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Google confirms AirDrop-like feature coming soon

After months of rumors, Google has finally confirmed that its “Nearby Share” feature is on the way. Some Android users are already testing a beta version.

After months of rumors, Google has finally confirmed that its “Nearby Share” feature is on the way. Some Android users are already testing a beta version.

“We’re currently conducting a beta test of a new Nearby Share feature that we plan to share more information on in the future,” Google told Android Police. “Our goal is to launch the feature with support for Android 6+ devices as well as other platforms.”

The feature started showing up in Chrome OS Canary builds earlier this month, indicating that it will work on Chromebooks as well.

Nearby Share looks to function as an Android version of Apple’s AirDrop. You can use it to quickly and wirelessly transfer files between proximate Android phones. Android Police, which got a hands-on with the feature, says it works for photos and videos as well as links and tweets.

Per Android Police, you can’t use Nearby Share to send random things to strangers. A user has to have the function set up and made their phone “visible” (done easily via a Quick Settings tile) before they can receive content, and they must manually accept a file they’re receiving before it opens.

Samsung has been working on a similar feature called Quick Share, which allows you to blast files to as many as five friends at a time. (AirDrop is one to one.) The advantage of Nearby Share, though, is that it should work with Android products across manufacturers, while Quick Share is currently only intended for Samsung devices.

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IMF: Coronavirus could cause set back on decade of progress in Africa

The logo of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is seen during a news conference in Santiago, Chile, July 23, 2019. REUTERS-Rodrigo Garrido-File Photo

The coronavirus pandemic could set back incomes in sub-Saharan Africa by a decade as weak oil prices, a tourism standstill and business lockdowns shrink the region’s economy 3.2 percent in 2020, an IMF official said Monday.

Activity is expected to recover in 2021, but countries first will have to get through a year in which many will see tepid growth at best, while those that rely on commodities or tourism will suffer severe declines.

“It is a worrisome picture, really, in terms of the economic outlook, and really reflects the continuing weak global economic environment that countries in the region face,” Africa director for the International Monetary Fund Abebe Aemro Selassie told AFP.

The continent is grappling with more than 383,000 cases of coronavirus, according to the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.

The IMF on Monday released its updated outlook for sub-Saharan Africa, showing the downturn is set to cause a drop in real per-capita income of as much as 15 percent in all but two countries, meaning the region overall will suffer a decline of 7.0 percent, back to where it was a decade ago.

With oil prices low globally, crude exporters will be badly hit. Nigeria is expected to shrink by 5.4 percent and Angola by 4.0 percent, its fifth straight year of economic contraction.

Flight bans and health concerns mean less tourists, and the IMF expects the Seychelles to shrink by 13.8 percent in 2020 and Mauritius by 12.2 percent.

Even diversified economies will suffer. Ethiopia’s GDP is expected to grow just 1.9 percent in fiscal year 2020 then “stall completely” the following year, the IMF said.

South Africa, the continent’s most-industrialized economy — which also has the highest number of recorded coronavirus infections — will contract 8.0 percent in 2020 due to lockdowns imposed to curb the virus, a risk Abebe said countries across the continent face.

“Unfortunately, the region remains still on the exponential side of how the pandemic is playing out in the vast majority of countries,” he said.

“Absent vigilance, there’s no reason why we cannot expect the same kind of dynamics that we’ve seen elsewhere in terms of the pandemic.”

AFP reports that the Washington-based crisis lender has moved quickly to roll out support programs to help African economies weather the downturn, with aid totaling up to $10 billion over the last two months or so, and more to be announced, Abebe said.

Africa also stands to benefit from debt relief agreed to in April by the G20 representing the world’s largest economies.

There is “strong willingness to provide” the relief and about 25 countries have applied, though details are still being discussed with some creditors, Abebe said.

The world’s poorest continent is expected to rebound in 2021 with growth in sub-Saharan Africa of 3.4 percent, assuming lockdowns have eased and the pandemic does not get markedly worse with a second wave of infections.

But given the tentative nature of the “phase one” trade deal between the United States and China, and Washington’s threat of new taxes on European goods amid a trade feud, Abebe warned that wider tensions could threaten Africa’s recovery.

“A tense geopolitical environment, one which leads to adverse trade outcomes, growth outcomes, economic outcomes, will also have some spillover on the region.”

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ICPC: How Kwara top shots hijacked public solar street lights for their residences

The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) has been granted an order to forfeit 60 buildings linked to a deputy commandant of Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC).

The Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission has ordered the relocation of solar street lights from private residents in Ilorin, Kwara State.

Newsmen reports that ICPC uncovered the sighting of solar street lights in private residents of some highly placed individuals in Ilorin.

Newsmen report that ICPC is tracking over 250 projects worth N4.1 billion in its second phase of constituency and executive projects executed between 2015 and 2019 across the state.

Aminu Bala, the Team Leader of the constituency projects tracking operatives of ICPC, told newsmen on Monday that the anomalies were discovered in the highbrow Agric Settlement along Old Jebba Road and Oloje Federal Housing Estate, Ilorin.

The solar street lights, according to the ICPC tracking operatives, are meant to be installed in communities for public use and not in private residents of influential individuals.

Bala said the team however ordered the immediate relocation of the facilities or payment of such by those concerned individuals.

He said failure of which the contractors would be held responsible while the owner of the residences would be prosecuted.

He said: “We also uncovered the shortfall in the numbers of street lights installed in some areas against the actual numbers, which were budgeted for in the contract.

“We also decried lack of billboards at the project sites to indicate the project being executed.”

NAN reports that the operatives are tracking a total number of 1,500 solar street lights among other projects across the three senatorial districts as part of the constituency projects.

The tracking is handled in collaboration with the Nigerian Institute of Quantity Survivors, Civil Society Organisations, Media, Office of the Accountant General of the Federation, Bureau of Public Procurement and other stakeholders.

The exercise, which commenced on June 23, is taking place simultaneously in 16 states of the federation.

The states are Cross River, Taraba, Ekiti, Ogun, Gombe, Nasarawa, Kebbi, Kwara, Jigawa, Abia, Delta, Ebonyi, Niger, Rivers, Oyo and Kaduna.

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Edo guber: INEC closes dedicated portal for parties nominations

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Monday says it has closed its dedicated portal designed for political parties to submit the details of their nominations for Edo governorship election.

Mr Festus Okoye, INEC National Commissioner and Chairman Information and Voter Education Committee (IVEC) disclosed this in an interview with newsmen in Abuja.

Okoye said that the commission did not extend the June 29 deadline fixed for the exercise, which ended at 6 p.m. on Monday.

He said that the commission in line with fixed deadline and schedule of activities for the state election shut down the dedicated portal at 6 p.m.

Okoye, who did not disclose the number of political parties that met the deadline, promising that the details would later be made public.

“The portal for submission was closed on Monday at 6 p.m. For now, I cannot confirm the number of parties that meet up with the deadline, but I should be able to do that by tomorrow (Tuesday).

“We will process all the nominations tonight and by tomorrow we will make it public,” Okoye said.

INEC earlier fixed June 27 as the deadline for conduct of primaries, and June 29 at 6 p.m. for online submission of names and details of nominated candidates for Ondo, using a dedicated portal created by the commission.

The commission earlier disclosed that 15 political parties notified INEC of their intentions to conduct primaries for the state election.

Meanwhile, the National Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Mr Kola Ologbondiyan, confirmed to NAN that the party met the INEC deadline in the submission of its nominations.

“I can confirm to you that we submitted our nominations before the deadline,” Ologbondiyan said.

The Liaison Officer of African Democratic Congress (ADC), Chief Anayo Arinze, when contacted also confirmed that the party had submitted the names of the party’s nominations.

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FAAN issues new safety guideline at airports

Managing Director, Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, FAAN, Captain Rabiu Yadudu, has announced that two flights will not be allowed to fly from the same terminal within the same time for safety purposes.

Speaking over the weekend, he said that the method will not disrupt airlines’ schedules, but to ensure total safety of passengers.

According to him, FAAN had informed the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA, of its plan, which he said would restrict multiple departures of flights.

Captain Yadudu stressed: “We have already told NCAA of plans to space the flights. No two airlines will depart at the same time from our airports.

“The spacing is not to make things difficult for the airline operators, but to protect their staff and other users of our airports.”

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Official: 41 health workers infected with coronavirus in Plateau, 8 dead

As total coronavirus infections in Nigeria hit 24,077, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, NCDC has warned against abandoning face masks in favour of face shields.

The Plateau Commisioner for Health, Dr Nimkong Lar, on Sunday, said that 41 health workers had been infected with COVID-19 in the state, with eight deaths recorded.

The commissioner made the disclosure at a press briefing in Jos on the update on government’s efforts at combating COVID-19 in the state.

According to him, the state has 330 confirmed cases of the disease out of the 4,076 tests carried out so far.

“We have received 3,471 results, with 605 pending. We have 99 in our isolation centres and 37 on home care,” Lar said.

In his remarks, the Chairman of the state COVID-19 Task Force, Gov. Simon Lalong, expressed worries over the increase in the number of coronavirus cases in the state.

Lalong, who was represented by the Secretary of the task force, who is also the Secretary to the State Government, Prof. Danladi Atu, said that government was redoubling its enforcement efforts across the state.

He said that the enforcement would be concentrated more on the six local government areas with the highest prevalence of the disease.

“Commencing from June 29, the enforcement teams will wage a robust action on defaulters, whether citizens or organisations, particularly in the six local governments, including Jos North, Jos South, Barkin Ladi, Mangu, Kanam and Kanke.

“This enforcement will go simultaneously with public education campaign by health educators to further enlighten the citizens on the dangers of the disease and what to do to be protected,” he said.

The governor said that the enlightenment, which would be in the metropolis and rural areas, was in collaboration with the officials of the National Orientation Agency (NOA) stationed at the grassroots.

He said that the exercise was not to stigmatise people living in those local governments, but to contain the disease from spreading further among them.

Lalong called for the cooperation of residents in adhering to preventive guidelines for their safety, urging them to imbibe another pattern of life in consonance with the COVID-19 social behaviour.

Also speaking at the briefing, the state House of Assembly Committee Chairman on Health, Hon. Nanbol Listick, attributed the increase in the number of COVID-19 cases to the attitude and conduct of the residents.

He, however, expressed worries that the closure of boundaries within the affected six local governments, their socio-economic activities and cultural pattern had made them vulnerable.

“We may lockdown some local governments to contain further spread of the disease,” Listick said.

The lawmaker urged Plateau residents to engage health workers to get appropriate enlightenment on the disease to ensure their safety.

Newsmen report that Jos North Local Government has 177 cases; Jos South, 81; Barkin Ladi, 12 and Mangu, 10.

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Godwin Emefiele: CBN ready to partner private sector to tackle coronavirus challenges

Bloomberg

The Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, yesterday revealed its readiness to partner the private sector in its quest to tackle novel coronavirus, COVID-19 pandemic, as Lagos State commissions an ultra-modern disease isolation centre in Yaba.

This newly commissioned isolation centre is an initiative of the Coalition Against COVID-19 (CACOVID), a private sector initiative, established to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.

Speaking at the unveiling, the Governor of CBN, Godwin Emefiele, said: “ The launch of the newly built isolation centre will surely help in boosting the capacity of Nigeria’s healthcare system towards containing the spread of COVID-19 in Lagos state. The CBN is ready to work with the private sector and support any initiative in tackling this pandemic.”

Emefiele said that the efforts to contain the spread of this virus have had an unprecedented impact on the global economy and indeed the Nigerian economy while adding that “ global growth is expected to contract by over 4.9 percent in 2020 down from positive growth of 2.9 per cent in 2019.”

He said: “ The Nigerian economy was exposed to a twin shock, a public health crisis and revenue shock driven primarily by 55 per cent drop in crude oil prices between January and May 2020.

“This un-parallel shock must require that all state governments along with the organised private sector to work together to address these challenges in order to preserve lives and restore economic activities in our country. We have implemented several initiatives to cushion the effects of the pandemic which include the N50 billion intervention facility for house-hold and Small and Medium Scale Enterprises, SMEs that were adversely affected by the pandemic; N100 billion facility for the health and pharmaceutical sector and an N1 trillion facility for the agricultural and manufacturing firms of the economy.

“ Our inability to accurately predict the extent to which the virus could spread and how long it will last requires that we build a sufficient capacity within our healthcare system in order to prevent the spread of the virus and preserve the lives of vulnerable Nigerians and this requires that all parties come together in order to deal with this great challenge”.

He thereafter commended the private sector-led coalition group for supporting the government by providing donations worth N29 billion while adding that these donations are being used to build well-equipped isolation centres across the federation.

“So far CACOVID alliance has provided about 32 isolation centers across 32 states, we anticipate that by the end of July, 39 isolation centres would have been established all over the federation”, the CBN Governor said.

Also speaking, the Governor, Lagos state, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, said, the launch of the isolation centre speaks to the can-do spirit of Nigerians as well as our private sector.

According to him: “The state has done at least about 24,000 and above bed spaces when Nigeria was about 3,000 It was a concern to us, thus, it is clear that we have the capacity to deal with this pandemic and I must commend what CACOVID has done as well as other coalition groups in the country who have supported the nation”.

He said, “In Lagos, we have seen slightly about 10,000 positive cases and we are managing them. We have seen 1500 discharged individuals from our isolation centres whilst we have seen about 5000 who have gotten well and so as we speak we have recorded 128 deaths. This speaks volumes of how well we are combating the pandemic.

He, however, noted that there was a challenge with identifying the critical and severe cases while adding that the state government is working on a strategy to monitor those cases.

“This facility will certainly add to our capacity and enable us to do a lot more in scaling up. This centre will see us building an international infectious disease-research centre, isolation wards, doctors quarters and we will also commission a private sector-led morgue. We are excited that people can come here, get well, and go back to their respective homes”.

President and Chief Executive of Dangote Group and Chairman of the Aliko Dangote Foundation (ADF), Aliko Dangote, explained that the newly commissioned isolation center is the most elaborate one that has been built so far.

Dangote who was represented by the Chief Executive Officer of ADF, Zouera Youssoufou, said, “we are very proud because this isolation center is a model of what we are going to be doing in the remaining states as we are still building more across the federation. So it is with great pride that we hand over this to the Lagos state government as this is very important”.

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Governor Wike: I’m not running for presidency

Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike has described as unfortunate the silence of security agencies in apprehending those that ‘want to destroy the state.’

Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, says he is not nursing an ambition of running for the office of the President of Nigeria in 2023 general election.

Wike’s clarification when he appeared as a Guest on Arise Television came on the heels of speculations that he was eyeing the Number One position in the country.

The governor described speculations linking him to presidential ambition as distractions.

“Right now, I am focusing on delivering the dividends of democracy to the people of Rivers State,” he said.

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Cross River TUC denies bribery allegation

File Photo

Officials of the Trade Union Congress, Cross River State chapter, have denied receiving bribe from the state government to back out of the strike called by the Nigeria Labour Congress scheduled to begin on Monday.

The state branch of the NLC through its chairman, Benedict Ukpepi, had declared an indefinite strike from Monday over unpaid gratuities, pensions, among other issues after the expiration of an ultimatum issued to the government.

But the TUC branch in the state, as well as other affiliate unions, had said they won’t join the industrial action, noting that the timing – being amid the Covid-19 pandemic – was wrong.

Speaking at a media briefing on Saturday, the State Secretary of the union, Ken Bassey, said, “Nobody has collected a dime from the government. And the TUC is not the mouthpiece of the government as is being insinuated.”

“As a labour centre, we and our members are aware of the sacrifices government is making to ensure prompt payment of salaries and we commend the government for that. We do not think or agree that crises or threats of crises will solve any problem. We dissociate ourselves and our affiliates from the ultimatum,” the union had noted in an earlier statement.

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Edo guber: Atiku Abubakar directs support groups to work for Governor Obaseki

Atiku Abubakar, presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), has again accused President Muhammadu Buhari of clamping down on the judiciary.

The Former Vice President and the Peoples Democratic Party presidential candidate in the 2019 election, Atiku Abubakar, has directed the activation of his over 150 independent support groups in Edo State in preparation for the state governorship election fixed for September 19.

The Deputy Director in charge of Atiku Support Group/Mobilization in the defunct Atiku Presidential Campaign Organisation and PDP Presidential Campaign, Hon. Oladimeji Fabiyi, confirmed the directives of the former Vice President to newsmen in Benin City yesterday.

According to Fabiyi, Atiku directed that all Independent Atiku Support Groups in Edo State should be activated with immediate effect as part of mobilization for the victory of Godwin Obaseki, the governorship candidate of the PDP.

‎He said the former Vice President as a major stakeholder of the PDP, considers expedient to put in place winning structures and machinery that will guarantee total victory for the party in Edo State.

“You know we need to complete the circle in the South South region that naturally and originally belonged the PDP.

“Having received the directive with joy and enthusiasm, I have no doubt that all our support groups in Edo State will be very glad to receive this news and run with the directive of Atiku Abubakar for the benefit of Governor Obaseki and our great party in Edo State”, Fabiyi said.

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