BusinessDay

Five things to know to start your Wednesday

Aviation fuel crisis: FG admits having no short-term solution

The Federal Government, through Hadi Sirika, minister of aviation, has admitted that it is overwhelmed by the fuel crisis rocking the aviation industry, and there are no immediate solutions to the problem on the horizon.

The Minister stated this during an emergency meeting with the Airline Operators Association of Nigeria in Abuja Tuesday.

He said that the variables influencing the aviation sector crises are beyond the industry’s control, so there is no short-term solution, but that the government is working on a permanent solution.

Sirika emphasised that solutions include “importing the product at a reasonable price, accelerating the refurbishment of local refineries, and waiting for the Dangote Refinery to come online to increase product supply.”

Sirika revealed further that the Federal Government has previously sourced 10,000 metric tonnes of aviation fuel for airlines, and that the government is willing to do more, but that a solution cannot be found soon.

He promised to meet with relevant stakeholders, including the CBN, so that the airlines could access dollars at official market rates rather than black market rates.

NLC to FG: Act early to avoid a national strike.

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) warned yesterday that the Federal Government (FG) must act quickly to avoid a total economic shutdown.

Yesterday, the NLC and its affiliates took to the streets in city centers across the country in solidarity protest with the Academic Staff Union of Universities, to underline ASUU’s five-month old strike.

The unions carried placards that read, among other things, “No lecture, no development,” “Nigeria must prioritize education,” “No school, no 2023 election,” and “Nigeria at 60 years of independence: More hunger in the land.”

Ayuba Wabba, the NLC president, who spoke on Channels Sunrise Daily, said the union will go on strike for three days if the government does not end ASUU’s industrial action.

However, Benjamin Goong, director of press and public relations for the Federal Ministry of Education, said that the NLC’s solidarity protest was ironic given ASUU’s failure to follow the rules.

Goong said: “It is an irony for NLC to join ASUU on any solidarity strike particularly over IPPIS when more than half of the workforce of the NLC is on IPPIS.

Biden to meet Xi Jinping on China-Taiwan tensions

President of the United States Joe Biden will meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping on Thursday for discussions as tensions between China and Taiwan rise, amid reports that Nancy Pelosi, House Speaker is considering a trip to Taiwan.

The expected call comes as national security officials work quietly to persuade Pelosi against the trip, citing the risks her potential trip could pose during a highly sensitive period between the self-governing island and China, CNN reported.

The rift between China and Taiwan has been rising in recent years, driven by differences over the island’s status.

How did the conflict start?

China and Taiwan have been separated since 1949 when the Communists won the Chinese civil war under Mao Zedong’s leadership. The defeated Nationalists, led by Mao’s archrival and Kuomintang (KMT) party chief, Chiang Kai-shek, fled to Taiwan.

Taiwan, which has been self-governing since then, is officially known as the Republic of China, while the mainland is known as the People’s Republic of China.

The Taiwan Strait separates the island from China. It has a democratically elected government and a population of approximately 23 million people.

Beijing has maintained that there is only “one China,” of which Taiwan is a part, for more than seven decades.

Despite the fact that only 14 countries recognise and have official diplomatic relations with Taiwan and that any military conflict could involve the United States due to Washington’s special ties to the island, China is seen putting pressure on countries all over the world to switch allegiance to Beijing and cut diplomatic ties with Taiwan.

Mexico City authorities made biggest cocaine bust in the capital’s history

Authorities in Mexico City seized more than 1.6 metric tonnes (1.8 tonnes) of cocaine stashed on a highway on the city’s outskirts on Tuesday, July 21, 2022, in the largest-ever bust of its kind in the Mexican capital.

Omar Garcia Harfuch, the city’s security chief, described it as “by far the largest cocaine seizure in Mexico City.”

The bust comes two weeks after 14 other cartel-related arrests in Mexico City. Meanwhile, authorities arrested Rafael Caro Quintero, co-founder of the Guadalajara cartel, in the country’s northwestern region.

Hundreds of packets of cocaine, believed to be from Colombia, were also discovered in hidden compartments inside two trailers on the outskirts of the city.

Although Tuesday’s drug haul was a record for Mexico City, massive cocaine busts are nothing new in the country.

Read also: NDLEA witness testifies against Abba Kyari, others in drug deal

Congo bloodshed: At least 15 killed, 50 injured in anti-UN protests in Butembo

At least 15 people were killed and dozens more were injured during two days of protests in Congo’s east against the UN mission there, officials said.

The United Nations (UN) confirmed that one peacekeeper and two international police officers serving with the UN peacekeeping force were killed and another was injured at the UN base in Butembo, North Kivu province in the east, when “violent attackers snatched weapons from Congolese police” and opened fire on UN personnel.

Farhan Haq, the UN’s deputy spokesman, said reports of civilian casualties, including UN peacekeepers killing and injuring civilians, would be investigated.

Haq said that on Tuesday, hundreds of assailants attacked UN bases in Goma and other parts of North Kivu, “fueled by hostile remarks and threats made by individuals and groups against the UN, particularly on social media.”

“Mobs are throwing stones and petrol bombs, breaking into bases, looting and vandalizing, and setting facilities on fire,” Haq said, adding that “we are trying to calm things down,” including by dispatching quick response forces.

Haq also said that at least four incidents targeted the homes of MONUSCO personnel, who have since been relocated to UN camps. A mob also attempted to enter the UN Development Programme compound earlier on Tuesday but was repulsed by security guards, he said.

On their part, the demonstrators, attacked the UN mission offices in Goma on Monday, accusing the peacekeeping forces of failing to protect civilians amid rising violence in Congo’s eastern region. They want the UN forces, who have been in Congo for years, to leave.

Congo’s mineral-rich east is home to several rebel groups, and the region’s security has deteriorated despite a year of emergency operations by a joint force of Congo and Ugandan armies. Civilians in the east have also faced violence from jihadi rebels affiliated with the Islamic State group.

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