Thursday, 28 November 2019

French investigators will examine black box recordings from a fatal collision between two helicopters in Mali on November 25 that killed 13 soldiers.

Colonel Frederic Barbry told French media that the bodies of the soldiers - killed during an operation against jihadists in the central African nation - would soon be repatriated to France.

The accident marked the largest single loss of French troops since the country intervened in Mali in 2013 to root out militants allied to al-Qaida and the Islamic State (IS).

The helicopters, a Tigre and a Cougar, collided as they provided air support to soldiers on the ground who were tracking militants.

Armies minister Florence Parly said at a press conference that it was with "profound sadness and great emotion" that they learned of the incident.

Parly said the operation occurred during "total darkness" which "considerably complicated the operation".

Ground troops called in the air support due to the darkness.

Both helicopters black boxes were recovered after the collision, François Lecointre, the chief of defence staff, said at a press conference with Parly. The government has launched an investigation into the incident.

A commemoration ceremony will take place at the Invalides in Paris in the days to come.

France has 4,500 troops stationed in Mali as part of Operation Barkhane, where it is fighting jihadists allied to the Islamic State militant group (IS). Lecointre specified that the operation on Monday was against a group affiliated with IS.

French paratroopers had been tracking the terrorists for several days.

Parly defended France’s mission in Mali saying they were there to “protect Europe from the scourge of terrorism”.

It followed a campaign in 2013, Operation Serval, that targeted Tuareg rebels and Islamist fighters based in Malis northern desert.

The soldiers killed were named as ADC Julien Carrette, CNE Benjamin Gireud, BCH Romain Salles de Saint Paul, CNE Clement Frisonroche, CNE Nicolas Megard, CNE Romain Chomel de Jarnieu, LTN Pierre Bockel, LTN Alex Morisse, MCH Jeremy Leusie, MDL Alexandre Protin, MDL Antoine Serre, MDL Valentin Duval, SCH Andrei Jouk.

Published in World
Thursday, 28 November 2019 10:46

Nigerian Government reviews N50 stamp duty

The N50 stamp duty charges on electronic payments in the country have been reviewed by the Federal Government.

This coming after the charges received backlash from Nigerians and industry stakeholders.

According to the Financial Bill before the National Assembly, the N50 charge would be imposed on transactions above N10,000 as against payment above N1,000 that had taken effect across the country in September.

The bill, however, exempted bank transfers between two accounts owned by the same person or organisation.

The new bill aims to repeal a provision of the Stamp Duty Act 2014, which had a threshold for receipts chargeable with stamp duty as N4 and above.

The Central Bank of Nigeria in a circular to deposit money banks, processors and switches on September 17, 2019, authorised banks to unbundle merchant settlement amounts and charge applicable taxes and duties on individual transactions.

They were asked to charge duty of N50 for services rendered in respect of electronic transfers and teller deposits from N1,000 and above on behalf of the Nigeria Postal Service.

The directive was condemned by mobile money agents, retailers, merchants and bank customers who said it would discourage the cashless transaction and financial inclusion agenda of the Federal Government.

While some merchants had started charging customer N50, others had stopped using the terminals due to the refusal of customers to pay the extra charges.

Watch Nigerians reactions to the N50 surcharge on POS payment below;

Published in Bank & Finance
Twitter plans to delete inactive accounts from the platform next month - putting coveted usernames up for grabs
 
Twitter said it will delete the accounts of inactive Twitter users next month, making some desirable handles free for the taking.
 
The Verge reports that Twitter will deactivate the accounts on December 11 and the move will only affect users who havent signed in at all in the past six months.
 
The platform has already started to email users to notify them that their account is at risk of being deleted.
 
As part of our commitment to serve the public conversation, we’re working to clean up inactive accounts to present more accurate, credible information people can trust across Twitter. Part of this effort is encouraging people to actively log-in and use Twitter when they register an account, as stated in our inactive accounts policy, a spokesperson told The Verge.
 
In order to prevent ones account from being deleted, all a user must do is log into their account.
 
While the change will take place on December 11th, its not clear when those usernames will be available to the public once more, according to The Verge.
 
MailOnline reached out to Twitter to confirm the date for when usernames are slated to become available again but has not received a response before publication.
 
For now, hopeful users will have to wait and see which accounts open up after December and act swiftly to claim handles when they become available.
 
While some users expressed glee that they might have a shot at claiming handles like @Waluigi or @JustDamian, others noted that the move would also wipe Twitter of accounts formerly used by the deceased.
 
Horrified and scared to think Ill lose traces of my dead partner, or my dead friends. It should be possible to free up usernames without eradicating the work and words of those who are no longer around, wrote one user on Twitter.
 
MailOnline reached out to Twitter regarding the possibility that it might archive posts of deceased users before deleting accounts but has not yet received a response.
 
Published in Telecoms
Thursday, 28 November 2019 10:05

Queen Elizabeth to retire by her next birthday

Queen Elizabeth will be retiring in eighteen months when she turns 95, leaving her son, Prince Charles the ruling reins.

The age, 95 was also the age at which her husband Prince Philip withdrew from his public duties. There is the talk among courtiers that she may use the milestone to allow her son to become Prince Regent, the Sun reports.

The Queen’s oldest son met with his father at Sandringham, on Tuesday, to discuss the continuing fallout from his brother’s disastrous TV interview about his links to Jeffry Epstein.

Prince Charles’ key role in “retiring” Prince Andrew from public life has fed speculation he is preparing to become “shadow King”, which would see him control day-to-day royal affairs while his mother remains monarch.

A royal source told the paper: “The scandal surrounding Andrew and Epstein allowed Charles to step in to show that he can run The Firm. No one is bigger than the institution of the Royal Family. Not even Andrew, the Queen’s favourite son.

“Charles recognised that and acted decisively — like the king he may well soon be. This was the moment when Charles stepped up as Prince Regent, the Shadow King”

Published in World

Minister of Mines and Hydrocarbons, Gabriel Mbaga Lima revealed several capital-intensive projects worth $1 billion as part of Equatorial Guinea’s upcoming 2020 Year of Investment initiative.

Notable projects open for investment include the construction of three in-country oil refineries, liquefied petroleum gas strategic tanks, a Urea plant and the expansion of a compressed natural gas project; The projects were announced during a press conference at the 2nd Gas Exporting Countries Forum International Gas Seminar on Wednesday.

The Minister of Mines and Hydrocarbons of Equatorial Guinea announced ten public-private, partnership-led projects which will be open for investment in the upcoming year and which focus on downstream diversification and adding value to domestic crude production.

“2019 was a year in which we showed the world the potential of Equatorial Guinea. That was phase one. Phase two is the investment year. For many years, we have been exploiting our resources and exporting them, but now is the time that we get to the stage of processing,” said H.E. Minister Gabriel Mbaga Obiang Lima, on the sidelines of the 2nd GECF International Gas Seminar in Malabo.

“Midstream is going to be very important because we already have the resources. Our crude is going to China and our liquefied natural gas is going to Asia. What can we do with our resources to add value in the midstream and downstream?”

The first project under the initiative will be the construction of a 20,000-barrel per day (bpd) modular oil refinery, which will refine crude from the Zafiro and Aseng fields into gasoline, kerosene and Jet 1, among other petroleum derivatives. The second modular refinery will produce 10,000-20,000 bpd and will be located on the mainland in Kogo next to the country’s regasification and cement plants, to be supplied by the Ceiba and Okume Complex.A third refinery in Kogo is planned to refine the gold being exploited in both the country and the wider Central African region.

The next three projects will be in Malabo, Bata and Kogo for the construction of state-owned and state-mangaged strategic tanks that will be able to refine and store oil, gasoline and liquefied petroleum gas.

The Ministry also aims to construct a methanol-to-gasoline unit to meet domestic consumption, with the possibility of exporting to neighboring countries in the future.

To enable the processing and production of minerals, Equatorial Guinea will be building a urea plant in Kogo, which complements the country’s recently held first mining licensing round, and aims to centralize exploitation of minerals to the region surrounding Kogo.

The final project involves the country’s compressed natural gas (CNG) plant, which includes a bus terminal and gas-powered bus fleet, cooking gas bottling facility and upgraded road infrastructure, and positions Equatorial Guinea as the first country in the region to use CNG for transport. The Ministry aims to implement CNG for the majority of public vehicles and to increase storage of CNG through partnerships with companies such as Total and state-owned GEPetrol.

Published in Economy
Thursday, 28 November 2019 08:54

North Korea fires unidentified missile

North Korea fired what appears to be a missile, South Korea’s office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said on Thursday.

The incident follows the launch of two short-range projectiles by Pyongyang in late October, which landed in waters between North Korea and Japan.

The coastguard offered no further details.

Published in World
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