Colors: Blue Color

 

US rapper Kanye West has said he is running for president, potentially pitting him against a man he says he admires, Donald Trump.

 

"We must now realize the promise of America by trusting God, unifying our vision and building our future," he tweeted. "I am running for president of the United States!"

His wife Kim Kardashian West and entrepreneur Elon Musk endorsed him. But it's unclear whether West is really running.

 

He does not appear to have registered his name with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) for November's election. The closest name the FEC database shows is a candidate called "Kanye Deez Nutz West", who filed their papers with the Green Party in 2015 under the address "1977 Golddigger Avenue, Suite Yeezus" and appears to have raised no money.

 

It is also not the first time West has claimed that he is running for the White House.

 

At the 2015 MTV Video Music Awards, he said he had decided to run for president in 2020.

But last November he pushed the date back, saying he would actually run in the 2024 contest.

 

"What are you laughing at?" he asked the crowd at Fast Company's Innovation Festival.

 

"We would have created so many jobs that I'm not gonna run, I'm gonna walk," he said, adding he was considering changing his name for the run to "Christian Genius Billionaire Kanye West".

 

In his tweet on Saturday, US Independence Day, West, 43, did not say if his supposed run would be affiliated with a particular political party.

 

In any case, contesting the nomination of one major parties would be impossible at this stage, with the election only four months away.

 

In order to appear on the ballot as an independent candidate, West would have to gather a certain amount of signatures and register in states by a particular deadline. The deadline has already passed in some major states but the music star would still technically have time to file in many others.

 

This year's contest is likely to be a straight battle between Republican President Donald Trump and Democrat Joe Biden.

 

In 2018, West made a bizarre appearance at the White House with President Trump during which he wore a Make America Great Again hat and made an expletive-filled rant that Trump described as "quite something".

 

"I love this guy right here," West said, walking behind the desk to hug the seated president, who said: "That's really nice."

 

The rapper also pushed back on the idea that African-Americans are overwhelmingly Democratic Party voters, saying: "People expect that if you're Black, you have to be Democrat."

 

Kim Kardashian West retweeted her husband's statement about the presidential run with an American flag.

 

She has in recent years become a significant voice in the US movement for criminal justice reform and has successfully lobbied President Trump to release several prisoners.

 

 

Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari has commended a Nigerian doctoral student in Japan for returning a missing wallet full of money and not taking the 10% reward, his social media assistant Bashir Ahmad has tweeted.

 

Reports from earlier this week said that Ikenna Nweke was out buying a take-away in the Japanese city of Tsukuba when he saw the wallet on the ground. He then handed it in to the police.

 

“The police told me that according to Japanese law, that I was entitled to 10% of the money found inside the wallet but I declined," he told the International Centre for Investigative Reporting.

 

"I told him that there was no need for that because I was raised by responsible parents, and that I am also a Christian.”

 

Mr Buhari praised the student "for projecting the values of honesty, integrity and contentment that should be the hallmark of a people", Mr Ahmad said.

 

Mr Nweke had already received a letter from the Nigerian embassy in Japan saying he was a "good example to all".

 

 

 

The World Bank has categorized Tanzania as a lower-middle income country after the country made economic reforms, including making consistent plans and taking hard decisions aimed at improving its economic development, a senior official said.

"Discipline in financial expenditure and the prevailing peace and tranquility also helped the country to earn the middle income status from the World Bank," Hassan Abbasi, the chief government spokesperson told a news conference in the capital Dodoma.

Abbasi spoke after the World Bank on Wednesday declared Tanzania a middle income country, a goal that has been achieved five years ahead of the country's schedule.
Tanzania had planned to gain the middle income status in 2025.

Abbasi said other values that made the east African nation to earn the middle income status included the reinforcement of the leadership ethics, the implementation of flagship projects and investment in human development.

Responding to the World Bank's announcement, President John Magufuli tweeted commending his fellow Tanzanians for the achievement.

"We had envisaged achieving this status by 2025 but with strong determination this has been possible in 2020," Magufuli wrote in the tweet.

Tanzania last year recorded an economic growth of seven percent, making the country one of the fastest growing economies in Africa.

Tanzania is the second largest economy in East Africa and becomes the second East African Community member state to achieve the middle-income status after Kenya.

 

Costa Rica looks to restart its tourism industry with the development of 16 health protocols

The Costa Rica Tourism Board (ICT) and representatives of the local private sector have unveiled a list of 16 health protocols for the safe reopening of some of the country’s most popular tourism areas that were affected by the Covid-19 global pandemic.
 
The protocols relate to tourism companies in the following industries: accommodation; restaurants; aerial and aquatic recreational activities; travel agencies; tour operators; car rentals; meetings and conventions; tourism transport; adventure tourism; and spa and wellness tourism, amongst others. Further industries are expected to be added gradually.
 
The easy-to-implement protocols establish guidelines on the use of face masks in public and private transport; the cleaning and disinfection of the equipment in tours and sports such as water sport activities; and how to apply social distancing rules when kayaking or white water rafting, for example – two of Costa Rica’s most popular water activities.
 
Costa Rica’s Tourism Minister, María Amalia Revelo Raventós, said: “These protocols are a great step for the country to start getting ready to welcome visitors again. Although the reactivation of the tourism sector will be gradual and linked to the recommendations of the Ministry of Health, having these 14 protocols in place will allow business to safely plan, prepare and get ready to reopen.”
 
Gustavo Alvarado, Director of Tourism Management at the Costa Rica Tourism Board, mentioned: “These protocols are easy to implement as they were designed to generate the lowest economic cost to those companies who have struggled the most during the pandemic.”
 
The 16 protocols were agreed among by a committee of 68 professionals from the country’s both public and private sectors. In Costa Rica, the public and the private sectors have been deeply engaged in tourism policy design and implementation since the 1980s. Their cooperation frequently takes the form of co-governance, in which an autonomous institution in charge of policy for a particular economic sector is created, with a board of directors comprising representatives from both the public and the private sectors. This way of working has proved to be very successful for the country, as tourism measures are agreed by a majority and no changes are introduced if a change of Government takes place.
 
The Costa Rica Tourism Board has also been organising regular online trainings and webinars with the country’s tourism partners to keep them up to date on the government’s measures on Covid-19 and to discuss how to implement the health protocols in their businesses.
 
Costa Rica received 78,562 visitors from the UK in 2019.
 

 
Countries’ response to Covid-19, their long-term development and the meeting of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are all threatened by the “invisible infection” of corruption, the Commonwealth Secretary-General has warned.
 
Speaking to the annual conference of the Commonwealth Caribbean Association of Integrity Commissions and Anti-Corruption Bodies (CCAICACB), Patricia Scotland laid bare the devastating impact criminal acts such as fraud bribery and theft have in both financial terms and in their human cost.
 
In her speech to the conference she highlighted that:

It is estimated that every year $1 trillion is paid in bribes globally, while an estimated $2.6 trillion is stolen annually through corruption, a sum equivalent to more than five per cent of the global Gross Domestic Product.
Illicit financial flows cost developing countries $1.26 trillion per year, enough money to lift 1.4 billion people out of poverty and keep them there for at least six years. While the United Nations Development Programme estimates, that in developing countries, funds lost to corruption are 10 times the amount dispersed in official development assistance.
Transparency International states corruption in the health sector alone costs US$500 billion every year, more than the amount needed for worldwide universal health coverage.

The Secretary-General said corruption would not only undermine efforts to defeat the Covid-19 pandemic but also deprive vulnerable communities of vital funding for social and economic development.
 
Speaking to the conference, she said the “corrosive cancer” of corruption is one of the major impediments to achieving the SDGs.
 
She also called for “swift and decisive action” to improve transparency and accountability, and to build confidence that institutions and systems are corruption-free, adding: “Our Caribbean region is now confronted with the triple impacts of the global pandemic, climate crisis and a potential economic tsunami because of the lockdown measures necessary to fight coronavirus.
 
“As we mobilise to adapt to climate change and work to withstand its impacts and those of the natural disasters which bring devastation to our islands, there is this invisible infection of corruption which the world must also continue to fight.”
 

 
The Secretary-General outlined how the Commonwealth Secretariat’s work is crucial in the battle to curb corruption.
 
The approach attacks criminal financial activities on three fronts - research, capacity-building and networking. This is delivered through regional anti-corruption agency networks and training centres, backed up by closer co-operation and learning. The CCAICACB was created by the Commonwealth Secretariat in 2015. 
 
The Secretariat’s work has seen significant success, with recent data showing Commonwealth Caribbean countries are perceived as less corrupt than their non-Commonwealth neighbours.
 
Commonwealth Anti-Corruption Benchmarks have also been developed as the latest tool designed to help governments and public sector bodies with measuring anti-corruption laws, procedures and actions against international good practice.
 
Dale Marshall, Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs in Barbados, explained the challenge his country faces in combatting the dual threat of corruption and the pandemic.
 
He said: “Barbados has had to divert all of its available resources to keeping our economy afloat.
 
“At a time when we are almost in a position to establish an integrity in public life commission, when we are just about to establish a special agency to fight corruption, the resources that we would have made available are now having to be diverted to ensuring that we have ventilators, that those people who have been thrown on the unemployment line have food.
 
“We are faced with a choice. Do we focus on the issues of keeping Barbados afloat or do we take some of those resources and dedicate them towards the fight against corruption? It is an impossible choice.”
 
The CCAICACB conference is being held in a virtual format for the first time due to the Covid-19 situation.
 
Two further session of the meeting will be held over the next two weeks, with members presenting and reviewing their recent anti-corruption initiatives as well as sharing ideas and best practice for use across the region.

The Queen’s official birthday was marked with a unique ceremony that was performed by the Welsh Guard at Windsor Castle.

It came after the traditional Trooping the Colour parade was cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

It was only the second time in her 68-year reign that the parade did not go ahead in London.

In what was her first official public appearance since the lockdown began, flanked by officials, Her Majesty sat alone for the ceremony.

Dubbed the mini-Trooping, the ceremony was performed by a small number of Welsh Guardsmen and the band of the Household Division.

The Queen received a royal salute that was followed by a display of marching with strict social distancing measures kept throughout.

It was the first time that Her Royal Highness celebrated her birthday at Windsor Castle – where she and the Duke of Edinburgh have been spending time in isolation since the coronavirus lockdown.

She celebrated her 94th birthday in April, but it is officially – and publicly – celebrated on the second Saturday of June annually. It is also typically accompanied by the announcement of The Queen’s Birthday Honours’ List.

This year, however, she agreed to postpone publication of the list until the autumn.

 
The Commonwealth Secretariat is joining forces with Vulcan Inc. to help member countries manage their ocean spaces via cutting-edge mapping technology. 

Commonwealth countries are responsible for more than a third of the world's coastal ocean, and 45 percent of its coral reefs. 

The new tool will use satellite technology to create country-specific data and generate high-resolution images to help map, manage and monitor coral reefs in the Commonwealth. 

Announcing the initiative in time for World Reef Awareness Day, Secretary-General Patricia Scotland said: “The threats confronting our ocean are numerous and can be perceived by governments as overwhelming, with 90 percent of coral reefs at risk of disappearing within the next few decades due to climate change.

“That is why Commonwealth leaders launched the Commonwealth Blue Charter in 2018, which is a shared commitment from all 54 member countries to tackle urgent ocean issues together. Our partnership with Vulcan Inc, as well as others in the private sector, academia and science networks, will work to translate our vision into meaningful on-the-water actions.”

Building on the technology behind Vulcan’s Allen Coral Atlas – a public platform that converts data from a range of sources to generate detailed maps, images and alerts on coral reefs – a dynamic interactive coral reef map will be hosted online on the Commonwealth Innovation Hub. The information it contains will support marine ecosystem planning, management, governance and community action in member countries.

Chuck Cooper, Managing Director of Government and Community Relations at Vulcan said: “We have already lost 50 per cent of the world’s coral reefs which support the safety, well-being, and economic security of hundreds of millions of people. 

The Allen Coral Atlas is helping to provide foundational data which inform critically important conservation efforts. Working with Commonwealth countries, we can change the trajectory of the coral reef crisis.”

The joint project will be unveiled with a special virtual presentation on World Oceans Day, June 8. 

This event, titled ‘Mapping the Commonwealth one coral reef at a time,’ will also feature presentations from three Blue Charter Action groups, focusing on: Coral Reef Protection and Restoration, Ocean and Climate Change, and Mangrove Ecosystems and Livelihoods.

The Commonwealth Blue Charter is implemented by 10 country-driven action groups that share experiences and coordinate action to tackle ocean challenges. The presentations will highlight how the groups work together and the importance of accurate and live data to support management decisions.

Mining giants Rio Tinto has apologised for blowing up 46,000-year-old Aboriginal caves in Western Australia dating back to the last Ice Age.

The Juukan Gorge cave in the Pilnara region, were destroyed as Rio Tinto expanded an iron ore project that was agreed with the authorities.

Many prehistoric artefacts have been found at the remote heritage site.

Chris Salisbury, the firm’s chief executive, said: “We are sorry for the distress that we have caused.

“We pay our respects to the Puutu Kunti Kurrama and Pinikura People (PKKP)”.

The PKKP are the original and traditional owners of the cave.

He went on to say: “We will continue to work with the PKKP to learn from what has taken place and strengthen our partnership.

“As a matter of urgency, we are reviewing the plans of all other sites in the Juukan Gorge region”.

Artefacts found there include a belt made from human hair, analysis of which showed a direct link going back 4,000 years between the PKKP and the prehistoric cave-dweller.

SpaceX, made history as it became the private manned rock to enter into space as it send two NASA astronauts into orbit

Owned by California-based South African-born tech billionaire Elon Musk – the man behind the all-electric Tesla cars - it is the first time since the shuttle was retired, nine years ago, that an American crew has been able to make the journey from United States territory.

Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley (Crew Dragon) boarded the space craft before being sent on their mission to trail a new capsule system and to also initiate a new business model for NASA.

This was their second demonstration (Demo-2) mission from Launch Complex 39A (LC-39A) at NASA’s Space Kennedy Space Centre in Florida.

The agency will now no longer own the vehicle it uses, but will merely purchase the “tai” service which is offered by SpaceX.

 

India has announced that it is planning to further ease its strict nationwide lockdown even though the country has reported a record daily rise in new coronavirus cases.

From June 8, hotels, restaurants, shopping centres and places of worship are due to be allowed to re-open in many areas in the country in the first stage of a three-phase plan.

In the weeks to follow, schools and colleges will then be set to resume teaching.

But areas with a high number of Covid-19 cases will remain under a tight lockdown.

The plan come following India registering a record single-day rise in confirmed infections, with nearly 8,000 cases reported in one day.

With a population totalling some 1.3 billion people, the country has recorded around 174,500 Covid-19 cases with a death toll in excess of 5,000 in total.

It went into a strict lockdown over two months ago when the confirmed caseload was in the hundreds.

Data has suggested that the decision did prevent the loss of some 37,000 to as much as 78,000 lives.

With no morning prayers at the mosque, no chance of meeting family and friends to celebrate Islam's most important festival, it was never going to be the same this year as people around the world have been celebrating Eid al-Fitr, one of Islam's two major holidays.

Traditionally the festival at the end of the fasting month of Ramadan is marked with communal prayers in mosques, visits to friends and family.

But this year the Muslim Council of Britain encouraged people to celebrate the "festival of the breaking of the fast" begins when the moon rises on the final day of Ramadan, a holy month of fasting virtually due to social-distancing measures brought in during the coronavirus pandemic.

The special Eid al-Fitr prayers are typically among the best attended of the year, and people also mark the occasion by holding parties.

The timing varies from country to country, with some following the moonrise in Mecca and others using local sightings.

After a sighting of the first crescent of the new moon, a three-day festival is held in celebration.

 

Nasa astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken have completed their dress rehearsal for Wednesday's flight to the International Space Station.

The mission, the first crewed outing from American soil in nine years, will see the pair ride to orbit in a SpaceX Falcon rocket and Crew Dragon capsule.

It's a demonstration of the new "taxi" service the US space agency will be buying from the Californian firm.

Lift-off on Wednesday is timed for 16:33 EDT (20:33 GMT / 21:33 BST).

The weather around the Kennedy Space Center in Florida may have other ideas, however.

A forecast released on Saturday by the US Air Force 45th Weather Squadron predicted just a 40% chance of favourable conditions come launch time.

There is a strong possibility the Kennedy complex could see thick cloud, rain and even thunder.

If controllers are forced to scrub, everyone will come back on Saturday for a second try.

Hurley and Behnken are now all but done with their preparations.

The weekend "Dry Dress" rehearsal saw the pair don their made-to-measure spacesuits, walk out to a Tesla, and then make a 6km drive down to Kennedy's famous Launch Complex 39A.

Their SpaceX Falcon-9 rocket has been sitting erect on the pad since Thursday.

The men then got in the service tower lift to go up to the access arm gantry and climb into the capsule.

The run-through gave all launch personnel - not just Hurley and Behnken - the opportunity to remind themselves of what's to come.

There is huge focus on this mission. Not since the space shuttles were retired in 2011 has America been able to launch its own astronauts. Getting crews to the ISS these past nine years has been a task entrusted solely to Russia and its Soyuz rocket and capsule system.
Nasa has contracted both SpaceX and aerospace giant Boeing to pick up where the shuttles left off.

The difference this time is that the agency will not own and operate the vehicles. It will merely be buying "tickets to ride".

SpaceX and Boeing will be free to sell their services to other space agencies, other companies and even individuals.

Hurley and Behnken have named their Dragon in the tradition of all previous American crew-ships. They'll reveal that name on Wednesday.

 

 The Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport in Jamaica, Olivia Grange has said that donations will be accepted during a repeat presentation of Telethon Jamaica.

Grange said highlights of Jamaica's first telethon would be aired instead of the traditional Labour Day concert with the highlights package to be broadcast on national television and online.

Telethon Jamaica has raised more than $60 million towards providing much needed additional resources to Jamaica's health services in the wake of COVID-19.

In a statement Grange said; “I can announce that we have received the majority of the sums that have been pledged so far to Telethon Jamaica. I say 'so far' because we continue to get calls from people who want to contribute to this effort. During the broadcast on Labour Day, we will have a team on hand to take calls and guide people who want to contribute to this very important effort. But people don't have to wait until Monday; they can contribute right now on the website — www.jatogetherwestand.com — and it will go straight into the account.”

The Telethon Jamaica highlights show will be broadcast on Monday between 5 pm and 7 pm on TVJ and PBCJ and several social media platforms, including VP Records YouTube channel (www.youtube.com/VPRecords).

“Although it's a highlights show, it will include new performances from leading and upcoming Jamaican artistes who we were unable to include in the original telethon — such as Buju Banton; J-Summa; Tessellated and Miss World, Toni-Ann Singh — who have given so generously of their time and talent in this national effort. The broadcast will be anchored by Naomi Cowan,” the minister said.

The programme will also feature performances by Skip Marley, Ziggy Marley, Gloria Estefan, Shaggy, Richie Spice whose song 'Together We Stand' was chosen as the theme music for the telethon.

To make a donation online, visit www.jatogetherwestand.com or www.mypaymaster.com.
To donate by telephone, call 876-960-9632-4, 1-866-228-8393 (toll free from Jamaica, the United States or Canada) or +44 0808 189 6147 (toll free from UK and Europe).

Cash/cheque donations are accepted at any Paymaster location in Jamaica.

After the government of Jamaica failed to acknowledge a request by 43 shipworkers to be allowed into their own country in early April, 18º North has learned that, only a week before, the U.S. Ambassador to Jamaica and his personal assistant were among those given special exemptions to enter as borders were closed to incoming passengers to combat the spread of COVID-19.

Jamaica’s Foreign Affairs Minister Kamina Johnson Smith confirmed the finding at a press conference.

The ban on incoming passengers was implemented March 25, and U.S. Ambassador Donald Tapia entered the country on March 27. According to the Jamaican government’s order at the time, persons were exempt only if “authorised by the Minister responsible for immigration, subject to the approval of the Cabinet.”

In a phone interview with 18º North, the Ambassador said he left Jamaica for his home state of Arizona on March 18, which was the day before the U.S. State Department announced its highest-level alert urging all Americans “do not travel” because of the pandemic. It was also seven days after Jamaica’s second positive case was announced, which happened to be a Jamaican staffer at the U.S. Embassy in Kingston.

Ambassador Tapia said his reason for going to the States was “for a 60th birthday party”, and he was scheduled to return March 23. However, he said his flight was cancelled, so he returned four days later in order to be able to work securely.

A church in Berlin, in Germany, has opened its doors to allow Muslim worshipers, who are unable to fit into their mosque, under new social distancing rules.

Germany has allowed religious service to resume on May 4, but worshipers must maintain a distance of 1.5 metres (5ft).

As a result, the Dair Assalam mosque in the city’s Neukölln district could only hold a fraction of its congregation.

But the Martha Lutheran church in Kreuzberg offered to help by hosting Friday prayers at the end of Ramadan.

Throughout the month of Ramadan, Muslims abstain from eating, drinking, smoking and sex from dawn to dusk. Normally families and friends would gather to break their fast and attend communal prayers, but in Berlin - as in countries across the world - this year's celebrations have been affected.

The mosque's imam said: "It is a great sign and it brings joy in Ramadan and joy amid this crisis. This pandemic has made us a community.

“Crises bring people get together”.

Noting the contrast to Islamic worship, congregation member Samer Hamdoun said: "It was a strange feeling because of the musical instruments, the pictures.

"But when you look, when you forget the small details, in the end this is the house of God."

Costa Rica has recently submitted a pioneering proposal to reduce deforestation through the use of technology and space information generated by satellite imagery from the GEO-Google Earth Engine License Programme.  
 
The initiative, called ‘Tackling deforestation and forest degradation in Costa Rica using Google Earth Engine’, was submitted to the Group on Earth Observations (GEO) as part of a programme in partnership with Google. The two organisations will offer 25 licenses for the sustained use of Google Earth Engine (GEE) for projects using Earth observation data to address global challenges related to climate change, sustainable development and disaster risk reduction, among others.
 
The 2-year, full-access licenses aim to empower public sector and commercial recipients to tackle significant societal challenges and improve understanding of our planet.
 
Costa Rica’s Environment and Energy Minister, Carlos Manuel Rodríguez, said that the proposal is aimed at improving the ability of the country’s institutions to estimate deforestation and forest degradation by using satellite information and imagery offered by Google Earth Engine. The proposal also focuses on combating deforestation by developing an early warning system as well as improving the estimates of forest restoration and carbon emissions linked to these activities.
 
Rafael Monge, Director of Costa Rica’s National Centre of Geo-environmental Information (CENIGA), added that the development of an early warning system will generate useful information that will be used to take quicker decisions that help stop and anticipate illegal activities linked to deforestation.
 
The proposal is supported by a great number of organisations, including the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations; Costa Rica’s National Forestry Financing Fund (Fonafifo); Costa Rica’s National System of Conservation Areas (SINAC) and the National Meteorological Agency (IMN) of Costa Rica, amongst others.
 
Costa Rica offers visitors an abundance of unique wildlife, landscapes and climates. The country shelters approximately 6.5% of the world’s biodiversity and currently holds the United Nation’s ‘Champions of the Earth’ award for its commitment to ambitious policies to combat climate change.