Germans faced the stark warning on Monday that they would be either “vaccinated, cured or dead” from Covid by the end of winter, as Austria took the dramatic step of returning to a partial lockdown.
Belgium and the Netherlands meanwhile condemned the clashes that rocked weekend protests against new anti-Covid measures, meant to contain a surge in infections sweeping parts of the continent.
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte slammed three nights of unrest as “pure violence” by “idiots”, while his Belgian counterpart Alexander de Croo called the violence at a 35,000-strong protest in Brussels “absolutely unacceptable”.
The anger comes amid growing alarm over about Europe’s fourth wave of the pandemic, blamed on a sluggish vaccine uptake in some nations, the contagious Delta variant and the colder weather moving people indoors again.
“Probably by the end of this winter, as is sometimes cynically said, pretty much everyone in Germany will be vaccinated, cured or dead,” German Health Minister Jens Spahn said, as he urged more citizens to get the jab.
Outgoing Chancellor Angela Merkel warned that Germany’s current Covid curbs — including barring the unvaccinated from certain public spaces — “are not enough”.
“We have a highly dramatic situation” as new infections “double every 12 days”, Merkel told a meeting of leaders of her conservative CDU party, according to participants.
Germany’s worst-hit regions have ordered new shutdowns, including the closure of Christmas markets.
– ‘Very confusing ‘ –
The restrictions mirror those in neighbouring Austria, which re-entered a partial lockdown, shuttering shops, restaurants and festive markets from Monday — the most drastic restrictions seen in Western Europe for months.
Its 8.9 million people are not allowed to leave home with few exceptions such as going to work, shopping for essentials and exercising as virus cases are surging.
The Alpine nation also plans a vaccine mandate from February 1, one of few places in the world to so far to announce such a move.
Austria’s schools and kindergartens remain open, though parents have been asked to keep children at home when possible despite there being no distance learning offered during the three-week lockdown.
One parent, Kathrin Pauser, said she was still dropping off her daughters aged nine and 11, both of whom were recently vaccinated, at school.
“It’s a very confusing situation,” she told AFP.
Across the border in Slovakia, unvaccinated people were also facing curbs blocking them from entering non-essential stores.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)
Kolkata: Covid waste collection has come to a halt across the city with KMC removing streetside yellow bins that had been installed to dispose PPE kits, masks, gloves and other waste associated with Covid patients. The private agency that had been engaged by the civic body last year to clear this waste has also been compelled to stop the service after the bins were removed. The decision to remove the bins amidst the pandemic has left households and neighbourhoods from where Covid cases are being reported in a fix. Several households with Covid patients are flouting the waste-handling norms and disposing Covid waste with their daily kitchen waste. But that is not possible in apartments with other residents objecting to this citing fears of infection during the door-to-door collection. An octogenarian in Ballygunge and his wife had repeatedly urged the KMC for help in disposing their waste after they tested positive. “They told us we must engage private operators for bio-waste disposal. When we contacted a private operator, they asked for Rs 500 every time they would collect bio-waste till 1kg. For every kg more, they asked for Rs 50. But they also told us that bio-waste would only be masks and medicine disposables, not food and other household waste. We had little bio-waste, but took care to properly sanitise any food waste we put out during this time,” he said. Civic authorities said the decision to stop the Covid waste collection was taken around August, months after the city emerged from the second wave. The reason, KMC officials said, was lack of use of the bins. “Widespread use of PPE kits during the first wave and them being dumped in the open around June-July 2020 had led to panic in the city. This led to the installation of yellow bins in September 2020. At the time, daily Covid waste comprising PPEs, gloves, masks, sanitary napkins, adult diapers and medicine foils across the 144 wards had touched 4 tonnes. But use of PPE declined sharply following the vaccination drive. After the second wave, hardly any Covid waste was dumped in the bins,” an official said. With Covid cases inching up after the festive season, a section of KMC officials conceded the decision to stop collecting waste, at least from the Covid-sensitive areas, was perhaps hurried. “At a time when the city’s Covid graph is slowly rising, we should have kept the service alive in some neighbourhoods which have been reporting a spurt in Covid cases,” said an official.
Konosuba is a Japanese series by Natsume Akatsuki. It is the tale of a boy named Kazuma Sato who encounters an untimely demise. After his demise, he meets Aqua, a deity, and she gives him a shape in a similar galaxy that would give him the capacity to take up explorations and ward off demons.
Still, with these extraordinary capacities that he was conferred upon to utilize in the new World, he would dwell in, taking up Aqua to attend him.
There he understands her drawback, which is that her mind is absent sometimes. And now the only way for Aqua to go to immortality would be to overthrow the monster king.
So they organized a group of teams to battle the devil king, but soon Kazuma gives up on the debate and agrees to dwell on the path it is currently given to him, but that’s when he understands that every day in this being of his is a proposal to battle the devil king.
We can expect season 3 in 2022 with the extraordinary storyline with the production work going on. Sure to witness the release on the date they announced.
Everyone was thrilled to witness season 3.
Cast of Season
The cast of the previous season remains the same.
Faye Mata to cast Aqua
Erica Mendez to cast Megumin
Christian Vee to cast Darkness.
With their enthralling storyline and characters, this season is going to be the best out of all. So excited to see this episode with all the previous cast’s extraordinary performance.No doubt they deliver the best in this season too.
With the announced date and crew’s reliable performance we can expect the best season of Konosuba in the upcoming sequel. Fans are excited to witness this.
With over 10,000 registered participants from 59 countries, the Intra-African Trade Fair (IATF) in Durban was the biggest pan-African business event to take place since the pandemic began.
The seven-day fair was organised by the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) in collaboration with the African Union (AU) and the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Secretariat under the theme “Building Bridges for a Successful AfCFTA”.
It hosted over a thousand exhibitors in the Durban Exhibition Centre while the accompanying four-day conference in the city’s International Conference Centre brought together business leaders, senior officials and seven sitting heads of state.
On the final day of the trade fair on 21 November, Kanayo Awani, managing director of Afreximbank’s Intra African Trade Initiative, reported that deals worth $36bn had been signed during the event and that others had still not been completed.
She said that 1,161 exhibitors, including 838 companies from 59 countries of which 46 came from Africa, had showcased their goods and services in a massively successful event.
The AfCFTA was the central theme of the conference. With 54 African countries signed up, the free trade area, which began trading in January 2021 at the height of the pandemic, is the largest trading bloc to have been launched since the formation of the World Trade Organisation. African leaders are optimistic that it will be able to help unlock the continent’s economic potential.
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa opened the event on 15 November, declaring to delegates that “this trade fair is about building bridges. It is about connecting countries. It is about connecting people as well. Now Africa is taking concrete steps to write its own economic success story and this Intra-African Trade Fair is part of that story. Africa is opening up new fields of opportunity.”
In his address, President Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria said “the African Continental Free Trade Area must make the effort to ensure that Africa must be a marketplace where no country is left behind, we must ensure that we create jobs and enhance revenues for all parties.”
The conference featured a series of panels across different sectors, including agriculture, automotives, e-commerce, logistics, politics, technology and tourism.
Obasanjo calls for creation of “Made-in-Africa” brand
On the third day of the IATF former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo made a clarion call for the creation of an emblematic Made-in-Africa brand that will promote intra-African trade and boost the international export of African products.
Obasanjo told the audience that having such a brand would instil a sense of pride in each African country.
He said that the AfCFTA was working to remove the divisions that were brought about by colonialism, where Africa had been divided into regions based on the languages of the colonisers. According to him, the shared vision of IATF 2021 participants and traders is what will bring the AfCFTA to life.
“I have been impressed by the interaction of people at the IATF. People are working together, and this creates the environment in which miracles can happen,” he declared.
With strict lockdowns and travel restrictions in place throughout the last two years, the tourism industry has gone through a period of unprecedented turmoil, and airlines came under significant financial pressure due to a drop-off in tourist numbers.
The “Think Tourism” panel on Thursday 18 November looked at ways to boost intra-African tourism given the reticence of many tourists to travel to parts of the continent because of low vaccination rates.
Abderahmane Berthe, secretary general of the African Airlines Association (AFRAA) pointed out that there were 18.1m tourists travelling in Africa in 2020, a 74.2% drop compared to 2019. The 18.1m tourists generated $14bn of receipts and represent 4.5% of the global number of tourists, according to the UN World Tourism Organisation.
Cuthbert Ncube, chairman of the African Tourism Board, urged African tourism boards and governments to work together to help tourism to recover from the pandemic.
“We need to start breaking the barriers that had separated us,” he said.
A strong domestic recovery in Africa would compensate for the drop in international demand, he added. The panellists said that the most successful tourism markets globally – such as the US, UK, Europe and Germany – have very strong domestic tourism industries, and this needed to be strengthened in Africa.
“We say Africa is open to business, but still it is a nightmare to travel from one member state to another. Integration between African states could enable our tourism sector to operate in a better way,” Ncube said.
The panellists then spoke about the future of airlines in Africa. One of the sector’s major casualties during the pandemic was already troubled South African Airways (SAA), which filed for bankruptcy and was privatised this year.
Africa’s “golden star” airline Ethiopian Airlines, which had emerged strong from the pandemic, is the latest carrier on the continent to run into trouble, with the country in civil war. Due to the instability, Addis Ababa, a major airline hub, will now be treated with caution by many tourists, the panel warned.
The conference also saw leading players in the technology sector discuss ways to increase investment into African technology companies, as well as the growth trajectory for different areas of the industry, including in fintech, health tech and mobile.
Angela Wamola, acting head of sub-Saharan Africa, GSMA, began the “Think Tech” session with a presentation on mobile connectivity in Africa. GSMA represents the interests of over 750 operators with nearly 400 companies in the broader mobile ecosystem worldwide.
Wamola emphasised that mobile money will be at the heart of the sub-Saharan economy in the future and said that 1.2bn people have currently registered mobile money accounts across Africa.
“The message is Africa is running the show when it comes to mobile money and therefore the lens we need to look at it is: mobile money is Africa’s greatest and key asset to lead for the digital economy,” Wamola said.
Wamola noted that in sub-Saharan Africa, 120m people will start using mobile money between 2020 and 2025, with almost a third from Nigeria and Ethiopia, driven by uptake among young people.
Fabian Whate, head of South African-based tech investment company Naspers Foundry, observed that at least 60% of venture capital investment in Africa is in the fintech sector. “This year we saw $4bn of venture investment [in Africa] that compares to an African economy of around $2 trillion. So really, we’re just beginning to scratch the surface.”
“As time moves on, we’re going to see further and further development across a broader array of sectors. As those sectors develop further and further, you’re going to see further capital come into them,” he added.
Precious Lunga, founder and CEO of Baobab Circle, a health tech startup using AI and automation to remotely support people with chronic health conditions, said the conversation has shifted around health tech since the onset of the pandemic.
“When we had the conversation four years ago, people didn’t understand why health tech would be relevant across the African continent, because everyone was looking at tech investment through the fintech lens. Since then, that’s definitely changed.”
Tanya van Lill, CEO of SAVCA (the Southern African Venture Capital and Private Equity Association), said she was optimistic about more venture capital funding coming into Africa.
“In South Africa, the venture capital industry is only 3% of the size of private equity and private equity in South Africa started in the mid-1980s. So if we’re already seeing $4bn invested on the continent, and it’s still a growing, nascent industry, just think what we can see in 20 years if it also has the opportunity to grow like private equity has.”
Van Lill said she has seen more investment in health tech, as well as an increase in e-commerce and commercial last-door delivery, as during the pandemic people would rather order online than go to the shops. She is also seeing a rise in edutech investment.
In the closing plenary of the conference on 18 November, Acha Leke, Africa chairman at McKinsey, noted that Africa did not fare as badly from the Covid-19 pandemic from an economic perspective as previously feared, despite low vaccination rates compared to the rest of the world.
“The good news is that we didn’t lose 150m jobs as projected, we lost about 30m. So generally, we were not as affected as we feared by the crisis which makes it more exciting on one hand for investors to come and continue to invest in these markets.”
But he warned that Africa is in the midst of its third Covid-19 wave and vaccinations have been slow. The slow economic recovery has been compounded by Africa’s GDP slowing down even before the crisis.
However, he was upbeat about significant investments made in Africa’s health sector and prospects for the future: “25% of all the vaccines in the world are administered in Africa, but Africa produces only 1% of the vaccines. Again, it’s a massive opportunity,” he said.
Leke was joined on the final panel by a string of politicians, executives and senior UN officials, including South African trade minister Ebrahim Patel, former Botswana trade minister Bogolo Joy Kenewendo and Ibrahima Diong, UN assistant secretary general and director general of African Risk Capacity.
There were many talking points from the week, butAbdou Diop, managing director at Mazars, an international audit, tax and advisory firm in Morocco, provided a good summary of what Africa needs to do to prosper:
“Africa is really full of resources, the continent is very young, it’s innovating, creating, investing.
“We need to educate, to industrialise, to gain food security, to bring energy to the countries, and all these put together will bring jobs. Also, we need to make sure this African free trade happens – because sometimes we have some countries that sign today and other days they close their borders.”
Following the conference, two days were devoted to Africa’s creative industries in a programme organised by the Creative Africa Nexus (CANEX).
Africa’s creative industry can create millions of jobs
The Creative Africa Nexus (CANEX), a programme put in place by Afreximbank to support Africa’s creative and cultural industries, ran for two days after the end of the conference.
Designed specifically for African creatives including digital innovators and experts, fashion, film, and music actors looking for ways to monetise their content across the digital landscape, the forum is a space to share, discuss and create solutions that will encourage creatives to find innovative ways to use existing technology to increase their remuneration and thrive in their careers.
It brought together the leading lights of Africa’s creative sector through substantial exhibition space, business to business/government meeting opportunities and a comprehensive programme of conversations, panels discussions, live performances, installations and screenings.
Benedict Oramah, president and chairman of the Board of Directors of Afreximbank said that the young men and women in the creative sector have turned it into tradable services with a global reach, appeal and impact.
“At Afreximbank,” he said, “we fully understand the power of the creative industry to catalyse intra-African trade, create millions of jobs for the continent’s young population, and promote the emergence of national and regional value chains. We also know the power of creatives to catalyse industrial development because this is a bankable industry.”
About $128m of the $500m facility set aside as seed capital by Afreximbank towards CANEX has already been invested in the form of loans to artists and facilitation of initiatives aimed at activating the nexus.
The third edition of IATF will take place in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, in 2022.