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Iran’s smog, blackouts made worse by power-sapping crypto mining

Outages have been compounded by cryptocurrency mining, which uses banks of high-powered computers. Cities across Iran have been cloaked in thick layers of toxic smog and darkened by blackouts, as the alleged use of low-quality fuel and power-sucking cryptocurrency mining deepen the country’s hardships. Tehran’s Hamshahri newspaper, the country’s most-read daily, ran the headline, “20 Days Living in Smoke,” on Wednesday over a photo of the capital covered in smog. Power plants have been forced to switch to burning low-grade fuel oils to generate electricity because high levels of domestic consumption have led to natural-gas shortages, the semi-official Iranian Students’ News Agency reported. Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh denied earlier this week that any of Iran’s power stations are us...

Ahmadu Bello University announces date for resumption

The management of the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, in Kaduna State, has fixed Monday, January 25th, 2021 as the date for the reopening of the institution for academic activities. However, the Director of Public Affairs of the ABU, Mallam Auwal Umar, said in a statement that the resumption date was subject to review by the Federal Government. The statement titled, ‘Ahmadu Bello University fixes January 25 for reopening,’ said the resumption date was approved by the Senate of the University at its 501st (Special) Meeting on Tuesday The statement read, “The 2019/2020 academic session would be completed based on the adjusted calendar as approved by the Senate. “The decision to reopen the University followed the suspension of ASUU strike, and the directive by National Universities Commission...

Nigerian government borrows over N2 trillion from bond investors in 2020

Leveraging on excess liquidity that persisted in the banking system and the near zero yields on treasury bills (TBs), the Federal Government, through the Debt Management Office (DMO), raised N2.1 trillion from investors in its monthly bond issuance programme in 2020. This represents 33 percent, year-on-year, (y/y) increase when compared with the N1.58 trillion raised by the DMO in 2019. The N2.1 trillion raised in 2020 also represents 31 percent more than the N1.6 trillion funding target for the DMO under the Revised 2020 Budget. Meanwhile, the monthly bond auctions conducted by the DMO in 2020 recorded 275 percent oversubscription, reflecting scramble for the high yielding FGN bonds by investors. Newsmen report on monthly bond auction results show that the DMO offered N1.825 trillion wort...

Coronavirus: President Buhari extends tenure, mandate of PTF

President Muhammadu Buhari has extended the mandate of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 “for a further period till the end of March, 2021 bearing in mind the new surge in the number of cases and the bid for vaccines.” The president disclosed this Tuesday in Abuja while receiving the End-of-Year Report of the task force. He said: “Recent reports reaching me indicate that Nigeria is now facing a rise in confirmed COVID-19 cases nationwide which is similar to the second wave of infections occurring in other countries across the world. “New epicentres have been identified and the nation cannot afford to lose the gains of the last nine months. ”I have critically evaluated the situation and remain convinced that urgent measures have to be taken to halt the spread and the attendant f...

APC promises conducive environment for Kankara abducted boys

The All Progressives Congress (APC) has rendered an unreserved apology to the students abducted from Government Science Secondary School, Kankara, Katsina State, promising that President Muhammadu Buhari and the ruling party will do all it takes to ensure that they continue to study in a safe environment. The ruling party in a statement signed by the National Chairman, Mai Mala Buni, noted that it received with joy and glad heart the release and return of the students who were abducted by terrorists. The party further noted that the news was not just elating, but it was gladdening and relieving. “We want to congratulate the parents of the children and also apologize on behalf of our party that one of our biggest promises was security and although we are doing our utmost best, such incidenc...

U.S. sanctions Turkey over purchase of Russian defense system

The United States imposed long-anticipated sanctions on Turkey on Monday over Ankara’s acquisition of the Russian S-400 air defense systems, further complicating already strained ties between the two NATO allies. Turkey condemned the sanctions as a “grave mistake” and urged Washington to revise its “unjust decision.” Senior U.S. officials said in a call with reporters that Ankara’s purchase of the S-400s and its refusal to reverse its decision left the United States with no other choice. The sanctions, first reported by Reuters last week, target Turkey’s top defence procurement and development body Presidency of Defence Industries, its chairman Ismail Demir and three other employees. While limited to one company, they are still likely to weigh on the Turkish economy, analysts said, at a ti...

Police recruit 503 special constables in Nasarawa

The Nigeria Police Force (NPF) has engaged 503 Special Constables (SCP) for community policing in Nasarawa State, to enhance intelligence gathering in tackling insecurity and crime. Assistant Inspector-General of Police (AIG) in charge of Zone 4, Mr. Jonah John, made the disclosure on Monday in Lafia, at a one-day sensitisation campaign on community policing in Nasarawa. According to him, 49 of the 503 recruited SCP have successfully undergone training and posted to their various communities in the state to serve. The AIG added that 454 of the recruited SCP were currently undergoing training at the police Zone 4 Headquarters in Makurdi, Benue State. Speaking at the event, Peter Yisa-Gana, Inspector-General of Police (IGP’s) Special Rapporteur on Community Policing for Nasarawa, Benue and P...

Ebonyi governor denies giving cultists N3 million

Governor David Umahi on Monday said he did not give N3 million to placate notorious cult groups allegedly terrorising residents of the state. Umahi said this when the 13 Local Government Area Chairmen, Coordinators of Development Centres, with their Management Committee members, among other political appointees, paid him a solidarity visit at the Government House, Abakiliki. He dismissed the report that he gave the money to the groups through his security aide. According to him, he had ordered a manhunt for members of the groups. “How can a warrior such as me bribe cultists, to do what with the money? The duty of political leaders and the citizens is to give me the names of the cultists because I will give them a bad Christmas celebration. “I am searching for them whether they are in gover...

UN: Over 110 people killed in attack on Borno rice field

United Nations (UN) has revealed that not less than 110 civilians were killed by Boko Haram in the attack on a rice field in Borno State. Earlier reports had put the death toll of Saturday’s deadly Boko Haram attack on rice field in Borno at 43 while several others were said to be missing. A statement by the United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator in Nigeria, Mr. Edward Kallon, on Sunday, while describing the attack as horrifying, said not less than 110 people were killed with many other persons injured in one the deadliest attack by the terrorist group, who have laid siege to the Northeast for over a decade. Kallon said: “I am outraged and horrified by the gruesome attack against civilians carried out by non-state armed groups in villages near Borno State capital Maiduguri. “At least 110 ...

Nigerian government seeks new Eurobond

The federal government yesterday disclosed that it would approach the Eurobond market next year in its effort to shore up the economy, amidst cocktails of measures being put in place to douse the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on the economy. On the same day, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, Godwin Emefiele, while speaking at the 55th Annual Bankers Dinner organised by the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN) in Lagos, predicted a two per cent growth in the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2021. Finance Minister, Zainab Ahmed, who disclosed the Eurobond plan while speaking on Bloomberg TV, explained that the decision would depend on the prevailing interest rates. She, however, did not specify the amount to be accessed from the Eurobond. The Eurobond option is ...

Lagos government plans internship programme for young graduates

The Lagos State Government on Friday said it was planning a six-month Internship Programme for 4,000 young graduates in the state. Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu said this during the inauguration of a 28-room Administrative Block constructed by Agboyi-Ketu Local Council Development Area. Sanwo-Olu said that the 4,000 fresh graduates would be paid a monthly stipend of N40,000 for the six months programme, adding that there was an urgent need for government at all levels to prioritise youth development, empowerment and mentoring. According to him, the recent EndSARS protest must be seen as a wakeup call for government at all levels to do more for young people who are demanding for better opportunities and engagements. ”As we prepare for a new fiscal year, let us ensure that ade...

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