Wednesday, January 13, 2021
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What we know about the spread of Covid among children — and whether shutting schools reduces the risk

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The science around the link between children and the spread of the coronavirus is still evolving, but a growing body of evidence seems to suggest that kids attending school do play an important role in community transmission.

It comes at a time when the resurgent spread of Covid-19 has prompted most of Europe to adopt the strictest level of public health measures, with many countries in the region shutting schools as part of a broader plan to curb infection rates and alleviate the strain on already stressed health facilities.

The polarizing issue of whether schools should stay open is far from clear cut, with the World Health Organization urging policymakers to be guided by a risk-based approach to maximize the benefit for the population.

School closures have a clear negative impact on children’s health, the United Nations health agency has warned, citing setbacks to children’s education and development, family income and the overall economy.

At present, the exact timing of how long schools will need to remain a least partially closed, and when they may be able to fully re-open, remains to be seen.

 

The study estimated that a reduction of 1% in human mobility predicted a 0.88% to 1.11% reduction in daily reported Covid cases, underscoring the effectiveness of shutting schools to slow the spread of the virus. It analyzed telecommunication data consisting of 1.5 billion trips taken by Swiss residents between Feb. 10 to April 26 last year.

“Studies from interventions across hundreds of countries across the globe have consistently shown that school closures are associated with a reduction in R, and openings with an increase,” Dr. Deepti Gurdasani, clinical epidemiologist at Queen Mary University of London, told CNBC via email.

The so-called “R” rate, or reproduction rate, refers to the average number of secondary Covid infections produced by a single infected person.

What measures can be put in place to reduce risk?

In the U.K., schools for the large majority of children in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are expected to remain closed for the coming weeks. And QMU’s Gurdasani said data within England has previously shown that Covid cases drop during points of school closure, such as during mid-semester vacations.

Referencing data from the U.K.’s Office of National Statistics, she added children aged between 2 and 11 had been found to be twice as likely as adults to be patient zero in the household, while those aged between 12 to 16 were seven times as likely to bring infection into the family home.

The ONS examined household data within England between April and November last year. It also found that, once infected, children aged between 2 and 16 were twice as likely to infect household contacts when compared with adults over 17.

“In light of this, it’s crucial that governments introduce mitigatory measures in schools, including smaller class and bubble sizes, better ventilation and air filtration with monitoring, mask use, social distancing, hygiene and use of large empty spaces to reduce risk,” Gurdasani said.

“Acknowledging the impact of schools on community transmission is crucial to ensuring we minimise risk of transmission within schools, as well as from schools into the community.”

What’s the risk to young people?

The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) has said, where an epidemiological investigation has occurred, Covid transmission in schools has accounted for a minority of all Covid cases in a given country.

The EU agency highlights that most children do not develop symptoms when infected with Covid and if symptoms do develop, they tend to be a very mild form of the disease.

That’s not to say cases of critical illness have not been reported for children. The WHO says children under the age of 18 represent approximately 8.5% of reported cases. And, as with adults, pre-existing medical conditions have been suggested as a factor for severe disease outcomes and admission to intensive care.

What does the ECDC recommend?

“If appropriate measures are implemented in schools to reduce the possibility for the virus to spread, it is unlikely that school settings will play a substantial role in transmission,” the ECDC says on its website. “Moreover, schools are an essential part of society and children’s lives.”

The agency added: “Widespread school closures should be seen as a last resort, and only considered after other measures have been put in place within the community to contain the spread of the disease.”

Late last month, a review by the ECDC found that the return of schoolchildren in mid-August last year did not appear to have been the driving force in the upsurge in cases observed in many EU states experienced during the fall.

Further studies to understand the risk of infection in children and to assess the transmission of the age group are ongoing.

 

Ndubuisi Kanu, Ex-military Gov, Dies At 77

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Former Military Governor of Lagos and Imo States, Rear Admiral Ndubuisi Kanu (retd.), has died at 77.

This was confirmed on Wednesday to The PUNCH by Kanu’s associate and ally, Mrs Joe Okei-Odumakin.

“I can confirm that he has passed on. This is very sad news. A statement will be issued soon,” she said.

The cause of his death could not be immediately confirmed.

Kanu, who was appointed into the Supreme Military Council headed by the late Head of State, Gen. Murtala Muhammed in 1975, later became a human rights activist after leaving the military.

He joined the pro-democracy movement, NADECO, and played a leading role in the agitation for the actualisation of the annulled June 12, 1993, presidential election.

ROAD TO GAMBIA PRESIDENCY: DR. ISMAILA CEESAY, TALKS ABOUT HIS JOURNEY SO FAR…

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Dr. Ismaila Ceesay is senior Lecturer and head of the Political Science department at the University of The Gambia (UTG), and a candidate to become the next President of The Gambia. Since 2010, I have taught undergraduate and postgraduate courses to hundreds of Gambian students, helping to shape the minds of future civil servants, small-business owners and teachers. I am the founder and current director of the MSc program in International Relations and Diplomacy at UTG.

For more information, get a copy of our PRTIMES AFRICA Magazine Special Edition

Congress affirms Joe Biden’s Electoral College victory after pro-Trump riot at Capitol

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Congress finalized President-elect Joe Biden’s election win early Thursday morning after a fraught and tumultuous day in which rioters stormed the Capitol, bringing the proceedings to a standstill and the building under siege for more than five hours.

With lawmakers’ nerves rattled and their passions inflamed by the attack on the seat of U.S. government, the House and Senate both rejected Republican objections to the Electoral College count – one focused on Arizona’s votes and a second on Pennsylvania’s.

The House and Senate votes to quash the objections came after intense debates in the two chambers over the strength of American democracy – and after many hours of chaos at the Capitol, during which lawmakers were sequestered in secure locations while police tried to regain control of the building.

In the wake of the riot, several Republicans dropped their planned bids to block the formal recognition of Biden’s electoral victory, saying the violence made them reconsider.

“The violence, the lawlessness and siege of the halls of Congress are abhorrent and stand as a direct attack on the very institution my objection was intended to protect: the sanctity of the American democratic process,” said Sen. Kelly Loeffler, a Georgia Republican who had planned to object to the Nov. 3 election results from her home state. Loeffler lost her runoff election on Tuesday to Democrat Raphael Warnock.

But others pressed ahead with what their colleagues described as a dangerous gambit that would only serve to undermine Americans’ confidence in the electoral system and fuel President Donald Trump’s false claims that the election was fraudulent – an assertion that has been repeatedly debunked and rejected by courts, election officials and state leaders.

In the Senate, more than 90 senators voted against excluding Arizona and Pennsylvania’s vote certifications, but a half-dozen Republicans voted in support of the move. Among them: Republican Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas, Josh Hawley of Missouri, Cindy Hyde-Smith of Mississippi, John Kennedy of Louisiana, Roger Marshall of Kansas and Tommy Tuberville of Alabama.

In the House, Republicans were more divided. More than 100 of the chamber’s 211 GOP members voted to support the objections, while 64 joined the Democratic majority to defeat the measures.

The debate was not a presentation of new evidence or facts; some Republicans insisted they were not trying to overturn the election but rather were reflecting their constituents concerns about alleged fraud.

“I rise in hopes of improving the integrity of the ballot,” said Marshall, who was sworn in for his first term earlier this week. He provided no evidence of fraud and no reason the state’s results should be rejected.

Critics said Trump sowed doubt about the results and the GOP objections fueled the president’s false assertions. Trump’s own appointees have said there is no evidence to support his claims that the election was rigged against him.

Indeed, many Republicans slammed the objections and said Wednesday’s violence and riots showed the danger of such tactics.

“We gather due to a selfish man’s injured pride, and the outrage of supporters who he has deliberately misinformed for the past two months,” said Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah.

Romney called the attack on the Capitol “an insurrection incited by the president” and said those supporting Trump’s false claims would be judged harshly.

“Those who choose to continue to support his dangerous gambit by objecting to the results of a legitimate democratic election will forever be seen as being complicit in an unprecedented attack against our democracy,” he said. “That will be their legacy.”

There was bipartisan condemnation for the rioters who disrupted the proceedings Wednesday afternoon.

“Today was a dark day in the history of the United States Capitol,” Vice President Mike Pence, serving in his role as president of the Senate, said as he resumed the session just after 8 p.m. ET. “We condemn the violence that took place here in the strongest possible terms. We grieve the loss of life in these hallowed halls as well as those injured in our Capitol today.”

“To those who wreaked havoc in our Capitol today: You did not win.”

Pence ended his comments saying, “Let’s get back to work.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi reconvened the House about an hour later, promising, “Our purpose will be accomplished.”

“We must and will show to the country, and indeed to the world, that we will not be diverted from our duty, that we will respect our responsibilities to the Constitution and to the American people.”

“To those who strove to deter us from our responsibility, you have failed,” Pelosi said. “To those who engaged in the gleeful discretion in this — our temple of democracy, American democracy — justice will be done.”

Even as lawmakers gathered in the House and Senate’s stately chambers, a phalanx of law enforcement officials from multiple agencies — some in tactical gear and carrying automatic weapons — were stationed outside and scattered across the Capitol grounds. They continued working to disperse the crowd outside who had gathered in support of Trump.

“They tried to disrupt our democracy,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said. “They failed. They failed. This failed insurrection only underscores how crucial the task before us is for our republic.”

Sen. Chuck Schumer, the top Democrat in the chamber, said the day would “live forever in infamy” along with other watershed events.

“This will be a stain on our country, not so easily washed away,” Schumer said. He called the attack on the Capitol “the final terrible, indelible legacy of the 45th president of the United States, undoubtedly our worst.”

“… This mob was in good part President Trump’s doing, incited by his words, his lies,” Schumer said. “This violence in good part is his responsibility, his everlasting shame.”

As the debate got underway, it became clear the riot had altered the tenor and trajectory of the session. The mood at the Capitol was subdued after it was cleared of rioters. Washington’s mayor had imposed a 6 p.m. curfew, and the city’s police chief said 52 individuals had been arrested on weapons charges and other offenses.

The police also said four people died around the Capitol grounds during rioting Wednesday, including one woman who was shot by police and three people who suffered medical emergencies.

“I cannot now in good conscience object to the certification of these voters,” said Loeffler.

In the House, another Republican said she would drop her objections.

“I have decided I will vote to uphold the Electoral College results and I encourage Donald Trump to condemn and put an end to this madness,” said Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash. “What happened today and continues to unfold in the nation’s capital is disgraceful and un-American.”

When the rioters breached the Capitol, lawmakers were in the middle of debating the objection to Arizona’s vote count. The pro-Trump extremists roamed the Capitol, vandalizing offices, sending lawmakers into sequester and threatening to upend a normally routine, uneventful ceremony.

Federal law requires a joint session of Congress meet on Jan. 6 at 1 p.m. after every presidential election to count the Electoral College votes submitted by states. But the law does not contemplate a delay in proceedings. Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris will be sworn in on Jan. 20.

article originally appeared on USA TODAY.

Wike’s message to APC: “Prepare to hand over power to PDP”

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The Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike has urged the Federal Government to prepare to hand over power to the Peoples’ Democratic Party come 2023, noting that Nigerians were yearning for good governance.

Wike made the call during the inauguration of the 11.53 kilometers Agbonchai-Afam road, connecting Eleme and Oyigbo Local Government Areas and performed by the former Senate Majority leader, Ali Ndume on Wednesday.

In a statement signed by his media aide, Kelvin Ebiri, in Port Harcourt. The statement quoted the governor as saying, “To our special guest of honour (Ndume), he should not be angry because we are taking over from them. When they (APC) came, we didn’t fight, they took over. Now that Nigerians have decided to change them, let them also handover to us as quickly as possible without any fight.

“Eleme people, I want to sincerely thank you for the support that you’ve given to me and the PDP. Do not relent. Continue because the hope of this country depends on the PDP.

“Today, we are in Eleme commissioning Agbonchia (in Eleme)-Afam in Oyigbo Local Government Road. This road traverses two Local Government Areas. Nobody will say that we have not come to Rivers East Senatorial District to do anything.

“As I speak to you now, by the end of this month, we are coming back to Alesa Secondary School and Ascension High School. Those schools will be rebuilt completely.

“And because you gave me a good, reliable and trusted person who is my Commissioner of Finance, there is this other road here that needs attention, I will reconstruct it.”

Wike declared that the PDP is working in Rivers and in other states it controls he urged Senator Ndume and the APC to respect the wishes of Nigerians who are determined to return the PDP to power in 2023.

Senator Ndume, who inaugurated the 11.53 kilometers long Eleme-Afam Road said, “Governor Wike is my very good friend, a trusted leader, a very honest person. One thing we have in common is that, as a leader, you must stand out and speak the truth even if you’re alone and Wike is known for that.

“There is new hope for the state and he is Wike. Now, Rivers is not only becoming a Garden City again but it is becoming a Golden City. May God continue to give you (Wike) the strength.”

4 Dead, 52 Arrested After Violent Pro-Trump Capitol Riots

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Officers from Washington, D.C.’s Metropolitan Police Department said Wednesday that 4 people had died in connection with violent riots at the U.S. Capitol. Meanwhile, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser’s office announced the extension of an emergency order within the city which is not expected to expire until after Inauguration Day.

At the apparent urging of President Donald Trump, rioters descended upon the Capitol building on Wednesday seeking to disrupt the Congressional certification of President-elect Joe Biden’s victory in the Electoral College. An undetermined number of rioters stormed the Capitol rotunda and were able to gain access to the offices of some lawmakers. In a Wednesday press conference, D.C. Police Chief Robert Contee said that not only had people been arrested, but 4 individuals had died during the riots.

Contee noted that a woman whose identity has not been released was shot by a Capitol police officer. The individual was “transported to a local hospital where, after all life-saving efforts failed, she was announced deceased.”

Contee added that the shooting was under investigation by the police department’s Internal Affairs Division, “as we investigate all officer-involved deaths in the District of Columbia, including ones from other agencies.”

Three other individuals—one woman and two men—suffered “separate medical emergencies which resulted in their deaths,” Contee said.

More than 52 arrests were made, including 47 violations of the citywide curfew enacted by Mayor Bowser on Wednesday. On Wednesday night, Bowser’s office released a statement announcing the extension of the city’s emergency order.

“First Amendment protests have turned violent,” the statement read. “Many persons came to the District armed and for the purpose of engaging in violence and destruction and have engaged in violence and destruction. They have fired chemical irritants, bricks, bottles, and guns. They have breached the security of the Capitol and their destructive and riotous behavior has the potential to spread beyond the Capitol.”

“Their motivation is ongoing,” the statement continued. “Today, they sought to disrupt the Congressional proceedings relating to the acceptance of electoral college votes. President Trump continues to fan rage and violence by contending that the Presidential election was invalid. Persons are dissatisfied with judicial rulings and the findings of State Boards of Elections, and some persons can be expected to continue their violent protests through the inauguration.”

Under Bowser’s emergency order, authorities are permitted to “disconnect, suspend, or shut-off public utilities,” change business hours or prevent people from traveling if a curfew is enacted and “exercise operational discretion over all District government departments.”

Barring unforeseen circumstances, Biden is expected to be sworn in as the next U.S. President on January 20. According to Biden’s inauguration planning team, the celebration will be conducted in a virtual format. “The parade will celebrate America’s heroes, highlight Americans from all walks of life in different states and regions, and reflect on the diversity, heritage, and resilience of the country as we begin a new American era,”

فنادق ومنتجعات سانت ريجيس تعلن عن افتتاح فندق سانت ريجيس القاهرة

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يتميز الفندق بتصاميم عصرية حديثة وخدمة المساعد الشخصي المميزة في قلب المدينة الصاخبة
CAIRO, مصر, 2021 يناير 6/ —

أعلنت فنادق ومنتجعات سانت ريجيس، العلامة التابعة لماريوت الدولية، عن افتتاح فندق سانت ريجيس القاهرة الذي يتميز بموقعه على ضفاف نهر النيل ليضيف من جمال وفخامة المنطقة. ويقع الفندق في الطرف الشمالي من الكورنيش، إذ يوفر الفندق المكون من ٣٩ طابقًا سهولة الوصول إلى المعالم الأثرية في المدينة الغنية تاريخياً.

وقد حضر حفل الافتتاح معالي السيد على شريف العمادي وزير المالية القطري، والشيخ خالد بن خليفة آل ثاني، رئيس مجلس إدارة شركة الديار القطرية، والمهندس عبد الله بن حمد العطية، الرئيس التنفيذي لشركة الديار القطرية، وستيفن منوشين، وزير الخزانة الأمريكي ومعالي الدكتور محمد معياط وزير المالية المصرى وساتيا أناند، رئيس شركة ماريوت الدولية في منطقة أوروبا والشرق الأوسط وأفريقيا وكبار أعضاء شركة ماريوت العالمية وكبار الشخصيات.

وبهذه المناسبة، قال ساتيا أناند، رئيس شركة ماريوت الدولية في منطقة أوروبا والشرق الأوسط وأفريقيا: “تعد مصر إحدى أسواقنا الرئيسية وذات أهمية استراتيجية لنمونا في المنطقة، كما تعتبر مدينة القاهرة من الوجهات الجاذبة للمسافر العالمي من خلال طاقتها المذهلة التي تقدم مزيجًا حيويًا من التقاليد والتاريخ والثقافة، ويعزز فندق سانت ريجيس القاهرة من مجموعة علاماتنا التجارية الفاخرة، حيث يتميز بتصاميم رائعة وخدمات وتجارب لا مثيل لها”.

قال السيد عبدالله بن حمد العطية الرئيس التنفيذي لشركة الديار القطرية: “يسعدنا تعزيز مجموعتنا العالمية من المشاريع الفندقية مع افتتاح فندق سانت ريجيس القاهرة. سيقدم هذا المعلم الفاخر معايير أعلى للضيافة لهذه الوجهة الجميلة بمستويات لا مثيل لها من الفخامة والخدمة الاستثنائية – وكلاهما تشتهر بهما علامة سانت ريجيس الشهيرة “.

عظمة مصر الحديثة
تميز المهندس المعماري الشهير مايكل جريفز بتصميم فندق سانت ريجيس القاهرة الذي أصبح معلم أساسي في المدينة والمناطق المجاورة، حيث عمل على إضافة عنصر الفخامة والأناقة ليبرز عظمة التصميم الخاص. كما يعد الفندق انعكاسًا رائعًا يجمع ما بين الماضي الغني للمدينة مع مستقبلها النابض بالحياة.

وتتدفق الخطوط الهندسية في جميع أنحاء التصميمات الداخلية بفكرة هيكلية متكررة تشير إلى تراث المنطقة، حيث يمتزج الخشب الداكن والأنسجة الغنية مع الألواح المرصعة بالجواهر والمنحوتات البرونزية والخشبية المغطاة بالذهب وصدف اللؤلؤ، فضلاً عن الثريات الكريستالية التي تشتهر بها مصر. كما تتزين حانة سانت ريجيس بلوحة جدارية مذهلة تسمى “الشمس الوردية”، والتي تشير إلى مصر القديمة وولادة حضارة حديثة.

ويكرم تصميم الفندق بشكل خاص مئات الحرفيين الذين كرسوا وقتهم وأعمالهم اليدوية لإتقان كل التفاصيل التي تقدم رؤية حديثة توفر للضيوف تجارب مميزة.

الإقامة الفخمة
يضم فندق سانت ريجيس القاهرة ٢٨٦غرفة وجناحًا مجهزًا بالكامل و٨٠ شقة فاخرة توفر رفاهية لا مثيل لها. كما يتميز الفندق بثلاثة أجنحة ملكية فخمة، مع مساحات داخلية تشمل صالة رياضة خاصة وساونا ونوافذ ممتدة من الأرض حتى السقف لتوفر إطلالات بانورامية على نهر النيل. وتتمتع جميع غرف الضيوف والأجنحة بخدمة المساعد الشخصي المميزة الخاصة بفنادق سانت ريجيس.

تجارب طهي رائعة
يوفر الفندق تجارب مميزة لتلبية أصحاب الذوق الرفيع، حيث يقدم مجموعة متنوعة من المطاعم والحانات واللاونجات. ويقدم مطعمLa Zisa”    أشهر وأشهى الأطباق الايطالية التقليدية، حيث يمكن للضيوف الاستمتاع بتجربة تناول الطعام الخاصة بهم مع إطلالة مشرقة على نهر النيل، كما يشمل الفندق مطعم “Tianma الذي يأخذ الضيوف في رحلة إلى سنغافورة مع فرصة تجربة نكهات رائعة من الصين والهند وجنوب شرق آسيا. ويقدم مطعم “J&G Steakhouse الشهير مجموعة متطورة من الستيك ، وقطع اللحم الممتازة والأسماك من جميع أنحاء العالم، ويعد مطعم وبار “Sirocco ” الموجود بجانب حمام السباحة المكان المثالي للاستمتاع بكوكتيل مع مجموعة من الأطباق الشرق أوسطية والمصرية. ولعشاق اللاونجات الحضرية والأنيقة، يتميز لاونج” Envy”  الساحر بالتصاميم المرصعة بالجواهر لقضاء ليلة خاصة مع الأصدقاء.

توفر المكتبة المزينة بالقطع الأثرية والمفروشات المريحة والكتب، ركناً هادئاً للضيوف للحصول على قسط من الراحة، في حين تتمتع الحديقة المائية بتصميماتها الداخلية المصرية التاريخية، لتكون المكان المثالي الذي يجتمع فيه النجوم العالميين وغيرهم من الشخصيات المحلية المعروفة، سواء كان ذلك لتناول شاي بعد الظهر المميز أو الاجتماعات المسائية مع الأصدقاء. وتستوحي حانة سانت ريجيس بتصاميمها وأجوائها من حانة King Cole المشهورة والتي تقع في نيويورك، فهي الحانة التي انطلق منها كوكتيل Bloody Mary الشهير عالمياً في عام 1934. ويتميز بمجموعة حصرية من أرقى أنواع الشمبانيا في العالم، والنبيذ العتيق النادر، وغيرها من الكوكتيلات الاستثنائية. الفندق يتميز بكوكتيل Bloody Mary الخاص به المكون من زهرة الكركدية ذات المذاق الرائع.

الاسترخاء والراحة الجسدية
يوفر منتجع اريديوم سبا، جلسات متنوعة للنقاهة والتدليك والتجارب المميزة المخصصة في بيئة هادئة وجذابة، ومن خلال المساحة التي تمتد لأكثر من ألف متر مربع، يضم المركز مناطق للعلاج الحراري ومرافق فريدة بما في ذلك الساونا والبخار وغرفة الجليد ودش الصدمة ودش المغامرة وحمام السباحة. يتميز فندق سانت ريجيس القاهرة أيضاً بنادي رياضي مجهز بكامل المعدات إلى جانب حمام السباحة المغطى و المفتوح.

وجهة الفعاليات الشهيرة
تعد قاعة أستور الرئيسية في الفندق قاعة متعددة الاستخدامات، ومن خلال سلالمها الكبيرة المنحنية التي تحيط بثريا سواروفسكي المهيبة بشكل لافت للنظر وسقفها العالي المكون من ثلاثة طوابق، يمكن تنظيم جميع المناسبات بما في ذلك حفلات الزفاف أو الاحتفالات والاجتماعات، وتبلغ مساحة القاعة 990 متراً مربعاً وتتسع لما يصل إلى ألف ضيف. كما يضم الفندق عشرة قاعات مخصصة للاجتماعات الأصغر حجماً والتي تضم أحدث التقنيات المطلوبة لتنظيم الاجتماعات.

ويستعد الفندق من خلال ممراته الرائعة والأماكن الأنيقة والذوق الرفيع، لاستضافة مختلف المناسبات المجتمعية والثقافية موفراً لكل من هذه المناسبات خدمات مخصصة ومناسبة لها ولتعكس الاهتمام الكبير الذي تقدمه فنادق سانت ريجيس العالمية. كما يحقق الفندق من خلال مزج هذه المساحات ، التوازن الطبيعي بين المناسبات الكبيرة والمهمة، وليخلق أجواء رائعة لضيوفه.

RCA: situação “relativamente calma” após resultados provisórios de eleição

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A Minusca informou que existem combatentes armados na cidade de Bangassou, mas as forças de paz da missão estão patrulhando a área
NEW YORK, Estados Unidos da América, 6 de janeiro 2021/ — Missão da ONU na República Centro-Africana, Minusca, fala em combatentes armados em Bangassou, onde patrulhas tentam proteger civis; segundo agências de notícias, president Faustin Archange Touadera ganhou votação de 27 de dezembro.

A Missão da ONU na República Centro Africana, Minusca, disse que a situação de segurança na capital do país, Bangui, permanece relativamente calma.

Na segunda-feira, a Autoridade Eleitoral Nacional anunciou os resultados provisórios das eleições de 27 de dezembro, que teriam sido vencidas pelo presidente Faustin Archange Touadera, segundo agências de notícias.

Segurança 
A Minusca informou que existem combatentes armados na cidade de Bangassou, mas as forças de paz da missão estão patrulhando a área.

Na segunda-feira, o subsecretário-geral das Operações de Paz, Jean-Pierre Lacroix, juntamente com altos funcionários da União Africana, da Comissão Económica dos Estados da África Central, Cedeao, e da União Europeia foram informados do resultado.

Em declaração conjunta, eles lembraram que o Tribunal Constitucional do país irá proclamar os números finais e apelaram a todos os atores políticos para que respeitem as decisões do Tribunal.

Os altos funcionários afirmaram que os cidadãos centro-africanos “demonstraram a sua determinação em exercer o seu direito de voto, apesar dos muitos obstáculos” e reiteraram seu apelo para que as disputas se resolvam pacificamente e de acordo com a lei.

Eles exortaram também o governo nacional e toda a classe política a “favorecer um diálogo político inclusivo, aberto, construtivo e credível para promover a estabilidade nacional.”

Divisão 
As autoridades condenaram “veementemente os discursos e declarações de desinformação, ódio e incitamento à violência, bem como a violência perpetrada por certos grupos armados com o objetivo de comprometer o processo eleitoral.”

Eles destacaram ainda violações do Acordo de Paz cometidas por grupos armados e pediram que todas as partes honrem seus compromissos.

Lacroix e os outros representantes pediram ainda o relançamento do processo de paz, com destaque para prestação de contas porque “a impunidade não é uma opção viável.”

A reforma legal angolana mostra como África pode usar o petróleo e o gás como um trampolim para a criação de emprego – mas só se for além das opções mais óbvias (Por NJ Ayuk)

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Os recursos de petróleo e gás de África têm potencial para produzir tantas transformações positivas para as pessoas do continente
LUANDA, Angola, 6 de janeiro 2021/ — Por NJ Ayuk, Presidente Executivo, Câmara Africana de Energia (https://EnergyChamber.org)

Durante décadas, muitos dos países produtores de petróleo e gás de África seguiram um padrão previsível. Eles trataram o seu petróleo e gás maioritariamente como matérias-primas que poderiam ser vendidas no exterior com um lucro rápido, em vez de como um meio de apoiar esforços para fazer mudanças mais duradouras na economia do país como um todo.

Esse padrão teve consequências desastrosas. Desencorajou o investimento nas capacidades locais e fomentou o desenvolvimento de acordos segundo os quais a maioria dos residentes dos estados produtores não conseguia ver como as grandes quantias de dinheiro ganhas com as exportações de petróleo e gás estavam a melhorar as suas vidas. Por outras palavras, permitiu que a maior parte das receitas de hidrocarbonetos fluísse de volta para os escritórios das empresas internacionais de petróleo (IOCs) ou para as empresas nacionais de petróleo (NOCs) que transferiram fundos para os governos locais – e, em muitos casos, para os próprios funcionários do governo, tal como para os seus amigos e familiares.

Os africanos já perceberam que apostar simplesmente nas exportações de petróleo não traz os melhores resultados. Eles já sabem que essa prática ignora a necessidade de investimentos de longo prazo e promove a corrupção.

Mas a corrupção não é o único problema. Os africanos também sabem que este padrão de foco em exportações de matérias primas não é suficiente para colocar as suas economias no caminho do crescimento de longo prazo e mantê-las lá.

Por outras palavras, os africanos sabem que os velhos hábitos não criam empregos.

Pelo menos, não criam um número grande de empregos. Ou talvez não criem empregos que durem o suficiente ou tenham impacto suficiente para produzir uma mudança real.

E por que há de ser assim? Os recursos de petróleo e gás de África têm potencial para produzir tantas transformações positivas para as pessoas do continente – e isso inclui a criação de oportunidades de formação e emprego em vários setores, o que é uma das chaves para o crescimento económico sustentável. Isso pode ser feito através do aproveitamento estratégico do petróleo e do gás para monetizar as cadeias de valor e diversificar as economias. E para fazer isso, precisamos criar um ambiente que permita o lançamento e o sucesso de novos negócios.

Como afirma o relatório 2021 Africa Energy Outlook da Câmara Africana de Energia, “Usar o estímulo proporcionado pelos recursos naturais para estimular empregos noutros setores económicos com maior necessidade de mão-de-obra é onde uma quantidade significativa de empregos pode ser criada.”

Portanto, é hora de expandir a forma como olhamos para os recursos de petróleo e gás de África. Em vez de tratá-los apenas como uma fonte de receita, devemos abordá-los como um caminho para um objetivo muito importante: capacitar os africanos para melhorar as suas próprias vidas.

Conteúdo local para empregos locais

Os africanos entendem a necessidade de se libertarem dos velhos padrões e tentarem enfrentar o desafio com mudanças de políticas. No caso de Angola, tentaram por um fim aos velhos hábitos petrolíferos do passado ao embarcarem numa reforma fundamental do funcionamento do sector. Tal implicou a retirada dos poderes reguladores do sector à petrolífera nacional Sonangol e a sua atribuição à recém-criada Agência Nacional do Petróleo, Gás e Biocombustíveis (ANPG). A reestruturação do sector, que resultou na criação da ANPG e na reorientação da Sonangol, é indiscutivelmente uma das maiores conquistas de SE Diamantino Pedro Azevedo, Ministro dos Recursos Minerais, Petróleo e Gás de Angola que foi contratado para reformar o sector. Isto permitiu à Sonangol embarcar na sua própria reestruturação, no centro da qual está a venda de ativos não essenciais e um redimensionar das obrigações da Sonangol; ser um parceiro competente das operadoras estrangeiras e administrar as suas próprias operações de forma economicamente eficiente. Estas mudanças, embora muito recentes, já deram frutos. A agência recém-criada, sob a presidência do reconhecido especialista da indústria Paulino Jerónimo, agiu rapidamente, para dar início à implementação de novas diretrizes de conteúdo local. Também reorientaram os seus esforços para tornar as novas áreas de exploração em Angola atractiva para investidores, num esforço para travar o declínio esperado da produção, a médio e longo prazo.

Em termos mais gerais, porém, eles também introduziram iniciativas legislativas que visam criar empregos. Em Angola, o governo lançou recentemente um novo regime jurídico para requisitos de conteúdo local, após dois anos de concertação com as várias partes interessadas.

O presidente João Lourenço, que introduziu as novas regras no mês passado, deixou claro o ângulo da criação de empregos. Descreveu o Decreto Presidencial 271/20 como uma forma de promover a participação das entidades comerciais angolanas no desenvolvimento do sector do petróleo e gás. Ele disse que espera que a nova medida incentive as IOCs a obter bens e serviços (incluindo matérias-primas) de fornecedores locais e a substituir especialistas estrangeiros por trabalhadores angolanos.

O Decreto Presidencial 271/20 também sublinha o desejo do governo angolano de fortalecer o empreendedorismo nacional”. Afirma que a assistência técnica estrangeira e os contratos de gestão devem incluir disposições para o estabelecimento de programas detalhados de treino e desenvolvimento profissional e de transferência de experiência e tecnologia.

Formação em vários setores

Tudo isso parece uma boa ideia – e também um plano de ação concreta. O Decreto Presidencial 271/20 não fala apenas sobre o aumento do conteúdo local; também substitui todas as medidas de conteúdo local anteriores aprovadas entre 2003 e 2009. Apresenta uma descrição mais detalhada dos factores que qualificam uma entidade como empresa angolana e define os procedimentos que permitirão ao Governo manter uma lista actualizada das entidades que estão pré-qualificadas para licitar contratos com as IOCs.

Mas irá isto realmente longe o suficiente?

De certa forma, sim. E com isso quero dizer que estou satisfeito por ver que o decreto fala sobre a necessidade de garantir que os trabalhadores angolanos tenham acesso a programas de formação detalhados, eficazes e sofisticados – e sobre a necessidade de incluir disposições sobre esta formação nos contratos de gestão e assistência técnica com empresas estrangeiras.

Por outro lado, porém, gostaria que o presidente Lourenço e o seu governo fossem mais longe. Gostaria que eles pensassem exatamente em que tipo de formação pode servir melhor aos angolanos. Por exemplo, e se eles decidissem dar prioridade à formação em tecnologias da informação (TI) e tecnologia operacional (TO)? Poderiam eles descobrir que os trabalhadores que aprendem a operar os sistemas de controlo usados para maximizar a eficiência de, digamos, gasodutos, também acabam por adquirir as capacidades necessárias para operar equipamentos semelhantes em fábricas? E será que estes trabalhadores acabam por obter algo ainda mais útil, como os conhecimentos necessários para configurar e promover um novo centro de tecnologia que poderia servir como outra nova fonte de empregos?

Uma visão mais abrangente do petróleo e do gás

Também acho que há espaço para Angola ter uma visão mais ampla do petróleo e do gás. Ou seja, penso que o governo deve olhar mais para baixo na cadeia de valor para que as suas novas políticas não enfatizem as operações convencionais de upstream, midstream e downstream (e as formas como as empresas angolanas podem apoiá-las) enquanto negligencia outras oportunidades. O petróleo e o gás não são apenas matérias-primas a serem exportadas. Também podem servir como matéria-prima para a produção de produtos petroquímicos, fertilizantes e outros bens de valor acrescentado. Podem ser usados para alimentar instalações industriais de uso intensivo de energia, como complexos de manufactura. Também podem abastecer centrais eléctricas que expandam o fornecimento de eletricidade doméstica que podem melhorar a vida de clientes residenciais e industriais.

Por sua vez, todas essas novas empresas terão de contratar pessoas. Precisarão de trabalhadores da construção para construir as suas instalações físicas, trabalhadores qualificados e não qualificados para manter as suas instalações em funcionamento, especialistas em TI e TO para operar e manter os sistemas digitais que ajudam a maximizar eficiência, empresas que forneçam serviços como alimentação e transporte, e assim por diante. Em suma, criarão empregos – e, ao fazê-lo, mostrarão que o petróleo e o gás significam algo mais do que matérias-primas exportáveis.

Além disso, se Angola conseguir realizar esta façanha – se puder usar as suas novas políticas para estabelecer uma base para a criação de empregos que inclua e transcenda o petróleo e o gás – estará em posição de mostrar a outros países de África como fazer a mesma coisa. Será capaz de dar um exemplo que inspire os africanos que querem deixar para trás os velhos padrões de desenvolvimento de hidrocarbonetos.

Impacto global e estabilidade de mercado

Por fim, é importante reconhecer o papel que Angola, através do seu Ministro dos Recursos Minerais, Petróleo e Gás, Diamantino Pedro Azevedo, está a desempenhar como presidente da Conferência de Ministros da OPEP. Sem estabilidade de mercado e sem um ambiente realista de preços para o petróleo globalmente, todos os benefícios potenciais da indústria em Angola terão vida curta. O acordo da OPEC Plus de 5 de janeiro de 2021 para permitir que alguns dos seus membros aumentem cautelosamente a produção em fevereiro e março de forma coordenada também se deve ao tato e à experiência de Diamantino. É ainda mais encorajador para os mercados globais de petróleo que a Arábia Saudita esteja a apoiar o atual acordo da OPEP Plus com cortes adicionais próprios. Isso é bom para o setor petrolífero de Angola e para o emprego em Angola.

Siemens Gamesa lance son premier parc éolien en Éthiopie, renforçant ainsi son leadership en Afrique

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Le parc éolien de 100 MW permettra d’alimenter plus de 400,000 foyers éthiopiens en électricité

ADAMA, Éthiopie, 4 janvier 2021/ — L’entreprise va livrer 29 éoliennes SG 3.4-132 à l’entité publique Ethiopian Electric Power (EEP) pour le projet Assela; le parc éolien de 100 MW permettra d’alimenter plus de 400,000 foyers éthiopiens en électricité; le parc éolien devrait être opérationnel au printemps 2023 et permettra d’économiser plus de 260,000 tonnes d’émissions de CO2 par an.

Siemens Gamesa (www.SiemensGamesa.com) a conclu son premier projet d’énergie éolienne en Éthiopie, renforçant ainsi son leadership en Afrique, étant donné que le pays commence à développer sa capacité d’énergie verte afin d’atteindre des objectifs ambitieux liés aux énergies renouvelables.

Le parc éolien Assela de 100 MW sera situé entre les villes d’Adama et d’Assela, à environ 150 km au sud de la capitale, Addis-Abeba, et contribuera à la production d’une énergie propre et économique pour le réseau électrique du pays.

Le pays s’est fixé une ambition : fournir 100 % de sa demande énergétique domestique en exploitant les énergies renouvelables d’ici 2030. Selon la Banque Africaine de Développement, l’Éthiopie dispose en effet de ressources abondantes, notamment éoliennes avec un potentiel de 10 GW de capacité d’installation, ayant déployé 324 MW à l’heure actuelle.

“Siemens Gamesa a l’intention d’étendre son leadership dans toute l’Afrique et, ainsi, contribuer à une transition croissante vers l’énergie verte à travers le continent. Nous sommes donc extrêmement ravis de démarrer notre travail en Éthiopie et nous envisageons de collaborer avec l’EEP et le pays pour poursuivre la promotion de leur volonté d’installer plus d’énergies renouvelables et d’atteindre les objectifs en matière d’énergie transformationnelle”, a déclaré Roberto Sabalza, Directeur Onshore dans la région Europe du Sud et Afrique chez Siemens Gamesa.

Une étude de Wood Mackenzie prévoit qu’environ 2 GW d’énergie éolienne seront installés en Éthiopie d’ici 2029.

Le parc éolien sera composé de 29 éoliennes SG 3.4-132 et devrait être opérationnel au début de l’année 2023. Le projet produira environ 300 000 MWh par an. Siemens Gamesa assurera l’ingénierie complète, les approvisionnements et la construction clé en main.

Le projet éolien Assela sera financé par le ministère danois des affaires étrangères via Danida Business Finance (DBF), en complément d’un accord de prêt signé entre le ministère éthiopien des finances et de la coopération économique (MoFEC) et Danske Bank A/S.

L’Éthiopie dispose de nombreuses ressources renouvelables couvrant l’éolien, le solaire, la géothermie et la biomasse, et le pays aspire à devenir un centre d’énergie et la batterie de la Corne de l’Afrique. Le programme national pour l’électrification, lancé en 2017, prévoit d’atteindre un accès universel d’ici 2025 grâce à des solutions hors-réseau pour 35 % de la population.

Siemens Gamesa compte parmi les leaders mondiaux de l’industrie éolienne, avec une forte présence dans tous les volets du secteur des énergies renouvelables : Offshore, Onshore et Services. Avec plus de 107 GW installés dans le monde entier, Siemens Gamesa est un partenaire idéal pour l’Éthiopie à ce moment critique de l’accélération du parcours énergétique de ce pays d’Afrique de l’Est.