technology

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...

Telegraph: Britain to tighten laws on imports linked to alleged Chinese human rights abuses

Britain will tighten the law on importing goods linked to alleged human rights abuses in China as ministers take a tougher stance on Beijing, The Telegraph reported on Monday. Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab will make a statement on Tuesday in the House of Commons on the government’s response to allegations of forced labour in China’s Xinjiang province, home to about 12 million Uighur Muslims, the report bit.ly/2LKt2Fe added. Among the measures expected to be unveiled by the government include expansion of the Modern Slavery Act, reacting to concerns that items manufactured under duress by the Uighur Muslim minority may be entering the UK, the Telegraph reported. Britain said last year there was credible, growing and troubling evidence of forced labour among Uighur Muslims. China has come u...

Senator lauds President Buhari for signing Modibbo Adama University bill into law

The Chairman of the Senate Committee on Sustainable Development Goals, Senator Aishatu Dahiru Ahmed (Binani), on Friday commended President Muhammadu Buhari for signing the Modibbo Adama University bill into law. Binani, who initiated the bill in the 7th National Assembly, said the university can now run all approved academic programmes like any other conventional University. She said the bill will also create more placements for youths seeking admission into the university. Binani, who made her feelings known in a statement in Abuja, said the assent of the President was heart-warming. She said: “It is heartwarming to note the gracious assent by Mr. President to this bill. Precisely on the 6th of January, 2021, Mr. President assented to the bill converting MAUTECH to a Conventional Univers...

#EndSARS: It’ll take long to rebuild destroyed property – Governor Sanwo-Olu

Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State, said, yesterday, that it would take the state time to rebuild the properties destroyed during the EndSARS protests. This came on a day the Lagos State government disclosed that the 2021 budget of N1.164 trillion would be funded from a revenue estimate of N971.028 billion in the fiscal year, with a target on the expansion of tax nets. Governor Sanwo-Olu stated this while briefing State House correspondents, after meeting behind closed doors with President Muhammadu Buhari, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja. He said the meeting dwelt more on the second wave of the Coronavirus pandemic, security situation and the impact of the #EndSARS protests in the state. On rebuilding Lagos after the EndSARS protests, he said: “It is also some of the things I dis...

Apple loses copyright infringement claims against security startup

A federal judge in Florida on Tuesday dismissed Apple’s copyright infringement claims against a Florida startup whose software helps security researchers find vulnerabilities in Apple products including the iPhone. U.S. District Judge Rodney Smith ruled in favor of Corellium LLC, saying its software emulating the iOS operating system that runs on the iPhone and iPad amounted to “fair use” because it was “transformative” and helped developers find security flaws. Apple accused Corellium of essentially replicating iOS to create “virtual” iOS-operated devices, whose “sole function” was to run unauthorized copies of the system on non-Apple hardware. But the Fort Lauderdale-based judge said Corellium “adds something new to iOS” by letting users see and halt running processes, take live snapshot...

Report: Jack Ma’s Ant Group considers overhaul due to regulatory pressure

Chinese financial technology giant Ant Group plans reorganisation that would allow it to be regulated more like a bank, Bloomberg reports. Jack Ma’s besieged Ant Group Co. is planning to fold its financial operations into a holding company that could be regulated more like a bank, according to people familiar with the situation, potentially crippling the growth of its most-profitable units. The fintech giant is planning to move any unit that would require a financial license into the holding company, pending regulatory approval, said the people, who asked not be named because the matter is private. The plans are still under discussion and subject to change, the people said. Ant declined to comment. The operations that Ant is looking to fold into the holding company include wealth managemen...

National Assembly raises 2021 budget by N580 billion, approves N13.588 trillion

The two chambers of the National Assembly yesterday passed the 2021 Appropriation Bill, increasing the budget size from N13.08 trillion presented to them by President Muhamnadu Buhari 11 weeks ago to N13.588 trillion. The passage of the 2021 budget followed consideration and adoption of harmonised reports separately submitted to them by their Committees on Appropriation. The two chambers increased the 2021 budget by about N580 billion and pegged daily crude oil production at 1.86 million barrels per day, while oil benchmark price was fixed at $40 per barrel. They approved N379 to dollar as the official exchange rate while GDP growth rate was pegged at 3 per cent. Highlights of the report approved by the Senate showed aggregate expenditure to be N13,588,027,886,175, statutory transfer of N4...

Nigerian government extends deadline for SIM-NIN update to January 19, February 9

The federal government has extended the deadline for the provision of National Identification Number, NIN, by telecommunication service subscribers to 19th January and 9th February, 2021 respectively. FG disclosed this in a statement titled: ‘Extension of Registration Period and Cancellation of USSD and Verification Fees’, signed by the Executive Vice-Chairman, Nigerian Communications Commission, Umar Danbatta; and Director-General, National Identity Management Commission, Aliyu Aziz. Part of the statement read: “The National Task Force on National Identification Number and SIM Registration met today, 21st December, 2020. “The meeting was chaired by the Honourable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Ali Pantami with major stakeholders in the sector including Chairman – NCC,...

U.S. warns Pacific islands about Chinese bid for undersea cable project

The United States has warned Pacific island nations about security threats posed by a Chinese company’s cut-price bid to build an undersea internet cable, two sources told Reuters, part of an international development project in the region. Huawei Marine, which was recently divested from Huawei Technologies Co Ltd and is now majority-owned by another Chinese firm, submitted bids along with French-headquartered Alcatel Submarine Networks (ASN), part of Finland’s Nokia, and Japan’s NEC, for the $72.6 million project backed by the World Bank and Asian Development Bank (ADB), the sources with direct knowledge of the project details said. The project is designed to improve communications to the island nations of Nauru, Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) and Kiribati. Washington sent a diploma...

Nigeria loses 250,000 babies to preventable, treatable causes annually – experts

Despite the global efforts to end preventable newborn deaths by 2030, through the Sustainable Development Goal 3.2, experts have raised the alarm that Nigeria loses over 250,000 babies yearly due to preventable and treatable causes, even as the country ranks second highest globally in infant deaths. According to a Professor of Paediatrics at the College of Medicine University of Lagos, and Clinical Lead, Newborn Essential Solution and Technologies, NEST360, Professor Chinyere Ezeaka, with current slow progress, it may take Nigerian 100 years to meet the goal. Ezeaka identified causes of newborn deaths in Nigeria to include prematurity, infections, birth asphyxia, congenital abnormalities among others, she said these would be reduced with the wide-scale adoption of comprehensive newborn car...

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...

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