Ed Sheeran announces 18 months break from music, United States government increases visa fee for Nigerians, Roger Federer wins against Damir Džumhur. Stay in the know with our Rave News Digest which summarizes five of the hottest global news you need to catch up on, saving you time and energy. Consider it your daily news fix.
Here is a rundown of five of the hottest news topics…
1. United States government imposes new visa fee on Nigerians
The US government has announced a new visa charge called a “reciprocity fee” for Nigerians seeking to travel to America. Hundreds of Nigerians travel to the US each year for education, jobs and healthcare.
In announcing the retaliatory action, the US authorities disclosed that Nigeria charges US citizens higher fees for visas than Nigerians pay for US ones. The price for a US citizen to get a Nigerian visa is currently ₦66,000 ($180/£146). The new levies for Nigerians range from ₦30,000 to ₦40,000 ($80 to $110) and will only apply to those whose visa applications have been approved.
The decision comes after consultations with the Nigerian government to reduce its visa fees for US citizens failed to yield results. The new fee takes effect from Thursday 29 August.
2. Japan to help Africa double rice production
Japan has pledged to help Africa double its rice production by the year 2030 at a conference being attended by African leaders in the Japanese city of Yokohama. Speaking on the sidelines of the Tokyo International Conference on African Development (Ticad), Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Japanese technology and innovation would play a key role in achieving this goal.
The plan is to help the continent produce 50 million tonnes in 11 years’ time. The Africa Development Bank (AfDB) has supported the initiative. “In spite of all the gains made in agriculture, we are not winning the global war against hunger. We must all arise collectively and end global hunger. To do that, we must end hunger in Africa. Hunger diminishes our humanity,” AFDB President Akinwumi Adesina said.
According to the UN’s State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2019 report, Africa has more than 250 people that went hungry last year. As part of a move to improve agricultural productivity, Japan in partnership with the AfDB, hopes to help shift the mindset of smallholder African farmers from producing to eat to producing to sell.
3. US and Taliban ‘close’ to a peace deal – Afghan group’s spokesman
The Taliban and the United States are “close” to finalising a peace agreement in their talks in the Qatari capital aimed at ending the 18-year Afghanistan war, the group’s representative has said.
Speaking to the media, the Taliban’s political spokesman in Doha, Suhail Shaheen, said the two sides were finalising the agreement during the ninth round of negotiations, which entered their seventh day on Wednesday. “The talks continue today [Wednesday] and we have reached the last point of the agreement,” Shaheen said.
“The final point is the implementation and the mechanism of the deal which is being discussed.” The deal would see the US and other foreign forces gradually withdraw from Afghanistan in exchange for a commitment by the Taliban that the country will not be used as a launchpad for global attacks.
4. Ed Sheeran announces 18 months break from music
After more than 250 performances on the road, Ed Sheeran is going on a break and may be headed back to London. On the final stop of his Divide tour earlier this week, Grammy winner Ed Sheeran announced his break from music.
“As you may or may not know, I’ve been on the Divide tour for over two years now and this is the last day of the whole thing,” he told the crowd in Ipswich, England. “There is something very bittersweet about it. I love that you guys are here and we are ending it in Ipswich,” he continued. “This is my last gig for probably 18 months.”
Later, he took to Instagram to look back on his experience with Divide. “9 million people, 893 days, 46 countries, 175 cities, 260 shows, 268 touring crew, 193265 miles travelled, 2 broken arms, 3 marriages, 4 babies. What a wild ride this Divide tour has been,” he wrote to his 31 million followers.
“The whole process of writing the album starting in 2015, then recording it in 2016, promoting it, setting out on the road to play it for all of you guys. It’s so weird to put it to bed and move on.”
He reiterated the message on Instagram Stories by writing, “I’m not bloody retiring either, the press is being overdramatic. I’m having 18 months off to make another album and hang out with my cats.”
5. Roger Federer beats Damir Džumhur to reach US Open third round
Roger Federer came from a set down to beat Damir Džumhur 3-6 6-2 6-3 6-4 under the Arthur Ashe Stadium roof to reach the US Open third round.
The world number three hit 17 unforced errors in losing the first set. But the Swiss five-time champion dominated the remainder of the match to defeat Bosnian world number 99 Dzumhur.
Victory for the 38-year-old as he sets up a third-round match against either Britain’s Dan Evans or Frenchman Lucas Pouille at Flushing Meadows.
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