Wednesday, 15 May 2019

The Senate Committee on Youth and Sports on Tuesday threatened to order the shutdown of Bet9ja office if the company failed to honour its invitation for a second time.

The Chairman of the Committee, Sen. Obinna Ogba, made the remark at the National Assembly, Abuja during the verification of loto companies with license to operate in Nigeria.

Ogba (PDP Ebonyi Central) said it was unfortunate that Bet9ja refused to honour the committee’s invitation.

“Clerk, write to Bet9ja again. If they did not honour our invitation, we will ask the National Lottery Commission to seal their offices,” he said.

According to him, the Senate is making efforts aimed at assisting the Lottery Commission to generate money for the Federal Government.

”We want to see bet9ja. They can’t run away,” he said.

The chairman explained that the verification followed series of complaints against the betting companies, adding that ”some don’t even have offices while others have not been making remittances to the government.”

”Some got the licences but they are not operating. The new regulation only give them one year to start operations,” he noted.

Meanwhile, about 20 other betting companies appeared before the committee for the verification exercise.

Published in Business

The United State Embassy on Tuesday said the U.S. Mission to Nigeria has indefinitely suspended interview waivers for visa renewals, otherwise known as the “Dropbox” process.

This takes effect from Tuesday, May 14, 2019.

According to it, visa applications would no longer be accepted by DHL in Nigeria.

However, those who had already submitted their passports via “Dropbox” to DHL for processing either at the U.S. Embassy in Abuja or the Consulate General office in Lagos, would not be impacted by this change.

“All applicants in Nigeria seeking a non-immigrant visa to the U.S. must apply online. They will be required to appear in person at the U.S. Embassy in Abuja or U.S. Consulate General in Lagos to submit their application for review.

“Applicants must appear at the location they specified when applying for the visa renewal. Processing of diplomatic and official (A, G, and NATO class) visa applications will continue unchanged,’’ the statement said.

It noted that the Mission to Nigeria’s processing procedures were regularly reviewed in order to assess its ability to quickly, efficiently, and securely process visa applications.

According to the statement, the U.S. Mission was taking this step to provide more efficient customer service and promote legitimate travel, and would continue to facilitate applications of established travelers to the best of its ability.

Published in World

All language editions of Wikipedia have been banned in China ahead of the sensitive anniversary of the deadly 1989 Tiananmen Square protests.

Previously, the Chinese-language edition of Wikipedia had been blocked, but now other editions of the online, user-generated encyclopedia are also inaccessible in China.

Internet researchers from the Open Observatory of Network Interference (OONI), which is run by a U.S.-based non-profit, said earlier this month that editions of Wikipedia in several languages had been banned as of April.

The ban came ahead of the 30th anniversary, on June 4, of deadly protests in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square.

The Chinese government regards the event as very politically sensitive and strengthens censorship every year around the date.

The Wikimedia Foundation, which runs Wikipedia, did not immediately answer questions emailed by dpa on Wednesday; however, the foundation earlier confirmed to the BBC that all language versions of its website have been blocked in China.

Wikipedia joins the ranks of Google, Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, WhatsApp and others, which are locked behind China’s so-called “Great Firewall.”

The Chinese government has been running tight controls over the internet for years by censoring sensitive content and blocking access to foreign websites.

Google, the world’s largest search engine, left China in 2010 meanwhile is reportedly trying to re-enter the market by building a censored search app.

The websites of human rights groups and news organisations such as the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal are also banned in China.

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SPAR Group Ltd is in final stages of talks to buy a controlling stake in Polish retail chain Piotr i Pawel group, the South African retailer said on Wednesday, as it seeks to boost its European operations.

“The SPAR group has been awarded the SPAR Licence to operate the brand in Poland,” it said in its interim result statement.

SPAR, a grocery chain which also sells building materials and medicines in southern Africa, also has operations in Ireland and Switzerland.


- Reuters

Published in Business
Wednesday, 15 May 2019 07:21

WHO issues guidelines to prevent dementia

The number of people with dementia worldwide is expected to triple in the next 30 years, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).

The organisation disclosed this in a statement announcing new guidelines to tackle the ailment, on its website on Tuesday.

“We need to do everything we can to reduce our risk of dementia,” the statement quoted the WHO Director-General, Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus, as saying.

“The scientific evidence gathered for these Guidelines confirm what we have suspected for some time, that what is good for our heart, is also good for our brain.”

According to the guidelines, people can reduce their risk of dementia by getting regular exercise, not smoking and avoiding harmful use of alcohol.

Other preventive measures outlined are controlling their weight, eating a healthy diet, and maintaining healthy blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels.

Dementia is a broad category of diseases that reduce brain function beyond what might be expected from normal ageing.

It affects memory, thinking, orientation, comprehension, calculation, learning capacity, language and judgment.

Dementia results from a variety of diseases and injuries that affect the brain, such as Alzheimer disease or stroke.

It is a rapidly growing public health problem affecting around 50 million people globally.

Going by the WHO prediction, this means the figure may rise to 150 million by 2049 if nothing is done.

“There are nearly 10 million new cases every year, inflicting a heavy economic burden on societies as a whole.

“The costs of caring for people with dementia are estimated to rise to two trillion U.S. dollars annually by 2030,” the organisation said.

A report by Alzheimer Disease International said 2.13 million people were living with dementia in sub-Saharan Africa in 2015.

It added that the number is projected to nearly double every 20 years, increasing to 3.48 million by 2030 and 7.62 million by 2050.

“The total costs of dementia in sub-Saharan Africa were an estimated 6.2 billion U.S. dollars in 2015, with two-thirds to three-quarters of the total costs attributed to informal care”, it said.

In Nigeria, the ailment has increased astronomically in the last 20 years, according to the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, in the Journal of Global Health Reports, published in April.

The study estimated that the number of dementia cases increased by over 400 per cent over a 20-year period, from 63,500 in 1995 to 31,8000 in 2015.

The guidelines issued by WHO on Tuesday “provide the knowledge base for health-care providers to advise patients on what they can do to help prevent cognitive decline and dementia”.

They will also be useful to governments, policy makers and planning authorities as a guide in developing policy and designing programmes that encourage healthy lifestyles.

Published in World

The Akwa Ibom State Commissioner of Information and Strategy, Sir. Charles Udoh, has asked those harbouring any doubts about the reality of Ibom Deep Seaport to only doubt themselves as the state government’s commitment to bringing the billion naira investment to fruition is unshakable.

The Commissioner gave this affirmation while speaking on “Akwa Ibom Rising”, an Inspiration F.M. Radio Programme on Monday, 13th May.

Udoh said that the State Government and the Nigerian Port Authority are working hand in hand to make the Sea Port a reality, adding that work on the project has progressed with the access road now at the sand filling stage, which he disclosed is ongoing.

Government, he added, has not rested on its oars to ensure the completion of the 4 Point by Sheraton Hotel in Ikot Ekpene, assuring of government’s readiness to fulfill its mandate to the people.

He added that the Gov Emmanuel-led administration has championed and put in place a machinery that has ensured equitable spread of development to all parts of the state.

Udoh, who expatiated on the invaluable role of education in shaping the future of children, remarked that no parent has any reason not to take full advantage of the state’s free and compulsory education programme to educate their children pointing out that in spite of the dwindling government revenue, Governor Emmanuel was committed to continuing with the free education programme so as to equip Akwa Ibom children with the requisite tools for global competitiveness.

This, he explained, informs government’s continual payment of West African Exams School Certificate Exams fees to Akwa Ibom children writing the examination.

While announcing plans by Government to play host to a Christian evangelistic crusade later in the month, under the auspices of Akwa Ibom Christian Assembly, Sir Udoh said the programme was being staged in part to acknowledge God’s faithfulness to the state and its people.

He then called on Akwa Ibom citizens to imbibe the spirit of gratitude and thanksgiving to God at all times.

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