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Australia cyclone prompts flood alert

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A 1,300km (800 miles) stretch of Australia’s north-east coast is at dangerous risk of flooding after a powerful cyclone, authorities warn.

Cyclone Debbie has caused major damage, torrential rain and power cuts to tens of thousands of homes.

Australian PM Malcolm Turnbull has activated a disaster response plan.

With up to 250mm of rain forecast on Wednesday, authorities have pleaded with people to stay off roads to avoid being stranded in floodwaters.

“We’ve already had two instances of people who were caught in a vehicle,” said Queensland Fire and Emergency Services Commissioner Katarina Carroll, adding flood rescues were now her “biggest concern”.

Her warning was reiterated by  Turnbull, who said nature had “flung her worst” at Queensland.

Cyclone Debbie made landfall between Bowen and Airlie Beach as a category four storm, whipping gusts of up to 263km/h (163mph), and is now moving inland as a tropical low storm.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said three people had been confirmed injured, but that number could rise.

“For many people this morning, they are waking up and they are seeing the devastation that has happened in their communities,” Ms Palaszczuk told reporters.

She urged insurance companies to “treat people with respect” following the disaster, saying 63,000 homes were without power.

Palaszczuk also expressed concerns that injured people were unable to contact emergency services.

Queensland Deputy Police Commissioner Steve Gollschewski said the worst-hit towns included Bowen, Airlie Beach, Proserpine and Collinsville.

“Those areas and the Whitsunday Islands remain difficult for us to contact and to get into,” he said.

The Australian Defence Force has been despatched in Queensland to begin public infrastructure repairs.

Electricity providers said it was not known when power would be restored to houses, reports the BBC.

Turnbull asked government organisations, banks and insurers to “pull together” to repair damage.

“There will be a lot of damage… particularly to the older buildings, older homes in particular,” he said.

“Above all, the important message is to stay safe and follow the advice of the authorities.”

In other developments:

*Two men spent a night stranded in their boat after it was cast on to rocks

*The Insurance Council of Australia declared the cyclone a “catastrophe”

*The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority said it feared Debbie might have caused extensive damage to reefs in its path

More than 25,000 people were urged to evacuate their homes ahead of predictions the cyclone would be Queensland’s most damaging since 2011.

 

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Lagos distributes 12 coconut processing equipment to councils

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Lagos State Government through the Lagos State Coconut Development Authority (LASCODA) has distributed coconut processing equipment to coconut processors in 12 Local Governments and Local Council Development Areas of the state as part of its empowerment programme in the coconut value chain. Special Adviser to the Governor on Food Security, Mr. Okanlawon Sanni who distributed the coconut processing equipment to beneficiaries disclosed that the state had shown commitment in boosting food security in the state, stressing that government had included coconut processors in its agricultural development programme with a view to developing the state’s coconut value chain.

Sanni noted that the 12 units of coconut processing equipment donated to coconut processors in the state included, Stainless two ton per hour coconut greater, 7.5 H.P Electric motor, Industrial burners, Aluminium bowls and spoon amongst others.

Meanwhile, Commissioner for Agriculture, Mr. Oluwatoyin Suarau who also spoke at the event noted that the empowerment program for the coconut processors cut across processors from Badagry, Kosofe, Ori-Ade, Oto Awori, Ibeju- Lekki, Epe, Ojo, Surulere , Ikorodu,Lekki Agege and Alimosho LGAs & LCDAs. While congratulating the beneficiaries, Suarau opined that coconut value chain has a lot of potentials that can be harnessed which can impact positively on the GDP of the country.

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Employee sues CIG motors over alleged termination of appointment

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A former staff of CIG Motors Company Limited, Akeem Adebiyi Adeyemi, has filed a N1.062 million suit before the National Industrial Court (NIC), Lagos Division, against the management of the company over an alleged wrongful termination of appointment. In the suit, reference NICN/LA/35/2018 filed through his lawyers, Olawale Fapohunda, the claimant is seeking a declaration that the purported termination of his employment with the defendant through a letter dated August 31, 2017 based on protest against certain racial comments by the chairperson of the company, Mrs Chen Xuixia is illegal, malicious and wrongful.

The claimant sought the court’s declaration that the defendant breached his right to freedom from discrimination as provided for under Section 42 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended and Federal law of Nigeria, Cap C23 LFN 2004.

He asked the court to declare that the deliberate refusal of the defendant to remit his pension contribution from April 2017 to August 2017 was unlawful and a violation of the provisions of the Pension Reforms Act 2014 and that the refusal of the defendant to remit the Personal Income Tax monthly deduction made from him to the Lagos State Internal Revenue Service was unlawful and a violation of the provisions of the Personal Income Tax Act Cap P8 LFN 2004.

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Catholic Church rejoins CAN

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Barely five years after the Roman Catholic Church in Nigeria pulled out of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), the church has announced its return to the umbrella organisation of Christians in the country. The Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria(CBCN) had, in a letter dated September 24, 2012, announced its withdrawal from the organisation. Although the letter was not explicit on the reasons for the action, many believed it was due to some disagreements.

The re-union which reportedly took place at the weekend, saw a delegation of the Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria, led by Rev. Fr. (Prof.) Cornelius Omonokhua, attending an expanded two-day National Executive Committee meeting of CAN for the amendment of its constitution. President of CAN, Dr. Samson Ayokunle, expressed delight at the new development, describing it as one of the best things that has happened to CAN in recent times.

In a statement issued by Adebayo Oladeji, his Special Assistant on Media and Communications, Ayokunle said bringing the Catholic brethren back to the fold was part of his vision for CAN. “I must acknowledge the support and understanding of my brother in Christ, Most Rev Ignatius Kaigama, President, Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria and his team.”

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