Monday, 18 October 2021

BUSINESS AND ECONOMY

By Linus Oota, Lafia/ THE NATION

  • They lured me to sleep with them, says errant lover

  • First twin sister: I couldn’t resist his swag

  • Second twin sister: First time was amazing, I demanded another round

  • I can’t be alive to see this shame — Distraught mother

It all sounds like a scene in Nollywood movie, but it is as real as daylight. Twin sisters had a baby each two months apart for a man their mother was dating and planned to marry after losing her husband in one of the incidents of the farmers/herders crisis that has rocked Nasarawa and other neighbouring states in recent times.

Thoroughly embarrassed by the ugly spectacle, the distraught mother of the twin sisters, Mrs Alice Ukange, is threatening to take her own life, saying that she cannot be alive to see “the shame” meted out to her by Philomina and Patricia.

Both Philomina, who was delivered of a baby girl in January, and Patricia, who was delivered of a baby boy in March, insist that they were impregnated by Mr Augustine Angwe, who had been dating their mother, Alice, since she lost her husband, Francis Ukange, after 14 years in marriage.

The couple were said to have been blessed with the twin sisters about four years after they got married. And with the death of Ukange, Alice resorted to combining farming with petty trading in order to make ends meet.

With life becoming extremely hard for Alice and her daughters, they relocated to Assakyo, a suburb community in Lafia, Nasarawa State capital, where she started buying raw food items from local farmers and selling same to make some money.

With this, she was able to send her twins to a public school in Assakyo and the family appeared to have found their feet until a wolf in sheep clothing found its way into their fold.

The poor mother had met Mr. Angwe, an indigene of Vandeikya Local Government Area, Benue state, in 2017 while the latter was in Nasarawa State to transact his business, which was buying raw food items from the local farmers and taking them to the Southeast to sell at higher prices.

In the course of doing the same business, Angwe and Alice met in a local market in Obi Local Government Area of Nasarawa State and they struck a relationship which within three months blossomed to the point that Alice relocated from Assakyo to stay with Augustine in Lafia where he had paid for an apartment.

In no time, Angwe, who had lost his wife and two kids in a fatal accident on Katsina Ala Road in Benue State and was yet to remarry, became a part of the family, rendering finance assistance to Alice’s female twins to meet their basic needs; a development that soon drew the twins very close to him.

Later, Angwe and Alice began a joint business, buying yams from local farmers in Nasarawa State and transporting them for sales at higher price in Lagos and Port Harcourt. The business flourished with Alice always on the road while Angwe took care of the home front and made arrangements for new stocks.

Meanwhile, one of the twin sisters, Philomina, had completed her secondary school and secured admission into the College of Education Akwanga to do a Pre-NCE programme while Patricia remained in Lafia for a diploma programme at the Nasarawa State Polytechnic.

Now a father figure to the twin sisters, Angwe allegedly started enticing them with luxury items and seized the chance to sleep with them at different locations until he got both of them pregnant.

Lamenting her condition in an interview with our correspondent, Alice said: “The man (Angwe) encouraged me and gave me some money to run this yam business, going from Nasarawa to Port Harcourt and Lagos. So I was always away and he took them as his own children. Little did I think that he could lure them to sleep with him.”

Alice believes that Angwe might have used a charm on her daughters to get them to sleep with him, saying: “How he was able to start sleeping with them so easily is what I don’t know. At 22 years, my twins are no longer kids. They are fully aware that the man is dating me.”

•The twin sisters, Philomina (left) and Patricia, with their babies
•The twin sisters, Philomina (left) and Patricia, with their babies

“It is unthinkable and unbelievable. He was visiting Philomina in Akwanga and using the opportunity to sleep with her in a hotel. He enticed her with luxury items and bought her a big phone. Back in Lafia, he was also sleeping with Patricia using the same tricks.

“I was always away on business trips while he stayed behind, looking for local yams to buy. When I noticed that they were both pregnant, they refused to tell me who was responsible for them.

“Before the untimely death of their father, he had warned them never to do an abortion, saying that any of them who tried to abort a pregnancy would die. The essence of it was to scare them so they would not destroy themselves early.

“So when the idea of aborting the unwanted pregnancy was mooted, the thought of their late father’s words came and we all became afraid. They also refused to disclose the person that was responsible. So out of anger, I left them alone.

“Incidentally, Mr Augustine (Angwe) too was asking me to leave them alone, saying that they would make their confessions at their own time. But one month, two months, three months and four months passed without them identifying the person. That was how they carried the pregnancies for nine months and were delivered of babies.” Shocking revelation

Alice recalled that two months the second of the twin sisters was delivered of her own baby, Angwe woke her up one night and broke to her the news that he was actually responsible for their pregnancies and that the new born babies belonged to him.

“I broke down in tears and cried for a whole week. I asked him what I had done to deserve this wicked act. It is a shame that my own fiancé is the father of my twins’ babies. How would I explain this shameful development to people?

“My husband was killed with members of his entire family when herdsmen invaded their village and cleared everybody in the village. We had travelled to Lafia for some medication and were the only surviving people in the family.

“I met Augustine as a gentle, nice and humble man. He treated me like my late husband. He cared so much about my twins. But he ended up ruining our lives. How can you be sleeping with me and my twin children at the same time?”

Our correspondent had got hint of the development early last month (June), but getting the parties involved in the matter to speak was a herculean task until he met Alice in Awe Market where she had gone to buy yams and she obliged to speak about it.

She said: “My name is Alice Ukange. I am a widow. I lost my husband here in Awe during the herdsmen/farmers crisis some years back. I met one Augustine Angwe in the course of my business. One thing led to another and we started dating ourselves.

“He appeared to be gentle, humble and kind. I was carried away and I allowed my twins to be close to him. He took time and planted evil in my house by impregnating them. “They have now given birth. I allowed it because their father warned them not to do abortion and that they would die if they did.

“Augustine has finished me. He slept with me, slept with my twins and impregnated them, and they have given birth for him.

“I am confused and have informed one of my late husband’s relatives and he too is speechless.

“Going to the police would not solve the problem as the damage has been done already. There is nothing the police can do, more so that Augustine is ever ready to take care of them. But the big question remains how a man would marry twin sisters.”

In a chat with or correspondent in Lafia, Angwe admitted impregnating the twin sisters, saying that he would have aborted the pregnancies but they insisted on keeping them. He also said the girls in question were the ones who lured him into sleeping with them.

He said: “I didn’t know that they would get pregnant. But when they did, I wanted them aborted but they refused, saying that their father warned them against it.

“My brother, these girls were actually the ones who lured me into sleeping with them. They enjoyed it the first time we had it. From what started like a joke, it became a regular thing.

“I know I have deeply hurt the mother but it has happen and there is nothing anybody can do. That is the work of the devil and I wholeheartedly accepted responsibility so as not to ruin their lives. They can pick up the pieces of their lives and move on after nursing the babies.

“To avoid the shame, I moved them to Makurdi. I will take care of the little babies. And if their mothers want to go to school after the babies might have walked, they can continue and I will support them. If they don’t want to stay with me, I will take my children while they continue with their lives.

“I have been begging the mother since I disclosed this information to her that I am responsible for it and I will take care of it, but she is still angry. I know that what I did was wrong. It is a taboo, but it is late to correct it.”

Our correspondent also travelled from Lafia to Makurdi to meet one of the twin sisters, Philomina, who was seeing nursing her new born baby.

Philomina said she was in a dilemma, adding that she wished that all that had happened to her never did. She added that both she and her twin sister, Patricia, were in agony.

She said: “I can’t really explain how I found myself here. I didn’t know that the man was sleeping with my twin sister too. I know that he was dating my mother, but how he got to impregnate me, I don’t know.

“I think I have made one of the biggest mistakes ever. How did I get here? Augustine (Angwe) is my mum’s lover and I know it quite well. But every time he came visiting me in Akwanga, I just had this feeling. He is very attractive and there is a unique swag about him.

“I started messing with him in Akwanga. There was a time he came to Akwanga in the evening and decided to see me. My mum had travelled to Port Harcourt on a business trip. He called me to meet him in a beer palour and he was there alone drinking beer.

“We began to talk and I eased my way over to him. He was resistant at first, but that just made me more excited. I low key seduced him and our affair began. Every time my mum travelled, he would come over and have sex with me.

“I knew him when he started dating my mother and we were intimate right afterwards. So when I missed my period, it took me some time to disclose to him that he was responsible for it. I didn’t also know how to break the news to my mum

“Well, the worst has happened. My late father warned me not to do abortion and my child deserves to have a father. She will walk and I will return to school to pick up my life. That is all I have to say.

“As for getting married to him, she said it is not possible. I will further my education.”

Our correspondent also visited Gboko where Patricia was also nursing her new born baby boy.

She said: “The first day I had sex with Augustine, my mother went to Obi Market. It was in the morning. My mum left us at home. She forgot some money and returned to pick it.

“She almost caught us but I lied about it when she asked what we were doing. She suspected something, but the trust she has in Augustine convinced her.

“The thing is she got a glimpse of me while I was fixing my clothes up and asked why I got undressed in the morning hours.

“I told her I was trying out the new outfit I had just bought. In the whole of that time, Augustine was in the bathroom cooling off. She didn’t question me any further. She picked up her money and left.

“It was amazing. I see why my mum loves Augustine so much. So when she left, I decided we should have a second round, because I enjoyed it, and we continued at every little opportunity.

“When I missed my period, I was actually afraid to tell my mum that Augustine was responsible. I had thought about abortion to just mask everything, but remembering the warning our late father gave us about abortion, I decided to leave it.

“I have brought shame to my mother and the entire family. May God forgive all my sins. I never knew it would get to this level. I was doing it blindly and it has consumed me.”

On her future plans, she said she would hand the baby over to Angwe at the appropriate and move on with her life.

“I can’t marry him. I will nurture his son for him and walk away.”

Mr Clement Agbe, a relation to the late husband of Alice, said that what had happened in the family was strange to the culture of Tiv people.

“It is a taboo. But let’s see what the future holds for the new born babies. It is unthinkable.”

The Public Relations Officer of the Nasarawa State Police Command, Mr. Rahman Nansel, an Assistant Superintendent of Police, said the matter had not been reported to the command.

Published in News & Stories
By Yusuf Alli and Onyedi Ojiabor, Abuja/ THE NATION

Armed with a trove of information after a forensic investigation, the Federal Government is set to go after backers of leader of Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) Nnamdi Kanu.

The Minister of Information, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said on Thursday: “We can tell you that the forensic investigation carried out so far has revealed a treasure trove of information on the proscribed IPOB leader and his collaborators.

“While the investigation continues, we assure you that none of the collaborators, irrespective of their standing in the society, will be spared.” “They will all face the full wrath of the law for their activities that challenge our nation’s sovereignty and threaten its unity.

“No one, no matter how highly-placed, is bigger than the country.”

The Nation reported on Thursday that the call logs of the IPOB leader and his various social medias accounts are being screened by security operatives to determine financiers of the group and its leader.

Mohammed spoke in Abuja on how Kanu was intercepted “and whisked back home after two years on his trail. Kanu jumped bail in 2017 and travelled out of the county.

He is now facing trial before Justice Binta Murtala Nyako, charged with treason, terrorism and illegal possession of firearms among others. His case will resume on July 26.

Also yesterday, a letter written by the government to some European embassies indicates that “Kanu instigated the killing of 60 people within four months” in the Southeast.

The minister also spoke on the efforts that led to the re-arrest of Kanu in addition to assuring the public that the IPOB leader will be given fair hearing.

He also shed light on the opulent lifestyle Kanu lived abroad using the funds being channeled to IPOB.

He said: “There have been speculations on how this re-arrest was pulled off and in which country the hitherto fugitive leader of the proscribed IPOB was nabbed.

“ What we can tell you, is that the re-arrest was made possible by the diligent efforts of our security and intelligence agencies, in collaboration with countries with which we have obligations. We continue to respect and honour the obligations.

“It will interest Nigerians to know that for over two years, our security and intelligence agencies were on the trail of the proscribed IPOB leader as he lived a five-star life across several countries, travelling on chartered private jets, living in luxury apartments and turning out in designing clothes and shoes.

“ Of course, as we all saw, he was wearing an attire made by Fendi, a luxury Italian fashion brand, when he was arrested.”

Mohammed explained that many security agencies worked to effect Kanu’s arrest which he said was “made possible through the collaboration of Nigerian security and intelligence agencies.

“The Federal Government wishes to commend the Nigerian security and intelligence agencies, who collaborated to re-arrest the proscribed IPOB leader in one of the most classic operations of its type in the world.

“ We commend the professionalism, diligence, patriotism and painstaking efforts of our security and intelligence agencies.

“ We also thank the sister international agencies that collaborated with us to pull off this arrest.”

Mohammed assured all those seeking justice for Kanu that the suspect will get a fair trial.

“ It is interesting that many are suddenly calling for a fair trial for Kanu as if he didn’t get one before he decided to jump bail and flee. “However, I can assure you that the fair deal that Kanu denied many of the victims of the violence which he willfully instigated through his broadcasts and tweets will not be denied him.”

Published in Business and Economy

Agency Reporter

The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, has released the final list of successful candidates in the Narcotic Officer cadre and the first of three batches of Narcotic Assistant cadre in its 2019 recruitment.

Its Director, Media and Advocacy, Mr Femi Babafemi, said this in a statement on Thursday in Abuja.

Babafemi said the final list of successful candidates in the Narcotic Officer Cadre and the first batch of Narcotic Assistant cadre had been published on the agency’s website: www.ndlea.gov.ng

He added that the successful candidates (Narcotic Officers and Assistants) were to report at the NDLEA Academy, Kotton Rikus, Jos with some documents.

The documents include, original and photocopy of credentials and NDLEA online application reference slip; four copies of 5×7 colour photograph without cap/hat, writing materials to include biro; pencils, ruler, notebooks and file jacket, among others.

Babafemi urged all successful candidates to observe COVID-19 protocols at all times, adding that the successful candidates who failed to report by 6.00 p.m. on July 20, would be disqualified.

He said the successful candidates of the Narcotic Assistant cadre would be released in batches.

“The first 1,000 successful candidates of Narcotic Assistant cadre is the first of the three batches to be released. The remaining two batches will be released subsequently,” he said. (NAN)

Published in News & Stories

Our Reporter/ THE NATION

The proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) has accused President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya and his Government over alleged role in abduction of its leader, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu and subsequent ‘smuggling’ into Nigeria by security agents.

The group threatened to sue Kenyatta and his ‘partners in crime’ to the International Criminal Court, ICC.

In a statement from the Media and Publicity Secretary, Emma Powerful, IPOB noted that the Kenyan President, through such act, had demonstrated his affection for the murderous Fulani terrorists ravaging the entire Nigeria killing and maiming indigenous people in their ancestral lands.

It called on Biafrans both home and in the diaspora to boycott travels with Kenya Air Lines, to immediately stop patronising any product made in Kenya; and to boycott any business dealings with Kenyans.

The group also urged its members and the public to disregard what it termed cock and bull story about how and where its leader was arrested, insisting that he was not arrested, but abducted.

The statement read partly, “We the global movement of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) ably led by our great and indomitable leader, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, express our disappointment with President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya and his Government over his role in the abduction of our Leader, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu and his subsequent smuggling into Nigeria by the wicked Nigeria security agents.

“Based on our preliminary findings, President Uhuru Kenyatta was very instrumental to the abduction of our Leader in Kenya. The action of Uhuru Kenyatta against Nnamdi Kanu and Biafrans at large is a clear violation of the 1949 Geneva Convention, and United Nations Code.

“We still don’t understand why Uhuru kenyatta and some corrupt officials of his Government would prefer to betray Nnamdi Kanu and Biafrans? Is it because of Nigeria oil money? Is it because of the paltry N100 million bounty placed on Kanu’s head by some Northern charlatans? Why will President Uhuru Kenyetta sell our leader Mazi Nnamdi to the evil hands of Nigerian government?

“It is so shameful that Uhuru kenyatta would belittle himself in a manner he has just done. By this wickedness and grievous sin, Uhuru kenyatta has demonstrated his affection for the murderous Fulani terrorists ravaging the entire Nigeria killing and maming indigenous people in their ancestral lands.

“Uhuru kenyatta and his partners in crime should get ready to meet us at the International Criminal Court, ICC. This act of terror against our Leader, Nnamdi Kanu, a NATO citizen, British citizen with British International Passport and member of other international organizations will not go unpunished.

“As we continue with our investigations into this crime with a view to unmasking all the collaborators, we announce the following interim actions until further notice:

“We call on all Biafrans both home and in the diaspora to boycott travels with Kenya Air Lines; to immediately stop patronising any product made in Kenya; and to boycott any business dealings with Kenyans. We cannot be relating friendly with anyone collaborating with our oppressors to keep us in perpetual slavery!

“We also want to urge all Biafrans and members of the public to disregard all the concocted rubbish the wicked Nigeria Government and their agents have been peddling about how and where our leader was arrested. He was never arrested but abuducted.

“All these cock and bull story is to twist facts and blackmail our selfless leader who they have seen as the major obstacle against their agenda to completely Islamise and Fulani Nigeria. Nobody should believe these lies. They are only intended to demarket our Leader and puncture his global reputation and teeming followership.

“The global family of IPOB reaffirm our unalloyed loyalty, belief and confidence in our leader Nnamdi Kanu. Biafrans are united behind him in his current ordeals in the hands of our oppressors. We also wish to remind the Nigeria Government that nothing should happen to our leader Mazi Nnamdi Kanu.”

Published in News & Stories

Agency Reporter

The Federal Government says security and intelligence agencies were on the trail of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) leader, Nnamdi Kanu for over two years before he was re-arrested.

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed who disclosed this at a media briefing on Thursday in Abuja, said Kanu was living “a five-star life across several countries.

“He was travelling on chartered private jets, living in luxury apartments and turning out in designing clothes and shoes.

“Of course, as we all saw, he was wearing an attire made by Fendi, a luxury Italian fashion brand, when he was arrested,’’ he said.

The minister said Kanu’s re-arrest and repatriation was made possible through the collaboration of Nigerian security and intelligence agencies.

He described the re-arrest and repatriation as “one of the most classic operations of its type in the world’’.

Mohammed, however, did not comment on the speculations on how the re-arrest was pulled off and in which country the hitherto fugitive leader of the proscribed IPOB was nabbed.

“What we can tell you, once again, is that the re-arrest was made possible by the diligent efforts of our security and intelligence agencies, in collaboration with countries with which we have obligations.

“We will continue to respect and honour the obligations,’’ he said

Mohammed disclosed that the forensic investigation carried out so far had revealed a treasure trove of information on the proscribed IPOB leader and his collaborators.

“While the investigation continues, we assure you that none of the collaborators, irrespective of their standing in the society, will be spared.

“They will all face the full wrath of the law for their activities that challenge our nation’s sovereignty and threaten its unity.

“No one, no matter how highly placed, is bigger than the country,’’ he said.

The minister also assured that Kanu would get a fair trial in measure with the offence he was being prosecuted over.

“It is interesting that many are suddenly calling for a fair trial for Kanu as if he didn’t get one before he decided to jump bail and flee.

“However, I can assure you that the fair deal that Kanu denied many of the victims of the violence which he willfully instigated through his broadcasts and tweets will not be denied him,’’ he said.

He commended the Nigerian security and intelligence agencies for their professionalism, diligence, patriotism and painstaking efforts as well as sister international agencies that collaborated to pull off the arrest.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Kanu, who is facing an 11-count charge of treason, treasonable felony, terrorism and illegal possession of firearms, among others, jumped bail in 2017 and left the country.

He was re-arraigned before a Federal High Court in Abuja on Tuesday and ordered to be remanded in the custody of the DSS, while the case was adjourned till July 26 and July 27. (NAN)

Published in Business and Economy

By Olaitan Ganiu/ THE NATION

BBNaija ex-housemate, Nina Chinonso Onyenobi has undergone a plastic surgery procedure in faraway Florida, United States of America.

The mother of one followed the path of some BBnaija ex-housemates, who had gone under the knife to enhance part of their bodies.

Nina, who became popular for her role in the ‘Double Wahala’ edition of the BBNaija show in 2018, took to Instastory to share a picture of herself posing with a popular Liposuction Surgeon doctor, Dr William Miami of 305 Plastic Hospital, in Florida.

The reality TV star, followed up with a video as she gushes over her hot body. However, she is yet to reveal which of her body parts had been enhanced.

“So, this is my bed and this Koko’s bed,” Nina said filming the backside of her fellow housemates, Koko.

Two years ago, Nina and her hubby tied the knot at a private ceremony.

Published in Arts & Culture
By Sanni Onogu, Abuja/ THE NATION

With N800 billion proposed as supplementary budget for defence, the military has no excuse not to decisively prosecute the war against insurgency and rid the country of all forms of criminality, Senate Committee on Army Chairman Ali Ndume said yesterday.

The N800 billion request is to support the military in its war against Boko Haram in the Northeast.

In a statement to mark this year’s Democracy Day, Ndume said: “On the issue of insecurity, I have been advocating an increase in the military funding but that has now been done by the recent submission of the supplementary budget of over N800 billion by the executive arm of government to the National Assembly, majority of the money is meant to address the security challenges in the country. This is a commendable effort by President Buhari.

“With this now, there is light at the end of the tunnel because if the materials and necessary military hardware and equipment are immediately purchased, and handed over to the military, I am sure that the Nigerian Army who are known for their gallantry in international assignments will be able to do more to defend the internal security challenges confronting Nigeria.”

The All Progressives Congress (APC) senator (Borno South), commended Buhari on his Democracy Day broadcast, saying Nigerians had been eager and worried over his continued silence on critical national issues in recent times.

He congratulated Nigerians on the commemoration of the June 12 Democracy Day, and urged the President to continue to update Nigerians on issues of national importance on quarterly basis.

Ndume said: “I commend the President, Muhammadu Buhari, for his decision to be speaking out to Nigerians because the people have been eager and worried over his continued silence on critical national issues in recent times.

“Many Nigerians are now happy that their President has started talking to them once again. I therefore encourage him to be doing that intermittently, if possible, on quarterly basis.”

He urged the Federal Government to spend borrowed money on critical infrastructure and possibly agriculture and not on payment of salaries and other recurrent expenditure.

The senator said: “Concerning the issue of foreign borrowings, the problem is not about borrowing because the idea is not bad. Even developed nations also do the same thing.

“It is what the government do with the money that is important. The concentration on infrastructure development by the Buhari administration, especially in the area of railway and roads is commendable.

“The Federal Government should look at the possibility of borrowing for agricultural development so that our people will move from subsistence farming to a mechanised one.

“If that is achieved, it will generate employment and guarantee food security. Also, there would be no need for Nigeria to spend foreign exchange on food importation.

“We can produce all types of food in Nigeria only if the farmers are well funded. The borrowings should be spent on purchase of farm implements and other farming machinery and make it available to farmers.

“The external loans should also be used to fund moribund industries especially textile and spare part manufacturing among others.

“It is only through that the government can guarantee borrowings because the manufacturing industries will come up again through the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria.

“The government can serve as a guarantor for the loans so that MAN would coordinate the process of rescucitating the moribund industries that had been closed down.

“The loans should be borrowed from the international lending agencies whose terms are very good in order to develop our road infrastructure and mount toll plazas in order to generate revenue to pay back the loans.

”Borrowings should not be made to defray recurrent expenditure like payment of salaries. Funding for such purposes should be sourced locally from taxes and other internally generated revenues.”

Published in Headliners

*Tanzania’s president wants the country’s central bank to begin exploring Bitcoin and digital assets.

Tanzania appears to be the latest emerging economy poised to embrace Bitcoin (BTC) and crypto assets.

On Monday, Tanzanian president Samia Suluhu Hassan urged the country’s central bank to begin exploring crypto assets. Hassan emphasized the increasing impact of digital assets on global finance, stating, “We have witnessed the emergence of a new journey through the internet.”

She highlighted the lack of crypto adoption and development in the East African region, stating, “Throughout the region, including Tanzania, they have not accepted or started using these routes.”

“My call to the Central Bank is that you should start working on that development. The Central Bank should be ready for the changes and not be caught unprepared.”

Hassan’s comments come on the heels of numerous lawmakers in Latin America pushing for greater crypto adoption in other emerging economies, including El Salvador — where Bitcoin has been mandated as legal tender.

While African legislators have been slow to recognize and encourage the crypto economy, the region has been a hotspot for peer-to-peer (P2P) Bitcoin trading for years.

According to Useful Tulips, Sub-Saharan African is the second-largest region for P2P trading behind North America, representing roughly $16.5 million in weekly volume.

Nigeria represents half of the region’s volume, ranking behind the United States as the second-largest nation by P2P Bitcoin trading, with $8.5 million in BTC changing hands weekly. Kenya is Africa’s second-ranked peer-to-peer market with more than $3 million in weekly trade, followed by Ghana with $2 million, and South Africa with $1.6 million.

Tanzania ranks seventh for the region with nearly $90,000 worth of trade over the past seven days.

Published in Business and Economy

West Ham United are keen on Southampton striker Danny Ings, according to Sunday Mirror.

The Hammers want to sign a number nine after failing to replace Sebastien Haller in January and have identified striking targets ahead of the summer transfer window.

Southampton are hoping Ings will sign a new deal with just a year left on his current contract.

However, they would demand £30 million for his signature if he insists on leaving.

West Ham are not the only club keen on Ings, with Manchester City, Tottenham Hotspur and Everton also monitoring developments.

The 28-year-old has bagged 12 goals in 27 Premier League games this term and is expected to be included in England’s European Championship squad this summer.

Ings is unwilling to sign a new deal with Southampton that would make him the highest earner at the club.

It is unclear whether he would view a move to West Ham as an upgrade, although the lure of playing in Europe could be tempting.

Joining Man City may also be enticing, with the club offering him the chance to work under Pep Guardiola and regularly challenge for silverware.

Everton and Spurs have established first-choice strikers in Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Harry Kane, meaning Ings could struggle for game time with either club.

On that basis, West Ham may be Ings’ most viable option, given that they desperately need to find a replacement for Haller this summer.

Published in Sports

BERLIN — The head of Germany’s independent vaccine advisory panel says it’s likely that everyone will have to get vaccinated again next year against COVID-19.

Thomas Mertens told the Funke newspaper group in comments published Sunday that there isn’t yet enough data to say when exactly booster shots will be needed, and officials will have to wait a few months to see whether protection against the coronavirus weakens in some groups.

But he stressed that “the virus won’t leave us again” and so the vaccinations currently under way won’t be the last. He added: “In principle, we have to prepare for everyone possibly having to refresh their vaccine protection next year.”

Nearly 30.4 million people in Germany, or 36.5% of the population, had received at least one vaccine shot by Friday. More than 9 million, or 10.9% of the population, had been fully vaccinated.

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— India finds hundreds of bodies buried in riverbanks as the prices for cremations soar

UK gears up for big reopening but fast-spreading virus variant first found in India threatens future plans

Turkey eases some COVID-19 restrictions but keeps curfews on for weeknights and weekends

— Barefaced, footloose: New Orleans eases masking, OKs dancing

— Nepal scales back Hindu chariot festival amid virus surge

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Follow more of AP’s pandemic coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic and https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-vaccine

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HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:

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LONDON — Travelers in England were packing their bags, bartenders were polishing their glasses and performers were warming up as Britain prepared Sunday for a major step out of lockdown — but with clouds of worry on the horizon.

Excitement at the reopening of travel and hospitality vied with anxiety that a more contagious virus variant first found in India is spreading fast and could delay further plans to reopen.

Cases of the variant have more than doubled in a week in the U.K., defying a sharp nationwide downward trend in infections and deaths won by hard-earned months of restrictions and a rapid vaccination campaign. A surge testing and stepped-up vaccination effort was being conducted in the northern England areas hardest hit by that variant.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the variant, formally known as B.1.617.2, is more transmissible than the U.K.’s main strain and “it is likely it will become the dominant variant.”

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said if the new variant causes a big surge in cases, it could scupper plans to relax restrictions more fully on June 21.

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NEW DELHI — Police are reaching out to villagers in northern India to investigate the recovery of bodies buried in shallow sand graves or washing up on the Ganges River banks. There’s been speculation on social media that they are the remains of COVID-19 victims.

In jeeps and boats, police are using portable loudspeakers asking people not to dispose of bodies in rivers.

On Friday, rains exposed the cloth coverings of bodies buried on the riverbank in Prayagraj, a city in Uttar Pradesh state. A state government spokesman on Sunday denied local media reports that more than 1,000 corpses of COVID-19 victims were recovered from rivers in the past two weeks.

But others say COVID-19 deaths in the countryside are rising.

Ramesh Kumar Singh, a member of Bondhu Mahal Samiti, a philanthropic organization that helps cremate bodies, said the number of deaths is very high in rural areas, and poor people have been disposing of the bodies in the river because of the exorbitant cost of performing the last rites and a shortage of wood. The cremation cost has tripled up to 15,000 rupees ($210).

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LIMA, Peru — After Joel Bautista died of a heart attack last month in Peru, his family tried unsuccessfully to find an available grave at four different cemeteries. After four days, they resorted to digging a hole in his garden.

The excavation in a poor neighborhood in the capital city of Lima was broadcast live on television, attracting the attention of authorities and prompting them to offer the family a space on the rocky slopes of a cemetery.

“If there is no solution, then there will be a space here,” Yeni Bautista told The Associated Press, explaining the family’s decision to dig at the foot of a tropical hibiscus tree after her brother’s body began to decompose.

The same plight is shared by other families across Peru.

After struggling to control the coronavirus pandemic for more than a year, the country now faces a parallel crisis: a lack of cemetery space. The problem affects everyone, not just relatives of COVID-19 victims, and some families have acted on their own, digging clandestine graves in areas surrounding some of Lima’s 65 cemeteries.

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BEIJING — A COVID-19 outbreak in Mongolia appears to be easing after a six weeks in which the sparsely populated country’s coronavirus death toll rose from 15 to 219.

Authorities on Sunday reported 541 new cases and two deaths in the latest 24-hour period, China’s Xinhua News Agency said. It was the sixth straight day of under 600 new cases, and down from a peak of 1,356 cases about two weeks ago.

Coffee shops, gyms and swimming pools were allowed to reopen at 50% capacity this weekend as the Mongolian government continued a gradual lifting of restrictions following a four-week lockdown that ended May 8, Xinhua said.

A ban on restaurants, bars, religious services and large gatherings for sports and cultural events remained in effect, the Chinese news agency said.

The total number of confirmed cases has increased since the beginning of April from 8,841 to 48,642. ———

ISTANBUL — Turkey’s interior ministry on Sunday lifted a full lockdown that had ordered people to stay home to fight COVID-19 infections, shifting to a less-restrictive program that still involved curfews on weeknights and weekends.

The ministry called the steps that apply from Monday to June 1 a “gradual normalization.”

Shopping malls will be able to reopen. Some businesses will remain closed, including gyms and cafes, but restaurants will be able to offer take away in addition to delivery. Preschools will resume in-person education but upper grades will continue remote learning.

Turks can return to their workplaces but will have to stay home from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. on weekdays and all day Saturday and Sunday, with the exception of walking to a market to buy food. Civil servants will continue working remotely or in shifts in offices. Foreign tourists and workers with special permits are exempt.

The Turkish government introduced a full lockdown end of April to curb a surge in infections and deaths, following record daily cases above 60,000. Saturday’s health ministry statistics show 11,472 new cases. The total death toll is 44,537.

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SEOUL — The Asian Football Confederation has announced North Korea has pulled out of qualification for the 2022 World Cup.

“The (AFC) has today confirmed the withdrawal of the DPR Korea Football Association from the Asian Qualifiers,” the AFC said in a statement on Sunday.

Pyongyang has not yet given an official reason for pulling out of next month’s qualifiers for the tournament, to be held in Qatar in November and December 2022, but South Korean media has reported that it is because of concerns over COVID-19.

Due to the spread of the virus, there have been no qualifiers in Asia since November 2019 and in order to reduce travel as the games resume, the AFC has ruled that all group matches in the second round of qualification will be played in hubs. ———

ORLANDO, Fla. — Visitors to Walt Disney World and Universal Studios-Orlando were allowed Saturday to remove their masks when outdoors, except when on attractions, in line or riding transportation.

Florida’s major theme parks are adjusting face mask policies after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention loosened its recommendations on Thursday as more people get vaccinated for the coronavirus. Masks remain mandatory indoors, except in restaurants when seated or actively eating and drinking.

SeaWorld Orlando and its sister park, Tampa’s Busch Gardens, are allowing guests who say they are fully vaccinated to remove their masks throughout the parks. The two parks will not require proof of vaccination but are asking guests to “respectfully comply.”

The CDC guidance still calls for wearing masks in crowded indoor settings like buses, planes, hospitals, prisons and homeless shelters.

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MILAN — Former Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi was released from Milan’s San Raffaele Hospital on Saturday, where he was treated for complications related to an earlier bout with coronavirus.

The 84-year-old Berlusconi, who was diagnosed with COVID-19 last September, has been in and out of the hospital in recent weeks. He was most recently admitted last Monday. He also spent 24 days in the hospital under medical supervision in April.

The three-time former premier and media mogul left the hospital without passing in front of photographers and television cameras waiting outside. Last year, Berlusconi spent 10 days at the same hospital receiving treatment for COVID-19. He also received a pacemaker several years ago.

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NEW YORK — Yale University is requiring its faculty and staff to get coronavirus vaccinations before the fall term, extending a requirement already imposed for students.

The private university says faculty members, staffers and academic trainees must be fully inoculated by Aug. 1, although there are provisions for exemptions for reasons based on medical conditions or religious or “strongly held” personal beliefs.

More than 350 colleges and universities around the country are requiring vaccinations for students, at least those living on-campus. However, requirements for employees are somewhat rare. That’s according to information compiled by The Chronicle of Higher Education.

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BEIJING — China has canceled attempts to climb Mount Everest from its side of the world’s highest peak because of fears of importing coronavirus cases from neighboring Nepal.

China’s official Xinhua News Agency says the closure was confirmed in a notice from China’s General Administration of Sport. The move reflects the abundance of caution China has taken in dealing with the pandemic.

While China has mostly curbed domestic transmission of the coronavirus, Nepal is experiencing a surge with record numbers of new infections and deaths.

China had issued permits to 38 people to climb Mount Everest this spring, and Nepal to 408 climbers. In Nepal, several climbers have reported testing positive for the coronavirus after they were brought down from the Everest base camp.

The month of May generally has the best weather for climbing Everest. Scores have reached the summit this week and more are expected to make attempts later this month once the weather improves. Two climbers have died on the Nepalese side, one Swiss and one American.

Published in Business and Economy
Page 3 of 161

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