Good morning.New parents in Japan have found an innovative way to introduce their babies to relatives in the pandemic – bags of rice. Parents are sending bags of rice that weigh the same as their newborns for relatives to hold. The bags feature a photo of the newborn baby where the head would be in bags shaped to resemble, as much as possible, an infant.
Modern problems require modern solutions.
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DR Congo. The European Commission has temporarily halted funding for the United Nations’ World Health Organization in the country after employees of the organisation were found last month to have been involved in cases of sexual abuse in the African nation. SOURCE
Thailand. Protesters once again turned out onto the streets of Bangkok, calling for reforms to the Thai monarchy and the military government. With thousands in attendance, Sunday’s rally was one of the biggest protests in recent months, despite being temporarily disrupted by rain. SOURCE
Japan. Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s coalition has secured a comfortable majority in Sunday’s parliamentary election. Defying some predictions, Kishida’s Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) claimed 259 seats in the 465-member lower house, a result that gives the party an absolute stable majority and control over parliamentary committees. SOURCE
Japan. A man dressed in Batman’s Joker costume attacked passengers on a Tokyo train line on Sunday, injuring 17 people as many party-goers headed into the city centre for Halloween gatherings. At least 17 passengers were wounded, including one seriously. The suspect, 24, after stabbing passengers, poured a liquid resembling oil and set a fire. SOURCE
1894 Vaccine for diphtheria announced by Dr Roux of Paris
1997 "Titanic" directed by James Cameron, starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet premieres at the Tokyo International Film Festival (Academy Awards Best Picture 1998)
2012 Scientists detect evidence of light from the universe's first stars, predicted to have formed 500 million years after the big bang
No Longer Business as Casual
The Story The Federal Government has announced plans to end the casualisation of workers in Nigeria.
Tell me about it The Federal Government lamented the alarming rate of casualisation in the nation’s workforce and vowed to put a stop to it. The Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, stated this at a one-day public hearing on three labour legislations by the Senate Committee on Labour, Employment and Productivity. The legislations included the National Directorate of Employment Act 2004, Labour Act Cap L1, LFN 2004 (Amendment legislations 2021(SB.469), and Prohibition of casualisation in Nigeria (Establishment legislations 2021(SB,329).
How soon will this be? “We are not sitting idle. Time has come to stop casualisation of any form in the labour force. The private entrepreneurs must make gains to keep the business afloat, but must not enslave their workers", the Minister said. Urging the National Assembly to grant the ministry more time to work on this, Ngige said the FG must "ensure that any law so enacted will stand the test of time and not one that can be circumvented ab initio".
Recognizing that there is more to addressing casualisation than just enacting laws, Ngige stated that efforts in job creation must be intensified. He decried the 2016 mass sack of casual workers by some banks and financial institutions, saying; "We need a fundamental restructuring to take care of the [yearly] surge" in the labour market. SOURCE
They are Owing the Government
The Story The Director of the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit, Modibbo Tukur said local and foreign corporations are owing the Nigerian government over N7t in taxes.
How did they arrive at this figure? The figure was arrived at, he added, after NFIU carried out an analysis of firms operating in Nigeria. The debts are limiting the government’s revenue and helping to fuel massive borrowing, the head of the country’s financial intelligence unit has said. According to Tukur, the companies are partly responsible for the rise in the debt profile of the country.
Since when have these taxes been owed? Speaking on Tuesday shortly after defending the NFIU’s 2022 budget proposal before the Senate committee on anti-corruption, Tukur said his agency’s tax analysis covered the period from 2010 and 2020. The amount is about half of Nigeria’s total budget for 2021, which had a deficit of over N5t. The proposal for 2022 also has a revenue shortfall of more than N6t, and the government said it will borrow to close the gap as it has done over the years.
What's the government doing about the owed taxes? Tukur said the analysis, which was done for the Federal Inland Revenue Service, will also be submitted to the Federal Ministry of Finance for further action. He said the companies, mostly in the oil and gas and telecoms sectors, had a total inflow of over N76t within the period, requiring a projected payment of over N3.9t as Value Added Tax. The firms’ total outflow was over N72t with a projected withholding tax of over N3.7t. SOURCE
Mary Odili and the Illegal House Entry
The Story The Abuja home of Mary Odili, a justice of the supreme court, was stormed by security operatives on Friday, and triggered criticism from Nigerians. Now, the search warrant they presented is said to have carried a different address.
Is that so? After an affidavit claimed observation of alleged illegal activities in some Abuja homes, one Lawrence Ajodo, identified as a chief superintendent of police and a member of the investigation team under the asset tax recovery panel of the ministry of justice, sought a warrant to carry out a search. However, while Odili’s address is 7, Imo river street, Maitama, the address on the warrant is 9, Imo street, Maitama.
Did it have Odili's name on it? No, it did not carry the name of the occupants of the premises. Speaking to journalists at the premises on Friday, Odili's lawyer, Mike Ozekhome, described the warrant as one with “fundamental flaws”. “It is a fundamental flaw. A search warrant must have the name of the person that you want to carry out a search on his or her house,” he said.
Political witch-hunt? According to TheCable, some documents showed that one Aliyu Ibrahim had, on October 13, deposed to an affidavit stating that he “observed some illegal activities going on in some houses within Abuja and its environs”, necessitating the search. Ozekhome, however, said it "might be politically motivated to embarrass the justice of the supreme court and to embarrass her husband", Peter Odili, who is on the watchlist of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission. SOURCE
The Story Tensions between China and Taiwan have escalated in recent weeks.
How is Taiwan holding up? China views the self-governing island as just an extension of the mainland. Beijing has sharply increased political and military pressure on Taiwan, including repeated missions by Chinese warplanes in Taiwan's air defense identification zone. Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen has confirmed that a small number of U.S. forces are present on the island, participating in training exercises with Taiwanese soldiers.
How did China react to this? While several Taiwan and international media outlets previously reported such training with U.S. troops, official confirmation could further aggravate U.S.-China relations at a time when Beijing has ramped up its military exercises near the island. The Chinese foreign ministry said earlier this month that the U.S. should cease military ties and arms sales to Taiwan to avoid damaging bilateral relations.
Perhaps in a bid to douse the tension, Taiwan’s Defense Minister reminded reporters that Tsai hadn't said U.S. forces are permanently based in Taiwan. The U.S. withdrew its permanently-based forces in Taiwan when it severed diplomatic ties with Taipei in favor of Beijing in 1979. The United States, like most countries, has no formal diplomatic ties with Taiwan but is its most important international ally and main arms supplier. SOURCE
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The leader of Mali who traveled to Mecca, giving gold out all along the way was: A. Nelson Mandela B. Kofi Annan C. Mansa Musa
QUESTION & ANSWER
Has anyone ever turned down a data scientist offer from Amazon? If so, why?
Yes, I did this exactly. I received an offer for Data Scientist after going through two phone screenings and an onsite interview with 6 other employees and the hiring manager.
I turned it down for a few reasons. In retrospect I wish I had taken the job, but hindsight is 20/20. Ultimately I turned it down because I doubted myself and didn’t feel ready for it.
1. I didn’t feel ready for the change in work life balance. I would go from a very laid back work culture to Amazon’s 50+ hours a week. The manager made it clear I was expected to be in the office every day from at least 9 to 5 and work more than 40 hours a week. At my current employer, I could work from home anytime, come in and out of the office as I pleased, and had no expectations to work beyond 40 hours a week.
2. I didn’t feel my data science rigor was up to Amazon’s standards, in spite of them providing a generous offer—over 50% increase in my current compensation.
3. I wanted to spend more time doing software and web development before moving into a pure data science role. The manager suggested I’d be doing much less actual software engineering than in my current job.
4. They told me absolutely nothing about what I would be doing for them. This left me worried. I suspect it was related to Amazon’s Alexa device, but they couldn’t say anything until I was an employee.
5. I was being rapidly promoted at my current job, and I was worried if I worked at Amazon I would lose my ability to differentiate myself from other Amazonians. Because my current job has such a laid back culture, it is very easy to differentiate yourself from peers and therefore move up the ladder faster. This did pay off for me—I was promoted to a lead position twice as fast as my peers, 3 years for me compared to the average of 8 years to get such a promotion. SOURCE
The leader of Mali who traveled to Mecca, giving gold out all along the way was: C. Mansa Musa