COVID-19. The number of confirmed coronavirus cases worldwide has surpassed 90 million as countries scramble to contain the spread of two new variants that are thought to be much more contagious. The variants were first discovered in the U.K. and South Africa.
United States. The Pentagon authorized as many as 15,000 National Guard troops to deploy to Washington ahead of the inauguration on Jan. 20, and the FBI sent a bulletin to law enforcement across the country warning of the possibility of armed protests in all 50 state capitals this weekend and into next week.
United States. The Democrats have started impeachment proceedings against President Trump, charging him with "incitement of insurrection." House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said that Trump needs to be removed from office because he represents "an imminent threat to our constitution, our country, and the American people."
Nigeria. University workers under the auspices of Non-Academic Staff Union (NASU) of Educational and Associated Institutions and Senior Staff Association of Nigeria Universities (SSANU) yesterday protested nationwide to press the federal government to address their grievances. The workers said they were protesting against maltreatment and the injustice meted out on them by the federal government.
1970 Colonel Odumegwu Ojukwu flees Biafra into exile, leaving his deputy Philip Effiong to surrender to the Nigerian army, unofficially ending the Nigerian Civil War.
1962 Philadelphia center Wilt Chamberlain scores 73 points in Warriors' 135-117 win over Chicago Packers; at the time, most points scored in NBA regulation game, and remains tied for 3rd-highest total.
1983 AMA urges ban on boxing, cites Muhammad Ali's deteriorating condition.
1992 Japan apologizes for forcing Korean women into sexual slavery during World War II.
2000 Microsoft chairman Bill Gates steps aside as chief executive and promotes company president Steve Ballmer to the position.
Lagos says ₦2.5bn lost to Lekki toll closure
Image Source: Bizwatch Nigeria
The Story The Lagos State Government says it has lost at least N2.5 billion in projected revenue due to the closure of the Lekki toll plaza and the Ikoyi Link Bridge toll plaza over the last 95 days.
Do they make that much at the toll plazas? The figure was obtained from the daily and monthly targets set for the tollgates by the Lagos State Government, which owns the toll gates but is being managed by the Lekki Concession Company. The Lekki-Ikoyi Link Bridge is expected to generate about N10 million daily, while the Lekki toll plaza is expected to generate at least N16.6 million a day. This implies that the Lekki-Ikoyi Link Bridge has lost N950 million, while the Lekki toll plaza has lost N1.5 billion over the period.
Why have the toll plazas not resumed operation since the protests ended? Following the violence that greeted the mostly peaceful #EndSars protests, the toll gates have not reopened. The Judicial Panel of Inquiry and Restitution set up by the Lagos State Government to investigate cases of brutality and human rights violations committed by operatives of the dissolved 'Special Anti-Robbery Squad' ordered that the toll gates should not operate until hearings were concluded.
So the revenue loss continues? The counsel for the Lagos State Government at the panel, Olukayode Enitan, made an application for the reopening of the Lekki Toll plaza for repairs and insurance. However, Justice Doris Okuwobi (rtd), who heads the panel, adjourned the matter till 29 January for further consideration of the application. SOURCE
FIRS: Nigeria Lost N5.4tn to Tax Evasion by Multinationals
Image Source: Guardian
The Story The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) said Nigeria lost over $178 billion (about N5.4 trillion) through tax evasion by multinationals doing business in the country between 2007 and 2017.
Tell me about it. This was disclosed by the FIRS Executive Chairman, Mr. Muhammad Nami, at a workshop on effective audit of multinational corporations for domestic revenue mobilisation in Nigeria. He said many “rich multinational corporations do not pay the right taxes due from them, let alone pay their taxes voluntarily.”
How's the FIRS addressing this? At the workshop, which was organised by the service in partnership with the Tax Justice Network, Nami said the service has created 35 additional tax audit units over the last one year to stem illicit financial outflows as well as improve tax compliance rate among corporations. “At the FIRS, we are paying greater attention to tax audit in general and transfer pricing audit in particular in order to improve the level of tax compliance in the country", he said.
Through a statement by the Director, Communications and Liaison Department, Dr. Abdullahi Ahmad, Nami stressed the important role of taxation in the revenue generation efforts of the country, especially following the decline in the demand and price of oil. This, he said, underscored the importance of the workshop, particularly as tax audit of multinational corporations remained crucial in the country’s domestic revenue mobilisation efforts. SOURCE
At COVID-19 ‘breaking point’, Malaysia suspends parliament
Image Source: Aljazeera
The Story Malaysia has announced a state of emergency as its Covid-19 cases increase, suspending parliament and state legislatures in the process.
Is it that bad there? The Tuesday announcement came hours before millions of Malaysians were set to go back into lockdown following a surge in coronavirus cases that threatened to overwhelm the country’s public health system. A statement from the royal palace said the king had agreed to a declaration of emergency following a Monday meeting with Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin over the escalating pandemic and its pressure on the public health system.
How long is this expected to be? The emergency will remain in force until August 1, or earlier if COVID-19 cases fall, the statement said. In a televised speech on Tuesday morning, Muhiyddin said that under the emergency the national parliament and state legislatures would be suspended and elections would no longer be allowed. There would be no curfew and his government would continue to run the country, he said.
Public anxiety. Fears have been expressed over the announcement as people worry about how their civil rights might be curtailed. Some have described the announcement as an attempt by the Prime Minister to ward off pressure and criticism over his handling of the pandemic. "The declaration of a state of emergency seems like another attempt by Muhyiddin to hold on to power, block elections and remove parliamentary oversight, rather than to seriously address the pandemic,” said Josef Benedict, a researcher with rights group CIVICUS Monitor.
Malaysia brought an earlier wave of COVID-19 under control with a strict three-month lockdown under which people were mostly prevented from leaving their homes and gradually eased curbs as cases dwindled. The situation, however, began to change in September as political activities and an election in the Borneo state of Sabah influenced an increase in reported cases. SOURCE
Germany's Merkel hits out at Twitter over Trump ban
Image Source: DW
The Story Yesterday, a spokesperson for German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that Twitter's permanent suspension of President Trump is "problematic."
The reasoning: Free speech is a fundamental right, and while it's sometimes curtailed, that should only happen under legal guardrails set up by the government—not decisions by Big Tech CEOs who aren't publicly accountable.
How have other leaders reacted to the suspension? French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire and Russian dissident Alexei Navalny voiced similar concerns about the precedent set by Twitter's action. And EU internal market commissioner, Thierry Breton wrote, "The fact that a CEO can pull the plug on POTUS's loudspeaker without any checks and balances is perplexing."
What do they propose as a solution? Europe has its own ideas on tech regulation. Merkel would like to see the US impose similar rules to Germany, which enacted pioneering internet regulation in 2018. Last month, the EU went even further, proposing regulations to fine tech platforms up to 6% of annual revenue for failing to remove illegal content quickly.
Twitter's shares fell 6.4% yesterday. Investors are wondering how the loss of the app's highest-profile user will affect future growth and profitability. SOURCE
Knowing Better Doesn't Always Mean Doing Better. Human Part
What always ends everything?
QUESTION & ANSWER
Why did the British give up on its colonies in spite of winning the Second World War?
Because the British didn’t win the war. They survived it.
London during the Blitz
Before World War II Britain was arguably the single most powerful empire in the world. The cracks were already beginning to show. People like Gandhi were calling for independence long before the Nazis showed up. And it was only through violence that Britain could keep control of its colonies.
And after the war they simply didn’t have the power to do so. Their soldiers were either dead or sick of war. Their industry was in ruins, literally. And the entire country was in such a sorry state that rationing wouldn’t fully end until 1954. Almost a decade after the war itself.
Don’t let this man’s simple clothes and personal commitment to pacifism fool you. Once the war ended India was going to have her independence. The only question was whether the British soldiers still stationed there would live to see it.
Because maybe Britain had enough strength left to quell one or two rebellions. But the colonies could smell blood in the water and it wasn’t going to be just one or two rebellions.
Edit: as a few people pointed out in the comments, this is an incredibly truncated account of history, and there were many more causes for the collapse of the British Empire.
One of the bigger ones was the war with Japan. Japan was a small, Eastern, country that had rapidly industrialized and decided to join the other Imperial powers as an equal.
Their defeat of the British at Singapore was especially devastating. It showed that not only couldn't the British be counted on to defend their colonies, but that they could be beaten by people they considered inferior. SOURCE