effort

North Korea’s Kim pledges thousands of new homes in storm recovery effort

By Sangmi Cha

SEOUL (Reuters) – North Korean leader Kim Jong Un promised to help typhoon-hit areas recover and to build at least 25,000 houses over the next five years, state media said on Wednesday.

Visiting one of the worst-hit areas of North Korea, Kim expressed regret over the more than 50-year-old houses in which people have been living and urged the military to embark on a more ambitious construction plan, KCNA said.

The visit came after Kim appeared to shed tears at the weekend as he thanked citizens for their sacrifices, in the most striking demonstration yet of how he is relying on his “man-of- the-people” persona to tackle his country’s deepening crises.

The military has reached a construction level of 60% for at least 2,300 houses in the Komdok area in South Hamgyong province, northeast of the capital, Pyongyang, the state media said.

Kim said new houses were now only built when the old ones were brought down by natural disasters, and called for a “revolution” in construction plans, starting with building 25,000 houses during his five-year plan set to be unveiled in January.

Last week, Kim called on his country to embark on an 80-day “speed battle” – to attain economic goals before a congress in January to decide the new five-year plan.

North Korea has had a tough year because of the impact of anti-coronavirus measures, international sanctions and several typhoons that battered towns.

(Reporting by Sangmi Cha; Editing by Peter Cooney)

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North Korea’s Kim pledges thousands of new homes in storm recovery effort: state media

By Sangmi Cha

SEOUL (Reuters) – North Korean leader Kim Jong Un promised to help typhoon-hit areas recover and to build at least 25,000 houses over the next five years, state media said on Wednesday.

Visiting one of the worst-hit areas of North Korea, Kim expressed regret over the more than 50-year-old houses in which people have been living and urged the military to embark on a more ambitious construction plan, KCNA said.

The visit came after Kim appeared to shed tears at the weekend as he thanked citizens for their sacrifices, in the most striking demonstration yet of how he is relying on his “man-of- the-people” persona to tackle his country’s deepening crises.

The military has reached a construction level of 60% for at least 2,300 houses in the Komdok area in South Hamgyong province, northeast of the capital, Pyongyang, the state media said.

Kim said new houses were now only built when the old ones were brought down by natural disasters, and called for a “revolution” in construction plans, starting with building 25,000 houses during his five-year plan set to be unveiled in January.

Last week, Kim called on his country to embark on an 80-day “speed battle” – to attain economic goals before a congress in January to decide the new five-year plan.

North Korea has had a tough year because of the impact of anti-coronavirus measures, international sanctions and several typhoons that battered towns.

(Reporting by Sangmi Cha; Editing by Peter Cooney)

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CISLAC, TI decry contractors sabotaging FG’s effort on free anti-retroviral drugs

Commends NACA’s plan to establish HIV Trust Fund

CISLAC, TI decry contractors sabotaging FG’s effort on free anti-retroviral drugs

By Gabriel Ewepu – Abuja

Two Civil Society Organisations, Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre, CISLAC, and Transparency International Nigeria, Thursday, decried contractors allegedly sabotaging Federal Government’s effort to the sustenance of free anti-retroviral drugs for 3.1 million people living with HIV/AIDS in the country.

This was contained in a statement signed by Executive Director, CISLAC, Auwal Musa Rafsanjani, and made available to Vanguard, where they also alleged that the contractors were aided to defraud the government by insiders at the National Agency for the Control of AIDS, NACA, who prevent the Agency from buying HIV drugs directly from original manufacturers.

According to CISLAC/TI Nigeria contractors currently sell the anti-retroviral drugs at $13 per patient as against $7 given by the manufacturers.

The statement reads in part, “While international treaties and governments across the world recognize adequate, accessible and affordable health care as a fundamental human right, medicine financing in Nigeria is generally out-of-pocket.

“The continued rise in price has made many essential and prescription medications unaffordable, and therefore inaccessible, by quite a large number of Nigerians, who live below the poverty line. This without a doubt comes with grave consequences of morbidity and mortality to consumers of health care products in Nigeria.

“The non-affordability triggered by high production and supply costs encourages the sale of fake and substandard drugs in the country, while consumers who are compelled to seek cheaper drug alternatives ceaselessly fall prey to fake and substandard drugs with damage to their health.

“As the Nigerian government struggles to sustain the provision of free antiretroviral drugs as part of HIV programmes at health facilities in the country for an estimated 3.1 million people living with HIV/AIDS, this effort is mostly sabotaged by inflated prices quoted by supplying contractors, whose activities

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Lowe’s, ‘Shark Tank’ star Daymond John launch effort for small businesses

As many small businesses face challenges during the coronavirus pandemic, Lowe’s is giving them a shot to get their products on its store shelves and website.

Lowe’s CEO Marvin Ellison said Tuesday on CNBC’s “Squawk on the Street” that the home improvement retailer is teaming up with Daymond John, a star of ABC’s “Shark Tank,” to mentor entrepreneurs across diverse backgrounds, listen to their pitches and narrow the pool to standouts. The initiative will ultimately culminate in a one-day pitch competition judged by Lowe’s executives and hosted by John.

“Although we’re a big company, we’re fortunate to be classified as an essential business, we understand that the success of our broader macro economy is going to be the small businesses and the ability for small businesses to continue to grow and thrive,” Ellison said. “We understand that Covid-19 has created an incredible strain on the economic viability of many of these small businesses. We are, as a large company, doing our best to help.”

The home improvement retailer has committed $55 million towards small business grants to support minority-owned and women-owned businesses and rural small businesses — many of which have struggled as Covid-19 spread, shuttered stores and created economic uncertainty.

Ellison said Tuesday that the new effort was inspired by the outpouring of interest and great need. He said Lowe’s has gotten over 800,000 applications for the grants since it began the program in May.

“The demand from this program led us to understand that there’s a lot more that we should be doing,” he said. “So we came up with an idea to try to get more products on our shelves and on Lowes.com that originate from diverse entrepreneurs.”

The new initiative is called “Making it… With Lowe’s.” Small businesses can apply for the contest from Sept. 15

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