A drama played out between the official Lafia
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US President Donald Trump has said China "will do anything they can" to make him lose his re-election bid, stepping up his criticism of Beijing amid the coronavirus pandemic.
In a White House interview with Reuters news agency, he said Beijing faced a "lot" of possible consequence from the US for the outbreak.
He said China should have let the world know about the contagion much sooner.
Mr Trump himself is often accused of not doing enough to tackle the crisis.
The coronavirus has ravaged a formerly humming US economy that had been the president's main selling point for his re-election campaign in November.
Mr Trump, who has waged a trade war with China, offered no specifics about how he might act against Beijing.
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He told Reuters: "There are many things I can do. We're looking for what happened."
Mr Trump added: "China will do anything they can to have me lose this race."
The Republican president said he believes Beijing wants his likely Democratic challenger Joe Biden to win in November's election.
Mr Trump also said he is sceptical of data indicating Mr Biden would win.
"I don't believe the polls," the president said. "I believe the people of this country are smart. And I don't think that they will put a man in who's incompetent."
US media reported earlier in the day that Mr Trump had erupted at political advisers last Friday evening about internal polling that showed him losing in critical states.
His aides have doubts about whether Mr Trump will win crucial battlegrounds such as Florida, Wisconsin and Arizona, while some of his re-election team have all but given up hope of success in Michigan, according to the Associated Press news agency.
"I'm not losing to Joe Biden," Mr Trump reportedly said, inserting an expletive, during a conference call with campaign officials.
The US president also reportedly snapped at his campaign manager, Brad Parscale, who had called in from Florida.
He cursed at Mr Parscale and at one point mentioned suing him, according to CNN and the Washington Post, though it is unclear how serious was his threat of legal action.
Upping the virus
President Trump's criticism of China has been consistent - and increasingly sharp - in recent weeks. He's questioned the accuracy of the death toll there, and even said he was looking into suggestions that the virus originated in a laboratory in Wuhan.
But this is the harshest criticism of its kind so far. By claiming that China's delay in alerting the world to the spread of the virus was politically motivated - and designed to boost the election chances of his political rival Joe Biden at the expense of his own - Mr Trump is upping the ante in an increasingly bellicose war of words.
Earlier this week a senior Chinese official, Le Yucheng, questioned the president's handling of the crisis, and accused him of not acting quickly enough in order to prepare the American people for the spread of Covid-19.
For all that, the president dismisses claims that the 2020 election will amount to a referendum on his handling of this crisis, its outcome may well rest on the pace of the economic recovery in the wake of the pandemic. Expect the war of words between the world's two largest economies to continue.
Earlier on Wednesday, Mr Trump said he would not be renewing his government social distancing guidelines once they expire on Thursday.
The guidelines - which were originally supposed to last 15 days and were then extended an additional 30 - encouraged Americans to work from home and avoid large gatherings, while advising those with underlying health conditions to self-isolate.
After more than a month being stuck mainly at the White House, Mr Trump said he plans to resume travel, starting with a trip to Arizona next week.
He told reporters he hopes to hold mass campaign rallies in the coming months with thousands of supporters.
The US currently accounts for around a third of all coronavirus cases worldwide. Its death toll - at more than 60,000 - has in six weeks surpassed the number of Americans killed in the two decades of the Vietnam War.
Unemployment, which just a few weeks ago was at a near-record low, now stands at more than 26 million.
Newly released figures on Wednesday showed the US economy had shrunk by nearly 5% - its sharpest c ontraction since the Depression
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Program Director of Dataphyte, Adenike Aloba has taken a swipe at African governments for their weakness or inability to properly regulate the digital space, an act which limits the full enjoyment of the freedom and fundamental human rights of the masses.
She contends that most of the laws and policies by governments geared towards regulating the digital space in the African context have resulted into a lot of internet shutdowns including attack on press freedom and violation of the rights of journalists and activists among others which have been the trend.
“We’ve seen a lot of journalists being attacked online with bots and being thrown, we’ve seen people being tracked and their things being taken out. We’ve also seen the African governments turn towards when they don’t understand anything they shut it down and that has been the tendency so no, we can’t say that they’re doing well”.
Adenike made this known in an interview with the Human Rights Reporter’s Joseph Wemakor on the sidelines of a 2-day ( Sept. 20-21, 2022) Digital Clinic for Civic Actors in Lagos, Nigeria.
Mr. Wemakor sought to know her views on whether the authorities have lived up to expectation when it comes to proper regulating of digital space within the African continent.
The Digital Clinic which brought together some selected journalists and civic actors from across West Africa namely Ghana, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Nigeria was initiated by the Interactive Initiative for Social Impact (Dataphyte) in collaboration with Spaces for Change (S4C).
The training was aimed at exposing civic actors to the threats in the digital world and equip them with knowledge and practical solutions to deal with the threats to help minimize the risks they pose.
Its goal is to help journalists and civil society protect their information, data, devices and communications against digital security threats.
The participants were taken through topic such as Investigative Journalism Practice in the Digital Space: Risks and Rewards, Deep Dive on Digital Rights in the West African Context, Whistleblowing Policy and Practice in the West African Context and Practical Session on Digital Safety Tools.
It includes Digital Safety and Security Through a Gendered Lens, Data Protection Strategies, Roles and Responsibilities, Social Protection and Rapid Response Mechanisms for Whistleblowing and Digital Safety and Practical Session on Digital Safety Schools-Psychological Safety.
As the world transitions to a digital space, threats are fast increasing online, while people’s rights to freedom of expression, access to the internet and privacy among others are being denied, a trend which is a cause of worry.
But Adenike Aloba who equally doubles as the Managing News Editor of Dataphyte believes the authorities have a major role to play in helping citizens overcome these threats to always remain safe.
“This is a challenge being faced across the world, but it is only in African countries we are seeing laws that want to shut down, that want to control rather than figure out a solution that is more long-term”, she bemoaned.
According to her, although some governments are doing better in terms of regulation of the digital space, others are still lagging behind due to a significant lack of trust between the people and governments.
Citing a typical example of bad regulation of the digital space in the African context, he pointed to a social media bill being set up by the Nigerian government which gives the police the power to determine fake news or abuse of the digital space.
For her, dialogue is a means through which governments can help craft better policies and laws to safeguard the digital space.
“Dialogue is important when you are designing a policy or something then there has to be public engagement because of its public policy for crying out loud”.
She called on all and sundry to do everything humanly possible to protect themselves against the threats while advocating strongly for better laws or policies in place that can help promote and protect digital rights.
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