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☕️ Don't Go There!

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Earlier in the week, president Mohammadu Buhari issued a statement on the rising security crisis in the southeast of Nigeria, threatening to deal with trouble makers "in the language they understand". While he's been widely criticized for it, as it's been suggested as a threat of state sponsored genocide against the Igbos, there might actually be difficult days ahead for Nigerians.

 

 

Good morning. A team of scientists announced Monday that they had partially restored the sight of a blind man using a technique called optogenetics where light-sensitive proteins are added to the retina, giving the patient a blurry view of objects.

Amazing!

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☕️QUICK BITES

Vaccine. The World Bank, World Trade Organization, World Health Organization and International Monetary Fund have collectively issued a plea for the world's rich countries to provide $50 billion for the vaccination of the world.
Peru. Earlier this week, gov officials said they undercounted the country's coronavirus death toll, raising it from over 69,000 to more than 180,000. Officials reportedly blamed a lack of testing in part for the undercount.
Olympics. Ten thousand of 80,000 volunteers have told organizers of the Tokyo Olympics that they will not participate in the games, citing the country’s low vaccination rate and worries about contracting COVID-19 from athletes and other people coming to Japan for the games.
Catholic Church. Pope Francis has updated the Catholic Church's laws to more clearly address sexual abuse – the first major changes since 1983. For decades, the church has faced sexual abuse and financial scandals. And victims have long said that the church's code protected accused clergy members.

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ONTHISDAY

1896 Henry Ford takes his 1st Ford through streets of Detroit

1969 22-year-old man sneaks into wheel pod of a jet parked in Havana and survives 9-hr flight to Spain despite thin oxygen levels at 29,000 ft

1984 DNA is successfully cloned from an extinct animal

2014 10 Nigerian generals and five other senior military officers are court-martialed for providing arms and information to jihadist terrorist group Boko Haram

NIGERIA

Arewa Warns Against Traveling To The East 

 

The Story
Earlier in the week, president Mohammadu Buhari issued a statement on the rising security crisis in the southeast of Nigeria, threatening to deal with trouble makers "in the language they understand". While he's been widely criticized for it, as it's been suggested as a threat of state sponsored genocide against the Igbos, there might actually be difficult days ahead for Nigerians.

How?
The Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) has asked northerners to suspend plans of travelling to the south-east. In a statement issued on Monday, Audu Ogbe, chairman of the forum, said the travel advisory became necessary following the killing of Ahmed Gulak, a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC). Gulak, who is from the north, was shot dead by gunmen on Sunday while returning to Abuja from Owerri, Imo state capital. Ogbe said where any travel should be made, it must be “absolutely necessary” otherwise such a trip to the southeast should be suspended.

Didn't the Imo State governor say it was a political assassination?
That was a mere personal opinion by the governor, and the ACF does not agree with him. “On Sunday 30th May 2021, one of the leaders in the north was brutally murdered on the streets of Owerri, Imo State by gunmen, most likely of IPOB and Eastern Security Network (ESN), who have been waging a public campaign of killings and other forms of brutalities, to realise their dream country of Biafra,” Ogbe said. “The Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) hereby issues a very strong advisory to all northerners who may wish to travel to the South East".

“Northerners to weigh the importance and necessity of such travels. Unless such trips are absolutely necessary and of compelling nature, like matters of life & death, they should NOT be made. And where the trip must be undertaken, the traveller should take every security precaution in his or her movements while there, including linking with the security agencies at the place/places to be visited", he added.

Before history is repeated
Audu Ogbe, like Buhari, alluded to the events that preceded the Nigeria-Biafra civil war, as he explained the reason for the travel advisory. “The need to issue this travel advisory has become necessary against the backdrop of history, wherein events such as the killings of northern leaders in 1966 triggered the events that led to a civil war that cost the country thousands of lives, and untold suffering to millions of innocent people. To be forewarned is to be forearmed, and a stitch in time saves nine!”, Ogbe said, as he called on security operatives to unravel the killers of Gulak and bring them to justice. SOURCE

NIGERIA

ShopRite Draws The Curtain 

The Story
Ketron Investment Limited, a subsidiary of Persianas Investment Limited, has completed the acquisition of Shoprite operations in Nigeria.

Is that another foreign investor?
No, it's not. Persianas, a property firm and developer of the popular ‘The Palms’ mall complex, is owned by Tayo Amusan. Last year, Africa’s largest food retailer informed investors of a potential divestment of its business in Nigeria, while Amusan’s Persianas became the preferred bidder for the Shoprite stake among three bidders. In a statement issued on Tuesday, Tayo Amusan, chairman, Ketron Investment Limited, said that the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission had approved a change of ownership.

How large is the retail chain?
Shoprite currently has 25 outlets in eight states across Nigeria. The subsidiary had been impacted mainly by import restrictions and forex fluctuations. In its year 2020 financial statement, Pieter Engelbrecht, chief executive officer of Shoprite Holdings, said currency devaluations eroded much of its growth efforts. The Nigerian subsidiary is the second that the company is closing in less than a year, as it closed its Kenyan stores in February 2021.

“We are thrilled to complete the acquisition of Shoprite, ensuring the continued operations of one of the biggest retail success stories in Nigeria,” Amusan said. “We look forward to building an even stronger company following our acquisition and are excited about the greater impact we will achieve to the benefit of our customers and other stakeholders now and well into the future”, he added. SOURCE

NORTH AMERICA

Put Your Hack Into It

 

The Story

Hackers can't get enough of the United States.

What's going on?

Living in a digital world has its perks. But it's also rife with vulnerabilities. Last year, ransomware attacks were up 300%...and they don't seem to be slowing down. Over the last month, the US has been the target of three major cyberattacks. From the fuel industry, to government computers, to...meat. Yes, meat. Here's what the beef's all about...

Colonial Pipeline...Last month, a ransomware attack shut down one of the country's largest fuel pipelines for six days – thought to be one of the most disruptive ransomware attacks on record. The line provides 45% of fuel to the East Coast. And its closure triggered fears about gas shortages and prompted panic buying at the pump. Gas prices jumped, pumps ran dry, and the government had to step in and tell people to not fill plastic bags with fuel.

Microsoft...Last week, the tech giant revealed that hackers compromised the US Agency for International Development's account with Constant Contact, an email marketing service. And from there, targeted around 3,000 email accounts – affecting over 150 gov agencies (including some in the US), think tanks, and NGOs. At least 23 other countries also fell victim to the hack. Microsoft said their security systems blocked most of the attacks, but it was notifying affected users.

A meat company...Two days ago, a ransomware attack caused the world's largest meatpacker to close down all of its US beef plants – affecting at least 20% of US beef production. JBS is home to brands like Primo, Pilgrims, and Swift products. The company says there's no evidence its info has been compromised and backup servers were not affected. But with beef and pork prices already on the rise because of disruptions caused by the pandemic, this attack could increase prices even more. But JBS says the "vast majority" of its plants will be up and running today.

Who's behind all this?

Hacking groups – many of which are based in Russia. DarkSide, a criminal hacking group, managed to walk away with $4.4 million in ransom money after it hacked Colonial Pipeline. Microsoft's pointing the finger at Nobelium: a Russian group that was behind last year's US gov data breach. And JBS is suspecting criminal Russian hackers too. The White House already imposed sanctions on Russia for previous attacks. Now, it's getting in touch with the Kremlin over this latest hack, warning Russia against harboring cybercriminals. TBD if it has any effect, or if it'll be brought up in conversation when President Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin meet later this month.

So many holes in American's security infrastructure.

While the American government has tried to address cybersecurity holes, hackers have exposed the faults in US infrastructure security. It's leaving companies no choice but to pay off ransom or face major disruptions. SOURCE

EAST ASIA

Democracy’s Fragility On Display

 

The Story
Democracy is a fragile thing. It is difficult to acquire, but easily lost. There are always autocrats waiting in the wings, wanting to crush it.

One Country, Two Systems
In the mid-19th century, the United Kingdom (UK) acquired Hong Kong Island, Kowloon Peninsula, and another swath of land, comprising territory collectively called Hong Kong. The U.K. would remain in control until 1997, when the colony of Hong Kong was to be returned to China. While under British rule, Hong Kong experienced an economic boom in the last half of the 20th century, becoming a financial hub and capitalist home to a wealthy, multicultural, international community.

Anticipating Hong Kong's return, the U.K. and China signed a Joint Declaration in 1984 that provided for the governance of the city under Chinese sovereignty. Although directly under Beijing's Communist Party authority, Hong Kong would keep a high degree of autonomy in all matters, including executive, legislative, and independent judicial power, even final adjudication -- everything except foreign relations and defense. It was called the "one country, two systems" principle.

How has the relationship been since then?
After the handoff in 1997, Hong Kong became a Special Administrative Region of China, with its own “mini” constitution, legal system, and some democratic rights like free speech and the freedom of assembly. Under its Basic Law, Hong Kong's existing capitalist system and way of life would remain unchanged for 50 years, until 2047. There was a caveat: Hong Kong residents could not elect their own leaders; rather, a chief executive would be chosen by a 1,200-member election committee. While you might see that as suppressing the people's right to choose their representatives, Beijing felt such rights were a luxury and moved to suppress them further.

What did Beijing do?
Once Xi Jinping became China's president in 2013, things changed. The next year Hong Kong elections were conducted using a list of candidates vetted by Beijing. More intrusive policies followed. In 2018, Xi's government tried changing the law to allow extradition to mainland China for criminal adjudication. London called for Beijing to honor agreements made when the city was handed over in 1997; a diplomatic row between the countries ensued, and mass pro-democracy protests broke out in Hong Kong. In 2020, China enacted a sweeping national security law for Hong Kong that criminalizes dissent.

Final Nail In Democracy's Coffin
The law crushed the pro-democracy movement and effectively eradicated opposition. The city's slide into authoritarianism was like watching a cancer patient die a slow death. That zero-tolerance policy for dissent was exemplified with Sunday's arrest of Alexandra Wong, known affectionately as Grandma Wong. The 65-year-old democracy activist was apprehended as she staged a lone demonstration in remembrance of China's deadly crackdown in Tiananmen Square, when the military and security police are estimated to have massacred 10,000 protesters and bystanders on June 4, 1989.

To commemorate the massacre's 32nd anniversary, activists sought permission for a vigil on Friday; it was denied for the second year in a row. They also requested permission for a small Tiananmen-themed march on Sunday, and that was also denied. But Wong showed up anyway, alone, carrying a sign that read "32, June 4 Tiananmen's lament" and a yellow umbrella symbolizing Hong Kong's democracy movement. She was taken into custody and charged with participating in an unlawful assembly. SOURCE

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Corps members can be mobilised for war, says NYSC DG

J-Lo and Ben Affleck back together - NY Post

Tokyo 2020: Olympics '100%' going ahead - Games president Seiko Hashimoto

Biden blocks 59 Chinese companies in amended Trump order

Buckingham Palace ‘banned’ ethnic minorities from office jobs

France halts joint army operations with Malian forces over coup

Controlling the situation’: Oman leader quickly quells protests

Bill Gates to build next-generation nuclear facility in Wyoming

Lebanon’s central bank U-turns after dollar withdrawal backlash

PICKS OF THE DAY

The 2021 Fortune 500 list of the largest U.S. companies. Fortune

Ranking the world's richest millennial billionaires. Visual Capitalist

Better Thinking & Incentives: Lessons From Shakespeare. FFSBlog

On Buhari's Threat. Cheta Nwanze


What an Ancestry Test Could Not Teach Me About My History. The Republic

How To Stop Overthinking. Psyche

David Diop: his haunting account of a Senegalese soldier that won the Booker prize. The Conversation Africa

Naomi Osaka's courageous choice. CNN

Jobs vs heritage: The battle over Amazon’s new Africa HQ. Aljazeera

TODAY'S TRIVIA

What is a six-letter word meaning "deficiency of red blood corpuscles"?
a. Fever
b. Anaemia
c. Pallsy

QUESTION & ANSWER

QUORA QUESTION: 

What historical figure do you wish never existed?

Julio Cesar Pino

Gandhi. This saint of meekness spoke and wrote more dangerous blather about everything from race to religion, war and peace, than any one else in modern times. He was also a first-class hypocrite. Gandhiji defended the Indians but not the Blacks of South Africa, calling them “Kaafirs”, just like their white masters. He served in the British Army during the Boer War and recruited combatants for Britain during World War I. None of that is the worst of Gandhi. The very worst of the Great Soul were his proposals on solving world problems non-violently. Some Mahatma Gandhi obiter dicta: {To the British in 1940} If {the Nazis} choose to occupy your homes, you will vacate them. If they do not give you free passage out, you will allow yourselves, man, woman, and child, to be slaughtered, but you will refuse to owe allegiance to them." On the holocaust: “The Jews should have offered themselves to the butcher's knife. They should have thrown themselves into the sea from cliffs... It would have aroused the world and the people of Germany... As it is they succumbed anyway in their millions."

If this “Apostle of Truth” had been followed to the letter the deaths of tens of millions of people would be on his conscience.

UPDATE ON SOURCES: Gandhi’s view that the Jews should have committed collective suicide is reproduced verbatim in THE LIFE OF GANDHI by Louis Fischer. Fischer met Gandhi and interviewed him several times. This quote is also found in “Reflections on Gandhi” by George Orwell. See George Orwell, COLLECTED LETTERS, ESSAYS AND BOOK REVIEWs, Vol. 4. Gandhi on the Blacks of South Africa, and his support for the British in their war against the Zulu, is documented in The Gandhi Nobody Knows by Richard Grenier (1983). On the Mahatma’s refusal to condemn the Indo-Pakistan War or the seizure of Kashmir consult Arthur Koestler, “Mahatma Gandhi: A Revaluation” in his book JANUS: A SUMMING UP. SOURCE

TRIVIA ANSWER

What is a six-letter word meaning "deficiency of red blood corpuscles"?
b. Anaemia

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