Good morning.“My mom told me I can't” – A 13-year old on why he wouldn’t take off his mask for his school picture.
Mom always knows best.
- - -
P.S. Rewards await you when you invite your friends to subscribe to Freshly Pressed. Try it:www.freshlypressed.ng/?r=. You currently have referrals.
WhatsApp to eCom. We look out for you. Flex your WhatsApp to become a busy eCommerce store. Increase your sales with only your number 1 chatty app– WhatsApp!
Indonesia. Genetic traces in the body of a young woman who died 7,000 years ago have provided the first clue that mixing between early humans in Indonesia and those from faraway Siberia took place much earlier than previously thought.
Ethiopia. Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has been sworn in for a new five-year term as his government faces a host of challenges, including a months-long conflict in the northern region of Tigray. In June, the prime minister’s party won 410 of the 436 parliamentary seats that were contested.
Taiwan. The country is demanding that China stop flying military planes near its airspace amid an increase in bomber and jet fighter operations in the area. China's People's Liberation Army (PLA) flew 93 military sorties near Taiwan over a three-day period, which the U.S. called "provocative military activity" and "destabilizing." Some of the warplanes were H-6 bombers capable of deploying nuclear weapons.
1948 Paleoanthropologist Mary Leakey finds the first partial fossil skull of Proconsul africanus, an ancestor of apes and humans on Rusinga Island, Kenya
1956 Scientist Albert Sabin announces that his oral Polio vaccine is ready for testing; it would soon supplant Jonas Salk's vaccine in many parts of the world
1995 51 Pegasi discovered as the first major star, apart from the Sun, to have a planet orbiting around it
Oiling The Electioneering Wheel
The Story The last two general elections in Nigeria received support from oil traders, including Glencore and BP, who paid middlemen to help get contract awards from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), according to current litigations in London as well as New York, Bloomberg reported Friday.
What is NNPC's business with elections? Jonathan Zarembok, dismissed last year by BP for confessing the London-based energy firm’s part in the scheme, said this week the fashion in which the NNPC conducted cargo allotments might have helped plans for the last national polls of 2019. “We were paying agents in Nigeria huge multiples of what we paid in other regions even though those agents did not perform services of any real value to BP. Our proposed reasons for paying the agent these sums were a sham,” he was quoted as saying.
Did they make any payments directly towards the elections? In July, a former staff of Glencore, an Anglo-Swiss multinational trading house, acknowledged giving an agent $300,000 intended to obtain an oil consignment from the state-owned corporation 'with the knowledge it would go to funding a general election that held in Nigeria six years ago'. The far-reaching employment claim Zarembok filed in London noted BP ousted him for raising concerns about “abnormally large” amounts paid to middlemen to ease contract awards in Nigeria.
Have the firms reacted to the allegations? According to Zarembok, the emails a BP executive sent in 2017 were a “clear red flag” and indicated “there would be pressure to pay bribes.” A Nigerian intermediary got two crude cargoes from NNPC which was followed by BP paying $900,000 to him in fees. “BP is defending in full and denies all allegations made by the claimant,” a statement by the firm said. Bloomberg and Premium Times got no response for comment on the court proceedings from NNPC representatives. A related subject came to the fore two months back, when another ex-employee of Glencore, Anthony Stimler, admitted to corruption and fund laundering.
U.S. court filings show Mr Stimler got a notification in September 2014 that “Foreign Official 1” demanded payment ahead of every cargo receipt from all NNPC clients regarding “a then-upcoming political election.” He went ahead to make Glencore to transfer $300,000 to an agency prosecutors said was used “to pay bribes to Nigerian officials.” Prosecutors in the US have detailed how Stimler and others paid many countries millions of dollars in kickbacks from 2017 to 2018, NNPC officials inclusive. SOURCE
VAT Drama Not Receding
The Story The controversy around the collection of value-added tax has continued to divide the country, as more governors make their position on the subject known.
What are they saying? Over the past weeks, the FIRS and some state governments have been in a legal tussle over VAT collection. Governors of the south-south region say they have resolved to join the suit challenging the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) on the collection of value-added tax (VAT). Ifeanyi Okowa, governor of Delta state and the chairman of the south-south governors’ forum, disclosed this on Monday, after the forum’s meeting in Rivers state.
What's the latest on the subject? After a federal high court in Port Harcourt restrained the FIRS from collecting VAT in Rivers state, the FIRS had appealed for a stay of execution, but the court dismissed it on the basis that it would “negate the principle of equity”. Consequently, FIRS went to the court of appeal, and the court of appeal in Abuja ordered both Rivers and Lagos states to maintain status quo over the collection of VAT.
Rivers and Lagos state governments have gone ahead to enact laws enabling each state's designated agency to collect VAT and have called for decentralisation of collection, pitting them against some northern states that want centralised collection, and are considering joining the suit in support of FIRS. SOURCE
Having Her Cake & Eating It Too
The Story Rumors have long swirled about a possible clandestine love affair between Marie Antoinette and a Swedish count, and historians have been working to decipher the surviving letters between the two for a while.
Have they found anything? Marie Antoinette and Count Hans Axel von Fersen of Sweden met as teenagers at a masquerade ball, when she was still Dauphine of France, and he became a frequent visitor to Versailles. According to a new paper published in the journal of Science Advances, new x-ray imaging techniques and data processing methods have revealed the redacted portions of eight of their letters.
What did they find in them? Their correspondence used a cipher, which was common during the time period. The French National Archive has 15 of the surviving letters, which only had about 108 lines legible. Speculation about Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette being unable to consummate their marriage has lasted for centuries, though the queen's brother, Holy Roman Emperor Joseph II, came to visit and determine the issue was the king's inexperience and the queen's disinterest. Marie Antoinette went on to have four children, and it’s unclear if the children were biologically Louis XVI’s or her many lovers'.
One such letter, written by Fersen and dated October 10-12, 1791, contained the phrase "Goodbye my good friend, I will never stop worshipping you." There are other examples of similar vocabulary in the letters ("beloved," "tender friend," "adore," "madly") that hint of a passionate attachment, but the authors are careful not to hypothesize beyond the evidence. The hope is that the letters, once further transcribed, will reveal more about Antoinette’s life. SOURCE
Meet, the Pandora Papers
Breaking news: The rich know how to get richer.
I can’t say I’m surprised.
Same, but this time there’s apparently solid proof. For months, more than 600 journalists in 117 countries have been rummaging through nearly 12 million documents to expose the wealthy. Meet, the Pandora Papers. This is apparently one of the biggest ever global investigations, run by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ). Journalists apparently looked into hundreds of people including wealthy people, celebrities, politicians, and business leaders. And are now shining a light on the minds and bank accounts of some of the most wealthy and powerful.
How’d they do it?
Tax havens. Regular banks are apparently for commoners. So the uber wealthy (like King Abdullah II of Jordan and Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš) apparently put their funds in places like the Cayman and British Virgin Islands, Panama, Dubai, Monaco, and Switzerland. Or even South Dakota (unexpected, we know). An estimated $5.6 trillion to $32 trillion could be hidden offshore. But that doesn't even include offshore assets. Like the over $40 million property in London the Azerbaijani president's 11-year-old son allegedly owned. Or the apartment in Monaco another president reportedly got his girlfriend.
How is this possible?
Loopholes. All of this is technically legal. But it raises ethical questions as around 10% of the world has been living on less than $2 a day while mega-rich space cowboys Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos run around in their space cowboy suits. The papers are blaring the alarm about the offshore financial system. And the findings could mean a shake-up for two European Union leaders named in the investigation. That includes the Czech PM – who’s up for reelection this week. He now has to answer why he used offshore investments to buy a $22 million château in France. A chât-no-no, indeed.
Proving what many know
It’s no secret that the rich fail to pay their fair share across the globe. Now, journalists are sifting through the paperwork to prove what many have known all along. SOURCE
WHAT ELSE IS FRESH...
Buhari urges peace in Ethiopia, PM Ahmed begins second term
Tension rises in South-East, military begins operation against killings, others
Strike suspended for salary payment on IPPIS, no-work no-pay unresolved – NARD
Oil surpasses $81, Nigerian production drops by 130,000 barrels
Abuja estate panics as robbers raid Dunamis church, stab guard
Nigeria missing as UK recognises COVID vaccine certificates from over 50 countries
You Have to Be an Impostor to Achieve Success. Medium
How to Stay Under Your 15 GB of Storage From Google. Wired
How to get things done when you really don't want to do anything. NY Times
Do you know what the initials in the following names stand for?
John F. Kennedy George H.W. Bush F. Scott Fitzgerald Mary J. Blige Susan B. Anthony George R.R. Martin Michael J. Fox
QUESTION & ANSWER
What are some interesting facts which are not commonly known?
Just a few hard to believe random facts from the world in general. In no particular order:
Lobsters don't grow old and die. Their death always come from an outside source, never from age.
There's a basketball court on the fifth floor of the US Supreme Court building. They call it “the highest court in the land.”
If you eat the liver of a polar bear you'll die, from a vitamin A overdose.
Honey never spoils or goes bad. You could feasibly eat 5000 year old honey.
The first iPhone had the same computing power as the entirety of NASA in 1969 when it launched the first manned mission to the moon.
Hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia is the technical name for the fear of long words.
There are more possible results from a single game of chess than there are atoms in the known universe.
Greece has the longest national anthem of all countries, with a total of 158 verses.
Hippopotamus milk is pink.
If you never have a child, you will be the first in your line of descent to not reproduce, all the way back to beginnings of human history.
A great many of the camels in Saudi Arabia were actually imported from Australia.
Kangaroos can jump in any direction … except backwards. SOURCE
John Fitzgerald Kennedy George Herbert Walker Bush Francis Scott Fitzgerald Mary Jane Blige Susan Brownell Anthony George Raymond Richard Martin Trick question: J doesn’t stand for anything—Michael’s middle name is Andrew.