Bulgaria Wins Two Silver Medals in European and World Aesthetic Group Gymnastics Championships in Finland

Finland, Bulgaria’s first national team won two silver medals at the European Championship and the World Cup in Aesthetic Group Gymnastics in Vantaa. The two competitions were held simultaneously in the Finnish city.

Last year’s world champions Siyana Tabakova, Karina Neikova, Daria Kapsazova, Yana Staykova, Maria Mehlemova, Hristiana Kovacheva, Viktoria Berova and Sibila Karpacheva, with coach Kristina Tasheva, received a total of 55.600 points from the two performances and remained only 0.100 behind the hosts from Minetit, who were second after qualifying on Saturday, but took the gold in front of their home crowd with 55.700 (27.000 and 28.000) points.

The Bulgarian women performed their new combination very well on Sunday and received a score of 27.600, and on Saturday they were first in the qualifiers with 28.000 points. Thus, they won two silver medals in the two events.

The second representative team of Bulgaria consisting of Daria Voinova, Nikol Zlatkova, Kristiana Doycheva, Maria Stamenova, Nikol Angelova, Anjelika Kazakova, Raya Srandeva and Katrin Taseva finished in fifth position with 52,600 points – 26,650 in qualifications and 25,950 in the finals.

The third place among women at the European Championship and at the World Cup was awarded to the other Finnish representatives, Gloria, with 53.700 (27.000 and 26.700) points.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Ghanaians, industries urged to brace up for difficult times as IMF Conditionalities bite

Accra, Rev Dr Samuel Worlanyo Mensah, Economist and Senior Lecturer, Wisconsin University, has urged Ghanaians and industries to brace up for difficult times ahead as IMF conditionalities bite.

He said though the implementation of economic programmes under the Extended Credit Facility (ECF) would help Ghana attain macroeconomic stability, the citizenry would experience some hardships until June 2024 before enjoying some reliefs.

Ghana secured a $3 billion IMF bailout last Wednesday, May 17, and on Friday, May 19, the first disbursement of UD$ 600 million hit the country’s account.

The credit facility, which had been the 17th since the country’s independence in 1957, sought to put Ghana back on the path of sustainable economic growth.

The $3 billion loan-support programme aimed at making Ghana return to single digit inflation and attaining revenue-to-GDP ratio of 18.5 per cent by the end of 2025 as well as cover vulnerable households from the impact of electricity tariff adjustment, among others.

Speaking in an interview with the Ghana News Agency on the conditionality under which the Extended Credit Facility was given, Rev Dr WorlanyoMensah, said tax exemptions had been cancelled and that would impact the balance sheets of companies and industries.

The measures, he said, included the removal of value added tax exemptions, reduction of customs exemptions, and reformation of corporate income tax by phasing out tax holidays and exemptions.

‘Increasing progressively in personal income tax is another. That means income tax will be going up,’ the Senior Lecturer said.

Another policy action would be that Government would limit the rate at which it could increase the salaries of public sector workers with a possibility of not more than 10 per cent.

Also, the automatical adjustment of fuel levies by exchange rate movement and inflation, which could adversely impact the poor and vulnerable.

Quarterly tariffs adjustment including electricity and water was another conditionality.

Rev Dr Worlanyo Mensah said the Government could employ only 0.5 percent of the current labour force, adding that such employment would be in three key sectors: health, education and security with reduced quotas.

He said the government aimed at attaining a tax to GDP ratio of 18 per cent before the end of the IMF programme. That he said could result in the introduction of new taxes or upward review of current taxes

He also mentioned that there would likely be a second debt restructuring exercise.

Source: Ghana News Agency

IMF deal will not immediately end our economic challenge-President

Accra, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo says Ghana’s new programme with International Monetary Fund (IMF) will not immediately eliminate the present economic difficulties in the country.

However, the three-year arrangement under the Extended Credit Facility (ECF) of $3 billion, would restore the confidence of Ghana’s trading partners, creditors and investors in the country’s economy.

‘Fellow Ghanaians, access to the IMF facility will not spell the immediate end of the difficulties we are in presently, but the fact that we have been able to negotiate such a deal sends a positive message to our trading partners, creditors and investors.’

Addressing the nation on Sunday night, the President said the bailout deal would lead to the restoration of confidence in Ghana’s economy, which has been ravished in the last year and a half by the COVID-19 pandemic and the Russian war in Ukraine.

The programme would also lead to the resumption of many of the stalled infrastructural projects across the country.

‘It should lead to the restoration of confidence and the reopening of avenues that had been closed to us this past year and a half. It should also lead to the resumption of many of the infrastructural projects that have stalled.’

The IMF on May 17, 2023, approved the $3 billion bailout package for Ghana.

The Fund has since credited Ghana’s national account with $600 million out of the $3 billion extended credit facility last week. The country will get the rest of the negotiated amount within a period of 36 months.

President Akufo-Addo said it was a painful decision he had to take going to the IMF, ‘especially as my government had gone the extra mile to bring to a successful end the IMF programme we inherited from the previous government.’

He said going to the IMF ‘was not part of the economic transformation agenda I had been pursuing,’ but he had to accept the challenge that the economy required assistance.

‘Who would have imagined President Akufo-Addo would order the closure of airports, offices, factories or schools?

‘We were in extraordinary times, and we took extraordinary measures, and when faced with the realities of the economic crisis last year, I accepted the challenge that the economy required a similar attitude, including the sacrifices many of us have made in recent times.’

The President urged all and sundry to support the government to implement the reforms required to make the IMF programme to work.

‘We must all work together to ensure that this programme is a success…We must all work together to build a better future for Ghana.

‘Fellow Ghanaians, we got ourselves out of a pandemic in which there were no precedents on which to rely, and where even the experts admitted they had no clear-cut solutions. We did it by being resolute, focused, working very hard, and accepting that we had to stick together.

‘With a similar frame of mind and attitude, we shall overcome the economic difficulties as well, sooner rather than later. I have no doubts at all in my mind that we are on the right path, and we would soon start to see significant improvements in the economy and in the living standards of Ghanaians,’ he said.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Two perish in gory motor accident on Tarkwa-Takoradi highway

Ahwetieso (W/R), Two persons died in a gory motor accident that occurred along the Tarkwa-Takoradi highway in the Western Region on Sunday.

The deceased, believed to be lovers, were only identified as Francis and Raheal.

Meanwhile, bodies of the deceased have been deposited at the Apinto Government hospital morgue for preservation and autopsy

An eyewitness, Mr Daniel Amu, who confirmed the story to the Ghana News Agency (GNA) said the accident happened around 2350 hours on Sunday, May 28, 2023.

He said the accident involved two vehicles, F- 150 Pickup and Trailer truck with registration numbers GC 8893-22 and GC 1732-Z, respectively.

According to Mr Amu, the driver in charge of the F-150 Pickup that escaped after the accident was a mechanic and a customer who had brought the said vehicle to his shop for repairs.

He said the (mechanic) took the vehicle, went, and picked up the deceased and went to a pub to have fun.

While returning home from Awhetieso direction, he veered off his lane, crashed into the incoming truck and killed the two in between the Tarkwa-Nsuaem Ghana National Fire Service office and Zen filling station, Ahwetieso branch on the Tarkwa-Takoradi highway.

The Motor Traffic and Transport Department (MTTD), Tarkwa Division, was informed and some officers went to the accident scene to conduct investigations and conveyed the bodies to the mortuary.

Source: Ghana News Agency

MTN calls for multi-sectoral approach to fighting MoMo, internet fraud

Takoradi, The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of MTN Ghana, Mr Selorm Adadevoh, has called for a multi-sectoral collaboration to minimise mobile money and internet fraud in the country.

Considering that Ghana was fast transitioning into a digital economy, he said, internet and MoMo fraud posed a larger national threat and for that reason, stakeholders must work in concert to nip the menace in the bud.

Until December last year, the CEO said, the incidence of MoMofraud had subsided significantly.

However, fraudsters had engineered more sophisticated strategies to bypass established security systems in a new wave.

‘This comes with some responsibilities for everyone. As operators, we have responsibilities, government has a responsibility, and the media has a responsibility,’he explained.

‘What is important is that we all come together with a single plan we can execute to prevent the emergence of fraud.’

Mr Adadevoh made the remarks when he addressed the 2023 Central and Western Regional Media and Stakeholder Forum in Takoradi on the theme: ‘Leveraging Technology to Serve Customers with Excellence’.

The meeting was MTN’s 19th annual media engagement and the first after the COVID-19 pandemic, aimed at acknowledging the contributions of customers, the media and all other stakeholders.

The CEO said individual institutions had put defence mechanisms in place but stressed that more collaborations needed to happen among telecommunication companies, banks, security agencies among others.

‘The way to fight fraud is not for MTN to sit in its corner doing its own thing. We all have to come together and take fraud as a national issue and fight together because the vulnerabilities are not only on MTN’s side.

‘The vulnerabilities are in other places too,’ he added.

Beyond the collaboration, he said, it was necessary to intensify public education for people to become more empowered to mitigate fraud.

Mr Adadevoh said that MTN was committed to building the largest and most valuable platforms and solutions for Africa’s progress.

To achieve that, he said, it was working to deliver a bold new digital world, which would leave no one behind, irrespective oftheir location and status.

He said that the company was transforming the network to become a digital operator, while it was partnering government on its digital transformation agenda.

Mr Adadevoh said the telecommunication network was on course with its pledge to invest one billion dollars in network expansion by end of 2025.

The company has since 2021, invested about 650 million dollars and is hoping to exceed the one-billion-dollar target by 2025.

He explained that it was creating 350 new sites to improve service delivery out of which 50 were in the Western and Central regions alone.

Touting its contributions to national development, he noted among other gestures, that MTN in 2022 contributed more than four billion dollars to government revenue.

Mr Adadevoh, however, bemoaned the incidence of fibre cuts,which he attributed largely to the unbridled galamsey activities,particularly, in the Western Region and also road constructions.

He said the situation resulted in disruptions in the network and also increased its operational cost because millions were spent to replace the fibre optic cables.

To address the challenge, he said, MTN had engaged various stakeholders, including road agencies and the police in the Western and Central regions.

‘We are doing our best to stop the fibre cuts and we have provide maps of where our fibres are buried.

‘Road expansions are development projects and fibre is also a development project, so we need to collaborate. Road agencies need to contact us when there is the need for construction so that we take action to protect our cables,’ he added.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Sanaga Maritime: Creeping electric cable electrocutes man to death

A man called Mbe Jean Claude Fils was electrocuted to death on May 26, 2023, in Malimba in Edea II, Sanaga Maritime Division of the Littoral region.

He reportedly stepped on an electric cable abandoned on the ground following a fallen electric pole.

Locals were gripped by shock when they learned of the incident.

“He was passing around the creeping electric cable with a plate. He got electrocuted and died on the spot,” a local narrated.

According to information, before the incident occurred, they had repeatedly informed Eneo officials of the fallen electric pole but they took no action.

“I can’t count the number of times we complained to the powers that be about the fallen electric pole and creeping cables. They ignored our complaints and today this regrettable incident has happened. I don’t know how to qualify this,” another local said.

The Malimba locals say the situation is more regrettable since naked and life cables are lying on the ground in several quarters of Malimba village.

” People live in a death trap. Even administrative authorities see this and are doing nothing. How many people do they want to see, die of electrocution before intervention?” Asked a local.

Saddened by the death of the man, the population of Malimba, again, sent a distress call to Eneo officials in the area for quick action and replacement of the decayed poles.

Source: Cameroon News Agency

Residents in Various Parts of Ethiopia Rally in Support of Ethiopian National Defense Forces

Ethiopians reside in various parts of the country have held demonstrations in support of the Ethiopian National Defense Forces (ENDF) today.

The demonstrators have expressed their commitment to support the Ethiopian National Defense Forces (ENDF) by fighting violent extremism.

The rally took place today in Hawassa, Hadiya and Gamo zones, Adama, Robe, Jimma, West Wollega and West Arsi zons, Negelle Borena, Metu Chiro, Misrak Harerge zone, Wolayta, Gedeo and South Omo Zones and Assosa among others.

The demonstrators chanted slogans including “Our unity shall not be disrupted by extremists, we shall cement Ethiopia by joining the defense force of Ethiopia.”

“We will strengthen our unity by fighting extremism”, “Our peace will be protected by our unity”, “Hands off our diversified defense forces”, among other slogans were displayed at the rallies in various parts of the nation.

Source: Ethiopian News Agency

Deputy Head of South Command Stresses Tarnishing Image of National Defense Force Must Stop

Deputy Head for South Command at the Ethiopian National Defense Force, Major General Admasu Alemu has stressed that tarnishing the image of the National Defense Force, which is the national pillar of the country, must stop.

The Deputy Commander made the remark in his message he delivered at a demonstration held in Adama City to support the Ethiopian National Defense Force today.

The residents from Adama city and 11 districts of East Showa Zone have participated at the rally expressing their support to the Ethiopian National Defense Force and denouncing the attempts to tarnish its image.

The demonstrators have demanded that extremists who are engaged in debilitating the unity and solidarity of the people to be accountable in the court of law.

During the occasion, Deputy Head for South Command at the Ethiopian National Defense Force, Major General Admasu Alemu said the Defense Force of Ethiopia is a shield and stronghold of the people of Ethiopia which is free from any political bias.

“We equally respect all Nations, nationalities and people of Ethiopia without any differences. We (National Defense Force) are the ultimate stronghold of Ethiopia who are serving the country with pride.”

Hence, Major General Admasu stressed that tarnishing the image of the National Defense Force, which is the icon of nation’s sovereignty, must stop.

“The demonstrations held today to support the national defense force today will serve us as an additional capacity and moral to effectively discharge our mission,” he said expressing the army’s gratitude to the people of Ethiopia.

Mayor of Adama City, Hailu Jelde said the people of the city have expressed their continued support to the national defense force.

Source: Ethiopian News Agency

DPM and FM Demeke Calls on Chinese Companies to Invest in Ethiopia

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia, Demeke Mekonnen has called on Chinese companies to invest in Ethiopia.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia, Demeke Mekonnen is on an official visit to China leading a high level Ethiopian government delegation. In his speech at the investment forum held in Guangzhou, the main investment center of China today, Demeke asked Chinese companies to invest in Ethiopia, seizing up the best investment opportunities in the country.

He said Ethiopia and China have a strong relationship and emphasized that it should be strengthened further in the economic sphere.

More than 300 investors from the manufacturing, agricultural, mining, energy, pharmaceutical, and other sectors participated in the investment forum.

During his stay in Guangzhou, Demeke has also visited companies related to electronics, information technology, and power generation and invited them to engage in Ethiopia, according a statement from Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Guangzhou has a population of 16 million and is the capital of China’s business hub, Guangdong Province.

In related news, Demeke met and discussed with the Mayor of Guangzhou, Guo Yonghang, where he emphasized the need to create a relationship between Guangzhou and Ethiopian cities in order to strengthen people-to-people ties.

Similarly, the mayor called on the Ethiopian manufacturers to make Guangzhou their destination for Ethiopian export products. Ethiopia’s ambassador to China, Tefera Derbew, made a statement on the occasion, saying the business forum will further solidify relations between the two countries.

According to Zhao Qing, Director General of the Guangdong Province’s Department of Commerce, numerous businesses in Guangdong involved in manufacturing, building infrastructure, mining, telecommunications, and other industries desire to enter and operate in Ethiopia.

Source: Ethiopian News Agency

Residents of Gedeo, Wolayita, and South Omo Zones Undertake Public Rallies Expressing Support for Nat’l Defense Force

Residents of Gedeo, Wolayita, and South Omo zones in the Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples’ Region (SNNPR) of Ethiopia have undertaken public demonstrations expressing their solidarity with the Ethiopian National Defense Force (ENDF) today.

Accordingly. demonstrators in Dilla town of the Gedeo Zone are chanting various slogans that support the national defense force and against extremists. Demonstrators during the public rally said: “Stop tarnishing the name of the army that saved us sacrificing its life.

It’s impossible to satisfy the desire for power by sowing suspicion and hatred among the people.

Extremists are political merchants; they don’t represent any ethnic group,” the demonstrators chanted.

Youth, women, government leadership and various sections of the society have participated in the rally.

“We will strengthen national brotherhood by fighting against extremism,” they chanted.

At the same time, a peaceful public demonstration opposing extremism and supporting the national defense forces was held in the Wolayita zone.

The participants are chanting different slogans in the peaceful demonstration condemning extremism and supporting the national defense force.

“Extremists are political merchants and not representatives of any nation,” the demonstrators said.

“Our army will build our unity, extremists will be ashamed. It (ENDF) died to save our lives.”

A large number of residents and various sections of society from 23 rural district and city government structures in the zone are marching to the multi-purpose stadium of Sodo City.

Ethiopians reside in various parts of the country have held similar demonstrations in support of the Ethiopian National Defense Forces today.

Source: Ethiopian News Agency