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Coronavirus Vaccine Could Be Ready In A Month — Donald Trump

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US President Donald Trump said Tuesday that a coronavirus vaccine may be available within a month, an acceleration of even his own optimistic predictions but added that the pandemic could go away by itself.

“We’re very close to having a vaccine,” he told a town hall question-and-answer session with voters in Pennsylvania aired on ABC News.

“We’re within weeks of getting it you know — could be three weeks, four weeks,” he said.

Only hours earlier, speaking to Fox News, Trump had said a vaccine could come in “four weeks, it could be eight weeks.”

Democrats have expressed concern that Trump is putting political pressure on government health regulators and scientists to approve a rushed vaccine in time to help turn around his uphill bid for reelection against challenger Joe Biden on November 3.

Experts including top US government infectious diseases doctor Anthony Fauci say vaccine approval is more likely toward the end of the year.

At the ABC town hall, Trump was asked why he’d downplayed the gravity of the Covid-19 pandemic, which has now killed close to 200,000 people in the US.

Trump replied by saying: “I didn’t downplay it. I actually, in many ways, I up-played it in terms of action.”

But Trump himself told journalist Bob Woodward during taped interviews for the new book “Rage” — published Tuesday — that he had deliberately decided to “play it down” to avoid alarming Americans.

Returning to one of his most controversial views on the virus, that has ravaged the economy and which government scientists say will remain a danger for some time, Trump insisted “it is going to disappear.”

“It would go away without the vaccine but it’s going to go away a lot faster with it,” he said.

Challenged about how the virus would go away by itself, he said “you’ll develop like a herd mentality,” apparently meaning the concept of herd immunity when enough people have developed resistance to the disease to effectively stop transmission.

“It’s going to be herd developed and that’s going to happen. That will all happen but with a vaccine, I think it will go away very quickly. But I really believe we’re rounding the corner,” he said.

The president, who is rarely seen wearing a mask in public and long refused to push Americans to adopt the habit, said “a lot of people don’t want to wear masks and people don’t think masks are good.”

Asked what people he meant, Trump answered: “Waiters.”

“They come over and they serve you and they have a mask,” he said. “I saw it the other day when they were serving me and they’re playing with the mask. I’m not blaming them. I’m just saying what happens: They’re playing with the mask. So the mask is over, and they’re touching it, and then they’re touching the plate, and that can’t be good.”

Polls show that a majority of Americans disapprove of Trump’s handling of the health crisis.

The latest NBC News|SurveyMonkey Weekly Tracking poll Tuesday found that 52 percent of adults do not trust Trump’s statements about an upcoming coronavirus vaccine, compared to 26 percent who do.

 

(AFP)

BIG STORY

JUST IN: Many Missing As Truck Plunges Into Lagos River

Gbemileke Ajayi

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Many people have been declared missing after a truck fell off the Berger bridge into the Epe river in Lagos State on Friday night.

As at the time of filing this report, the number of persons in the truck was unknown.

However, the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA) confirmed the incident on Saturday.

Head, Public Affairs of LASEMA, Nosa Okunbor, said search and rescue operations are ongoing.

More to come.

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‘Jail Me But Set Him Free’ — Foreign Activist Writes Buhari Over 13-Year-Old Sentenced For Blasphemy In Kano

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Piotr Cywinski

Piotr Cywinski, director of Auschwitz Memorial in Poland, says he is ready to be imprisoned in Nigeria so that Umar Farouq, a 13-year-old boy sentenced for blasphemy, can regain freedom.

A Sharia court in Kano had convicted Farouq for “using disparaging language on Allah” during a disagreement with his friend.

In a letter dated September 25 and addressed to President Muhammadu Buhari, Cywinski sought pardon for Farouq.

He said if Buhari is unable to facilitate the teenager’s release, he and 119 volunteers would serve a month in a Nigerian prison on Farouq’s behalf.

“I permit myself to write to you personally about a young boy named Omar Farouq, who was convicted recently in a Sharia court in Kano State in north-west Nigeria after being accused of blasphemy used during an argument with a friend,” he said.

“I wish to request the pardon of this 13-year-old boy. Regardless of what he said, he cannot be treated as fully aware and responsible, given his age.

“If it turns out that the words of this child absolutely require 120 months of imprisonment, and even you are not able to change that, I suggest that in place of the child, 120 adult volunteers from all over the world, gathered by us myself personally among them should each serve a month in a Nigerian prison.

“In total, the price for the child’s transgression will be the same, and we will all avoid the worst.

“If you agree to grant clemency, or to the above proposal in lieu of punishment, I will make an attempt to provide financial help for the boy’s proper education. This way, instead of a destroyed young man, Nigeria will gain an aware and educated young citizen.

“You will undoubtedly agree with the statement that human rights begin with the rights of the child. I kindly ask you to consider my proposal favorably.”

Cywinski’s request came days after the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) appealed to the Kano state government to reverse the jail sentence.

Auschwitz Memorial preserves the remains of the German Nazi concentration and extermination camp, where children were imprisoned and murdered.

Adolf Hitler, the late leader of Nazi Germany, reportedly oversaw the killing of 6 million Jews.

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Don’t Join Nationwide Strike, FG Warns Civil Servants

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Folasade Yemi-Esan, head of the civil service of the federation, has warned workers under the federal government not to join the planned strike by labour unions across the country, scheduled to begin on Monday.

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Trade Union Congress (TUC), and its affiliate unions had enjoined workers to embark on an indefinite strike, pending when the federal government reverses the price of petrol and electricity tariff.

In a statement on Friday, Yemi-Esan said the federal government is in talks with the labour unions towards ensuring that all agitations by the workers are resolved.

She, however, added that the workers cannot embark on the industrial action because there is a court injunction restraining them from doing so.

“Sequel to the call by the Labour Unions for workers to embark on industrial action from Monday, 28th September 2020, the Office of the Head of Civil Service of the Federation (OHCSF) wishes to inform all public servants that the Federal Government team is currently engaging with the Labour Unions with a view to resolving all contentious issues and avert the planned industrial action,” she said.

“Furthermore, it is important to note that there is a court injunction granted by the National Industrial Court (Suit No. NICN/ABJ/253/2020) on 24th September 2020, restraining the Nigeria Labour Congress and Trade Union Congress of Nigeria from embarking on any form of industrial action pending the hearing and determination of a Motion on Notice.

“Accordingly, all officers on Grade Level 12 and above and those on essential services are hereby strongly advised to be at work to perform their official duties.”

In two separate rulings, the National Industrial Court had restrained the labour unions from embarking on the strike.

Meanwhile, other unions such as the National Union of Banks, Insurance and Financial Institutions Employees (NUBIFIE), the Joint Action Front (JAF), Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN), aviation unions, among others, have declared their interest to join in the strike.

 

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