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US vs China: China Orders US Consulate in Chengdu to Close as Tension Rises

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US vs China: China Orders US Consulate in Chengdu to Close as Tension Rises

US vs China:  China Orders US Consulate in Chengdu to Close as Tension Rises

Relationship between China and the US have been increasingly strained. Beijing has ordered the closure of a US consulate in south-western China, in a move that escalates tensions between the two countries to a new level.

However, this is a ‘Tit-for-tat’ move by Beijing to get back at US for ordering Chinese mission in Houston to close.

On Friday, China’s ministry of foreign affairs said it had ordered the US consulate in Chengdu, in Sichuan province, to cease all operations. Authorities notified the US of China’s decision to revoke its consent for the consulate to operate, according to a notice on the ministry’s website.

Describing the measure as a “legitimate and necessary response” to the actions of the US, which earlier this week gave the Chinese consulate in Houston, Texas, 72 hours to close, Beijing called on Washington to reverse its decision. Chinese officials said on Friday the mission in Houston was still operating.

“The current situation between China and the United States is something China does not want to see, and the responsibility rests entirely with the United States,” it said, urging the US to bring “bilateral relations back on track”.

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China’s ministry of foreign affairs did not give a deadline for when the consulate must close but the editor of the state-run Global Times newspaper said on Twitter the consulate had been given 72 hours to close.

Without giving further details, the US said it ordered the Chinese consulate in Houston to shut in order to protect “American intellectual property and private information”.

China called the measure “unprecedented” and “outrageous”, and accused US diplomats of “infiltration and interference activities”.

According to the Guardian,  Pompeo said: “Today China is increasingly authoritarian at home, and more aggressive in its hostility to freedom everywhere else.”

“We, the free nations of the world, must induce change in the Chinese Communist party’s behaviour in more creative and assertive ways, because Beijing’s actions threaten our people and our prosperity,” he said, calling the Chinese leader, Xi Jinping, a “true believer in a bankrupt, totalitarian ideology”.

“If the free world doesn’t change communist China, communist China will change us,” he added.

A Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman described as futile Pompeo’s efforts to “launch a new crusade against China”. “What he is doing is like an ant trying to shake a tree,” she wrote in English and Chinese on Twitter, which is blocked in China and used by Chinese diplomats to target international audiences.

Wang on Friday described Pompeo’s speech as a “malicious” and “groundless attack” on the Communist party and its domestic and foreign policies. “Pompeo’s remarks ignore facts, turn what is black into white and are full of ideological prejudice and a cold war mindset,” he said.

Hours after the foreign ministry’s announcement, Americans in China received a security alert, reminding them of the risk of “arbitrary detention” and the possibility of being blocked from leaving, or exit bans. US citizens in China received a similar alert a few weeks ago.

The most recent notice told Americans to “exercise increased caution,” warning that citizens may be “subjected to prolonged interrogations and extended detention for reasons related to ‘state security’”.

On Friday, journalists in Chengdu reported a heavy police presence outside the consulate following the announcement on Friday, with officers checking phones and ordering people to delete photographs.

It was not clear how many people would be affected by the closure. In 1985, it has more than 200 employees, including about 150 are locally hired Chinese staff. Many diplomats had left the country during the pandemic and have struggled to return.

A livestream hosted by the state broadcaster CCTV showed little movement outside the mission but was being watched by as many as 20 million people on Friday afternoon. Many signaled their support of the closure – with one internet user calling for the mission to be renovated and turned a hotpot restaurant. Others criticised the measure.

“Confrontation is not good, it affects the economy. It affects everyone,” one user said.

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Public, private investments critical in transforming Africa’s food systems – Osinbajo

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By Gistflash News

July 27, 2021

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo says transforming Africa’s food system is an obvious task requiring the active mobilisation and prioritisation of both public and private investments.

Osinbajo’s spokesman, Laolu Akande, in a statement on Tuesday in Abuja, said the vice president virtually spoke at the preparatory meeting of the United Nations Food Systems Summit 2021.

The pre-summit is a prelude to the global event scheduled for Rome, Italy, in September; an event the vice president described as crucial just as the previous dialogues held in several countries on food systems.

He said that the Federal Government was committed in complementing existing development plans, sectoral strategies, and prioritising investments in specific innovations and technologies to transform food systems in the country.

“The Nigerian Government is committed to addressing the drivers of food insecurity such as food inflation, changing consumption patterns and climate change, amongst other things.

“At the same time and as an outcome of 40 different food systems dialogues in which up to 5,000 people participated, Nigeria is prioritising investments in specific innovations and technologies to scale up and transform food systems.

“These actions complement existing development plans and sectoral strategies such as our Economic Recovery and Growth Plan, the National Policy on Food and Nutrition, and the National Policy on Food Safety.

“A specific aim of our recently launched National Poverty Reduction with Growth Strategy is to address hunger, malnutrition and poverty as part of our target of lifting a hundred million Nigerians out of poverty within a decade.”

Osinbajo added that at the heart of Nigeria’s post-COVID-19 response was the Economic Sustainability Plan.

He said that the plan had a major component, which is the Agriculture for Food and Jobs Programme (AFJP), where the country sought to leverage suitable technologies to build a resilient food system for Nigeria.

“Our Nutrition Policy addresses the issues of sustainable and nutrition-sensitive food systems – and the country has prioritised key nutrition actions that are impactful, cost-effective, scalable and sustainable.

“An integral part of our food systems’ transformation strategy is to create an enabling and supportive environment to implement these policies in a participatory manner involving farmers, investors and state governments.

“For example, when, as in our country and several others, population growth exceeds growth in national income, food supply would not meet the needs of people, especially when distribution systems are inequitable.”

According to him, post-harvest losses in Africa, and particularly in Nigeria, are more than 20 per cent of production for several food groups.

He said the losses were mainly due to poor storage, poor rural infrastructure and non-automation of food processing, among others.

“The situation in many African countries is given increased urgency with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has led to growing levels of acute food insecurity.

“This is of great concern to all of us, especially if we recall that prior to the pandemic, the prevalence of severe food insecurity was as high as 22 per cent,” he said.

Earlier in her remarks, the UN Deputy Secretary-General, Amina Mohammed, commended Nigeria’s effort, especially the vice president, for leading six ministers in the dialogues and other efforts aimed at building sustainable food systems in the country.

“Food unites us all, as families, as communities, as cultures and as humanity, now let’s use it to unite around the urgency and the actions that are needed to transform our world by 2030,” she said.

Aside Osinbajo and Mohammed, participants at the second day of the preparatory meeting included the Prime Minister of Italy, Mario Draghi; Nigeria’s Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Hajia Zainab Ahmed; and ministers representing India, Canada, China, Norway, Egypt, among other countries.

NAN

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2021 Children Golf Development Clinic begins Monday in Abuja

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By Gistflash News

July 23, 2021

The 2021 edition of the Children Golf Development Clinic, being organised by the Ladies Section of IBB International Golf and Country Club in Abuja, begins on Monday at the club.

The event’s Organising Committee Chairman, Joy Ikwue who is also the club’s Vice Lady Captain, disclosed this on Friday to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja.

“The two-week event tagged `Future Champions of Golf’ is being put together by the club’s Ladies Section and it is part of efforts to raise the level of the sport by the Executive Committee led by Lady Captain MaryRose Richard-Obioha,” she said.

Ikwue disclosed that top Nigerian professional golfers would also be available at the clinic which ends on Aug. 6 to offer life skills training to the children and youths.

“This is with a view of not only integrating them into the game but the society in general.

“Golf is a game of rules and in as much as there will be many rules for the children to learn, we will also want them to know about service to humanity, country and fellow golfers.”

Ikwue stated that more than 70 children and teenagers, whose ages range from five to 18, have so far registered and the organisers believed that more are still coming.

She added that the club’s ladies have traditionally always arranged this summer development clinic for over a decade now.

“The section has tried to sustain the developmental programme with the aim of discover potential young golfers.

“This is because the clinic is to catch them young and groom them so as to become assets for their parents and Nigeria as a whole.”

Ikwue however lamented the difficulties in getting sponsors as some of the letters sent out did not receive any response.

She nonetheless thanked the Nigeria Content Development and Monitoring Board, Rotary Club, as well as members of the club for their support.

NAN

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Workers’ welfare: FG to ensure implementation of projects

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By Gistflash News

July 22, 2021

The Federal Government on Thursday, expressed its commitment to the effective implementation of projects that would improve the welfare of civil servants in the country.

Dr Folasade Yemi-Esan, the Head of Civil Service of the Federation (HCSF), said this at the inauguration and handing over of erosion/flooding control, and road improvement work at Ama Pepple Public Servants’ Estate, FCT.

Yemi-Esan said that the project was one of the 7th ecological interventions, approved by President, Muhammadu Buhari, for 3rd and 4th quarters of 2019.

She said that the government had in pursuance of this goal, also implemented a project named the Federal Integrated Staff Housing (FISH) programme.

The HCSF explained that the FISH Programme was designed to provide quality and affordable housing for public servants, in line with the Federal Government’s Housing Policy.

According to her, the government is working assiduously to make the lives of public servants better.

“We are also working to provide critical infrastructure in estates built for civil servants under the FISH project.

“Necessary action has been taken to reposition the FISH programme. So, we are working very hard to ensure that public and civil servants live in comfortable homes.

“The Federal Government is determined to pursue and implement projects aimed at ensuring the wellbeing of citizens, and also looking for better opportunities for economic growth of the country,’’ she said.

Yemi-Esan, however, implored residents of the estate to cherish the project by desisting from indiscriminate dumping of refuse, in order to ensure its sustainability.

“Having successfully completed this project, the living standard of the residents will be enhanced. This will also reduce dangers of erosion and persistent flooding that had been experienced here in recent times.

“The execution of projects across the country also demonstrates the sincerity of purpose by the present administration towards entrenching justice, equity and fair play to all and sundry,’’ she said.

She commended Ecological Fund Office (EFO), the project contractor; Diamond Global Engineering Investment Ltd and the project consultant; Enplan Group Ltd, for their doggedness in ensuring speedy completion of the project.

Dr Habiba Lawal, the Permanent Secretary of EFO, said that the project was initiated through a request for an urgent intervention, forwarded to the EFO by the Chairman of the estate.

Lawal said that the request was to arrest the continued erosion, flooding and other ecological challenges, as well as to prevent further environmental degradation, loss of lives and properties in the estate.

She said that the completion of the project was made possible through the efforts of the project contractor and consultant, which worked tirelessly to ensure that minimal time in the project implementation was achieved.

Dr Gaga Ali, the Chairman of the estate, who spoke on behalf of the residents, thanked the Federal Government and EFO officials for their effort sin making sure that the project was duly implemented.

Ali appealed to the government to construct an access road to the estate, as according to him, each year residents repair the road, it deteriorates due to erosion.

Also, Alhaji Mohamed Bello, the Managing Director, Diamond Global Engineering Investment Ltd, said that the job was to be executed within six months, but was completed in four months.

Bello said that the project was executed during the rainy season, and that in spite of the horrible state of the road and the season, the contractors were able to ensure the delivery of a quality project.

NAN

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