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Northern Ireland legalises same-sex marriage

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Same sex marriage

The last of the British 4 Northern Ireland, announces that same-sex marriage is now legal in a Westminster Bill to change the law.

The law came into force on Monday 13 January 2020 with same-sex couples now allowed to register to marry in the country, and those who are already married will have their union recognized by law.

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The first same-sex weddings are expected to take place in February as couples have to indicate their intention to marry 28 days before getting married.

The new law brings Northern Ireland into line with the rest of the UK including England, Scotland and Wales who all made same-sex marriages legal since 2014.

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Speaking to BBC News NI, Mr McGinn said:

“Everyone who values equality, love and respect can celebrate today.”

“It’s a good day for Northern Ireland, an important day for citizens’ rights across these islands and an exciting day for same-sex couples who can now register to marry,” he said.

Patrick Corrigan from Amnesty International said it was a “historic day for equality and human rights in Northern Ireland.”

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Covid-19: 193 Almajiri children test positive in Kano

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Covid-19: Kano conducts 8,273 sample tests

No fewer than 192 Almajiri children have tested positive for Coronavirus in Kano state.

The state’s commissioner for education, Muhammad Kiru, disclosed this during the COVID-19 briefing at the government house on Thursday.

He mentioned that part of Almajiris who tested positive returned from other states.

The commissioner added that the state has received a total of 244 Almajiri children and repatriated 1,183 children to other states.

“Since we began the repatriation of Almajiri, we have successfully repatriated 1,183 and have received 244.

“We fed them, gave them the required healthcare and got them tested where we discovered 192 to be positive and got them isolated.”

The commissioner further disclosed that all Almajiri schools in Kano have been closed down pending the opening of schools in the country.

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Doctors’ strike leaves COVID-19 patients ‘without care’ in Sierra Leone

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A doctors’ strike in Sierra Leone has left Covid-19 patients in some of the main treatment centres without care.

The doctors say they were promised hazard pay for their work during the outbreak, which has not yet been paid.

The strike marks an escalation in a row between doctors and government over what doctors say is a misuse of funds for the coronavirus response and a lack of protection and compensation for health workers.

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“No patient showing Covid-like symptoms will be treated by any doctor until we have the support we need,” said S K Jusu, the head doctor at Fourah Bay College, a school whose dormitories have been transformed into the country’s largest Covid-19 treatment centre on a hill overlooking the capital Freetown.

Sierra Leone, which is among the world’s poorest countries, has recorded nearly 1,500 coronavirus cases with 60 deaths. Of the virus cases, 160 have been health workers.

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The former British colony was hard hit by the 2014-16 Ebola epidemic in West Africa, during which nearly 4,000 people, including 250 medical workers died.

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Eni, Shell aware of bribes in Nigeria case – Italy prosecutor

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Shell cuts dividend for first time since 1940s as oil demand collapses

Oil majors Eni and Royal Dutch Shell were aware that most of the money they spent to buy a Nigerian oilfield in 2011 would go in corrupt payments to politicians and officials, a prosecutor said on Thursday.

“They were kickbacks. And Eni and Shell knew it,” Sergio Spadaro told judges in Milan, summing up the prosecutors’ case in what is one of the industry’s largest corruption scandals ever.

Italy’s Eni and Shell, who deny any wrongdoing, bought the OPL 245 offshore field in 2011 for about $1.3 billion from Malabu, a company owned by former Nigerian oil minister Dan Etete.

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Prosecutors allege that about $1.1 billion of that money was siphoned off to politicians and middlemen, half of it to Etete himself.

During a 7-hour speech in a special courtroom to meet COVID-19 requirements, Spadaro read out a series of emails between former Shell managers, including one saying it had been taken for granted Etete would have only kept a part of the price for himself, using the rest to pay off Nigerian politicians.

“There are a whole load of sharks around,” the email read out by Spadaro said.

Prosecutors are expected to make their final sentencing requests for those involved in the long-running case at a second hearing in Milan scheduled for July 21.

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Besides the two companies, another 13 people are involved in the case including current Eni Chief Executive Claudio Descalzi and former Shell head of upstream Malcolm Brinded.

All the defendants have denied any wrongdoing, saying the purchase price was paid into an official Nigerian government account with all subsequent transfers being beyond their control.

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In a statement on Thursday Eni said it had paid the Nigerian government a fair and reasonable price for the field in a clear and transparent way.

“Eni did not know, nor was obliged in any way to know, the final destination of the funds subsequently paid to Malabu by the Nigerian government,” it said.

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