Travel News

Africa’s Sahel Can Expect More Deadly Heat Waves, Study Shows - BLOOMBERG

APRIL 18, 2024

BY  Yinka IbukunBloomberg News

Source: World Weather Attribution

Source: World Weather Attribution , Source: Bloomberg

(Bloomberg) -- Climate change contributed to an unusually intense heat wave that hit West Africa’s Sahel region this month, with numerous deaths reported in at least two countries, according to a study by the World Weather Attribution.

“The burning of fossil fuels is playing a huge role” for the Sahel’s prolonged intense heat, said Friederike Otto, a senior lecturer in climate science at Imperial College London, who contributed to the study. With continued global warming, events like these will become more common, she said.

The most severe heat was recorded on April 3, with temperatures rising to 48.5°C in the town of Kayes in Mali, the WWA reported. 

“What is unusual for heat waves in an Africa country is that we have reports about mortality already now for this specific event,” Otto said.

In Bamako, Mali’s capital, the Gabriel-Toure Hospital recorded 102 deaths in the first four days of April, compared with 130 deaths during all of last April. In neighboring Burkina Faso, four people a day were reported dead-on-arrival at the capital’s main teaching hospital in the early part of this month, according to local media reports.

The Muslim Ramadan fast made it more difficult for people to cope because they weren’t meant to drink water or other beverages, said Kiswendsida Guigma, a meteorologist at the Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre, which also participated in the study.

Read more: ‘Hot Continent’ Perception Downplays Africa’s Heat Wave Dangers

The data suggested that climate change made maximum temperatures in Mali and Burkina Faso, where the heat was the most extreme, 1.5 degrees hotter and the amount of days for which they stayed unusually high made it a one-in-200 year event, according to the WWA statement published Thursday. 

In the broader Sahel region, maximum temperatures were slightly lower on average, representing a one-in-30 year event. The group said it used peer-reviewed methodologies to reach the conclusion, though the study itself wasn’t peer-reviewed.

The El Niño weather phenomenon wasn’t the main cause of the Sahelian heat, the way it was in the case of a drought that hit southern Africa in February, according to the scientists.

South Africa approves digital nomad visa for foreign skilled workers - BUSINESSDAY

APRIL 20, 2024

South Africa has approved the enactment of its digital nomad visa regulations, extending the right to work to foreign skilled workers, including Nigerians.

Under the new policy, foreign workers earning an annual income exceeding R1 million ($53,665) would be qualified for visa relocation to South Africa.

“The introduction of a remote working visa responds to the rapidly evolving world of work, where increasing numbers of skilled workers, notably in the tech industry, are attracted by the lifestyle benefits of working from a remote location,” said Cyril Ramaphosa, president of South Africa during the initial announcement of the policy.

“It also caters to so-called digital nomads, who can work virtually from any location in the world. A remote worker who wants to work in South Africa while being employed by a foreign company will be able to receive such a visa,” he added.

Last month, when the government published the draft regulations for the visas, it invited the public to share feedback and comments.

Some South Africans supported the digital nomad visa with hopes that it would attract foreign talents into its tech ecosystem, while some others believe it could sponsor an increased cost of living, inequality, and tax evasion.

Mixed public opinion did not falter plans however, as the bill was passed into law and to begin operation this year.

The new law follows the same criteria introduced by different countries with similar visa requirements, such as Canada, the Czech Republic, Japan, Spain, and South Korea.

South Africa also joins other African nations offering remote work visas including the Seychelles Cape Verde, Namibia, and Mauritius.

Dubai Floods Expose Weaknesses to a Rapidly Changing Climate - BLOOMBERG

APRIL 20, 2024

BY Laura Millan, Coco Liu and Zainab FattahBloomberg News

An ambulance abandoned in floodwater in Dubai. Photographer: Christopher Pike/Bloomberg

An ambulance abandoned in floodwater in Dubai. Photographer: Christopher Pike/Bloomberg , Bloomberg

(Bloomberg) -- The heavy rains that flooded Dubai this week halted air traffic, damaged buildings and streets — and left climate experts and common citizens asking whether one of the world’s hottest and driest cities should be better prepared for extreme storms. 

Weather forecasters knew days in advance that a major storm was heading for the United Arab Emirates and authorities issued warnings asking citizens to stay home. Yet its largest city Dubai was still brought to a halt this week, with one of the worst rain events in decades flooding streets, homes and highways.   

“Stormwater management systems were historically deemed an ‘unnecessary cost’ due to the limited rainfall” in the UAE, said Karim Elgendy, an associate fellow at the Environment and Society Centre at Chatham House. “As the variability of rainfall increases across the region and as the likelihood of such events rises, the economic case for such systems becomes stronger.”

Human-caused climate change is making extreme weather events like heat and rain more intense, frequent and harder to predict. The Middle East is forecast to face higher temperatures and a decline in overall rainfall, according to long-term scientific projections. But these very arid places will also experience storms that drop unprecedented rain, according to researchers. That’s forcing governments to consider whether to adapt to rare but destructive events — and how.   

Representatives for the UAE government didn’t immediately reply to a written request for comment.

“It’s a real tradeoff in thinking about the cost and the opportunity costs,” said Linda Shi, an assistant professor specializing in urban climate adaptation at Cornell University in the US. “These events are likely to be erratic and unpredictable.”  

The UAE was battered on Tuesday by its heaviest downpour since records began in 1949. Scientists and weather forecasters attribute the storm to a large amount of moisture rising from warming seas to the atmosphere, before falling as rain over to the Arabian Peninsula.

El Niño, the climate phenomenon that makes seas warmer and alters weather patterns globally, may have affected the storm. Climate change can’t be ruled out as a factor, though more detailed studies are needed to establish its exact influence, several climatologists and forecasters told Bloomberg Green. 

“While massive floods like this have occurred in the past, the huge scale and intensity of the rainfall that caused it are exactly what we are seeing more of in our warmer world,” said Hannah Cloke, a professor of hydrology at the University of Reading in the UK. “With so much rain falling all at once, even carefully designed drainage systems will struggle to cope.”   

The floods drew immediate attention to the UAE’s cloud-seeding program, which involves injecting particles into clouds that can influence rainfall. But it will take “significant data analysis” to ascertain the role, if any, it played in making the rains more extreme, according to Auroop Ganguly, a civil and environmental engineering professor at Northeastern University in Boston. “Often major floods in a city relate to urban drainage and related infrastructures,” he said.

Dubai and the UAE more broadly were unprepared for such a large amount of water falling over such a short period. Drainage systems quickly proved insufficient to absorb the deluge. Underground garages completely flooded, with water flowing into streets, highways and homes.

Tankers were deployed to pump water from streets once the storm passed, but some communities, lakes and local football grounds remained waterlogged days later. The impacts continue to ripple outward. Shelves in some local supermarkets were still empty on Thursday evening. Schools were shut for four days and government employees were asked to work from home where possible. Dubai’s international airport said Friday afternoon it was allowing departures to operate but it was limiting the number of inbound flights for the next 48 hours.

“Cities in arid regions may be especially ill-prepared for heavy rain events because buildings, landscapes and infrastructure have not been designed with drainage capacity as a primary concern,” said Zachary Lamb, an assistant professor in the Department of City and Regional Planning at the University of California at Berkeley in the US. “Climate change is unsettling long-held assumptions about landscape and climate conditions that have informed the design and planning of buildings and cities for generations.”    

Dubai is not alone in facing that problem. Last year, a superstorm burst dams in Libya, causing floods that wreaked havoc in the city of Derna and killed at least 5,000 people. Parts of Beijing were also submerged last year after the Chinese capital was battered by the heaviest rainfall in 140 years of weather records. The flooding washed away homes and caused dozens of fatalities.

“Dubai can only prepare for what it sees as being within the range of probability for the future,” said Lisa Dale, a climate adaptation specialist at Columbia University in the US. “Predictions for future weather patterns foundationally rely on past weather patterns, leaving many governments unprepared for climate change impacts that are not historically common.”

--With assistance from Rakteem Katakey, Verity Ratcliffe, Olivia Rudgard and Leen Al-Rashdan.

Milan poised to ban ice cream, pizza and more after midnight after new proposed law - SKY NEWS

APRIL 23, 2024

After a failed attempt back in 2013, Milan is once again trying to get late-night ice cream eaters off its streets - with local government proposing a new law that could come into effect next month.

By Kieren Williams, news reporter

Milan is proposing a new law to ban ice cream after midnight in an effort to protect the "tranquillity" of residents.

For many, a late-night gelato is a part of Italian culture, but this is in danger under a new law being introduced in the city.

A legislative starting paper has been filed by the city's local government, and if passed it could see late-night ice creams banned as soon as next month.

Covering 12 districts, the proposal would ban all takeaway food, including pizza, and drink after midnight in an effort to clamp down on noisy groups crowding on the streets of the Italian city, keeping local residents up.

Marco Granelli, deputy mayor, said: "The goal is to seek a balance between socialising and entertainment, and the peace and tranquillity of residents."

The proposal would be effective from "mid-May" and last until November.

It would kick in at 12.30am on weekdays and 1.30am on weekends and public holidays, applying to outdoor tables only in an effort to clear the streets.

Citizens have until early May to appeal and suggest changes to the law.

The proposal would apply in the following areas: Nolo, Lazzaretto, Melzo, Isola, Sarpi, Via Cesariano, Arco della Pace, Como-GaeAulenti, Porta Garibaldi, Brera, Ticinese, and Darsena-Navigli.

However, this is not the first time Milan has tried to ban ice cream after midnight.

Back in 2013, the then mayor Giuliano Pisapia tried to implement similar measures but after a fierce backlash, including a reported 'occupy gelato' movement, he U-turned.

He was reported as having said after backtracking: "People can eat ice cream day and night, anywhere they like."

UPDATED: 83 passengers safe as Dana aircraft skids off runway - THE NATION

APRIL 23, 2024


An aircraft operated by Dana Air on Tuesday skidded off the runway at Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos.

The aircraft took off from the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja.

The Management of Dana Air in a statement via its official X account @DanaAir said the aircraft has been grounded for investigation.

The airline said the 83 passengers on board the flight disembarked the flight without injuries.

It also noted that it has alerted the Nigerian Safety Investigation Bureau (NSIB) formerly AIB and the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA).

The Management however did not reveal the cause of the incident.

The statement by the airline reads: “Dana Air regrets to inform the public of a runway incursion involving one of our registration number 5N BKI, which was flying from Abuja to Lagos today 23/04/.

“We are relieved to confirm that all 83 passengers and crew onboard the flight disembarked safely without injuries or scare as the crew handled the situation with utmost professionalism.

“We have also updated the AIB and NCAA on the incident and the aircraft involved has been grounded by our maintenance team for further investigation.

“We wish to thank the airport authorities, our crew for their very swift response in ensuring the safe disembarkation of all passengers following the incident and our sincere apologies and appreciation to the passengers on the affected flight for their patience and understanding.

“We wish to reassure our passengers that their safety will always be our top priority, and we are cooperating fully with the relevant authorities to investigate the circumstances surrounding the incident”.

EXCLUSIVE: EFCC arrests Sirika over alleged N8bn Nigeria Air fraud - PUNCH

APRIL 23, 2024

By Abiodun Sanusi

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has arrested former Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, over an ongoing N8,069,176,864.00 money laundering probe.

The indicted former Minister of Aviation arrived at the Federal Capital Territory Command of the EFCC at about 1:00 pm on Tuesday, The PUNCH can confirm.

Our correspondent, who was at the Wuse office of the EFCC, observed the embattled former minister’s arrival at the anti-graft agency’s Abuja office.

Following his arrival at the command, Sirika is currently meeting with EFCC investigators to answer questions on alleged fraudulent contracts awarded by him to a company known as Engirios Nigeria Limited, owned by his younger sibling, Abubakar Sirika.

Impeccable anti-graft sources who spoke on the condition of anonymity, because they were not authorised to speak, confirmed the development to our correspondent on Tuesday.

“Yes, that was Hadi Sirika who was taken into our FCT custody. He is currently meeting with EFCC investigators over the alleged N8,069,176,864.00 aviation ministry contract fraud,” a source revealed.

Another source noted, “The N8,069,176,864.00 aviation ministry contract fraud was carried out in connivance with his younger brother, Abubakar Sirika, through the latter’s company.”

In February, The PUNCH exclusively reported that the EFCC was investigating the activities of the Aviation Ministry under former Minister Sirika for conspiracy, abuse of office, diversion of public funds, and contract inflation.

A credible source who spoke with our correspondent on Tuesday revealed that the anti-graft commission is investigating the activities of the Aviation Ministry for conspiracy, abuse of office, diversion of public funds, and contract inflation.

Others are criminal breaches of trust and money laundering amounting to N8,069,176,864.00 during Sirika’s tenure in office.

The sum is said to be for four aviation contracts from the former minister to a company known as Engirios Nigeria Limited, owned by his younger sibling, Abubakar Sirika.

Apart from being listed as the company’s Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Abubakar is said to be the sole signatory to the company’s two accounts, domiciled in Zenith and Union Banksy.

It was further revealed that the ex-minister’s younger brother, Abubakar Sirika, has been arrested and detained by the commission in connection with N3,212,258,930.18 paid to his company, Engirios Nigerian Limited’s, bank account by the former minister.

It was noted that there is no trace of work done on any of the contract items to date.

The source said Abubakar Sirika, who was arrested on Sunday, February 4, has since been assisting the commission in its probe of the Aviation Ministry’s financial expenditures during Mr Sirika’s tenure.

The EFCC investigator said, “We’re investigating an N8,069,176,864.00 money laundering case linked to former Aviation Minister Hadi Sirika.

“Hadi awarded contracts to his brother Abubakar, knowing that the latter is a civil servant, a deputy director on Level 16 in the Federal Ministry of Water Resources, where he has been working since 2000 till date.

“The first of the contracts from the former minister to Engirios Nigeria Limited was on August 18, 2022, for the construction of the Terminal Building in Katsina Airport, at a cost of N1,345,586,500.00. The second was awarded on November 3, 2022, for the establishment of the Fire Truck Maintenance and Refurbishment Center in Katsina Airport, valued at N3, 811,497,685.00.

“The third contract was on February 3, 2023, for the procurement and installation of lifts, air conditioners, and a power generator’s house in Aviation House, Abuja, at the cost of N615,195,275.000, while the fourth was awarded on May 5, 2023, for the procurement of Magnus aircraft and a simulator for the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology, Zaria, at the cost of N2, 296,897,404.00.

“Out of the total contract sum, the ex-minister paid out N3,212,258,930.18 to his younger brother’s Engirios Nigerian Limited, who, upon receipt of the payment, transferred it to different companies and individuals. There is no trace of work done on any of the contract items to date.

“Abubakar Sirika is currently in our custody at the Headquarters, and he is providing us with more useful information on the financial activities of the Aviation Ministry under the supervision of his older brother, Hadi Sirika.”

Air Peace takes flight: A price war erupts in the Nigerian skies - BUSINESSDAY

APRIL 23, 2024

Nigeria’s Air Peace has taken flight internationally, capturing global attention with its audacious pricing strategy on the lucrative Lagos-London route. This bold move has not merely disrupted the status quo; it has ignited an intense price war among seasoned international carriers, sparking debates on the sustainability and future direction of Nigeria’s aviation industry. As the skies above West Africa become embroiled in this fierce battle of fares, the implications for Air Peace and the broader aviation landscape are profound and far-reaching.

Air Peace’s introduction of incredibly affordable fares has been revolutionary for Nigerian travellers. By fundamentally changing the regional airfare landscape, Air Peace has opened up travel opportunities for many. This bold move hasn’t gone unnoticed by industry giants like British Airways and Virgin Atlantic. They have responded swiftly with dramatic price cuts, slashing fares by up to 50 percent to maintain their dominant market share. This aggressive response underscores the fierce competition brewing in the Nigerian skies and highlights the lengths established players are willing to go to protect their turf from disruptive newcomers like Air Peace.

Consumers rejoice at the immediate benefit of slashed fares, but a crucial question lingers: can airlines maintain these ultra-low prices in the long term? The allure of cheap travel is undeniable, but concerns rise about potential trade-offs. Will airlines sacrifice service quality in this fierce competition? As the price war intensifies, passengers face a dilemma: prioritise affordability and risk lower service, or pay more for a guaranteed quality experience? This is the age-old value versus cost debate playing out live in the Nigerian skies.

Air Peace CEO Allen Onyema accuses foreign airlines of predatory pricing, aiming to squeeze the new entrant out of the market. These accusations expose the underlying issue: established airlines are fiercely protecting their dominance against challengers like Air Peace. The outcome of this price war will determine Air Peace’s fate and become a test case for fair competition in the Nigerian aviation market.

Nigerians have rallied behind Air Peace, viewing its success as emblematic of national pride and economic advancement. As the adage goes, “If you don’t value what is yours, never expect an outsider to value it.” Air peace has become a beacon of national identity, and Nigerians are steadfast in their resolve to see it prosper.

The coming months are crucial for air peace. To navigate this turbulent period and ensure its survival and expansion, the airline can consider several strategies.

First, it can differentiate itself by offering a unique selling proposition, such as exceptional customer service, innovative in-flight experiences, or strategic partnerships.

Second, by investing in a modern fleet, streamlining booking processes, and providing personalised services, Air Peace can enhance the overall customer experience and stand out in the crowded market.

Furthermore, expanding its network through new domestic routes and international forays into Africa and beyond, including popular destinations for Nigerians like Canada, will tap into fresh markets. Finally, prioritising safety and reliability through an impeccable record and consistent service will build trust and loyalty among passengers.

Additionally, Air Peace can leverage targeted marketing campaigns, partnerships with travel agencies, and a strong social media presence to boost its visibility and attract new customers. Ultimately, listing on the stock market could unlock a wealth of benefits, including attracting fresh investments, providing capital for expansion initiatives, and enhancing Air Peace’s credibility in the market. By implementing these strategies, Air Peace can weather the current storm and soar to new heights.

Air Peace’s audacious manoeuvre has shaken the skies above Nigeria, triggering a price war that reverberates throughout the regional aviation industry. The coming months will be a crucible moment, not just for Air Peace’s survival but for establishing a new paradigm in Nigerian air travel.

The outcome of this price war will determine whether these lower fares can be sustained while maintaining service quality. It will also shape the competitive landscape, potentially opening doors for new players and forcing established airlines to adapt their strategies. This is a pivotal moment for Nigerian consumers, who could benefit from greater choice and affordability in the long term.

Ultimately, the skies above Nigeria could become a model for fostering healthy competition and innovation in the regional aviation sector, with Air Peace playing a central role in this transformation.

Darkness hits three states as vandals destroy TCN towers - DAILY POST

APRIL 23, 2024

Power outage has hit Gombe, Yola, and Jalingo residents.

The Transmission Company of Nigeria, TCN, while confirming the development, said that vandals destroyed four towers along the Jos-Gombe transmission line.

Ndidi Mbah, the general manager of Public Affairs at TCN, disclosed this in a statement on Monday.

According to her, the towers were vandalized around 3:32 pm on Monday.

Consequently, the bulk power supply to Gombe, Yola, and Jalingo Substations has been disrupted, affecting the bulk power supply to parts of Yola and Jos Electricity Distribution Companies’ franchise areas.

“The Transmission Company of Nigeria hereby states that four towers along the Jos – Gombe 330kV transmission line have been vandalized at about 3:32 pm today, 22nd April 2024.

“TCN notes that when the 330kV transmission line tripped, its operators attempted to restore it to service but it tripped again, prompting the dispatch of TCN lines men to trace the line to detect and rectify the fault.

“While fault tracing, TCN’s engineering crew discovered that towers 288, 289, 290, and 291 were vandalized and that some tower members were carted away. Also, the towers had equally collapsed as a result of the incident.

“Presently, bulk power supply to Gombe, Yola, and Jalingo Substations have been disrupted, affecting the bulk power supply to parts of Yola and Jos Electricity Distribution Companies’ franchise areas.

“To mitigate the effect of the incident on electricity consumers affected by the incident, TCN is trying to first back feed Gombe through its 132kV transmission line from Bauchi and subsequently Ashaka, Potiskum, Damaturu, and Billiri/ Savannah.

“We will do everything possible to restore supply to the affected areas while efforts are made to reconstruct the four vandalized towers,” the TCN spokesperson said.

Abuja was thrown into darkness in February over the vandalization of TCN towers.


Passport Renewal: Proof of citizenship mandatory – NIS - PREMIUM TIMES

APRIL 25, 2024

In the new regime, part of the requirements for renewal of passports include provision of a National Identification Number, old passport number, birth certificate, and local government certificate of indigeneship.

By Folashade Ogunrinde

The Nigeria Immigration Services (NIS) has defended its latest policy requiring proof of citizenship from Nigerians seeking to renew their passports.

In a post on X, the NIS stated that all documents required during the process of passport issuance are backed by the Nigerian constitution and the Ministry of Interior.

The immigration service explained that “for your claim of being a Nigerian citizen to hold water, there has to be a document that ties you to a local government (indigenous area) within the country.”

On Wednesday, an X user, Tayo Oviosu, raised concern over the policy requiring the provision of letter of identification from the local government by applicants renewing their passport.

He also questioned why Nigerians who live outside their state of origin have to embark on an unnecessary journey just for a document.

In response to Mr Oviosu’s post, the NIS clarified that most states have liaison offices, thus canceling the need for travel.

“First, you DO NOT necessarily NEED to go to your state of origin to get the indigeneship document

“We are aware that most states have liaison offices in other states. For example, Anambra State has liaison offices in Lagos (Eti-Osa) and Abuja (Asokoro).

“These offices are empowered to issue such documents,” the Service stated.

The International Passport Automation system

In recent months, the NIS has undergone reforms.

In January 2024, the Minister of Interior, Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, launched the International Passport Automation system.

According to the minister, the International Passport Automation system will help strengthen Nigeria’s security architecture.

In the new regime, part of the requirements for renewal of passports include provision of a National Identification Number, old passport number as well as supporting documents such as birth certificate, and local government certificate of indigeneship.

But many Nigerians like Adeniyi Paraiso feel the new requirements for passport renewal are unnecessary.

In April, Mr Paraiso visited the Immigration office to renew his passport but was surprised that the process had changed.

“They have all my information so why do I have to provide all these documents as if I’m applying for a new passport,” he queried.

Rwanda Bill causing migrants to head for Ireland instead of UK, deputy PM says - SKYNEWS

APRIL 26, 2024

It comes at a time when tension over immigration levels is high in Ireland, with the country experiencing a housing crisis.

The threat of deportation to Rwanda is causing migrants to head for Ireland instead of the UK, Ireland's deputy prime minister has said.

The Rwanda Bill, which will see asylum seekers "entering the UK illegally" sent to the central African nation - regardless of the outcome of their application - was passed on Tuesday, despite human rights concerns.

Micheal Martin told The Daily Telegraph that the policy was already affecting Ireland, as people were "fearful" of staying in the UK.

The former Taoiseach said: "Maybe that's the impact it was designed to have."

Mr Martin, who is also Ireland's foreign secretary, said asylum seekers were seeking "to get sanctuary here and within the European Union as opposed to the potential of being deported to Rwanda".

His words follow those of justice minister Helen McEntee, who told a scrutiny committee in the Irish parliament earlier this week that migrants and refugees were crossing the border with Northern Ireland.

Ms McEntee said "higher than 80%" of people seeking asylum in Ireland entered the country through Northern Ireland, a border crossing that is open as guaranteed under a UK-EU Brexit treaty.


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