Sunday, 31 December 2017

100 Ways to Make 2018 the Best Year Ever

Make 2018 the best year ever with these 100 simple daily new years resolutions.

100 Ways to Make 2018 the Best Year Ever

  1. Wake up 5 minutes earlier every morning and read something funny or uplifting to start your day.
  2. Drink a bottle of water before lunch every day. Your body will thank you.
  3. Call someone you love, but rarely talk to and tell them you miss them.
  4. Take more pictures of everyday life, not just posed perfection.
  5. Spend as much time as you can outside.
  6. Get that haircut you’ve been too scared to try. It will grow back.
  7. Take a class for something you are passionate about.
  8. Read as much as you can about anything.
  9. Forgive the people that have wronged you and either make up or move on.
  10. Recycle your bottles and cans. Make an extra buck and clean up our future.
  11. Quit doubting yourself and go after what you want. You will never know until you try.
  12. Try a new restaurant once a month.
  13. Be YOU. Not the version of yourself you think will please other people.
  14. Start putting back money every month in savings.
  15. Have 30 minutes of screen-free time every night.
  16. Sing in the car. Who cares if that lady is watching.
  17. Learn something new that you’ve always wanted to do.
  18. Make someone laugh out loud.
  19. Cook more than you eat out at restaurants.
  20. Start a journal. Even if it’s just a sentence or two every day.
  21. Take more road trips.
  22. Take time for just yourself. Take a long bath, go shopping, read a book. Whatever rejuvenates you.
  23. Don’t stress about the mess. Clean it tomorrow.
  24. Go out and listen to live music.
  25. Let go of perfection.
  26. Stop comparing yourself to others.
  27. Make a stranger smile.
  28. Do something silly.
  29. Have a date night once a month.
  30. Go on a picnic.
  31. Tell someone you admire how they inspire you.
  32. Make new friends.
  33. Be a good listener.
  34. Write a letter to someone special.
  35. Eat more fresh fruit and vegetables.
  36. Quit a bad habit.
  37. Donate clothing to a charity.
  38. Call your parents more often.
  39. Walk instead of drive when you can.
  40. Work on your patience.
  41. Relax and let it go.
  42. Quit holding grudges.
  43. Moisturize.
  44. Eat more chocolate.
  45. Stop being afraid of failing.
  46. When you do something, do it with all your heart.
  47. Learn something new every day.
  48. Spend more time doing what you love.
  49. Forget the schedule and be spontaneous.
  50. Be the kind of friend that you want to have.
  51. Stop apologizing for doing what makes you happy.
  52. Dance more.
  53. Know your worth and don’t settle.
  54. Surround yourself by positive people.
  55. Work hard for whatever it is that you want.
  56. Decide that change is not always bad.
  57. Turn your dreams into goals and make a plan.
  58. Stop living for the weekend.
  59. Have the courage to take risks.
  60. Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable.
  61. Love with all your heart.
  62. Learn from your mistakes. Don’t waste time regretting them.
  63. Let yourself cry. Let yourself really feel something.
  64. Sleep in when you can.
  65. Watch more sunsets.
  66. Quit trying so hard to fit in.
  67. Build on your strengths and your weaknesses too.
  68. Know that it’s going to be worth it and just do it.
  69. Be happy. It’s your choice.
  70. Daydream more. And then turn them into goals.
  71. Put down your phone and be present.
  72. Believe in yourself, always.
  73. Laugh until your cheeks hurt.
  74. Get out of your comfort zone.
  75. Always be kind.
  76. Turn ordinary moments into memories.
  77. Remember that struggles will make accomplishments so much sweeter.
  78. Stop wasting your time on people that bring you down.
  79. Celebrate your successes. No matter how small.
  80. Lift others up. It says a lot about your character.
  81. Don’t let one small thing ruin a day.
  82. If you fail. Try again.
  83. When you hug someone you love, really hug them.
  84. Stop comparing yourself to others.
  85. Make yourself proud. Everyday.
  86. Quit making excuses for yourself.
  87. Take more baths.
  88. Binge watch your favorite tv show.
  89. Be creative.
  90. If you like it, wear it.
  91. Help someone without need for recognition.
  92. Speak your mind.
  93. Prove them all wrong.
  94. Go on an adventure.
  95. Buy the shoes.
  96. Surround yourself by people who make you a better person.
  97. Challenge yourself every day.
  98. Have faith that what is meant to be will be.
  99. Have more meaningful conversations.
  100.  Always, always love yourself.


Linkedin Profile Makeover Infographic

A review of the Nigerian Aviation Industry in 2017

Murtala Airport Lagos

The year 2017 was an upbeat year for the aviation industry in Nigeria. With the country exiting the economic recession from the previous year, the aviation sector in 2017 witnessed some positive developments which experts believe should be leveraged upon to develop the country into a hub in the West African sub-region.

Below is a review of some major issues and events which occurred in the sector in the outgoing year:

Nigeria steps up in global aviation safety rating
In January, the Nigerian Civil aviation Authority (NCAA), through its spokesperson, Mr Sam Adurogboye, announced that Nigeria had climbed to Level 3 State Safety Programme (SSP) Implementation Process, joining countries like the U.S. and the United Kingdom in this echelon.

Appointment of new bosses for aviation agencies

 On Jan. 9, the Federal Government appointed new Chief Executive Officers to pilot the affairs of the key aviation agencies.

Capt. Fola Akinkuotu was appointed as Managing Director of the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) and Mr Akin Olateru as the Commissioner for the Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB).

Also appointed were Prof. Sani Mashi, Director-General, Nigeria Meteorological Agency (NiMet) and Capt. Abdulsalam Mohammed, Rector, Nigerian College of Aviation Technology (NCAT), Zaria.

The Minister of State for Aviation, Sen. Hadi Sirika, charged the appointees to bring their wealth of experience to bear in repositioning their agencies, for the overall benefit of the sector.
AMCON takes over Arik Air

On Feb. 9, the Federal Government, under the auspices of the Asset Management Company of Nigeria (AMCON), took over Nigeria’s largest domestic airline, Arik Air, due to its huge debt profile, estimated to be over N300 billion.

AMCON thereafter disbanded the former management and appointed Capt. Roy Ilegbodu, a veteran aviation expert, as the new Managing Director and Mr Oluseye Opasanya (SAN), as the Receiver Manager.

However, the former management and shareholders of the airline dragged AMCON to court over the take over, with two suits regarding the issue currently pending before the Federal High Court in Lagos.

Rehabilitation of Abuja airport runway
One of the greatest achievements of the aviation ministry in the year under review was the rehabilitation of the runway of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja.

Despite the protest from some quarters, Sirika staked his job on the line when he insisted that the airport should be shut from March 8 for six weeks, to enable Julius Berger carry put a complete rehabilitation of the 3.6 kilometre runway.

The runway, which was constructed in 1982 was meant to last for 20 years, but had been in use for 35 years, without major repair and proper maintenance.

During the period, both local and international flights were diverted to the Kaduna Airport which caused the foreign carriers, except Ethiopian Airlines, to stop their flight operations into Abuja.

As promised, the construction was completed before the estimated six week period and today, the airport has a world-class runway and there is a plan to construct a second runway, already captured in the 2018 budget.

Commenting on the achievement, the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, described the closure of the airport and the logistics nightmare it triggered as one of the most intimidating challenges faced by the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration.

“ Its ability to live up to expectation by delivering the project, even before the scheduled date, has further confirmed that Nigerians elected a responsive, responsible and capable Federal Government in 2015,’’ the minister added.

Aero Contractors sacks 60 per cent of workforce
On March 16, Aero Contractors, another airline under the management of AMCON sacked over 600 workers, which is about 60 per cent of its workforce.

The Aero Contractors management led by Capt. Ado Sanusi, said the issuance of notification of redundancy to the workers was a business decision, to enable the airline continue its operations.

However, more than eight months after, the disengaged workers are still being owed their severance packages while over 100 of them had been recalled following the approval given to the airline by the NCAA to carry out C-Checks on a series of Boeing 737 aircraft at its Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) facility.

FG issues Executive Order on Ease of Doing Business
On May 18, Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo initiated one of the greatest reforms that had impacted the Nation’s aviation sector with the signing of the Executive Order on Ease of Doing Business in Nigeria.

The order, which had been implemented by the various aviation agencies and security operatives, had helped to improve safety, security and passenger facilitation within and around the airport.

Among other directives, the order expressly barred touting by official and unofficial persons at the airports and also mandated on-duty staff to be properly identified by their uniform and official cards.

An aviation and tourism expert, Mr Ikechi Uko, said the implementation of the order must be sustained to erase the impression being created that airports in Nigeria were war zones.

“Your travel experience begins and ends at the airport. The first impression you have of a country is its airport and the last impression you have of that country is the airport.

“Improving your airport processes goes a long way in improving the attractiveness of visitors to your country,’’ Ikechi, who is the promoter of the Akwaaba African Travel and Tour Market, said.
Fire guts FAAN headquarters at Lagos Airport

On April 12, a fire outbreak which started at about 8.20 a.m. affected some offices at the headquarters of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) at the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos.

The offices affected included the Audit, Public Affairs and Commercial Departments and an investigative panel was constituted by the Managing Director of FAAN, Mr Saleh Dunoma, to find out the remote and immediate causes of the incident.

However, despite being given two weeks to submit its findings and recommendations on the incident, the management of FAAN is yet to make it public, till date.

Airports concession and creation of a new national carrier
Despite opposition by aviation unions, the Federal Government went ahead to appoint Transaction Advisers for the concession of the Lagos, Abuja, Kano and Port Harcourt airports, as well as for the establishment of a new national carrier like the defunct Nigerian Airways.

Sirika assured the stakeholders and investors that the processes would be transparent, unlike what obtained in the past and called on them to support the move.

Similarly, a former President of the Aviation Round Table (ART), Capt. Dele Ore, however, maintained that it was a step in the right direction for the country.

He said: “I am of the opinion that government has no business in doing business. The best option for the country is for these airports to be given to investors to enable them operate optimally.

“Also, in the order of priority, there are a lot of things the government wants to spend money on, such as healthcare, education, power and roads.’’

FG approves N45bn for Ex-Nigerian Airways workers
The Federal Government in September approved N45 billion for the payment of gratuities and other retirement benefits to the former staff of defunct Nigeria Airways.

Sirika disclosed this while briefing State House correspondents at the end of the weekly Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting presided over by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo.

He said following the approval by the President, the Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun, had been instructed to put the machinery in place for payment of the ex-staff of Nigeria Airways.

However, the workers have yet to receive the payment more than three months after the approval and this had led to series of protests to ensure the release of the funds.

Certification of Lagos and Abuja airports
One of the major achievements in the aviation sector in 2017 was the certification of both the Lagos and Abuja airports in September and October, respectively, by the NCAA.

The DG of NCAA, Capt. Muhtar Usman, who presented the certificates to the MD of FAAN, said they were valid for a period of three years, urging that all hands must therefore be on deck to ensure that the certification is sustained.

He said the current drive towards the certification of Nigerian airports was very significant, not only as a requirement by ICAO and the Nigerian Civil Aviation Regulations, but even more importantly as one of the critical safety targets of the Abuja ministerial declaration.

Also, Mr Mohammed Odonowo, Director of Aerodromes and Airspace Standards, NCAA, said the certification, which was done in five phases, was of immense benefits to the aviation stakeholders and the travelling public.

Odonowo said: “The expected benefits of aerodrome certification include enhancement in the provision of safety critical aerodrome facilities, services, procedures and personnel.

“It also include enhancement in collaborative decision making amongst airport stakeholders, especially between the aerodrome operator and the NCAA, as well enhancement in safety and efficiency of flight operations, as a result of improved facilities and services.’’

He added that it would facilitate the development of regional hubs through improved capacity, safety and efficiency and attract the inflow of capital investment into airport development and management.

Hosting of the ICAO World Aviation Forum

Nigeria became the first country in the world to host the ICAO World Aviation Forum (IWAF) which held from Nov. 20 to Nov. 22 in Abuja.

Although this was the third edition, it was, however, the first time it was being hosted outside the ICAO’s headquarters in Montreal, Canada and it attracted the global aviation community to the country.

Sirika said hosting the forum, which had the theme : “Financing the Development of Aviation Infrastructure,’’ was a big plus to Nigeria.

The minister used the opportunity to showcase Nigeria’s aviation potential to foreign investors, in order to tackle the sector’s infrastructural deficit estimated to be about $30 billion by IATA.

Thus, with the successful hosting of the IWAF, experts are urging the government to leverage on the positive exposure it gave the country in turning the fortunes of the sector around.

15 dead in suicide attack on Afghan funeral

Afghanistan. Photo: ibtimes

A suicide attacker blew himself up at a funeral in eastern Afghanistan on Sunday, killing at least 15 mourners and wounding another 14, officials said, capping a deadly year for civilians.

There was no immediate claim of responsiblity but Taliban and Islamic State militants have stepped up assaults in recent months, with ordinary Afghans bearing the brunt of the violence.

“The death toll of the attack targeting a funeral ceremony in Behsud district of Nangarhar has increased to 15,” Nangarhar governor spokesman Attaullah Khogyani told AFP.

Another 14 were wounded. All the casualties were civilians.

An earlier statement from the governor’s office said 12 people had been killed in the attack near the provincial capital Jalalabad.

The bomber struck during the funeral ceremony for a former governor of Haska Mina district who died recently of natural causes, the statement said.

Provincial health director Najib Kamawal confirmed the toll.

Photos posted on Twitter and Facebook purportedly of the scene showed pools of blood, clothes and shoes scattered on the ground.

Other photos showed bodies lying in blood and a plume of black smoke rising into the sky. Terrified mourners, mostly elderly men, could be seen running from the scene.

While the Taliban is still responsible for the majority of attacks and casualties across Afghanistan, IS militants have been on a rampage this month.

The incident in Nangarhar, a restive province bordering Pakistan and a stronghold for IS, comes days after the group claimed an assault on a Shiite cultural centre in Kabul that left 41 people dead and more than 80 wounded.

That followed a Christmas Day attack, also claimed by IS, near an Afghan intelligence agency compound in the Afghan capital that left six civilians dead.

On December 18 militants from the group stormed an intelligence training compound in Kabul, triggering an intense gunfight with police, two of whom were wounded.

The Middle Eastern jihadist outfit has gained ground in Afghanistan since it first appeared in the region in 2015, and has scaled up its attacks in Kabul and elsewhere, including on security installations and the country’s Shiite minority.

The latest news comes at the end of a particularly deadly year for Afghans, with the number of civilian casualties on track to be one of the highest on record since the US invasion in 2001.

More than 8,000 civilians were killed or wounded in conflict-related violence in the first nine months of this year, according to data compiled by the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan.

Friday, 29 December 2017

Apple apologizes for slowing iPhones, offers discounted batteries

Apple on Thursday apologised to its customers for slowing down performance of older iPhone models and said it would discount replacement batteries for some of its handsets.

The move by Apple responded to an uproar from iPhone users -- and a series of lawsuits -- after news of the battery problems stoked concerns the company was unfairly nudging consumers to upgrade.

"We know that some of you feel Apple has let you down. We apologize," Apple said in a message to customers on its website.

"We've always wanted our customers to be able to use their iPhones as long as possible. We're proud that Apple products are known for their durability, and for holding their value longer than our competitors' devices."

Apple said it was reducing the price of an out-of-warranty iPhone battery replacement from $79 to $29 for anyone with an iPhone 6 or later whose battery needs to be replaced, starting in late January through December 2018.

The company said it also would issue a software update to make it easier for customers to see if an aging battery is affecting performance.

"As always, our team is working on ways to make the user experience even better, including improving how we manage performance and avoid unexpected shutdowns as batteries age," the statement said.

The controversy erupted last week after Apple acknowledged a feature to "smooth out" spikes in demand for power to prevent iPhone 6 models from shutting down due to the cold or weak batteries.

Rumors had persisted for years at tech news websites devoted to Apple products and among fans of the company's products that iPhone performance was being intentionally slowed, perhaps to push users to buy newer models.

Apple's latest statement said that "we have never -- and would never -- do anything to intentionally shorten the life of any Apple product, or degrade the user experience to drive customer upgrades."

But it noted that "batteries are consumable components that become less effective as they chemically age" and that factors such as heat can affect performance.

Apple said a software update last year "manages the maximum performance of some system components when needed to prevent a shutdown" and that "in some cases users may experience longer launch times for apps and other reductions in performance."

China mall erects giant Trump dog statue

People walk past a statue of a dog, with a resemblance to US President Donald Trump, outside a shopping mall in Taiyuan, in China’s northern Shanxi province on December 29, 2017. A mall in northern China has once again installed a larger than life animal statue with more than a passing resemblance to US President Donald Trump. This time, in anticipation of the coming Year of the Dog, the cocky rooster of last winter has been replaced with a smirking canine. / AFP PHOTO / STR / CHINA OUT

A mall in northern China has installed a larger-than-life canine statue with more than a passing resemblance to US President Donald Trump to welcome the coming Year of the Dog.

The giant pooch towers above shoppers in Taiyuan, capital of Shanxi province, sporting a slick golden pompadour, angled brows and a red scarf with one index finger raised in a distinctly Trumpian manner.

As he was born in 1946, Trump, who has been accused of having more bark than bite, is a dog under the Chinese zodiac — a trait which he shares with his predecessors George W. Bush and Bill Clinton.
Those born in the Year of the Dog, according to Chinese astrology, are forthright and extremely loyal, in addition to having a strong sense of justice. But they can also be stubborn, irritable and easily angered.

Last year the mall erected a large Trump-like rooster, which inspired numerous replicas, including a giant inflatable one placed not far from the White House this summer.

Wednesday, 27 December 2017

NITDA, Microsoft sign MoU to strengthen local ICT innovation, adoption

Director-General of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) Dr Isa Pantami PHOTO: TWITTER NITDA NIGERIA

The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) and Microsoft Nigeria have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to strengthen Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Innovation and adoption in the country. 
 The partnership will see both NITDA and Microsoft collaborate in ICT development, particularly in the areas of cloud policies, data protection and privacy laws and data classification frameworks.

NITDA mandate is to create a framework for the planning, research, development, standardization, application, coordination, monitoring, evaluation and regulation of Information Technology practices in Nigeria.

The Nigerian Government priorities include anti-corruption drive, security; private sector led economic growth and job creation, youth training and skills development. Technology will be at the heart of driving and building a digital economy which will bring these priorities to fruition.

Speaking on the collaboration, NITDA’s Director-General/CEO, Dr. Isa Ali Ibrahim, said the agency is delighted to collaborate with Microsoft, saying “as regulators, our mandate is to create the right policies that foster innovation and help build a robust digital economy.

Nigeria is a forward-thinking economy and one which is ready to compete in the 4th industrial revolution by having policies which drive growth and encourage investments.”

He further added: “This is a positive move towards digitalization of government processes and provides a tremendous opportunity to scale up citizen’s access to services and concurrently improve the quality of services.”

Also reiterating on the collaboration, General Manager Microsoft Nigeria, Akin Banuso said Microsoft is happy to collaborate with NITDA.

Banuso noted that Microsoft is committed to providing technology “you can trust; we have been actively involved in discussions with governments around the world to digitally transform are also frequently asked by other governments to identify best practices for moving to the cloud; we are honoured to be able to work with the Nigerian government on this framework.”

The Microsoft Nigeria boss said the collaboration aimed to foster detailed discussions of recent regulatory and policy development, including global best practices, to create cloud regulatory frameworks appropriate for driving innovation and improving how the public sector operates and delivers citizen services”

NITDA and Microsoft will set up a joint working group for the collaboration.

NCC admits 2017 tough for telecoms sector’s growth

NCC Building

With four days left for 2017 to go, it has been a tough year for Nigeria’s telecommunications sector.
 Admitting this, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) is hoping for a more robust and rewarding 2018.

Speaking in Lagos, at a post-event interview, the Director of Public Affairs, NCC, Tony Ojobo, admitted that 2017 has been full of challenges for telecoms expansion.

Ojobo, who recently bagged the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations Presidential Award, said apart from the fact that the NCC had to cope with managing issues that emanated from unsolicited SMS, the regulator also had to contend with problems operators faced in the deployment of Base Transceiver Stations (BTS) across the country.

He said that the commission was not oblivious of extant bottlenecks in the industry, adding that NCC’s efforts to curtail them will be more visible next year when the challenges would have lessened in effects.

According to him, it was some of these challenges that made NCC to declare 2017 as the “Year of the Consumer.”

“This year has been full of challenges for the sector. It has been tough. You are aware NCC declared 2017 as the Year of the Telecoms Consumer. Reason for that was to ensure we put the issue of consumers on the front burner, addressing them one after the other.

From the 2442 DND, we discovered that Nigerians were not activating the platform and complaints continued to increase. Though some activated, but we equally got complaints from people who claimed that they activated and still occasionally get some of these messages and that is why we provided the second level of support, which is the 622 NCC help line.

“If for instance you have activated your 2442 and still getting unsolicited SMS, you can still report to us directly at NCC and ofcourse, we shall sort you out.

“There were challenges around the deployment of BTS by operators. This is because of the issue of IGR some states are vigorously pursuing.

Lots of approvals are delayed in terms of siting BTS. We have also had the challenge around Right of Way and reluctance of various agencies of governments to give approval as fast as possible for deployment of infrastructure. These hindrances’, of course impacted on telecoms growth in the course of the year.”

Ojobo however, said the Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Prof. Umar Danbatta, made a presentation at the Governors forum on how these challenges are contributing to poor QoS.

He said it has become necessary for the country to have extensive BTS, “so that we can narrow those gaps, especially in areas without access and even ensure the broadband penetration target can be realized.

“Unless we do that we shall keep having challenges in being able to meet up with government’s policy of meeting 30 per cent broadband penetration by 2018. Next year is 2018, we expect that we should meet that plan, but ofcourse, the challenges itemized can be a major hindrance,” he stated.

Ojobo said the commission is positive that in 2018, some of these challenges will be resolved early, “especially as the governors have started to appreciate the importance of these infrastructures in their states. We believe that some of these challenges will begin to fizzle out.”

From his perspectives, the Chief Executive Officer, Airtel Nigeria, Segun Ogunsanya, while admitting some challenges in the year, noted that NCC’s intervention in some critical areas saved the sector.

Ogunsanya said Airtel is looking at making its 4G services more robust and ubiquitous across the country in the coming year.

“At Airtel we shall be looking at improving our 4G coverage, especially in underserved areas. We expect that by next year, there would be wider coverage of broadband, because we would need to extend services to education, health, transport, security, among other sectors. The regulator is also working on release of spectrum to aid service providers. We shall come up with more 4G sites. We started in Ibadan recently; we hope to extend it to other areas.”

Speaking also to The Guardian, a telecoms expert, Kehinde Aluko, said subscribers were ripped off by service providers.

“You make call, it will not be completed and you are charged. You send text messages, it doesn’t get to its destination and your money is removed. The operators will charge you for caller tunes you never solicited for. I mean, the rip-off was something else this year. The regulator should look into that in 2018,” he stated.

‘Nigeria losing 72% Internet revenues to United States’


About 72 percent of Nigeria’s Internet revenues have been confirmed going to the United States of America (USA), instead of accruing to the country.
 According to HUB8, a web-hosting firm, which carried out a survey earlier in the month, an outcome, which was made available to journalists, majority of .ng and websites in Nigeria are still hosted in the United States, making the country to be experiencing major capital flight in that realm.

Hub8 noted that out of the 34,000 sites, less than 1,000 are located in Nigeria, which is only 2.3 per cent of the total.

It noted that the country of origin for the remaining three per cent of sites could not be identified so Nigeria’s share is slightly larger, though still not comparable with the amount of hosting abroad.

“The dominant countries where site hosting often occurs were determined for the .ng and domains. The overwhelming number of sites are located in the United States (72 per cent),”
 translating into loss of 72 per cent hosting revenue for Nigeria, according to the report.

The .ng is Nigeria’s country code Top Level Domain (ccTLD), which is the country’s digital imprint on the World Wide Web (WWW).

This is coming just as the Nigeria Internet Registration Association (NiRA), managers of the country’s domain names system (DNS) ecosystem, declared it has, so far, registered 100,973 domains in .ng domain zone as at November 30, 2017.

Meanwhile, HUB8 report was based on 89,165 domain names in the .ng domain zone, with particular focus on the details of the usage of .ng domains as it relates to website hosting.

The report, however, does not include data on premium domains (about 2,000) and some special domains that are technically registered though not used by end users.

On the distribution of the domain zones, the report reveals that most popular domain zone is, having almost 70 per cent of all national domains registered.

The .ng domain zone, the report says, comes next although within the zone a domain name is shorter “but domain registration here costs several times more than in while, which is usually used by non-profit organisations, ranks third with an age backlog.

“The number of zones identified by the study include; .ng;; and with number of domains being 61,609 (69.1 per cent); 15,353 (17.2 per cent); 6,077 (6.8 per cent); 1,738 (1.9 per cent and 996 (1.1 per cent) respectively,” the report said.

Others such domain zones include;;;; and, all which have less than one per cent market share.

In terms of active websites, the HUB8 report noted that there are currently 38,864 websites in the .ng domain, not including the sites that fail to open to the connection timeout, redirects and the ones throwing an error (page is not found). “The existing sites are hosted only in half of the and one-third of the .ng domains,” the report stated.

According to the report, operating sites are reported on 45 per cent of and .ng domains.

Also, 15 percent of registered domains are said to be with errors indicating “connection time-out” presumably for some temporary problems regarding hosting or channels.

About 3 percent of domains are redirected to other sites and the same number displaying error pages such as “404 Page Not Found” or “500 Server Error.”

Tuesday, 26 December 2017

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Tokyo stocks close lower on profit-taking

A pedestrian looks at an electronic stocks display in the window of a securities company in Tokyo on November 1, 2016./ AFP PHOTO / KAZUHIRO NOGI

Tokyo stocks fell Tuesday on late profit-taking, with investors keeping to the sidelines as major global markets remained closed for the Christmas holidays.

“As trading has gotten thinner with a lack of fresh trading factors, investors appear (to be) cashing in on their recent gains,” said Hikaru Sato, senior technical analyst at Daiwa Securities.

“Sluggish trading is expected to continue for now as the market is in holiday mode,” Sato told AFP.
The benchmark Nikkei 225 lost 0.20 percent, or 46.49 points, to close at 22,892.69 while the broader Topix index was down 0.27 percent, or 4.92 points, at 1,827.01.

“It is difficult to see a clear direction in the market as foreign investors are absent from trade with transaction volumes low,” Okasan Online Securities said in a commentary.

Investors are awaiting the release Thursday of minutes from the Bank of Japan’s policy meeting last week, it said.

The dollar changed hands at 113.29 yen, almost unchanged from 113.25 yen in Tokyo late Monday.
Some blue-chip shares were lower, with Nintendo losing 1.60 percent at 41,680 yen and Canon trading down 0.47 percent at 4,398 yen.

Mitsubishi UFJ Financial was down 0.45 percent at 836 yen while its rival Sumitomo Mitsui Financial slipped 0.67 percent to 4,884 yen.

Chinese stocks ended higher on Tuesday, led by heavyweight banking and gas-related shares.
The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index advanced 0.78 percent, or 25.66 points, to close at 3,306.12.

The Shenzhen Composite Index, which tracks stocks on China’s second exchange, climbed 0.43 percent, or 8.13 points, to 1,892.02.

“The markets regained some of the ground lost in previous sessions but it is hard to predict if they will maintain steam as the end of year approaches,” said Zhang Yanbing, an analyst with Zheshang Securities.

South Korean shares closed down 0.54 percent on profit-taking by investors following last week’s rally.

Financial markets in Hong Kong, Jakarta, Sydney and Wellington were closed for the holidays.

Russia’s election commission bars Navalny presidential bid

Russia's Central Election Commission on Monday unanimously rejected top opposition figure Alexei Navalny's bid to run against President Vladimir Putin next year, leading him to urge a boycott of the polls.

The commission voted 12 to zero in barring Navalny from the presidential election, citing a controversial embezzlement conviction for which he received a five year suspended sentence.

Navalny's crime qualifies as "serious" and therefore rids the individual of the right to stand for president," said commission member Boris Ebzeyev ahead of the vote, urging the body to bar him from running.

The decision prompted the 41-year-old protest leader -- who maintains that the court case against him was fabricated for political reasons -- to call for a boycott of the election.

"We are declaring a strike by voters. We will ask everyone to boycott these elections. We will not recognise the result," Navalny told journalists.

Navalny, who has campaigned across Russia in recent months, argued earlier in front of the commission that his conviction was lifted in the European Court of Human Rights, and that banning him from participation would make March's election illegitimate.

"I assure you, a huge amount of people will not go to this election, would actively boycott this election" and hold "electoral strikes."

In a passionate speech he accused the commission of barring truly oppositional figures while allowing candidates who are not interested in fighting corruption or in conducting real campaigns.

Navalny was first sentenced in 2013 on the embezzlement charges, which accused him of defrauding the Kirov regional budget of about $270,000.

The European Court of Human Rights last year quashed the ruling, saying it was unfair, and Russia's Supreme Court ordered a retrial.

The retrial in a Russian court however gave Navalny the exact same sentence as before, using almost identical wording as the 2013 decision.

Sunday, 24 December 2017





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7 Things to Do on Sunday for a More Productive Week

Picture the scenario. It’s Monday morning. You can barely drag yourself out of bed. You’re exhausted. You get ready for work, barely making it out the door on time. You don’t have a lunch packed, so you’ll grab some fast food on your lunch hour. You sit down at your desk and sigh.

Your desk is a mess because you couldn’t wait to get out the door on Friday afternoon. Your email inbox is full, more junk mail than work mail. It’s going to be a long day. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?

We’ve all been there. But it doesn’t have to be that way. If you take advantage of your Sundays to prepare for the week, Mondays can be a heck of a lot easier! Here are 7 things you can do on Sunday for a more productive week.

7 Things to Do on Sunday For a More Productive Week | Monday mornings don't have to be stressful! In this post I'm sharing 7 things you can do on Sunday to have a more productive week! | Productivity, Productive, Organization


Think of Sunday as the First Day of the Week

Most people think of Sunday as the last day to relax before heading back to work or school. Instead, think of Sunday as the first chance to prepare yourself for the week’s tasks. Monday mornings will feel less dreadful and less overwhelming because you’ve already got yourself into the mindset.

Clean Out Your Email Inbox

If you work a typical 9-5 job, chances are most of the emails you receive Friday night through Sunday are personal and junk mail as opposed to work email. Clean those out on Sunday night so you can sit down Monday to only emails you’ve received that morning. It will help jump into work more quickly when you don’t have to sludge through junk mail.

Write a To-Do List For the Week

When it comes to having a more productive week, this is my most effective way to do it. Having these tasks laid out before the week starts will allow you to jump right into them Monday morning. You can find this weekly planner in the Etsy shop that easy lets you plan our your tasks for the entire week. If you prefer a daily planner, this one is my favorite!

Clean Your Desk

If you work from home, clean your desk off on Sunday so you start the week with a clean desk. Put anything you’ll need for Monday’s projects front and center. If you don’t work from home, this is something best done Friday afternoon before you leave for the weekend.

Schedule Social Media For the Week

If you’re a fellow blogger, that is. I like to do almost all of my social media posts for Facebook and Twitter on Sunday so I don’t have to think about it during the week. It only takes 15-20 minutes on Sunday, and it saves me time the rest of the week. Don’t worry, I’ve got a blog post all about automating your blog promotion for social media!

Clean the House

There’s nothing worse than starting the work week with a messy house! I always have a more productive week when it starts with a clean house. Monday evenings after work are pretty much the last time I want to come home and wash dishes, do laundry, etc., so I get all of that done on Sundays.

Meal Plan and Meal Prep

Sundays are typically the day I do any grocery shopping. Before I do that, I write a meal plan. I write down what I’ll have for breakfast, lunch, and dinner each day.

My go-to for meal planning is this meal planning notepad. It’s super minimalist, which makes it easy to focus on the task at hand. I also love this grocery list notepad to take to the store with me

Cross River gears up for mineral development

Cross River
At last, the dream of taking Cross River State out of the woods may soon be a reality if the massive solid minerals deposits discovered in the state, by Chinese geologists, working with their local counterparts, are sustainably and transparently exploited.
 The state received the sum of N55b from the Federation Account in 2016, which it augmented with the not impressive internally generated revenue. But with this new discoveries, the “One Mineral, One Local Government,” Project, which also takes cognizance of old and newly discovered solid minerals, the Governor Ben Ayade-led government says it would make the state a hub of massive industrialisation.

Ayade has severally been criticised for his numerous foreign trips and signing of what many describe as “ineffective Memoranda of Understanding (MOU).

However, the state Commissioner for Solid Minerals, George Oben’enchi thinks the recently concluded exploration activities, “is one of the dividends of the governor’s trips abroad because more often than not, every time the governor leaves our shores, the opposition is always saying, ‘he has travel abroad again, yet there are no good results from previous trips.

So, this is indeed a very critical and core dividend that the governor has been able to attract, and the ministry is going to launch the One Mineral, One Local Government Project, next year.”

Earlier on, the state government signed an MOU with Shian Xi and Hun Ching provinces of China. The team of scientists that carried out the exploration did so as part of the bilateral understanding with the Shian Xi Province.

Some of the solid minerals found in commercial quantities in the state are uranium, iron ore, manganese, tourmaline, barites, marbles, galena and sphalerite, coal, kaolin, sulphite, rutile, as well as, new limestone deposits and others.

“Working with local and foreign geologists, we discovered between eight to 10 new minerals, in addition to the old ones. We believe that by the time we are done with our work, the survey agency will be able to certify our findings, then one will know that in this Cross River State, we have much more blessings than one had imagined in terms of solid minerals,” the commissioner said, adding, “You know the governor has been trying to reach out to some international bodies, basically to see how he can attract investors to the various sectors of our economy,” Oben’enchi said.

He pointed out that, “one of the key areas we focused on was the development of the solid mineral area of the state. Of course, the best way to develop the sector is to first of all find out what you have, the quality and quantity of what you have, before you can begin to talk to the right investors.

All these while, we only had a geological map saying Cross River State has some solid minerals, but we never really took time to go round and see where these things are located, in which community, village or local government area.”

Speaking about the exercise, the commissioner said what the Chinese geologists did, alongside local counterparts was basically exploration, preparing grounds for investors to come in for exploitation of identified mineral resources.

“In Okpoma, Yala Local Council, we discovered salt. That is currently being mined by the locals there. From the reports it is up to 50 million metric tons. So, if you set up a company to mine that salt properly, you can only imagine what will happen in that place in terms of employment and other benefits.

“In another community called Gabu, still in Yala Local Council, we found two types of barite. These are minerals that oil companies can use. In Ofina, still in Yala, there is also barite, as well as, pure led galena that does not have the colouration of any other mineral around it,” he said.

“The geologist discovered in Ohom, in Obudu Local Council, graphites, and in Oban, Akamkpa Local Council, a huge chunk of manganese in Oban stretching all the way to Akim. There is also a large deposit of rutile in Nkarasi Two, in Ikom Local Council. This is something that nobody knew we had in the state.

In a community called Ishibori in Ogoja Local Council, we discovered very precious illumenite in commercial quantity. In Iso-bendeghe in Boki Local Council, stretching into Bendeghe-Afi in Ikom council, we discovered massive magnetic iron ore. That is something that we never knew we had here. Even the Nigerian Geological Survey Agency (NGSA) never knew we had that in the state. This is what steel companies have been looking for. It is like torch light in a day time,” he said.

On what the next line of action is for the state, Oben’enchi, said it is for the state to work with the Federal Government to bring in the needed investment in the solid mineral sector in the state because the governor’s focus is basically on job creation. If we are able to bring in the right investors to harness and work in accordance with the law, we are sure that we can create jobs, change the lifestyle of our people, and take development to lots of our communities.”

While many wondered how much the state coughed out for the exploration activities, the commissioner said the Chinese firm, which carried out the exploration did so at no cost to the state. “The only thing we did for them was accommodation and feeding because when we went to China they accommodated, fed us and provided the necessary logistics in terms of transportation.

“All the minerals that I have mentioned, I am confident about the fact that we have them in commercial quantities. We are still working on them, and we are going back to the field again to do some analysis, checks and follow ups because when we are done, we are supposed to have a document stating which village/local council that each mineral is found, name of the mineral, what each of these minerals can be used for, and then of course the value and quantity…When we finish, we can now use that to discuss with our investors.  I am very sure that what we have seen so far can last for the next 100 years or more.”

Those thinking that actual exploitation of these resources may take years would surely be disappointed as the commissioner said, “we are working very assiduously to make sure that within another three months or four months we will start…Definitely this will bring so much revenue to the state, but in all honesty, I have not done that analysis yet because we are still working and we will get the commercial department to find out how much these resources can bring in terms of revenue to the state.”

With the Bureau for Public Private Sector Partnership in place, and a law that protects both the locals, the state and of course the would be investor in place, the commissioner said there was no need for any of the parties involved to fret when exploitation commences.

“The problem we have is that we always have fantastic laws in Nigeria, but enforcing these laws is now the problem. But in this case, as long as we have a law and an agency with people saddled with the responsibility of making sure that all the parties are not short-changed, then there won’t be any problem. Above all, there is no community that you will go to in this state that will not make sure that what is their due is given, in terms of doing Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), and ensuring that that EIA is fully approved and complied with.

“Once you get it right by putting all these structures in place from the beginning, you wont have any problem because the locals will be there to ensure that their end is perfected, and they are not being cheated. The state government would also be there to ensure that the PPP is working and they are not being cheated or exploited. Of course, the investors will also make sure that they are not just working for nothing.”

Peter Ogar, an indigene of Okpoma, one of the communities rich in salt lamented that despite the huge deposit, successive administrations always promise to bring investors to explore the salt for domestic use and export. “But so far, nothing has happened and we hope that with this Ayade-led government, things will improve. We welcome the Chinese and we hope that the government will do the needful by siting the plant here, and employing many of our youths, and at the same time follow due process of protecting the land and environment. We are waiting and hoping for better things”.

A stakeholder from Oban, Akamkpa, where manganese was discovered in commercial quantity, Rev. Father Evaristus Bassey said: “I don’t really know the details, but my problem with the Chinese is that they only exploit and do not develop communities. They will exploit and leave the place worse than what it was.

Some places that they go to, they just take over even the minor economic activities there. In most of their investments, communities are left worse off, and their human rights standards are very poor. Western investors are more careful about their reputation internationally as they can be dragged before their local courts, because back home they have stringent measures or laws that guide their operations, but for the Chinese, who cares.”

Bassey who works with the Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria added: “There is the issue of corruption, and it is my perception that they promote the issue of corruption.

Back home they deal very severely with corruption, but they come here and help in spoiling our politicians. But if we can negotiate well, and not allow negotiations to get compromised because of our personal interests, then that is fine by me. We must negotiate properly and not allow them to come here and do whatever they like because you cannot go to their country and do whatever you like. What we need is to take into account, the best interest of the people.

Even if there are some personal interests are involved, let the peoples’ interest be the uttermost because things that touch my community also touch me and whatever advice I can give, I will do so to ensure that my community is not exploited.”

Kano State Government to set up mobile court to recover agric loans

The Kano State Government is to set up a mobile court to recover loans from defaulters of the CBN’s Anchor Borrowers‘ Programme.

Alhaji Faruk Rabi’u, the state chairman of All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN) disclosed this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Kano on Sunday.

Rabi’u said already the state government had promised to support the move as the last option to recover the outstanding loan .

He said the association had been directed to compile the list of all the defaulting farmers with a view to submitting same to the state government for necessary action.

“The state government will assist the association with the police, Judges and other staff because it served as a grantor to the farmers.

“We want to change the attitude of some people who think that the loan is a national cake because they should have paid by April.

“It is unfortunate that less than 10 per cent of farmers who benefitted from the loan has so far paid the loan,” Rabi’u said.

He noted that the task force committee set up by the association to recover the loans had not been given the necessary support and cooperation by the defaulters.

NAN reports that the Federal Government is targeting the production of one million metric tons of paddy rice under the programme.

The programme is also meant to create economic linkages between the over 600,000 smallholder farmers and reputable large-scale processors, to raise agricultural output and improve capacity utilisation of integrated mills.

NAN also reports that in January, Gov. Abdullahi Ganduje urged the over 5,000 beneficiaries of the loan to pay up.

He said that the loan was not free and all the beneficiaries must pay back to enable others benefit.
The governor reminded them that “an individual farmer or group may repay the loan in cash or with bags of rice.”

Ganduje said the anchor borrower programme had achieved its objective in the state, as it had helped to shoot up rice production by 96 per cent in 2016 when compared to the 2015 output.

According to him, wheat production also recorded 84 per cent increase during the period.

Earlier, a representative of the CBN, AbdulKadir Ahmad, said N960 million was allocated to Kano farmers and each benefitted with N367,000.

Saturday, 23 December 2017

US government to review Obama administration handling of Hezbollah drug initiative

Former US President Barack Obama / AFP PHOTO / JIM WATSON

US Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Friday ordered an investigation into allegations that the Obama administration undermined efforts to target Hezbollah drug trafficking.

The announcement comes after Politico reported that Project Cassandra, a program targeting trafficking by Iran-backed Hezbollah that could have undermined the push for a nuclear deal with Tehran, was “derailed” by the administration of former president Barack Obama.

The review will “evaluate allegations that certain matters were not properly prosecuted and to ensure all matters are appropriately handled,” Sessions said in a statement.

“While I am hopeful that there were no barriers constructed by the last administration to allowing DEA (Drug Enforcement Agency) agents to fully bring all appropriate cases under Project Cassandra, this is a significant issue for the protection of Americans,” he added.

But Edward Price, a former CIA agent who served as spokesman for the National Security Council for the Obama administration, told AFP: “The narrative presented in this report in no way resembles reality.

“The Obama administration said time and again that the nuclear negotiations with Iran were confined exclusively to that narrow issue. We did not make concessions in other arenas, and we most certainly did not curtail or attempt to influence any active investigations, including by the Drug Enforcement Administration.

“Any allegations to the contrary are false, and those reflected in the story appear to be from former low-level officials who have since gone on to work for organizations ideologically opposed to the Iran deal, something Politico failed to disclose.”

Trump has criticized the Iran nuclear agreement as “one of the worst and most one-sided transactions the United States has ever entered into.”

He refused to certify Iran’s compliance with the deal, but left its ultimate fate up to the US Congress.

Philippines storm death toll climbs to 133

Rescue workers evacuate flood-affected residents in Davao on the southern Philippine island of Mindanao early on December 23, 2017, after Tropical Storm Tembin dumped torrential rains across the island. The death toll from the tropical storm that struck the southern Philippines has risen to 30 with five others missing, officials said on December 23.<br />MANMAN DEJETO / AFP

The death toll from a tropical storm in the southern Philippines climbed swiftly to 133 on Saturday, as rescuers pulled dozens of bodies from a swollen river, police said.

Tropical Storm Tembin has lashed the nation’s second-largest island of Mindanao since Friday, triggering flash floods and mudslides.

The Philippines is pummelled by 20 major storms each year on average, many of them deadly. But Mindanao, home to 20 million people, is rarely hit by these cyclones.

Rescuers retrieved 36 bodies from the Salog River in Mindanao on Saturday, as officials reported more fatalities in the impoverished Zamboanga peninsula.

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The bodies were swept downriver from a flooded town upstream called Salvador, Rando Salvacion, the Sapad town police chief, told AFP. Authorities in Salvador said they had retrieved 17 other bodies upstream.

Salvador and Sapad are in Lanao del Norte, which is one of the provinces hardest hit by Tembin.

The death toll for the Zamboanga peninsula also rose to 28, and police said 81 people were missing after mud and rocks swept down coastal communities in Sibuco and other fishing towns.

Tembin struck less than a week after Tropical Storm Kai-Tak left 54 dead and 24 missing in the central Philippines.

The deadliest typhoon to hit the country was Haiyan, which killed thousands and destroyed entire towns in heavily populated areas of the central Philippines in November 2013.

Germany supports Nigeria with €29.9m to eradicate polio


The Federal Republic of Germany and Nigeria has signed a 29.9 million Euros agreement in support of polio eradication programme in the country, a statement has said.

Mr Saadu Salahu, Head, Public Relation Unit, National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), made this known in a statement issued on Saturday in Abuja.Salahu said the agreement was the ninth of such financial agreement and support for polio eradication in Nigeria by Germany.He said the agreement was signed in Abuja by Ms Regine Hess, the Deputy Head of mission for Germany in Nigeria; Mr Geoffrey Onyeama, the Minister of Foreign affairs, and Dr Faisal Shuaib, the Executive Director of NPHCDA.

The statement quoted Onyeama expressing delight over the age-long warm relationship between the two countries and their leaders in particular.The minister commended the German Government for its huge support to Nigeria, not only on polio eradication but also other equally important sectors in Nigeria.

He recalled various concerted efforts by the Nigerian Government to eradicate polio and expressed Federal Government’s appreciation to WHO, UNICEF, Germany and other partners towards making Nigeria polio free.

The statement also quoted Hess expressing joy over her country’s sustained support for polio eradication in Nigeria.She expressed optimism that Nigeria would soon join the rest of the world as polio free nation.

Responding, Shuaib highlighted the huge financial commitments of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration to polio eradication in Nigeria.The executive director disclosed that in 2016 Nigeria committed N9.8 billion; it earmarked N4.2 billion in 2017 and N4.1 billion for 2018 for polio eradication programmes.

He therefore expressed profound appreciation to the Federal Republic of Germany and other development partners for their continued support to polio eradication in Nigeria.

Friday, 22 December 2017

Britain’s Johnson seeks to thaw Russia ties during Moscow trip

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (R) shakes hands with British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson at the end of a joint press conference following their meeting in Moscow on December 22, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / Yuri KADOBNOV

British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson on Friday sought to open up communication channels with Russia after years of hostility on the first official visit by a foreign minister from London in five years.

Britain’s outspoken foreign minister arrived in Russia after cancelling in April a planned trip at the last minute over Russia’s support for the Syrian regime of President Bashar al-Assad.

Johnson told his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov that Russia and Britain should cooperate for the sake of global security and that the countries’ similarities were more important than disagreements.

“Things are difficult but we want to work together with you on some issues, Sergei, and we want to work to achieve a better future,” he told Lavrov at the start of the talks.

“We have a duty to work together for peace and security,” he added.

“Where we can I think we can find positive cooperation on issues we have substantial interests in common,” he said, referring to Iran, North Korea and Syria.

His Russian host said Moscow wanted Friday’s talks to lead to “concrete steps” that would help revive ties.

“Our ties — there is no secret here — are at a very low point,” Lavrov said.

The Foreign Office said ahead of the talks that Johnson would stress that the two countries’ similarities “far outweigh our current political disagreements.”

“The Kremlin has positioned Russia in direct opposition to the West, but it doesn’t have to be that way,” Johnson will tell Lavrov, the Foreign Office said.

While the Moscow visit could signal an improvement in relations, Johnson himself said he holds out little hope that ties with Moscow could undergo a full-blown transformation.

‘I do not believe in reset’
In an interview with Polish news agency PAP ahead of his Russia visit, Johnson said he was “no cold warrior”, but he did “not believe for a second that relations with Russia can be reset.”

Johnson arrived in Russia from Poland where he accompanied British Prime Minister Theresa May on Thursday.

The Russian foreign ministry’s spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said the diplomatic chiefs planned to “look for ways to normalise and activate the bilateral relationship.”

“Unfortunately, cutting short bilateral dialogue with Russia was London’s choice,” Zakharova said, calling the visit “long-awaited.”

Relations between London and Moscow soured after Britain sought to prosecute suspects in the killing of Kremlin critic and former spy Alexander Litvinenko, murdered by radiation poisoning in London in 2006.

Britain has also been a fervent supporter of Western sanctions against Russia over its role in the Ukraine conflict and annexation of Crimea in 2014.

The relationship suffered further blows after Russia’s intervention in the Syria conflict on the side of the Damascus regime in September 2015.

‘What’s the Syria plan’?
Johnson, who in his capacity as mayor of London called Russian strongman Vladimir Putin a “ruthless and manipulative tyrant” in 2015, is expected to make Syria a key focus of the talks with Lavrov.

Johnson told the PAP agency that Britain and Russia still “have huge differences on Syria.”

“I would be interested in how the Russians see the future of Syria: Assad is still on the throne but what’s the plan? He’s not a very popular person, so how is it going to function?” Johnson said in remarks translated into Polish.

Concerns are also running high in Europe over the Kremlin’s use of cyber-tactics and misinformation to cause political destabilisation around the continent and to draw former Soviet states back into its embrace.

Following the 2016 referendum on Brexit, in which Johnson campaigned to leave the EU, Britain has joined the growing number of Western countries accusing Russia of interfering in their political systems.

British media regulators have taken actions against Kremlin-funded news outlets including Russian television RT UK, which provoked anger in Moscow.

In a major foreign policy speech last month, May accused Russia of attempts to “weaponise information” and “threatening the international world order on which we all depend.”

OPS explains non-support for Morocco’s application to ECOWAS

Members of the Organised Private Sector (OPS), have said the pre-existing Free Trade Agreements (FTA), between Morocco and the European Union (EU), and a host of other issues are the reasons for the lack of support for the country’s application to join the ECOWAS region.

According to the OPS, admitting Morocco to ECOWAS while the country still has a pending trade issue with the EU due to the proposed Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), pose a threat to the national and regional economy, particularly the growth and development of local manufacturing in Nigeria.OPS members comprise the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN); Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association (NECA); Nigeria Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA); Nigeria Association of Small Scale Industries (NASSI); and Nigeria Association of Small and Medium Enterprises (NASME).

The group in a statement made available to journalists, maintained that signing the EPA in its present form will adversely affect the manufacturing sector, dispel the industrialisation headways already made, and worsen the unemployment and poverty levels in Nigeria.“Morocco is a neighbouring and associated country of the European Union. The relations between the two are situated in the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) and the Union for the Mediterranean. The country is recognised as an advanced status among the ENP countries, opening up to high levels of political cooperation.

“Morocco joining ECOWAS is a direct attempt of reducing the influence and strength of Nigeria, as a strategic Political and Economic force in ECOWAS. Based on trend analysis, ECOWAS has little trade benefit expectations from Morocco. The historical trade pattern relations of Morocco revealed no notable trading ties with ECOWAS states; going by her current demand pattern, Morocco trades with Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Russia, Algeria and EU. All of these imply that over the years Morocco had little or no trade dealings with ECOWAS states.

“Admitting Morocco has dire security consequences on the region considering the fact that ISIS is gaining ground in Morocco. The security concern as regards the activities of ISIS in the Maghreb region, and the likely effect this could have on our already challenged economy through the activities of Boko Haram is an issue of concern.

“Morocco’s memberships of numerous economic blocs pose a serious loyalty concern. Morocco is a member of the Union for the Mediterranean, which comprises 28 countries from European Union. Granting this same country, the membership of ECOWAS affords 28 countries from European Union free access into the regional market thereby flooding the market with EU products. This is a decoy that will weakening the stance of Nigeria on the ECOWAS-EU Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), inhibit Nigerian diversification and stifle the growth of the manufacturing sector through exploitation of Nigerian and ECOWAS market,” the OPS maintained.

The members however recommended that Nigeria commenced the process of aligning her foreign and trade policies in line with national interests and aspirations as well as encourage Morocco to key-in to the on-going development process of the Continental Free Trade Agreement (CFTA) for Africa, which is still at the formation stage.


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