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Three Children Found Dead in Freezer

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Three children have died after getting trapped in an unplugged freezer while playing outside, police in Florida have said.

Three children trapped in freezer, die
Three children trapped in freezer, die
According to the Suwannee County Sheriff’s Office, the youngsters could not be revived by the time they were found in the garden of a home in Live Oak on Monday.

Two of the children – a six-year-old boy and a one-year-old girl – were siblings and lived with their grandmother, and the third was a four-year-old girl who lived with her mother.

The two women are roommates at the property.

One of them had been sleeping at the time the children got trapped as she was preparing for a night shift, and the other was in the bathroom.

She could not find them upon returning, prompting the pair to carry out a search.

Eventually they found the children in the chest freezer, which had been recently bought but not yet plugged in and had spent four or five days sat outside in the garden.

Police and fire and rescue crews were called to the scene as the women tried to perform CPR on the children, but efforts to resuscitate them failed and they were pronounced dead in hospital.

An investigation into the deaths is ongoing, with post-mortems still to be carried out.

So far police have revealed that the freezer was second-hand and had a hasp installed on the lid in order to secure a padlock, which had not yet been fitted.

When the lid slammed shut after the children had climbed in, the hasp fell shut and trapped them inside.

At a press briefing, Suwannee County Sheriff Sam St John said: “Words can’t describe how heartbroken I am.

“Any time you deal with children and something like this and when they die from something like this nature, it just tugs at your heartstrings. Words can’t describe this and the only thing we can do is go forward.”


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Buhari, Osinbajo, Others Lay Wreaths

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On arrival at the National Memorial Acade Abuja, President Buhari in company of the Parade Commander inspected the parade by the Army, Navy, Air force, and the Nigerian Legion.

Buhari and other leaders at the Remembrance Day ceremonies
Buhari and other leaders at the Remembrance Day ceremonies

Buhari lays wreath at the Remembrance Day cerebration
Buhari lays wreath at the Remembrance Day cerebration
 This was followed by the bigel of the last post a unique but symbolic aspect of the ceremony that reminds veterans of their departed colleagues, and the families of fallen Heroes who had paid the supreme sacrifice.

The Director, Army Chaplaincy Services, Brig-Gen. Charles Chidibere Iregu offered the Christian prayers while the Muslim prayers was performed by Navy Commander Toafeek Gidado.

NAN reports that after the one-minute silence for the fallen heroes, President Buhari and Vice-President Osinbajo laid wreaths at the tomb of the unknown soldiers.

The Senate President, and Speaker of the House of Representatives, laid the wreath at the same time, followed by the Chief Justice of Nigeria Justice Walter Ononghen.

The Representative of Widows of the fallen Heroes, Mrs Samira Abu Ali, with emotions written on her face, laid the wreath at the tomb of the unknown soldiers.

President Buhari later signed the Anniversary register after which he was supported by the other dignitaries to release some white pigeons to signify peace in the land. (NAN)

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Apapa Wharf Road Reconstruction Excites Ports Users

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The reconstruction of the Apapa Wharf road and its subsequent put to use on Tuesday, attracted some responses from port users, who said it’s a relief to them.

Repair work on the Apapa wharf roads in Lagos
Repair work on the Apapa wharf roads in Lagos
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the two -kilometre road that was bad for months caused difficulties for truckers going into the port in Apapa, Lagos.

The road was reconstructed through Public Private Initiative (PPI) by AG Dangote, supervised by the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing.

Mr Donald Obilonu, Terminal Manager Hull Blyth Nigeria Limited, said the completion of the road would bring relief to transporters, who were hitherto worse hit by the bad conditions of the road.

According to him, the bad nature of the port road had made transporters to increasing haulage fare above 100 per cent, a situation that had pitched them against operators and regulators most times.

“They keep saying that the tear and wear the trucks are subjected to on the bad road and coupled with delays that trucks encounter in getting to port, that in most cases then takes up to a whole week, made them to hike fares,” Obilonu said.

The manager, who expressed excitement on the commencement of the Tin Can port road said that port users would be most grateful to see it completed on time.

Mr Francis Odusanya, Port Manager. Bhosource Business Support Services Limited said that the completion of the road would fast track businesses at the port.

“As an investor most of the factors and variables one plots in as a result of the traffic congestion and its attendant unforeseen expenses will be off the radar,” he said.

Mr Andrew Young, a Terminal Manager with ENL Consortium LTD said there has been improvement in accessing the port since mid- December when trucks were allowed to use the road.

“The strive by truckers to enter the port for loading and dropping off container has relatively been reduced compared to what it used to be months ago,” Young said.
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2019 Elections: Okowa Urges Security Agencies to be Impartial

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Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State has urged security agencies and those who will be involved in the conduct of the 2019 general elections to be impartial.

Governor Ifeanyi Okowa with Mr Austin Braimoh afer meeting with South South Zone of the Police Service Commission
Governor Ifeanyi Okowa with Mr Austin Braimoh afer meeting with South South Zone of the Police Service Commission
The governor made the call in Asaba when the South South Zone of the Police Service Commission Monitoring Team led by Mr Austin Braimoh paid him a courtesy visit.

According to the governor, “politicians should be allowed to campaign freely, they should be allowed to reach out to the people to ask for votes, but, the people must also be allowed to exercise their will freely.

“We expect that impartiality is carried and there is no form of intimidation of voters in the course of the election because, when such happens, it will create a lot of challenges that will run in the course of the post-election era.

“Nigerians expect that the 2019 election will be hitch free, free, fair and peaceful and the will of the people will prevail, because, the proper conduct of the elections will deepen the strength of our democracy and bring more foreign investment.

“If we conduct an election that does not meet global standards, it will affect our democracy and our nation,” he said.

Okowa expressed optimism that the elections will meet global standards, stressing that the nation’s economy was already challenged and a poor election would set it back further.

He noted that for the electoral process to go smoothly, the Police has a lot of roles to play to boost voters confidence.

“This confidence building process will be such that will assure voters in the field of their safety and the voting process will be smooth,” Governor Okowa said.

Responding, Mr Braimor said they were in Delta State for re-election sensitization programme.

He said that Police officers on election duties have a responsibility of ensuring that peaceful atmosphere are maintained at the polling and counting centres.

He added that policemen must comport themselves in such a way that citizens exercise their franchise without fear of coercion, intimidation, violence or manipulation.

He commended Governor Okowa’s administration for its support to the Police.
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Hong Kong Scientists Report Breakthrough Antidote For Viral Diseases

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Hong Kong scientists claim they have made a potential breakthrough discovery in the fight against infectious diseases — a chemical that could slow the spread of deadly viral illnesses.

The Hong Kong scientists discovery may one day be applied to stop Ebola virus
The Hong Kong scientists discovery may one day be applied to stop Ebola virus
A team from the University of Hong Kong described the newly discovered chemical as “highly potent in interrupting the life cycle of diverse viruses” in a study published this month in the journal Nature Communications.

The scientists said the antidote could one day be used as a broad-spectrum antiviral for a host of infectious diseases — and even for viruses that have yet to emerge — if it passes clinical trials.

The spread in recent decades of sometimes deadly bird flu strains, the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) have underscored the need for new drugs that can work more quickly than vaccines.

Broad-spectrum antivirals are seen as the holy grail because they can be used against multiple pathogens.

In contrast, vaccines usually only protect against one strain, and by the time they are produced the virus may have mutated.

The HKU team tested their chemical “AM580” on mice in a two-year study and found it stopped the replication of a host of flu strains — including H1N1, H5N1 and H7N9 — as well as the viruses that cause SARS and MERS.

It also stopped the replication of the mosquito-borne Zika virus and Enterovirus 71 which causes hand, foot and mouth disease.

“This is what we call a broad-spectrum antiviral drug, which means it can kill a number of viruses,” microbiologist Yuen Kwok-yung, who led the team, told AFP.

“This is quite important in the early control of an epidemic.”

The study is part of a growing body of research by virologists to find drugs that avoid targeting a virus directly — something which could lead to resistance. Instead they look for compounds that interrupt the way viruses use crucial fatty acids, known as lipids, within a host’s cells to replicate.

“This study is science in progress -– an early step in an exciting new direction,” said Benjamin Neuman, an expert on viruses at Texas A&M University-Texarkana who has published his own studies on starving viruses of lipids.

“Viruses are totally dependent on supplies stolen from their hosts, and a number of recent studies have shown that treatments that interrupt the steady flow of lipids in an infected cell are highly effective at blocking a wide range of viruses,” he told AFP.

The next step is to test the drug on a wider variety of animals, including pigs and primates, before pushing to clinical trials, a process Yuen said could take up to eight years.

The HKU team have applied for a patent in the United States.

A derivative of AM580 is already being used in Japan to treat cancer, raising hopes that it will show low toxicity for humans.

But Neuman warns there are drawbacks.

Like many chemotherapy methods used to fight cancer, antivirals such as AM580 damage a person’s cells to starve a virus. While cells can heal, much research still needs to be done on how and when to use such techniques.

“Unless the treatment is targeted very carefully, the potential for side effects would be very worrying,” he said.

Densely populated Hong Kong has first-hand experience of deadly viral outbreaks.

In 2003, nearly 300 people died from SARS and the city’s densely packed apartment blocks are considered hugely vulnerable to future outbreaks.
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