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Germany Urges End To Middle East Violence As EU Calls Talks

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German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said Sunday it is “imperative” for Israelis and Palestinians to stop fighting and resume talks ahead of an emergency meeting this week with his EU counterparts.

The “highly explosive” situation in the region could lead to “unforeseeable consequences”, Maas warned in a tweet, adding: “It is imperative that we prevent this from happening.”

“What is needed now is: 1. an end to the rocket attacks, 2. an end to the violence and 3. a return to talks between Israelis & Palestinians and on a two-state solution,” he said.

European Union foreign ministers will hold urgent video talks on the escalating fighting between Israel and the Palestinians on Tuesday, the bloc’s foreign policy chief said.

“In view of the ongoing escalation between Israel and Palestine and the unacceptable number of civilian casualties, I am convening an extraordinary VTC of the EU Foreign Ministers on Tuesday,” Josep Borrell wrote on Twitter Sunday.

“We will coordinate and discuss how the EU can best contribute to end the current violence.”

The heaviest fighting since 2014 between Israel and Islamist group Hamas, sparked by unrest in Jerusalem, has claimed 174 lives in the crowded coastal enclave of Gaza and killed 10 people in Israel since Monday.

The European Union says Borrell has been conducting “intense” diplomatic efforts to try to help de-escalate the violence — holding talks with Israeli and Palestinian leaders, and the top diplomats from neighbouring nations.

“The EU’s priority and message in this context remain clear: violence must end now,” the bloc’s foreign service said in a statement Saturday.

The EU’s 27 nations often struggle to find a common position over the conflict with some members including Germany, Austria and Slovenia firmly supporting Israel’s right to defend itself and others urging it to show greater restraint.

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France Defeat Germany Thanks To Hummels’ Own-Goal

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France got the better of Germany in the standout fixture from the opening round of Euro 2020 group games, with a 20th-minute Mats Hummels own-goal proving the difference.

Didier Deschamps’ side started on the front foot, with Paul Pogba and Kylian Mbappe missing early chances.

France’s pressure was then rewarded, after Pogba delightfully found Lucas Hernandez and the Bayern Munich man’s cross was spooned into his own net by Hummels.

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Wike Blasts Buhari, Says President Should Protect Nigerians, Not Borrowing Money

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Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to live up to his constitutional duty of securing the country.

Wike said Buhari was not made the president to borrow foreign loans alone but to ensure the protection of Nigerians.

He spoke at the commissioning of the 21 kilometers Odufor-Akpoku-Umuoye Road in Etche Local Government Area of the State on Tuesday.

The governor also cautioned the president against shifting his role of protecting Nigerians to governors.

Wike pointed out that Buhari appointed heads of security agencies in the country, hence he can not ask governors to take charge of security.

He said: “Mr President, you’re the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. You appoint Inspector General of Police (IG), you appoint the Chief of Army Staff, Chief of Naval Staff, the Commissioner of Police (CP), Director of Department of State Service (DSS), and other heads of security. Which one do we appoint? How can people appointed by Mr President be under me? (sic).

“It is not only to borrow money for Nigeria that you’re in charge. You must, also, be in charge of other things including security.

“It is not when things are going bad concerning security, and you say you’re not in charge, and it becomes governors’ responsibility.”

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World Bank Counters Buhari, Says 7million Nigerians Fell Into Poverty In 2020

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The World Bank has revealed that soaring inflation has driven an estimated seven million Nigerians into poverty in 2020 alone.

This was contained in its development report update published on its website on Tuesday

According to the report, the rise in inflationary pressure has been driven primarily by surging food prices.

The Washington-based lender report titled “Resilience through Reforms” also stressed rising unemployment and insecurity has pushed Nigerians into criminal enterprises.

“A surge in insecurity over the past two years has further slowed economic activity and left more people unemployed, fueling a vicious cycle of violence and criminality,” the lender said.

“Despite the recovery in the economy from the recession witnessed in 2020, prices are increasing rapidly and this is impacting Nigerian households.” It added.

In the report, World Bank Country Director for Nigeria, Shubham Chaudhuri, was quoted as stressing that Nigeria faces interlinked challenges in relation to inflation, limited job opportunities, and insecurity.

“While the government has made efforts to reduce the effect of these by advancing long-delayed policy reforms, it is clear that these reforms will have to be sustained and deepened for Nigeria to realize its development potential,” he said

Also, Marco Hernandez, the World Bank Lead Economist for Nigeria added that “Given the urgency to reduce inflation amidst the pandemic, a policy consensus and expedited reform implementation on exchange-rate management, monetary policy, trade policy, fiscal policy, and social protection would help save lives, protect livelihoods, and ensure a faster and sustained recovery.”

The report, however, acknowledged notable policy reforms by the government aimed at mitigating the impact of the crisis and supporting the recovery; including steps taken towards reducing gasoline subsidies and adjusting electricity tariffs towards more cost-reflective levels, both aimed at expanding the fiscal space for pro-poor spending.

In addition, the report highlights that both the Federal and State governments cut nonessential spending and redirected resources towards the COVID-19 response. At the same time, public-sector transparency has improved, in particular around the operations of the oil and gas sector.

Nigeria had on Sunday published a fact-checking report on claims by President Muhammadu Buhari that the present administration has lifted 10.5 million Nigerians out of poverty in his democracy speech to Nigerians.

Nigeria used a variety of indicators, including how the economy is developing at a slower rate than the population, expanding population, and currency depreciation, among others.

The president’s assertion was deemed “improbable” since there was no sufficient data to back up his claim that over 10 million Nigerians had been pulled out of poverty in the last two years.

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