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Improving Nigeria’s power supply

Rabi Isyaka Rabiu,Department of Information and Media Studies, Bayero University, Kano, Kano State: Electricity generation, transmission and distribution are very crucial to national development and economic prosperity. Over the years, appreciable progress in the area of constant supply of this engine that lubricates the economy of every nation continues to be a mystery, particularly in Nigeria.

Suffice it to say that various models have been tried including the event that culminated in the privatisation of the sector, just to see that constant electricity supply becomes a reality in Nigeria. One may be quick to blame the government, we have however yet to understand that some of our own activities as consumers largely contribute to the failure in Nigeria’s energy sector.

Research has shown that for Nigeria to be fully sustainable in power supply, the country needs to generate an estimated 30,000 to 35,000 MW of electricity. Unfortunately, Nigeria presently is only able to generate between 4,000 and 5,000MW, and yet, we are not managing this meagre generated energy capacity efficiently.

To achieve that therefore, Nigerians need to start imbibing the habit of power conservation in order to save energy to improve their lives and property.

Conserving electricity energy will not only prevent unequal distribution of the light or providing low current one, it will also prevent hazardous effects that may likely cause fire incident due to power surges. In most cases, refusal to conserve the energy leads to numerous damage, thereby leading to loss of lives and property.

In Kano State for instance, the Sabon Gari and Kantin Kwari markets fires are a case study of dangerous electrical menance which led to the loss of wealth, all according to reports, due to the habit of non-switching off of electrical appliances when not in use, or when not around in the case of marketplaces and offices.

Also, there are a lot of fire incidences in many houses caused by electrical appliances as a result of not conserving energy.

Therefore, energy conservation is very essential to societal development, and, Nigeria can conserve it by switching off all appliances when not in use. Women as housekeepers also have an important role to play. They should try as much to always remind their husbands to be conscious of energy consumption rate and assist in its conservation at home.

Source: punchng.com

Apple has ‘deep concerns’ that ex-employees accused of theft will flee to China

Apple Inc on Monday told a federal court it has “deep concerns” that two Chinese-born former employees accused of stealing trade secrets from the company will try to flee before their trials if their locations are not monitored.

At a hearing in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, prosecutors argued that Xiaolang Zhang and Jizhong Chen should continue to be monitored because they present flight risks.

Federal prosecutors alleged Zhang worked on Apple’s secretive self-driving car program and took files related to the project before disclosing that he was going to work for a Chinese competitor. Federal agents arrested Zhang last year at the San Jose airport as he was about to board a flight for China.

Prosecutors allege Chen took from Apple more than 2,000 files containing “manuals, schematics, diagrams and photographs of computer screens showing pages in Apple’s secure databases” with intent to share them. Agents arrested him in January at a train station on his way to San Francisco International Airport for a trip to China.

The men were each charged with one count of criminal trade secrets theft and pleaded not guilty. They were released on bail shortly after their arrests and have been monitored since then.

Attorney Daniel Olmos, who represents the men, said Monday that both had family reasons to visit China and had shown no signs of violating their pre-trial conditions so far.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Marissa Harris argued that if either man fled to China, it would be difficult if not impossible for federal officials to secure their extradition for a trial. Three Apple employees sat in the courtroom to support prosecutors, including Anthony DeMario, a strategic adviser to Apple’s global security group and veteran of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency.

Harris read Apple’s statement to U.S. District Judge Edward J. Davila in San Jose, California.

“Apple’s intellectual property is at the core of our innovation and growth,” the statement said. “The defendants’ continued participation in these proceedings is necessary to ensure a final determination of the facts, and we have deep concerns the defendants will not see this through if given the opportunity.

Zhan stood listening through an interpreter and was dressed in a white and blue dress shirt, black jeans and Nike sneakers. Olmos told Davila GPS monitoring was unnecessary to secure Zhang’s appearance at trial.

“This is not an espionage case,” Olmos said. The government “is not requesting detention, but they are requesting essentially indefinitely location monitoring.”

Harris said Zhang’s wife told federal agents that Zhang, who is a permanent U.S. resident, attempted to flee to Canada when agents searched his home.

During that search, agents found a laptop at the bottom of a laundry hamper that they allege contained trade secrets about Ethernet technology from Zhang’s prior employer, chip supplier Marvell Technology Group Ltd, according to court documents.

Chen, a U.S. citizen who emigrated from China in 1991, listened to the proceedings through an interpreter and wore a dark blue hoodie. He has been under radiofrequency monitoring, which is less precise than GPS tracking.

Source: www.reuters.com

Rwanda begins vaccinating against Ebola

Rwanda on Sunday started a voluntary Ebola vaccination programme at its border with the Democratic Republic of Congo in a bid to prevent the spread of the deadly virus from its neighbour.

All countries in high-risk areas, even if not hit by Ebola, had been advised by the WHO to use a new vaccine developed by US group Johnson & Johnson, the country’s health minister, Diane Gashumba, told journalists.

The idea was “to protect those with high chances of getting in contact with people living in areas where Ebola has been reported to be active”, she said.

The vaccine, Ad26-ZEBOV-GP, is an experimental drug produced by US pharmaceuticals giant, Johnson & Johnson. It was used for the first time in mid-November in Goma in DR Congo, on the other side of the border.

So far, there have no confirmed cases of Ebola in Rwanda.

The epicentre of the outbreak in DR Congo, which has killed more than 2,200 people since August 2018, is located 350 kilometres (217 miles) north of Goma, in the Beni-Butembo region.

That region sits on the DR Congo border with Uganda.

More than 250,000 people in DR Congo have already been vaccinated using another product, rVSV-ZEBOV, made by US drug company, Merck Shape and Dohme.

Ebola in Goma

People working in the health sector, at border crossings, police officers, and business executives who frequently travel between the two countries are being given priority in the vaccination campaign.

But all residents in the border districts can ask to be vaccinated if they wish.

The first volunteers expressed relief at the measure.

“We lived in a life of worry because of what was going on in DR Congo,” Joel Ntwari Murchie, one of the first Rwandans to be vaccinated, told AFP.

“It caused a lot of border disruptions as we were restricted to buying or selling with DR Congo residents who live in Goma.

“The vaccine is an assurance to the safety of our lives and our children’s lives.”

The head of DR Congo’s anti-Ebola efforts, Jean-Jacques Muyembe, and the WHO’s representative in Rwanda, Kasonde Mwinga, were present at the campaign launch.

In August, Rwanda briefly closed its border with DR Congo and ordered its citizens not to visit the country when the first Ebola cases were recorded in Goma.

The city, which is the regional capital of the Congolese province of North Kivu, sits on the border with Rwanda.

The border has since been reopened, but strict medical checks are being enforced.

Source: punchng.com

UK election campaign enters final rounds with Brexit on the line

Britain’s general election campaign enters its frenetic final stages on Monday, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn desperately seeking votes ahead of Thursday’s crucial poll.

Johnson is hoping to regain the Conservative majority lost by his predecessor Theresa May in the last election, just two years ago, while Corbyn is aiming to upset the odds and usher in the first Labour government for nine years.

Hanging over the election is the issue of Britain’s departure from the European Union, which will be thrown into doubt altogether should Johnson fail to achieve a majority.

The prime minister said on Sunday that the impact of Thursday’s vote would be “felt for decades”.

The high stakes and ideological divisions between Johnson and veteran leftist Corbyn have led to a fractious and personal campaign, with Johnson repeatedly facing questions over his trustworthiness and the Labour leader on the backfoot over anti-Semitism within his party.

The pair traded barbs over Brexit in Friday’s final TV debate, but also on other key election themes such as the health service, austerity and terrorism.

Last push for votes

A Conservative majority would almost certainly confirm Britain’s departure from the European Union, but any other result could lead to a second referendum and the 2016 result being overturned.

The Labour leader is proposing to negotiate a softer form of Brexit if he becomes prime minister to put up against remaining in the bloc in the vote.

Johnson is due to visit Brexit-backing Sunderland, northeast England, on Monday in a final push to lure traditional Labour voters to his side.

“The Labour party has let you down most of all,” he was expected to say, according to extracts released by his party.

“Under Jeremy Corbyn, they promised to honour the result of the referendum -– before voting against Brexit every chance they had. They won their seats on a false prospectus and then stuck two fingers up to the public.”

Corbyn’s main attack line has been to accuse Johnson of opening up Britain’s cherished National Health Service (NHS) to US businesses as part of a post-Brexit trade deal with President Donald Trump.

Labour’s would-be finance minister John McDonnell will on Monday lay out the early priorities of any future Labour government, including an end to austerity, investment in a “Green Industrial Revolution” and nationalisation of key utilities.

“In too many parts of the country, we have been wasting people’s potential,” he was due to say.

“That’s down to successive governments sitting back and leaving the fate of whole communities at the mercy of market forces.”

Bruising claims

Corbyn has spent the campaign lagging in the polls, and has yet to show signs of mounting the late surge that he achieved in 2017, which stripped then prime-minister Theresa May of her majority.

Polls released on Saturday showed the Conservatives with an average lead of 10 percent.

Pollsters believe that Johnson needs to be more than six points clear of Labour on Thursday to secure a majority.

The campaign was rocked on November 29 by a terror attack at London Bridge that left two members of the public dead, with police fatally shooting the attacker Usman Khan.

Khan had already been jailed for terror offences, but was released early, leading to tough question for the government.

Johnson said in Friday’s debate that he thought it was “wrong” that Khan had been released early, prompting a stinging attack from the father of victim Jack Merritt, who helped run a project to rehabilitate offenders.

“Johnson lied and used our son’s death to make political capital,” David Merritt wrote on Twitter.

“Wake up Britain: this man is a fraud. He’s the worst of us,” he added. “I’ll be voting least worst option: anti-Tory.”

Corbyn has also faced uncomfortable moments on the campaign trail, particularly over anti-Semitism.

The US-based Simon Wiesenthal Center, which fights anti-Semitism, on Sunday named Corbyn as the top anti-Semitic person or event for 2019, adding that Britain would become a “pariah” if he becomes prime minister.

Source: France24

NATO leaders to confront Trump over ‘delinquent’ military moves

NATO leaders will tell US President Donald Trump on Wednesday they are spending billions more dollars on their militaries in the hope that he pares back his attacks on the Western alliance.

In formal talks following a Buckingham Palace reception on Tuesday to celebrate 70 years of NATO, European leaders led by Germany and France aim to tell Trump they will not be treated as junior partners as they confront global conflicts.

Despite Trump’s accusations on Tuesday that allies were “delinquent” in their failure to spend as much as the United States on their armed forces, Europe, Turkey and Canada will use the gathering at a luxury golf club north of London to argue they will spend $400bn collectively on defence by 2024.

“If we invest money and risk our soldiers’ lives … we should be clear on NATO’s fundamentals,” French President Emmanuel Macron said on Twitter, adding that on Wednesday he would “defend the interests of France and Europe”.

That is likely to include a push to broaden NATO politically to consider a bigger role for the alliance in the Middle East and possibly Africa, although Berlin and Paris must first seek NATO support for a “wise persons” group to draw up reform plans.

Despite Trump’s accusations on Tuesday that allies were “delinquent” in their failure to spend as much as the United States on their armed forces, Europe, Turkey and Canada will use the gathering at a luxury golf club north of London to argue they will spend $400bn collectively on defence by 2024.

“If we invest money and risk our soldiers’ lives … we should be clear on NATO’s fundamentals,” French President Emmanuel Macron said on Twitter, adding that on Wednesday he would “defend the interests of France and Europe”.

That is likely to include a push to broaden NATO politically to consider a bigger role for the alliance in the Middle East and possibly Africa, although Berlin and Paris must first seek NATO support for a “wise persons” group to draw up reform plans.

China warning

In a final communique, NATO allies will recommit to their pledge to defend each other, while the United Kingdom is also expected to put six warships, two fighter squadrons and thousands of troops at NATO’s disposal to meet a US demand for European armies to be more combat-ready.

NATO will also warn China for the first time that it is monitoring Beijing’s growing military might, agreeing to gradually prepare the alliance to defend against any possible future hostilities, in arenas ranging from the Arctic to computer networks.

The NATO leaders’ attempt to make a show of unity has already been overshadowed by bitter disputes about the future of the alliance. In a final communique, NATO allies will recommit to their pledge to defend each other, while the United Kingdom is also expected to put six warships, two fighter squadrons and thousands of troops at NATO’s disposal to meet a US demand for European armies to be more combat-ready.

NATO will also warn China for the first time that it is monitoring Beijing’s growing military might, agreeing to gradually prepare the alliance to defend against any possible future hostilities, in arenas ranging from the Arctic to computer networks.

The NATO leaders’ attempt to make a show of unity has already been overshadowed by bitter disputes about the future of the alliance.

Macron has called for a renewed strategic dialogue with Russia and demanded that Turkey explain itself over its assault – backed by Syrian rebels Paris sees as terrorists – on Kurdish forces and its purchase of the Russian S-400 air defence system.

The leaders met in various groups in London on Tuesday before having dinner with Queen Elizabeth II in Buckingham Palace, but Macron refused to withdraw his charge that NATO strategy is “brain dead” and Trump continued to insist some capitals were “delinquent” in paying their way.

The dispute set up a tense last day of what NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg hoped would be a 70th-anniversary show of unity for the “most successful military alliance in history”, and a demonstration the West can stand up to challenges from Russia and China.

British host Prime Minister Boris Johnson will make an appeal for unity.

“Seventy years on, we are rock solid in our commitment to NATO and to the giant shield of solidarity that now protects 29 countries and nearly a billion people,” Johnson will say, according to his office.

“If NATO has a motto, it is: ‘One for all, and all for one’.”

‘Very nasty statement’

In recent weeks Macron has tried to shake up the agenda by demanding a review of alliance strategy, but Trump – who arrived boasting he had forced members to boost defence spending – hit back hard.

“I think that’s very insulting,” Trump said of Macron’s assertion last month that NATO is experiencing “brain death”, branding it a “very, very nasty statement”.

“Nobody needs NATO more than France,” he warned. “It’s a very dangerous statement for them to make.”

Trump later softened his tone at a joint appearance with Macron, but the French leader stood by his approach – and his choice of language – and turned his guns on Turkey, accusing Ankara of working with “extremists”.

“The common enemy today are the terrorist groups, as we mentioned, and I’m sorry to say that we don’t have the same definition of terrorism around the table,” Macron said.

Macron and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan later came face to face at four-way talks with Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel and Britain’s Johnson.

Merkel said she was “relatively optimistic” after the meeting, but Macron warned that “not all clarifications were obtained and not all ambiguities were resolved”.

Erdogan has threatened to hold up NATO efforts to bolster the protection of the Baltic republics against Russia unless the allies brand the Kurdish militias who defeated the ISIL armed group in Syria as “terrorists”.

‘Not paid up’ Trump defended Stoltenberg’s record of pushing allies for increased defence spending, but he reiterated his own long-standing complaints.

“When I came in, I was angry at NATO and now I’ve raised $130bn,” Trump said, referring to the sum Stoltenberg says Canada and European members since 2016 will have added to defence budgets by next year.

“And yet you still have many delinquent – you know I call them delinquent when they’re not paid up in full,” Trump said.

Only nine of NATO’s 29 members have reached the target agreed at its 2014 summit to spend 2 percent of their GDP on defence before 2024.

Trump cited Germany in particular as falling short, spending only 1.2 percent of GDP.

The substance of the summit is thin with only one three-hour session planned where leaders are expected to sign off on a set of decisions already taken by NATO foreign and defence ministers.

These include defining space as a domain of conflict – alongside land, sea, air and cyberspace – as well as acknowledging for the first time the “challenges” posed by China’s rise.

“We have now recognised that the rise of China has security implications for all allies,” Stoltenberg said.

Germany has suggested an expert panel could look at how NATO can be adapted to address political questions more effectively and the leaders are expected to endorse this.

Source: aljazeera.com

Floods and mudslides kill six in Uganda

At least six people have been killed and nearly 50 are missing in mudslides caused by heavy rains across eastern Uganda’s Mount Elgon region, disaster relief officials have said.

Dozens of homes and farms have also been destroyed during the downpour in the last two days.

The government has been trying to relocate people from the mountainous areas to safer terrain.

In the north-west, the River Nile has burst its banks near Pakwach bridge, cutting off road links.

The roads authority has issued an alert, urging people to use alternative transport while the debris on the highway is cleared.

A tweeter has posted images of some of the flooding on Tuesday:

Source: bbc.com

Full list of CNN’s ‘Africa’s biggest music stars’

Cable News Network (CNN) has released its list of Africa’s biggest music stars, which does not include any Ghanaian act.

The media outlet in a slide shared 10 music acts who they deemed as the biggest on the African continent.

Five Nigerian artistes featured in the list, two South Africans and one each from Tanzania, Zambia and Benin.

However, some entertainment pundits have questioned the credibility of the list.

Below is the full list put together by CNN:

1. Burna Boy

Nigeria’s Burna Boy has been nominated for the Best World Music Grammy.

2. Angelique Kidjo

Angelique Kidjo is a singer, songwriter and activist from Benin. She is one of Africa’s most respected performers and has won three Grammy Awards in her wide-ranging career.

3. Diamond Platnumz

Tanzanian recording artiste, Diamond Platnumz is an award-winning musician. In 2015, he won the MTV Europe Music Award for Best Africa, Middle East and India Act.

4. Yemi Alade

Nigerian born musician, Yemi Alade, gained prominence after winning a Talent Show in 2009 and is best known for her hit single ‘Johnny,’ which has become an international anthem.

5. Tiwa Savage

Tiwa Savage won the Best African Act at the 2018 MTV Europe Music Awards, becoming the first woman to win the category.

6. Wizkid

Award-winning Nigerian entertainer, Wizkid has collaborated with multiple international artistes including Drake, Wale, Skepta and Beyonce.

7. Mr Eazi

Award-winning Nigerian singer, Mr Eazi is the pioneer of Banku music, a fusion sound that is a mixture of Ghanaian highlife and Nigerian chord progressions and patterns.

8. Sho Madjozi

South African singer, Sho Madjozi won the 2019 BET New International Act. In her acceptance speech, she said, “My story is a testament that you can come from any village, in any forgotten part of the world, and still be a superstar.”

9. Busiswa Gqulu

South African singer-songwriter and poet Busiswa Gqulu gained prominence after featuring on popular South Africa’s DJ Zinhle’s song, ‘My Name Is.’

10. Mwila Musonda

Mwila Musonda, aka Slapdee, is a Zambian hip rapper who uses his record label to raise donations for local orphanages and children’s hospitals.

Source: cnn.com

Somali activist, ex-diplomat assassinated in Mogadishu

A prominent civil society activist and former Somali diplomat was shot and killed in a suburb of the capital Mogadishu on Wednesday.

Reports said Almaas Elwan was pregnant at the time of the incident and was heading to the airport to board a flight to the Kenyan capital Nairobi.

“The circumstances under which the Almaas was killed remained unclear but sources said a bullet ripped through a vehicle she was. Sources said she was heading to the airport from the airforce Hangar in Halane,” the local news portal Hiiraan reported.

Almaas had served at the Somali Embassy in Kenya between 2016 and 2017. She is sister to Nobel nominee Ilwaad and Somali National Army’s Lieutenant Col. Iman Elman.

Her father who was killed in 1996 in Mogadishu founded a peace foundation of which her sister currently heads. The deceased had been actively involved in Elman Peace foundation.

Her sister Ilwad Elman who was this year tipped for the 2019 Nobel peace prize, which award was eventually given to Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali.

The foundation basically supports vulnerable women and former child soldiers in Somalia, a country wracked by insurgent group Al-Shabaab.

Many people on social media have expressed shock at the development whiles expressing condolences with the bereaved’s family.

Source: africanews.com

Nigeria’s first lady returns amid marriage rumours

Nigeria’s First Lady Aisha Buhari has returned to the country after two months abroad, telling reporters when she arrived on Saturday that “fake news” was a scourge that will “lead us to something unimaginable”.

While away, Mrs. Bushari had been on a pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia and spent time in the UK.

On her return, the first lady appeared to confirm rumors that President Muhammadu Buhari had intended to marry fellow politician Sadiya Farouq, telling BBC Hausa in cryptic comments that the purported bride-to-be was disappointed the marriage hadn’t taken place:

Quote Message: The person that promised her [Sadiya Farouq] marriage didn’t know it wasn’t going to happen. She [Ms Farouq] didn’t deny the marriage until the day passed.” The person that promised her [Sadiya Farouq] marriage didn’t know it wasn’t going to happen. She [Ms Farouq] didn’t deny the marriage until the day passed.”

Social media was awash with speculation about the wedding, with some claiming it was supposed to have taken place on Friday.

Neither President Buhari nor Ms Farouq has commented.

Mrs Buhari also confirmed that a viral video showing her arguing with her husband’s niece at the presidential compound was genuine, but old. The niece, Fatima Mamman Daura, told the BBC she filmed the video herself sometime in 2018 but it had been circulated more recently by “mischief-makers”.

Source: bbc.com

Magufuli moves to Tanzania’s new capital Dodoma

Tanzania’s president John Magufuli has fulfilled his pledge to have the entire government relocate to the country’s new capital of Dodoma by the end of 2019.

Dodoma, which was elevated to city status last year, was designated as the capital city by the country’s founding president, Mwalimu Julius Nyerere in 1973. Its central location, compared to the coastal Dar es Salaam is considered ideal for bringing government services closer to the people.

Magufuli, who last week shifted his voting address to Dodoma, told journalists he had finally shifted his presidential base from Dar es Salaam to Dodoma.

“I was in Kitavi region, but I decided to come to my home city, Dodoma, to register my name because this is now my official address,” Magufuli said.

The president also urged Tanzanians to register to vote in the forthcoming November 14 civic elections.

Following the 2017 move to Dodoma by the country’s prime minister, Kassim Majaliwa, followed by several ministries and the vice president Samia Suluhu Hassan, the entire Tanzanian government is now installed in the new capital.

Source: africanews.com