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Nigeria Emerges Surajkund International Arts and Crafts Festival Winner In India



Around 50 nations participated in the two-week competition at the Surajkund International Arts and Crafts Fair in India, and Nigeria was declared the winner.

Fidel Info reports that at the biggest arts and cultural event in the world, the Ekiti State Acting Company represented Nigeria for performance content, and the Niger State Tourist Commission took part in the craft display.

This was stated in a statement made by Prof. Ojo Bakare, a well-known professor of choreography and performance aesthetics who led Nigeria’s delegation at the festival.

Bakare served as Ekiti State’s most recent commissioner for arts, culture, and tourism.

The festival, which featured over 50 nations performing daily for two weeks, awarded the VIP picks for the top performances to Nigeria, the host nation India, and Uganda, in that order.

According to the announcement, Bakare was chosen to lead an all-African cooperation performance at the festival as a result of Nigeria’s outstanding performances, which impressed the heads of delegations from all the participating African nations.

They also declared that Bakare would be the president of an All-African networking organization that would promote the growth of the arts, culture, and heritage on the continent.

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Mauritania Ex-president, Aziz, Sentenced To Five Years For Corruption 



A court in Mauritania’s capital Nouakchott on Monday sentenced former president, Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, to five years in prison for having abused his position to amass an ill-gotten fortune.

Aziz, who ruled the pivotal country between North Africa and sub-Saharan Africa between 2008 and 2019, fell into disgrace under successor and current President Mohamed Ould Ghazouani, a former political ally.

The former president had been on trial since January alongside 10 other prominent figures — including two former prime ministers — for illicit enrichment, abuse of functions, influence-peddling and laundering.

He was convicted of illicit enrichment and laundering but cleared of the other charges.

The court also ordered the confiscation of Aziz’s illicitly acquired assets.

The 66-year-old former head of state did not react to the judgement.

Aziz has been in detention since January 24, having also spent several months in prison in 2021.

He received the longest sentence of all the defendants in the trial, with two former prime ministers and two former ministers cleared of the charges.

“The trial we attended was a political trial, and its verdict is also very political,” one of Aziz’s lawyers, Mohameden Ould Icheddou, said.

Another of his lawyers announced their intention to appeal against the verdict.

But a state lawyer, Brahim Ould Ebetti, told AFP that the verdict was “very lenient”.

Prosecutions of former heads of state are rare in the world, but especially so in Africa. Most former leaders brought to national or international courts are tried for blood crimes rather than corruption.

Mauritania ranked 130th out of 180 in the 2022 Corruption Perceptions Index by the organisation Transparency International.


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UK introduces tougher visa rules



UK Home Secretary, James Cleverly, has unveiled a set of new rules aimed at curbing migration, BBC reports.

The UK is set to raise the minimum salary requirement for obtaining a skilled worker visa. Currently set at £26,000, the new threshold will be increased to £38,700.

Cleverly told parliament on Monday that the implementation of the rules in the previous year could have resulted in a decrease of 300,000 migrants annually.

BBC reports that those coming on health and social care visas will be exempt from the higher salary threshold.

But overseas care workers will no longer be allowed to bring dependents—that is, their partners and children.

The implication is that if a UK person marries a non-UK citizen, their new spouse will be unable to go to the UK to live with them until they earn £38,700.

According to the BBC, in 2022, the net migration in the UK, which represents the disparity between individuals immigrating to the country and those emigrating, reached a total of 745,000.

“We will ensure people only bring dependents whom they can support financially, by raising the minimum income for family visas to the same threshold as the minimum salary threshold for Skilled Workers, £38,700,” he said

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There’s much more to be done in campaign against HIV/AIDS — First Lady



First Lady Oluremi Tinubu has noted that despite the progress made in the fight against HIV/AIDS, there is still much more to be done.

In a statement issued by her spokesperson, Busola Kukoyi, the First Lady also pointed out that despite the challenges militating against total success in the fight, there is still a lot of hope.

Mrs Tinubu spoke in Zimbabwe, on Saturday, at the High Level Pre-Conference Meeting of the 22nd International Conference on AIDS and STI in Africa (ICASA), organised by the Organisation of African First Ladies for Development (OAFLAD).

She explained that the sheer population of the country, at over 200 million, is a major challenge in the fight against the scourge.

Senator Oluremi Tinubu emphasised that her husband, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s Renewed Hope Agenda has rekindled hope in all spheres of life in the nation, the fight against HIV/AIDS inclusive.

She said: “Although HIV/AIDS receives a lot of attention, Nigeria plans to achieve triple elimination of HIV, Syphilis and Hepatitis. I am going back to Nigeria and I will meet with the First Ladies of the various states.

“We are getting to work. We are now more committed than ever. HIV/AIDS should have been long gone.”

The First Lady noted that the various challenges hindering greater progress in bringing the figures to the barest minimum, including insecurity and stigmatization, would be addressed frontally.

She assured that as an advocate for girl child education, and with her Initiative, Renewed Hope Initiative, “we will find all, test all and treat all even before the deadline of 2030.”

Earlier, the First Lady of the host country, Zimbabwe, Dr Auxillia Mnanagagwa, noted that the men and male child must be included as an important community to help eliminate the scourge totally.

“Children living with HIV/AIDS deserve our best care and they have a right to be on child friendly anti- retroviral drugs,” she said.

First Ladies of Botswana and Mozambique present shared their interventions in this regard in their countries alongside the representatives of First Ladies of Egypt, Burundi and Angola.

In her remarks, the Executive Director of UNAIDS, Winnie Byanyiwa, appealed to the First ladies, who she described as the most important community in the Elimination of Mother to Child Transmission and the Elimination of New Infections.

She urged them to adopt the use of Science and Technology to achieve this.

“This is a winnable war,” she said.

The 22nd ICASA Conference has as its theme “AIDS is not over; Address inequalities, accelerate inclusion and innovation”.

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