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Khloe Kardashian and Lamar Odom Headed For “$75 Million Divorce,” Claims Mag

Khloe Kardashian and Lamar Odom are headed for a “$75 million divorce,” blares the cover of Life & Style, regurgitating a false report that has been touted by tabloids for the past few months.
The magazine claims that on August 15, the couple met for “crisis talks about their crumbling marriage” at the Hilton Garden Inn in Calabasas, California.
Nope, that never happened.
As Gossip Cop previously reported, Kardashian was at the hotel to film the family’s reality show.
Anyway, the tab goes on to allege that the Kardashians “held an intervention in early August” during which they purportedly confronted Khloe about Odom’s supposed cheating scandals.
A “family source” tells the magazine, “Momager Kris Jenner instigated it.”
Yes, because a true friend of the family would refer to Jenner as “momager.”
Also, the Kardashian matriarch told reporters just last week that everything is completely fine with the couple, who had recently been together and happy at her house.
Still, the so-called “insider” claims, “The whole family urged her to get out. Kris, specifically, doesn’t want Khloe to be trapped with a man who would do this kind of thing to her.”
Therefore, Khloe supposedly “confronted Lamar and told him she deserves better,” a “friend” of the couple tells the mag.
“She is telling him that they need to get into marriage counseling,” alleges the “pal,” who adds, “She doesn’t want to lose him.”

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Monalisa Chinda & Lanre Nzeribe Break Up

Culled From :- LIB After dating for almost a year and a half, actress Monalisa Chinda and business man Lanre Nzeribe have called it quits and this is authoritative.
According to sources close to the actress, Monalisa walked out of the relationship about a month ago. Why they really broke up is of course only known to both of them but I know there was a lot of disagreement about a business venture they were to start together.
Monalisa and Lanre were working on a magazine called Monalisa before their break up. They already got an office at Chase Mall on Adetokunbo Ademola street in VI, employed staff and even worked on the first edition of the mag before they went their separate ways.
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[Photos] Ex-MBGN Sylvia Nduka spends Summer in Miami

Not wanting to be left out of this year’s Summer Season, Sylvia Nduka travelled to Miami to have some ‘me time’.
The 2011 Most Beautiful Girl in Nigeria shared fun photos of herself on a boat cruise wearing a white tube and jean bum shorts.
Check out more photos below…

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Deep cyberattacks cost U.S. banks millions

At least three U.S. banks have lost millions of dollars after fraudsters gained control of payment applications that control wire transfers.
The attacks, which occurred over the last three months, show that hackers are "moving deeper and deeper into the [banking] systems," Avivah Litan, a Gartner vice president who has frequent confidential discussions with banks on security issues, said Friday. "There's no doubt about it."
Hackers have long targeted individual users, compromising account logins and passwords to execute wire transfers. Money "mules" are recruited to accept the fraudulent money in their own accounts and then transfer it again, often overseas where it can be difficult to recover.
But the latest attacks appear to be much more financially damaging. Litan said she cannot identify the affected banks, and few technical details are available about how the fraudsters accessed the wire payment application, also sometimes referred to as a wire payment switch.

For their payment systems, banks link internally developed software code with vendor payments software using custom interfaces. The wire payment application has access to multiple customer accounts.
To draw attention away from their activities, the banks saw attackers execute distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks prior to the wire transfers taking place, said Litan, who also blogged about the issue recently.
Banks are frequent targets for DDoS attacks, which aim to overwhelm web-based applications with volumes of malicious traffic intended to cause the applications to stop responding.
Wire payment applications are typically highly protected. Only a few bank employees may hold "privileged" account credentials in order to access the systems. Fraudsters may be been able to get inside the bank's network using malicious software, Litan said.
The style of attack, where hackers exploit a weakness and parlay that into wide network access, is often referred to an advanced persistent threat. Banks can help thwart the attacks by slowing down their wire transfer systems if a DDoS attack is underway, Litan said.
"If you're under attack, you lock down a little bit," Litan said. "You don't stop everything, but you make it slower."
Officials at top U.S. banks did not have an immediate comment.
In September 2012, the FBI warned that hackers were targeting financial institution employees with malicious software in order to compromise their accounts. The hackers raised wire transfer limits, initiating overseas transfers that varied between $400,000 and $900,000.

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Study: 1-in-10 UK 5-year-olds have mobile phones

When they turn 5 years old, most children are just learning to tell time. However, kids may soon have to learn to master synchronizing Google Now’s reminder functionality with the Keep app. That’s because a tenth of all 5-year-olds are given mobile phones, at least according to a new UK study.
The study, conducted by, found that 11 is the average age a British child receives their first mobile phone; however, a not-insignificant minority of 5-year-olds also are the proud owners of a mobile phone for the first time.
A direct comparison to US kids is a bit harder to suss out, as the kindergarten age group hasn’t been closely scrutinized by researchers. A 2012 study from AT&T found that 12 is the average age for American teens to get their first cell phone, while a 2011 study found 20 percent of third graders own a cell phone. Neither study focused on the pre-school/kindergarten set, though.
One reason to suspect that phones may be more ubiquitous in the hands of children across the pond it costs far less to own a smartphone in the UK than in just about anywhere else in the world. According to our survey, the cost of owning a smartphone over the course of two years in the UK is up to a grand cheaper than other major markets.
The study also found that the average UK child (or more likely, their parents) spend £11 ($17) a month on mobile costs and £125 ($195) on the handset, with 16 percent of teenagers having more expensive models than their parents.
While parents certainly enjoy the security of knowing that they can contact their children at any time, preschool may be the very minimum
age of when it is developmentally correct for kids to get their first phone. Putting aside all questions regarding privacy, security, and bullying, kids 5 and younger learn better in an actual rather than virtual environment. According to a learning designer quoted on PBS’s parenting blog: “Children under two years of age learn best from real-world experiences and interactions, and each minute spent in front of a screen-based device when your child is not exploring the world using their senses.”
“Kids should get their first cell phones when starting middle school.” According to Dr. Kathleen Clarke-Pearson, a past member of the American Academy of Pediatrics’ council on Communications & Media. As a mother, former Elementary School teacher, and current practicing pediatrician (not representing the AAP which has yet to issue a policy statement on the subject), she recommended via email that parents wait until after Elementary school. “That is a time when children will be establishing some increased independence from their parents and the cell phone is an excellent way to promote solid communication.”
“The parent(s) should have some good conversations with the child prior to securing the phone so the standards they are setting are fully understood by the child.  These include their expectation that the child is RESPONSIBLE and TRUSTWORTHY enough to use the cell phone wisely.”
If parents do decide to get a cell phone for their child, Dr. Clarke-Pearson recommends that “every night, the phone should be "parked" in a designated central room in the home so that the child can get appropriate sleep without the temptation to continue texting.” While parents will certainly desire the ability to get in touch with their kids at all time, Dr. Clarke-Pearson “strongly suggests that the child's initial phone is NOT a smart phone but a regular cell phone whose major purpose is communication with family and friends.”
Editor's Note: Article updated at 11:53 a.m. PT to include a quote from Dr. Clarke-Pearson
Follow @TechHive on Twitter today.

Evan lives in Brooklyn, NY and enjoys writing about what future may hold and taking long romantic walks on the beach.
More by Evan Dashevsky

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Soldier sentenced in civilian deaths

Staff Sgt. Robert Bales pleaded guilty in June to more than 30 criminal charges, including 16 premeditated murder counts.NEW: "We didn't get our wish," says an Afghan whose relatives were killed NEW: Another says America has lost credibility, support in Afghanistan Staff Sgt. Robert Baleshot dead 16 Afghan civilians before turning himself inBales pleaded guilty in June, sparing him the prospect of a death sentence
(CNN) -- On Friday, a military jury decided U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Robert Bales will get life in prison without parole for killing 16 Afghan villagers.
Yet victims left behind -- some bearing physical scars, others with emotional ones from seeing their kin indiscriminately, brutally gunned down -- say that, with that sentence, they don't feel they got justice.
Friday's decision was not entirely unexpected. In June Bales' pleaded guilty to more than 30 criminal charges, including 16 premeditated murder counts, spared himself from the prospect of a death sentence. He also pleaded guilty to charges related to illicit steroid and alcohol use.
But it still remained up to a jury of four officers and two enlisted personnel to decide whether Bales should be eligible for parole.
They decided Friday he is not, according to Lt. Col. Gary Dangerfield with Joint Base Lewis-McChord. That means the 39-year-old will spend the rest of his life in a military prison.
That's not punishment enough for Haji Wazir. Now 40, Wazir was inside his home in the Panjwai district of Afghanistan's southern Kandahar province in the pre-dawn hours of March 11, 2012, when Bales barged in.
What followed was a nightmare, ending with bloodied, limp and in some instances scorched bodies.
"We wanted this murderer to be executed, but we didn't get our wish," Wazir said through an interpreter Friday from the Washington state U.S. Army base where the sentence was handed down.
The sentence was not just, he added, before appealing to the U.S public to put themselves in his shoes.
"I'm asking the average American right here: If somebody jumps into your house in the middle of the night and kills 11 members of your family and tries to burn them, what punishment would you be passing on that person?"
Wazir and his family weren't the only ones torn on that horrific morning some 18 months ago.
Bales slipped away from Camp Belambay, the remote outpost where he was stationed, and into one village, where he began shooting at civilians. After that, he returned to the base, reloaded and went out again to target another village.
He left a trail of blood and gore in both villages, with nine children among the dead. Witnesses claimed that the U.S. soldier dragged some bodies of his victims' outside and set them ablaze.
The horror ended when Bales returned, once again, to Camp Belambay and turned himself in.
In the subsequent hours and days, some spoke highly about Bales, such as attorney Emma Scanlan who described him as a "devoted husband, father and dedicated member of the armed service."
Yet in Afghanistan and around the world, the massacre quickly spurred outrage.
The Taliban vowed to retaliate "by killing and beheading Americans anywhere in the country." Afghan President Hamid Karzai suggested, after meeting with villagers who'd seen the carnage and wanted Bales to be tried there to "heal our broken hearts," that the incident had put U.S.-Afghan relations at a breaking point.
"It is by all means the end of the rope here," Karzai said then. "The end of the rope that nobody can afford such luxuries anymore."
Bales was identified as the culprit days later and eventually put in solitary confinement at the U.S. military prison in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.
The military announced last December that Bales faced a court-martial.
The Army soldier spoke at this week's sentencing, calling what he'd done "an act of cowardice."
"I hid behind a mask of Bravado," Bales said, according to a tweet from court from Drew Mikkelsen of CNN Seattle affiliate KING. Also admitting he'd taken steroids and drank sporadically, the soldier apologized to his victims.
"I am responsible," he said.
Because of him, some in Afghanistan are still suffering the consequences.
Haji Mohammad Naim saw Bales come into his southwest Afghanistan home around 2 a.m. and kill women there, as well as some of his children. Bullets struck him in the neck and the face.
That incident and others in which U.S. soldiers have killed civilians -- including another of Naim's sons, in a separate incident, he says -- have disgraced American forces in the eyes of many Afghans. Children in his village used to run toward U.S. troops, Naim said; now, they "run away and try to hide."
If America is to improve its image, there must be accountability, he said. And if Washington wants to help rebuild Afghanistan, "try to send the right people, not maniacs and psychos like (Bales)."
Still, even if the U.S. governments acts differently, some pain and suffering can't be undone.
Recalling tears shed by Bales' mother during the legal proceedings, Naim said, "But at least she can go and visit him.
"What about us?" he asked rhetorically. "Our family members are actually 6 feet under, and there's no way that we can visit them at all.
"They're gone."
CNN's Chuck Johnston, Jason Hanna, Dana Ford and Matt Smith contributed to this report.

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See secretly taped bathroom video

Jail recorded nude women after arrests - Video
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See massive sinkhole swallow trees

Watch sinkhole swallow trees - Video
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Suit: Cops filmed suspects using toilet

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of 12 plaintiffs: 11 women and one man"I am absolutely horrified and violated. I honestly can't believe it," says onePolice and the city of Puyallup, Washington, deny any wrongdoingThey say suspects are recorded for the safety of everyone at the jail
(CNN) -- "A peep show."
That's how attorney James Egan described the jail in Puyallup, Washington.
In a lawsuit filed Thursday on behalf of 12 plaintiffs -- 11 women and one man -- Egan alleges that police there recorded suspects undressing and using the toilet. Each had been arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence.
"For an extended period, the Puyallup Police Department has engaged in a pattern and practice of violating the fundamental rights to bodily privacy, dignity, and unlawful searches and seizures of the inmates detained within the Puyallup Police Department's Jail," read the lawsuit, which was filed in Pierce County Superior Court.
"Plaintiffs had a reasonable expectation of privacy which was violated by their having been secretly videotaped in assorted states of undress. It is believed that officers may have committed this offense for the purpose of obtaining arousal or personal gratification," the suit continued.
Police and the city deny any wrongdoing.
They say suspects are given clothes to change into before having their mug shots taken, and are recorded for the safety of everyone at the jail.
"People are very creative in where they can hide things. They hide things in places you wouldn't image. The jail business is not fun and it's not safe. So we have to expect the worst," said Kevin Yamamoto, city attorney for Puyallup.
The lawsuit describes in great detail the alleged experiences of the 12 plaintiffs, who are identified by their initials.
S.C. was recorded changing clothes in a holding cell.
She alleges that officers made inappropriate comments, saying things like, "I love red heads," and "You have a nice body," the lawsuits reads.
"What they were doing is perverted. This is like a porn video they were watching. I feel extremely violated. They took me at my most vulnerable part and forced me to indulge in their needs or sick fantasy to watch me undress and gawk at me afterwards," S.C. is quoted as saying.
Another plaintiff, identified as M.L., was recorded using the toilet and changing her clothes.
"It was one of the worst experiences of my life because of how mean and rude they treated me. I am absolutely horrified and violated. I honestly can't believe it. I had no idea there were cameras around. The fact those are supposed to be police officers upholding our justice system while violating it is absolutely disgusting," she said.
Capt. Ryan Portmann, with the Puyallup police, accused Egan of picking the 12 plaintiffs out of many possible cases because they look better on paper.
Jail video monitoring is widespread. Many correctional institutions use it, and it's legitimate, Portmann said.
"I'm just as human as anyone else, and I wouldn't like it," said Yamamoto, the city attorney. But, he added: "We have a facility we need to ensure the safety of."
CNN's Cristy Lenz contributed to this report.

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What Hannah Anderson didn't say

Hannah Anderson: What she didn't say - Video
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Who will be behind he mask as the next Batman?

New Day's Morning Minute - Video
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Your favorite beaches

Sleeping Bear occupies 35 miles on Lake Michigan's eastern coastline and is home to hiking trails, museums, an 1871 lighthouse and a historic farm district.

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Orezi Covers Dynamix Magazine.

Pop singer, Orezi, covers latest edition of music and youth magazine, Dynamix.

Orezi was recently was in South Africa to shoot the video for his hit single, Rihanna.

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Funke Akindele Facebook impersonator on the prowl

Funke Akindele is not happy that certain persons have been usingher name to ‘extort unsuspecting individuals and fans’.
A rep for the recently-separated actress has issued a statement describing the impersonators as ‘criminals’, explaining that they used Akindele’s name to open a Facebook account to demanded payment from members of the public to participate in movie productions and promotional campaign through her ‘Scene One Production’ company.

The impersonators are said to have gone as far as offering a rangeof prizes including Laptops, TV sets and other consumer products.

‘We wish to state that the star actress, who has a genuine account,will not demand money from anyone to take part in her movie productions or to run her school. Bonafide students of the school pay ONLY to the school’s account (Scene One Production) and not her personal account. Meanwhile, members of the public should note that in due course, registration to the school of drama will commence’, the statament from Tofarati IgeofEntertainment Media Limitedreads in part.

Celeb impersonation on social media platforms is on the increase, with recent victims including Wizkid, Banky W, Segun Arinze and now Funke Akindele.

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Umuahia: Abia’s Multicultural Metropolis

Eket Street in Umuahia
Charles Ajunwa writes that though the north may be far away from the east, Eket Street in Umuahia, Abia State, has become a melting pot where there is a boom in intertribal marriage between the Hausas and Igbos
Eket Street in Umuahia, Abia State capital is renowned, but not for many things. It is the mosaic of peoples, ethnicities, class, languages, faiths, and cultures that the street has become.
In the past it was rare and considered a taboo for the easterners to marry the northerners, but all that is changing. The barrier posed by difference in languages, customs, cultural beliefs and values is giving way to harmonious relationship.
In Abia State, dubbed God’s own state, intertribal marriages reaches high heavens. Over the years the state has continued to encourage marriages between tribes to promote national cohesiveness and unity. And because of the peace and harmony that always exist in the southeastern state, people from different ethnic backgrounds are flooding it to settle down and carry out their legitimate businesses.
Umuahia, the capital plays host to many of these non-indigenes especially those from the northern extraction. The northerners or Hausas as they are called by the natives are domiciled in Eket Street where the Umuahia Central Mosque is situated.
Apart from doing their petty business on Eket Street, cattle merchants often used the street as a launchpad to different destinations. And because of the large population of Hausas living on Eket Street the natives nicknamed it Amawusa (meaning a place dominated by the Northerners). Over the years the northerners who settled down in Umuahia integrated well with their host community respecting their customs and traditions. And it’s now very common to see northerners in Umuahia and others residing in different parts of Abia State marrying from their host communities. Today, many children born from intertribal marriages are found in all the nooks and crannies of the state. Such children are bearing names common to people of Igbo and Hausa extractions.
Abdullahi Chukwuemeka Adamu, 18, who speaks fluent Hausa and Igbo languages, was draped in a white flowing gown, a pair of black shoes and neatly sewed red cap to match as he joined other Muslims penultimate Thursday, to worship at the Umuahia Central Mosque to mark the Eid El Fitri celebration. Abdullahi’s middle name, Chukwuemeka, given to him by his grandmother now stuck like a magnet.
Chukwuemeka’s father was said to have settled down in Umuahia about 50 years ago from his home state, Kano, as a trader and later married an Igbo woman from Ibeku, his host community. Despite differences in language, religion and culture, many northerners residing in Umuahia and other environs are getting married to women from the host communities.
One of such northerners married to an Igbo woman, is the leader of the Muslim community in Abia State, Alhaji Sarki Yaro Danladi Sarki who told THISDAY that it was love and not monetary gains that made him to marry his wife.
Alhaji Danladi who doubles as Vice Chairman South-east/South-south Northern Traditional Rulers said he was born raised in Umuahia.
“I was born and raised in Umuahia and I have spent 44 years of my entire life in the city. I have four children, three boys and a girl. My wife loves me and I love my wife too. In fact, it’s love that brought the two of us together despite our religious and ethnic backgrounds. For me the most important thing in a relationship is the love from the woman and the love from the man too. My father in-law and mother in-law and other relations from both sides supported our marriage without any objection.
“The relationship between the Muslims and the indigenes is very cordial and this is what made me to marry an Igbo woman. My wife is from Nkwoegwu while my mother in-law is from Umukabia in Ohuhu under Umuahia Local Government Area.
“When we paid Governor T.A. Orji Sallah visit at the Government House, he reminded us that our permanent home is Abia State, that our homes in Kano and other states in the North are only ceremonial. Abia State is my home. We celebrated the Sallah under peaceful atmosphere in Umuahia and that was the way Allah wanted it. The governor gave us 200 bags of rice and N1 million cash,” he said.
He continued: “I pray for peaceful co-existence because when there is no peace I don’t think you will see me here in Umuahia. That is why we preach peace and tolerance at the same time no side should be marginalised because we are all Nigerians under one father, one mother and one nation. That is what will bring peace. I don’t believe in tribalism, ethnicity and religious extremism. I don’t believe in anybody killing or hurting others instead we should all live in peace and I want peace to prevail in our country.
“Governor T.A. Orji is a Hausa man because any Ibeku man is a Hausa man and any Hausa man is an Ibeku man as far as Umuahia is concerned. Orji’s father grew up with our fathers and they did the same trade. The governor knows us very well and we know him too. That is why you see Orji doesn’t play with security issues of the state. Today, Orji has achieved 100 per cent security in the state. He loves everybody and he doesn’t play tribalism. He doesn’t know if you are a Hausa man, Yoruba man or any tribe at all. You can see in Abia, many councillors there are non-indigenes. The past acting chairman of Aba, Ambassador Okereogu is from Nkwere in Imo State. This government is exceptional, the man in the leadership doesn’t play tribal politics and everybody is accommodated in the state.
Danladi advised other governors to emulate Orji saying,“for peaceful co-existence we must tolerate one another. The governors across Nigeria must make their states home for all tribes with hindrance; Governor Orji has demonstrated that it’s possible. We should put religion and ethnicity aside and move the country forward.”
Another resident, Adamu Ibrahim Yahaya, 30, from Jigawa State was also born and brought up in Umuahia. Yahaya who is Secretary of the Hausa Community in Umuahia said he is now part of his host community.
“My father is from Jigawa State, but I was born and raised here in Umuahia. Just two years ago I married a woman I love with all my heart and she is from Mbutu Amangwo in Isiala Ngwa South. Our marriage had the consent of both families who solidly stood behind us. I am today a proud father of a daughter named Ngozi.
“We have become part of our host community and they have become part of us and to that extent we have marital vows among each other. Most of us married from here and we have co-existed well with our host community for a very long time. We don’t have any problem in Umuahia, it’s a peaceful place for any stranger to live and the governor has made it to be so. Since Governor Orji assumed office we have not experienced any violence here, we are liaising with him in terms of security,” he said.
To be sure, Dalandi claimed he has special likeness for food from his new home. He said: “Though I still relish some of our traditional foods from the north, I enjoy my native soup from Ibeku in Abia State. The Abians are very hospitable, they treat strangers with respect and dignity. This is the Nigeria of my dream where ethnic or tribal differences are put aside and people settle down in any part of the country of their choice with good ambience for legitimate businesses.
“Nigerians should embrace peace and love one another. Nigerians irrespective of ethnic diversity should respect one another’s religion and tradition in order to live in peace and harmony. During the eid el Firtri we prayed for our governor, Ochendo, who is exceptional among other governors. He has been supporting us in terms of security and empowerment.”
For Nasir Galadima from Taraba State who had been living in Umuahia in the last three years marriage across ethnic boundaries is helping to unite the country.
“I am happy to be in Umuahia, where I am already integrated. As I am talking to you now, I have that semblance of an Igbo man more than that of a northerner because of cultural assimilation and of course I enjoy all the immunities and privileges here in Abia. I am really excited about it and I think it is a model that can work anywhere in the country. “The people in Abia State are very kind. They relate well with people from other part of the country. We are enjoying the peace of the atmosphere and the kindness of Governor Orji to everyone with ethnic division common to other states.”
On his part, Governor urged residents to continue to respect the customs, traditions and religion of the communities where they reside. He also enjoined them to sustain the prevailing peace and harmony in the state.

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Amaechi, Wife Didn't Condole with Me, First Lady Insists

First Lady, Mrs. Patience Jonathan
Muhammad Bello
The Presidency  Wednesday stated for the second time that the Rivers State Governor, Rotimi Amaechi and his wife, Judith, did not visit with the first family to condole with the First Lady, Mrs. Patience Jonathan, over the death of her foster mother, Mrs. Charity Obah.
The presidency's message was contained in a statement issued last night by the Director of Information in the First Lady's office, Mrs. Ayo Adesugba, which also indicated that many people from all walks of life commiserated with the First Lady but that the Amaechis never did.
According to it, "The governor and his wife from the state which the First Lady hails from have not paid such a visit.
"The caption in The Nation Newspaper states that the photographs were taken in the house of the late mother of Mrs. Patience, Mrs. Obah. However, the First Lady did not receive guests for condolence visits in her late mother’s home.
"All those who come to pay condolences and commiserate with the first lady during her visit to Rivers State, came to the First Lady’s residence in Port Harcourt, where arrangements were made and facilities were made available to receive sympathisers."
In another development, the presidency has described the attack on the First Lady, Mrs. Jonathan, by the All Progressives Congress (APC) as  politics taken too far.
A statement signed by the Special Assistant, Political, in the Office of the Political Adviser to the President, Godwin Akpovie, urged the APC Interim National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, to desist from always lampooning the presidency.
The statement read: “On  August 15 the First Lady, in conjunction with the National Council of Women Societies (NCWS) acknowledged the role of women in the peace initiatives of government and celebrated the unprecedented attainment of highly-visible positions at all levels being occupied by women in the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan. But instead of celebrating with the women, Mohammed, not only dampened the mood of the women with the insinuation that there is nothing to celebrate  went on to accuse the first lady of starting an early campaign for the 2015 presidential elections.”

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Okwu Sues Umeh, Shinkafi over Anambra Poll

Victor Umeh, APGA Chairman
Onyebuchi Ezigbo
The embattled factional leader of the All Progressives Grand Alliance, (APGA), Chief Maxi Okwu, has dragged the National Chairman, Chief Victor Umeh, the National Secretary, Alhaji Sani Shinkafi and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) before a Federal High Court in Abuja, seeking recognition to nominate candidates for the  November 16 governorship election in Anambra State.
Okwu who had previously enjoyed the support of the Anambra State Governor, Mr. Peter Obi, but later lost out in a fence-mending reconciliation between Umeh and the governor, is demanding to be recognised as the authentic leader of the party.
In the suit filed by Oba Maduabuchi, lawyer to Maxi Okwu and four others elected with him in the party’s national convention onApril 8, 2013 in Awka, the plaintiffs averred that the APGA convention and election on  February 10, 2011, in Awka in which Umeh was re-elected National Chairman and Shinkafi National Secretary including other members of the National Working Committee (NEC) was by voice vote contrary to Article 18(4) of the party constitution that stipulates elections shall be by secret ballots only.
A statement issued by Okwu's Senior Media Assistant, Victor Eneh, said the politician is also seeking an order directing INEC to deal with the Okwu leadership of the party.
According to the statement, the plaintiffs asked the court to determine, “Whether the 2nd defendant (Shinkafi) could still validly occupy the position of National Secretary of APGA in 2013 when the constitution of the party provide a maximum tenure of eight years and he was first elected as National Secretary of the party on  January 10, 2003, 10 years ago.’’
"The plaintiff is praying the court for an order directing Umeh, Shinkafi and all the officers purportedly elected with them in February 2011 national convention by voice vote to vacate their various offices as their “election” was not in accordance with Article 18(4) of the APGA constitution which prescribes that elections shall be by secret ballot".
Meanwhile, Umeh has commended INEC for not allowing the Progressives Peoples Alliance (PPA), to change its acronym to All Progressives People Alliance (APPA).
Reacting through his Special Assistant (Media), Mr. Stan Okeke, Umeh said it was noteworthy that INEC, without any formal protest to it, took the decision without fear or favour, knowing that the acronym PPA intended to use in its aborted effort to change its name, had semblance with the APGA acronym.
He said the decision by INEC not to agree to the change of name, confirmed his initial fears that PPA was out to create confusion, but that INEC decided to take the bull by the horn by taking the decision, based on constitutional laws guiding INEC.
“The news of the refusal of the change of name by INEC came to all members of APGA as a huge relief. It is instructive that INEC came to this fair and just decision without any formal protest from us. The commission in taking the decision was guided by the 1999 Constitution, as amended, and the Electoral Act,” Umeh stated.
Speaking further, he said INEC’s decision was a clear demonstration by the leadership of the commission, of its readiness to discharge its duties without fear or favour, and in complete compliance with the rules.
He pointed out that the attempt by PPA to change its name and acronym to APPA was a clear intent of mischief to confuse the electorate with the two similar acronyms of APGA and APPA, emphasising that it was even more dangerous, when one considered the fact that based on alphabetical order, APGA and APPA would have appeared next to each other on the ballot paper.
Umeh had on July 18, this year, at a stakeholder’s meeting with INEC, raised concerns when Chief Sam Nkire, introduced himself as the national chairman of APPA.
Umeh, at that meeting, was said to have protested the announcement for the obvious reasons for which the commission on its own, had now confirmed, citing among other reasons that the acronym was similar to that of APGA and African Peoples Alliance (APA).

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President Jonathan: We Won’t Allow PDP to Disintegrate

President Goodluck Jonathan
•  Says we will disappoint our critics 
• Party suspends South-west congress
Chuks Okoch  in  Abuja
President Goodluck Jonathan vowed Thursday to rally other leaders of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to save the party, which is bedevilled by multifarious crises, from disintegrating.
The president, who spoke at the PDP National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting in Abuja, lashed out at the opponents of the party who wish it to disintegrate, saying they would be disappointed.
Jonathan, in his remarks at the meeting, made against the backdrop of the various reconciliatory efforts to put the party in shape ahead of the 2015 general election, said the crises would not overwhelm the party as its strength lies in its ability to resolve members’ differences.
The president also said the strength of PDP as a political party lies in its ability to resolve its differences, whenever such differences occur.
The NEC meeting, which lasted 50 minutes, the shortest in the annals of the PDP, resolved to suspend tomorrow's planned zonal congress of the party in the South-west, to allow more time to sort out the various lawsuits filed by aggrieved party members against its conduct.
Jonathan, who arrived at the PDP national secretariat at 2.42 pm for the NEC meeting, while acknowledging the challenges facing the party by the festering disagreements among its members, added that they were normal in party politics.
He said: “Yes in party politics, there may be disagreements and in all institutions even at the family level, there must be disagreements on issues. But the key thing that makes life go on is our ability to resolve our crisis.
“No matter the disagreements, no matter the interests, politics, they say, is a game of interests. We will resolve these differences amicably to make sure that every member of the party is happy. That is the area I commend the elders of the party via the committees set up by the national chairman for going round to see how some of these differences would be resolved at the state level.
“The chairman of the Board of Trustees  (BoT) has been meeting various groups to make sure that we speak with one voice, and we will continue to speak with one voice.  And those who continue to think that PDP cannot come together, that PDP cannot manage success, will be terribly disappointed.” 
The president commended the party members and assured them that his administration would be based on the party manifesto, stating that no matter what anybody is saying, “things will be on ground for us  for them (people) to compare what the PDP government is doing.”
He told the NEC members that the opponents of the PDP were worried whether the party would be able to manage its success, adding that they would be confused because PDP would manage its success well.
He attributed the increased tempo in political activities in the country to the intimidating credentials of the PDP and vowed that the presidency and PDP would not be intimidated by present political developments in the country such as the registration of the  All Progressives Congress (APC).
Jonathan explained that his administration through its transformation agenda, had embarked on programmes to make life better for the people.
He said: “A number of things that Nigeria almost forgot about like railways, we are bringing them back. And I believe that by the time we move into early next year, things will become very obvious, so even those who doubt us will not have anything to say. We promise that we are going to do that with the assistance of the party.”
In his speech, PDP National Chairman, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, said the party would continue to grow irrespective of the challenges affecting it.
“The PDP as a party has continued to grow from strength to strength in spite of challenges. Our political adversaries have been shamed as our party is now more united than ever. The strength and success of our party lie in its ability to resolve its differences amicably in an atmosphere devoid of bitterness, rancour, acrimony and recrimination. This fact is undisputable and legendary," Tukur said.
He urged party members to use PDP internal mechanism to resolve their differences.
“Besides, there are internal organs and mechanisms for conflict resolution in our party.  I encourage our members to explore these  avenues in ventilating their grievances and to as much as possible avoid  litigations, which make a mockery of our stand on peace and stability.
“My doors and indeed those of all our party leaders are wide open to all members of our great party. I run an open-door policy that furthers the principles of triple ‘R’ i.e. Reconciliation, Reformation and Rebuilding. We need peace and concord in our party. We cannot reach our destination in an atmosphere of bitterness and rivalry.
“I therefore call on all our party faithful and members across the country to sheathe their swords and enthrone enduring peace.  I want to commend the National  Reconciliation Committee for the good work it is doing and encourage our members to take their grievances to the committee or other organs of the party entrusted with the task of restoring peace in the party," he said.
The NEC, by the end of the meeting, approved the special national convention scheduled for August 31 and suspended tomorrow’s South-west congress, pending when the court injunction against it would be lifted.
Addressing journalists after the NEC meeting, PDP acting National Publicity Secretary, Tony Okeke, said: “NEC unanimously approved and ratified 31 August, 2013 as the date for the special national convention of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).  NEC commended the Special Congresses and Convention Planning Committee for the efforts so far put in place in the preparation for the convention.
“NEC acknowledged the service of a court injunction restraining the conduct of the South-west zonal congress earlier scheduled for Saturday, 24  of August, 2013. In line with our avowed disposition to uphold the rule of law and in deference to the court ruling, NEC unanimously approved the postponement of the South-west zonal congress.
Consequently, NEC directed the National Working Committee (NWC) to follow through the court process and when concluded, set a new date for the South-west zonal congress."
THISDAY checks however revealed that contrary to an earlier plan, the consideration of the right of first refusal that will give automatic tickets to the president and governors of the party seeking a second term in office was shelved due to disagreement among members of the G.84 and state party chairmen.
It was gathered that some state party chairmen and ex-officio members advised that amending the PDP constitution at this moment to pave the way for automatic tickets for some elected officials would not be in the interest of the party, especially in the face of mounting opposition.
Some northern governors, led by Alhaji Sule Lamido (Jigawa), Dr. Babangida Aliyu (Niger) and Alhaji Murtala Nyako (Adamawa) were mobilised at the meeting to stop the bid to discuss automatic tickets for the president and the affected governors.
“The consideration of the right of first refusal was dropped at the last minute,” a source said.

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P-square has signed a new act to their label!

P-square has signed a new act to their label! Square records CEO and producer, Jude Engees okoye announced her encampment on twitter.

This is coming as a surprise because the okoye brothers rarely sign other artistes to their label…the only male artist they signed,May D got kicked out barely 3-5 months later.

So square records now have an official first lady.

GCSEs 2013: Top grades fall in UK

There has been a drop in the proportion of General Certificate of Secondary Education examination entries awarded top grades, for the second year in a row.
More than 600,000 teenagers in England, Wales and Northern Ireland are receiving results, with head teachers saying changes have caused “a lot of turbulence” in grades.
About two-thirds of exam entries were graded between an A* and a C – a fall on last year.
And the proportion getting an A* or an A fell from 22.4 per cent to 21.3 per cent.
The overall pass rate also fell marginally, for the first time in the exam’s 25-year history.
The results – released by the Joint Council for Qualifications   – also show more pupils are taking exams early (particularly in Mathematics and English), a rise in re-sits and teenagers being entered for more than one exam in the same subject.
The JCQ says these early entries are partly responsible for the drop in results because 16-year-olds are outperforming younger pupils, together with falls in science grades.
It says they are a “damaging trend”, not in the best interests of pupils and driven by the league tables, where schools are measured on how many pupils get at least a C grade in English and Mathematics.
In English, the proportion of entries awarded A*s to Cs fell by 0.5 percentage points, to 63.6 per cent. In Mathematics, the fall was 0.8 percentage points.
There was a big fall in pupils getting top grades in all the sciences, following the introduction of new syllabuses and exams.
This year 53.1 per cent of science entries were awarded between an A* and a C, down from 60.7 per cent last year. That drop – of 7.6 percentage points – was the biggest fall in top results across all the subjects.
Smaller falls were seen in the separate sciences and in additional science too.
The results also show an increase in those taking foreign languages and humanities at GCSE level.
This trend is likely to be linked to the introduction in the autumn of 2010 of a new league table measure, known as the English Baccalaureate, which now rates schools on how many pupils get good GCSEs in such subjects, as well as sciences and English and Mathematics.
Entries for geography jumped by 19.2 per cent this year, while those for history rose 16.7 per cent.
Entries for traditional modern foreign languages – French, German and Spanish – are up by 16.9 per cent compared with last year, reversing a long-term downward trend.
Education Minister Elizabeth Truss said: “It is very pleasing to see the increase in these important subjects – the ones that will keep pupils’ options open in the future. I am particularly delighted to see a languages revival.
“The EBacc is the platform for young people to go on to A-levels and high-quality vocational study. It will help them compete with their peers in the world’s best education jurisdictions.”
‘Significant turbulence’
Michael Turner, director of the JCQ, said: “There are many underlying factors affecting this year’s GCSEs, including a sizeable increase in entry by 15-year-olds, new science specifications designed with greater challenge, early and multiple entry in mathematics and an increase in the number of students taking IGCSEs [international GCSEs].
“All of these have had an impact on results,” he added.
The BBC’s Hywel Griffith speaks to students collecting their results at Rhydywaun school in Wales
Brian Lightman, head of the Association of School and College Leaders, said: “There’s lots of good news, particularly that schools, students and teachers have worked really hard in a constantly changing and turbulent environment.
“There has been a lot of turbulence, a lot of unpredictability.
“A number of trends are to be welcomed, for example the increase in languages. There’s no doubt the E-Bacc [English Baccalaureate] has had an impact on these subjects.”
He added: “It is clear that the bar has been raised on grading in key subjects this year, especially in science. We don’t object to making GCSE grading tougher but it needs to happen in a planned, coherent way that is understood by employers, universities and parents. The piecemeal changes we’ve had in the last few years make it impossible to compare grades from one year to the next.”
‘Distorting standards’
Mary Bousted, head of the ATL teachers’ union, said it was worrying that the overall pass rate for GCSEs had fallen for the first time and that the proportion of exam entries graded between an A* and a C had dropped too.
After years of steady increase in GCSE grades, we have seen two years of falls in England.
Various factors seem to be at play – tougher science papers will play a part and marking and grading in English have also been tightened.
The exam boards are also pointing to a growing trend towards students being entered “early” for some subjects – especially maths, English and science – and say younger exam candidates are doing worse than 16-year-olds.
Some schools see this as a way of bright pupils “banking” good results early so they can concentrate on other GCSEs the following year.

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Enugu: 6,251 apply for 400 UBEC teaching jobs

August 22, 2013 by Agency Reporter Leave a Comment
The Enugu State Universal Basic Education Board has received 6,251 applications for the 400 slots for primary and secondary schools teachers allotted it by the Federal Government.
The Desk Officer for Universal Basic Education in the state, Mrs Amaka Eze, told the News Agency of Nigeria on Wednesday that the Universal Basic Education Commission allotted only 400 spaces to the state in its intervention for the employment of teachers.
Eze, who was in Nsukka for the written interview for candidates from Enugu North Zone, said the recruitment was Federal Government’s education intervention programme to ensure that primary and secondary schools in the country had enough teachers.
“This recruitment is government’s intervention programme to solve the problem of inadequate teachers in some primary and secondary schools in the country. Successful candidates will be employed and they will teach for two years and will be paid N18, 000 as monthly salary,” she said.
The desk officer commended the applicants for their orderly conduct during the exercise.
She said, “This written interview is going on simultaneously in every state of the federation. It is a two-day interview. Some candidates wrote on Tuesday while the remaining is writing today and those to be recruited will be based on merit.”
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Don’t leave PDP, North-East caucus tells Atiku

The North-East zonal leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party has urged a former Vice President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, not to leave the party.
The Chairman of the PDP in the North East, Senator Lawan Giriigiri, who led the PDP zonal delegation to the residence of the former vice president at Asokoro, Abuja, on Wednesday, said the PDP leaders from the zone visited Atiku to identify with him as one of the founding leaders of the party, and to enlist his support towards repositioning the party for the challenges ahead.
The PDP North East, which is also the zone of Atiku, was said to have complained about the need to surmount the myriads of problems affecting the party, chief among which was finance.
Although journalists were not allowed into the meeting, a source who attended the parley, told our correspondent on the condition on anonymity that the former vice president assured his guests that he was still in the PDP and even pledged to render necessary support.
Atiku was said to have spoken when Girigiri told him jokingly in his opening remarks at the meeting that the North East zone was paying him a visit as they heard he had registered a new party.
The source quoted Atiku as having told them to discountenance media reports about his membership of the PDM.
The former vice president was said to have urged his guests to be firm and resolute in the pursuit of the party’s objectives at the zonal and national levels.
Atiku was also quoted as having advised the zonal leadership of the party in the North East, which he belongs, not be intimidated and be fair in all their activities.

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N100 bribe: Policewoman caught in video arrested

The Lagos State Police Command on Wednesday said it had arrested a policewoman caught in a video footage demanding a bribe of N100 from a commercial bus driver.
Public Relations Officer of the command, Ngozi Braide, told our correspondent on the telephone that the arrest followed a probe of the video which has been circulating on the social media.
 “We have arrested her and she is presently in custody. She will be made to undergo an orderly room trial and the outcome will be made public,’’ Braide said.
When asked to provide the name and the station the female cop was attached, Braide said she could not immediately provide the details and told our correspondent to call back.
Subsequent calls placed to her phone were not answered. A text message sent to her phone on the matter was also not replied.
In the last 24 hours, the one-minute 25 seconds video, which first appeared on YouTube, has attracted double the amount of views, moving from 23,000 to over 46, 000 as at the time of this report.
In the footage, the policewoman was heard insisting on collecting the N100 bribe from a driver who she apprehended for violating a traffic rule at a yet-to-be identified location in Lagos.
The driver who had passengers in the bus was heard appealing to her that he should be allowed to proceed on his journey. But the driver’s pleas fell on deaf ears as the policewoman insisted on collecting the bribe.
The policewoman was heard saying, “E no concern me. Pay me my own money.”

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APC unfolds manifesto, targets 40,000MW

The All Progressives Congress on Wednesday in Abuja  unfolded a seven-point  cardinal programme that would ensure that electricity generation hit 40,000 megawatts within four to eight years of its leadership.
The  party, in a 31-page manifesto, which was presented to Nigerians  listed the   other components of the cardinal programme as war against corruption, food security,   integrated transport network and free education.
Others are devolution of power, accelerated economic growth and affordable health care.
According to the party, the programme  will transform Nigeria into a progressive state anchored on social democracy.
“Our government shall vigorously pursue the expansion of electricity generation and distribution of up to 40,000 megawatts in four to eight years,”  the APC   said.
Last Tuesday, the Presidential Task Force on Power put the nation’s power generation at 3,311.40MW.
But the APC said it would also   work at making power available from renewable energy sources such as coal, solar and wind.
The party   said, “The country can only succeed when all of us have equal rights, where no one is above the law;  where the culture of impunity is abolished and where there is a level playing field.”
It  stated  that as a change agent, it would “halt the dangerous drift of Nigeria into a failed state; with a conscious plan for a post-oil-economy.”
The party stated that it would restructure the country and devolve powers to the units with the best practices of federalism.
It said that its government would muster the political will to wage a stringent war against corruption. The party warned that without successfully waging war against corruption, Nigeria’s post-oil-economy would be disastrous.
Explaining its agenda on agriculture, the APC noted that Nigeria, which used to be a leading exporter of agricultural produce, had become import  dependent.
It stated, “APC will embark on a massive and progressive re-organisation and revolution of the agricultural industry.”
The  party  also  stated   it would embark on a national infrastructural development programme through a private-public sector partnership.
According to the party, through this, it would construct 4,000 kilometres of “supper highways.”
It said that it would revatilse the railway system through  the modernisation  and rehabilitation of tracks.
The party added that it would build 200 kilometres  of standard railway lines annually an  carry out a thorough review of the  education sector.
It said that it would allocate up to 10 per cent of the country’s annual budget to the education sector.
The party promised to re-introduce technical and vocational education and review the 6-3-3-4 system.
In the health sector, the APC said that it would  work to reduce infant mortality rate by 2019 to three per cent and reduce maternal mortality by more than 70 per cent.
The APC said that it would make free ante-natal care for pregnant women and provide free health care for babies and children up to school going age.
According to the party, the aged and people living with HIV/AIDS would also enjoy free health care.
On industrialisation, the APC said that it would conduct a state by state census of ailing industries.
This, it explained, would enable it to establish an industrial resuscitation fund.
The party added that it would create new development banks that would make affordable credits available for industrial growth.
 On job creation, the APC said that it would maintain “a sound macro-economic policy environment, run an efficient government and preserve the independence of the Central Bank of  Nigeria.”
The party said that it would make  the  economy one of the fastest growing economies by achieving a real GDP growth of 10 per cent annually.
The APC also promised to amend the  1999 Constitution and the Land Use Act “to create freehold/leasehold interest in land matching grants.”
 The Interim National Chairman of the party, Chief Bisi Akande, had before the unveiling of the manifesto, said that    Nigeria and its citizens were   “in a state of near permanent trauma.”
 He  noted that Nigeria had  for many years  been confronted with multi-dimensional challenges, including socio-economic crises.
 “The result is that the nation and its citizenry continue to exist in a state of near permanent trauma,” he said.
 Akande stated that in over 50 years of its independence,Nigeria had suffered seven  coups, which resulted in 28 years of military rule.
 Akande said, “Trapped in a vicious cycle of political crises, social upheavals and economic under-development, Nigeria has become, not only one of the most unstable countries in the world, it is also, regrettably, one of the poorest despite its huge human and material resources.”
 He said  the APC would confront the challenges facing the country. The challenges, according to him, can be  grouped into seven.
They include  national unity and integration;  perennial threats to security, law and order; and   ensuring rapid economic growth with equity people-centered economic management. Others are consolidating Nigeria’s emerging democratic tradition;  human development; and instituting a sustainable management of the environment.
Akande stated, “The philosophy underpinning the coming into being of the APC therefore is the determination to bring the country back from the brink of collapse, despair, and possible disintegration; reposition it decisively on the route to emerging into a modern stable democratic nation, with a productive economy that is based on equity and justice for all citizens.”
He said  the party would harness the abundant energies, enterprise and intellect of all Nigerians to move the country forward.
 The interim chairman said, “We believe that at the core of the paralysing challenges confronting Nigeria today is the failure of governance which is manifested in the continuing inability of the Nigerian state.”
According to him, Nigeria should assume its proper place in world affairs commensurate with its size and status as the leading black nation in the world.
 Akande added, “To the APC therefore, the objective of governance is the single-minded and unrelenting efforts to confront these challenges and the eventual materialisation of a united, peaceful and democratic nation, with a productive and constantly growing economy; which provides significant opportunities for all its citizens.”
 “A large part of the APC’s agenda in particular will centre on the Nigerian youth.”
The Peoples Democratic Party however faulted a claim by Akande that Nigeria was in near trauma.
It said Nigeria’s economy was growing consistently, stressing that the Gross Domestic Product had also been rising at seven per cent for the past three years.
“The Nigerian economy is one of the fastest growing economies in the world. In Asia, Europe and even America, the economy is either in recession or growing at one per cent, but our GDP has been growing at seven per cent for the past three years; anybody who does not know this is either not in this country or he is mischievous,” the National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Mr. Tony Okeke said.

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Sleep helps brain learn motor task –Study

Sleep helps the brain consolidate what we’ve learned, but scientists have struggled to determine what goes on in the brain to make that happen for different kinds of learned tasks.
You take your piano lesson, you go to sleep and when you wake up your fingers are better able to play that beautiful sequence of notes. How does sleep make that difference? A new study helps to explain what happens in your brain during those fateful, restful hours when motor learning takes hold.
“The mechanisms of memory consolidations regarding motor memory learning were still uncertain until now,” said Masako Tamaki, a postdoctoral researcher at Brown University and lead author of the study that appears Aug. 21 in the Journal of Neuroscience. “We were trying to figure out which part of the brain is doing what during sleep, independent of what goes on during wakefulness. We were trying to figure out the specific role of sleep.”
In part because it employed three different kinds of brain scans, the research is the first to precisely quantify changes among certain brainwaves and the exact location of that changed brain activity in subjects as they slept after learning a sequential finger-tapping task. The task was a sequence of key punches that is cognitively akin to typing or playing the piano.
Cap of Sensors
In a sleep lab on Brown’s campus researchers use now using caps of EEG sensors in studies of how the brain works to consolidate learning visual tasks. Here graduate student Aaron Berard models the cap.Specifically, the results of complex experiments performed at Massachusetts General Hospital and then analyzed at Brown show that the improved speed and accuracy volunteers showed on the task after a few hours sleep was significantly associated with changes in fast-sigma and delta brainwave oscillations in their supplementary motor area (SMA), a region on the top-middle of the brain. These specific brainwave changes in the SMA occurred during a particular phase of sleep known as “slow-wave” sleep.
Scientists have shown that sleep improves many kinds of learning, including the kind of sequential finger-tapping motor tasks addressed in the study, but they haven’t been sure about why or how. It’s an intensive activity for the brain to consolidate learning and so the brain may benefit from sleep perhaps because more energy is available or because distractions and new inputs are fewer, said study corresponding author Yuka Sasaki, a research associate professor in Brown’s Department of Cognitive, Linguistic & Psychological Sciences.
“Sleep is not just a waste of time,” Sasaki said.
The extent of reorganization that the brain accomplishes during sleep is suggested by the distinct roles the two brainwave oscillations appear to play. The authors wrote that the delta oscillations appeared to govern the changes in the SMA’s connectivity with other areas of the cortex, while the fast-sigma oscillations appeared to pertain to changes within the SMA itself.
Meticulous measurements
Possible roles for fast-sigma and delta brainwaves and for the SMA had suggestive support in the literature before this study, but no one had obtained much proof in part because doing so requires a complex experimental protocol.
To make their findings, Sasaki, Tamaki and their team asked each of their 15 subjects to volunteer for the motor learning experiments. For the first three nights, nine subjects simply slept at whatever their preferred bedtime was while their brains were scanned both with magnetoencephalography (MEG), which measures the oscillations with precise timing, and polysomnography, which keeps track of sleep phase. By this time the researchers had good baseline measurements of their brain activity and subjects had become accustomed to sleeping in the lab.
• Source: Science Daily

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Sovereign funds’ fortunes turn as emerging assets sour

LONDON: The world’s biggest sovereign wealth funds may see their bumper profits of 2012 diminish this year as recent diversification into high-growth emerging markets starts to produce disappointing returns, Reuters reported on Wednesday.
Their long-term horizon may allow many sovereign funds, which globally control $5tn of oil and other windfall assets, to weather losses. But the sheer size of these funds may increasingly limit the window of opportunities even when emerging markets recover.
SWFs have piled into emerging markets, crucially via public equity and debt markets, which are cheap to invest in and big enough to absorb sizeable investments, rather than potentially higher-yielding private equity deals, which are often too small and labor-intensive to discover real gems.
According to Thomson Reuters data, the world’s top 38 sovereign funds which globally invest nearly $900 billion in listed public equities allocate more than a third of the total to emerging markets at $383 billion, up 18 percent from mid-2012.
Emerging Asia and the Middle East, where many of these funds originate, grab the biggest shares of this pie at $227bn and $140bn respectively.
These assets, which benefited from cheap money from advanced economies, helped many SWFs clock up double-digit profits in 2012. But good times may be ending as emerging economies struggle to attract capital flows from the recovering West.
Early indications of that come from Norway, whose $760 billion sovereign fund allocates 10 percent of its equity portfolio in emerging markets.
Its emerging equity investments lost 5.9 per cent in the second quarter, with the overall fund returning just 0.1 percent in the three months.
“(SWFs) are the ones who got involved but they were not in private equity. They owned public equities and bonds. That’s the big distinction,” said Stephen Jen, managing partner of London-based hedge fund SLJ Macro Partners.
“Because institutional infrastructure is so fragile and non-transparent in emerging markets, it’s much better, risk-adjusted, for you to have a bigger presence in the company that you invest in. I can see with private equity how people make money in emerging markets if they are careful.”

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13 investors complete payment for power firms •Interstate, North-South miss deadline

Director-General, BPE, Mr. Benjamin Dikki
The 13 consortia that beat the Wednesday’s deadline for the preferred bidders to pay the 75 per cent balance of the bid prices for the 15 successor companies of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria are set to take over the firms.
Sources at the Bureau of Public Enterprises, who spoke with one of our correspondents under the condition of anonymity on Wednesday, said 13 consortia succeeded in making payment for the remaining 75 per cent before the 5pm deadline.
The successful consortia are: West Power and Gas, the preferred bidder for the Eko Distribution Company; NEDC/KEPCO, Ikeja Distribution Company; 4Power Consortium, Port Harcourt Distribution Company; Vigeo Consortium, Benin Distribution Company; Aura Energy, Jos Distribution Company; and Kann Consortium, Abuja Distribution Company.
Others who met the payment deadline, according to the source, are: Integrated Energy Distribution and Marketing Company, the preferred bidder for both the Ibadan and Yola Distribution Companies; Sahelian Power, Kano Distribution Company; Transcorp/Woodrock Consortium, Ughelli Power Plc; Amperion, Geregu Power Plc; Mainstream Energy Limited, Kainji Power Plc; and CMEC/EUAFRIC Energy JV, which made part-payment for the acquisition of Sapele Power Plc.
However, two of the intending investors failed to pay the balance as scheduled.
They are: Interstate Electrics consortium, the preferred bidder for the Enugu Distribution Company, whose members include Chief Emeka Offor’s Chrome Energy, Power House International Limited and Metropolitan Electricity Authority of Thailand; and North-South Power Company, the preferred bidder for the Shiroro Power Plc.
The North-South consortium is made up of the Niger State Government, XS Energy Limited, BP Investment Limited, Urban Shelter Limited, Road Nigeria Plc, China International Water Electric and China Three Gorges Corporation.
Going by the rules guiding the privatisation process, the two firms have lost in their bid to acquire the power assets as the reserved bidders will now be given the opportunity to step up and acquire the companies upon the payment of the bid prices.
Indeed, one of the reserved bidders, Eastern Electric Company, said it was ready to take over the Enugu Electricity Distribution Company following the failure of Interstate to pay before the expiration of the deadline.
It said it was ready to pay $126m for the takeover of the company, which provides power to the south-eastern part of the country.
The failure of the two consortia to meet the payment deadline, experts said, confirmed the concerns that a number of the investors were finding it difficult to raise money from their lenders.
Both companies had met the March 21, 2013 deadline for the payment of the mandatory 25 per cent of the offer value of their bids by crediting the account of the Bureau of Public Enterprises with $31.5m and $27,913,633.50, respectively.
The BPE had received a total sum of $559,445,573.96 from all the preferred bidders as the 25 per cent of their respective bid prices.
Until recently, the failure to meet the deadline would have seen the forfeiture of the 25 per cent paid earlier. However, the Head, Public Communications, BPE, Mr. Chigbo Anichebe, told our correspondent said the rule had been reviewed.
He explained that the BPE would deduct the cost of transaction from the 25 per cent initial payment and return the balance to the defaulting preferred bidders.
Sources in the BPE said payments made by the preferred bidders had already been confirmed by the agency’s account department.
Our correspondents gathered that NEDC/KEPCO consortia paid $101m as the 75 per cent outstanding balance for the acquisition of the Ikeja Disco.
 “We paid $96.75m today (Wednesday),” the Chairman, Vigeo Consortium, Chief Gbolade Osibodu, told one of our correspondents on telephone.
Similarly, the Chairman, West Power & Gas Limited, the preferred bidders for the Eko Disco, Mr. Charles Momoh, said the company had finalised the payment for the acquisition of a 60 per cent stake in Eko Disco ahead of the deadline.
He said the  balance payment of $101.25m was made two days ahead of the BPE deadline; adding that this followed the payment of the initial 25 per cent deposit of $33.75m earlier in March, bringing the total transaction value to $135m.
Momoh said, “To date, WPG has raised close to $500m in equity and debt financing to fund the acquisition of the Eko Disco and the significant rehabilitation and transformation work required to improve distribution network infrastructure and operations.
“Out of this, $250m has been allocated to rehabilitation, while the company has allocated a further $48m towards a power purchase agreement with the Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading Plc.
“Today marks a tremendous milestone and a major step forward towards the completion of the most significant privatisation of government assets in Nigeria’s history. The success of the power transformation programme is critical to the future development of Nigeria.
“WPG, along with the other preferred bidders, fully appreciate the magnitude of the task before us and are honoured to have been selected. As a sector, we must work together to ensure we achieve the desired results.”
Eastern Electric Company, the reserve bidder for the Enugu Disco, said in a statement by its Communication Consultant, Mr. C. Don Adinuba, said it would not have difficulties raising the funds needed for it to take over the power firm.
The consortium was formed by the five South-East state governments; Nestoil, an indigenous operator in the upstream sector of the Nigerian petroleum industry; Aba Power Limited; Geometric Power Limited, led by the former Minister of Power, Prof. Bart Nnaji; and the founding Chairman of Diamond Bank Plc, Mr. Pascal Dozie.
Other members of the consortium are NRECA of the United States, which operates in Latin America, Pakistan, Sudan and Bangladesh, and controls 10 per cent of the US’ one million megawatt grid; and the NETGroup of South Africa, which operates the Tanzanian power system and maintains a significant presence in South Africa’s electricity business.
 Adinuba said, “We have a robust and matchless combination of global best practices and the best experience of emerging economies. We shall not have difficulty raising the funds. The Bureau of Public Enterprises is still holding on to our $10m bank bond raised when we were bidding for the Enugu Disco.
“As all Nigerians must have known, the 141MW Aba integrated power project built by Geometric Power and which cost over $450m is about to be inaugurated.”
The Minister of Power, Prof Chinedu Nebo, had shortly after the Federal Executive Council meeting expressed the hope that the bidders would meet the deadline as many of them had responded positively as of Tuesday.
He said, “As many of you already are aware, today (Wednesday) is the last day for the payment of the 75 per cent of the remaining amounts of the money owned by the preferred bidders for the generating and distribution companies that have been privatised.
‘‘And I am very happy to announce to you that we are getting very positive results that many of these Gencos and Discos are living up to expectations.’’

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Heineken profits fall as bad weather hits sales

August 22, 2013 by Agency Reporter Leave a Comment
HONG KONG: Poor weather in Europe and the United States has contributed to a fall in profits at Heineken, the world’s third-largest brewer, the British Broadcasting Corporation reported on Wednesday.
Heineken, whose brands include Sol and Strongbow cider, saw first-half profits fall 17 per cent to ¤639m (£546m).
It said bad weather had led to weak “consumer sentiment”, but there was also slower growth in emerging markets.
Chief Executive, Jean Francois van Boxmeer, said the outlook for the second half of 2013 was similar.
Revenues rose three per cent to 10.4bn euros, but that was because of Heineken’s takeover of Asian Pacific Breweries, the maker of Tiger beer.
Heineken bought the 58per cent stake in APB it did not already own for ¤4.8bn last year.
Shares in Heineken fell four per cent in early morning trading.

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India boosts liquidity with $1.3bn

India’s central bank has said that it will inject 80bn rupees ($1.3bn) into the country’s banking system by buying long-term government bonds.
It comes days after the central bank tightened the money supply in an attempt to stem the rupee’s decline.
According to a British Broadcasting Corporation report on Wednesday, the move is expected to make more credit available and also bring down borrowing costs for the government.
 On Tuesday, the bond yield or the cost of borrowing on India’s 10-year bonds touched 9.48 per cent, the highest since 2001.
The Reserve Bank of India said that it was “important to ensure that the liquidity tightening does not harden longer term yields sharply and adversely impact the flow of credit to the productive sectors of the economy.”
The bank said that it would buy the bonds via open market purchase operations on August 23.
India has been grappling with a declining currency. Its rupee has fallen nearly 16 per cent against the US dollar since May and it is Asia’s worst performing currency so far this year.
On Tuesday, it dropped to an all-time low of 64.13 against the US dollar, before strengthening slightly.
The decline has prompted the central bank to take steps to try to prop-up the currency.
It also indicates the current cost of borrowing in the market for the bond issuer.
As a bond’s market price falls, its yield goes up, and vice versa. Yields can increase for a number of reasons. Yields for all bonds in a particular currency will rise if markets think that the central bank in that currency will raise short-term interest rates due to stronger growth or higher inflation.

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Leverage crackdown puts spotlight on Credit Agricole, Deutsche

FRANKFURT: A regulatory crackdown on debt could hit Deutsche Bank harder than expected and embroil Credit Agricole  despite the French bank’s insistence that its ownership structure reinforces its capital defenses, Reuters reported on Wednesday.
Global regulators meeting in the Swiss city of Basel in June surprised banks with a new focus on leverage to measure risk, prompting banks holding large amounts of financial derivatives such as Barclays and Deutsche Bank to either tap investors for more equity funding or make plans for yet another purge of assets to free up capital.
With euro zone banks still considered too large — their assets are over three times the size of the bloc’s economy — others are expected to have to raise capital and shrink with Credit Agricole seen by some analysts as most at risk.
France’s third-biggest bank will have to reduce its balance sheet by ¤242bn, or 14 per cent, and generate ¤17bn in capital over the next three to five years to meet new regulatory requirements, according to a recent study by analysts at Royal Bank of Scotland.
The analysts estimate that banks in the euro zone will have to cut ¤3.2tn in assets over the next three to five years, with the 11 largest, including Credit Agricole, Deutsche, Societe Generale and Commerzbank, axing ¤661bn and having to raise 47 billion in capital.
The capital cloud is putting off some investors.
“I have a neutral stance on banks worldwide at this point for several reasons, but I am more underweight the euro zone banks because they have a chronic problem of being undercapitalised, even if there are some exceptions,” said Jacques-Pascal Porta, a portfolio manager for OFI Optima International fund.
Credit Agricole has declined to disclose capital or leverage ratios for its listed bank under the proposed new Basel III rules.
The regulations call for a leverage ratio of three per cent, meaning for every dollar of assets and some off-balance-sheet commitments, a bank has to hold at least three cents of equity.
Credit Agricole has said regulators and rating agencies are focused only on the capital of the broader Credit Agricole group, which is bolstered by its wealthy regional savings banks.
At a group level, Credit Agricole says it has a 3.5 per cent leverage ratio using existing European requirements, which are less strict than the proposed new rules.
On a standalone basis, the listed bank’s leverage ratio is 1.6 per cent, the lowest among large euro zone banks, according to RBS research.
Credit Agricole said RBS’s estimate reflected transactions between its regional savings banks and the listed bank.
“So the only good way of looking at things is to calculate a leverage ratio at the group level,” said a spokeswoman.
Key to Credit Agricole’s confidence is a guarantee, or “switch mechanism,” from the parent company set to be strengthened early next year, but details of which remain sparse pending an “Investors’ Day” in November or December.
Fitch ratings agency said Credit Agricole’s group structure was a key support – if the listed arm needed more capital, it could raise it internally without resorting to the market as long as the wider group had enough capital of its own.
Not everyone is convinced the “switch” is iron-clad.
“A guarantee is never the same as having the capital at hand for emergencies,” said KBW analyst Jean-Pierre Lambert. “There’s still a risk of a capital increase,” Lambert said. “There will be a component of switch, yes, but they could balance this by doing some form of capital increase.”
Issuing debt or equity or curbing dividends would cap a recent rally in Credit Agricole stock. It has gained 35 percent in 2013, nearly triple the European sector, as confidence grows over its exit from Greece and a refocus on its home market.
Until recently, regulators focused mainly on getting banks to hold more capital and liquidity so they can better absorb losses in future financial crises. But concern that banks might be underestimating the riskiness of their lending prompted regulators to lean more heavily on the leverage ratio, which does not rely on banks’ in-house risk models.

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Majors eye SE Barents moves

BP, ConocoPhillips and Statoil have joined other major oil companies in showing an interest in the resource potential of part of the Barents Sea and around Jan Mayen island off Norway, reported on Wednesday.
Italy’s Eni, BG Group of the UK and French player GDF Suez have also snapped up the seismic data package which has been on offer from the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate for acreage in the South-east Barents and off Jan Mayen.
A total of 15 oil companies have now bought the package at Nkr 12 million ($1.99m ) plus VAT including Denmark’s Dong Energy and OMV of Austria.
By early July seven companies had already taken packages: Shell, Total, Chevron, Tullow Oil, Lundin Petroleum, Det Norske Oljeselskap and Idemitsu.
The packages include fresh data shot by the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate (NPD) in the South-east Barents, as well as off Jan Mayen island, in surveys carried out in 2011 and 2012.
Norway’s parliament recently approved a proposal to open for up for exploration a 44,000 square-kilometre area of the South-east Barents formerly disputed with Russia that is estimated to hold about 1.9 billion barrels of oil equivalent, mostly gas.
It has opened the door for a licensing round that is expected to be launched later this year amid keen interest among explorers for the Arctic frontier acreage.
Opening of the area off Jan Mayen has though been put on ice pending further geological studies by the NPD to better determine its resource potential.

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Facebook-led project seeks Internet access globally for all

New York: Facebook Inc’s Chief Executive, Mark Zuckerberg, has enlisted Samsung Electronics Co Ltd, Qualcomm Inc and four other companies for a project aimed at bringing Internet access to people around the world who cannot afford it, following efforts by Google Inc, Reuters reported on Wednesday.
The project, called, is the latest move by an Internet company trying to expand Web access globally. Facebook rival Google is hoping technology, including balloons, wireless and fiber connections will expand connectivity., which was launched on Wednesday, will focus on seeking ways to help the five billion people — or two-thirds of the world’s population — who do not have Internet access, come online, the company said in a statement.
It added that so far, only 2.7 billion people around the world have Internet access.
The partnership’s potential projects will include the development of lower-cost smartphones and the deployment of Internet access in underserved communities as well as working on ways to reduce the amount of data downloads required to run Internet applications, according to Facebook.
But at least initially, the company appeared to have few details on concrete plans.
In an interview with the CNN on Wednesday, Zuckerberg said the group had a “rough plan” for achieving its goal. He said the project was not just about making money for Facebook, which has more than 1 billion members and needs to keep expanding to boost revenue.

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Comply with nuclear regulations, FG urges oil operators

Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke
| credits: File copy
The Federal Government has urged operators in the oil and gas sector to uphold stipulated regulations set by the Nigerian Nuclear Regulatory Authority.
The Minister of Petroleum Resources and Chairperson of the Board of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, who said this, encouraged service providers in the industry to cooperate with the NNRA.
She said this would ensure an effective monitoring of nuclear application in the sector.
Alison-Madueke made the plea in a keynote address at the technical meeting on regulating nuclear application in the oil and gas sector organised by the NNRA in Abuja.
She observed that as the biggest importer of radioactive materials in the country, petroleum industry operators must conform to basic safety and security standards.
The minister explained that nuclear applications in Nigeria’s petroleum industry were not new and stressed that some companies had close to 200 radioactive materials.
These materials, she said, were high-risk substances and may cause serious concern if not properly controlled.
She said, “It was for concerns such as these that, among others, led to the promulgation of the Nuclear Safety and Radiation Protection Act in 1995 at the behest of the International Atomic Energy Agency, and the subsequent establishment of the NNRA in 2001.”
Alison-Madueke said NNRA had the responsibility for Nuclear Safety and Radiological Protection Regulation.
She said the regulator was also saddled with the mandate of protecting the environment from the harmful effects of ionising radiation.
She said, “The need for the NNRA to safely regulate nuclear applications by bringing them effectively under control cannot be overemphasised.
“This shall also ensure the safety and health of personnel involved in their usage, as well as the safety of other members of the public.”
The minister informed that the NNRA had been able to achieve its mandate through a system of registration, licensing and inspection of practices involving ionising radiation and the overall enforcement of compliance with the provisions of the Act.
She outlined the safety and practice specific regulation guidelines achieved by the NNRA as the Nigerian Basic Ionising Radiation Regulations of 2003, Nigerian Safety and Security of Radioactive Sources Regulations, Nigerian Transportation of Radioactive Sources Regulations and Nigeria Radiation Safety in Industrial Radiography Regulations.
Others are Nigeria Radioactive Waste Management Regulations, Nigerian Radiation Safety in Nuclear Well Logging Regulations and Nigerian Naturally Occurring Radioactive Materials Regulations.
In his address, the Acting Director-General/Chief Executive Officer, NNRA, Mr. Martin Ogharandukun, said over 80 per cent of all radioactive sources imported into Nigeria were used in the oil and gas sector.
He said the sources were used for nuclear gauging, industrial radiography and nuclear well logging among others.
He said most of the sources were itinerant and they placed high oversight challenges on users, adding that they also involved the risk of loss of control due to theft, sabotage, unauthorised transfers and accidents.
These, Ogharandukun said, could result in unintended exposure and their consequential deleterious effects.

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