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Mali. Prime Minister Choguel Kokalla Maiga has told the Russian media he has evidence that France has been training “terrorist” groups operating in the West African country.
Iraq. Polls closed on Sunday in the parliamentary election with one of the lowest turnouts in years amid waning support for the democratic system brought in following the United States-led invasion of 2003 that toppled Saddam Hussein.
Taiwan. President Tsai Ing-wen says her government will not bow down to pressure from China and will continue to bolster the island’s defences in order to protect its democratic way of life. Tsai’s strong riposte on Sunday comes a day after Chinese President Xi Jinping promised once again to realise “peaceful reunification” with the self-ruled territory.
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1939 Albert Einstein informs FDR of the possibilities of an atomic bomb
1922 First woman FBI "special investigator", Alaska Davidson, appointed
1945 Chinese civil war begins between Kuomintang government led by Chiang Kai-shek and Mao Zedong's Communist Party
Buhari unveils another record budget
Image Source: Punch
The Story Nigeria’s president Muhammadu Buhari unveiled a record N16.39t ($39.8b) budget for 2022, with a projected 25% year-on-year rise in government spending as the economy struggles with the impact of the pandemic.
What's the finance projection? The deficit will rise to N6.26t or 3.39% of GDP to be funded by new borrowing, proceeds from privatisations and drawdowns on loans secured for specific projects, Buhari told a joint sitting of the Senate and the House of Representatives. The plan for Africa’s top oil exporter assumes crude output of 1.88 million barrels a day and an oil price of $57 per barrel, said Buhari.
Did you say new borrowing? Yes, new borrowing. “Some have expressed concern over our resort to borrowing to finance our fiscal gaps. They are right to be concerned. However, we believe that the insolvency level of the Federal Government is still within sustainable limits,” he said. Economic analysts said Nigeria’s budget signalled the government was not about to make any major policy shift as spending would remain elevated to deal with a deteriorating security situation in many parts of the country.
What's the government doing to improve revenue generation? “Our target over the medium term is to grow our revenue-to-GDP ratio from about 8% currently to 15% by 2025,” the president said. This would be achieved by enhancing tax and excise revenues through reforms and administrative measures, he added. The World Bank projects that Nigeria’s economy will expand by 2.4% in 2021, up from 1.8% it earlier projected this year. The economy expanded by 5% in the second quarter. It contracted in 2020 due to the pandemic, though it managed to exit recession in the fourth quarter, but growth is fragile.
Nigeria has passed a string of record budgets since Buhari took office in 2015, but the country has struggled to fund the spending plans due to low revenues. The pandemic has added to the revenue problems. According to IMF data, Nigeria has among the lowest revenues globally, with general government revenue between 2015 and 2019 at 7.9% of GDP, compared with a Sub-Saharan African average of 12.7% and a global average of 29.8%. SOURCE
Phony Kids No More
The Story The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has disqualified people under the age of 18 from registering and owning a SIM card in Nigeria.
Why? The new regulation was announced during the public inquiry on three regulatory instruments on the rulemaking process in Abuja. The regulatory instruments include the registration of telephone subscribers regulation, the SIM replacement guidelines and the spectrum trading guidelines. The draft copy of the modified Registration of Telephone Subscribers Regulations described subscribers as persons above the age of 18. In the modified regulations, the NCC insisted on 18 years and above for anyone who wants to own and register a SIM card in Nigeria.
How about Sim card holders younger than 18? A “subscriber’ means a person not below the age of 18 years who subscribes to communications services by purchasing a subscription medium or entering into a subscription contract with a licensee,” the commission said. The regulations were made in line with the powers conferred upon the commission by section 70 of the Nigerian Communications Act 2003. In accordance with Section 57 of the Act, the NCC conducted a public inquiry on the registration of telephone subscribers regulations, alongside the draft SIM replacement guidelines and the draft spectrum trading guidelines at its head office in Abuja on Tuesday.
Adjustment of Sim registration process The regulation withdraws licence from “subscribers registration solution provider”, who is usually contracted by the NCC for conceptualization, design, development and delivery of registration solutions, which covers all licences and providing detailed subscriber's information in a manner facilitating seamless integration into a central database. Also, independent registration agents will no longer have access to subscriber information. It also says that all agents or people who register SIM cards in shops or private agents or sub-agents will no longer have access to the details of subscribers.
They now have limits to personal information. These regulations will affect everyone using a SIM card for communications in Nigeria and anyone who uses a Nigerian number outside the country or diaspora. At the public inquiry, operators, including MTN, urged the commission to revise the age limit down to 14 years and above. The NCC refused. SOURCE
Accident Or Art-sassination?
The Story Swedish artist Lars Vilks, 75, stirred global controversy in 2007 when he published pen and ink drawings depicting the Prophet Mohammad as a roundabout dog.
Why would anyone do that? Despite warnings, he explained (naively, perhaps) that the cartoons weren't intended to provoke Muslims, but to challenge political correctness in the art world. For the next 14 years, Vilks lived under constant death threats and was forced to have round-the-clock police protection.
What was the reaction from Muslims? You can imagine it. A $100,000 bounty was put on his head, and his house was fire-bombed. In 2015 he attended a meeting in Copenhagen, Denmark meant to mark the 25th anniversary of an Iranian fatwa against British writer Salman Rushdie. One person was killed, although Vilks was widely thought to be the intended target.
Accident or assassination? On Sunday, October 3, 2021 Vilks was traveling in a police vehicle when it collided with a truck near the town of Markaryd in southern Sweden. Vilks and two police officers were killed in the crash. A spokesperson said Monday an investigation was underway, but for now "there is nothing that points to anyone else being involved."
“This is a very tragic incident. It is now important to all of us that we do everything we can to investigate what happened and what caused the collision,” Swedish police said in a statement. SOURCE
Expand And Contract
The Story Hope of enlarging the European Union by extending membership to six Western Balkan nations appears to have disintegrated.
What's happening? Despite the E.U. having spent years and bn of euros preparing Serbia, Kosovo, Albania, Montenegro, North Macedonia, and Bosnia and Herzegovina to join the bloc, the reality is that membership is slipping further into the future, not getting closer. A former foreign minister of Kosovo said, "EU enlargement is effectively dead in the Western Balkans, or at least in suspended animation," with Northern and Western European politicians just paying lip-service to the idea.
What's the real issue here? The E.U.’s cold shoulder is particularly harsh to North Atlantic Treaty Organization members Albania and North Macedonia, the start of whose membership talks have been repeatedly delayed despite Brussels saying they are technically ready. Biden administration officials and many in Europe worry that stalling the EU’s expansion into the Western Balkans opens the region to rivals and adversaries, like Russia and China, all with historic or economic interests in the region.
Any European country can apply for membership if it respects the EU's democratic values and is committed to promoting them. A country, however, can only join if it meets all the membership criteria. When the negotiations and accompanying reforms are completed and agreed by the interested country and all current members, the country can join the EU – if all EU countries agree. SOURCE
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On what continent would you not find bees? A. Antarctica B. South America C. Africa
QUESTION & ANSWER
Have you ever been introduced to "an expert in his field" that you immediately identified as a fraud through your greater knowledge?
I worked as a bike messenger while I was getting my engineering degree.
During my Junior year there was a youngish woman working downtown who kept telling everyone she had been a Mechanical engineer and a mathematician but had been laid off by Lockheed a few months previously. She was very much loud about this.
So one day, I am sitting underneath 909 Fannin when she starts up on this with me and a few other couriers. I happened to be studying for Calc 3 and had an Idea. So, I said to her , ”Since you’re a mathematician and a Mech E, maybe you can help me with an integration I am having trouble with.” I proceeded to write this on my notebook and show it to her.
Now, if you have had Calculus 1, this will be recognizable as the very first integration that you would ever work with.
To someone who is a mathematician or engineer, this is about as difficult as asking them what 2+2 is. I haven’t had calculus in 20 years and I still remember the answer.
But, this young woman had no idea.
After she left, one of the other couriers leaned in and said “So does she know what she’s talking about?”