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King Charles Welcomed In Wales Amid Cheers, Protest

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Crowds cheered for King Charles III in Wales on Friday though some voiced protest against his ascent to the throne, as footballing royalty David Beckham joined a miles-long queue to mourn the late queen in London.

In Cardiff, Charles met in private with Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford, an avowed republican, and there was isolated booing on the streets after the new monarch was quick to declare his son William the new Prince of Wales.

But Drakeford said questions over the future of the monarchy would “be a footnote to the dominant feelings of the day”, following the death on September 8 of Queen Elizabeth II at the age of 96.

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Large crowds chanted “God save the king” as Charles shook hands with well-wishers following a multi-faith service in Llandaff Cathedral, and at Cardiff Castle, on the last of his visits to the UK’s four nations.

READ ALSO: JUST IN: Eldest Son Succeeds Queen Elizabeth As king Of England

In a speech at the parliament of Wales, which alternated between English and Welsh, he vowed to follow the “selfless example” of Britain’s longest-serving monarch.

Charles added that William’s “love for this corner of the Earth is made all the greater by the years he himself has spent here” — after his heir trained as a Royal Air Force helicopter pilot in Anglesey.

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Outside Cardiff Castle, a few protesters held up banners declaring “Abolish the Monarchy”, “Citizen not subject” and “Democracy now”.

On his return to London, Charles was due to join his siblings — Princess Anne, Prince Andrew and Prince Edward — for a family vigil in front of the flag-shrouded casket as it lies in state in London.

– Playing for the queen –
The “Vigil of the Princes”, with all four royals in ceremonial military uniform, will last for 15 minutes from 1830 GMT.

Eight of the queen’s grandchildren, including William and his brother Harry, are expected to hold a similar vigil on Saturday evening.

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Elizabeth’s death has triggered an outpouring of emotion, with tens of thousands from all backgrounds and many nations queueing for hours, often through the night, to pay their respects in Westminster Hall.

The queue was paused on Friday after a park at the end of the line along the River Thames reached capacity, the government said, warning that those at the end faced a wait of 14 hours.

It resumed nearly an hour later. Beckham, the footballer turned fashion icon, was near the front in the afternoon after joining it in the early hours of Friday.

“I thought by coming at 2:00 am it was going to be a little bit quieter — I was wrong,” Beckham told ITV News, as selfie-seeking fans briefly held the queue up.

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The ex-Manchester United and Real Madrid star said every time the national anthem — then entitled “God Save the Queen” — had been played at England matches “meant so much to us”.

Another queueing was Peter Stratford, 70, a former firefighter who was one of the first on the scene of a huge fire in 1992 at Windsor Castle, where the queen will be buried on Monday.

My ankles are killing me, but it’s a small sacrifice to make,” he told AFP after waiting in line for eight hours.

“I’ve been tearful, emotional… I wouldn’t have missed it.”

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READ ALSO: Queen Elizabeth II’s State Funeral – What To Expect

At Westminster Abbey on Monday morning, the queen will be honoured with Britain’s first state funeral in nearly six decades, with more than 2,000 guests expected.

– Row with China –
After the televised service, the coffin will be transferred by royal hearse to Windsor Castle, west of London, for a family-only burial in which the queen will be laid to rest alongside her late husband Philip, parents and sister.

US President Joe Biden, Australian leader Anthony Albanese, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and French President Emmanuel Macron have all confirmed their attendance at the funeral, as have Japan’s Emperor Naruhito and numerous other royals.

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Police are mounting Britain’s biggest-ever security operation for the funeral, as the global dignitaries jet in and crowds file past the queen’s casket round the clock all weekend.

Early Friday, two police officers were stabbed in central London, one suffering “life-changing” injuries, the Metropolitan force said, but it ruled out any link to terrorism.

An official delegation from China has been banned from attending the lying-in-state following an intervention by House of Commons Speaker Lindsay Hoyle, parliamentary sources said.

It comes after China sanctioned several British lawmakers over their criticism of the country’s human rights record.

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As the hosts, the British side should uphold both diplomatic courtesy and gracious hospitality,” foreign ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning told reporters in Beijing.

Downing Street refused to comment.

– ‘Waste of money’ –
In Westminster Hall, the sombre atmosphere is completed with members of the king’s guard in ceremonial uniform posted around the podium in a constant vigil.

Mourners marked their moment in front of the coffin in various ways, from bows or curtsies to the sign of the cross or by simply removing their hats, an AFP reporter observed Friday.

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Some wiped away tears. Others brought infants in pushchairs. Old soldiers stopped and gave one last salute to their former commander-in-chief.

READ ALSO: Putin Won’t Attend Queen Elizabeth’s Funeral – Kremlin

Meanwhile, in Cardiff, many had waited for hours ahead of Charles’s visit.

Something like this won’t happen again,” said barman Jack Grimshaw, 27, who turned out with his young son.

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“The royal family has been around for so many years (but) we didn’t have a new king for so long.”

Not everyone was happy to see the new monarch in Wales. Zahra Ameri, 22, said the funeral was a “waste of money”.

“I’m hoping that Wales becomes independent. Of course, it would be a disturbance in our economy because we do rely on the UK, but I strongly believe in independence,” she said.

AFP

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Japa: 4 Ways Nigerians Can Migrate, Get Jobs In Canada

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As Nigeria continues to experience economic challenges, an increasing number of its citizens are exploring opportunities to migrate to Canada.

Canada, known for its welcoming immigration policies and robust job market, has become a top destination for Nigerians seeking a better life. Canada’s comprehensive immigration programs and strategies for job seekers make it an attractive option for those looking to start anew.

Canada’s plan to invite half a million newcomers by 2025, coupled with its need for skilled workers, opens various pathways for Nigerians.

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From the Express Entry system to family sponsorships, these avenues provide hopeful migrants with multiple options to settle and work in Canada.

Here are five key ways Nigerians can migrate and secure employment in Canada:

READ ALSO: Top 10 Most Dangerous Countries In The World 2024

Express Entry

The Express Entry system is Canada’s fastest and most popular immigration program, enabling candidates to receive permanent residence status in as little as six months. By 2025, Canada plans to invite half a million newcomers, with a significant portion coming through one of the three streams of Express Entry. This system evaluates candidates based on factors like age, education, work experience, and language proficiency.

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Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs)

Throughout the pandemic, Canada’s provinces continued to nominate overseas workers for permanent residence. By 2025, Canada aims to welcome 117,500 new immigrants through PNPs. Each of Canada’s ten provinces and three territories offers unique nominee programs with specific eligibility criteria. Some PNPs require a connection to the province, while others invite candidates based solely on their ability to meet the province’s labor market needs.

READ ALSO: Top 10 Countries With Strongest Militaries In Africa [Latest]

Business Immigration

For those with experience in managing or owning a business, federal and provincial business immigration programs offer a pathway to reside and work in Canada. These programs are designed for individuals planning to be self-employed or start a business in Canada. Business immigration typically requires a significant investment, with specific amounts varying by program and region.

Sponsorship

Family sponsorship is often the easiest route for those with a qualifying family member who is a Canadian permanent resident or citizen. Canada plans to welcome 105,000 new permanent residents through family sponsorship programs this year. The cost of sponsoring a relative is around CAD 1,135, with additional fees for residents of Quebec. Processing times vary, with spousal sponsorship typically taking about 12 months.

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How to get jobs in Canada

Securing a job in Canada can be facilitated through several strategies:

Networking with Experts

Engage with professionals in your field through events and networking opportunities to learn about job openings.

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Continuous Learning

Stay updated with the latest trends and roles in your field by reading articles, watching videos, and gaining new knowledge.

Building Professional Relationships

Attend job fairs, industry meetups, and online groups to connect with potential employers.

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Top 10 Most Dangerous Countries In The World 2024

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The world’s most dangerous countries to visit in 2024 have been unveiled in a recent report by the Institute for Economics and Peace.

The report ranks 163 independent states and territories based on their level of peacefulness, covering 99.7% of the world’s population.

It also noted that there are currently 56 active conflicts, marking the highest number since the end of the Second World War, with fewer conflicts being resolved either militarily or through peace agreements.

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Using the Global Peace Index (GPI), here are the top 10 most dangerous countries in the world in 2024.

Yemen

With a 2024 Global Peace Index (GPI) score of 3.397, Yemen remains one of the world’s most hazardous nations, with its catastrophic civil conflict since 2015 causing immense suffering and turmoil.

Yemen is grappling with widespread famine, disease, and infrastructure collapse amid a prolonged state of war. What began as an internal conflict has escalated due to the involvement of neighboring countries, each backing different factions, prolonging and intensifying the destructive nature of the conflict.

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READ ALSO: Top 5 Cheapest Countries To Study In Europe

Sudan

Sudan is widely regarded as one of the world’s most dangerous countries, influenced by a variety of factors that severely affect its safety and stability.

Sudan’s instability stems primarily from the ongoing conflict in Darfur, alongside unrest in South Kordofan and Blue Nile districts. In 2024, these conflicts resulted in over 3,000 deaths and displaced nearly 2 million people, according to UN estimates. The humanitarian crisis is exacerbated by frequent attacks on civilians by government forces, opposition groups, and militias.

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Also, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), about 14 million people need humanitarian aid.

South Sudan

South Sudan, with a 2024 Global Peace Index (GPI) score of 3.224, continues to rank among the world’s most dangerous nations due to ongoing civil conflict, ethnic violence, and political instability since gaining independence in 2011.

Afghanistan

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Afghanistan is one of the most dangerous countries in the world, with a Global Peace Index (GPI) score of 3.448. The country has been experiencing ongoing violence for more than 40 years, making it a center of international concern.

READ ALSO: 7 Countries Who Recently Changed Their Names And Why

Decades of conflict have shaped Afghanistan into one of the most dangerous countries. The Taliban’s seizure of power in August 2021 has intensified instability, with heightened risks of terrorism, kidnappings, and widespread violence.

Ukraine

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Ukraine has experienced the most significant decline in safety and stability, not only within its region but globally as well. This notable deterioration can be primarily attributed to the Russian invasion that began in February 2022.

By 2024, the conflict in Ukraine has claimed over 150,000 lives, including soldiers and civilians. More than 8 million Ukrainians have fled to neighboring countries, with an additional 7 million internally displaced, causing widespread destruction of cities and critical infrastructure like homes, schools, and hospitals.

Democratic Republic of Congo

The conflict in Congo has spanned more than four and a half years, has taken more lives than any other since World War II, and is the deadliest documented conflict in African history, according to the International Rescue Committee.

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Russia

In 2024, Russia, with a Global Peace Index (GPI) score of 3.249, ranks among the world’s most hazardous nations, exacerbated by heightened geopolitical tensions stemming from the ongoing crisis in Ukraine.

READ ALSO: 10 Safest Countries In The World In 2024

Russia is grappling with internal challenges including organized crime and corruption, which undermine law and order, alongside escalating environmental concerns such as industrial accidents and pollution, posing significant health risks to the population.

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Syria

Syria’s civil war, beginning in 2011, has resulted in a profoundly tragic and complex situation. The conflict has ravaged infrastructure, including buildings, roads, hospitals, and schools, severely impacting the daily lives of those remaining in Syria.

The humanitarian situation in Syria is dire, with over 13 million Syrians, including 6.6 million internally displaced, requiring humanitarian assistance, according to the UN.

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More than half of the population faces food insecurity, and the healthcare system is in disarray, with many hospitals either destroyed or operating at minimal capacity.

Israel

The conflict between Israel and Hamas has escalated regional risks for Western travelers and exacerbated unrest-related dangers.

Mali

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Mali has been in the grip of armed conflict since January 2012, when Tuareg rebels seized control of northern territory and subsequently declared the independent nation of Azawad by April of that year.

The situation escalated further with a military coup in March of 2012, intensifying the turmoil in the region.
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Nigeria’s Public Officials Received ₦721bn Bribe In 2023 – UN, NBS

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A newly released report by the Nigerian Bureau of Statistics (NBS) in collaboration with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crimes (UNODC), has said Nigerian public officials received nothing less than ₦721bn as bribes in 2023.

The result was based on a survey conducted with the UNODC.

According to the report “Corruption in Nigeria: Patterns and Trends”, published by the NBS on Thursday, the ₦721bn paid in bribes amounted to about 0.35 per cent of Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

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According to the survey, the average cash bribe was ₦8,284, an increase from an average of ₦5,754 in 2019.

“According to the 2023 survey, the average cash bribe paid was 8,284 Nigerian Naira. While the nominal average cash bribe size increased since 2019 (from NGN 5,754), this does not account for inflation. The inflation-adjusted average cash bribe in 2023 was 29 per cent smaller than in 2019 in terms of what could be bought with the money.

“Overall, it is estimated that a total of roughly NGN 721 billion (US$1.26 billion) was paid in cash bribes to public officials in Nigeria in 2023, corresponding to 0.35 per cent of the entire Gross Domestic Product of Nigeria,” the report read in part.

The report indicates that 56 per cent of Nigerians interacted with a public official in 2023, down from 63 per cent in 2019.

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Despite this reduction, bribery remains widespread, with an average of 5.1 bribes paid per bribe payer, totalling approximately 87 million bribes nationwide. This is a decrease from the 117 million bribes estimated in 2019.

READ ALSO: [JUST IN] Alleged N33.8b Fraud: Court Grants Bail To Ex-power Minister

On payment mode, the report noted that over 95 per cent of bribes were paid in monetary form (cash or money transfer) in 2023.

It said public officials were more likely to demand bribes while private sector actors included doctors in private hospitals, which increased from 6 per cent in 2019 to 14 per cent in 2023.

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Despite this rise, bribery in the public sector remains about twice as high, with public sector contact rates also being twice as high as those in the private sector.

In 2023, 27 per cent of Nigerians who interacted with a public official paid a bribe, a slight decrease from 29 per cent in 2019. Including instances where bribes were requested but refused, over one-third of interactions between citizens and public officials involved bribery.

Similarly, the report shows a growing trend of Nigerians refusing to pay bribes. In 2023, 70 per cent of those asked to pay a bribe refused at least once, with the highest refusal rates in the North-West zone at 76 per cent. All regions recorded refusal rates above 60 per cent. This indicates that Nigerians are increasingly standing against corruption.

According to the report, bribery is becoming less accepted in Nigeria. The percentage of citizens who view bribery requests as acceptable to expedite administrative procedures decreased from 29 per cent in 2019 to 23 per cent in 2023.

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READ ALSO: NDDC Summit: Pay Special Attention To Project Design In Riverine Areas, Otuaro Appeals To Stakeholders

Fewer citizens reported suffering negative consequences after refusing bribe requests in 2023 compared to 2019. This suggests a growing empowerment among Nigerians to confront corrupt officials without fear of repercussions.

In 2023, 21 per cent of bribe refusers indicated they refused because they had other options. Normative concerns (42 per cent) and cost of living pressures (23 per cent) also played significant roles in their refusal to pay bribes.

Furthermore, not less than 60 per cent of public sector workers were hired due to nepotism, bribery or both between 2020 and 2023.

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The report noted that six out of 10 successful candidates admitted to using either nepotism, bribery, or both to improve their chances of being recruited.

Specifically, 27 per cent of these candidates admitted to using only bribery, 13 per cent to only nepotism, and 19 per cent to both bribery and nepotism. On the other hand, 40 per cent of the candidates claimed to have secured their positions without resorting to any such means, based on data collected between November 2020 and October 2023.

The report read, “The selection process used to recruit public officials plays a crucial role in shaping the culture of integrity that should drive the civil service as well as ensure that recruits have the highest standards of professionalism and merit.”

However, the 2023 survey findings indicate that the public sector recruitment process requires closer monitoring, as almost half (46 per cent) of people who secured a job in the public sector in the last three years before the survey admitted that they paid a bribe to facilitate their recruitment – about 1.5 times the share found in the 2019 survey (31 per cent).

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“The 2023 survey also found evidence that a considerable number of people recruited into the public sector secured their posts with the help of a friend or relative, many in addition to paying a bribe: of all successful applicants in the last three years before the 2023 survey, 32 per cent were helped by friends or relatives. Overall, in the three years before the 2023 survey, around 60 per cent of public sector applicants in Nigeria were hired as a result of nepotism, bribery or both – about 1.2 times the share found in the 2019 survey.”

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The report also noted that the use of bribery is notably lower when the recruitment process includes formal assessments.

Specifically, 51 per cent of candidates were not formally assessed, and of these, a significant 53 per cent admitted to using bribery or nepotism to secure their positions.

Conversely, among the 49 per cent of candidates who underwent a written test or oral interview, the use of unethical means such as bribery or nepotism dropped to 41 per cent.

The report read: “The 2023 survey data show that approximately half (49 per cent) of those who secured a position in the public sector in the three years before the survey passed a written test and/or oral interview during the recruitment selection process. Importantly, the data suggest that the means of selection had a role in facilitating or preventing the use of illegal practices during recruitment. Among those who underwent an assessment procedure (written test / oral interview), 41 per cent made use of bribery, while the share was as much as 53 per cent among those who were not formally assessed.”

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It was also disclosed that bribery is more common in rural areas, with rural residents paying an average of 5.8 bribes compared to 4.5 bribes in urban areas.

It was also disclosed that bribery is more common in rural areas, with rural residents paying an average of 5.8 bribes compared to 4.5 bribes in urban areas.

The report stated that corruption was ranked fourth among the most important problems affecting the country in 2023, after the cost of living, insecurity and unemployment.

It added, “This suggests relatively stable and high levels of concerns about corruption over time and compared to other concerns such as education or housing.

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“Nigerians confidence in the government’s anti-corruption effort has been declining over time and across regions. While in 2019, more than half of all citizens thought that the government was effective in fighting corruption, in 2023, the share declined to lessons than a third of all citizens. The downward trend in the citizen’s confidence is observable across the entire country, with all six zones recording reductions of more than 10 percentage points between 2019 and 2023 in terms of the share of citizens who thought the government was effective in fighting corruption.”

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