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Australia Urges EU to Send 1 Million COVID-19 Vaccines for PNG Amid Fresh Outbreak

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Australia said on Wednesday it will ask the European Union to release 1 million doses of a COVID-19 vaccine to help Papua New Guinea (PNG) battle a dangerous outbreak that authorities fear could spread to other parts of the region.

The request could inflame existing tensions between Canberra and Brussels amid claims of vaccine nationalism after the EU recently blocked an Australia-bound shipment of the doses.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Wednesday said the vaccines were contracted to Australia and were now badly needed to contain a surge in coronavirus cases in the Pacific island nation, parts of which are just a short boat ride from Australian territory.

“We’ve contracted them. We’ve paid for them and we want to see those vaccines come here so we can support our nearest neighbour, PNG, to deal with their urgent needs in our region,” Morrison told reporters in Canberra.

“They’re our family, they’re our friends. They’re our neighbours. They’re our partners… This is in Australia’s interests, and is in our region’s interests.”

Australia will donate 8,000 locally produced COVID-19 vaccines to PNG as an immediate response to the outbreak, and would make a million doses available as soon as they arrived from Europe, he said.

Earlier this month, the EU, at Italy’s request, blocked a shipment of 250,000 doses of the AstraZeneca PLC vaccine to Australia, citing vaccine shortages in Europe.

It later denied Australia’s request to review the blockage, the first such refusal since Brussels established a mechanism to monitor vaccine flows in late January.

PNG has officially recorded over 2,300 cases since the pandemic began, a figure experts say vastly underestimates the true outbreak.

Prime Minister James Marape earlier this week said COVID-19 had “broken loose” as he warned local hospitals would soon be overwhelmed.

Marape has urged people to avoid unnecessary travel but his warning came as thousands of people gathered to mourn the death of Michael Somare, PNG’s first prime minister after independence from Australia.

Australian Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly said the limited coronavirus testing being done in PNG was showing alarming results.

“When people are being admitted into hospital in Port Moresby, half of women who are coming in due to pregnancy are positive,” Kelly told reporters in Canberra.

Morrison warned an “uncontrolled” outbreak could produce a new variant of the virus that would affect not only PNG but the wider region.

Canberra will suspend all travel to and from PNG from Wednesday midnight, he added.

Australia said in a statement on Wednesday it has approached the United States, Japan and India, members of the so-called Quad group of Asia Pacific nations, to seek additional help for PNG.

Is the CEO/Founder of Investors King Limited. A proven foreign exchange research analyst and a published author on Yahoo Finance, Nasdaq, Entrepreneur.com, Investorplace, and many more. He has over two decades of experience in global financial markets.

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Education

Teaching Jobs in UK: Eligibility Criteria Amended as Application Begins February 1

Most teachers from Nigeria, Ghana, India, Jamaica, Singapore, South Africa and Zimbabwe had expressed happiness as they meet the criteria.

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The chances of potential applicants for the teaching jobs announced by the United Kingdom have reduced as the country has amended the requirements for the recruitment exercise.

Following the initial eligibility criteria released for applicants for the job, Investors King had gathered that most teachers from Nigeria, Ghana, India, Jamaica, Singapore, South Africa and Zimbabwe had expressed happiness as they meet the criteria and we’re set to apply for the once it starts in February 1, 2023.

But, most interested persons from the highlighted countries, it was gathered, may not be able to meet up as UK Department for Education has added fresh criteria for the job.

The United Kingdom government had also factored its citizens among those qualified to go for the teacher status.

The Department for Education had in its Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) which will enable non-UK indigenes find teaching jobs across the country, had only stated that applicants who major in subjects such as Mathematics, Sciences and some Language Subjects are eligible to apply.

According to the statement earlier published on its website for the job, interested applicants were asked to apply for the QTS through the Teaching Regulation Agency (TRA).

The information had stated that teachers from all eligible countries will have to show they meet a consistent set of criteria for the award of the QTS.

As interested persons were waiting for February 1 for them to apply, the UK Education Department announced some changes to the eligibility criteria.

In the amended eligibility criteria, some subjects were removed while other qualifications were added.

As seen on the UK government website, the corrected notice disclosed that there will be a subject eligibility restriction in some countries including Nigeria, Ghana, India, Jamaica, Singapore, South Africa and Zimbabwe.

According to the UK government, the move was to ensure it offers efficient and consistent service to all applicants for the job.

Among the reasons it gave for the amendment was for UK to prioritise the subject specialisms that are majorly needed by schools in England.

While disclosing that the restriction of the subject eligibility is temporary, the government said the change would allow it handle applications timely as they are being received.

It noted that the countries affected would be continued to be updated on further steps and that other subject of some areas of specialisations would be opened by May 2023.

Other qualifications added for applicants from Ghana, India, Jamaica, Nigeria, Singapore, South Africa or Zimbabwe included that they must also have one of the qualifications it newly released.

The qualifications are: a teaching qualification that meets the standard of a level 6 qualification qualifying you to teach children aged 11 to 16 in mathematics, languages or science; a teaching qualification that meets the standard of a level 6 qualification qualifying you to teach children aged 11 to 16, and a bachelor’s degree made up of at least 50% mathematics, science or a language (excluding English) taught in English state schools, for example: French, German. Italian, Japanese, Latin, Mandarin, Russian, Spanish.

The change may drop the number of qualified in Nigeria and other countries listed.

 

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Travel

International Students in UK May Work Ten Extra Hours as Job Shortages Worsen

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The United Kingdom is facing the challenge of job shortages that is already berthing economic losses to institutions and organisations, Investors King has learnt.

The situation is fuelling inflation in the country, especially in the area of offsetting wages of the shrinking labour force.

It was gathered that most companies and organisations had to pay higher for workers who have had to work more and spend more time on duties.

Accordingly, Investors King can report that the situation of decline in manpower is affecting the country’s productivity and rendering of services.

To tackle the challenge, the government of the United Kingdom might be planning to review upward the number of hours international students can work during their studies.

It’s expected that when the extension is done, widening job vacancies across the country would be filled and inflation would be abated.

The nation’s ministers, after due diligence and planning, might extend the work hour limit for international students from 20 to 30 hours per week or to remove it completely.

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt was said to have indicated desire to boost the workforce in order to prevent employers from spending heavily on the existing workers.

It was gathered that the policy, if considered, would afford the students opportunity to work more and meet up with the financial needs even as they are contributing t the economic growth of the country.

The employment gaps were created following increasing economic challenge and the withdrawal process of the United Kingdom from the European Union.

Meanwhile, the consideration of the extension of the work hours for international students have been greeted with mixed feelings from stakeholders.

While some said the students would benefit in it if it is eventually adopted in terms of fetching them more money and boosting their job experience, others have expressed concerns that the development may affect the academic performance of the international students.

Some Nigerians were of the view that their relations schooling in the UK wouldn’t be affected negatively as it would encourage more people to study in the country.

For them, working longer hours while studying can help address the hike in the cost of living owing to the effects of inflation in the UK.

“If it can be done, I believe it will help a lot of us studying here in UK. We can strike a balance between our studies and work and I can assure you that there won’t be problem in either our work or studies.

“Due to the expensive prices if things here, we will be happy to over more sources whereby we can make legitimate income and this planned work extension would be a welcome idea to us studying here,” a Masters student in UK who simply identified himself as Wumi told Investors King.

However, others contended that the policy would make students to struggle with making good grades in their careers.

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Travel

NAHCO Says Strike Didn’t Cause Major Business Loss, Plans Salary Increment Dialogue With Workers

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The Nigerian Aviation Handling Company Plc (NAHCO) has stated that the industrial action recently embarked on by airport workers did not cause a great loss in the sector.

It assured that negotiations on the agitation for salary increment for workers would begin on Wednesday, January 25, 2023 to Saturday, January 28th, 2023.

Investors King recalls that in the early hours of Monday, January 23, 2023, both local and international airports were shut down and flights grounded due to the strike of some aviation workers but at about 3pm that same day, the strike was called off and work continued. 

In a press statement obtained by Investors King on Wednesday, signed by the Company Secretary, Dikko & Mahmoud Solicitors, Bello Abdullahi, clarifications were presented on what transpired.

Abdullahi explained that the industrial action was embarked on by some members of staff of the National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE) and Air Transport Senior Staff Services Association (ATTSSSAN) to request for salary increase and protest NAHCO Management as touching their demands.

According to him, their action was in violation of the pronouncement by the National Industrial Court on 20th January 2023.

“The withdrawal of services by the striking workers led to NAHCO Plc’s inability to provide service to our client airlines. The resultant effect was that scheduled flights were unable to operate from our airport stations across the country, thereby leaving passengers stranded across the various airports,” he stated.

Abdullahi disclosed that a meeting was held by the NAHCO Plc management, the affected unions, the Federal Airport Authority (FAAN), the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), the Department of State Security (DSS) and other stakeholders at NAHCO Plc Head Office in Lagos on Monday.

He highlighted the resolutions enacted at the meeting as:

  1. The discontinuance of the suit filed against the NUATE and ATTSSSAN unions at the National Industrial Court.
  2.  Issuance of a counteroffer to the Union’s demands by the NAHCO Plc Management before close of business of Monday, January 23, 2023.
  3.  Commencement of negotiations on salary increment on Wednesday, January 25, 2023 and conclusion by Saturday, January 28th, 2023.
  4.  The immediate resumption of all staff to work.
  5. Non-victimization of staff due to participation in the strike action.

The Company Secretary then assured the public and shareholders of the organisation’s commitment to quality delivery of aviation services.

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