Tuesday, 03 August 2021

BUSINESS AND ECONOMY

Items filtered by date: April 2021

Barcelona spurned the chance to go top of the table on Thursday as a shock 2-1 defeat by Granada added another twist to La Liga’s most unpredictable title race in years.

Barca could have taken control at the top by moving a point ahead of Atletico Madrid but Granada came from behind to snatch a stunning win at Camp Nou, in what will be a huge boost to the other title contenders.

Lionel Messi scored his 33rd goal of the season to put Barcelona in front but they failed to put the result beyond doubt and Granada hit back, Darwin Machis driving in and Jorge Molina’s header completing a remarkable turnaround.

Defeat means Barca took nothing from their game in hand except disappointment, which might be difficult to shake ahead of two crunch games now away at Valencia and at home to Atletico Madrid.

They stay third, level on points with Real Madrid, as Atletico retain their two-point advantage at the top, while Sevilla in fourth remain just three points off first.

Any of the four contenders could be crowned champions next month, with all of the top three squandering opportunities to take the lead in the last week.

Real Madrid were held to a goalless draw by Real Betis on Saturday before Atletico failed to take advantage as they were beaten by Athletic Bilbao.

Those results opened the door to Barcelona, but now they too have stumbled.

Granada’s victory adds another significant chapter to what has been an incredible season for Diego Martinez’s side, who reached the Europa League quarter-finals earlier this month only to be beaten by Manchester United.

They close to within five points of Villarreal, with European qualification not yet out of sight.

It started well for Barcelona, who pulled in front in the 23rd minute, a delightful turn and pass by Antoine Griezmann allowing Messi to drive into the far corner from the angle.

The chances were there for a second, the best of them falling to Sergi Roberto, who volleyed over a cut-back from Frenkie de Jong, but Granada remained in touch.

Roberto Soldado might have equalised had he not opted to pass instead of shoot and then Marchis did, latching onto a superb pass by Luis Suarez and finishing past Marc-Andre ter Stegen.

Coach Ronald Koeman was sent to the stands for his protests and Gerard Pique almost turned in a Griezmann ball to the front post, after Messi’s free-kick had spun wide off the wall.

Instead, Granada came again, more good work from Suarez in midfield allowing Adrian Marin to cross into the box, where Molina did brilliantly to dip his head and glance the ball into the far corner.

Published in Headliners

An anonymous buyer purchased a signed football card of Tom Brady for about $1.68M worth of LTC at an auction presented by Goldin Auctions. The company revealed that this is the most expensive item to be paid in cryptocurrency since it started accepting such payments.

LTC in Exchange for a Football Card

Cryptocurrencies have intertwined with American football as Goldin Auctions revealed a massive purchase at their auction with one of the most popular digital assets. The autographed card of the seven-time Super Bowl champion Tom Brady was sold to an unknown buyer for $1.68M paid in litecoin which, at the time of writing, trades at $260.

According to Goldin Auctions, the company has never sold a more expensive item since it started allowing crypto payments a month ago. Ken Goldin, Founder of Goldin Auctions commented after the deal:

”The hobby is undergoing increadible growth unlike anything I have seen in my 40+ years in the industry.”

Goldin outlined the connection between crypto and purchasing football cards and stated that this is one of the most expensive hard assets to be given in return for digital currencies:

”Trading cards and crypto are now two of the most rapidly growing alternative asset classes and we know there is a lot of overlap between the communities.”

Tom Brady’s card is regarded as the ”Holy Grail” of the collecting industry according to Tyler Winklevoss – CEO of the crypto exchange Gemini. In fact, a similar card of the football legend from the 2000 Playoffs still holds the pricing record as it was sold for $2.25M at Lelands Auctions.

Brady and Other Celebrities Got Into NFTs

Tom Brady and many other popular individuals dived inside the crypto industry and more specifically the NFT trend lately.

The 43-year old legend of American football recently revealed his plans to dip into the craze of non-fungible tokens. As CryptoPotato reported, Tom Brady announced his intentions to release his own NFT platform called Autograph.

Another popular name jumping into the world of non-fungible tokens is the hip-hop titan Eminem. Following the rumors, the 15-time Grammy award winner has officially dropped a collection of his own. The so-called Shady Con came out on Sunday with a ”variety of Eminem-approved collectibles.”

Published in News & Stories

An anonymous buyer purchased a signed football card of Tom Brady for about $1.68M worth of LTC at an auction presented by Goldin Auctions. The company revealed that this is the most expensive item to be paid in cryptocurrency since it started accepting such payments.

LTC in Exchange for a Football Card

Cryptocurrencies have intertwined with American football as Goldin Auctions revealed a massive purchase at their auction with one of the most popular digital assets. The autographed card of the seven-time Super Bowl champion Tom Brady was sold to an unknown buyer for $1.68M paid in litecoin which, at the time of writing, trades at $260.

According to Goldin Auctions, the company has never sold a more expensive item since it started allowing crypto payments a month ago. Ken Goldin, Founder of Goldin Auctions commented after the deal:

”The hobby is undergoing increadible growth unlike anything I have seen in my 40+ years in the industry.”

Goldin outlined the connection between crypto and purchasing football cards and stated that this is one of the most expensive hard assets to be given in return for digital currencies:

”Trading cards and crypto are now two of the most rapidly growing alternative asset classes and we know there is a lot of overlap between the communities.”

Tom Brady’s card is regarded as the ”Holy Grail” of the collecting industry according to Tyler Winklevoss – CEO of the crypto exchange Gemini. In fact, a similar card of the football legend from the 2000 Playoffs still holds the pricing record as it was sold for $2.25M at Lelands Auctions.

Brady and Other Celebrities Got Into NFTs

Tom Brady and many other popular individuals dived inside the crypto industry and more specifically the NFT trend lately.

The 43-year old legend of American football recently revealed his plans to dip into the craze of non-fungible tokens. As CryptoPotato reported, Tom Brady announced his intentions to release his own NFT platform called Autograph.

Another popular name jumping into the world of non-fungible tokens is the hip-hop titan Eminem. Following the rumors, the 15-time Grammy award winner has officially dropped a collection of his own. The so-called Shady Con came out on Sunday with a ”variety of Eminem-approved collectibles.”

Published in News & Stories
*A narrow, old bridge that connects two economically vital areas of Nigeria is a chokepoint stifling progress in Africa’s most populous nation

Times Insider explains who we are and what we do, and delivers behind-the-scenes insights into how our journalism comes together.

ON THE RIVER NIGER BRIDGE, Nigeria — After two hours spent in gridlocked traffic trying to cross a bridge spanning the mighty Niger River, despair kicks in. We’ve not moved an inch. I fidget in the back seat. Will we ever make it to the other side?

After being stuck three hours — time mostly spent pondering why in Nigeria, the giant of Africa, this narrow bridge is the only major connection between two economically vital southern regions — acceptance arrives: This is where we’re spending the night.

People emerge from their cars and trucks to stretch, accepting it too. Half a dozen men drift to the curbside, to sit and joke. Women lean on the trunks of their cars and chat.

A man pushing a wheelbarrow bounces past, weaving his way between tanker trucks, yellow buses and vehicles piled with mattresses. His wheelbarrow is a grill, full of hot coals, its contents illuminated by a light clipped to the side. He stops, flipping the meat with tongs.

Low on gas, we kill the engine and open our windows. The smell of suya — spiced meat — drifts in.

Below us, the Niger, Africa’s third-longest river and what gave Nigeria its name, is invisible in hot clouds of exhaust lit by red taillights, its flowing waters inaudible over the noise of idling engines.

A driver calls to the meat seller. I’m about to do the same. Absorbed by the story I’m reporting on Nigeria’s merchants of false hope who promise, for a fee, to help families find loved ones who disappeared in police custody, all we’ve eaten today are a few bananas and peanuts.

But suddenly, we’re moving. Everyone races back to their vehicles. An enormous truck bristling with baskets zooms off as fast as possible, almost grazing the wheelbarrow grill. We’re off! But only for a minute. We get about 50 yards before grinding to a halt.

For all its 56 years, this 4,600-foot steel-truss bridge over the Niger has borne a heavy load, connecting the twin cities of Onitsha, a commercial hub, and calmer Asaba, where many commuters to Onitsha live despite the daily crossing ordeal.

Over the decades, countless truckloads of timber, palm kernels and rubber have passed this way. Every imaginable consumer good — lingerie, snails, motorbikes, toilet brushes, fluorescent mosquito nets, hub caps, paraffin lamps, iPhones — also trundles through, headed to or from West Africa’s biggest commercial market, in buzzing Onitsha.

Each year, goods worth $5 billion are traded at the Onitsha market, a state government agency said in 2016. It was home to Onitsha Market Literature, Nigeria’s pulp fiction industry, and key to the success of Nollywood, Nigeria’s multibillion-dollar movie business: 51 Iweka Road, one of the three biggest movie distributor networks, is in the Onitsha market.

ImageThe market in Onitsha, Nigeria, where about $5 billion in goods is traded each year.
The market in Onitsha, Nigeria, where about $5 billion in goods is traded each year. Credit...Afolabi Sotunde/Reuters

In addition to all those wares, huge numbers of Nigerian travelers also depend on the bridge. Nigeria’s population, estimated to have crossed the 200 million mark, has probably quadrupled since 1965, the year the bridge was built. (Censuses are not often taken, so it’s impossible to know for sure.)

The jam we are stuck in on this November night is no anomaly. Every day, travelers and goods arriving from all directions are funneled toward the bridge, meaning most crossings are going to take hours. The trips are further slowed by security checkpoints on the approaches to the bridge.

This chokepoint over the Niger is obstructing progress in Nigeria’s entrepreneurial southeast, one of the country’s most prosperous regions.

But the dearth of bridges — and the dilapidated or incomplete state of much of Nigeria’s infrastructure — is a broad problem holding the entire country back, analysts say.

“It impacts the cost of doing business,” said Patrick Okigbo, a policy analyst who worked with Nigeria’s last government to develop a national infrastructure plan. “It impacts lives. If they can afford it, nobody travels by road anymore. If you can’t, then you go on a prayer.”

A mile downstream from the crowded scene on the Niger Bridge, invisible in the viscous night air, may lie an answer: another bridge, half built.

The Second Niger Bridge was originally proposed in 1978, and ever since has been used as a campaign promise by national politicians seeking the support of voters in the southeast. It took more than three decades for the work to begin, but finally the company building the six-lane bridge says it will be ready by 2022.

The Second Niger Bridge as seen from Asaba. Construction started in 2018 and is projected to be complete by 2022.
The Second Niger Bridge as seen from Asaba. Construction started in 2018 and is projected to be complete by 2022.Credit...Yagazie Emezi for The New York Times

When done, it will be “a huge sigh of relief to all Easterners in this country,” says Newman Nwankwo, 33, a businessman based in Onitsha who often plans his whole day around bridge traffic. Either he tries to cross at the lunchtime lull between noon and 2 p.m., or he waits until Sunday.

He won’t even attempt the crossing unless he has at least half a tank of gas.

“If I don’t plan well and I meet traffic, I just relax here in the queue, putting my A.C. and music on,” he said.

Stalled on the bridge, I look around and imagine what all these people could be doing if their time weren’t being sucked away by these daily snarl-ups and the four-decade wait for another option across the river. Bridges cause traffic all over the world, but this one’s aging steel rivets seem to be under more pressure than any I have ever crossed.

Another hour ticks by. We move a few inches.

People pass by, selling cold water and Coke. Where there is a go-slow, as traffic jams are known in Nigeria, vendor business blossoms.

Any movement is an on-again, off-again process. At one point when traffic starts forward, the driver in front of us is asleep. No amount of honking wakes him. Someone rushes over to shake him awake.

We go for 30 seconds. We stop for 30 minutes.

At midnight we make it across. It’s taken almost six hours to do three miles.

Leaving the bridge, we pass under a large sign on the Asaba side.

“Welcome,” it reads, optimistically, “to the land of progress.”

Ruth Maclean is the West Africa bureau chief of The New York Times.


Ruth Maclean is the West Africa bureau chief for The New York Times, based in Senegal. She joined The Times in 2019 after three and a half years covering West Africa for The Guardian. @ruthmaclean

A version of this article appears in print on April 29, 2021, Section A, Page 2 of the New York edition with the headline: A Traffic Nightmare Stalling Nigeria.
Published in Business and Economy

*A narrow, old bridge that connects two economically vital areas of Nigeria is a chokepoint stifling progress in Africa’s most populous nation

Times Insider explains who we are and what we do, and delivers behind-the-scenes insights into how our journalism comes together.

ON THE RIVER NIGER BRIDGE, Nigeria — After two hours spent in gridlocked traffic trying to cross a bridge spanning the mighty Niger River, despair kicks in. We’ve not moved an inch. I fidget in the back seat. Will we ever make it to the other side?

After being stuck three hours — time mostly spent pondering why in Nigeria, the giant of Africa, this narrow bridge is the only major connection between two economically vital southern regions — acceptance arrives: This is where we’re spending the night.

People emerge from their cars and trucks to stretch, accepting it too. Half a dozen men drift to the curbside, to sit and joke. Women lean on the trunks of their cars and chat.

A man pushing a wheelbarrow bounces past, weaving his way between tanker trucks, yellow buses and vehicles piled with mattresses. His wheelbarrow is a grill, full of hot coals, its contents illuminated by a light clipped to the side. He stops, flipping the meat with tongs.

Low on gas, we kill the engine and open our windows. The smell of suya — spiced meat — drifts in.

Below us, the Niger, Africa’s third-longest river and what gave Nigeria its name, is invisible in hot clouds of exhaust lit by red taillights, its flowing waters inaudible over the noise of idling engines.

A driver calls to the meat seller. I’m about to do the same. Absorbed by the story I’m reporting on Nigeria’s merchants of false hope who promise, for a fee, to help families find loved ones who disappeared in police custody, all we’ve eaten today are a few bananas and peanuts.

But suddenly, we’re moving. Everyone races back to their vehicles. An enormous truck bristling with baskets zooms off as fast as possible, almost grazing the wheelbarrow grill. We’re off! But only for a minute. We get about 50 yards before grinding to a halt.

For all its 56 years, this 4,600-foot steel-truss bridge over the Niger has borne a heavy load, connecting the twin cities of Onitsha, a commercial hub, and calmer Asaba, where many commuters to Onitsha live despite the daily crossing ordeal.

Over the decades, countless truckloads of timber, palm kernels and rubber have passed this way. Every imaginable consumer good — lingerie, snails, motorbikes, toilet brushes, fluorescent mosquito nets, hub caps, paraffin lamps, iPhones — also trundles through, headed to or from West Africa’s biggest commercial market, in buzzing Onitsha.

Each year, goods worth $5 billion are traded at the Onitsha market, a state government agency said in 2016. It was home to Onitsha Market Literature, Nigeria’s pulp fiction industry, and key to the success of Nollywood, Nigeria’s multibillion-dollar movie business: 51 Iweka Road, one of the three biggest movie distributor networks, is in the Onitsha market.

ImageThe market in Onitsha, Nigeria, where about $5 billion in goods is traded each year.
The market in Onitsha, Nigeria, where about $5 billion in goods is traded each year. Credit...Afolabi Sotunde/Reuters

In addition to all those wares, huge numbers of Nigerian travelers also depend on the bridge. Nigeria’s population, estimated to have crossed the 200 million mark, has probably quadrupled since 1965, the year the bridge was built. (Censuses are not often taken, so it’s impossible to know for sure.)

The jam we are stuck in on this November night is no anomaly. Every day, travelers and goods arriving from all directions are funneled toward the bridge, meaning most crossings are going to take hours. The trips are further slowed by security checkpoints on the approaches to the bridge.

This chokepoint over the Niger is obstructing progress in Nigeria’s entrepreneurial southeast, one of the country’s most prosperous regions.

But the dearth of bridges — and the dilapidated or incomplete state of much of Nigeria’s infrastructure — is a broad problem holding the entire country back, analysts say.

“It impacts the cost of doing business,” said Patrick Okigbo, a policy analyst who worked with Nigeria’s last government to develop a national infrastructure plan. “It impacts lives. If they can afford it, nobody travels by road anymore. If you can’t, then you go on a prayer.”

A mile downstream from the crowded scene on the Niger Bridge, invisible in the viscous night air, may lie an answer: another bridge, half built.

The Second Niger Bridge was originally proposed in 1978, and ever since has been used as a campaign promise by national politicians seeking the support of voters in the southeast. It took more than three decades for the work to begin, but finally the company building the six-lane bridge says it will be ready by 2022.

The Second Niger Bridge as seen from Asaba. Construction started in 2018 and is projected to be complete by 2022.
The Second Niger Bridge as seen from Asaba. Construction started in 2018 and is projected to be complete by 2022.Credit...Yagazie Emezi for The New York Times

When done, it will be “a huge sigh of relief to all Easterners in this country,” says Newman Nwankwo, 33, a businessman based in Onitsha who often plans his whole day around bridge traffic. Either he tries to cross at the lunchtime lull between noon and 2 p.m., or he waits until Sunday.

He won’t even attempt the crossing unless he has at least half a tank of gas.

“If I don’t plan well and I meet traffic, I just relax here in the queue, putting my A.C. and music on,” he said.

Stalled on the bridge, I look around and imagine what all these people could be doing if their time weren’t being sucked away by these daily snarl-ups and the four-decade wait for another option across the river. Bridges cause traffic all over the world, but this one’s aging steel rivets seem to be under more pressure than any I have ever crossed.

Another hour ticks by. We move a few inches.

People pass by, selling cold water and Coke. Where there is a go-slow, as traffic jams are known in Nigeria, vendor business blossoms.

Any movement is an on-again, off-again process. At one point when traffic starts forward, the driver in front of us is asleep. No amount of honking wakes him. Someone rushes over to shake him awake.

We go for 30 seconds. We stop for 30 minutes.

At midnight we make it across. It’s taken almost six hours to do three miles.

Leaving the bridge, we pass under a large sign on the Asaba side.

“Welcome,” it reads, optimistically, “to the land of progress.”

Ruth Maclean is the West Africa bureau chief of The New York Times.


Ruth Maclean is the West Africa bureau chief for The New York Times, based in Senegal. She joined The Times in 2019 after three and a half years covering West Africa for The Guardian. @ruthmaclean

A version of this article appears in print on April 29, 2021, Section A, Page 2 of the New York edition with the headline: A Traffic Nightmare Stalling Nigeria.
Published in Business and Economy

The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) has intercepted and seized 200 million kilogrammes of assorted drugs with a street value of over N80 billion, NDLEA chairman, retired Brig. Gen. Buba Marwa, has said.

Marwa, who stated this when the Acting Inspector General of Police, Usman Baba, paid him a courtesy visit in his office on Wednesday, in Abuja, said that over 2,100 criminals had also been arrested in connection with the seizures with over 350 convictions secured.

He said that the NDLEA was working on the mandate given to it by President Muhammadu Buhari to mop up all crime related issues in Nigeria, as the use of illicit drugs and substances had been confirmed as major way criminals used in terrorising communities and the society at large.

According to him, banditry, terrorism and other related crimes were generally triggered by intake and consumption of illicit drugs.

“The NDLEA has remained upstanding and in 100 days, we have made these heavy and large arrests and seizures.

“This is the time for more collaboration with the Police. We believe the Police will support us with intelligence and training.

“We are very encouraged to have the IG here, for us to join hands to curb crimes and criminality in Nigeria.

“And I want to assure you that I will be readily available to rub minds with you, as we need a renewed collaboration between the NDLEA and the Police,” he said.

In his remarks, the Acting Inspector General of Police, Usman Baba, commended the NDLEA for the number of seizures so far made.

He said any collaboration between the two organisations would be very beneficial, having seen the improvement and hard work put in by the Chairman in his 100 days in office.

“We want to assure the agency that we will always be ready to work and do anything to ensure use of illicit drugs and substances were curbed and reduced to the barest minimum.

“Anywhere you need our support, we will be available,” Baba told his host.

(NAN).

Published in News & Stories

President Biden is a man with a plan. Three plans, actually.

On Wednesday, Mr. Biden announced the third blockbuster domestic funding proposal of his presidency, hours before his first speech before a joint session of Congress. Mr. Biden’s plans add up to about $6 trillion and reflect an ambition to restore the federal government to the role it played during the New Deal and Great Society.

Here is what the plans — one passed and two pending — would do.

Mr. Biden’s coronavirus relief bill, passed in the Senate by a 50-to-49, party-line vote in March, was a sequel to the $2.2 trillion pandemic relief bill enacted during the Trump administration a year ago.

The centerpiece of the bill was a one-time direct payment of up to $1,400 for hundreds of millions of Americans, along with a $300 weekly federal supplement to unemployment benefits through the summer, and money for distributing vaccines.

It included $350 billion in emergency funding for localities — $195 billion for states, $130 billion for local governments, $20 billion for tribal governments and $4.5 billion for territories.

But it was also aimed at reducing long-term poverty. The plan provides $21.6 billion for federally subsidized housing, an enormous infusion of cash into a long-stagnant sector, with billions in emergency rental assistance and longer-term capital projects.

Mr. Biden’s infrastructure plan, unveiled on March 31, includes $621 billion for transportation projects, including bridges, roads, mass transit, ports, airports and electric vehicle development.

It would also funnel $111 billion into improving drinking-water infrastructure, and provide billions more for expanding broadband access and upgrading electric grids.

It adds $20 billion worth of tax credits for the construction and renovation of 500,000 units of affordable housing, an additional $40 billion for public housing capital improvements, and $100 billion for building and upgrading public schools.

About $300 billion is slated for assisting manufacturers and small businesses, and improving access to capital and investment in clean energy, along with $100 billion for work force development.

The most transformational and polarizing element of the plan is a $400 billion for “home- or community-based care for aging relatives and people with disabilities” — an attempt by Mr. Biden to expand the definition of infrastructure to include the fast-growing network of workers responsible for caring for the country’s aging population.

How he would pay for it: raising the corporate tax rate, which Republicans have cut in recent years, to 28 percent from 21 percent and forcing multinational corporations to pay significantly more in taxes.

The Biden administration on Wednesday detailed a collection of spending increases and tax cuts that seeks to expand access to education, reduce the cost of child care and support women in the work force.

While some details remain vague, the plan includes $1 trillion in new spending and $800 billion in tax credits.

It includes a $225 billion investment in federally subsidized child care and a paid family and medical leave program that will cost about $225 billion over the next decade as well as a $200 billion reduction in premiums for people enrolled in the Affordable Care Act.

It would also provide $200 billion in new education funding that would include free universal preschool for 5 million children in low-income and working-class families. In addition, Mr. Biden is also requesting funding for two free years of community college education to all Americans, including young immigrants known as the Dreamers.

How he would pay for it: The plan includes $80 billion in enhancements to the I.R.S., which the administration estimates could raise $700 billion from high earners and corporations that evade taxes.

Mr. Biden also wants to increase the marginal income tax rate for the top 1 percent of American income earners, to 39.6 percent from 37 percent and raise capital gains and dividend tax rates for those who earn more than $1 million a year.

Published in News & Stories

On April 27, the American bank holding company U.S. Bank revealed in a blog post that the financial institution plans to offer cryptocurrency custody services. The bank’s chief strategy officer for U.S. Bank Global Fund Services, Christine Waldron, says she is proud of her company’s steps toward blockchain and cryptocurrency practices.

US Bank to Offer Cryptocurrency Services Pending Compliance Approval

During the first week of January 2021, The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) revealed that national banks and savings associations in the U.S. could deal with stablecoins and public blockchains. Following that announcement, The oldest bank in America, Bank of New York Mellon (BNY Mellon) disclosed in mid-February that it created a digital currency unit. On Tuesday, the fifth-largest banking institution in the country, U.S. Bank published a blog post that details new cryptocurrency offerings.

Although, the blog post does not reveal when the bank will deploy these products, but the bank mentioned three types of services. The bank will offer a “new cryptocurrency custody product for customers with the engagement of a sub-custodian for fund servicing.” At the moment, the company is finalizing the arrangement for a sub-custodian. U.S. Bank also says that the company is also working on strategic relationships.

“We recently announced our investment in Securrency – a developer of institutional-grade blockchain-based financial and regulatory technology,” the bank said. U.S. Bank will also be working with NYDIG’s exchange-traded fund. “U.S. Bank has been selected to administer NYDIG’s ETF bitcoin fund this year, pending regulatory approvals. It expands on the bank’s long-standing private fund servicing relationship with NYDIG,” the announcement notes.

‘Driving Innovation in Our Blockchain and Cryptocurrency Practice’

U.S. Bank’s Christine Waldron explained that she is proud of her financial institution for its forward-thinking practices. “I am proud of how we came together from all areas of banking and brought forward our best thinking across our digital capabilities, product development, and technology to drive innovation in our blockchain and cryptocurrency practice,” Waldron detailed.

“We’ve been active in this space for years – ensuring we are always best situated to serve our institutional clients – and these latest initiatives demonstrate our ongoing commitment and enthusiasm to grow this market,” the chief strategy officer for U.S. Bank Global Fund Services concluded.

Published in News & Stories

By Kofoworola Belo-Osagie and Olabisi Salau/ THE NATION

JAMB Registrar, Prof. Is-haq Oloyede, has announced the creation of a USSD code to further simplify registration process for the 2021 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME).

Speaking in Lagos on Wednesday, Oloyede said the USSD code, which launches on Friday would help candidates get their codes just by dialing *55019*1*NIN#.

He said: “We came together as a team to proffer solution by creating a USSD Code which will start functioning from Friday 30th of April.

“The USSD code would be available to the student who is yet to send their NIN number to the number requested, they can get to send the USSD code which consists of *55019*1*NIN# then they get the Pin needed for further registration.”

Oloyede said before the USSD, the registration was seamless but attributed hitches to errors by parents and candidates.

While visiting some registration centres in Lagos, he was able to troubleshoot issues for some of the candidates.

He told journalists there was a N50.00 charge to get the code after candidates send their NIN as SMS to 55019.

However, many received error messages because they had no airtime credit or did not input the NIN with required spacing between the numbers.

“Some of the students didn’t know that after you have send the code with a number at first then the number would be registered so if he or she attempts another number it won’t go unless they resolve the issues with the number and then attempt again with the registered number then the Pin will be generated for the registration process.

“We have an open ticket on www.jamb.com so the student could also check for the reasons why the NIN number isn’t been processed with their phone.

“If there are problems we will know because we are also receiving the company of the process on the database of the jamb,” he said.

Oloyede accused parents of causing some of the problems by not allowing the candidates to register by themselves.

He said he had encountered many parents who input the wrong data on behalf of their ward then claimed the process was not working, while on the contrary candidates were registering successfully on daily basis.

As at the time of the interview, he showed registration data on the JAMB website that noted that 11,296 candidates had registered that day.

Speaking on claims on the social media that the admission process at the University of Ibadan was fraught with fraud, Oloyede said it was false.

He said UI was the most compliant university in the Central Admission Processing System (CAPS) set up by JAMB.

“The matter of the University of Ibadan circulating the media of the institution jumping students has been false allegations.

“We have checked thoroughly and monitored the process. So far the University of Ibadan has been the most compliant. The complaints of them jumping candidates are false.

“Candidates are picked accordingly and if institution is caught in the act then we have the EFCC for thorough investigation. It is for this reasons we got linked with them and the police force,” he said.

Published in News & Stories

Manchester United’s players have been nothing if not consistent in the semifinals of major tournaments over the past year and a half

Manchester United’s players have been nothing if not consistent in the semifinals of major tournaments over the last year and a half.

They have played in four, and they have lost in four.

No. 5 is coming up on Thursday when Roma visits Old Trafford for the first leg of the Europa League semifinals and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has reason to believe this time will be different.

“The players have had another year, they’re more experienced and they’ve come through some difficult times,” the United manager said. “And with the motivation of having those disappointments, I’m confident we’ll get a good performance.”

And it was a familiar story in January, when United was beaten 2-0 by City in a League Cup semifinal rematch.

The opponents have been tough, no doubt, but that hasn’t stopped United from collecting a reputation of choking on the big occasion under Solskjaer, who is still awaiting his first trophy since taking over as manager as the replacement for Jose Mourinho in December 2018.

Solskjaer has analyzed each of the losses in the semifinals and hasn’t spotted an obvious reason why United keeps falling short, except for the quality of the opposition.

Roma, which is seventh in Serie A, is probably the weakest team United has faced in this run of last-four meetings and Solskjaer insisted Wednesday he meant no disrespect when he said about the Italian team after the win over Granada in the quarterfinals: “I’ve not seen too much of them.”

Roma fans are using the words as ammunition for their team — posters have been put up around the city of Solskjaer, along with those comments — but the United manager downplayed it and said Roma was a “fantastic club with a great history.”

“I’ve actually got two prized possessions back home, a Totti shirt and a De Rossi shirt that I’ve swapped with them,” he said, referring to two of the greatest players in Roma’s modern history, Francesco Totti and Daniele De Rossi. “They’re actually signed, so I know about the history, I know about the quality.”

It is a rather fraught time at United, with fans protesting against the club’s ownership — the Glazer family — for its involvement in the plan to hatch a European Super League. That was quickly abandoned last week, but anti-Glazer sentiment has been reignited and it was put to Solskjaer that the achievement of winning the Europa League would be devalued in a sense because United’s owners don’t appear to care about the competition.

“I’ve had a very good relationship with the owners and with the club. They’ve employed me as manager, they listen to my views,” he said. “It’s my job to give my opinion and do the best for the club and for them.

“I’ve had so many years at the club, I’m looking forward to trying to bring success to the team. That’s my focus. Bringing fans, players and the club together.”

Published in Headliners
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