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WHO Approves COVID-19 Vaccine Made by Sinopharm in China

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The World Health Organization said Friday it has approved for emergency use a coronavirus vaccine developed by Chinese state-owned pharmaceutical group Sinopharm.

Beijing’s Covid vaccine is recommended for adults 18 years and up with a two-dose regimen, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said at a press briefing.

The new addition to the list of usable vaccine options could hasten efforts to control the spread of Covid-19 and its variant forms, which are driving new infections in many parts of the world.

“Solving the vaccine crisis requires that we pull out all the stops,” Tedros said.

Sinopharm’s shot is the sixth to receive the WHO’s approval for “safety, efficacy and quality,” he said.

“Vaccines remain a vital tool. But right now, the volume and distribution of vaccines are insufficient to end the pandemic, without the sustained and tailored application of public health measures that we know work,” Tedros said.

“The pandemic has shown that when health is at risk, everything is at risk. But when health is protected and promoted, individuals, families, communities, economies, and nations can thrive,” he said.

The state-owned drugmaker’s two-dose Covid shot has already been approved for emergency use in China, the United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain.

Another Chinese shot, made by the private company Sinovac, has not yet been approved by the WHO.

In the U.S., vaccines developed by Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson have received emergency use authorizations by the Food and Drug Administration.

The WHO has granted emergency validation for those three shots, as well as for vaccines produced by AstraZeneca-SK BIO and the Serum Institute of India.

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Canada Revolutionizes Express Entry: Introduces Targeted Draws to Address Labour Shortages

Canada’s Immigration Minister, Sean Fraser, has recently announced the implementation of category-based selection draws for candidates applying through the Express Entry system.

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Canada’s Immigration Minister, Sean Fraser, has recently announced the implementation of category-based selection draws for candidates applying through the Express Entry system.

This new approach aims to prioritize individuals with strong French language skills and work experience in specific fields that are in high demand across the country.

Under the revised system, candidates who possess expertise in healthcare, science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), trades such as carpentry, plumbing, and contracting, transportation, and agriculture and agri-food will receive preferential treatment in the selection process. These changes are expected to take effect later this summer to address the pressing need for skilled workers in various sectors across Canada.

Minister Fraser emphasized that these modifications to the Express Entry system are a crucial step towards meeting labor shortages reported by employers nationwide. By inviting more skilled professionals from targeted professions, Canada aims to support its economic growth while also fostering the vitality of French-speaking communities outside of Quebec.

The immigration minister highlighted the significance of immigration in alleviating labor shortages and enhancing the prominence of the French language within minority communities.

He stated, “Everywhere I go, I’ve heard loud and clear from employers across the country who are experiencing chronic labor shortages. These changes to the Express Entry system will ensure that they have the skilled workers they need to grow and succeed. We can also grow our economy and help businesses with labor shortages while also increasing the number of French-proficient candidates to help ensure the vitality of French-speaking communities.”

The introduction of category-based draws follows amendments made to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act in June 2022, granting the minister the authority to select immigrants based on specific characteristics aligned with Canada’s economic priorities. The categories were determined through extensive public consultation with provinces, territories, industry representatives, unions, employers, worker advocacy groups, settlement provider organizations, and immigration researchers and practitioners.

To maintain transparency, the Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) will provide annual reports to parliament detailing the categories selected, the rationale behind the choices, instructions for establishing each category, and the number of invitations issued for each category.

Express Entry, launched in 2015, is Canada’s system for managing applications under three economic immigration programs: the Federal Skilled Workers Program, the Federal Skilled Trades Program, and the Canadian Experience Class. Candidates are evaluated based on various factors such as work experience, language proficiency, occupation, education, and more, using the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS). Applicants with the highest CRS scores have the greatest likelihood of receiving an Invitation to Apply for permanent residence.

In summary, Canada’s adoption of targeted category-based draws for Express Entry candidates reflects its commitment to addressing labor shortages, supporting economic growth, and bolstering French-speaking communities across the country. These changes aim to ensure a more responsive immigration system that aligns with Canada’s social and economic needs, while also attracting highly skilled individuals who can contribute to the country’s prosperous future.

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WAEC Uncovers 56 Rogue Website Operators, Vows to Prosecute Offenders

The West African Examination Council (WAEC) stated that it has uncovered 56 website operators that were involved in leaking its exam questions.

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The West African Examination Council (WAEC) stated that it has uncovered 56 website operators that were involved in leaking its exam questions.

The Head of National Office, Nigeria, Mr. Patrick Areghan during the monitoring of exams in some Government Secondary Schools, disclosed that the identified website operators would be prosecuted as soon as possible.

Mr. Areghan blamed some WAEC supervisors for playing a role in the leakage of the exam questions in a bid to make money from it. He stated that these supervisors snap and send exam questions to their syndicate groups before the exam commences. He however disclosed that the council has no control over social media.

In his words,

“We have a regulation to release papers to supervisors one hour before commencement time to enable them to go from the collection point to the administrative point because of distance in some schools. But what they do is snap the question papers and send them to their syndicate groups.

“You now begin to ask questions about what they are trying to achieve with it. Candidates are already in the exam hall, and you are posting the questions. Sometimes, they change the front of the questions and add 2023 for exam questions of 2020. Some gullible parents and students will go for it and destroy themselves because there is no way they can get our questions”.

Mr. Areghan, therefore, disclosed that WAEC has put in place some technology that would detect any form of mischievous conduct from anywhere.  Also, the commission has advised parents to encourage their children/wards to study hard and desist from patronizing these evil peddlers who are all out to destroy the destiny of their children. Parents are equally advised to stop funding these illicit acts.

Investors King understands that leakage of WAEC exam questions has been going on for a long time, as past questions were being posted via WhatsApp and criminal websites by fraudulent individuals, which they claim are yet-to-be-written papers.

WAEC in 2020 disclosed that it has not experienced leakages since 1977, but some supervisors engaged by the Ministry of Education deliberately send the questions to some syndicate groups.

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Moove Impounds Vehicles of Drivers Over Nonpayment of Loans

African mobility company Moove has reportedly impounded the vehicles of some of its drivers over nonpayment of loans.

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African mobility company Moove has reportedly impounded the vehicles of some of its drivers over nonpayment of loans.

The company which partnered with Uber to provide vehicles for drivers without a down payment, which they are expected to pay off in daily installments, has seen some drivers default in payments which forced the company to kick them off from the platform and seize the vehicles.

Some of these drivers have lamented that they earn very little from the ride-hailing platform, which makes it difficult for them to be able to repay the loan. Several others described it as an “unfair arrangement,” stating that they are left with almost no money after paying Moove and Uber.

According to drivers, vehicles purchased through this partnership came with the condition that the driver would complete 12 trips daily, and spend about 12 hours a day, six days a week, on the Uber app. Despite the long hours, drivers said they find it hard to make money because the cars are hatchbacks, which places them in the cheaper Uber Go category.

A driver Adams Ikemu, who once worked with Moove before he was kicked out of the platform and had his vehicle seized, revealed that drivers who are given the vehicles, work through their noses and at the end of the day may not be able to see the end of payment before frustration sets in.

Responding to the complaints of drivers on its platform, a spokesperson at Moove said,

“It is understood that Nigeria had faced a series of unprecedented economic challenges in recent months and that it did not take decisions to impound vehicles lightly. It is also important to recognize that we operate as a business, and sometimes this means we need to make tough decisions.

“Any vehicles that have been impounded were done as a result of customers not hitting the new KPIs [key performance indicators] as part of the Moove Cares program. Under the Moove Cares program, launched to address the recent economic issues, the daily installments for some of the drivers have been reduced”.

Moove’s spokesperson said the company had reduced its daily loan installment amount to 6,400 naira, to make it easy for drivers to pay back. Drivers disclosed that indeed the company had made some changes such as decreasing the installment amount, cutting the minimum required trips to 10, and allowing them to work 10 hours a day instead of 12, although it had failed to deliver on its promises to provide them with auto, health, and life insurance.

Investors King understands that since 2022, Moove drivers in Nigeria have been protesting against unbearable working conditions, which has been ongoing on a low scale.

Launched in 2019, Moove is one of the earliest e-hailing-focused vehicle-financing companies to make its entry into Nigeria. It was founded in response to the challenge faced by over 2 million African mobility entrepreneurs, the lack of access to vehicle financing. Moove was initially built to solve this problem in Lagos and has since expanded to 6 cities across Africa.

The company is committed to building the largest and most productive hybrid and EV fleet in the world, empowering customers with greener options and positively contributing to a more sustainable world.

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