaeda starting to make some inroads in. 

“So, this intelligence sharing is absolutely vital and we stay fully engaged with the government of Nigeria to provide them with an understanding of what these terrorists are doing, what Boko Haram is doing, what ISIS-West Africa is doing, and how ISIS and al-Qaeda are looking to expand further south into the littoral areas. 

Anderson regretted that despite successes recorded in previous years, there has been a setback, adding: “We as a community of international nations, keep thinking we have defeated them or we have put them on their back foot and that they’re just moments from disintegration.” Anderson said for international efforts to yield desired results in the fight against terrorism in Nigeria, the government must take the lead. 

“When it comes to Nigeria in general, Nigeria, obviously, is a critical nation to West Africa. It is a critical nation and we realise that Nigeria is a lynchpin,” he said.

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