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    Liverpool move towards title with 2-1 win at Wolves
    Liverpool extended their English Premier League (EPL) lead to 16 points with a hard-fought 2-1 win at Wolverhampton Wanderers thanks to goals from Jordan Henderson and Roberto Firmino on Thursday.

    Hendersons eighth minute goal, which came off his shoulder from a Trent Alexander-Arnold corner-kick, quietened a raucous crowd inside a mist-shrouded Molineux.

    But Wolves, under coach Nuno Espirito Santo, have built a reputation for upsetting more illustrious opponents.

    They came roaring back in the 51st minute when Raul Jimenez steered home a powerful header from a cross by the lively Adama Traore.

    Both sides then squandered chances before Firmino found space in the box to settle the outcome with an 84th minute strike that gave
    Liverpool a 14th consecutive league win.

    Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp punched the air and their fans sang We shall not be moved as the relentless Reds close in on their first top-flight title in three decades.

    The win put Liverpool on 67 points and still with a game in hand over last seasons champions Manchester City who have 51.(Reuters/NAN)

    Source: NAN

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    Australian Open: Serena Williams falls to Chinese battler Wang
    (Reuters/NAN) Serena Williams suffered her earliest exit from the Australian Open in 14 years on Friday, falling to Chinas Wang Qiang in a stunning third round reversal that left her bid for a record-equalling 24th Grand Slam title in tatters once again.

    Having conceded one game to Wang in a U.S. Open trouncing four months ago, Williams staggered to an error-strewn 6-4 6-7(2) 7-5 defeat at Rod Laver Arena that sent shock-waves through Melbourne Park and tore open the womens draw.

    It was the Americans earliest exit from the years first Grand Slam since her 2006 title defence was ended by Daniela Hantuchova.

    Doubts about her hopes of matching Margaret Courts Grand Slam haul have resurfaced.

    Williams has recovered from her share of Grand Slam setbacks, but this one left an especially bitter taste.

    It is all on my shoulders.

    I just have to pretend like I dont want to punch the wall, but in reality I do, the 38-year-old said ruefully.

    A day before Chinese celebrate the Lunar New Year, 27th seed Wang played the match of her life, soaking up huge pressure to land the biggest scalp of her career.

    She wavered at times and was broken when serving for the match at 5-4 in the second set.

    Wang squandered two match points in the nerve-shredding finish, and ultimately was relieved when Williams surrendered by firing into the net, her 56th unforced error.

    Last year, Chinas top-ranked player knocked world number one Ash Barty out of the U.S. Open fourth round, a few months after mourning the death of her longtime coach Peter McNamara.

    I think he could see me playing today. He will be proud of me, the 28-year-old told reporters.

    Wang said she would eschew traditional Chinese New Year celebrations before preparing for her fourth round clash against Tunisias Ons Jabeur, another giantkilling rival on a surprising run at Melbourne Park.

    Jabeur knocked out Williams good friend and former world number one Caroline Wozniacki, drawing the curtain on the retiring Danes career in tennis.

    No matter what happens, Wang may savour her triumph against Williams for a life-time.

    She stayed patient as the American dug in stubbornly in the decider and saved a string of break points with her formidable serve.

    As Williams shrieking increased, Wang nosed ahead to 6-5 after firing a blistering backhand that clipped the line.

    She thought she had blown her chance with unforced errors on two match points but it was Williams who was left bowing her head after failing to clear the net.

    At 38, Williams Grand Slam window may be closing.

    I am way too old to play like this at this stage of my career.

    Im definitely going to be training tomorrow. Thats first and foremost, to make sure I dont do this again, she said of her match, before batting away the idea of not returning to Melbourne next year. (Reuters/NAN)

    Source: NAN

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    A/Ibom Labour hail Gov. Udom as minimum wage agreement reached
    .Minimum wage to be paid from January salary

    An agreement has been reached between the Akwa Ibom state government and organised labour on payment of minimum wage.

    This was revealed by the Commissioner for Labour and Man Power Planning, Professor Victor Inoka, during a telephone interview with select newsmen soon after signing of the agreement after days of tense negotiations.

    According to him, the agreement was that we pay exactly the federal government negotiated and approved percentages increase and the consequential adjustments therein.

    Federal government and organised labour had both agreed on 66.66% increase for workers between level 01 and 06, 23.2% increase for workers on 07, 20% increase for level 08 workers and 19% increase for level 09 workers
    They also agreed that for level 10-14 workers, therell be a 16% salary increase, while for those on level 15 to 17, therell be a 14%, on the consolidated public service salary structure.

    This agreement was signed between federal government and organised labour on Thursday, October 17, 2019 to effect the new N30,000 minimum wage for Nigerian workers.

    The Labour Commissioner revealed that as a fallout of the recent agreement an Akwa Ibom worker from the lowest cadre will go home with salary above national minimum wage.

    What people dont realise is that we were not really paying N18, 000 before. Akwa Ibom was paying more than N18, 000. We were paying up to N19, 000 when N18, 000 was the national minimum wage.

    The implication is that once we adopted the new minimum wage on top of the salary that was on ground the minimum wage earner in Akwa Ibom State will earn above the national minimum wage.

    Government has exceeded expectation. Unlike most states, the governor accepted to pay worker one month arrears. Representatives of Labour, NLC

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    Applicant admits stealing 16 SIM cards
    By Adenike Ayodele

    An Ikeja Magistrates Court on Friday remanded one unemployed Charles Eze in the Ikoyi Custodial Centre, after he pleaded guilty to stealing 16 Subscriber Identification Module (SIM) cards and some Automated Teller Machine (ATM) cards.

    The police arraigned 33-year-old Eze together with Raphael Nwachukwu, 36, before Chief Magistrat T. A. Ojo.

    The defendants, whose residential addresses were not given, are facing charges of conspiracy and stealing.

    The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that while Eze admitted guilt, Nwachukwu pleaded not guilty.

    Ojo remanded Eze pending review of the facts of the case and sentencing, and admitted Nwachukwu to N100, 000 bail with two sureties in like sum.

    She ruled that the sureties must be gainfully employed and have evidence of two years tax payment to the Lagos State Government.

    The chief magistrate adjourned the case until Jan. 29 for Ezes sentencing.

    Earlier, the prosecutor, Sgt. Kenrich Nomayo, told the court that the duo conspired and unlawfully interfered with some peoples SIM and ATM cards.

    Nomayo said the defendants could not give a satisfactory explanation on the ownership of the items.

    He said that they committed the offences on Jan. 10 at 11.00 p.m. on Akerele Street in Agege, a Lagos suburb.

    The prosecutor told the court that the police on patrol arrested the defendants while lurking around for more victims.

    The police searched them and recovered 16 different SIM cards and ATM cards which they could not give a satisfactory account of, he said.

    The alleged offences violate sections 287 and 411 of the Criminal Code of Lagos State, 2015 (revised).

    NAN reports that stealing attracts three years imprisonment while conspiracy is punishable with two years jail term. (NAN)

    Source: NAN

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    Astronauts bake first cookies in space
    Astronauts on the International Space Station have baked the first cookies in space, but they took far longer than on Earth.

    The space stations Italian commander Luca Parmitano acted as baker aided by NASA astronaut Christina Koch for the chocolate-chip cookie experiment.

    Cookies take around 15-20 minutes to bake on Earth but the astronauts discovered that their most successful efforts required at least two hours in the oven in space.

    The first and second cookies were in the oven for 25 minutes and 75 minutes but were still under-baked.

    The best results came from 120 and 130 minutes in the oven.

    We made space cookies and milk for Santa this year, Koch tweeted.

    The prototype oven which can be used in microgravity was designed and built by Nanoracks and Zero G Kitchen while the Double Tree by Hilton hotel chain supplied the raw cookie dough.

    The ISS smelled like fresh chocolate chip cookies when @astro_luca opened the oven door! Just like home! Nanoracks tweeted.

    While we have initial visual and scent feedback from the crew aboard the ISS, were excited to dive into fully understanding the baking results - including breaking down why the bake time and temperature in space varies from what we are used to seeing on Earth, Mary Murphy, a Nanoracks payloads manager, said in a statement from Hilton.

    While the astronauts said they looked and smelled like cookies, no one has tasted them.

    Three of the cookies returned to Earth on the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft on January 7 and will undergo testing by food scientists to determine if they are edible.

    Currently on the International Space Station theres really a limited ability to prepare foods in ways that were used to, Zero G Kitchen founder Ian Fichtenbaum said in a video posted by Hilton.

    And now as longer duration space flight is more common you want to focus on making space more comfortable, added co-founder Jordana Fichtenbaum.

    Source: NAN

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    Coronavirus: Parents abandon kids at China airport
    A couple in China has left their two young children behind at the Nanjing Lukou International Airport, China, after their son who had a fever was banned from flying amid an outbreak of coronavirus.

    It is said the parents deserted their son and daughter by the departure gate andboarded the flight on their own in the eastern city of Nanjing, leaving airline workers and other passengers in shock.

    The news comes as the country is ravaged by a new strain of coronavirus, which has killed at least 26 people. Its symptoms are typically a fever, cough and trouble breathing.Cities across China have tightened health checks at transport hubs.

    The children were eventually allowed to board the domestic plane, reported local newspaper Yangzi Evening News.

    The incident came to light when a blogger posted pictures of the children on Weibo, the Chinese equivalent to Twitter.

    The blogger claimed that a couple were causing a scenein Nanjing Lukou International Airport after one of their children were prevented from flying due to a fever.

    One of the pictures posted by the web user shows two children sitting on seats in a boarding lounge unattended.

    Another two images show passengers waiting by the departure gate.

    According to Nanjing-basedYangzi Evening News, the incident happened on Wednesday nightin Nanjing Lukou International Airport, which serves the provincial capital of Jiangsu.

    Cities across China have tightened health screening at transport hubs in a bid to curb the deadly outbreak.

    At least 10 cities in China, home to around 33million people, have gone into some form of lockdown in the past couple of days after number of confirmed cases surged.

    The new form of coronavirus has killed 26, but experts predict the true number of people with the disease could be over 10,000 as they warn it may kill as many as two in 100 cases.

    The family were trying to fly from Nanjing to Changsha with flight MF8040 operated byXiamen Airlines.

    It seems the boys body temperature was 38.5 degrees Celsius, one passenger who witnessed the event told Yangzi Evening News.

    The airline company did not allow [the boy] to board the plane, but the childrens parents would not agree, the passenger added.

    It was alleged that the couple blocked the departure gate, insisting that workers let their children through.

    The chaos lasted for nearly two hours and police officers arrived to mediate between the protesting parents and the airline.

    At last, workers let the adults onto the plane, claimed the passenger, who added that the children were simply left to sit in the airport by themselves.

    Source: NAN

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    Ignore antimicrobial resistance at your own peril  India High Commissioner
    By Ebere Agozie

    Mr Ngulkham Gangte, the Indian High Commissioner to Zambia has warned that any country that ignores the effects of Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) does so at its own peril.

    AMR is the ability of a microorganism (like bacteria, viruses and some parasites) to stop an antimicrobial (such as antibiotics, antivirals and antimalarial) from working against it.

    Gangte gave the warning at a three-day Pan-Africa Workshop on Effective Implementation of National Action Plans on AMR, holding in Zambia.

    The workshop, which has in attendance experts from 11 countries, is organised by the Zambia National Public Health Institute, Ministry of Health, Zambia.

    It was organised in conjunction with the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), the India-based think tank.

    Journalists from five African countries, who shared their experiences from the ground and got to know what is being done to contain this crisis of AMR are also attending the workshop.

    According to Gangte, the ability of organisms to resist antimicrobial treatment, especially antibiotics has direct impact on human and animal health.
    This carries a heavy economic burden due to high cost of treatment and reduced productivity caused by prolonged sickness.

    AMR also impact food safety, nutrition security, livelihoods and consequently, attainment of several Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

    Therefore, we all must work together to prevent the menace of AMR in our countries, Gangte advised.

    Dr Chitalu Chilufya, the Zambia Minister of Health, also called on African countries to urgently act on the development and implementation of National Action Plans (NAPs) for AMR.

    Chilufya said the objective of the workshop is to discuss the threat of AMR to humans, animals and the environment, its spread and impact in Africa as well as to understand the implementation of the NAPs on AMR.

    AMR is the consequence of the abuse and misuse of antibiotics, which poses greater threat to public health security that robs countries of their aspirations for universal health coverage.

    There is the need for African countries to invest in resilient public health systems, which will gear towards reducing the inappropriate use of antibiotics among the public, Chilufya said.

    He, therefore, called on the media to partner with their respective governments in educating the public on the need to stop the abuse and misuse of antibiotics.

    Also, Mr Amit Khurana, Director, Food Safety and Toxins Programme, CSE, India, set the context for the workshop.

    He called for innovative ways to manage the issue of access and excess of antibiotics usage.

    Khurana said that the misuse and overuse of antibiotics in food-animal production is a key driver of AMR in humans who ultimately consume the animals and animal products.

    The global success to contain AMR will hugely depend on how we handle it, so we must use greater discretion in our approaches and implementations.

    The threat of AMR is real and globally reaching crisis levels.

    Therefore, there must be caution in the production of food and management of waste.

    We cannot afford to allow misuse of antibiotics and chemicals first in our system and then after spend a lot to clean it up from their food and environment, Khurana said.

    The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that part of the highlights of the workshop was the launch of five key reports including the Down To Earths (DTE) From Cure to Killers.

    Also launched is the road map to phase out non-therapeutic antibiotic use and critically important antibiotics in food-animals and baseline information for integrated AMR surveillance in Zambia.

    The Zambias Multi-Sectoral National Action Plan on AMR and Zambias integrated AMR Surveillance Framework was another report that was launched. (NAN)

    Source: NAN

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    Gov. Ishaku signs Tarabas N215bn 2020 budget into law
    By Jacinta Nwachukwu

    Gov. Darius Ishaku of Taraba on Friday in Abuja, signed into law the states N215 billion Appropriation bill christened: Budget of Accelerated Growth and Development.

    Ishaku said that the budget represented an increase of N2.1billion over the N213.6 billion presented to the state House of Assembly on Dec. 19, 2019.

    He, therefore, expressed gratitude to the lawmakers for the accelerated hearing given the budget, leading to its timely passage.

    He also assured the lawmakers of the cooperation of the executive in moving the state forward.

    According to him, leadership is measured by the strides made on behalf of the people, so I appeal to us to do more than we have been doing for our people.

    There are many things I packaged into the budget, especially contracts, so that we can continue to have funds to develop the state to an enviable height.

    In the past, many people criticised me for some projects I initiated, but I thank God that today they are becoming superfluous with gratitude. Together, we will continue working for a better Taraba, he said.

    Earlier, Speaker of the house, Dr Joseph Kunini, said that the Christmas and New Year celebrations did not deter the lawmakers from carrying out their responsibilities.

    Kunini said that the lawmakers painstakingly scrutinised the budget and approved same for the governor to kick start the accelerated development of the state.

    The unprecedented support and cooperation received from the governor and others is largely responsible for the timely legislative action on the bill.

    The support of the governor is a clear manifestation of the cordial and harmonious relationship between all the arms of government in the state, he said.

    He appreciated his colleagues for assiduously carrying out their Constitutional responsibilities in the overall interest of the state. (NAN)

    Source: NAN

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    FRSC decorates 34 newly-promoted officers in Anambra
    By Lucy Osuizigbo-Okechukwu

    The Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), Anambra Command, on Friday, decorated 34 newly-promoted officers in the state with new ranks, urging them to rededicate themselves to service of their fatherland.

    The Sector Commander, Mr Andrew Kumapayi,gave the charge during the ceremony held at the commands headquarters in Awka,

    Kumapayi explained that 34 officers who were senior officers, middle cadre officers and marshals were decorated.

    He called on the officers to work harder to ensure sanity on the states roads.

    We thank God for the recognition of your hard work and I urge you to brace up to the challenges of making our roads safe for users, Kumapayi said.

    Also speaking, the Anambra state Commissioner of Police, Mr John Abang urged the officers not to be carried away with the new ranks but to see it as a demand for more responsibility.

    Abang said that the promotion was an opportunity to contribute to the growth and development of the nation through safety on roads.

    For every rank you are wearing, you are making your families, communities and country proud. So continue to walk the talk and discharge your duties without fear, Abang said.

    Mr Gabriel Adaji, one of the newly-promoted officers, promised to be more dedicated to duties, saying that the promotion had not been easy.

    I will continue to promote the image of the FRSC and do my job diligently. I thank the command for the opportunity, he said. (NAN)

    Source: NAN

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    Ihedioha: Imo indigenes in U.S. react to Supreme Court verdict
    By Harrison Arubu

    A group of U.S-based Imo indigenes, the Mbano National Assembly (MNA), has reacted to Tuesdays Supreme Court verdict that effected a change of government in its home state.

    The judgment replaced Mr Emeka Ihedioha of the Peoples Democratic Party with Sen. Hope Uzodinma of the All Progressives Congress as governor, almost eight months after the former assumed the office.

    The MNAs reaction came through its President, Mr Basil Njoku, in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in New York on Friday.

    Njoku decried the negative impact of premature change in government on development, a situation he blamed on disregard for the rule of law by actors in the electoral process.

    He also decried the delay in adjudication of election petition cases in the country, noting that it distracts the government of the day and scares investors.

    Njoku said: It is important that cases are resolved expediently so that it creates room for those in government to begin immediately and institute policies that would last.

    For example, contracts already signed by the government of Ihedioha will now be subject to the whims of the new government.

    No investor is willing to do business with a government battling with election cases in court with no assurance of being there tomorrow.

    In every society, there are bound to be litigations, but the speed with which those cases are dealt with is essential to creating an enabling environment for people to move on.

    When cases keep languishing in courts, the government in power is not sure of tomorrow, so they are edgy and unwilling to take certain bold actions to improve the lives of the people.

    He noted that the interest of MNA, a politically neutral nongovernmental and charity organisation, was the development of Imo and not the party or people in power.

    To this end, he said the association was ready to work with any government to improve the living condition of the people.

    Our take is let the peoples business be taken care of, the business of infrastructure, security, light, healthcare and rural development.

    At the end of the day, people dont really care which party is in power, so long as government is responsive to their needs.

    I am heartened by what the immediate past governor said. With humility, he handed over the case to God and asked the people to work with his successor.

    So, any reasonable society must work with whoever is in power to deliver for the people, he added.

    Njoku said the goal of MNA was to work with government to deliver its various charity projects and programmes in the state, including an ultra-modern surgical theatre at the Mbano Joint Hospital. (NAN)

    Source: NAN

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