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Meeting of H.E. Ambassador Georg Steiner, Swiss Ambassador to Nigeria with H.E. Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu to discuss the inaugural Swiss-Nigerian Innovation Forum

The Honorable Minister received the Swiss delegation in the company of the Minister of State for Science and Technology, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, and several supervising directors.

Ambassador Steiner expressed appreciation for the meeting, and for the hard work, as well as the focus and commitment demonstrated by both the ministry and the Embassy towards the convening of the inaugural edition of the Swiss-Nigerian Innovation Forum (SNIF) at the Swiss Residence on 30 November 2021.

He expressed the hope that the Forum will ultimately crystallize into mutually beneficial and concrete projects that will foster cooperation and strengthen the relationship between both countries in the fields of science, technology and innovation.

Thereafter, the Swiss Ambassador handed over a personal invitation to the Honourable Minister to attend the Forum, expressing the hope that the Minister will grace the event with his auspicious presence.

He welcomed the proposal for the convening of the Swiss Nigerian Innovation Forum as an opportunity to strengthen the warm relationship between the Embassy and the Ministry, as well as the relationship between both countries.

He viewed the Forum as being in alignment with the objective of his Ministry to steer the Nigerian economy away from dependence on commodities to an economy that leverages on knowledge and innovation, with the objective of enhancing diversification, boosting productivity, increasing economic competitiveness and reducing poverty.



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Howe urges Newcastle to make ‘history’ in relegation fight

Newcastle have gone 14 games without a victory and sit bottom of the table heading into Saturday’s match against fellow strugglers Burnley.

The struggling Magpies are just the fourth team to fail to win any of their first 14 games in a Premier League campaign. All of the previous three —  Swindon, QPR and Sheffield United — were relegated.

But Howe, who has been in the dugout for two games after his debut was delayed by a positive coronavirus test, is confident they can buck the trend.

The former Bournemouth boss, who replaced the sacked Steve Bruce, told reporters on Friday: “I’m realistic, but I’m also very positive.

“But why not be the first? That’s always been my mindset. Why not change history? That’s what we’re going to have to do.

“We’re going to have to do it the hard way, but we’re more than capable.”


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IMF Staff Reaches Staff-Level Agreement on an Extended Credit Facility Arrangement with Zambia

“The IMF team reached a staff-level agreement with the authorities of Zambia on a three-year program that could be supported by an arrangement under the Extended Credit Facility (ECF) in the amount of about SDR 980 million or $1.4 billion. This agreement is based on the authorities’ plans to undertake bold and ambitious economic reforms. The staff-level agreement is subject to IMF Management and Executive Board approval and receipt of the necessary financing assurances. Further details on the agreement will be released on Monday.

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Distributed by APO Group on behalf of International Monetary Fund (IMF).


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Minister Thoko Didiza welcomes opening of 100% black-owned winery by children of farm labourers

“The opening of wine tasting room and restaurant at Klein Goederust farm tomorrow is testimony to government’s efforts of ensuring equitable access and participation of black people in the wine value chain and the wine industry,” said Minister Didiza.

“I want to change the narrative that children of farm labourers are condemned to life of working on white-owned farms and can never really own part of this industry,” said Mr Siguqa.

The neighbouring farms and Franschhoek Tourism have warmly welcomed the opening of Klein Goedrust and have shown support, and the owners of the neighbouring La Motte Wines have offered to mentor Mr Siguqa.

The Klein Goedrust wine tasting room and restaurant will official open its doors tomorrow 3 December 2021.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development: Republic of South Africa.


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Bayern Munich waiting on Goretzka for Dortmund clash

“With Leon, the chances are 60/40, so it won’t be decided until tomorrow. There is a pain issue,” Bayern head coach Julian Nagelsmann said Friday.

“I hope he plays, but the game is too big to let someone play who is not at 100 percent.”

German league leaders Bayern are just a point ahead of second-placed Dortmund going into the match at Signal Iduna Park.

Bayern already have Joshua Kimmich in house quarantine after testing positive for Covid-19 and his midfield partner Goretzka is also struggling. 

Bayern’s back-up striker Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting can leave quarantine Friday if his PCR test for covid is negative, but Nagelsmann says he is not an option to play. 

Bayern striker Robert Lewandowski will face his former club having missed out to Lionel Messi when the Ballon d’Or winner was announced Monday.

“He doesn’t seem frustrated. In my eyes he would have deserved the title, but he’s incredibly professional,” Nagelsmann said of Lewandowski.

“On one hand, it’s important to let the disappointment sink in and at the same time to draw energy from it.”

Nevertheless, Nagelsmann admits feeling the pressure ahead of his first match against Dortmund as Bayern coach, “I noticed yesterday evening that I was a little more tense”.

As coach of former clubs Hoffenheim and RB Leipzig, Nagelsmann won only once against Dortmund in 12 Bundesliga games.

“I haven’t had the best statistics, but this is an important game for our club,” Nagelsmann added.

“We have a certain claim. The anticipation is already very high,” he added as Bayern look to continue their run of six straight wins over Dortmund.


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Gavi invests N64 billion in roll-out of malaria vaccine in Nigeria, others

The World Health Organisation (WHO) had, weeks ago, recommended the widespread use of the RTS,S/AS01 (RTS,S) to specifically fight high P. falciparum malaria transmission.

The P. falciparum is the most deadly malaria parasite globally, and most prevalent in Africa where it kills more than 260,000 children under the age of five annually, with Nigeria one of the worst affected.

Gavi CEO, Dr Seth Berkley, said the investment will save tens of thousands of lives annually in sub-Saharan Africa which bears the heaviest malaria burden.

RTS,S/AS01 malaria vaccine is to be provided in a schedule of four doses in children from five months of age for the reduction of malaria disease and burden.

WHO’s recommendation is based on results from an ongoing pilot programme in Ghana, Kenya, and Malawi that has reached more than 800,000 children, with more than 2.3 million doses administered, since 2019.


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Drake, Taylor Swift, Juice WRLD, Kanye West, and Bad Bunny named as Spotify’s most-streamed U.S artists of 2021

Taking fourth place is Kanye West, otherwise known as ‘YE’. Despite the controversy, his name gets mentioned in, The multiple grammy-winning rapper, producer, father, and former presidential candidate remains one figure in hip hop that can not be sidelined. Kanye West’s 10th studio album DONDA [which we witnessed one of the iconic rollouts for, and arguably the best we’ll see in years] has received 33.4 million streams since its release. In addition, the build-up, production and dedication of the album to the rapper’s late mother, another major catalyst to the numeric success of DONDA was the brief feud Kanye had with fellow rapper Drake. The two released their albums in the same week. But, of course, beef fuels comparison. Comparison fuels competition. Competition fuels streams and numbers.

Two years after his tragic passing at 21, singer/ rapper juice WRLD’s mournful and energetic songs on love, heartbreak and emotions remain cherished among the Gen-Z audience that witnessed the birth of trap music and emo rap. Whether it’s ‘Goodbye and good riddance’, ‘Death race for love’, or posthumous album, ‘Legends never die’, in these albums, are millions of fans seeking closure and answers to a feeling the singer based his artistic career on, Love.

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Taylor Swift will go down in history as one of the most iconic singers in human history. I’m talking about the kind that will inspire biopics long after she’s gone. At age 31, the singer is still breaking records, cracking charts as she evolves in sound and extension, telling her story the way she wants it said. After the release of her Alternative albums, Folklore & Evermore, In a bid to own her masters, The genre-bending singer began releasing re-recorded versions of her entire catalogue. Considering these projects’ success, alongside grammy nominations and scoring 10th number 1 album on billboard 200 with ‘Red Taylor’s version’ attests her run is still very on!

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Although Drake stacked up in fourth place globally, in the United States, the certified lover boy takes the top spot. Drake’s 2021 success can partially be attributed to his September release Certified Lover Boy. With features from Tems, 21 Savage, Jay-Z, Lil Baby, Young Thug, Future, and more artists, the 21-track album cracked Number 1 on Billboard 200. Upon release, it broke records on Spotify and Apple Music and scored the all-time record for the most U.S Top 10 singles from one project. ‘Certified Lover Boy’ also earned a nomination for Best Rap Album at the 2022 Grammy Awards.

Israel Olorunnisola is a freelance creative. When he is not writing about Film, Music, TV or Pop culture he is telling stories on Wattpad.

Pulse Contributors is an initiative to highlight diverse journalistic voices. Pulse Contributors do not represent the company Pulse and contribute on their own behalf.


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Tragedy narrowly averted at Euro 2020 final: study

A 128-page report into the chaos at the showpiece game on July 11 concluded there were real fears thousands of ticketless fans could have stormed the ground had England beaten Italy.

The author of the study called it a “near miss” that could have led to deaths or serious injury, blaming it on a reckless “horde” of 6,000 or more fans without tickets.

“The drunkenness, drug-taking, irresponsibility, criminality, and abuse of innocent people… was shocking and intolerable,” wrote Louise Casey.

“I am clear that we were close to fatalities and/or life-changing injuries for some, potentially many, in attendance,” she added, calling the trouble a “national shame”.

England’s Football Association governing body, which commissioned the study, apologised and said it accepted its conclusions in full.

As a punishment, UEFA has banned supporters from England’s next home international in their competitions.

There had been a collective failure to plan for the worst, and police were deployed too late.

She recommended the government consider the creation of a special category of matches of national significance, where security would be tighter and with curbs on alcohol.

Better stewarding in the area immediately around the stadium was needed, and harsher penalties for anyone involved in football-related disorder, she added.

Some 2,000 ticketless fans were found to have gained access to the stadium in 17 separate breaches of disabled gates and emergency fire doors to the ground.

The breaches, which began from 90 minutes before kick-off and continued up to the penalty shoot-out, “jeopardised the lives of legitimate supporters and staff”, said Casey.

One individual even impersonated a steward and hijacked a disabled child in a wheelchair, separating him from his father, as he tried to get in.

The report quoted one emergency services official as saying the consequences of an England win would have been “horrific” and led to a major incident in London.

“Thank God England lost,” an official from the Sports Ground Safety Authority added.

“If they had won you would have to open the doors to let people out and the stadium would have been stormed.”

Casey said a wider effort was also needed to stamp out hooliganism and racism in football and society, after England’s black players were abused after the defeat.

FA chief executive Mark Bullingham said everyone at the organisation was “appalled” by the disorder on what was England’s biggest game since the 1966 World Cup final.

“No event is set up to deal with such disgraceful behaviour from thousands of ticketless fans. Collectively we must never allow this to happen again,” he added.


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65-year-old man who confessed to raping his daughter blames it on devil

Taiwo said that the incident happened at Imomo in Ijebu-Ode, saying the suspect was arrested on Wednesday.

He noted that the suspect had confessed to have slept with his daughter, claiming it was the work of the devil.

He added that the matter would be investigated and the suspect would be prosecuted.

The suspect told News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that he slept with the victim only once, when her mother had travelled.

Balogun, who regretted his action, said that the victim was not his biological daughter, saying that her mother brought her to his house when she was just 10 years old.

She said that at the last attempt at having intercourse with her, he promised to give her N1,000 but she refused and he forcibly slept with her.

She said she had reported the issue to her mother several times but she never believed her.

She said it was an uncle who took her to report the case at the NSCDC.


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Judicial panel member Segalink will join Sanwo-Olu’s walk of peace

The panel’s main submission that nine people were killed at the Lekki Toll Gate while protesting on October 20, 2020 was rejected by a government white paper presented by a panel set up by Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu.

The white paper’s conclusion was heavily-criticised by activists and civil society organisations, and the governor’s call for a ‘walk of peace’ for closure and healing derided by many of those invited.

He said in a series of tweets that the white paper is not necessarily the conclusion of the massacre issue, and there’s no need to react to everything with hate and division.

The activist said aligning with the governor on one issue does not mean that he’d stop engaging him on others.

Many of those publicly invited by the governor have openly rejected the invitation in light of the white paper, insisting that he ensures justice is done for victims.

But the governor has ramped up his campaign for the walk to go ahead.

Students of the Lagos State University (LASU) promised to join the walk when he visited the institution on Thursday.

A date is yet to be announced.


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African Union to observe the 4th December 2021 Presidential Election in the Republic of The Gambia

It would be recalled that the AU had deployed LTOs to the Republic of The Gambia since 20th October, who were joined by STOs on 22nd November 2021. They will undergo a three-day briefing and orientation on the political context and the state of preparedness for the presidential election. The AUEOM is observing the pre-election activities which include the political environment, electoral legal framework, the transparency of the electoral process, the campaign environment, freedom of the media, and respect for popular participation. 

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Distributed by APO Group on behalf of African Union (AU).


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Peaky Blinders returns for sixth and final season

Created by Steven Knight [who is also recognized for writing the script for Apple Tv’s ‘See’ starring Jason Momoa and this year’s Emmy runner, Spencer] ‘Peaky blinders’ centres on the rise and fall of the true-life family of Irish immigrants in Birmingham, England, in the early 1900s. The Shelby’s rose to power from the humble streets of Birmingham, managing race tracks gambling, to becoming one of the most revered crime gang in the entire UK.

Thomas, the death of his wife, and younger brother John. Author, the eldest Shelby, has dealt with the separation from his lover and struggle with mental health. Aida, the spirited sister isn’t left out, just as the family matriarch ‘Polly’ played by (Helen McCrory) who sadly passed away due to cancer early this year.

Despite the losses that came with the victories over the villains in past seasons, the family makes it a point to stand their ground regardless of how tense the plot becomes. Recall that in season 5, Thomas failed to assassinate the newly introduced fascist villain Oswald Mosley, played by Sam Claflin. Oswald Mosley appears to be an immovable obstacle for Thomas’s grand scheme, but as we know, the Shelbys are intimidated by nothing and no one.

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Previous directors Otto Bathurst, Tom Harper, Colm McCarthy and more are also named to be involved in producing the sixth season and feature film, whose release date is undisclosed.

Israel Olorunnisola is a freelance creative. When he is not writing about Film, Music, TV or Pop culture he is telling stories on Wattpad.

Pulse Contributors is an initiative to highlight diverse journalistic voices. Pulse Contributors do not represent the company Pulse and contribute on their own behalf.


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Rangnick aims to improve Manchester United’s defensive ‘balance’

The 63-year-old German’s first press conference since being appointed interim manager until the end of the season following the sacking of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer came after United’s see-saw 3-2 win over Arsenal in the Premier League on Thursday overseen by caretaker boss Michael Carrick.

Solskjaer was dismissed following a humiliating 4-1 defeat at lowly Watford, with United having already lost 5-0 at home to arch-rivals Liverpool in October — another sign of how far the once dominant club in English football had fallen.

“We are talking about six-and-a-half months, one third of the games, and we have agreed on a two-year advisory deal. If Manchester United contacts you for such a role you cannot turn it down,” said Rangnick.

“This is one of the biggest clubs, if not the biggest club, in the world. I am excited to work with the players we have here,” he added.

“I am well acquainted. It’s pretty obvious the team has an abundance of young, talented players and experienced players. The major target for me is to bring more balance into the team. 

“I want to bring more balance and more control. Yesterday’s game, for me as the future coach, they are not the games you need. I will try and bring these outstanding, talented players away from their own goal.”

Rangnick’s deal is set to see him move into a consultancy role at Old Trafford after the end of the current campaign.

As for the possibility he might replace Solskjaer on a permanent basis, Rangnick said: “If we do well and we stabilise, I might even recommend that we keep working with me. This is all hypothetical, we cannot speak about that.”

Rangnick added he had tried to persuade former United midfielder Carrick, who announced his departure from the club after Thursday’s victory, which left them 10 points adrift of the top three, to stay at Old Trafford.

“I had a conversation with Michael for more than an hour and tried to convince him, but he needed a break and I understand his decision,” he said.

There have been suggestions that the way star Portuguese forward Cristiano Ronaldo plays is not suited to Rangnick’s approach to football.

“I have never seen anyone as fit at 36. But it’s not just about him (Ronaldo), it’s about developing the squad as a whole,” he explained.

Rangnick’s first game in charge will be a league match at home to Crystal Palace on Sunday, with the new manager enthused by the “potential” shown during the win over Arsenal.

Manchester United have not won the Premier League since 2012/13, when they took the title in the final season of legendary manager Alex Ferguson’s trophy-laden 27-year reign at Old Trafford.

David Moyes, Louis van Gaal, Jose Mourinho and Solskjaer have all since been hired and fired as United’s full-time manager.

“It’s not unusual that after a long successful spell, the club needs to find a new path,” Rangnick said.

“The club has had no continuity in signing new players and sticking to the club’s DNA. In the future the board members and myself have the same opinion. It’s important not to have many changes in management.”


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Wike says he’ll not impose his successor on Rivers people in 2023

He assured that the leadership of the party would meet to decide who to support at the appropriate time.

Wike however said that he is obliged to ensure that Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) wins the 2023 governorship election in Rivers.

“One mistake I will not make is to impose somebody. From my experience as a student of history, reality has shown that it is difficult for you to say Joseph is the man I can trust.

Wike stated that God would not allow someone who will destroy all the remarkable progress the state had made over the years to be the next governor.

”God will ensure that it is only someone who is courageous, firm and ready to protect the interest of Rivers that will succeed me.

“Rivers is a state that so many people have interest in. It is a state that you have to put your feet on the ground. It is a state that you have to annoy a lot of Nigerians and a lot of Nigerians will hate you.


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Ini Edo welcomes baby girl via surrogacy

The movie star shared the big news during a chat with popular blogger, Stella Dimoko Korkus.

Yes I do have a daughter and I had her through surrogacy. The Eggs are mine and so genetically she’s my blood. I chose this path to fulfil my dream of becoming a mother,” she said.

“I still have a good number of eggs frozen in case I decide to do surrogacy again or carry my baby myself. Who knows.”

When asked why about the identity of the father of the child, the movie star revealed that she opted for a donor just to avoid the drama associated “between a mother and a father over a baby in public forums.”

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“I opted for a donor for me and my baby’s peace of mind. Another major reason I opted for a donor is that it scares me so much when I see banter and controversies between a mother and a father over a baby in public forums or when I see the man insisting he wants his child if things don’t work out between both parties,” she said.

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Edo said the joy of motherhood is something she’s grateful for.

“It is an awesome feeling and experience and as I watch my daughter grow every day, I am in awe of the miracles that God has sent my way and I am so thankful and grateful to be my daughter’s mother,” she said.

The movie star said she would recommend surrogacy for anyone finding it difficult to conceive.


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Appeal Court acquits ex-Oyo Gov Alao-Akala of N11.5b corruption charges

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Agboola is currently the Chairman of Advisory Council to Gov. Seyi Makinde of Oyo State.

He served as Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Matters during Alao-Akala’s administration between 2007 and 2011, while Babalola owns Pentagon Engineering Services, the engineering firm that executed some contracts during the period.

The litigation, which started 11 years ago, was concluded by a three-man panel, presided over by Justice Jimi Bada, with Justices Abba Muhammed and Abdulazeez Waziri as members.

The justices, in their unanimous judgment, set aside the ruling of the lower court.

The justices held that the trial court erred by ordering the defendants to enter defence for the three counts because the prosecution, led by EFCC, failed to establish a prima facie case against them.

While Bada read the judgment for Alao-Akala, Muhammed and Waziri read the judgments for Babalola and Agboola respectively.

NAN also reports that the three defendants/appellants were physically present at the court during the judgment.

Counsel to EFCC, Dr Benedict Ubi, however, refused to speak with newsmen after the judgment.

In his own reaction, Lead Counsel to Alao-Akala and Babalola, Chief Lateef Fagbemi (SAN), represented by Abiodun Ogunjinmi, described the judgment as “beautiful”.

“We really appreciate and thank God for giving us a beautiful judgment today.

“The justices did a marvellous job. This case started in 2012, which was about 11 years ago but ended well today.

Alao-Akala and Babalola, in their reactions, also commended the judiciary for the judgment.

“I’ve always relied on the judiciary as the last hope of the common man like me.

“So, we thank God for everything. God has settled everything, and so, let us forget about the number of years the case took,” the former governor said.

NAN recalls that Alao-Akala and the two others were arraigned before an Oyo State High Court, sitting in Ibadan in 2012 by EFCC on an 11-count charge, bordering on N11.5 billion fraud.

The charges comprised conspiracy, awarding contract without budgetary provisions, obtaining by false pretence, acquiring property with money derived from illegal acts and concealing the ownership of such property, among others.

EFCC’s counsel had told the lower court that when Alao-Akala was the governor, he awarded a road contract worth N8.5billion between 2007 and 2009 to Babalola’s firm, Pentagon Engineering Services.

Ubi alleged further that the firm handled the contract on behalf of the 33 local government areas of the state without budgetary provision.

The counsel also said that Alao-Akala conspired with Ayoola to withdraw N2.9 billion from the Join State and Local Government Account.

He further told the court that the former governor illegally acquired some property at Old Bodija Road, Off Rotimi Williams Road in Ibadan, when he was governor.

The EFCC counsel stated that the alleged offences contravened section 22 (4) of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act and Section 1 (18) of the Advanced Fee Fraud Act.

The three defendants, however, filed a no-case submission after EFCC had closed its case before the court.

The trial court, presided over by Justice Muniru Owolabi, struck out eight out of the 11 count-charge against Alao-Akala and the two others.

Owolabi then ordered Alao-Akala to enter defence for the remaining three counts, bordering on conspiracy, obtaining money by false pretence and award of contract without budgetary provision.

He, however, discharged the former governor on the charges of acquiring property with money derived from an illegal act and concealing ownership of such property.

The judge said the witnesses called by the prosecutor failed to link evidence to the acquired property, adding that EFCC also failed to prove genuine ownership of the property.

Having dissatisfied with the judgment by the lower court, Alao-Akala and the two other defendants then headed for the Court of Appeal.


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