Monday, 3 March 2014

Govt alone can’t fund varsities – Jonathan

MAKURDI— President Goodluck Jonathan has stated that the federal government alone would not be able to fully fund all the universities in the country.

He, therefore, urged university authorities to seek enhanced funding through partnership with relevant agencies, foreign donors and organizations to augment the funding by government.

President Jonathan spoke weekend in Makurdi, the Benue State capital, at the 20th convocation ceremony and silver jubilee anniversary of the Federal University of Agriculture Makurdi, FUAM.

Represented by the Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Education, Mr. Macjohn Monye, he said, “government alone cannot fully fund all the universities in the country. I urge the various universities to partner foreign donors and also embark on activities that would enhance their funding.”

The President however added that his administration would continue to accord top priority to the education sector in view of its strategic importance to the social and economic growth of the nation.

He stated that the ongoing transformation of the Nigerian universities was aimed at repositioning the institutions to be at par with other institutions around the globe.

While commending the management of FUAM for keying into the agricultural transformation programme of the federal government through the establishment of extension services to aid rural farmers, he urged the institution to explore its full potentials to improve agricultural production in the country.

The President further charged the graduants to be good ambassadors of the institution and role models to others in order to impact their generation positively.

Earlier in his speech, the Vice Chancellor of the university, Prof. Emmanuel Kucha said the management of the institution had embark on various activities to improve on its internally generated revenue profile.

2,110 students of the institution graduated at the ceremony, while six of them earned First Class degrees

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6 Tricks For Waking Up Early

To accomplish a big goal, such as launching a new business, writing a novel or starting an exercise regime, productivity experts will often suggest getting up early. You can get a lot done in a quiet house with no distractions or interruptions. While this is sound advice, it’s easier said than done.

“You might think getting up earlier is just a matter of discipline, but it actually takes much more than that,” says Julie Morgenstern, time management expert and author of "Never Check Email in the Morning" (Touchstone; 2005). “The truth is, your entire ecosystem has been built around sleeping later.”

When you try to change your morning routine, several obstacles will stand in your way. It’s possible to overcome them, however; the key is to start the night before. Morgenstern offers six strategies to make getting up early work for you:

1. Change your mindset. Many people fight going to sleep because they want to get more done – they have separation anxiety from the day. But Morgenstern teaches her clients to think differently.

“Consider sleep the beginning of the next day,” she says, adding that this mind shift can change the way you look at sleep and make it exciting. “Sleep becomes an active element; you’re charging up your battery.”

2. Adjust your bedtime. Many of us are already sleep deprived, and stealing another hour of sleep will just set you up for failure. The only way to be successful is to go to bed earlier. Determine how many hours of sleep your body requires and count backwards from there.

“Getting up earlier requires a fundamental shift in your neuro-pathways,” she says. “While the change makes total sense to you the day before, actually doing it the next morning is hard work and requires you to break a lot of patterns.”

3. Adjust other nighttime activities. You’ll also have to adjust the time you eat dinner as well as after-dinner decompression activities, such as reading, says Morgenstern.

You’re not being realistic if you say you’ll get up early but then don’t build everything else into your day" accordingly, she says. Also, eat dinner no less than two to three hours before bed, which is optimal for being able to fall asleep and sleep well.

4. Prepare for your morning activity. Sometimes what keeps us in bed isn’t fatigue, but the fact the morning task we’ve planned is overwhelming. To make these activities less daunting, prep the night before and organize your equipment. Set out your gym clothes, yoga mat or running shoes, if you’re planning to exercise. If you’re going to be on your computer, tidy your home office, and preprogram your coffee maker.

“Starting something new can feel complicated,” says Morgenstern. “Take the time to prepare and you’ll increase your chances for success.”

5. Turn off electronics. At least 90 minutes before bed pull the plug on electronic activities, such as watching television, checking email or social media or reading on an e-reader.

"Science says it’s a source of energy and over-stimulates us,” she says. “It’s like drinking a Red Bull before bed – there’s no way you’ll fall asleep.”

She suggests replacing it with something relaxing, such as listening to music, drawing, or prepping meals for next day.

6. Create a pre-bedtime routine. Give yourself peace of mind and time to unwind by creating a calming pre-bedtime routine. For example, make a ritual of checking the windows and locks. Dim the lights and stretch. Or take a leisurely walk.

“This routine will help you fall asleep quickly and easily,” she says. “It will also significantly increase your chances of getting up in morning.”


Nigerian Football Icon, Kanu Nwankwo Undergoes Heart Surgery Again!

Nigerian football legend and founder of the Kanu Heart Foundation, KHF, Nwankwo Kanu recently underwent a corrective heart surgery at the Cleveland Hospital Ohio, USA, Vanguard reports.

The surgery was carried out during one of his normal yearly routine medical checks at the hospital following the 1997 heart surgery at the same hospital. Co-ordinator of the Kanu Heart Foundation, Pastor Onyebuchi Abia confirmed the success of the surgery adding that the former Super Eagles captain has since left the intensive care unit, ICU, of the hospital and is recuperating in the hospital

“He’ll be back home in a few days time. I spoke with him Sunday afternoon and he confirmed he’s in a stable condition.’’, Abia said in a statement.

His younger brother Ogbonna Kanu confirmed to blogger, Linda Ikeji that the surgery did take place and Kanu is recovering well.


Genevieve Nnaji and Mikel Obi star together in “The Journey”

The two stars were mysteriously spotted together last month in South Africa.

Genevieve was the first to arrive at a private jet hangar before the football star Mikel Obi followed suit, and rumors quickly began that the two may be having a secret relationship.

Well, that is all clear now and their meeting has been demystified. They had both been featured in a new upcoming movie titled “The Journey” and were in South Africa on a follow up meeting regarding their roles.

As a professional footballer who has to train and play week in week out, this is Mikel Obi’s first foray in movies so fans will be eager to know what new dimension he brings on board.


Microsoft Invests $75m In Nigeria, South Africa, Kenya, Others

The President of Microsoft International, Jean-Philippe Courtois has disclosed that the Devices and Services company, Microsoft has invested $75 million in Nigeria, South Africa, Kenya and other African countries in the areas of access, innovation, skills development, youth empowerment; software development; digital curriculum, skills among others.
Courtois who stated this last week during a press briefing shortly after several meetings with the company’s local partners said that , “I think so far in a new drive, we have invested about $75 million in the African Markets and Nigeria has had a fair share of that deal.

Affirming Microsoft’s status as the no .1 go-to in the driving down of data costs especially for SMEs that often don’t have the capital for IT infrastructure investment, he said that Nigeria was one of company’s most important markets in Africa hence its upgrade of Microsoft Nigeria office to a single country subsidiary come its new Financial Year 2015 which will commence on July 1, 2014.

According to him, with Microsoft’s rapid transition to devices, the corporation was set to double its efforts in skills investments, innovation support and access provision for people across the globe in general and Nigeria in particular, to create sustained economic opportunities.

A testament being the recent signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Federal Ministry of Communications Technology to support the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Week.

Also speaking, , Kabelo Makwane, the in-coming Country Manager, Microsoft Nigeria said the Nigeria office elevation became necessary because of the maturity of the market; immense opportunities that abound; fast economic growth; skills deposit as well as large enterprise that exist.

According to him, there is urgent need to support these all.

Makwane also noted that under the 4Afrika initiative which goal is the empowerment of African youth, Microsoft is already training 18 interns while one of its partners, Galaxy Backbone is training 50 with an explanation that 75 per cent of them will end up in Microsoft Ecosystem.

Addressing Microsoft’s acquisition of NOKIA, Courtois explained that full possession will take place once every regulatory structure has been put in place.

He also tipped Steven Elop, to head the Devices division once the transaction is completed.

Jean-Phillipe expressed optimism that Microsoft which will expand its cloud services in Nigeria and other markets, will benefit from NOKIA’s mapping system.

Jean-Phillipe who made a stop-over at the Co-Creation Hub described the capacity building as a vibrant place of innovation.

He encouraged the app developers present to take advantage of the new Windows 8 platform to identify real life problems; create functional local applications that have global competitiveness around such and publish same to the Windows Store so they can monetize their innovation and share it with the world.

Meanwhile, Jean-Philippe Courtois leads global sales, marketing, and services for Microsoft International, a territory that spans more than 110 subsidiaries operating outside the United States and Canada.

As president of Microsoft International, Jean-Philippe drives strategic planning, global operations, and key growth initiatives in developed and emerging markets across Europe, Middle East & Africa, Asia and Latin America for all of Microsoft’s products and services.

Courtois previously served as CEO and president of Microsoft Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA), where he led business planning and sales, marketing and services. His many notable accomplishments include significant improvements in customer satisfaction, enhanced regional integration and record sales growth.

Before his role in EMEA, Courtois was Corporate Vice President of worldwide customer marketing, based out of Microsoft’s worldwide headquarters in Redmond, Wash. Courtois joined Microsoft in 1984 as a channel sales representative and, after holding several leadership positions, rose to general manager for Microsoft France in 1994.

Outside of Microsoft, Courtois is administrator for PlaNet Finance. He also serves on the board of directors for AstraZeneca, and is President of the Strategic Committee at Skem Business School. He has served as co-chairman of the World Economic Forum’s Global Digital Divide Initiative Task Force and on the European Commission Information and Communication Technology task force.

In 2009, he also served as an EU Ambassador for the Year of Creativity and Innovation, and in 2011 he was named one of “Tech’s Top 25″ by The Wall Street Journal Europe.

Source: Vanguard Nigeria

Bill Gates regains top spot as world’s richest person

Microsoft founder Bill Gates has regained the top spot as the world’s richest person, according to Forbes magazine’s annual ranking of global billionaires.

Mr Gates’ total net worth was estimated at $76bn (£45.5bn) this year, up from $67bn in 2013.

His rise in wealth knocked Mexican telecoms tycoon Carlos Slim off the top spot into second place.

In total, there were a record 1,645 billionaires, according to Forbes.

The funds needed to make it into the top 20 ranking are now $31bn, up from $23bn last year, Forbes said.

Mr Gates has been top of the list for 15 of the last 20 years, according to Forbes.

Technology firms featured heavily in the list, with Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg becoming the biggest gainer in net worth.

His fortune more than doubled to $28.5bn, boosted by a sharp rise in the price of the social network’s shares.

The social network’s chief operating officer, Sheryl Sandberg, also made the list for the first time.

WhatsApp founders Jan Koum and Brian Acton entered the list at number 202 and 551 respectively, thanks to Facebook’s $19bn purchase of the messaging app.

US continues to dominate

The world’s largest economy, the US, continues to have the most billionaires, with 492.

By region, Europe boasted the most billionaires outside the US, with 468 in total, closely followed by Asia, which had 444 billionaires.

The list suggested that wealth was spreading, with four new countries featuring for the first time – Algeria, Lithuania, Tanzania and Uganda.

Nigeria’s Aliko Dangote, Africa’s richest man, became the first African to be listed in the top 25, with a net worth of $25bn.

Landlord Gerald Grosvenor and family were the richest British family to make the list, with a net worth estimated at $13bn.

Known formally as the 6th Duke of Westminster, he owns 190 acres in Belgravia, an area adjacent to Buckingham Palace and one of London’s most expensive neighbourhoods.


Sex Tip: How to Master foreplay. Part 2.

And there it is. Five easy ways to drive your girl insane with foreplay. Of course, you don’t have to do them all in one day. Keep things lively, fun and erotic, and she’ll be incorrigible. One last time: every woman is different and if you’re attentive, you should be a success.

3. Strip down

Strip shows aren’t just for men anymore; women have gotten wise to the idea of having men perform a dance for them. While I don’t suggest you dance for her as you take off your socks or install a pole in your bedroom, I do recommend that you remove your clothes slowly (especially if you’re fit). Remove your socks before you do anything; they’re awkward and nothing turns a woman off faster than seeing a naked man with his socks on. Now that you’re set to go, start by removing your shirt (unbutton it slowly while maintaining eye contact), then your pants and finally your underwear.

At this point, undress her just as slowly. Sit her down and remove her clothing in the same order you removed yours.

4. Use your fingers and give her oral pleasure

Once again, I have to say that every woman is different and, therefore, every woman likes to be touched differently. However, the same techniques that you hopefully used in high school are still effective for the majority of women. Bring your hand to her vaginal area and, with the tips of your fingers, rub her outer lips (labia majora) by spreading them apart and bringing them back together. That should start the lubrication process.

When she spreads her legs a bit, that’s a clear indication that she wants you to touch her a little deeper. At this point, you can start lightly rubbing her inner lips (labia minora), and then move up to her clitoris, which you should rub in a circular motion. Some women like their clitoris to be touched gently, while others prefer a more vigorous contact. Read your girlfriend’s body language for a sign of what you should do.

After a few minutes, bring your mouth to the area and, while you continue to use your fingers to play around inside her, gently suck on her clitoris to give her some great oral pleasure.

5. Watch some sex and kiss her

Porn can be a great way to get you and your girl in the mood, provided that your girlfriend is the type who enjoys adult entertainment. Put on something that both of you can enjoy (preferably other couples having sex and something tailored to women), and lie naked with each other while you watch it. Remember that a caress here and there is perfectly acceptable, even preferable.

Every now and then, stop watching the movie and kiss her or play with her body. Make sure to pay more attention to her than you do to the movie. As well, if you see something kinky that you’d like to try, make a comment about it and gauge her response, which will give you an indication of whether or not she’s game. The idea here is to get her imagination going.


Sex Tip: How to Master foreplay. Part 1.

Foreplay is the one thing women can’t get enough of – OK, there are a few other things as well, but it is an important one.
Unlike their male counterparts, female bodies need help conjuring the lust and lubrication required for intercourse. All of this can be achieved through foreplay, which will also help your lady friend feel desired by you; if you simply want to jump her bones, she’ll feel more like a machine designed to get you off. Now, each woman is different, and some might like to get right to it without any foreplay, but the odds are that your girl will need to grease the wheels first.

That said, here are five foreplay tips that’ll help you turn everyday frolicking into something that will have any woman you seduce begging for satisfaction.

1.Talk and tease

During foreplay, the power of suggestion (especially with some dirty talk) can be as important as any physical beginnings. If you can describe how you want to touch her, where and with which of your body parts, she’ll visualise it easily and eagerly. If you know how to have sex with her brain (it is a major sexual organ), you can bet that she’ll be begging you to have sex with the rest of her in due time.

If you need to touch her while you dirty talk her during foreplay, avoid touching her breasts and vagina. Instead, focus your mouth and hands on her neck, wrists, inner thighs, lower back, and ears.

2. Get started in public

Foreplay doesn’t need to be restricted to the bedroom or inside four walls. If you and your girlfriend don’t start crying at the thought of public displays of affection (PDA), try doing some fun things out in the open. And by fun things, I mean such things as rubbing her breasts, kissing her passionately while having drinks at a bar or dirty dancing at a nightclub. Make an effort to turn her on wherever you are.

If you show her that she turns you on via PDA, when you finally do find yourselves in a private situation, the good times will lead to some carnal indulgences.

Enjoy your sex life.

Part Two follows shortly…


Oscars 2014: Full list of winners
The cast and crew of 12 Years a Slave collect their Oscar for best picture

Best picture

Winner: 12 Years a Slave

American Hustle

Captain Phillips

Dallas Buyers Club





The Wolf of Wall Street

    Best picture nominees in profile

Best director

Winner: Alfonso Cuaron – Gravity

Steve McQueen – 12 Years a Slave

Alexander Payne – Nebraska

David O Russell – American Hustle

Martin Scorsese – The Wolf of Wall Street

    Director profiles

Best actor

Winner: Matthew McConaughey – Dallas Buyers Club

Christian Bale – American Hustle

Bruce Dern – Nebraska

Leonardo DiCaprio – The Wolf of Wall Street

Chiwetel Ejiofor – 12 Years a Slave

    Actor profiles

Best actress

Winner: Cate Blanchett – Blue Jasmine

Amy Adams – American Hustle

Sandra Bullock – Gravity

Judi Dench – Philomena

Meryl Streep – August: Osage County

Actress profiles

Best supporting actor

Winner: Jared Leto, Dallas Buyers Club

Barkhad Abdi – Captain Phillips

Bradley Cooper – American Hustle

Michael Fassbender – 12 Years a Slave

Jonah Hill – The Wolf of Wall Street

Supporting actor profiles

Best supporting actress

Winner: Lupita Nyong’o – 12 Years a Slave

Sally Hawkins – Blue Jasmine

Jennifer Lawrence – American Hustle

Julia Roberts – August: Osage County

June Squibb – Nebraska

Supporting actress profiles

Best adapted screenplay

Winner: 12 Years a Slave

Before Midnight

Captain Phillips


The Wolf of Wall Street

Best original screenplay

Winner: Her

American Hustle

Blue Jasmine

Dallas Buyers Club


Best animated feature

Winner: Frozen

The Croods

Despicable Me 2

Ernest and Celestine

The Wind Rises

Best animated short

Winner: Mr Hublot


Get a Horse!


Room on the Broom

Best cinematography

Winner: Gravity

The Grandmaster

Inside Llewyn Davis



Best costume design

Winner: The Great Gatsby

12 Years a Slave

American Hustle

The Grandmaster

The Invisible Woman

Best documentary feature

Winner: 20 Feet from Stardom

The Act of Killing

Cutie and the Boxer

Dirty Wars

The Square

Best documentary short

Winner: The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life


Facing Fear

Karama Has No Walls

Prison Terminal: The Last Days of Private Jack Hall
Best film editing

Winner: Gravity

12 Years a Slave

American Hustle

Captain Phillips

Dallas Buyers Club
Best foreign language film

Winner: The Great Beauty (Italy)

The Broken Circle Breakdown (Belgium)

The Hunt (Denmark)

The Missing Picture (Cambodia)

Omar (Palestine)
Best live action short

Winner: Helium

Aquel No Era Yo (That Wasn’t Me)

Avant Que de Tout Perdre (Just Before Losing Everything)

Pitaako Mun Kaikki Hoitaa? (Do I Have to Take Care of Everything?)

The Voorman Problem
Best make-up

Winner: Dallas Buyers Club

Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa

The Lone Ranger
Best original score

Winner: Gravity

The Book Thief



Saving Mr Banks
Best original song

Winner: Let It Go – Frozen

Happy – Despicable Me 2

The Moon Song – Her

Ordinary Love – Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom
Best production design

Winner: The Great Gatsby

12 Years a Slave

American Hustle


Best sound editing

Winner: Gravity

All is Lost

Captain Phillips

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

Lone Survivor
Best sound mixing

Winner: Gravity

Captain Phillips

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

Inside Llewyn Davis

Lone Survivor
Best visual effects

Winner: Gravity

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

Iron Man 3

The Lone Ranger

Star Trek Into Darkness

Source: BBC

Ghana, Africa must stop begging foreigners for help – Otabil

Motivational Speaker Pastor Mensa Otabil says Ghana and the entire African Continent must stop begging for support from foreign countries and international agencies.
The General Overseer of the International Central Gospel Church (ICGC) gave the admonishing at the Church’s 30 anniversary programme at the Accra Sports stadium on March 3, 2014.

According to him, “not all help is good help. Actually some help can cripple you. Sometimes I wonder whether as Africans we have allowed ourselves to be crippled by our overdependence on Foreigners.

Likening the Continent to an immature butterfly that is helped by extraneous forces to come out of its cocoon instead of struggling to do so by itself, and by so doing, maturing independently, Dr Otabil says the help Africa goes begging for, is harming rather than helping the Continent.

“Instead of pushing out of our cocoons by ourselves, we beg for others to come help us. In the process we have become a crippled people. Look around us and see how we have crippled ourselves like that butterfly. Our farms are crippled. Our rivers are crippled. Our environment is crippled.  Our industries are crippled. Our schools are crippled. Our local talents are crippled. Yet we look for some help from outside”, he said.

He observed that: “We fail to see that the more we look up to others, the less we see of the strength that God has given to us. I believe it is time for us to push out of our cocoon and we have to do it ourselves. We have to become butterflies by struggling out of our cocoons ourselves. We have to become butterflies by struggling out of our cocoons ourselves. It will not be easy if we decide to do it ourselves. It will be heard. It will be tough. It will be painful but we will emerge with strong and capable wings”.

Using his church’s 30 year independent existence as an example, Dr Otabil said Ghana and Africa can cut the dependency cord if they will to do so.

“If a little Church in a classroom can do it, a whole nation, endowed with gold, oil and diamond should be able to do it. A whole Continent of 52 States with innumerable natural resources should be able to do it if we stretch our hands to God and work with the hands he has given us, we can make our lives and the lives of our children better. If we as a people should break the cycles of limitations we are encased in, we must reject dependency. Either on the prosperous relative, the Government or the international donor society.”


6 reasons ‘12 Years a Slave’ mattered

-By Genetta M. Adams, The Root

When “12 Years a Slave” opened nationally last November, it launched endless conversations about the legacy of slavery and race in America.

Director Steve McQueen’s hauntingly graphic depiction of slavery even made some people declare they were sitting this one out because they couldn’t bear to watch. This may have included some Oscar voters, which has led to talk that the film may be doomed at Sunday’s Academy Awards.
This film publicity image released by Fox Searchlight shows Chiwetel Ejiofor in a scene from "12 Years A Slave." This year's best picture race at the 86th Academy Awards on Sunday, March 2, 2014, has shaped up to be one of the most unpredictable in years. The favorites are "12 Years a Slave," "Gravity" and "American Hustle." (AP Photo/Fox Searchlight Films, Jaap Buitendijk, file)
Whether or not it wins the best picture Oscar, the film has seeped into America culture. The long-term effects may never be fully measured, but the recent announcement that both the movie and the memoir on which it is based will be used in high school curricula ensures that people will be discussing it for years to come.

Here are six ways the film has been influential.

1. It introduced the world to Solomon Northup and the slave-narrative genre. Most people probably never heard the story of Northup, a free black man who was kidnapped and sold into slavery. McQueen’s stunning depiction of Northup’s vividly detailed memoir helped revive interest in the book, which landed on the New York Times best-sellers list 160 years after it was first published. In its day, the book was also a best-seller and an important testament to the dangers free blacks faced while slavery continued in the South, something white abolitionists believed but couldn’t prove until Northup’s book came along.

2. It made (white) people talk about slavery. From the moment the film first screened at the Telluride Film Festival in Colorado last August, critics and culture writers were calling “12 Years” the first movie to truly capture the horror and devastation of “America’s original sin.” Indiewire’s Eric Kohn called the film “a slavery movie for the ages.” New York magazine Vulture blogger Kyle Buchanan went Kohn one better, declaring in September_months before the Oscar nominations were even announced_that “Your Best Picture Winner Will Be ‘12 Years a Slave.’” New York magazine’s Jonathan Chait, in a smartly written piece, hypothesized how Northup’s quiet dignity might explain the disdain some people feel for President Barack Obama.

And even though Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen was (correctly) derided for not knowing how horrible slavery truly was, the one kernel of truth he did get right was that schools have done a pretty crappy job of teaching slavery. Now that the memoir and the film will be available to high school teachers, perhaps that will change.

3. It announced the arrival of a new Steve McQueen to Hollywood. For people of a certain age, hearing the name “Steve McQueen” evoked memories of the tough-guy actor known as “the King of Cool,” who generally gave bad dudes a hard time and drove fast cars in movies and real life.

But with just three feature films to his name, British director Steve McQueen has proved himself to be an artist completely in control of his craft, who possesses the skill to tell gut-wrenchingly difficult stories about complex characters_his 2011 film “Shame” offers a look into the life of a man in the throes of sex addiction, while 2008’s “Hunger” tells the harrowing true story of Irish hunger strike leader Bobby Sands (like “12 Years a Slave,” both films featured Brit actor Michael Fassbender).

4. It made everyone learn how to pronounce “Chiwetel Ejiofor.” The role of Solomon Northup turned this British actor of Nigerian descent into a household name and an Oscar nominee. With his star definitely on the rise, Ejiofor may soon find himself in the same league of leading men alongside Denzel Washington, George Clooney, Matthew McConaughey and Brad Pitt.

5. It gave Hollywood a new “it” girl_Lupita Nyong’o. What can we say? The fashion world loves her. The Screen Actors Guild and critics love her. Will Oscar voters love her, too? Nyong’o, who scored a best supporting actress nomination nod for her debut role as slave girl Patsey, is in a dead-heat battle with still-”it” girl Jennifer Lawrence. Hollywood hasn’t been this gaga for a newcomer since Lawrence earned an Oscar nomination for her breakout role in 2010’s Winter’s Bone. Since then, Lawrence has scored two more Oscar nods_including a best actress win for 2012’s “Silver Linings Playbook” — and starring roles in two epic franchises: “X-Men” and “The Hunger Games.” Let’s hope Hollywood showers the same level of love on Lupita.

6. It reminded African-Americans that they are descendants of some of the strongest people on Earth. As difficult as it was to watch the unrelenting brutality depicted in the film — which one writer described as “the Disney version” of slavery because it didn’t go far enough in showing how awful human bondage was for blacks — the one bit of comfort that could be gleaned from those moments is that every effort by white slave owners to destroy the humanity of blacks was a complete and utter failure. The slaves who endured — and survived — such horrific conditions gave rise to generations of African-Americans who continued to fight and scratch so that they could hold America to its core principle that all are created equal.

Adams is a contributing editor at The Root.

What is the Nigerian naira really worth?
The naira has taken a beating in dollar terms this year as the United States has started to rein in a stimulus programme that spurred fund flows to emerging markets, and after Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan ousted respected central bank governor Lamido Sanusi last week.

"What is a cynic?" asks Cecil Graham in the Oscar Wilde play "Lady Windermere's Fan". "A man who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing," replies Lord Darlington.

Traders of the Nigerian naira may identify with such cynicism, as they try to determine whether the currency of Africa's second-biggest economy is overvalued.

But does anyone know the real value of the naira? In a country that imports 80 percent of what it consumes and ships back little except oil, which is denominated in dollars, many analysts are unsure.

"I don't think the concept of overvaluation is relevant in an economy where oil accounts for 95 percent of exports and the non-oil export base is constrained by significant ... bottlenecks," is how Standard Bank's Samir Gadio puts it.

The naira's value is crucial to bond investors who have been wooed by Nigeria's high yields in recent years as returns in developed markets were eroded by the financial crisis.

Since a devaluation in November 2011 the central bank has aimed to manage the naira within a band of 150-160 to the dollar.

But it is now trading 5 naira outside the band at around 165, despite the bank's efforts to keep the band intact via foreign exchange auctions, which are depleting foreign exchange reserves.

Some analysts expect the Central Bank of Nigeria will be forced to devalue the currency again soon - yet uncertainty about its real value means devaluation is not a one-way bet.

A day after taking over from Sanusi, acting central bank governor Sarah Alade pledged to do everything to support the naira, and stressed there were no immediate plans to devalue.

Sanusi's nominated successor Godwin Emefiele is expected to stay the course.

But they face a three-horned dilemma: spend dwindling reserves, give up and lower the band, or tighten monetary policy considerably by raising interest rates, now 12 percent.

"The naira is overvalued on an (inflation-adjusted) real effective exchange rate basis," said Angus Downie, head of economic research at Ecobank, adding however that the bank might still try to keep the 150-160 band if it believes it has enough reserves to continue supporting its position.

"The options for the (central bank) to maintain the current band are diminishing in line with the fall in net FX reserves," he said, "unless oil prices or oil production increase strongly - both unlikely in the short term."

The naira hit a record low of 169 to the dollar last week after Jonathan suspended Sanusi, a move that came after the central bank chief, whose term was due to expire in June, had denounced huge leakages in government oil revenues ahead of 2015 elections.

The president denied Sanusi's suspension was related to his interference in politics but the decision spooked investors and the naira has now lost 3.6 percent this year.

Those who do subscribe to the notion of a correct naira value mostly believe it still has far to fall.

The bank's resources to support the currency are weakening: liquid reserves have slipped by $3.26 billion, or 8 percent, since the start of 2014 to $39.2 billion - or by about $57 million a day.

Analysts at Renaissance Capital said this week that reserves could fall to $35 billion before the bank would be forced to give up the game and devalue.

Gregory Kronsten at FBN capital thinks "at the current pace of depletion, the tipping point would come within weeks."

Rate rises problematic

Not everyone agrees the naira is overvalued.

Alan Cameron at the London branch of Nigeria's FCMB says the argument over inflation-adjusted exchange rates is fallacious because demand for imports is inelastic in a country like Nigeria that produces so few goods.

Reserves' cover is good, he says.

The bank's other option - to hike interest rates - is also problematic, and Melissa Verreynne of NKC Independent Economists thinks even if it takes that route, it may not work.

"At some point, the authorities will have no choice but to devalue," she says.

"A 100 basis point increase in the policy rate will not be enough to attract foreign investors - there are too many other factors working in the opposite direction."

Few analysts will go on record saying where the band should be moved - everything from 170 to 190 is touted privately.

Portfolio outflows aren't helping: foreign investors' holdings of Nigerian bonds - which grew nearly fivefold in 12 months after the country was included in a J.P. Morgan local currency bond index in 2011 - have plunged by $2 billion since the start of January, to $7 billion as emerging markets became more volatile.

So the central bank might be seen to be right to defend Nigeria from the whims of hot money.

But in the long run, the naira's troubles boil down to the same thing so many of Nigeria's problems do: overdependence on oil.

As long as shipping containers go back empty after bringing goods into the country, while only oil tankers go out full, the naira will continue to be vulnerable.

"Being overvalued ... doesn't mean much for an economy with an oil-export base," says Gadio.

"There are no gains in terms of external competitiveness if the currency is devalued."

Credit: Tim Cocks and Chijioke Ohuocha LAGOS (Reuters)

Zimbabwe's Mugabe pardons 2,000 prisoners

HARARE - Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has pardoned 2,000 prisoners, mostly women and juveniles, a move that should ease congestion in the country's jails, a government notice showed on Monday.
The numbers of pardoned prisoners amounts to more than 10 percent of the prison population, which stood at 18,460 last year against a holding capacity of 17,000.

Under the sweeping amnesty all females will go home, except those serving life terms, according to the clemency notice.

Mugabe also granted amnesty to prisoners aged 18 and under "irrespective of the offences they committed".

The pardon also extends to all terminally ill inmates, and those over 70 years-old.

Prisoners convicted of murder, treason, rape, carjacking, armed robbery, stock theft and those serving a sentence imposed by a court martial are excluded from the amnesty.

The country's constitution allows a president to extend amnesty to prisoners whenever he wishes.

More than 100 prisoners died last year in Zimbabwe's cash-strapped prisons, which have been hit by food shortages, according to a rightsgroup citing prison statistics.

The Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights said prison officials had told a parliamentary committee that the prisoners died "owing to nutrition-related illnesses induced by food shortages and natural causes".

In 2009, the International Committee of the Red Cross had to step in with food, blankets and soap handouts to avert massive hunger and disease outbreaks.

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rewritten or redistributed without prior permission in writing from AFP.

What 80% Of Employers Do Before Inviting You For An Interview

Many job seekers have described to me that submitting a resume in today's job market is mostly a banging-their-head-against-a-wall, extremely frustrating waste of time.

You want that resume to get you into an interview, but it doesn't. I think this could be why:

80% of employers

Google job seekers

before inviting them

into an interview!

If employers don't find something good and solid, that agrees with the resume -- a LinkedIn Profile is perfect for this -- you aren't invited in for an interview.

Interviewing job candidates is very expensive for an employer to do (second only to the cost of hiring the wrong candidate)! Consequently, employers use Google searches to try to avoid those expensive mistakes.

The resume-submission-to-interview-invitation process typically runs through these four steps:

Step 1. Resumes are received and screened into two groups ("possibles" and "no").

Step 2. Someone opens up a browser, and begins Googling the "possibles" which are then screened into three groups ("more likely" and "less likely" and "no") based on what is discovered - or NOT discovered.

Step 3. The "more likelys" are compared. Phone interviews (a.k.a. "phone screens") may be conducted.

Step 4. Invitations to interview are extended, and the real dance begins.

When nothing, or nothing good, is found about you, you end up in the "less likely" or "no" piles in step 2.

What Should Job Seekers Do in Response?

The good news is that job seekers can influence what is found in this process.

In addition, your participation will not only help you survive the Googling, it will also increase your "market value" and the size of your networks.

1. Google yourself!

Look at the first three or four pages to see what is visible to an employer about you.

DO NOT be happy if they find nothing about you on Google! That means either of two things to most employers -- you don't know how the world works today (so you are out-of-date) or you are hiding something. Neither of those two impressions will help you in your job search.

Then, practice Defensive Googling for the rest of your job search (and career).

2. Google anyone well-known and well-respected in your field.

What does Google show on the first page of search results? Assuming it doesn't show things like TIME magazine cover stories, a feature in The New York Times, a 60 MINUTES segment, and other similar high profile media mentions, carefully look at what you find. I bet you could also get visibility in most, if not all, of those venues!

If you Google my name, you'll find:

    My LinkedIn Profile
    My Twitter page
    My Google+ Profile (naturally!)
    My VisualCV
    My Facebook Profile
    My HuffingtonPost articles
    My Amazon Profile
    A Pinterest page
    A YouTube page

ALL of those pages are available for everyone at no cost. The LinkedIn and other social media pages are easy to set up and very popular with Google. The best part is that all of these pages describe me in my own words, because I wrote them! And because they are "public" for the world, including my colleagues and friends, to see, the assumption is that they're probably true, at least for the most part.

3. Read my Reputation Management (or Recovery) Post

You can manage this issue. It takes time to set up and develop, but once you have, it will take only an hour or two a week to maintain (assuming minimal participation). When you are in job search mode, you will be spending more time on this issue because it is so important to your job search.

4. Get busy working on your public image.

It's not just for movie and TV stars and musicians any more. We're all famous, at least a little, and the sooner you get started managing your public persona, the better off you will be. If you prefer, think of it as "personal branding." The greater your positive online visibility, the better your online reputation, and the greater the likelihood that you will have a response to your resume the next time you submit it to an appropriate opportunity.

Do review the steps in Defensive Googling to stay current with what Google shows the world about you.

Not Optional Any Longer

This post is in reaction to a discussion I had with a job seeker who is desperate for a job, but very reluctant to put herself "out there" online. Making matters worse, she is looking for a job in marketing. Anyone in marketing or sales today MUST demonstrate that they understand how the online marketplace works, so she is really hampering her job search. I hope she reads this and overcomes her fear of online visibility.

Follow me on G+ for more job search tips!

Susan P. Joyce is president of NETability, Inc. and the editor and chief technology writer for and This piece first appeared on

Osun, French Firm Sign 29m Euro Power Plant MoU

THE Government of the State of Osun has signed a 29 Million Euro Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the establishment of a 13-Megawatt Solar Power Plant in the state with an output of 16.5 Megawatt hour/ year.
The MoU between Osun and Vergnet Group, a French industrial company, which specialises in sustainable and renewable energy development, took place at the International Conference Centre
in Abuja last Thursday.

The Director General, Office of Economic Development and Partnerships (OEDP), Office of the Governor, Dr. Charles Diji Akinola signed the MoU on behalf of the State Government of Osun, while Mr. Jérôme Douat, Chief Executive Officer of the Vergnet Group signed on behalf of the French Group.

The ceremony was witnessed by President Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria and the French President, Mr. François Hollande, the Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister for the Economy, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo Iweala, Minister of Trade and Investments, Dr Segun Aganga, representatives of the State Government of Osun and the Vergnet Group and members of the diplomatic corps were also in attendance.

Speaking at the signing of the MoU, Dr. Akinola, who represented Governor Aregbesola, held that the ceremony was another demonstration of the resolve of Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola’s administration to utilise partnership initiatives to bring sustainable development to the state.

According to him: “The administration of Aregbesola in Osun is that of the people, that is why the people come first in everything the administration wants to do and will ensure such project will give life abundantly to the masses.

“This project, when completed, will increase the power supply to the people of Osun, boost economic activities in Osun and further attract foreign investments and investors.” Akinola noted.

He pointed out that the project, which is scheduled to commence this year, will be sited near Osogbo, while Vergnet Group will provide technical expertise, advisory services including the project design, project planning and financing plan.

Akinola also added that the French company will facilitate the financing of the project from the French Government.

He said: “On the other hand, the State Government of Osun will be responsible for identification and allocation of land for the project, contractual clearing with administrative authorities and for developing the necessary infrastructure such as access roads, among other necessary requirements,” he emphasised.

The Director General (OEDP), on behalf of the state government, commended the Vergnet Group for considering the State of Osun for the project.

He assured them that the state will continue to partner with them and other reliable companies to realise other areas of Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola’s Six-point Integral Action Plan for the development of the state.