Joe Biden was sworn in as the 46th president on Wednesday.
Good morning. Injured dog owner spends $400 on vet for his limping dog only to find out he was copying the owner out of sympathy.
“Dogs do speak, but only to those who know how to listen.”
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Correction: On Wednesday, we said JF Kennedy was the youngest ever person sworn in as US President at 43 years. We were wrong. JFK is the youngest elected President but not the youngest ever to be sworn in. Theodore Rooosevelt was 42 in 1901 when he was sworn in September 1901. His predecessor was assassinated. Thanks Mayowa.
United States. Joe Biden was sworn in as the 46th president on Wednesday. In his inaugural address, Biden said, "this is America’s day. This is democracy’s day. A day in history and hope, of renewal and resolve." Kamala Harris was sworn in as the country's first Black, first South Asian, and first female vice president.
China. The country has sanctioned former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and over two dozen other former Trump admin officials. This comes a day after the admin publicly accused Beijing of committing genocide against its Uighur Muslim population.
Italy. Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte survived a confidence vote, allowing him to remain in power. Italy has been entangled in political uncertainty over the past week after a smaller party withdrew support for the coalition government over disagreements regarding the handling of the pandemic and economic recovery plans.
United States. Former U.S. President Donald Trump granted clemency to former White House aide Steve Bannon as part of a wave of more than 140 pardons and commutations issued in his final hours in office, but did not pardon himself, members of his family or lawyer Rudy Giuliani as widely predicted.
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1824 Ashantis defeat British forces in the Gold Coast.
2006 Evo Morales is inaugurated as President of Bolivia, becoming the country's first indigenous president.
2020 China locks down the city of Wuhan and its 11 million people, in an effort to control COVID-19 with a then official death toll of 17 and over 500 people ill.
FIRS rakes N4.9trn in 2020
Image Source: Guardian Nigeria
The Story The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) says it collected N4.9 trillion as tax revenue in the 2020 fiscal year.
What was their target for the year? Abdullahi Ahmad, FIRS’ director of communications, made this known in a statement in Abuja on Tuesday. Mr Ahmad said this represented about 98% of the government’s tax target of N5.1 trillion. The director quoted the chairman of the agency, Muhammad Nami, as saying that this performance was remarkable, considering the debilitating effects of COVID-19 on the Nigerian economy.
How did they do that with all that happened in the year? Nami attributed the success recorded in 2020 to many reforms initiated by the board and the management of FIRS under his leadership. He identified the all-time low price of crude oil in the international market, business disruptions and lootings during the #EndSARS protests and tax waivers granted to ease the impact of the COVID-19 lockdown as some factors that hindered the FIRS operations last year.
Increasing non-oil revenue. The FIRS report, like the recent statement of the Minister of finance, budget and national planning, Zainab Ahmed, suggests that the Nigerian economy might be moving away from oil dependence. Zainab Ahmed, while speaking on the 2021 budget, had said that the Nigerian economy was becoming less dependent on oil, as contributions from the oil sector in funding the 2021 budget would be just 30%.
According to Mr Nami, oil, which used to contribute more than 50% in tax returns through the Petroleum Profits Tax in previous years, accounted for only 30.6% of the tax revenue generated in 2020. He also said that non-oil tax collection was 109% in 2020, 9% higher than the previous year. SOURCE
uLesson for the big league
The Story ULesson, an edtech startup based in Nigeria that sells digital curriculum to students through SD cards, has raised $7.5 million in Series A funding.
Tell me about it. The round is led by Owl Ventures, which closed over half a billion in new fund money just months ago. Other participants include LocalGlobe and existing investors, including TLcom Capital and Founder Collective. The financing comes a little over a year since ULesson closed its $3.1 million seed round in November 2019.
How long has the startup been around? The startup’s biggest difference between now and then isn’t simply the millions it has in the bank, it’s the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on its entire value proposition. ULesson launched into the market just weeks before the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus a pandemic. The startup, which uses SD cards as a low-bandwidth way to deliver content, saw a wave of smart devices enter homes across Africa as students adapted to remote education.
Shouldn't we be looking more to the positive side of this pandemic? You can say that again. Like many edtech startups, uLesson has benefited from the overnight adoption of remote education. “The ground became wet in a way we didn’t see before,” founder and CEO Sim Shagaya said. “It opens up the world for us to do all kinds of really amazing things we’ve wanted to do in the world of edtech that you can’t do in a strictly offline sense,” the founder added.
How much does it cost to use their service? It costs an annual fee of $50, and the app has been downloaded more than 1 million times. Its positioning as a supplementary education tool helped it surface 70% month over month growth, according to Shagaya. The founder says that the digital infrastructure gains will allow them to “go online entirely by Q2 this year.” SOURCE
Macron opens door to France pulling some troops out of Sahel
The Story French President Emmanuel Macron opened the door on Tuesday to withdrawing some troops from Africa’s Sahel region.
What's his reason for that? “The results obtained by our forces in the Sahel, combined with the greater intervention of our European partners, will allow us to adjust our effort,” Macron said, referring to the arrival of special forces from various European Union countries in recent months. Though Macron hailed successes against militants, the situation remains fragile. Five French soldiers have been killed in Mali this year and four U.N. peacekeepers were killed there last week.
How many troops does France have there? France, the former colonial power, has the West’s largest military presence waging counter-insurgency operations in Mali and the wider Sahel, an arid region of West Africa just below the Sahara desert. Last year, Paris boosted its troop numbers for its Barkhane counter-terrorism operations by 600 to 5,100 soldiers. “The temporary reinforcements that I decided to deploy have enabled the Barkhane force to put in great difficulty terrorist groups, which find themselves cornered and reduced to cowardly acts,” Macron said in his annual New Year’s wishes to the military.
When will the withdrawal be announced? Militants linked to al Qaeda and Islamic State have strengthened their foothold across the region, making large swathes of territory ungovernable and stoking ethnic violence, especially in Mali and Burkina Faso. Diplomatic and military sources have said France is expected to announce a partial withdrawal by mid-February.
Political Expediency? Armed Forces Minister Florence Parly has said Macron and regional heads of state will discuss the situation at a summit in Chad next month. An opinion poll published last week showed for the first time that the majority of French people oppose the operation in the Sahel. That has put pressure on Macron to consider a bigger withdrawal before a presidential election in 2022. SOURCE
U.S. declares China's actions against Uighurs "genocide"
Image Source: Axios
The Story As part of the last activities in the just concluded administration of president Donald Trump, his Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, officially determined China's actions in Xinjiang as genocide.
What's the new administration's stance on this? China's treatment of the Uighurs - a campaign of mass internment, forced labor and forced sterilization of over 1 million Muslim minorities in Xinjiang - has been widely criticized. President Biden's nominee for secretary of state, Tony Blinken, said on Tuesday that he agrees with the determination that China is committing "genocide" in Xinjiang. The Biden campaign had previously condemned China's actions in Xinjiang and called it a "genocide."
How will this affect the lot of the Uighurs? With the U.S. leading the way in making this determination, officials have expressed hope that other countries may soon follow suit. Last week, U.K. Foreign Minister Dominic Raab denounced China's "barbarism" in Xinjiang and announced heavy fines for companies that don't prove their supply chains are free of forced labor.
What's China's response to this? In its response, China has pushed its international partners to oppose any criticism of its Xinjiang policies. Following ethnic riots in the regional capital Urumqi in 2009, which resulted in hundreds of deaths — and especially after the rise of the Islamic State attracted some Uighur adherents — communist party leaders embarked on a campaign to wipe out what they viewed as the root of the problem: the Uighurs' Islamic faith and their loyalty to their own ethnic and cultural identity, distinct from that of China's majority Han ethnic group. SOURCE
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Five Things To Give Up If You Want Happier, Healthier Relationships. Medium
1. Banks require collateral as security for their loans. True False
2. Government grants are generally offered to businesses in: A. Prosperous areas B. Economically deprived areas C. Areas with high employment
3. The return may be thought of as A. The growth in the value of an investment B. The risk associated with an investment C. Obtained only if the company pays dividends; without dividends, return is 0
QUESTION & ANSWER
What was the cruelest thing a king ever did to his own people in history?
The One-Eyed Tyrant…
Fu Sheng, Emperor of Former Qin.
In the 4th and 5th centuries, China was in a state of political turmoil. During this time, the country had fragmented into a number of individual, self-governing states. This period which is most commonly referred to as the “Sixteen Kingdoms”, was the time in which Fu Sheng was born and subsequently rose to power.
He was after all, the son of the man who’d founded the state of Former Qin in the first place. His ascension was a far from welcome one though, as Fu Sheng had a brutal temper, a farcically large insecurity and whose nature was prodigal with a capital ‘P’.
China during Fu Sheng’s era.
As you may have gathered by now, Fu Sheng was born with only one eye. Well, it was this, that was the source of his insecurity. So sensitive about his disability that he forbade anyone from using words like ‘missing’, ‘lacking’, ‘less’ and ‘without’, believing that such words were used to mock him. The punishment for using words like these?
Yes, even if it was completely unintentional. In one story, Fu Sheng felt ill and called a doctor. After examining the emperor, he prescribed him some medicine and after taking several doses, Sheng felt better. However, when he read the prescription and saw the phrases, “a little ginseng, a little angelica”, he became furious and ordered the doctor to be executed.
If you think that’s as cruel as he got, I’m afraid you’d be dead, dead wrong.
When his astrologers predicted that there would be a great funeral and deaths of officials unless Sheng reformed his ways, he chose not to do so and instead fulfilled the prophecy himself… by slaughtering his wife, her father and uncle, as well as important officials.
Surely that’s all though? Nope.
The beloved emperor took great delight in killing people on the merest of whims. He once had a man killed, along with his sons and grandsons, because of a dream he had about a fish eating leaves! Nothing seemed to infuriate him more than being contradicted though. In fact, when his uncle tried to correct his ways, Fu Sheng took a hammer to his skull and smashed it, before having him executed.
And yet, there’s worse still.
One of his particular fancies was torture — specifically, skinning animals alive. Dropping them in boiling water was also another method he enjoyed, and he reportedly revelled in delight as the wounded animals ran around the palace in terror. He wasn’t against torturing people either, and on one occasion, skinned one of his subordinate’s face off before ordering him to dance for Sheng’s own amusement.
With sadism like that, as well as so much monarchic power and a reputation as a physically powerful man who could even fight wild beasts, it’s no wonder people feared him.
Fortunately, his reign only lasted two years, and the one thing that had probably fuelled his violent tendencies was his downfall — alcohol. When a coup d’etat was launched against him by his cousin, he was more easily apprehended because he was drunk.
Aged around twenty-one, he was demoted to Prince of Yue before being executed by being dragged by a horse. SOURCE
Finance Quiz Answers
1. Banks require collateral as security for their loans. True
2. Government grants are generally offered to businesses in: B. Economically deprived areas
3. The return may be thought of as A. The growth in the value of an investment