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Taiwan’s exclusion from World Health Assembly undermines global health by U.S. Ambassador Mary Beth Leonard

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Taiwan was incredibly effective at managing the COVID-19 pandemic and the world has an opportunity to learn from that experience at the May 25-June 1 World Health Assembly (WHA) in Geneva. If only inviting Taiwan were that easy.

Taiwan unfortunately has been blocked from participating in critical international efforts to control the spread of diseases, denied access to important platforms to share its knowledge and expertise, and the 24 million people living on the island are cut off from global health security initiatives.

This undermines public health in Nigeria, just as it does in the United States, Taiwan, and around the world. We can all do the right thing and support Taiwan’s participation in international organizations where their contributions would help solve pressing issues, such as alleviating the COVID pandemic.


The WHA convenes senior health officials and leading health experts from around the world. It is instrumental to coordinating international efforts to improve the health of all people.

Indeed, the motto of the WHO is “Health for All.” Taiwan participated in the WHA as an observer between 2009 and 2016, but today finds itself shut out due to political pressure from the People’s Republic of China (PRC).

Beijing’s actions to prevent Taiwan’s participation in the WHA leave the world, the World Health Organization, and Nigeria worse off.


The world has much to learn from Taiwan at the World Health Assembly. Taiwan’s response to the recent pandemic, led by President Tsai Ing-wen, is rightly lauded as among the world’s most coordinated, transparent, and effective.

Even before registering the first confirmed COVID-19 case on January 21, 2020, Taiwan activated its Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) to facilitate inter-ministerial cooperation in prevention and monitoring measures.

By late February, the CECC had published a list of 124 action items, which included ramping up mask production through public-private partnerships.


Taiwan managed to avoid an outbreak by relying on transparency and implementing testing, strict border controls, mandatory quarantine guidelines, and advanced digital technologies for tracking potential infections.

Taiwan threaded the needle between protecting public health and promoting a healthy economy, becoming Asia’s fastest-growing economy in 2020.


Taiwan not only successfully protected its population, it also sought to support the global population hit hard by the pandemic. In March 2020, President Tsai announced that Taiwan was “willing to contribute capabilities to better protect human health around the world.”

Soon after, the island committed to providing 10 million masks to more than a dozen nations, including the United States. Nigeria has received over a 100,000 masks from this effort.
Taiwan continues to pursue innovative avenues of pandemic support. In April, it launched a “travel bubble” with diplomatic partner Palau. As a result, Taiwanese travelers are arriving in droves and providing much-needed revenue to the tourism-dependent Pacific Island nation.


As long as Taiwan remains excluded from meaningfully participating in international organizations such as the WHO, the world cannot leverage Taiwan’s considerable strengths in medicine, manufacturing, and technology for the greater good.


Taiwan is ready to help us defeat this terrible pandemic. We should let Taiwan help.


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We’ll tackle, reverse biodiversity loss, Buhari assures global leaders

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President Muhammadu Buhari Wednesday in New York declared that Federal Government has initiated some specific actions to tackle and reverse the severe trend of biodiversity loss which affects the whole world, Presidential spokesman, Femi Adesina disclosed in a statement.

The President spoke in a video message to the hybrid High-Level event tagged “Transformative Actions for Nature and People” on the margins of the 76th Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA 76).

Aside championing regional and inter-regional cooperation towards addressing the scourge,  President Buhari outlined other measures to include: “Expansion of protected areas including the establishment of ten (10) new National Parks across the country as well as the creation of Marine Protected Areas pursuant to the 30X30 Agenda of the Convention on Biodiversity (CBD); and domestication of relevant International Agreements, Conventions as well as Laws and Policies for the protection and conservation of biodiversity.”

The Nigerian leader added that, “leveraging the cooperation and partnerships of the Development Partners as well as International Organisations and Coalitions for concrete action against deforestation and biodiversity loss; and promotion and increased investments in climate-positive and nature-positive economy for sustainable environment and land use practices” were other areas being worked on to confront the challenge.  

He expressed gratitude to the President of Costa Rica, His Excellency Carlos Alvarado Quesada whose country currently chairs the High Ambition Coalition for Nature & People (HAC)of which Nigeria is also a member and co-chair for the opportunity to be part of “this great event.”


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107-year-old Japanese sisters confirmed as world’s oldest identical twins

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Umeno (left) and Koume (right) with their official certificates
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Umeno Sumiyama and Koume Kodama (Japan) have been confirmed as the oldest identical twins living (female) and the oldest identical twins ever (female) at 107 years and 300 days old as of 1 September 2021.

Currently living in separate locations, the official certificates were presented to Umeno and Koume by care home staff.

Umeno and Koume were born on 5th November 1913 on Shodo Island, Kagawa prefecture, Japan, into a large family of 13. 

Group photo from earlier days. Here, Koume can be seen sitting in the very right of the second row, while Umeno is the third one from the left in front row

Group photo from earlier days. Here, Koume can be seen sitting in the very right of the second row, while Umeno is the third one from the left in front row

According to their family members, the twins are both sociable and positive and hardly worry about things. Apparently, Umeno is more strong-willed, while Koume is more gentle.

Their upbringing was similar to that of a TV drama, the twins recall. It was also a time where being a twin was enough of a reason to get bullied, and that was one of the toughest experience in their childhood.

The twins started living apart from a young age. When the twins finished elementary school, Koume left the island to help her uncle. 

Umeno married someone who lived on Shodo Island, while Koume married someone outside of the island.

Koume (left) and Umeno (right)

Koume (left) and Umeno (right)

The twins experienced two world wars. Umeno had to vacate her home towards the end of the Second World War as an air raid shelter was constructed in the mountain behind it, only for the war to end shortly afterwards.

Because the twins were over 300 km apart, they were unable to catch up regularly, and mainly saw each other at weddings and funerals. However, once they were around the age of 70, they travelled together for Buddhist pilgrimages on several occasions.

As Umeno and Koume got older, the twins joked about reaching the age of Kin Narita and Gin Kanie, who were not only the previous record holders for the oldest identical twins living, but also a household name in Japan. 

When they celebrated their 99th birthday (a custom in Japan), Umeno looked at the photo of Kin and Gin and said “I think we look younger”!

Koume (left) and Umeno (right) celebrating their 99th birthday

Koume (left) and Umeno (right) celebrating their 99th birthday

Although the twins joked about becoming record holders, their family said they didn’t expect them to really break Kin and Gin’s record, and were shocked when they did!

Both Umeno and Koume now live in different care homes.

Due to COVID-19, Guinness World Records were unable to visit the twins in person to present them with their official certificates and they were sent to the sisters instead. 

According to care home staff, Umeno was in tears as soon as she saw the certificate.

Koume, whose memory is not what it once was, sadly couldn’t fully comprehend the significance of receiving the certificate. 

However, her family are pleased that Koume’s achievement has been officially recognized, given that Koume often talked about Guinness World Records over the years.

Many other supercentenarian records have been achieved in Japan, most noticeably:   The oldest person living –  Tanaka Kane, who is currently 118 years old.

The oldest man ever – Jiroemon Kimura, who was born on 19 April 1897 and passed away aged 116 years 54 days on 12 June 2013.


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Man City facing injury crisis as key battles loom large

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Premier League - Manchester City v Southampton - Etihad Stadium, Manchester, Britain - September 18, 2021 Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola reacts after Raheem Sterling scored their first goal that was later disallowed
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Manchester City will have to field several youngsters in Tuesday’s League Cup clash against Wycombe Wanderers as a number of players are suffering from injuries, manager Pep Guardiola said.

“I don’t have any alternative (against Wycombe)… we are going to play a few young players,” Guardiola was quoted as saying by the club’s website on Sunday.

“We have John (Stones), Aymeric (Laporte), Oleks (Zinchenko), Rodri and I think (Ilkay) Gundogan all of them injured.

“It’s a good opportunity for the academy – that’s why they are there.”

Following the match against Wycombe, City face Premier League leaders Chelsea, Paris St Germain in the Champions League and then Liverpool within a space of nine days, meaning the injuries are causing Guardiola a considerable amount of concern.

“Some players might rest for the games we have coming up ahead of us,” he added.

“Ruben (Dias) played all of the minutes so far and Joao (Cancelo) played all of the minutes, too, so I don’t think they will be able to play in this game.”

Source:(Reuters)


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