Fashola Blasts House Of Rep, Holds Them Responsible For Slow Improvement In The Power Sector

Babatunde Raji Fashola, Former governor of Lagos and present minister for Power, works and housing has vented his frustration to the House of Representatives accusing them of distracting him from carrying out his work.

He revealed that the frequent probes by the House of Representatives on issues affecting the ministry, was distracting him.

While facing an investigation on the transmission company of Nigeria (TCN) organized by the House committee on power, Fashola said;

 “We closed here last week and we are resuming this week with this committee. Committees of the House also will be asking us of our budget performance and we just need to work in the office so that we can also perform. So, I think there’s a sense here that I respectfully ask you to sufficiently use this time so we can also work to serve the Nigerian people.

We have a letter dated December 20, 2017, and that letter was issued under the name of one Nnamdi D. Onuigwe Esqr, Committee Clerk. And, it’s from the House of Representatives, saying the House has constituted an ad hoc committee on the need to investigate the Fiscal Responsibility and Procurement Acts by the TCN. It was pursuant to House resolution 114/ADHOT/TCN2 of December 20.”

Now, we were waiting to be invited by the ad hoc committee when we got this letter asking us to come today, signed by Ibrahim Sidi, Committee Clerk pursuant to House resolution 189 of December 5, 2017. Although, it’s headed as “Need To facilitate Swift action on management of TCN Electric Power Reforms, it goes in the body to ask us to come and explain to this investigative committee the interim management of TCN on the delay in the implementation of projects such as the Nigerian Electricity Gas Improvement project that will improve power sector in Nigeria.

So, I seek clarification in order to assist the committee in its work and if it’s possible, to harmonize all of what we want to do together, bearing in mind that this House substantially is handling some possibly over-lapping issues.

 

Bank Staff Narrates How He Stole Over N20m From Customers

Christian Amechi, who worked at the headquarters (Victoria Island, Lagos) ATM Customer service unit of a new generation bank has revealed how he, alongside his gang stole over 20 million of bank customers’ money by extracting information extracted from the SIM cards obtained from stolen phones.

His accomplices are Oyozoje Joseph, Nelson Matthew Eugari, Henry Omogbemi and Ene Mona Gabriel who are being detained at the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), Lagos State Police Command.

Earlier, the confessional statement of a notorious pickpocket, Mr. Akeem Apejoye who was finally nabbed by the police in Lagos indicted several others including Christian, the banker as the one who encouraged him to continue to steal phones.

He alleged that Christian and his gang were mainly interested in the SIM cards of the stolen phones.

He led the police to the homes of the people who were collecting the SIM cards from him.

Though, he alleged that he was not in the know that Christian and his group use the SIM cards to remove money from the accounts of customers, he added that the group often buys him drinks at joints whenever he runs into them.

Christian said “I am a graduate of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, (UNN) where I read banking and finance.

“Luckily for me, I was employed by the bank (name withheld) and was the ATM card system analyst at the bank headquarters, Victoria Island, Lagos.

“I grew up in Ajegunle and I know almost all members of the gang.

“I know them on the street, but I was introduced into the business by one of my friends known as Osey boy and DJ.’’

Six Online Game Companies In China Named For Illegal Operations

On Wednesday, the Chinese authority released informations about six typical cases of online game Companies punished for illegal operations.

The Ministry of Culture said that in two cases, police foundNo real-name registration was found in two cases, reports from the Ministry Of Culture

Two other  companies had no registration with the administration.

In the other cases, companies induced players to pay illegal fees.

The companies have been fined and ordered to make immediate rectifications.

Microsoft To Open Four New Storage Centers In France

The head of Microsoft’s French operations Carlo Purassanta has told newsmen that the software giant is to open four data storage centres in France to meet strong customer demand for cloud computing.

“There’s strong demand from our clients. A lot of them prefer to have (cloud computing) infrastructures and their data in their home territory,” Carlo Purassanta said.

He did not reveal the size of the planned investment, but said that three of the centres would be located in the Paris region and the fourth in Marseille.

France would become the fourth European country — after Germany, Ireland, and the Netherlands — to host Microsoft cloud data storage facilities.

The centres would be opened by the end of this quarter, it added.

Companies that hadn’t yet moved into cloud computing “are those which were waiting for the arrival of data storage facilities in France,” Purassanta said.

“We already have several thousand that have signed up for the centres,” he said.

Microsoft, which opened its “AI Factory” at the Station F startup campus in Paris last year to mentor young companies specialising in artificial intelligence, said that six more startups had joined the programme.

The group said it was also planning to open a college specialising in AI at its French headquarters in Issy-les-Moulineaux.

Other hi-tech firms, such as Google and SAP have also announced major investments in France, particularly in the areas of AI and startups, this week.

President Emmanuel Macron invited 140 multinational business leaders to a gathering at the Versailles chateau near Paris on Monday.

 

Cryptocurrency: South Korea To Ban Use Of Anonymous Bank Accounts

South Korea regulators have declared that it will ban the use of anonymous bank accounts in cryptocurrency trading from Jan. 30, regulators said on Tuesday.

It is a widely telegraphed move designed to stop virtual coins from being used for money laundering and other crimes.

Local cryptocurrency traders will not be allowed to make deposits into their virtual currency exchange wallets unless the names on their bank accounts matches the account name in cryptocurrency exchanges, Kim Yong-beom, the Vice Chairman of the Financial Services Commission told a news conference in Seoul.

Tuesday’s announcement follows a string of warnings from global policy makers about cryptocurrency trading, including those from South Korea’s chief financial regulator last week who said the government might consider shutting down domestic virtual currency exchanges.

The regulator has previously said it would come up with detailed guidelines for local banks to properly identify its clients by their real names in cryptocurrency transactions.

To make deposits into virtual coin wallets, cryptocurrency traders will need to identify themselves with their real names at the exchange and have those matched with information at local banks by Jan. 30.

According to Bithumb, the country’s second-largest virtual currency exchange, the bitcoin price in South Korea was down 4.35 per cent at $12,567 (8,987.34 pounds) from previous day as of 0214 GMT on Tuesday.

Bitcoin is trading up 3.7 per cent at 10,750 dollars on the Luxembourg-based Bitstamp exchange.

 

Astronauts For Space Stations To Be Selected By China

China will start selection for the next generation of astronauts who will train to work space station initiated by the government, said on Monday by the local media reports.

 

Yang Liwei, The Deputy Director of the China Manned Space Agency and the first Chinese astronaut in space said this during an open day at Beijing’s Astronaut Center of China.

 

“The selection work will commence as soon as possible and that Chinese engineers and scientist will be eligible to apply.

 

“We plan to select suitable candidates from space industry companies, research entities and universities and train them into engineers and payload specialists capable of working on the space station.

 

“Those who want to apply for an engineer’s post will need a master’s degree, while candidates for payload specialists will need a doctorate degree.

 

“They will also have at least three years of working experience,’’ Yang said.

 

According to the report, the country is developing and building parts of a manned space station and plans to start assembling it in space in 2020.

 

The station is scheduled to become fully operational around 2022.

Digital Training Centres To Be Opened In Europe…Facebook

Facebook on Monday said it would train people by opening three new centres in Europe

 

The social media giant said it was determined to training one million people as part of its drive to show its contribution to the bloc over the next two years.

 

The U.S. company said it would open three “community skills hubs” in Spain, Poland and Italy. It has faced Regulatory pressure in Europe over challenges ranging from privacy to antitrust

 

It said it would also invest 10 million euros (12.2 million dollars) in France through its artificial intelligence research facility.

 

“People are worried that the digital revolution is leaving people behind and we want to make sure that we’re investing in digital skills to get people the skills they need to fully participate in the digital economy,” Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s chief operating officer, told Reuters.

 

“The community hubs will offer training in digital skills, media literacy and online safety to groups with limited access to technology, including old people, the young and refugees,’’ she said.

 

Facebook said this in view of its commitment to train one million people and business owners by 2020.

YouTube Toughens Rules Regarding Which Videos Get Ads

YouTube on Tuesday announced ramped-up rules regarding when it will run ads with videos as it scrambled to quell concerns by brands about being paired with troublesome content.

“There’s no denying 2017 was a difficult year, with several issues affecting our community and our advertising partners,” YouTube vice president of display, video and analytics Paul Muret said in a blog post.

“The challenges we faced in 2017 have helped us make tough but necessary changes in 2018.”

Channels at YouTube will need to have at least 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 hours of watch time within the past year to be eligible for ads, according to Muret.

Previously, channels could be eligible for ads as part of a YouTube Partner Program by racking up 10,000 views or more.

“We want to take channel size, audience engagement, and creator behaviour into consideration to determine eligibility for ads,” Muret said.

YouTube will closely watch for spam, abuse flags and other signals to make sure channels are remaining within the Google-owned video-sharing platforms policies regarding content, according to the post.

Muret said that manual reviews of video will be added to a Google Preferred system that brands use to place ads with popular YouTube content to better vet videos.

YouTube is also providing advertisers simpler controls regarding where ads appear and transparency including safety checks by outside parties, according to Muret.

The changes were expected to affect “a significant number” of YouTube channels eligible to run ads.

YouTube late last year pulled 150,000 videos of children after lewd comments about them were posted by viewers and went public with a vow to greatly increase the ranks of workers focused on rooting out content violating its policies.

The moves came as YouTube strived to assure companies their ads would not appear with offensive or inappropriate videos.

“We are passionate about protecting our users, advertisers and creators and making sure YouTube is not a place that can be co-opted by bad actors,” Muret said.

“While we took several steps last year to protect advertisers from inappropriate content, we know we need to do more to ensure that their ads run alongside content that reflects their values.”

AFP

Electricity From Wind, Solar Will Soon Be Cheaper Than Fossil Fuel

New onshore wind and solar energy projects are set to deliver electricity more cheaply than fossil fuels plants, with other green technologies also rapidly gaining a cost advantage over dirty fuels, a report published Saturday said.

According to a new cost analysis from the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), within two years “all the renewable power generation technologies that are now in commercial use are expected to fall within the fossil fuel-fired cost range, with most at the lower end or undercutting fossil fuels”.

It expects renewables will cost between three and 10 US cents per kilowatt hour (kWh) by 2020, while the current cost spectrum for fossil fuel power generation ranges from five to 17 US cents per kWh.

“This new dynamic signals a significant shift in the energy paradigm,” said IRENA’s Director-General, Adnan Amin, in a statement.

“Turning to renewables for new power generation is not simply an environmentally conscious decision, it is now — overwhelmingly — a smart economic one,” he added.

Continued technological advancements are not the only factor helping drive down prices. The report found that the market was becoming more competitive and a number of experienced project developers had emerged in the sector.

The best onshore wind and solar PV projects are expected to deliver electricity for three US cents or less by next year.

But onshore wind and solar are not the only sectors becoming more competitive rapidly. The study found that new bioenergy and geothermal projects commissioned in 2017 had global weighted average costs of around seven US cents per kWh.

IRENA said auction results suggest that two other technologies –concentrating solar power (CSP) and offshore wind — will provide electricity for between 6-10 US cents per kWh by 2020.

“These cost declines across technologies are unprecedented and representative of the degree to which renewable energy is disrupting the global energy system,” said Amin.

The report was released on the first day of the eighth assembly of IRENA, which aims to be a global hub for renewable energy cooperation and information exchange by its 154 member countries.

Nigeria Records 140m Phone Subscriptions In Third Quarter

Nigeria recorded a total of 140 million active voice subscriptions and 93.26 million active Internet subscriptions in the third quarter of 2017.

The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said this in a report on “Telecoms Data: Active Voice and Internet per State, Porting and Tariff Information for the Third Quarter of 2017’’ posted on its website.

The bureau said that total active voice subscriptions fell by 8.73 per cent from third quarter 2016, and by 2.21 per cent from second quarter of 2017.

It, however, stated that total active internet subscriptions increased by 1.22 per cent from third quarter 2016 and declined by 0.55 per cent from second quarter, 2017.

According to the report, both voice and internet communication subscriptions in third quarter, 2017 were dominated by GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications).

Meanwhile, the report stated that the four largest voice communication providers in the third quarter were Airtel Nigeria, 9mobile, Globacom Limited and MTN Nigeria Communications.

According to the report, the providers’ contributions are 24.75 per cent, 12.30 per cent, 27.70 per cent and 35.96 per cent of the total telecom communication subscriptions respectively.

It said that the top four specialised in GSM, while Globacom Limited also hold 0.01 per cent of the total active voice subscriptions in the form of Fixed/Fixed Wireless Telecommunication.

By the end of the third quarter, the report indicated that Southwestern and North central states recorded higher than average number of voice and internet subscriptions than other states in the country.

By the end of the third quarter, the report stated that Southern and Southwestern states recorded the highest active voice subscriptions.

It said that Lagos, Ogun and Oyo, the top three states recorded altogether 26.10 per cent of the total voice subscription of the country.

The report said that Lagos led in telecommunication usage with 20.39 million active voice subscriptions and 20.12 million GSM users by the end of the third quarter, equaling to 14.58 per cent of the total nationwide subscriptions.

It stated that FCT, Kano and Kaduna established another cluster of heavy voice subscription, each of which reported more than six million active voice subscriptions in the quarter under review.

In addition, the report said that most states recorded negative growths in active voice subscriptions in the third quarter on both year-to-year and quarter to quarter basis.

It stated that FCT, Edo, Adamawa, Ondo, Lagos and Oyo were the only states which recorded positive year-on-year growths in active voice subscriptions in the quarter under review.

VON

South Korea Set To Ban Cryptocurrency

The South Korean government on Thursday though Justice Minister Perk Sang-KI said it plans to ban cryptocurrency trading.

The clampdown in South Korea, a crucial source of global demand for cryptocurrency, came as policymaker around the world struggled to regulate an asset whose value skyrocketed in 2017.

Sang-ki said the government is preparing a bill to ban trading of the virtual currency on domestic exchanges.

“There are great concerns regarding virtual currencies and justice ministry is basically preparing a bill to ban cryptocurrency trading through exchanges,” said Park at a press conference, according to the ministry’s press office.

A press official said the proposed ban on cryptocurrency trading was announced after “enough discussion” with other government agencies including the nation’s finance ministry and financial regulators.

Once a bill is drafted, legislation for an outright ban of virtual coin trading will require a majority vote of the total 297 members of the National Assembly, a process that could take months or even years.

The government’s tough stance triggered a selloff of the cyrptocurrency on both local and offshore exchanges.

The local price of bitcoin plunged as much as 21 per cent in midday trade to 18.3 million won (12,638.52 pounds) after the minister’s