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Friday, 31 January 2014

Sheryl Sandberg Among Youngest Women Billionaires As Facebook Shares Climb

In her book Lean In, Sheryl Sandberg detailed her negotiations with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg as she was being scouted for the position of chief operating officer. Poised to become the social network’s number two, the Harvard MBA noted that she was “dying” to accept the job but was “afraid of doing anything that might botch the deal.”
“I could play hardball, but then maybe Mark would not want to work with me,” she wrote in a chapter titled “Success and Likeability.” “Was it worth it when I knew that ultimately I was going to accept the offer?”

Six years after she took the job, Sandberg has reached another milestone. Facebook’s COO is now the world’s newest billionaire.
As Facebook’s share price soared in trading Thursday morning, Sandberg’s fortune–propelled by her more than 12 million shares of the Menlo Park, Calif.-based internet company–crossed the 10-figure threshold. FORBES estimates she is worth just over $1 billion with Facebook shares up 14.27% to $61.17 as of 1:46 pm EST on Thursday.
A mother of two, Sandberg, 44, is one of the youngest female billionaires in the world. She is also one of a handful of women in the billionaire club–like Spanx’s Sara Blakely, Tory Burch and Oprah Winfrey–who made their own fortunes, rather than inherited them. In 2013, there were 24 self-made female billionaires of the 1,426 on FORBES’ annual list.

“She’s one of the higher paid executives in Silicon Valley,” said Aaron Boyd, director of research at Equilar, which tracks executive compensation. “She is someone that they brought in specifically to get them to the finish line of being a public company.”

It’s Sandberg’s equity, not her $300,000 a year salary, that’s made her a billionaire. Financial filings released before Facebook’s May 2012 initial public offering revealed that the former Google Google vice president owned more than 38 million restricted stock units. Those stock units did not vest until the IPO, and did not make her a billionaire at the time.

After vesting conditions were met and certain shares were withheld because of taxes, Sandberg has seen a considerable portion of those stock units turn into Facebook shares. As of Thursday, she owns just over 12 million shares and nearly 600,000 exercisable options, after selling off large swaths of shares since the IPO. She gained a post-tax sum of about $10 million on Tuesday after selling nearly 255,000 shares.

FORBES calculations show that since Facebook’s May 2012 IPO, Sandberg has sold more than 9 million shares and gifted 829,000 shares. After deducting taxes, the cash she earned from those sales is worth more than $250 million. Sandberg also has a small amount of Walt Disney Co. shares as a current board member and Starbucks stock after serving as a director there.

Facebook’s booming stock price can be attributed to its strong fourth quarter numbers announced on Wednesday. During the company’s earnings call, the company said that net earnings rose more than eightfold from a year ago to $523 million. That was due largely to a 63% rise in sales to $2.6 billion. Most impressive, noted Sandberg, was the $1.25 billion in mobile revenue, which was nearly equal to Facebook’s total revenue in the quarter 12 months earlier.

“This is not only the first time we crossed the 50% threshold in mobile, but it’s also our first billion dollar mobile quarter,” she said Wednesday.
Under Sandberg, Facebook has turned one of its weaknesses, mobile engagement and sales, into one of its strengths. And with Facebook’s share price soaring to never-before-seen heights, Zuckerberg must be pleased. In 2007, Sandberg turned down Zuckerberg’s first job offer after receiving advice from a relative that “no man at my level” would consider taking the first offer.
“I went back to Mark and said I couldn’t accept,” Sandberg wrote in Lean In. “But I prefaced it by telling him, ‘Of course you realize that you’re hiring me to run your deal teams, so you want me to be a good negotiator. This is the only time you and I will ever be on opposite sides of the table.’”

Thursday, 30 January 2014

Baby factory uncovered in Nigeria

A Baby factory has been uncovered in Ilu-Titun in Okitipupa council area of Ondo State by the state command of the Nigeria Immigration Service, NIS. At least 24 suspects were arrested in connection with the illegal establishment. Among those nabbed by the anti-trafficking detectives of the command included five pregnant women, five nursing mothers, five babies, two of which are less than a month old and eight men whose duty it was to impregnate the women.
Also, some guards of northern extraction were picked.
The arrest of the proprietor of the baby factory, Mrs Happiness Ogundeji, was after several months of intelligence gathering and discreet surveillance by officials of the command.
The suspects were paraded before newsmen at the command’s headquarters in Akure, yesterday, by the state’s comptroller of NIS, Mr Musa Al-Hassan.

According to reports, the proprietor, Mrs Ogundeji had to relocate to Ondo State after she was arrested in Imo State for a similar offence.
Al-Hassan told newsmen that following a tip-off, the suspects were rounded up at their hideout by a combined team of his officers and military operatives.
According to him, the suspects had earlier resisted arrest following which they reinforced to effect the arrest.

Vanguard gathered that the illegal operation was being carried out at a well-secured two-flat apartment in the town.

The proprietor was said to have pretended that the baby factory was a natural healing home.
It was gathered that young girls between the ages of 19 and 25 were recruited into the home where some young men purposely work to impregnate them.

Once a girl is pregnant, she is separated from those yet to be impregnated.
After delivery, the girls are offered ridiculous amount, their babies taken from them and sold to rich men and women who pay millions of naira, depending on the sex of the baby.
Twins are said to be the costliest as they go for N2.5 million.

It was learnt that the Abuja office of the command learnt of the operation of the syndicate in Ondo State following a tip-off from Cross River State Command and it subsequently directed both the Ondo and Imo State commands to investigate the allegation.
Consequently, the anti-human trafficking officials of the state command led by Obisesan Abiola acting on intelligence reports burst the syndicate.
t was further discovered that the proprietor is assisted in the factory by a Cameroonian.
Al-Hassan said the command would always collaborate with sister agencies to rid the state of criminality.

One of the pregnant girls in her early twenties simply called ‘Grace’ claimed to be a student of Lagos State University, LASU, and is engaged to the son of the proprietor.
The supposed husband insisted that his mother had not committed any crime while the proprietor denied operating a baby factory.

Ogundeji said she was operating a herbal natural clinic.
Items discovered at the factory were eight luxury cars, foodstuff, baby items, among others.
Meanwhile, all the suspects are to be transferred to the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons, NAPTIP, headquarters in Lagos after preliminary investigation by the officials of the command.

The house used for the illegal business had been sealed off by security operatives.

Culled from Vanguard News.

Varsities Talk: Be careful, private universities can fold up

“I can’t validate anything like that because I just came to close down the school. I’m here to close the campus down; we are closing the school in 30 days. Academic programmes have since stopped”. Pete Sith, President Saint Paul’s College, Virginia, U.S.A
According to Sahara Reporters, the College (University) where Ms Stella Oduah claimed to have attended for her Master’s Degree in Business Administration, had not only stated that: “we do not have any graduate programmes at all”, exposing the fraudulent claim, but it has disclosed that the school was closing down due to “financial reasons”.

The College was founded in 1888 – one of several universities established by various Christian denominations for the education of kids born into those faiths. The most widespread were Catholic colleges. As populations grew and the people became more wealthy, on the aggregate, it was assumed that college enrollment would also increase for ever. In fact, the baby boom, which occurred after the Second World War, encouraged the expansion of many universities.

Nobody foresaw the break that would come as the generations which would follow started practicing birth control and having fewer babies. Today, some American universities are experiencing a scarcity of students and a few, like St Paul’s College are closing down. There is a lesson for Nigerians in this development. The next series of articles might as well be titled THE VULNERABILITY OF PRIVATE UNIVERSITIES, and it will still be correct; because, the sustainability of Nigerian private universities is more suspect than most people realize.

It is a matter of money and control. We start with fate-based universities and the sustainability problems which they pose. The Federal Ministry of Education through the National University Commission, NUC, had eagerly accredited private universities merely by assessing the individuals or groups promoting them at the moment and without asking if their successors will be able to carry on for – ten, twenty, fifty, hundred years from now.
St Paul’s has only served to remind us that universities, like all things established by people, actually die. Some sooner than expected.

Below is the list of the few Nigerian private universities which had been established by religious groups – Christians and Muslims in alphabetical order:
1. Achievers
2. Ajayi Crowther
3. Al-Hikmah
4. Babcock
5. Benson Idahosa
6. Bowen
7. Covenant
8. Crescent
9. Joseph Ayo Babalola
10. Madonna
11. Novena
12. Redeemers
13. Wesley
Dele Sobowale
There might be one or two missing from the list, but, that would not invalidate the points being made here.
About two weeks ago, writing on the Business pages of the VANGUARD, under the title THE INHERITORS: WHY NIGERIA’S ONE MAN BUSINESSES DON’T LAST, the point had been made that the spirit of the founder of a great business empire had not been demonstrated to be inheritable by his successors. No big Nigerian business had survived beyond the founder. The series is still on.

Unfortunately, when we examine the history of most religious bodies established by Nigerians, using Christian churches as examples, we can easily observe a unique trend which might pose dangers to the fate-based universities in Nigeria. Two churches will be sufficient to illustrate the point – the Cherubim and Seraphim Churches and the Christ Apostolic Church.

There are, at least, twenty separate groups laying claim to the name Cherubim and Seraphim; yet all started from the church established by Mose Orimolade. The Christ Apostolic Church is once again going through the motions for “reconciliation”. There are now over twelve bodies to be reconciled. But, the Christ Apostolic Church started with Joseph Ayo Babalola.
Fortunately for the C&S churches, Mose Orimolade died before the arrival of private universities. The same can be said of the Celestial Church of Christ under Oshoffa and the Aladurra Church under Ositelu. But, virtually all these churches broke up into splinter groups after the founder died.

Culled from Vanguard News.

World Cup: Rio to launch controversial bus fare hikes next week

RIO DE JANEIRO (AFP) – Controversial bus fare hikes which sparked last June’s mass protests across Brazil are to go into effect in Rio next month, local authorities said.

The increases under a decree signed by Rio Mayor Eduardo Paes are to be officially announced Thursday.City bus fares are to rise from 2.75 to three reais (1.14 to 1.2 dollars) from February 8, according to press reports.Early this month, the Rio state government raised fares for intercity buses.

Last June, hundreds of thousands of Brazilians took to the streets to protest higher mass transit fares.The protests mushroomed into nationwide anger over the high cost of staging the 2014 World Cup, inadequate public health and education services, and rampant political corruption.They coincided with the Confederations Cup tournament, a dry run for the World Cup which was held in six host cities.

Authorities are bracing for more street protests in the run-up to the World Cup, which will be held in 12 Brazilian cities from June 12 to July 13.

8 Ways Negative Feedback Can Lead To Greater Success At Work

1. Own it and hone it. Accept the feedback and make any necessary changes. “Make a list of the action items that were delivered by the boss,” Nicolai says. “Jot down in a column the solution for each negative piece of feedback. This is your planning guide. Plan your work and work your plan.” Throughout the process you should be able to sharpen your skills, gain more knowledge, and become an overall better employee.

2. Assume good intentions. Don’t automatically jump to the conclusion that the person criticizing you is “out to get you,” Kjerulf says. “Also remember that they’re criticizing your work, not you as a person. Never take negative feedback about your work as a criticism of you as a person.” Once you’re able to do this, it should be much easier to make positive changes.

3. Use negative feedback as a chance to clarify expectations and goals around your position. “Be proactive about understanding your role,” Thorman says. Maybe you didn’t completely understand what was expected of you before. Now you do, and can make improvements accordingly.

4. Treat negative feedback as an opportunity to bond with your manager, Thorman says. “Their job is to help you develop, while yours is to bring results. This is a prime opportunity to deepen your relationship.” Schedule regular meetings to discuss your progress and goals; and try to get to know your boss and understand what he or she values most in an employee.

5. Use this as an opportunity to find a mentor or strengthen your relationships with co-workers. If you’re in a situation where you need help or support—this is a great time to build those relationships.

6. Think of this as a time for self-reflection. Maybe your boss only mentioned one negative thing—but chances are, you’re not otherwise perfect. Use this opportunity to think about all the ways in which you can improve your behavior and attitude.

7. This is your chance to show that you’re open to change and capable of growth. Negative feedback is a great opportunity to show your employer that you’re mature, cooperative, and able to make necessary changes. Ask questions, but try not to question your manager’s judgment; and show how willing you are to fix any problems.

8. Remember that all constructive feedback (even negative feedback) is a sign of interest and a sign that people want to help you do better, Kjerulf says. “It would be far worse for people to notice you doing bad work, and not say a word.” If you’re successful in accepting the feedback and recognizing what it’s worth, you’ll be a much better employee.

Man ties his 7 children to wheel-barrow, solicits for buyers

Palpable confusion reigned in Owerri, yesterday, as a father tied his seven children, including his triplet, to a wheel-barrow and was heading to an unknown destination before officials of Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development intervened.

Vanguard investigations revealed that the 44-year-old man, Israel Dike, is a native of Odenkume, Obowo Local Government Area of Imo State, but resides in Ugwu Ekwema, Egbu Road, Owerri.
The children’s hands were securely tied to a wheelbarrow while the man was soliciting for buyers for the children, saying he was fed up with his dwindling economic fortunes.

A staff of the ministry told Vanguard: “Following a tip off, a high powered team led by the Commissioner for Women Affairs, Mrs. Nma Onyechere, quickly went and rescued the children.”
Apart from disclosing that he planned selling some of them with a view to enabling him take proper care of others, Dike equally lamented that Governor Rochas Okorocha put him in the mess he has found himself today.

“Owelle Okorocha is the cause of what I am passing through today. He made me a promise in the past and has failed to redeem it till today,” Dike said.
Speaking to newsmen at the scene, the commissioner described Dike as a “depressed man, who is mentally deranged.”

While urging Dike’s wife to go for family planning, the commissioner equally promised that government would carefully ascertain the level of the man’s mental problem.
Answering a question, Mrs. Onyechere said the ministry would find a way of giving out the children to foster parents with a view to ensuring adequate care and their education.

Culled from Vanguard News.

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Nigeria: FG to phase out water satchets, other plastics

Abuja—The Federal Ministry of Environment has developed a draft action plan for the phasing out of light weight non-biodegradable plastics in the country, a top official of the ministry, said, yesterday.
Pure (sachet) water peddlers in the Sun in Lagos
The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told the News Agency of Nigeria, NAN, in Abuja, said that the draft action plan had already been adopted by stakeholders in the sector.
He recalled that the ministry, in collaboration with the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation, UNIDO, had in December 2013, organised a workshop to sensitise Nigerians on the process.

“What we intend to do now is to follow the implementation of the action plan since the awareness has already started; the next step is to source funds from UNIDO to implement the plan.
“Once we have funds, we will continue with other activities in the process of phasing out heavy non-biodegradable plastics.”
The official said it was not possible to completely phase out non-biodegradable plastics because of its importance in the society.
He cited the example of a plastic chair, which is a non-biodegradable component, to buttress his point.

He said that the ministry would start with the phasing out of light weight non-degradable plastics such as table water sachets and polythene bags.
“Those countries that have succeeded in phasing out the substance started with placing a ban on the light weight ones.
“Countries like China and South Africa have placed outright ban on light weight plastic bags while some other countries have placed tax levies on the manufacture, retailer and buyers of light weight bags.
“We are going to be gradual in the phasing out process as well, so that we will not cause havoc to the livelihood of people working in the industry.
“We will also use alternative sources that are economically feasible and environment-friendly to replace the non-degradable products,” the official said.

He further said that the ministry would start the process of phasing out with a pilot project whereby manufacturers would be required to introduce a substance called “addictive” that would reduce the non-biodegradable component in their products.

NAN reports that several countries have adopted measures to reduce the production and use of plastic materials by the imposition of taxes, fines, restriction or outright ban of plastic shopping bags.
The countries include South Africa, Taiwan, Kenya, Rwanda, Bangladesh, Mecedonia, China, Hong Kong, Denmark, Germany, India, Italy, Mexico and United Arab Emirates, among others.

Culled from Vanguard News.

EPL: M’City knock Arsenal off top spot

Manchester City brought misery to a rainy Wednesday in north London as they defeated Tottenham to knock rivals Arsenal off their perch at the top of the English Premier League.
A lacklustre Arsenal had dropped valuable points at Southamptonand Man City took advantage to move two points ahead of the Gunners with a free-flowing 5-1 victory against Tottenham.
But manager Manuel Pellegrini poured cold water on any talk of City now being title favorites despite the London rout.
“I think it’s too soon to be the favorites — there’s a lot of matches to play,” he was quoted on the club website.
“If we continue to play the way we are, we will have chances to win but it’s early.”
Agile Argentine Sergio Aguero pounced after 15 minutes to give City the lead only to hobble off the pitch with a right leg injury just before half time.
Even without Aguero, who has now scored 50 EPL goals, Manuel Pellegrini’s men found their scoring boots in the second half.
Yaya Toure stroked home the ball from the penalty spot after Danny Rose was shown a red card for a lunge on Edin Dzeko in the penalty area.
Dzeko got in on the act as he clipped in David Silva’s rebounded shot from close range before substitute Stevan Jovetic added to the scoreline with his first league goal. City captain Vincent Kompany polished off the victory over 10-man Spurs late on.

Culled from Punch News.

Google to sell Motorola unit to Lenovo

China’s Lenovo Group is said to be in the final stages of buying Google’s Motorola handset division for close to $3bn, in what may be the company’s leeway into a heavily competitive US handset market dominated by Apple.
If sealed, the deal will give Lenovo control over Google’s division that makes the Moto X and Moto G smartphones, as well as certain patents, sources familiar with the matter told Reuters news agency on Wednesday.
A sale of Motorola would mark the end of Google’s short-lived foray into making mobile devices and a pullback from its largest-ever acquisition. Google bought the US cellphone giant in 2012 for $12.5bn.
Since then, Google, which is keeping most of the patent’s portfolio, has trimmed Motorola’s workforce from 20,000 to about 3,800, and the handset division has lost nearly $2bn.
The deal would also mark Lenovo’s second major deal on US soil in a week, as it seeks to get a foothold in major global computing markets.
The Chinese electronics company last week announced a deal to buy IBM’s low-end server business for $2.3bn in what was China’s biggest technology deal thus far. An announcement could come as soon as Wednesday.
The Chinese firm will use a combination of cash and stock as well as deferred payments to finance the deal with Google, the people said, asking not to be named because the matter is not public.
The potential purchaser is being advised by Credit Suisse Group while Lazard advised Google on the transaction, the people said.
Representatives for Google, Lenovo, Credit Suisse and Lazard did not respond to requests for comment or declined to comment.

Culled from Punch News.

Celebrity Big Brother 2014: Jim Davidson is crowned winner

Jim Davidson (© Channel 5)
Who would have predicted this a couple of weeks ago? Jim Davidson, hot favourite to win Celebrity Big Brother, has done precisely that. The controversial star, who described himself in his pre-show video as a "dirty stand-up comedian", beat former N-Dubz singer Dappy into second place.
Talking to Big Brother presenter Emma Willis, Jim's happiness was there for all to see. “Overwhelming. It’s just overwhelming. All the people cheering. Overwhelming," he said.
Emma asked if he was surprised he'd won because he was nominated for eviction so often: “I got nominated more times than Gone With The Wind!” Jim joked before acknowledging that he was saved every time by the public.

He went to great pains to stress he was just being himself: “I wasn’t playing a game – if I wanted an argument with someone, I’ll have one. I thought – I’ll stand my ground and just be me.”
Emma wanted to know why he'd agreed to sign on for Celebrity Big Brother 2014: “I should’ve gone in last year and I was unavoidably detained. To hell with it, I thought. Let’s have a go – what is there to lose?” Speaking of the sex accusations that prevented him from taking part in 2013, Jim Davidson said: "I'm slightly damaged because of that. Truth will conquer all."
Jim's time in the house made headlines, but not for the reasons many were expecting. He had an explosive feud with Linda Nolan from The Nolan Sisters and there were times he rubbed TV personality Lionel Blair up the wrong way.

On the thorny subject of Linda, he said: “I don’t like accusations against myself. But I really do admire Linda Nolan, she’s had a tough time.“ He was also asked for his feelings about Luisa Zissman: “It all came right when we decided no more arguments. I’m still scared to death of her – that woman knows no rules whatsoever!”
But for the most part, Jim has entertained, helping the show enjoy very good ratings. And that's why he won.

Made in Chelsea star Ollie Locke finished third, The Apprentice's Luissa Zissman was fourth, The Only Way is Essex star Sam Faiers was fifth and glamour model Casey Batchelor finished sixth. Read on for the exit interviews with the other celebs who made it to the final day.

Culled from MSN News.

Interswitch unveils card-less ATM withdrawals

One does not need a bank account or a Verve, Mastercard or Visa card to make withdrawals from an ATM any longer. All one needs is a 12-digit code and a 4-digit PIN. And thereafter you are on to your money.

Interswitch Transnational, a leading Pan-African integrated payments company, announced today that Nigerians will henceforth be able to make the card-less withdrawals from ATMs with Quickteller facility.

A statement from Interswitch said the card-less withdrawals will offer mobile money users the opportunity to withdraw cash from their mobile money accounts or “cash out” funds transferred to them, through Quickteller supported ATMs across the country.

“The service has been designed to specifically address the challenges of mobile money adoption which includes insufficient cash out locations thereby enabling those without bank accounts and bank cards have easier, more convenient and safer access to cash withdrawal,” it said.
Interswitch said the card-less service supports transactions between the range of N1,000.00 – N20,000.00 in multiples of N1,000.

The card-less ATM withdrawal service has been adopted by Pagatech, GTBank Mobile Money, Parkway, Cellulant and QikQik. This service is currently available at over 6,000 ATMs on the networks of First Bank, GTBank, Stanbic Bank, United Bank for Africa and Zenith Bank.
Mrs Titilola Shogaolu, Chief Payment and Value Added Services Officer, Interswitch Nigeria, said “the cardless ATM withdrawal service is one of those services where the infrastructure can be customized to Mobile Money Operators to fulfil bespoke business needs. We firmly believe that Nigerians everywhere, with or without a bank account, deserve to have access to contemporary payment technologies designed to simplify financial access. We are optimistic that more Mobile Money Operators will adopt the service by Q2, 2014. We are excited about the huge potential of this service and are glad that our infrastructure can be leveraged to deliver innovative services that will enable both individuals and corporate organizations achieve their goals.”

Culled from PM News.

Are these Britain's strangest properties?

Are these the UK's strangest homes? (© Zoopla)
This is the Magical Teapot, and we reckon it may well be the strangest property for sale in the UK. With the help of the online estate agents Rightmove and Zoopla, we've found some of the most bizarre properties to have been listed on the web. The properties range from the eccentric to the ridiculous via the downright creepy.

Apple iOS in the Car coming soon

Apple iOS in the Car coming soon (© Apple)
Many of today’s cars feature a touchscreen infotainment system of some sort, with a number of them looking remarkably like a high-end tablet device. So it was only a matter of time before the two technologies converged.
This vision appears to be a little closer to reality now, with images and a video leaked on Twitter appearing to be show a highly advanced version of Apple’s much-rumoured iOS in the Car feature.
It’s not entirely clear how app developer, Steven Troughton-Smith, sourced the images, but with the new version of iOS set for release soon, the timing would appear to fit.

What is Apple iOS in the Car?

iOS is Apple’s mobile operating system, and it first appeared on the iPhone in 2007. Today it is used on the likes of the iPad, iPod Touch and of course, the iPhone. The system uses an interface based on multi-touch gestures, including swipe, tap and pinch. iOS in the Car seeks to add drive to this list.
Apple announced iOS in the Car last year, when it released iOS 7 - the latest version of its mobile touchscreen operating system.
In essence, iOS in the Car will allow an iOS-enabled device to effectively take control of the in-car display. Which - depending on your view of Apple products - will either be a huge step forward, or a reason to be slightly scared.

Culled from MSN New.

Oprah Winfrey turns 60: celebrity quotes

 What the stars think of Oprah
The world's celebrity, Oprah Winfrey turns 60.

She's one of the richest and most influential people in the world, so it's perhaps no surprise that Oprah Winfrey is also one of the most talked-about celebrities.

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

5,000 Nigerians studying in Canada

The Canadian High Commissioner to Nigeria, Mr Perry Calderwood, said on Tuesday in Abuja that nearly 5,000 Nigerians were studying in various institutions across Canada.

Calderwood said this at the 11th Canadian Education Fair, adding that Nigeria had the ninth largest and one of the fastest growing groups of foreign students in Canada.
The High Commissioner explained that the population of Nigerians studying in Canada had increased from 800 in 2003 to nearly 5,000 in 2013.
"We have nearly 5,000 Nigerian students studying in Canada.
"Nigerian students represent the ninth largest group of foreign students in Canada and it is one of the fastest growing groups.
"Just 10 years ago, we had only 800 Nigerian students studying in Canada.
"So there’s been an increase from 800 to nearly 5,000 in a period of just 10 years.
"I am very pleased to say that the presence of Nigerian students in Canada very much enriches our educational institutions.
"It is great to have these young Nigerians in our schools, universities and colleges but also of course they enrich our societies.

"I would also like to add that I heard from representatives of many of the schools and universities this morning and before, the Nigerian students are excellent.
"They travel to Canada very well-prepared and very dedicated and committed to their studies.
"So, we are really delighted to welcome so many Nigerian students to our institutions," he said.
Calderwood expressed delight that there were 60 Canadian institutions including primary,secondary, colleges and universities participating at the fair.

According to him, all the schools are in Nigeria with the purpose of providing information to Nigerian students who may be interested in studying in Canada at any level.
He said that Nigerians who studied in Canada at whatever level, became new links between the two countries adding that they kept in touch with their friends and contacts.
"Nigerians who studied in Canada and then come back to Nigeria, are very helpful in promoting business ties, trade and investment and partnership between Canadian and Nigerian private sector companies," he said.

Italy minister resigns amid abuse of power, corruption probes

Italy: image by REMO CASILLI/Newscom/RTR
Italy's Agriculture Minister resigned Sunday amid allegations of abuse of power over the appointment of staff in the public healthcare system and in the wake of an investigation into the management of European Union funds for agriculture.

"I am resigning as minister. I cannot remain part of a government which has not defended my honour," Nunzia De Girolamo said on Twitter.
De Girolamo was accused this month of exerting improper influence over the choice of healthcare managers in the city of Benevento in the Campania region, following revelations in the media of phone-tapped conversations in 2012.

She is the second minister to step down from Prime Minister Enrico Letta's shaky coalition government. On Saturday, allegations of malpractice emerged against her ministry after Italy's financial police confirmed they carried out an on-site search this week as part of an investigation into the distribution of EU funds, Italian media reported.

Investigators are looking into discrepancies in the distribution of some 8.9 billion euros ($12.18 billion) for agricultural investment which were given to Italy from 2007 to 2013, according to the Repubblica daily.
De Girolamo, who is not currently under investigation, said in a statement Saturday that the police probe centered on a period before she took office.
While the EU determined where part of the funds were invested, the ministry was tasked with distributing the remaining capital through the AGEA coordinating company, which the government holds a 51 percent stake in, media reports said.

Boston bombing victims get Michelle Obama invites

Obama: image by (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, File)
Survivors of the Boston Marathon bombing and openly gay NBA player Jason Collins have been invited to President Barack Obama's State of the Union address, the White House said Monday.

A statement named Collins and Boston survivors Carlos Arredondo and Jeff Bauman among the first round of invitees to watch Tuesday's address in First Lady Michelle Obama's box.

Arredondo and Bauman were at the center of one of the defining images from last April's bomb attack, Arredondo, wearing a white Cowboy hat, helping rush the badly injured Bauman away for treatment.
Arredondo, 53, and Bauman, 27, who lost both legs in the attack, have since become close friends.
Collins meanwhile received an invite after a year which saw him make worldwide headlines when he became the first openly gay man in a major American team sport.

Other invitees announced by the White House included Gary Bird, a fire chief who oversaw search and rescue efforts following the devastating Oklahoma tornado which claimed 25 lives and destroyed 1,000 homes and businesses in the town of Moore last May.

Relic of John Paul II's blood stolen in Italy

Pope: image by AP Photo/Plinio Lepri, File
A religious relic stained with Polish pope John Paul II's blood has been stolen from a church in Italy, sparking a region-wide search with police and sniffer dogs.

It was stolen on Saturday from the San Pietro della Ienca church in the mountainous Abruzzo region in central Italy where the pope, who died in 2005, loved to go on skiing holidays.
Contrary to previous media reports, the relic is not a vial of blood but a framed, tiny square of cloth stained with the pope's blood, Pasquale Corriere, head of the "San Pietro della Ienca" association, told AFP.
The cloth, which reportedly comes from the robe the pontiff was wearing when he was shot in an assassination attempt in 1981, is enclosed in a gold and glass circular case.

"The church was closed because of a snow storm. When we went to reopen it, we saw the bars on one of the windows had been sawn through. The thieves entered that way, and stole the relic," Corriere said.
The framed cloth was given to the small church in 2011 by Stanislaw Dziwisz, a cardinal who served as John Paul II's personal secretary until his death in 2005.

"I have no idea who could be behind such a terrible theft," Corriere said. According to local media reports, some 50 police officers and sniffer dogs are sweeping the area, famed for its weathered stone houses and the little church where the head of the Catholic Church once reportedly took refuge in a storm.
Corriere said there are only three vials in the world containing the former pontiff's blood.
John Paul II and the Italian pope John XXIII are set to become saints in a ceremony at the Vatican in Apri, an event which will substantially increase the value of the stolen relic.
The Polish pope was nearly killed in an assassination attempt in St. Peter's Square on May 13, 1981.

Two China anti-graft activists put on trial: lawyers

Communism: image by CARLOS BARRIA/Newscom/RTR
Two Chinese anti-corruption activists went on trial on Thursday, their lawyers said, as a key funder of their rights movement was bailed after apparently confessing to authorities.

The proceedings against Zhao Changqing - a student leader during the 1989 pro-democracy protests in Tiananmen Square - and Hou Xin are seen as part of a crackdown on the loose-knit New Citizens Movement.

Its members face up to five years in prison for their roles in small-scale protests calling for government officials to disclose their financial assets, seen as a key reform against graft.
The ruling Communist Party says it is conducting its own anti-corruption campaign, but Beijing is extremely wary of any organised dissent against its rule.
China's government has also objected to a global media investigation that said relatives of top leaders -- including kin of President Xi Jinping and of former premier Wen Jiabao -- used offshore tax havens to hide their wealth.
Zhao's trial -- which followed that of New Citizens Movement founder Xu Zhiyong on Wednesday -- opened in Beijing but was halted almost immediately as he sacked his lawyers, one of them, Zhang Xuezhong, told AFP.

"This dismissal was a tactical choice by the defendant because this was the only way to halt the trial," he said, adding the move gave Zhao 15 days to find a new legal representative.
Hou's trial took place on Thursday afternoon, her lawyer Ding Xikui told AFP, adding she pleaded not guilty and it was unclear when a verdict would be announced. Hou has been released on bail for health reasons.
The activists are all but certain to be convicted by China's politically controlled courts.
Zhao, who like Hou is in his mid-40s, has served two prison terms totalling eight years since 1997 for his continued activism.

His trial came as Wang Gongquan, a multi-millionaire backer of the movement who had been held since September, was bailed after he apparently distanced himself from other activists.
Wang, a venture capitalist who is said to have provided funding for Xu, was released after confessing that he had helped "organise and incite criminal activities", according to a statement by a Beijing court late Wednesday.
The release indicates that Wang will not face trial.
Xu's lawyer Zhang Qingfang said the announcement was intended to "mislead public opinion" in his client's case.

"Wang cannot admit a crime as the court said, because there is absolutely no evidence he ever committed a crime," he told AFP.
The New Citizens Movement is tiny but has developed in recent years with organised dinners to discuss various causes -- from education equality to official graft -- and has held small, sporadic street protests.
Between 20 and 40 other activists linked to the movement have been detained since 2013, members say. Three were put on trial in the central province of Jiangxi after they posted photos of themselves online holding signs urging official asset disclosure.

The arrests have been seen as part of a broader campaign to enforce ideological unity since President Xi took charge of the Communist Party in late 2012.

Denmark to open embassy in Abuja, Nigeria

danish flag
The Danish Foreign Minister, Mr Holger Nielsen, said on Tuesday in Addis Ababa that arrangements had been concluded to open a Danish embassy in Abuja by August this year.

Nielsen made this known during a meeting with Nigeria's Acting Foreign Minister, Prof Viola Onwuliri, on the sidelines of the ongoing 22nd summit of the African Union.
He appealed to the Nigerian government to reciprocate the gesture by having a diplomatic presence in Denmark.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Nigeria's foreign mission in Stockholm has concurrent accreditation to the three Scandinavian countries of Denmark, Norway and Sweden.
Nielsen, however, said a diplomatic mission in Nigeria would boost trade and diplomatic relations between the two countries.

The minister, who hinted that he would visit Nigeria in June, hailed Nigeria's election into the non-permanent seat of the UN Security Council for the 2014/2015 period,
He also commended Nigeria’s contributions to regional peace and security through peacekeeping operations.

Nielsen particularly cited its role in resolving the conflict in Cote d'Ivoire and Mali.
Responding, Onwuliri urged Denmark to support Nigeria's two-year presidency of Community of Democracy, which would begin in February 2015.
She noted Nigeria’s current presidency of the Global Power Women Network Africa and stressed the need for Denmark's support to the group's objective.
The network brings together women ministers, parliamentarians and judges, to address issues of HIV and AIDS, and more generally, women’s empowerment.

Grammy Awards 2014: The red carpet fashions

Katy Perry
The Grammys red carpet is unlike any other awards show.
It's where Jennifer Lopez became a household name thanks to that navel-bared green Versace, where Cee-Lo Green impersonated a muppet, and where Lady Gaga once showed up in an egg. The styles have gotten so outrageous in the past, CBS actually tried to impose a dress code last year. But once again, the stars on this year's red carpet were all about fashion risks. Blame it on the rock 'n roll.

D’banj takes to farming, encourages youths in agriculture

A popular Nigerian artiste, Dapo Oyebanjo, a.k.a D’banj, on Monday said he would take to farming to encourage youths to embrace agriculture and fight poverty.
D’banj said in an interview with in Ikeja, during the launch of “ONE’s Year of Agriculture’ Campaign” that his action was to explore another area of opportunities.
“ONE’’ is an international, non-partisan, non-profit, advocacy and campaigning organisation aimed at eradicating poverty and preventable diseases in the world through public awareness.

D’banj said that during his meeting with the “ONE Organisation” in South Africa, he was convinced that agriculture was the only way forward for Nigeria and Africa.
“They told me about how many potentials that we’re missing out on.
“They told about how if we focus on agriculture in the next five, six, seven, 10 years, Africa can actually be feeding the rest of the world.
“They told me about how much the small scale farmers don’t even have any support and they are the larger percentage of people that are giving us what to eat.
“Agriculture is actually everything that we live; food is life; agriculture is life.
“They said we would like you to champion this move where we go across Africa and we tell our youths, create that awareness for
them, let them know.

“So, for me, I will be doing everything in my power to make sure that the youth, my generation, they see what I have seen and they get informed as I have.
“That if we focus on agriculture, not only would we be able to feed the rest of the world, but we would be a power house and we would not need anybody to give us anything.
“We would create our wealth ourselves, so you can call me a farmer now.
“My role is to get involved and like a joke I’m getting involved fully.
“Maybe I’m going to have my own farm so that when I’m talking to youths and saying listen I am a farmer as well.

“So, everything we would be doing to just let them know that “oh boy’’ you can wear a Rolex and still be a farmer.’’
- See more at:

Monday, 27 January 2014

Mercedes-Benz S 600 V12 revealed at Detroit Motor Show

Mercedes-Benz S 600 V12 revealed at Detroit Motor Show
Contender for world's best luxury limo makes its debut at the Detroit show
The Mercedes-Benz S-Class is unofficially known as the best car in the world… and the firm has now revealed the model that could make that title official – the new V12-engined, long-wheelbase S 600 range-topper.
Boasting a 530hp 6.0-litre biturbo V12, the new S 600 can accelerate from 0-62mph (approx 100kmh) in just 4.6 seconds… but, thanks to ECO stop/start, it can also average over 25mpg, a 21% improvement on the old car. Just as importantly, it also promises an unparalleled luxury car experience.

Sunday, 26 January 2014

5 Steps To Become A Better Presenter

Understand your audience: I once sat in the audience where a presenter was obviously delivering a “canned” presentation he had previously used. How did I know? He was giving a “retail sales 101” speech to an audience of highly skilled and experienced medical equipment sales professionals. And, oops, he also forgot to change the company name listed on several of his slides. Now that’s how to lose audience attention quickly!
For every presentation, your topic and discussion points must be relevant for the audience. Ask yourself: Who is my audience? Why are they here? What do they already know about my topic? What are the attendees’ goals and objectives? How many people will be there?
Once you have the answers to these types of questions, you can tailor your presentation to your audience. And if your presentation is part of a larger meeting with other presenters involved, don’t forget to determine how your presentation will relate to the overall meeting, the meeting theme (if there is one), and to the topics of the other presenters.

Know your objectives and your material: Is the objective of your presentation to educate or persuade your audience? For example, are you teaching project management techniques or trying to convince the executive team to give your department additional budget money for product innovation projects next year?
Whether you’re educating or trying to persuade, make sure you can answer these questions: What do I want my audience to know at the end of my presentation? What key points do I need to communicate? What actions do I want the audience to take when they leave?

Tell your “story” with flair: One of your presentation goals should be to inspire enthusiasm for your topic. To do this, be creative and think about ways you can involve the audience, such as through stories, humor, examples/statistics, and eye-catching visual aids. Many CEOs today have stopped using text heavy PowerPoint presentations and have adopted a style that includes lots of images for visual appeal.
Notes Carmine Gallo, author of The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs, “This style of delivering presentations is fresh, engaging, and ultimately far more effective than slide after slide of wordy bullet points.” Including stories can also be a great way to help people learn and better visualize information.

Test the logistics: Go see the room where you’ll present. Ensure everything works: Microphones, computer, projector(s), screen, etc. Is the seating adequate and appropriately set up? Will those sitting in the back be able to see you when you present? If needed, are flip charts or white boards and pens ready? If handing out documents, are they ready? Preparing for the worst is the best way to ensure your presentation will run smoothly.

Practice, practice, practice: Wowing the audience (and management) is a great way to get yourself noticed as you climb the proverbial career ladder. Take time to ensure you’ll do a great job by practicing. I like to rehearse out loud to see how my presentation sounds and then I practice in front of a mirror to make sure I look comfortable while I’m presenting. It’s also helpful to ask someone to listen to you and provide feedback.
The more time you spend preparing for presentations the better the results will be. Practice and preparation may not make your presentations perfect, but it will definitely get you noticed – in a good way!

BBC launches Winter Olympic website ready for live streams beginning 7 February

BBC launches Winter Olympic website ready for live streams beginning 7 February
The BBC has launched its Winter Olympics website that will automatically adjust to the format you browse on. The website will be the online hub for the six live streams the BBC will be offering during the games, beginning on 7 February.

You will be able to watch on your PC, tablet or smartphone and content will also be offered through the BBC Sport apps for iOS, Android and Kindle Fire devices.
The streams will also be available through the connected Red Button services on Virgin Media TiVo boxes and some Sony and Samsung Smart TVs.

Additionally, two streams will be available through normal, over-the-air Red Button services on BT Vision, Freesat, Freeview, Sky, Virgin Media and YouView.
The BBC Sochi Winter Olympics site is available at

Saturday, 25 January 2014

Nigeria’s presidential election to hold February 2015

Nigeria is to hold its next presidential election on February 14, 2015, the Independent National Electoral Commission said Friday, with incumbent head of state Goodluck Jonathan expected to seek a second term.

“The commission has scheduled the presidential and National Assembly elections for 14th February 2015,” the INEC said in a statement.
The commission said governorship and elections for state assemblies would be held on February 28 next year.

It also fixed June 21 and August 9 this year for the gubernatorial polls in Ekiti and Osun, two states in the western part of Nigeria where fresh elections are due at the expiration of the tenure of the incumbents.

The elections are expected to be fiercely contested between the ruling Peoples Democratic Party and the coalition of opposition parties, now called the All Progressives Congress. Smaller parties, such as Labour are also expected to play the spoilers in some of the states.

Culled from PM News.

Britain braced for more punishing weather

Somerset flooding: Somerset has already been the victim of serious flooding

With severe flooding over many parts of Britain earlier in the month many are preparing for the worst as the rains are likely to return, particularly in Somerset, which is the subject of an amber warning from the Met Office.

However, while Somerset it at greatest risk this weekend many other parts of the country have received yellow warnings due to the expected increase in rain and wind.
So far Britain has experienced a mild - if very wet - winter, but that could change this week as a big chill from northern Europe and Scandinavia is set to affect the UK. Temperatures won’t be as low as on the continent, however, things are likely to become noticeably colder by the end of the week.
Because the cold weather will come over sea from the east it will pick up some moisture from the North Sea and that introduces the potential for snow.

How will Britain cope with this latest weather? We’ll know by this time next week.

Culled from MSN News.

Friday, 24 January 2014

7 Bad Habits That Stymie Success

1. Worry About Being Wrong
You probably went to grade school with a kid who always raised his hand, whether he was right or wrong, and you admired him for it. He’s probably the CEO of some successful startup now. The classic wisdom here is that if people never took chances, nothing would ever get done. But if you push it a step further, the sentiment becomes even more valuable: Smart people don’t fear being wrong because they know that being wrong is ultimately an instrument that pushes them closer to being right. When you’re testing out new products or new partnerships (or personal relationships), you have to know what works and what doesn’t – and the best way to know what doesn’t is to fail a few times. You might not have the no-fear attitude innately, but if you’re aware of and admire the value in it, you can build it up like a skill, and then it becomes a part of you.
2. Thinking That Everything Is About You
We all love to personalize what goes on in our worlds, but smart people don’t make the assumption that everything is about them. This is a huge asset in both the personal and business realms. Where many of us obsess over “rejections” and ruminate on what we could have done differently, it’s more productive to realize that every disappointment or poor interaction is not actually about you. Sometimes it’s the just person on the other end of the phone call who’s having a bad day. Successful people realize that every little thing – bad or good – is not a reflection of them or their self worth. So try not to take the little things, at least, so personally. (Your ego will thank you.)

3. Being E-Ready Every Minute of the Day
We all feel the pull of technology, but all the research tells us that for the sake of our mental health, we need to push back a little. Smart people know that having a fulfilling life means having a life outside work, and making time for each. Obsessively checking work email at the dinner table is a good recipe for disaster. Sure, shit happens and sometimes the family will have to suffer for the sake of work, or vice versa, but these instances should be few and far between, and not a way of life. Being glued to your iPhone at family dinners or daytrips isn’t a good way of being. Psychologist Suzanne Roff-Wexler, PhD, says, “it’s so easy to take care of matters and any where and any time – but that’s the glitch!! Too much stimulation and connection can lead to more stress because it just doesn’t end.” So set some time where your phone is off, and your attention is on the people right in front of you.

4. Believing Therapy Is A Waste of Time
Anyone who had tricky or painful childhoods (which is a lot of us) should deal with these things in therapy. The fallout of not getting to the bottom of your stuff can affect not only your personal life, but your professional life as well. “Not only do successful people not fear therapy, they embrace it,” says founder of Cliffside Malibu Treatment Center, Richard Taite, who’s seen the fallout of when the super-successful don’t deal with their stuff – the result is often addiction, marital problems, even self-sabotage. “The only way you can become your best self is to get the bottom of the issues that are blocking you,” he says. “Most negative cycles that people are in are unconscious. You ever hear someone say, ‘I just don’t know why ____ keeps happening’? Well, that’s because they are stuck in an unconscious negative pattern of behaviors and they can’t see it BECAUSE it’s unconscious. Successful people recognize that there’s a problem, and turn to psychotherapy to help them break it. Psychotherapy is a tool that creates success. Smart people use it.”

5. Skipping the Gym Because You Don’t Have Time/Hate It.
There are actually two points crammed into one here. Exercise for mental (and physical) health is a no-brainer – and smart, well-rounded people know that. But they don’t just go to the gym, and they’re not just active because they should be: They do physical activities they actually really truly love during their downtime – swimming, skiing, rock-climbing, tangoing – and they build it into their schedules. That makes exercise something to look forward to, not to dread.

6. Thinking That De-Stressing Is For Wimps
De-stressing is pretty much non-negotiable, especially now, in the age of the 24-hour workday. If you don’t take time to de-stress your brain, something’s going to snap, mentally or physically. (And even if you don’t have a stress-induced breakdown, chronic stress leads to all kinds of serious health problems.) Successful people internalize that reality, and build time for de-stressing into their lives. So, mediate, run, walk, do yoga, swim, write, knit, dance, take a long drive. Whatever it is that allows your brain to relax and reboot, make sure you do it at least once a day.

7. Believing That You’re Smarter Than Everyone Else
The ultimate advice, care of Forbes writer David DiSalvo, is that smart people know they can always improve upon themselves and they always embrace the opportunity to do so. “Smart people never assume they are the smartest people in the room,” says DiSalvo. “That sort of assumption is really just contempt in disguise, and it leads to undervaluing and underestimating coworkers, relationships partners, and any one else in an interpersonal context. Instead, smart people assume that they can learn something from anyone, and they provide others with opportunities to ‘tell their stories,’ which a genuinely smart person knows are likely to contain experiences and knowledge that will enrich their perspective.”

7 Reasons You Won't Ever Be Successful

Here are 7 reasons you won’t ever be successful (and how you can prove me wrong).

1. You Spend Too Much Time on Facebook.
I know you need to be on Facebook for your business; we all do. The problem is that you’re not using it for business; you’re mindlessly thumbing through updates that make no difference to your life, falling victim to one of the biggest time sucks known to man.
But of course I’m not just talking about Facebook here…you know your social network of choice. It doesn’t matter whether it’s Twitter, Instagram, Vine or even MySpace (you know who you are).
According to research by Social Media Examiner, 62% of marketers are on social media for 6 hours or more per week, and a whopping 17% are on more than 20 hours per week.
And in case you’re saying, ‘but I’m not a marketer!’ Well, you’re not off the hook. Other research shows that the average American user spends 3+ hours on social networking each day.
That’s a lot of time you’re never going to get back.

2. You Think You’re Working Hard. But You Aren’t.
I’m really proud of you for putting in your 8-10 hours a day! I really am. The problem is that breaks, interruptions and distractions are actually eating away a HUGE chunk of your day. Way more than you even realize.

Have you ever used Rescue Time to measure how productive your day actually is? This software program measures the amount of time you spend in each software program throughout your day. It’s easy to think you’re working hard, but if you actually track how and where you’re spending your time online, you may be surprised at what gets revealed.
Is there something you dream of doing one day? Maybe a side business you’ve been working on here or there?

What do you do when the workday ends? Do you spend your evenings on the couch watching TV? That’s time you could be spending working on your business idea, side project or personal brand that could one day become your full-time job.
If you have a dream, invest your most valuable personal asset – your time – and that dream could come to fruition way sooner than you ever thought possible.

3. You Aren’t Efficient.
Okay, so you’re telling me you do track your time, and it appears you’re working harder than I originally thought. Your time tracking software seems to indicate that you’re making good use of your time, and not letting distractions make too much of a dent in your workday. Well done!
But – and I hate to have to tell you this – you could be doing much better. Yes, you’re working hard, but there are ways your hard work can be even more productive. You know the saying: It’s not just about working harder, it’s about working smarter.
Here are a few articles I’ve written that may help:
4. You Give Up Too Easily.
So today stunk, hey? Things didn’t go your way? People aren’t appreciating you? You’re feeling unmotivated and uninspired?
Join the club.
Welcome to the life of an entrepreneur. In the words of Newt Gingrich, “Perseverance is the hard work you do after you get tired of doing the hard work you already did”.
True entrepreneurs work hard, and don’t give up when things don’t go their way. They keep working, they keep trying, they keep banging their heads against the wall until they break through, if they have to.
YOU are a true entrepreneur! You can do this!

5. You Can’t Imagine Payoff Years From Now for Work That You do Today.
Tasks that you can complete in a day or two, and that have immediate payoff are AWESOME. Addictive, even. But every successful entrepreneur knows that in order to build something strong and sustainable, you have to invest time now; and the results often don’t manifest themselves for years.
If you can’t deal with that, you simply aren’t thinking long-term enough. If you can only think about short-term rewards like what your next paycheck will look like because of work you did this week, it’s time to reevaluate your goals.
Some of what you do will have short-term results, but much of building a sustainable business is doing grunt work now, and reaping the rewards far off in the future.

6. You Aren’t Taking Risks.
I get it. It feels way better not to stick your neck out and do stuff that you could fail at. Playing it safe is warm, cozy and comfortable.
But, (you know what I’m going to say here, right?), there are no rewards without risk. I suppose it’s possible that some good things can happen without risk, but how often is a business built on pure luck? On things being handed to you on a silver platter?
Taking risks is part of the job description, and while failing doesn’t feel very good, you know what does? Failing, failing, failing, and then suddenly, SUCCESS. Now you don’t feel so bad about your failures, because you see that it was only through the failures that you learned the right way to succeed.
7. You Don’t Take Opportunities.
Finally, dear business owner, it’s not just about not taking enough risks. Strangely enough, taking opportunities can also be difficult. And it’s not just because opportunities come disguised as risk.
Have you seen the movie ‘Yes Man’? The main character, Carl Allen (played by Jim Carrey), decides to escape the loneliness and humdrum-ness of his life by simply saying ‘yes’ to every opportunity that comes his way – even simple ones.
Once he starts saying yes, amazing things start happening to him. Things he couldn’t have imagined. And all because he simply said, ‘yes’!
I’m not saying you need to run yourself ragged saying yes to everyone and everything that comes your way. What I am saying is sometimes the greatest rewards come from saying yes to opportunities that may be slightly scary or uncomfortable.
Look for opportunities in unexpected places, and you just might be surprised at what you find.

Culled from Forbes.

Father offers £78m to man who can wed his Lesbian Daughter

Father offers £78m to man who can wed his lesbian daughter
AS wedding presents go it's rather more attractive than a sandwich maker. A Hong Kong property magnate is offering £78m to the man who marries his daughter, Gigi Chao.
The catch – and there had to be a catch given the amount of money involved – is that Gigi is a lesbian who has no intention of getting hitched to a man.

Cecil Chao first offered a bounty to the man who could successfully walk his gay daughter down the aisle in September 2012. The payment – originally set at a paltry £40 million – horrified gay and lesbian organisations in Asia and attracted "international opprobrium".
Undeterred, 77-year-old Chao doubled his offer this week. The businessman, described by The Times as a "bon vivant helicopter pilot and a self-confessed bedder of more than 10,000 women", is upset that his original dowry had achieved nothing.

"I would be happy to pay twice as much money to any many who can successfully court Gigi," he told reporters, adding that "her thinking will change in the future".
Chao insists he doesn't want to meddle in his daughter's private life – despite his massive cash inducements to male suitors. He merely wants to "coax her towards a husband, children and a more traditional family structure for when she eventually inherits the Cheuk Nang property empire," the Times reports.

The billionaire argues that his 33-year-old daughter is too young to have cemented her sexual preferences.

Then again, Chao's extraordinary ability to deny the apparently obvious is a matter of record. In 2012, he said his daughter wasn't a lesbian despite the fact she had been in a relationship with a woman for nine years and had recently formalised the union with a ceremony in Paris.
What does Gigi Chao make of her father's efforts to make her change sides? She is, in a word, disgusted.

She told the Times she had received a "vomit-making" deluge of photographs showing potential husbands in various states of undress. She added: "I don't think my dad's offering of any amount of money would be able to attract a man I would find attractive."

Culled from MSN News

The Coldest Place in the World

If you thought it was cold where you are at the moment then a visit to the Russian village of Oymyakon and city of Yatutsk might just change your mind. With the average temperature for January a blisteringly cold -50c, Oymyakon is the coldest permanently inhabited settlement in the world. Oymyakon lies a two day drive from the city of Yakutsk, the regional capital, which has the coldest winter temperatures for any city in the world. Here, a woman passes a board on a building in Yakutsk, displaying the local time and temperature at -45 degrees celsius.

Culled from MSN News.

British woman jailed for drugs

A former British police community support officer Andrea Waldeck, jailed for 14 years in Indonesia after pleading guilty to smuggling crystal meth into the country, has blamed a Nigerian gang for making her traffic in the drug.

The 43-year-old former PCSO with Gloucestershire Police had previously admitted trafficking the drug, often referred to as ‘ice’, worth more than £3,000, into Surabaya, Indonesia’s second largest city, in April last year.
 Waldeck had earlier heard prosecutors demand a sentence of 16 years, so when the verdict was handed down by three judges her reaction was not unexpected.
Waldeck(right) inside the court room. Photo : Mail Online
Waldeck(right) inside the court room. Photo : Mail Online

She was also ordered to pay the equivalent of a fine of £100,000.
Presiding Judge Faturrachman, said: ‘Andrea Waldeck has been proven legally and convincingly guilty of offering to sell or become a middle person to sell drugs.’
Her immediate reaction was to tell her defence team through an interpreter that she would ‘take time now to consider the verdict, my future and whether I should appeal.’
Dressed in a red prisoner’s bib and clutching a Bible, she was then led from the court to begin her sentence.

She had earlier told the court that smuggling 3lbs of crystal meth into the country last year was the most stupid thing she had done in her life.
‘I’ve let down my country and my family,’ she told the earlier court hearing this month.

Culled from PM NEWS.

LASU Students Disrupt Exams, Stone Vice Chancellor

Lagos State University students went on the rampage Thursday, disrupting the university’s second semester examination and destroying properties in the process.
The protest which started Wednesday over the closure of the university’s registration portal, led to stoning of the University Vice Chancellor Prof. John Obafunwa, as he tried to evade the riotous students who had blocked the main gate and made bonfires on the Lagos-Badagry expressway.
A witness told P.M.NEWS Thursday that students threw sticks and stones at the Vice Chancellor’s convoy as he made to escape through an alternative route beside Connoil Filling station.
LASU Students protesting closure of school registration portal
LASU Students protesting closure of school registration portal
Trouble started in the university when the VC decided not to open the registration portal for over 2,000 students who are yet to register their second semester courses as exams was to begin Thursday, even though the banks are still collecting school fees from students, whose hope of registering gets slimmer by the day.
According to the students, only 708 were able to register before the portal was shut again leaving, 1292 students to their fate.

When the students union government went to plead on behalf of the students, the VC was reported as saying those yet to register are insignificant and would automatically have to carry the session over, a statement which infuriated the students and they decided to take laws into their hands.
A 100 level Political Science student, Adesegun Bisuga, laments the hard-line stand of the VC, saying he is inconsiderate.

“I personally don’t know why the VC decided to take that kind of hurting decision looking at the high fees the students are paying and after they struggle to pay, the VC denied us registration which will lead to the students having carry covers and extra year(s),” he said.
During an audience with the Vice Chancellor by members of the student union body, it was reported that the Vice Chancellor said 11,300 students, have registered so far, and the remaining the 1292 students crying foul falls in the rank of the minority.
Some of the protesting students
Some of the protesting students
Efforts to speak with the Dean of Students Affairs, Prof. Kabiru Akinyemi, was not successful as he said he cannot comment on the matter now. Calls put across to the Vice Chancellor were also ignored.

The speaker of the Students Parliamentary Council, Sodiq Adewunmi Sanni, while speaking with our correspondent, advised that the university management should consider the students in view of the outrageous school fees they are paying.

“The university management needs to consider the students, they are paying the highest school fees for a state university in Nigeria. Even though I am not affected, the students’ school fees is outrageous. They have gone through a lot and to now deny them registration is not in anybody’s good interest.

“I would advise that the management postpone the exams till next week, so as to accommodate the 1292 students that are yet to register. That is not a figure to over look,” the speaker said.

Culled from PM NEWS.

Thursday, 23 January 2014

7 Ways You're Hurting Your Daughter's Future

Proof That What Parents Say (and Do) Matters
In fact, a new study shows just how easy it is to persuade kids into believing they aren’t good at something. In a nutshell, the study sought to prove that kids easily adopt beliefs they hear about their gender, which in turn can affect their real-life performance. For example, telling a boy he’s bound to be good at math because he’s a boy could encourage him to give up trying, while telling a girl that girls aren’t good at math could actually make her believe that she is, in fact, bad at math, and cause her to be worse at math because of it.
As predicted, the two experiments in the study showed that the performance of 4- to 7-year-olds was impaired when they were told that another group (e.g., “boys are good at this game”) was successful at the same task.
When dealing with gender and what’s “right” and “wrong” when it comes to raising girls to their full potential, it seems there’s a lot to learn …

A Steep Learning Curve
Children start to understand gender roles starting at 30 months, and start developing social prejudices–including gender-based prejudices–starting in preschool. The us-versus-them mentality reaches its apex between 5 and 7 years of age before slowly waning.
As parents, we’ve never told our daughters that there are “girl-specific” jobs, or that the key to happiness and self-worth is marriage. (Of course, we can’t help the messages they might see when we’re not around.) But there are other ways in which our daughters, and the other little girls in our lives, could be learning life lessons from us that will lead them to shy away from “challenging” subjects like trigonometry and engineering, take the first low salary offered to them out of college or get burned out before age 30.
We asked Anea Bogue, M.A., an acclaimed self-esteem expert, educator, certified life coach and creator of REALgirl® empowerment workshops, to share some of the ways you might be holding your daughter back from her full potential without even knowing it.

1. You teach her to be polite and quiet.
There’s a fine line between being well-behaved and being a doormat, and it seems that all too often girls are pushed into territory bordering on the latter.
“The ‘girls are sugar and spice and everything nice’ adage that [society is] programmed with leads us to raise girls who are what I call ‘pleasers,’” says Bogue. “We teach our girls in a variety of ways that being nice, avoiding conflict, not upsetting others and not challenging the status quo are all part of being a likeable, desirable, successful girl–and one day woman.”

What this could mean for her future: It’s easy to see how this mindset could lead to the kind of behavior where women don’t negotiate for higher salaries, because they don’t want to offend a potential employer, or they don’t speak up in class, and eventually meetings, for risk of being seen as not nice.

How you can avoid this: While we all want well-behaved children, don’t forget to teach your daughter that it’s okay to debate, disagree and negotiate–respectfully, of course–and especially with her peers. Encourage her to speak up in class, from preschool to college, and state her opinion, and then be ready and willing to defend it.

2. You buy her gender-specific toys.
By only handing her pink playthings for the first three years of her life, your child may decide pink is her favorite color because “that’s what girls like.” In fact, researchers think that parents and other social factors lead children to prefer gender-specific toys, not innate genetic predispositions.

What this could mean for her future: This is important because a 2009 study found that 31% of “girl” toys are all about appearance, involving plastic makeup and dresses. Meanwhile, toys targeted to boys encourage invention, exploration, competition, mobility, problem solving–all skills associated with highly desirable employees and leaders.

How you can avoid this: Try to avoid walking exclusively down the Barbie and doll aisles at stores, and instead provide your child with games and toys that encourage scientific discovery, competition, exploration and problem solving. We like these picks.

3. You tell her she’s pretty … to the exclusion of everything else.
Yes, she’s an adorable pumpkin who looks so cute in curly pig tails that you want to squeal. But she’s also really good at writing poetry, is an architectural whiz at constructing complex pillow forts and loves singing along to The Beatles and strumming her air guitar.
What this could mean for her future: “We live in a very appearance-conscious society, and unless you can commit to completely cutting your daughter off of all forms of media and interactions at school, she is going to have a sense that her appearance counts,” says Bogue. “However, by making a concerted effort to reward, acknowledge and show a genuine appreciation for her non-appearance based achievements (academic, sport, musical, etc.), we will start to send clear messages that her value does not begin and end with the way she looks.”

How you can avoid this: Bogue advises you to “challenge yourself to match every compliment you give about your daughter’s appearance with at least two compliments about something non-appearance based.”

4. You indoctrinate her into the princess cult.
Most real-life princesses are actually quite accomplished. They can speak several languages, have excellent diplomacy skills and we know at least one who graduated from an esteemed British university. But your little girl doesn’t know that. All she knows is that the key to living happily ever after is being able to sing well enough to attract a prince to rescue her from her troubles.

What this could mean for her future: “Princess culture encourages girls to be damsels in distress whose role it is to look good and wait for a handsome prince to swoop in, ‘save her’ and bring value to her self and her path,” says Bogue. “Unless we are going to start encouraging ‘warrior princess’ mentalities and behaviors (active, heroic in her own right, in charge of her own destiny), we are going to keep our girls stuck with the feeling that they are not really relevant and valuable in and of themselves, but only in their attachment to men.”

How you can avoid this: It’s an almost impossible task to shield your daughter from princess culture altogether, and with the right messaging, there’s really no reason to. What you can do is redefine for her what a being a princess means. Take her to see “Brave” this summer, a movie about a princess who bucks expectations to save her kingdom herself–no man required. Or revisit “Tangled,” a story about a princess who doesn’t want or need the help of a prince, and couldn’t care less when her pretty blond hair gets cut off. If your daughter has already fallen in love with traditional princess stories, be sure to point out all the fabulous things the heroine is doing all on her own (Look how Belle loves reading. Ariel sure is a fabulous swimmer …)
If you’d like to have a little extra fun with the whole princess thing, take our quiz to find out which Disney Princess is your financial twin.

5. You give Dad all the physical tasks around the house.
It might be easier to let the man of the house open the pickle jar or fix the squeaky door, but we bet you could do these things too if you put your mind to it.
What this could mean for her future: “It’s important for parents to consciously challenge typical gender-specific tasks,” says Bogue. “Especially those that communicate that women are weaker than men, and that they are ‘caretakers’ rather than ‘doers,’ ‘fixers’ or ‘providers.’”
How you can avoid this: Demonstrate for your daughter that you handle important financial tasks–like these that every mom should do–and that you can cut the lawn and open pickle jars (run it under hot water and tap the lid on the counter–works every time). Also avoid handing out chores according to gender. Assign mowing the lawn and taking out the trash to your daughter, while asking your son or husband to do the dishes and vacuum the living room.
6. You only let her spend time with other girls.
While sending your daughter to an all-girls school isn’t the only place where this issue could play out, it’s still worth mentioning that there have been studies pointing both directions on whether single-sex schooling is actually more effective for girls. One study showed that graduates of single-sex schools had higher SAT scores and confidence, and better academic engagement. But another report published last fall upended the status quo, finding that all-girl schools not only don’t graduate more accomplished students, but that single-sex schools breed children more likely to believe in gender stereotypes.
What this could mean for her future: It’s not just about whether your daughter attends an all-girls school or not–the issue extends into her life outside of school as well. Studies actually show that not only do preschool-age children tend to self-segregate by sex, but that segregation leads to the development of different sets of social skills, styles, expectations and preferences–none of which will help her someday break into the board room.
How you can avoid this: If your daughter is surrounded by tons of girlfriends at school, with nary a boy in sight, try encouraging friendships with boys outside of school, with neighbors or kids of your own friends. For young children, especially, it’s important to arrange play dates with boys as well as girls, invite boys to your child’s birthday parties and other outings and unleash her on the neighborhood basketball court or a co-ed sports team. She’ll learn that she can do everything boys can do … and more.

7. You criticize your own body, and/or other women’s bodies.
Eating healthy is a must for every mom and her daughter (which is why we have healthy recipes for you!), but you don’t want to cross the line into body criticism.

What this could mean for her future: By talking in front of your daughter about your diet, how you need to lose a few pounds or criticizing other women’s clothing choices because of their body shape, you communicate that a woman’s body needs to look a certain way in order for her to be considered likable and successful.

How you can avoid this: “It is really critical that we embody the behaviors and attitudes about ourselves that we want our daughters to feel about themselves,” says Bogue. Demonstrate what healthy eating looks like: balanced meals chosen for their nutrition and energy needs. Avoid behaviors like buying low-fat, processed foods and skipping meals, which are unhealthy and ultimately unsuccessful ways to lose weight at the expense of your health.