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British Prime Minister Appoints Nigerian as Minister

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A Nigerian, Kemi Badenoch, was on Saturday, appointed the junior minister for Children and Families by the new British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson.

Badenoch acknowledged the appointment on her verified Twitter handle on Monday, where she said, “I’m humbled to have been appointed a junior minister at the DfE. A huge privilege to be able to serve and make a positive difference on a number of issues close to my heart. I look forward to working with the ministerial team and everyone at @educationgovuk.”

Badenoch who spent her childhood Lagos, Nigeria, and the United States of America was born in Wimbledon, London to Nigerian parents who are medical doctor and a physiology professor. She later relocated to the United Kingdom at 16. She has been the MP for Saffron Walden since 2017 after replacing Nadhim Zawahi.

She is software and IT engineer. She studied systems engineering at Sussex University and also has a law degree. She has worked in the banking sector for Coutts and RBS.

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Governor Sanwo-Olu Receives Prince Harry & Meghan Markle (Photos) 

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Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, received the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, on Sunday.

The British Royal couple was received by Governor Sanwo-Olu; his wife, Dr. Ibijoke, and some members of the State Executive Council during a courtesy visit at Lagos House, Marina.

Prince Harry, accompanied by his wife, Meghan, is on a three-day visit to Nigeria to promote the Invictus Games, which he founded in 2014. The couples had a stopover in Lagos on Sunday.

The Invictus Games are aimed at raising funds and supporting serving members of the military as well as veterans to overcome their physical and mental illness or injuries, which would help them to develop a sense of belonging and increased self-esteem.

Speaking to journalists after a closed door meeting with Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, Governor Sanwo-Olu praised the British Royal couple for the work they are doing with Nigeria’s military men, especially on issues around mental health.

He said: “We are honoured to receive them (Prince Harry and Meghan Markle) at the Lagos House, Marina. We are excited about the ideas and what they are planning to do, especially with the office of the Chief of Defense Staff, General Christopher Musa, and his wife, Mrs. Lilian Musa.

“For Prince Harry, it has been a very interesting and informative trip to the country. He has seen a lot. And part of the things we are hoping he will take away is the diversity and extent of how big our country is, how we continue to ensure that we live together in peace and harmony, and what role Lagos plays in the whole conversation.

“They have been to Kano, Abuja, and now Lagos. I am sure they have their own experience of what Nigeria looks like. We have extended an additional invitation to them that they can always come back when they want to.

“We are indeed happy for what they are doing, especially for our military men, on the conversation around mental health issues and how they can galvanise their various NGOs to ensure that people who require their support, both in the military and private, can seek that support.

“Mental health issues are all around us. Denial and stigmatisation, are some of the things we talked about. And more importantly, at what point in Nigeria can we have the Invictus Games that Prince Harry is known for so that the true Nigerian competitiveness can also be reflected in those games”

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US Announces African Infrastructure Venture Amid China’s Belt and Road Scrutiny

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In recent developments, the United States has announced plans to embark on its own infrastructure project in Africa, particularly in Zambia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Angola. This initiative aims to refurbish and extend the Lobito Corridor, a railway system that will stretch through mineral-rich regions, linking Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo to an Atlantic port in Angola.

This move comes at a time when China’s efforts to expand its influence in Africa through infrastructure investments, notably its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), have faced scrutiny. Despite China’s investments, criticisms have emerged regarding the sustainability and completion of projects, prompting a shift in focus towards more manageable and sustainable initiatives.

The U.S, in collaboration with the European Union and African nations, is taking a proactive approach to ensure the success of the Lobito Corridor project. Key aspects include the involvement of private partners like the Africa Finance Corp., plans for long-term operation and maintenance, and capacity development strategies. This signifies a departure from past approaches and a commitment to transparent and sustainable infrastructure development.

Reflecting on China’s BRI, the U.S initiative seeks to learn from past experiences and avoid pitfalls encountered in previous projects. While China denies accusations of creating spheres of influence through its initiatives, concerns persist regarding the social, environmental, and economic impacts of its projects.

As the Lobito Corridor project progresses, attention is drawn to its potential connection with existing Chinese-built railways in the region, such as the Tazara railway linking Zambia and Tanzania. While the specifics are yet to be determined, the focus remains on practical and sustainable solutions that promote economic growth and benefit local communities.

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AstraZeneca Withdraws COVID Vaccine Months After Admitting Strange Side Effect

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According to The Telegraph, AstraZeneca has acknowledged that its vaccine, originally known as Covishield, may lead to uncommon side effects such as blood clots and decreased blood platelet levels.

This acknowledgement followed a class action lawsuit in the UK alleging that the vaccine was responsible for fatalities and significant harm, with claims seeking damages totaling up to £100m on behalf of approximately 50 affected individuals.

“It is admitted that the AZ vaccine can, in very rare cases, cause TTS. The causal mechanism is not known,” AstraZeneca said in court documents in February, the newspaper reported.

TTS, short for Thrombosis with Thrombocytopenia Syndrome, manifests as blood clots alongside diminished blood platelet levels in humans. AstraZeneca’s vaccine, a product of collaboration between Oxford University and the Serum Institute of India, saw widespread use in more than 150 nations, including the UK and India.

Initially hailed for its purported effectiveness of 60 to 80 percent against the novel coronavirus, subsequent investigations revealed its potential to trigger life-threatening blood clotting issues in some recipients.

This revelation starkly contrasted AstraZeneca’s previous stance in 2023, when it adamantly denied any connection between the vaccine and TTS.

The World Health Organization echoed concerns about the vaccine’s adverse effects, acknowledging rare instances of Thrombosis with Thrombocytopenia Syndrome, marked by severe and uncommon blood clotting events alongside reduced platelet counts, occurring post-vaccination.

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