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Facebook chief ‘worried’ about China’s influence on internet regulation

Agence France-Presse

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said Monday he is “worried” that other countries may be trying to imitate China’s approach to regulating the internet.

“Just to be blunt about it, I think there is a model coming out of countries like China that tend to have very different values than Western countries that are more democratic,” Zuckerberg said during an hourlong video conversation Monday with European Union Industry Commissioner Thierry Breton. The Facebook CEO added that it was up to Western democratic countries to have a clear framework for data privacy. “We have a joint responsibility to help develop this,” he said.

It was the latest instance of Zuckerberg citing the risks of a Chinese model of the internet spreading around the world. He made similar comments last year, saying it was important not to allow China to set the rules for the rest of the internet, stirring up tension among Facebook’s Chinese employees. Facebook hopes that free-speech message will cause regulators to see the company as an ally against a more authoritarian internet, rather than a target for more stringent regulation.

Along those same lines, Zuckerberg praised the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which implemented changes for how Facebook, Twitter, Google, and other internet companies collect user data in the EU. He said he believes cooperation between tech platforms and government regulators is inevitable. “I don’t think that there’s a question that there’s going to be regulation,” he said. “I think the question is, whose framework is going to win around the world?”

Breton, who has been critical of Facebook, said working together would be key. “I think that’s something that’s extremely important, is our ability to work together to design together, the right government tools, and behavior,” he said. “I think we should understand that, especially for the digital market. And more than that, for the information society at large.”

Zuckerberg noted that Facebook has a policy in place to label misleading information about the novel coronavirus on its platform. “We’ve taken down, hundreds of thousands of pieces of harmful misinformation and our independent fact checking program has yielded more than 50 million warnings being shown on pieces of content” related to COVID-19, he said. “We know that that works because 95 percent of the time when someone sees a piece of content with a label on it they don’t end up clicking through.”

And earlier this month, Facebook announced the first members of its oversight board, an independent panel that can veto some decisions. The board will begin hearing cases later this summer. Breton praised the creation of the board but added that “at the end of the day, it will be Mark who is responsible. No one else.”

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Coronavirus: Speaker Obasa hailed over interventions

Inside Mainland

Mudashiru Obasa, Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly, has been commended for being at the forefront of effective management of the coronavirus crisis in Nigeria.

Obasa, a lawyer and chieftain of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), represents Agege Constituency 1.

In a statement on Monday, Lagos Grassroots Association (LGA) said Obasa has contributed to the handling of the pandemic through empathy, legislation and advocacy.

“At the commencement of the lockdown in Lagos, Obasa shared about 10,000 rebagged rice to cushion the economic impact of COVID-19. Likewise the distribution of nearly 36,000 loaves of bread around Agege”, they noted.

“The gesture has continued with a daily distribution of bread. Residents that have benefited speak highly of the welfare programme while those in adjoining Local Governments have called for an extension of the scheme to their area.”

LGA also noted Obasa’s assurance that the Assembly would ensure judicious use of funds earmarked for the fight against coronavirus.

“Obasa and his colleagues have asked the state government to give a breakdown of monies spent from donations received in support of its efforts. This is a good step that will ensure transparency.”

The group recalled the lawmakers’ resolution which urged the state government to send an official to the House to provide an update on the COVID-19 management and how the funds are being deployed.

LGA hailed Obasa for his counsel to Lagosians to obey directives including social distancing, use of face masks, sanitisers and maintenance of proper hygiene.

“At the start of the outbreak, the Speaker urged the authorities to ensure that a framework of action is established. The implementation of such a strategic plan will, according to him, guide the government, officials, stakeholders and citizens.”

While lauding Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu for his leadership, the group reminded him of Obasa’s counsel that the “stay-at-home” directive be domesticated.

“Obasa suggested that just as there is the Incident Command at the State level, Local Governments, particularly those with a high/rising rising number of COVID-19 cases, should equally have Incident Commands.”

LGA further commended Obasa for his appeal for an executive order directing the Accountant General of the Federation to separate funds for the state legislature and judiciary at the source.

“Obasa, the Chairman of Conference of Speakers, has also urged the federal government to support the devolution of powers to States on some issues on the ‘Exclusive List’. We support the proposition”, the statement added.

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Lagos lists conditions to reopen businesses, worship centres

Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has said that there are 3,000 samples collected and awaiting testing.

Lagos State Governor Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu has announced measure to be taken o open more businesses and other sectors of our economy.

He revealed this on his official twitter handle, @jidesanwoolu.

Dear Lagosians,

As we prepare to open more businesses and other sectors of our economy, I will like to announce the soon to be launched Register-to-Open initiative.

The Register-to-Open initiative will be monitored by @safety_lasg and @LasepaInfo to assess the readiness of businesses in the identified sectors for supervised operations.

We are at a level where we are reviewing other arms of the economy. We want these businesses to begin to tune themselves to the realities of #COVID19 with respect to how their spaces need to look to reopen with a strict process for monitoring and space management.
We are still in the process of reviewing and considering how the phased unlocking will happen. The length this will take will determine on the level of compliance and the level of conformity to our guidelines that we see.

I am also happy to inform you that all staff of the State House that contracted #COVID19 have fully recovered and have tested negative. I want to reiterate that moving around without a mask and failing to observe other public health guidelines puts you and your family at risk.

Everyone residing in Lagos must collectively #TakeResponsibility for public health safety. I enjoin banks and markets to strictly enforce order in their premises. It is imperative that we do not take the easing of the lockdown for granted.

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Nigeria records 338 new coronavirus cases, total now 5,959

Nigeria has recorded 245 new coronavirus cases, bringing the total number of infections in the country to 2,802. The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control made this known on its website on Monday. 10

Nigeria has recorded 338 new cases of coronavirus, bringing the total number of confirmed infections in the country to 5,959.

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control made this known on Sunday.

Newsmen report that six patients died of coronavirus-related complications in the last 24 hours in Nigeria.

Data obtained from the NCDC’s website showed that there are no fewer than 4,183 active cases of COVID-19 in Nigeria.

The centre said, “On the 17th of May 2020, 338 new confirmed cases and 6 deaths were recorded in Nigeria.

“No new state has reported a case in the last 24 hours.

“Till date, 5959 cases have been confirmed, 1594 cases have been discharged and 182 deaths have been recorded in 34 states and the Federal Capital Territory.

“The 338 new cases are reported from 18 states- Lagos(177), Kano(64), FCT(21), Rivers(16), Plateau(14), Oyo(11), Katsina(9), Jigawa(4), Kaduna(4), Abia(3), Bauchi(3), Borno(3),Gombe(2), Akwa Ibom(2), Delta(2), Ondo(1), Kebbi(1), Sokoto(1).”

A further breakdown of the data showed that 122 COVID-19 patients recovered and were discharged across the country on Sunday.

It also showed that 26 per cent of infected persons have recovered from the virus in Nigeria while three per cent died.

States Affected No. of Cases (Lab Confirmed) No. of Cases (on admission) No. Discharged No. of Deaths
Lagos 2,550 1,958 556 36
Kano 825 678 111 36
FCT 418 303 108 7
Katsina 248 207 29 12
Bauchi 215 143 69 3
Borno 215 111 81 23
Jigawa 201 130 68 3
Ogun 145 73 67 5
Kaduna 142 84 55 3
Gombe 126 34 90 2
Oyo 118 67 47 4
Sokoto 113 34 66 13
Edo 95 55 35 5
Zamfara 74 35 34 5
Kwara 58 45 12 1
Rivers 51 27 21 3
Osun 42 7 31 4
Plateau 35 24 10 1
Yobe 32 28 3 1
Kebbi 32 11 17 4
Nasarawa 31 25 5 1
Delta 27 10 12 5
Niger 22 16 5 1
Adamawa 21 10 11 0
Ondo 20 6 13 1
Ekiti 19 5 13 1
Akwa Ibom 18 4 12 2
Taraba 17 16 1 0
Enugu 12 10 2 0
Ebonyi 9 8 1 0
Imo 7 5 2 0
Bayelsa 6 1 5 0
Anambra 5 4 1 0
Benue 5 5 0 0
Abia 5 4 1 0
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NAF deploys special forces to Nasarawa

Nigerian Air Force (NAF) has dismissed as “misleading” insinuations that its platforms withdrew without engaging Boko Haram insurgents when they attacked Garkida community of Gombi Local Government Area of Adamawa.

The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) on Sunday deployed its Special Forces Operatives to Nasarawa to boost internal security in the State and the North-Central zone of the country.

The troops were deployed to tackle the emerging security challenges, such as banditry, cattle rustlings, and farmers and herders clash in the zone.

The Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, who addressed the troops in Lafia, urged them to be professional in their conduct.

“I urged you to be professional and uphold the core NAF values of integrity, service before self and excellence in all you do,” he said.

Abubakar, who was represented by AVM Charles Ohwo, the Air Officer Commanding Special Operations Command, told the Special Forces that they were deployed to complement and add value to the already existing security apparatus on ground.

“You must cooperate with Operation Whirl Stroke. Your deployment not only for Lafia but for the North-Central,” he said.

The air chief appreciated the Nasarawa government for the provision of the facility provided for the establishment of the 22 Quick Response Wing in Lafia.

Abubakar urged the government of Nasarawa to put in place Refueling facilities to enable helicopters easy access for refueling as they advance for operations.

Speaking to newsmen, Gov. Abdullahi Sule of Nasarawa expressed appreciation to President Muhammadu Buhari for the quick response to the security challenges of the state.

According to the governor, the response came just three days after he called for help from the Federal Government.

Sule gave the assurance that the state would support the troops to ensure that all forms of crimes were eliminated from the State.

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Katsina relaxes lockdown order

State Governor Aminu Bello Masari urged security agencies and healthcare professionals to ensure compliance with the directive.

Gov Aminu Masari of Katsina State on Saturday gave a directive for the relaxation of the lockdown order imposed across the state.

The Secretary to the State Government, Mr Mustapha Inuwa, announced this in a statement on Saturday in Katsina.

He however said the relaxation of the lockdown order would be effective between Monday and Sunday May 24.

“The relaxation of the lockdown order is to be observed within local government areas (LGAs), while the ban on movements across LGAs remain in force,” Inuwa said.

The SSG also said the governor had directed the Katsina and Daura Emirate Councils to ensure that District and Village Heads stayed in their domain to observe the forthcoming Eid-el-Fitr.

He further said the governor has observed that two-thirds of the COVID-19 cases in the state fell within Katsina, the state capital.

“The residents of the area are therefore warned to strictly observe and adhere to all protocols given by health/security officials, such as wearing face masks, social distancing, regular washing of hands and use of hand-sanitising liquid.

“Old people and persons with health challenges are also advised to avoid crowded places,” Inuwa said.

He explained that the decision to relax the lockdown order was reached during the regular review meeting with religious leaders and other stakeholders.

The SSG added that the decision was taken in the best interest of people of the state.

“The governor thank the people of the state for the understanding, support and cooperation so far exhibited since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Also, he has once again appealed to the general public to remain law-abiding and continue to pray to God to help halt the spread of the dreaded disease,” he said.

Inuwa said the governor also appreciated the efforts of the frontline health workers who have been assisting the state in the fight against the pandemic.

He said the governor urged security agents to continue to do more in safeguarding the health, lives and property of people of the state.

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China admits to destroying early coronavirus samples, says action was taken due to safety concerns

China acknowledged that it instructed unauthorized laboratories to destroy samples of the novel coronavirus but for biosafety reasons.

China has acknowledged it destroyed early samples of COVID-19, confirming a claim put forward by U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo late last month.

On Friday, Liu Dengfeng, a supervisor with China’s National Health Commission, admitted that ‘the Chinese government issued an order on January 3 to dispose of coronavirus samples’ at unauthorized laboratories, according to Newsweek.

But Liu denied that the samples were destroyed as part of a cover-up, insisting that they were disposed of so as to ‘prevent risk to laboratory biological safety and prevent secondary disasters caused by unidentified pathogens.’

He stated that the labs were ‘unauthorized’ to handle such samples, and they had to be terminated in order to comply with Chinese public health laws.

Liu did not specify how many labs destroyed coronavirus samples.

The admission comes amid souring diplomatic relations between the U.S. and China over the COVID-19 outbreak – which originated in Wuhan late last year.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo last month accused the Asian superpower of not being transparent about spread of the coronavirus.

‘The Chinese Communist Party still has not shared the virus sample from inside of China with the outside world, making it impossible to track the disease’s evolution,’ Pompeo stated at a briefing on April 22.

‘We strongly believe that the Chinese Communist Party did not report the outbreak of the new coronavirus in a timely fashion to the World Health Organisation,’ he added.

‘Even after the CCP did notify the WHO of the coronavirus outbreak, China didn’t share all of the information that it had.’

Pompeo continued: ‘Instead it covered up how dangerous the disease is, It didn’t report sustained human-to-human transmission for a month until it was in every province inside of China. It censored those who tried to warn the world in order to halt the testing of new samples, and it destroyed existing samples.’

As of Saturday afternoon, more than 4.59 million people around the world have tested positive to COVID-19. At least 309,000 have died.

The United States has been disproportionately affected by the disease, with the country accounting for almost a quarter of global cases and deaths.

Earlier this week, President Trump gave an interview with Fox Business Network, where he claimed he was ‘very disappointed in China’.

The coronavirus outbreak originated in Wuhan in December and was spreading silently as the U.S. and China signed a Phase 1 trade deal hailed by Trump as a major achievement.

‘They should have never let this happen. So I make a great trade deal and now I say this doesn’t feel the same to me. The ink was barely dry and the plague came over. And it doesn’t feel the same to me.’

Trump’s pique extended to Chinese President Xi Jinping, with whom, Trump says repeatedly, he has a good relationship.

‘I just – right now I don’t want to speak to him. I don’t want to speak to him,’ Trump said.

Meanwhile, a Department of Homeland Security report shared last Sunday revealed US officials believe China ‘intentionally concealed the severity’ of the pandemic in early January and hoarded medical supplies.

The four-page report dated May 1 that was obtained by the Associated Press notes that China downplayed the virus publicly but increased imports and decreased exports of medical supplies.

The document accuses China of covering their tracks by ‘denying there were export restrictions and obfuscating and delaying provision of its trade data.’

It lends weight to a leaked dossier drawn up by the Five Eyes intelligence alliance which describes how Beijing made whistleblowers ‘disappear’, destroyed early virus samples and scrubbed the internet of any mention of the disease in the early stages.

The 15-page document brands Beijing’s secrecy over the pandemic an ‘assault on international transparency’ and points to cover-up tactics deployed by the regime.

It claims that the Chinese government silenced its most vocal critics and scrubbed any online scepticism about its handling of the health emergency from the internet.

China has roundly come under fire for suppressing the scale of its early outbreak which did not afford other nations time to react before the disease hit their shores.

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Truck driver drowns in Osun river

There was pandemonium in Ondo town, headquarters of Ondo West Local Government Area of Ondo State following the drowning of three children in a river.

A truck driver, identified simply as Sheriff, Friday evening drowned in River Osun in Ogberin village, Ede, Osun State, when he slipped and fell into the river.

The deceased, it was learnt, was at the river bank after he and his team had removed their truck that was stuck due to the bad state of the road while going to offload the content of the vehicle.

It was further learnt that Sheriff and his men, having successfully removed the stuck truck and delivered the content, stopped at the bank of River Osun to clean up when the incident happened.

One of those at the scene who preferred not to be named said the deceased while standing at the bank, was about to start bathing when he suddenly slipped and fell in the river.

“He had not started bathing. He was about to bend and start bathing when he slipped and fell into the river,” the witness said.

The source added that people at the scene, immediately the incident happened made effort to save Sheriff, but till Saturday afternoon, the body had not been recovered.

When contacted, Police Public Relations Officer for Osun Command, Yemisi Opalola, said she had not been briefed on the matter.

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Report: Jadon Sancho’s transfer fee is fixed

Dortmund's English midfielder Jadon Sancho celebrates scoring during the Bundesliga match BVB Borussia Dortmund vs Eintracht Frankfurt

Manchester United transfer target Jadon Sancho will not be sold for less than €120 million (£105 million), according to The Athletic.

The 20-year-old has scored an incredible 17 goals and provided 19 assists in 35 matches for Borussia Dortmund this season and registered 31 goals and 42 assists in 134 games overall for the German side.

He is widely reported to be Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s top priority this summer and the Red Devils look to have beaten off practically all the competition to sign him.

The question has become whether a fee can be agreed with Dortmund in the current financial climate.

The original asking price quoted before the coronavirus crisis was believed to be £105 million and whilst there has been a lot of posturing on both sides, The Athletic’s David Ornstein claims that figure has simply not changed.

‘Sources are convinced that irrespective of a downturn in prices, Sancho will not be sold for under €120 million [£105m]’ Ornstein writes.

‘Whether or not there is manoeuvrability on the payment structure, they are known to be seeking a figure similar to the (up to) €147 million [£128m] they accepted from Barcelona for Ousmane Dembele at the same age in 2017.’

‘Sancho has an agreement with Dortmund that he can leave in the months ahead if a suitable proposal arrives and his camp are optimistic that will happen. The Londoner would then have to decide whether he wants to depart now or wait until next year’.

‘There is no desperation to go on his part and neither side would have a problem if the desired outcome did not emerge. Clubs have been informed that he does not intend to make up his mind until the season is complete.’

Whilst it is true that Dortmund are financially stable and will not feel forced to sell, offers even approaching £100 million cannot be taken lightly as football prepares to dial back transfer fees to the kind of figures not seen for years.

A year is also a long time in football, and if Sancho were to have a bad season, or have injury or disciplinary issues, his value could quickly shrivel to a fraction of that amount.

So whilst United’s negotiators Ed Woodward and Matt Judge will have to accept that they are not going to get a cut-price deal for Sancho, Dortmund would do well to at least come to the negotiating table with some sort of flexibility for the sake of all concerned.

Sancho is back in action today, with Dortmund facing Schalke 04 as the Bundesliga resumes play.

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Oyo discharges 11 coronavirus patients

The Oyo State Task Force on COVID-19, on Friday, recorded a major victory in its ongoing fight against the novel Coronavirus when it discharged 11 persons after they tested negative to COVID-19 twice.

The Oyo State Task Force on COVID-19, on Friday, recorded a major victory in its ongoing fight against the novel Coronavirus when it discharged 11 persons after they tested negative to COVID-19 twice.

A statement signed by the Chief Press Secretary to Governor Seyi Makinde, Mr. Taiwo Adisa, quoted a member of the Task Force and former Chief Medical Director of the University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan, Professor Temitope Alonge, as saying that after the discharge of the 11 cases, the Centre now had 32 patients, and that all but one, were in stable condition.

The statement added that of the 11 persons discharged at the Infectious Disease Centre, Olodo, Ibadan, three were females and eight were males.

According to Alonge, eight of the discharged persons were the Northerners who came from Sokoto axis.

He said: “We all must have behind our minds that this novel coronavirus, even though it belongs to a particular family, is not in any way similar to the HIV virus, meaning that it does not reside in you forever as it were. It has a span of time that it stays and your body’s immune system is built up enough to be able to get rid of it and you come back to normal.

“But, of course, if at the time you have a high load of the virus, you happen to have some other co-morbidities or you are under some treatment that reduces your immunity, then you can have a full flare. So, it is not like the HIV virus that you have to use medications to suppress or reduce their effects.

“When patients come down and they are tested as positive, it means the load of the virus is enough to make them feel sickly. When they are in isolation, what we do is to boost their immunity. There are so many regimens in the world that are being tried and used but here, our patients have stuck to a very simple regimen. They all have 500mg of azithromycin daily for three days. They also have zinc on a daily basis. 2gram of Vitamin C, Chloroquine 500mg and 250mg for another three days.

“We are privileged to have linked up with our colleagues in UCH, who have been exceptionally wonderful. So, we are not only looking at their symptoms but also the viral load and their CT. But the value of the CT is also in correlation with the value of the viral load. The higher the viral load, the lower the CT value.”

The ex-CMD maintained that there were now 32 active patients at the Infectious Disease Centre, noting that all of them except one were in stable condition.

“We have 32 (patients). All of them are very stable. We only have one of them who has a comorbid issue and, as I speak, one of our senior consultants from the University College Hospital is attending to him. Also, another consultant in the Psychiatry Department will come and counsel this particular client on the use of medications, because we found out that he was using too many medications that can be injurious to his health.

“Apart from that, everybody is fine. We even have a family here; father, mother, and children and they are doing exceptionally well.

“Eight of those cases discharged are the Northerners who came from the Sokoto axis. Since they are now negative, they want to go back to Sokoto.”

Speaking earlier, one of the discharged persons (names withheld), who spoke on behalf of the other patients, appreciated the state government, the governor and the medical personnel at the Centre.

She said: “On behalf of all of us here who are COVID-19 patients, we want to appreciate Governor Seyi Makinde. We pray that God will reward him.

“We experienced good care. They took us as their sisters and brothers. They did not stigmatise us. So, we really appreciate all the doctors and nurses. We really appreciate the Oyo State government.”

When asked what her experience was while in isolation, she maintained she and most of those in the Centre were asymptomatic, saying: “I did not show any symptoms. I just went for the test voluntarily. So, after nine days, they called me that the test came out positive and I was asked to come to the isolation centre to quarantine myself.

“The test was conducted on me on the 22nd of April at Etiosa Local Government, but I was already in Ibadan when they told me the result and I was asked to go into isolation in Ibadan because there was no isolation centre in Lagos again.”

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