Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Sir Richard Branson watches Virgin Galactic spaceship's first rocket test

Sir Richard Branson has described watching in awe as the Virgin Galactic spaceship, which will take tourists into space, made its first powered test flight over the Mojave desert.

A spaceship bankrolled by Sir Richard Branson made its first engine-powered flight in a test that moves Virgin Galactic toward its goal of flying into space later this year.
A spaceship bankrolled by Sir Richard Branson made its first engine-powered flight in a test that moves Virgin Galactic toward its goal of flying into space later this year. Photo: APTN
The rocket-propelled craft, called SpaceShipTwo, broke the sound barrier and is now expected to deliver its first passengers, including Sir Richard himself, into space before the end of the year.
"Today was completely and utterly ridiculous, I've got the biggest grin ever," the tycoon told The Daily Telegraph afterwards. "We were on the field and it was a fantastic clear view. You could see the spaceship being dropped, and you could see it three seconds later lighting up its rocket.
"It's been eight-and-a-half years hard work to get this far and we really are up, up and away now. This was the key moment. Going from breaking the sound barrier to 2,000, 3,000, 4,000 miles an hour is actually relatively easy, the key was to make sure the ship and rocket worked well together. Talking to the pilots, it was a beautiful, gradual increase in speed.
"Before the end of the year the spaceship will go into space and that will open up a whole new array of opportunities for Virgin Galactic, initially obviously people going into space, and we have 600 astronauts signed up to date."
Later Virgin Galactic will also look towards orbital fights and the satellite communications industry, opening up telephone markets around the world.
Sir Richard watched the test flight from the ground with legendary aviation designer Burt Rutan, Virgin Galactic chief executive George Whitesides, and the families of the test pilots Mark Stucky and Mike Alsbury.
He said it seemed a "a bit surreal" to be contemplating going into space and confirmed he intended to be on the initial flight by year's end. He said: "I certainly do and it looks like it might be sooner than I thought. In 1991 we registered the name Virgin Galactic and ever since then we've been trying to build a spaceship. We saw history in the making today and I couldn't be more proud of everyone involved. It couldn't have gone more smoothly."
For the test flight a special twin-fuselage jet called WhiteKnightTwo spent 45 minutes carrying SpaceShipTwo to an altitude of 48,000ft before it was released.
The pilots then triggered SpaceShipTwo's rocket engine which burned for 16 seconds, propelling it to an altitude of 55,000ft and a speed of Mach 1.2, breaking the sound barrier.
After a 10-minute flight SpaceShipTwo glided to a safe landing at Mojave Air and Space Port in the desert north of Los Angeles.
Previous test flights had only involved the spaceship gliding without firing its rocket engine.
Sir Richard said: "Having spaceship and rocket perform together in the air is a long way toward getting into space. A few more test flights with slightly bigger burns every time, and then we'll all be back here to watch it go into space."
The hundreds of tourists who have signed up will pay $200,000 to take off from a "spaceport" in New Mexico. They will experience weightlessness and view the curvature of the Earth from 62 miles up.
Virgin Galactic chief executive George Whitesides told the Telegraph: "The first time you go supersonic with a new vehicle is a big test. We did a lot of work in the lead up and it went great, everything we hoped for, and the rocket burned very well."

In Pictures: The wedding of PUNCH MD Osinubi’s daughter


I do: the couple at the wedding at Methodist Church, Opebi in Lagos. Photo Joseph Oluwasanmi
Temitope, the medical doctor daughter of the managing director of PUNCH newspapers, Mr. Ademola Osinubi, has married her heartthrob, Olabode Owolabi, an IT Specialist.
The wedding ceremony took place at Methodist Church in Opebi-Ikeja, in Lagos, Nigeria’s commercial capital.
A grand reception capped everything at 360 Degrees Event centre on Billingsway, also in Ikeja.
I do: the couple at the wedding at Methodist Church, Opebi in Lagos. Photo Joseph Oluwasanmi
I do: the couple at the wedding at Methodist Church, Opebi in Lagos. Photo Joseph Oluwasanmi
Sunny smiles from the new couple: the new Mr and Mrs Olabode Owolabi
Sunny smiles from the new couple: the new Mr and Mrs Olabode Owolabi
Bode Owolabi, giving his wife some wine to sip
Bode Owolabi, giving his wife some wine to sip
parents of the new couple- Mr Peter Owolabi, left and Demola Osinubi,
parents of the new couple- Mr Peter Owolabi, left and Demola Osinubi,
Mojisola Owolabi and Wemimo Osinubi, mothers of the groom and bride
Mojisola Owolabi and Wemimo Osinubi, mothers of the groom and bride
Bride parents, Mr Ademola Osinubi and wife Wemimo
Bride parents, Mr Ademola Osinubi and wife Wemimo
Chief Ajibola Ogunsola and his wife Iyabo
Chief Ajibola Ogunsola and his wife Iyabo
Dele Alake and Bayo Onanuga at the wedding
Mr Nosa Igbebor of Tell Magazine, right  listens to Mr Lance Musa Elakhama
Mr Nosa Igbebor of Tell Magazine, right listens to Mr Lance Musa Elakhama

Sunday, 28 April 2013

Are you hungry?

by Arinola Adeniyi (     

Are you hungry?
‘A hungry stomach has no ears’
Hunger is that strong desire for food. It is a cue to take care of the body’s desire for energy and nutrients. This desire will usually initiate the eating response; we then reach for food to relieve the hungry sensation.
Ideally, once we feel full, we stop eating and it is said that we have attained satiety. It is quite instructive to note that babies follow their cycle of hunger and satiety naturally.  Babies will let you know when they are hungry (cry, yell or yelp to get your attention). They stop eating once they are full; no amount of your coaxing to get the breast milk or formula down their throat gets any positive response thereon. Feeding time is over and ‘I’d alert you when next I am hungry!’
More often than not, we know that the cycle of hunger and satiety is not that straight forward for most adults. It has been said that this is probably one of the reasons people are overweight or obese.
What is your relationship with food? Are you mindful of when, what, why, how, and how much you eat?
Many attempts have been made to classify the various types of hunger.
• Physical hunger:  Hunger is a physical feeling. It is an instinctive and protective mechanism that makes sure that the body gets the fuel it requires to carry out its functions well.  When you are physically hungry, you are more likely to choose food that will nourish you and tend to eat less. You also savour the food. Signs of physical hunger include, hunger pangs, low energy levels, difficulty concentrating and headaches. Physical hunger builds gradually and goes away once you are full . Eating leads to feeling of satisfaction.
• Habitual hunger: For some, this physical hunger is met habitually. Eating at set times whether you are hungry or not.  This is likened to being on auto-pilot. It is a routine, some must have their breakfast at 7a.m., lunch at 1p.m dinner at 7p.m. This is not about being hungry. It’s just time to eat and you go for the ‘spread.’  I have a friend who is so scheduled, her breakfast table is set the previous night and it is literarily the first agenda for the day on rising!
• Sensory hunger: All of our senses can trigger off hunger, craving or desire. The mere sight, smell or sound of food sends you to the dining table even if you just finished eating.
Eyes (sight of the food); nose (smell of the food); tongue (taste of the food); touch (mouth feel of the food); sound (noise of eating, noise present when eating).  It’s best to avoid places that will trigger off your sensory hunger especially parties where buffet is served including cafes with wide array of dessert and pastries.
• Emotional hunger: This is when we eat in response to feelings instead of hunger. Food is used to manage emotions. You eat when you are not hungry to comfort, soothe or distract you from unpleasant or unhappy situations. This type of hunger develops suddenly. It persists despite being full and would usually lead you on a guilt-trip thereafter.
The next time you reach out for your meal, please ensure it is a genuine physical need and not just an unnecessary craving.

How to get yourself going again with Vitamin B

by Celynn Erasmus, 
If even all those cups of coffee can’t get you moving any longer, then one reason may be depletion of B vitamins that cause one of the main symptoms of chronic stress: fatigue. Picture: THINKSTOCK
If even all those cups of coffee can’t get you moving any longer, then one reason may be depletion of B vitamins that cause one of the main symptoms of chronic stress: fatigue. Picture: THINKSTOCK
THE year has not even passed the halfway-mark and already like many people you may be feeling run-down and dog-tired. The culprit? Stress. It is around this time of the year that some people go to their GP for a vitamin B-complex injection to "pick them up".
But do these injections actually work? What is the link between vitamin B and stress?
Let us start with how stress affects your body. Stress triggers the fight or flight response, and either action requires lots of energy. This means that stress uses up much of your body’s nutrients (including B-complex vitamins such as B6, B12 and folate) for energy production, even if you sit in front of your computer screen all day stewing over various problems.
The stress response may also lead to greater elimination of fluids, so water-soluble vitamins (such as B and C) are flushed out of your system. The depletion of these vitamins may cause one of the main symptoms of chronic stress: fatigue.
Poor eating habits
Stress is not the only reason many people struggle with vitamin B deficiencies. With our hectic daily schedules, it is often easier to grab something while on the run rather than preparing a proper meal. Junk food, fast-food and processed food typically contain empty kilojoules or calories, that is, little or no nutritional value.
This means that, although you might be satisfying your hunger, you are not putting any nutrients into your body.
By not replacing the nutrients you need, various physiological systems continue in a downward spiral of dysfunction. This downward spiral is considered a stressor to the body as well, thereby compounding the stress issue.
Stress may also affect the choices you make around food, as your emotions may affect your choices. A worthwhile habit to form is to avoid eating when you are in a heightened emotional state, and to get into the habit of asking yourself whether you really are hungry or just wanting to change the way you feel.
Address the problem, not the symptom
So, how do you escape from this seemingly endless stress pit? Sure, you could go for a series of vitamin B jabs, but they are only a temporary solution. What you need to do is address the causes of your vitamin B deficiency.
The most obvious cause, of course, is stress. The ideal would be to eliminate harmful stress completely, but with work usually being the main cause of stress in our lives, it simply is not possible to remove the root of the problem. Luckily, there are things we can do to combat stress.
Regular exercise can work wonders as it releases feel-good neurotransmitters called endorphins into your brain.
You can also try yoga, pilates, meditation, body massage or other relaxation techniques to help you cope with everyday tension.
The other main cause of vitamin B deficiency is a bad diet. Adjust your diet to include the vitamin B-rich foods listed in the column below on a regular basis and you will soon feel more energised.
Sometimes, however, good eating habits are not enough and supplementation is needed.
The B vitamins consist of eight distinct vitamins that help cells function optimally. Many of us, especially the elderly, do not meet the recommended daily amounts (RDAs) for three of them: B6, B12, and folic acid.
See the list below for the RDAs of each of the Bs.
Water-soluble vitamins (like vitamin B-complex) are packed into the watery portions of the foods you eat. They are absorbed directly into the bloodstream as food is broken down during digestion or as a supplement dissolves.
Because much of your body consists of water, many of the water-soluble vitamins circulate easily in your body. (One exception is vitamin B6, which is mostly stored in muscle tissue.)
Your kidneys continuously regulate levels of water-soluble vitamins, shunting excesses out of the body in your urine. So if your urine suddenly turns fluorescent yellow, green or orange, you are taking in more vitamin B-complex than your body needs at that time.
Contrary to popular belief, some water-soluble vitamins can stay in the body for long periods of time. You probably have several years’ supply of vitamin B12 in your liver and a couple of days’ worth of folic acid stores.
Generally, though, water-soluble vitamins should be replenished every few days. The greater the stress and the poorer your diet, the more you may need to consider daily supplementation.
The B-list
Let’s have a closer look at each of the B-vitamins, with the upper limit for safe daily dosage, and food sources:
Vitamin B1 (thiamin): 100mg, pork, beef, liver, poultry, whole and enriched cereals, legumes.
Vitamin B2 (riboflavin): 200mg, milk, liver, meat, eggs, cheese, leafy green vegetables.
Vitamin B3 (niacin — also called nicotinic acid or nicotinamide):Immediate release: 500mg, slow release: 250mg;
As nicotinamide: 1,500mg, meat, fish, peanuts, enriched cereals.
Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine): 200mg, liver, milk, egg, lean meat, leafy green vegetables, wholegrain cereals, bananas.
Vitamin B7 (biotin): 2.5mg, egg yolk, liver, green vegetables.
Vitamin B9 (folic acid or folate): 1,000μg, liver, green leafy vegetables.
Vitamin B12 (cobalamine): 3,000μg, animal products only. Liver, meat, milk, eggs, cheese, fish.
As you may have noticed, many of the food sources of vitamin B, in particular vitamin B12, are animal or dairy products. Strict vegetarians or vegans, therefore, may be deficient in this vitamin and should be aware of eating foods fortified with vitamin B12 or taking a supplement.
Too much of a good thing?
There is a small risk that consuming large quantities of some of these micronutrients through supplements may be quite harmful. For example, very high doses of B6 can damage nerves, causing numbness and muscle weakness.
Presumably because of their role in helping cells use energy, B vitamins are often added to energy drinks and nutrition bars — sometimes in extremely high quantities. A single serving of a well-known energy drink, for example, contains 250% of the Daily Value (DV) for vitamin B6.
Some energy drink labels also suggest that you drink two bottles per day. If you use similar fortified foods or beverages it is important that you read the labels and tally up all the vitamins and minerals you are consuming each day, and be sure that you are not exceeding recommended safety limits.
These megadoses do nothing to enhance any bodily functions, and because B vitamins are water-soluble, they’re not stored in the body, so any extra is simply excreted in the urine. However, taking too much B6 on a routine basis can lead to neuropathy, nerve damage that can cause pain, weakness, and loss of sensation.
Keep it balanced
As with everything in life, balance is key. If stress is getting you down, start making small changes to your daily routine. Sure it may help to take some extra vitamin B, but at the same time look for the cause of the problem and try make sustainable changes.
Perhaps going for a walk during lunch instead of eating at your desk would help you to energise your body and mind for the afternoon. Make time to cook wholesome, balanced meals and enjoy them at a table with family and friends. Listen to some calming music before bedtime, and go to bed a little earlier while you’re at it.
If you do decide to take supplements, start with low doses and increase gradually as needed, ideally under the supervision of an informed health-care practitioner or registered dietician.

Nigeria’s Enterprise Bank records N11.3b pre-tax profit in 2012

By Staff Reporter
Enterprise Bank logo

WorldStage Newsonline--  Nigeria’s Enterprise Bank Limited has announced a profit-before-tax of N11.3 billion for the year ended December 2012 from the loss of N5.2 billion for the five-month period it operated in December 2011.
The profit represents a growth of 316.6 per cent.
Enterprise Bank is one of the bridge banks that emerged on August 5, 2011 following the takeover by the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) of the defunct Spring Bank Plc and its subsequent recapitalization and ownership by the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON).
 Other figures from the result show that gross earnings grew by 283.9 per cent to 40.4billion as at year ended December 2012 from N10.5 billion achieved in the five-month period ended 2011.
 The bank’s deposit also grew from N162.6 billion to N208.4 billion between the year ended 2011 and 2012 respectively. This represents a growth of about 28.2 per cent. Total assets also experienced a growth of 31 per cent between the periods from N198.5billion as at end of 2011 to N261.1 billion as at the end of 2012.
 Speaking during the bank’s annual general meeting, the Chairman of Enterprise Bank Limited, Mr. Emeka Onwuka, attributed the achievement by the bank to a sustained growth in quality risk asset creation, which equally engendered growth in interest income.
 The Chairman stated that in addition to “improvements in our other banking income items such as commissions, fees, electronic banking income, significant improvements in trade-related transactions, facilitated through our strategic focus on Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) helped in boosting our fees and commission income.”
 Onwuka declared that by this sterling performance, “a solid foundation has been built by the bank to ensure a sustainable growth in its business activities.” He listed some of the valuable structures that have been put in place by the executive management of the institution, with the full support of the Board of Directors as:
 •Renovations were carried out on the corporate head office and branches of the bank, which is believed will enhance the competitiveness of the bank in the industry
•Several brand management initiatives were implemented in the year, in a bid to create more awareness about the bank in the marketplace
•The bank’s electronic banking platform has been further enhanced by capital investments in Automated Teller Machines (ATMs), Point of Sale (POS) terminals and several variants of electronic cards. Business alliances were also entered into with major players in e-business, so as to ensure seamless transaction processing on the platform
•Capacities and competencies have been built in retail and SME banking business – sectors,  which shall fundamentally shape the future of banking in Nigeria
•The Core Banking Application and other business applications have been upgraded to latest versions, which have enhanced the robustness and resilience of the platforms for effective and seamless business activities
•The greatest asset; staff are being trained and re-trained on an on-going basis on courses and curriculum that would ensure enhanced productivity in their respective roles in this great institution.

Banks in a rush for mobile apps


Farren Roper, FNB Connect's head of ISP and business operations. Picture: RUSSELL ROBERTS
Farren Roper, FNB Connect's head of ISP and business operations. Picture: RUSSELL ROBERTS
IT WILL limit cash heists and save money — but cut margins from fees
Banks have had a busy April, with some taking their first plunge into the increasingly crowded pool of mobile banking applications.
Already, more than 13% of South Africans access banking services on their phones and tablets, according to research company FinScope —  something that is both good and bad for the banks.
Although the banks now have to transport less cash around, which reduces the chances of heists, mobile transactions are likely to hit banks' margins, because they earn billions every year from fees.
Nonetheless, the demand from their increasingly tech-savvy 22.5-million South African clients means the banks have had little choice but to go mobile.
This month, Investec launched its app for private clients and the specialist bank was soon followed by Absa. Last week, FNB launched its banking app specially for tablets and it became the most-downloaded free iPad app from the South African Apple online store within hours of its Monday launch. Absa and Investec were in second and third place.
The move by South Africa's banks places the country firmly at the centre of a global boom in mobile payments, forecast to be worth an estimated R11.96-trillion by 2017.
Deutsche Bank research on global financial markets shows mobile transactions growing nearly sixfold within four years - from an estimated 17-billion transactions this year. There were about 3billion mobile transactions around the world in 2009.
Farren Roper of FNB Connect's ISP and business operations said: "We have seen a 16% year-on-year increase — [from] December 2011 [to] December 2012 — of customers using our electronic channels."
FNB has had a popular app for some time, but decided to launch the new app because 26% of those 450000 customers using the smartphone app were, in fact, logging on using their tablets.
And it seems the banks are just in time. Research by Merchants, a division of information technology services provider Dimension Data, showed that although clients preferred traditional banking, they might eventually follow the lead of developed countries, which have embraced online, social media and mobile channels.
This could have implications for bank fees, which Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan has repeatedly said are too high. Research by trade union Solidarity showed that three of the big four banks slashed fees on their cheapest accounts by between 18.2% and 38.5%; Nedbank raised fees 4.5%.
Mr Roper said FNB had a "deliberate strategy" to persuade customers to use electronic channels because this would help to cut costs. "We believe that the pricing of our digital channels, which are lower than traditional channels, deliberately incentivises the use of these channels," said Roper. "The benefits of this are passed on to the customer."
Nedbank's app suite, which was launched late last year, has 200000 registered users. Vanesha Palani, the head of mainstream banking at Nedbank, said the app helped clients to contain their bank fees. "From a bank perspective, the Nedbank app suite provides a more cost-effective means of reaching and servicing clients than traditional bricks and mortar branches."
The eventual rise of self-service channels such as apps would cut the reliance on cash for transactions, which in turn would reduce the need to physically move money around.
Although it is not clear how often secure transport companies are used, police statistics show there has been a steep drop in cash-in-transit robberies. In the 2011-12 year, there were 182 reported cases nationally, off an eight-year high of 467 in 2006-07.
Although cash is still king — FNB banking app users are just 6% of the 7.5-million customers reported in parent company FirstRand's latest annual report - global trends indicate a rapid shift towards mobile transactions in the coming years.
"With monthly active users growing in excess of 40000 a month, the app is set to have more than half a million users by its second birthday," said Mr Roper.
"As smartphone penetration grows, the need for app banking is going to become more prevalent and we foresee additional growth on this platform."
Lyndon Subroyen, chief information officer of Investec Wealth and Investment, said the bank's app had been well received by clients.
"We have seen a substantial uptake of the platform and constant use of the new mobile channel for both viewing and transacting," he said. "Within the first two weeks, we have had over 10% of our private client base using the iPad version alone."

Saturday, 27 April 2013

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What is Rotary International? Your Local Rotary Club Is Doing More Than You Think

Even after I joined the Salt Lake Rotary Club six months ago, I wasn’t sure just what to think. The average age of our active club members—judging by appearances—is north of 65. The image of a bunch of senior men—with a few younger women and a smattering of guys who still have hair that isn’t all gray—singing the National Anthem and reciting the pledge of allegiance seemed a throwback to a time before I was even born.
You probably know that Rotary International is the group to which Bill Gates and his foundation turned years ago to fund the global battle on polio. In the mid-nineties Rotary helped to immunize 165 million children in China and India in a single year. Rotarians themselves have contributed hundreds of millions of dollars to the fight against polio. Rotary is winning this battle: in 1988 when Rotary launched their global initiative (individual clubs had been active in the effort long before) there were 125 “polio endemic” countries in the world; today there are just three.
The luncheon meetings at our club have been fascinating. They remind me of the best of Ted Talks, with experts visiting each week and sharing insights on demographics, birth control trends and technology, world peace from the perspective of a Utah-based Krishna priest, and performances from some of Utah’s most talented people.
While I love the lunch speakers, I joined Rotary for the social good. And I got what I came for.
Recently, I reached out to the Rotary International community to learn about the sorts of things clubs are doing around the world.
If you are a Rotarian and your story isn’t included in the article, please share it in the comments below.
Carrollton-Farmers Branch Rotary Club
Carrollton-Farmers Branch Rotary Club arriving in Jamaica with 1,900 pounds of medical equipment.
Regina Edwards, a municipal attorney and past president of the Carrollton-Farmers Branch Rotary Club shared the story of their club’s work in Jamaica, providing medical equipment for the Cornwall Regional Hospital and the Blessed Assurance and West Haven homes for disabled children. Over the past decade, the club has provided $300,000 of medical equipment, supplies and toys. Baylor Health Care System from the Dallas Area has been their key donor, she notes. “We partner with the local Rotary club in Montego Bay which coordinates with the hospital so we know we are providing requested items on its “wish list”, working with the Ministry of Health in Jamaica so the items enter duty-free and arranging transportation directly to the hospital (so none are lost to the black market),” she says.  “The world is a place of incredible need and hope all wrapped up together.  ‘Service Above Self,’ a simple Rotary motto to aspire to and even more fun and rewarding when you put it into practice,” she concluded.
Pete Cross, a retired international business consultant who sits on the board of his club in Carrollton/Farmers Branch, Texas shared his experiences with mentoring and tutoring students at a local school over the past thirteen years. Many of the students are immigrants learning English and struggling in school; most, he says, do not have intact families. The Carrollton/Farmers Branch Rotary Club also provides the school with funds for supplies, field trips, winter coats and Rotary organizes a big holiday party for the kids every year.  He says, “[I] Have had [my] share of successes and failures but know it has been favorable when a young adult taps you on the shoulder, introduces you to his wife and child and then says ‘remember me, I was your first kid and without you I would have never made it, thanks.’  This makes it all worthwhile and keeps you going back for more!” He notes that the greatest impact of the effort is the number of kids who graduate from high school and go on to college.

My man must be hopelessly romantic —Biodun Koya

  • Written by  Segun Adebayo
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Abiodun Koya is a poet, composer, singer, philanthropist, entrepreneur, and songwriter. She loves recording movie soundtracks and has grown to be one of the very few African women who sing opera. In this interview with SEGUN ADEBAYO, Abiodun who was recently featured in the Americolor Opera Alliance’s presentation of LaRoche, shares the story of her life in this encounter. Excerpts:
Getting to this stage in your career as a woman, you must have paid a heavy price considering the fact that you have lived a good part of your life in the United States, could you share with us some of the experiences that shaped your life?
 Yes, it came with a very heavy price, but I’ve never compromised. The experiences I’ve been through during the course of my life, made me to be wiser than my age. I’ve experienced rejection, betrayal, utter lack and disappointments. I’ve been let down by people who made great promises and later found out they had ulterior motive thus causing me grief and heart aches. Through this, I met with God and started a one-on-one relationship with Him. This helped me to simply rely on Him to guide, protect and make ways for me. From there, He showed me his faithfulness and what he is capable of doing and I’ve found Him to be awesome! Because He was the only one I could cry to at the end of the day and feel instant relief, but amidst all, He always sent me reliable and constant helpers.

Why are you coming back to Nigeria now, are you tired of staying in the States?
No, I’m not tired of staying in the USA; I’m actually here to launch my sacred music album called “My Father’s Grace” and my poetry book, “The Moods of a Princess”. So, I’m visiting and hopefully I’d make more frequent trips here.

But many Nigerians are increasingly striving hard to leave the shores of the country in search of a greener pastures in the US...
Yes, I’m aware of that but in my case, I’ve found greener pastures overseas already because wherever the soles of my feet touch, I possess. However, full Nigerian blood flows through me so, I can’t forget home.

You are one of the very few African women who sing Opera, what led you into that type of music in the first place?
 It’s the type of upbringing that my parents gave to me and I just happened to coincidentally love that genre of music.

Have you considered the Nigerian market where your genre of music is not totally acceptable?
Opera is not the only genre of music I can sing. I sing jazz, sacred music, world music, classical pop, movie soundtracks and folk songs. But what I’ve noticed is that there are a vast number of Nigerians who are into classical music one way or the other. I was so surprised yet impressed and excited. So, there has been an overwhelming support and I’m thankful for that.

When you were growing up, what childhood fantasies formed your belief about what you are doing today?
To be on the global stage performing for huge multi-cultural audiences from the four corners of this planet. From when I was about six years old, I would write songs and wished the singers I heard on the radio could sing them. At that time I would ask my mum to stop at a radio station on her way from her office and drop off my songs for a particular singer I heard on radio days before. The reason is, then as a kid, I used to think all singers lived at the radio station

In which part of the country did you grow up before you left the shores of the country?
 I grew up in Ijebu Ode, Ogun State under the mentorship of my loving parents who are strong and devout Christians till today. They raised all their children to be independent and to adapt easily to any environment they found themselves in. They also taught us all how to cook and manage a home very well, whether you were a boy or a girl.  Being the last of five, when I was a kid, I was always tossed on the head by my older siblings to run errands for them. Eventually, I had to wriggle myself out of their bossy way by coming up with a smart way.

How did you achieve that as a kid, were you wayward while growing up?
I wasn’t wayward, but when they sent me on errand, may be to get them something to drink or eat, I’d spit saliva inside their drinks and shake it up and give it to them to drink. I was eventually caught doing that and since then, they knew it was better for them to go and get whatever they wanted themselves, but I’m sure my saliva was one of the things that got them strong and healthy till today. My siblings and I love each other and are so close that you’d think we are a group of five best friends. We were raised like that by our parents. So, I had a lot of fun and great childhood memories.

You are a poet, composer, singer, philanthropist, entrepreneur, and songwriter, which of these do you find doing easily?
 The fact is that I do all of these easily, because I get inspirations from God through His angels all the time. For instance, I hear music in my sleep and when I’m up. So, I sleep and wake up into ideas, inspirations and guidance.

How can you possibly juggle all these together, baring in mind that jack of all trades is a master of none?
If you’re being helped from above, anything is possible and effortless with effective and brilliant outcome. It’s only when you don’t have such assistance and support that you can then be called “ Honorable Mr Jack of all trades a.k.a Emperor of all things clumsy dynasty “

You have performed at some of the big gigs in the US, how has the experience been like?
It’s been an amazing and learning experience thus far.  It has also come with tremendous burden and pressure. But you keep moving, you know?

How were you able to find your way through to the big stage.
God, God and God!

When is Abiodun planning to settle down and would she ‘settle down’ with a Nigerian man?
First, I prefer to use the word ‘settle up’ instead of the word settle down. But you don’t even know if I have ‘settled up’ and I’m just private about it.  I always pray for God’s wisdom to deal with men because at the back of my mind, I know and understand that men can be sensitive when they are handled the opposite way, hence hurting their feelings and male ego. So what I do is I smile and tell them gently that I appreciate their interest so very much such that I’m flattered but then I’m already taken. Laughs...

What’s your kind of man like?
Oh my God! Let’s see… he’s God fearing, wise, responsible, peaceful, very funny, loving, hardworking, naturally a family man, supportive, thoughtful, generous and hopelessly romantic.

Do you have any unforgettable experience that you would love to  share?
I remember one time when I attended a board of trustees’ meeting. I was the youngest and the only female in there. So, when it was my turn to give a briefing, my stomach started rumbling and was making fart sounds like I was really farting. I was so embarrassed that, I sweated profusely! And of course, they all gave me that look and I shook my head saying Sirs, it’s not what it looks or sounds like.

How would you describe your fashion sense?
I love vintage, modern and anything with military and Elizabeth and influence.

Do you have any special beauty regimen?
I eat fresh fruits and pretty much have my beauty sleep and drink lots of water. Plus I don’t drink or smoke.

Who are your favourite designers both at home and abroad?
I love Oscar de la renta, Monique Lhuillier and Vince Camuto.

Choice of accessories…
Impeccable wrist watches and sunglasses would do.

Do you have any of those accessories you can’t do without?
I think both and my chapstick.

What is the craziest thing you can do for fashion sake?
Hmmm, none actually.

As a celebrity, do you have any special treat or beauty routine that makes you stay in shape?
I work out religiously and run three miles, twice a week. I’m hoping that would increase though. I watch what I eat and eat in small portions throughout the day.

Is there anything you would like to change about yourself?
Nope, nothing at all. I love everything about myself. I’m very grateful for that.

Why do you think most foreign female celebs go for plastic surgery and would you ever consider such?
No, I won’t consider such. However, if it makes them happy and boosts their confidence, so be it.

Who are your fashion Icons and what is it you won’t be caught dead wearing?
My fashion icons are Catherine Zeta Jones, Penelope Cruz, the late Princess Diana,  Nicole Kidman and Charlize Theron to mention a few. I like to look feminine and elegant but anything too revealing won’t do it for me.

What’s your take on tattoo, piercing the body and provocative dressing?
You know people make choices from their desires and what they think would make them relevant or highly regarded. But it is not my taste and I don’t think highly of it

What’s the secret of your beauty?
I really don’t have any secret except that I focus more on my inner wellness. Because if that is taken care of, the outward appearance will be automatically nourished and will shine brilliantly. I love acquiring motivational books and recordings that teach on life and wise living. John Maxwell and Joyce Meyer are some of my favourites. I have a huge collection of such and I see them as my most valuable possessions.

DANA Airlines introduces mobile check-in device

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The management of DANA Airlines, on Friday, said that it had introduced mobile check-in device for passengers, which was first of its kind in the aviation industry in Nigeria.
Mr Obi Mbanuzuo, Head of Commercial of the airline, disclosed this  in Lagos.
He said that the new device could issue boarding passes to passengers before they reach the check-in counter.
“With this recent launch, DANA has become the first airline in Nigeria to use this solution.
“We will continue to use technology to enhance the flying experience of our passengers by simplifying air travel and saving valuable time, “ he said.
The Commercial Head said that the initiative complemented the airline’s existing check-in counters and online check-in service.
“With this solution, our mobile check-in agents can quickly access and verify the travel reservation details of passengers, book them on their choice of seats and generate boarding passes.
“Now, passengers with hand baggage need not wait at the check-in counter to collect their boarding pass.
“They can simply approach any of our easily recognisable mobile check-in agents on arrival at the airport, and then proceed through airport security to the boarding gate, “ he said.
Mbanuzuo said that airlines all over the world were constantly innovating processes to speed up check-in for their passengers, which DANA would also build into its operations.
“The check-in facilitated by the roving agent, is the latest concept for a speedy check-in for the jet-setting passenger, “ he said.
NAN recalls that the airline currently operates 10 daily flights on the Lagos-Abuja-Lagos route, and has just re-launched daily flight services to Port Harcourt from Lagos and Abuja.
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Friday, 26 April 2013

Daniel Ademinokan And Stella Damasus Secretly Wed

By: LIB on April 25, 2013 - 5:30pm 
According to LIB, Stella Damasus and Daniel Ademinokan are married.
The actress and the movie producer/director, who was married to actress Doris Simeon until 2011, got married sometime in February this year in New York. They now live together in a place called Jamaica Village, Queens, New York.
They might have temporarily relocated to the US. Stella is there with her two kids who are now schooling there.
This is the third marriage for Stella and the second for Daniel. The two have several investments together, including Abuja based clothing boutique, Code 55.
Last night April 24th, Daniel held a surprise 35th birthday party for Stella at a restaurant called 9ja Villa in Brooklyn, New York. Daniel also bought Stella a Range Rover yesterday as a birthday present.

Glo, Huawei Sign $750m Network Expansion Pact

26 Apr 2013
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Globacom’s Group Chief Operating Officer, Mohamed Jameel

Emma Okonji
National telecommunications operator, Globacom, has signed a $750 million (N116.25 billion) agreement with Huawei Technologies, a leading global ICT solutions provider, to expand the capacity of the Glo network.
Speaking at the signing of the partnership agreement in Lagos, Globacom’s Group Chief Operating Officer, Mohamed Jameel, explained that the network enhancement project was part of the 10th anniversary plan to enhance the experience of the millions of subscribers on the Globacom network.
“After 10 years in business, we decided to upscale our network 10-fold to the very latest technology in global telecommunications.
“The massive expansion project will involve network upgrade and overhaul of infrastructure across the country as well as expansion and densification projects that will on completion in six months, enable the network to cater more for its existing and potential subscribers,” Jameel said.
He said 2013 is a special year for Globacom. “It is our 10th anniversary and we have been the network of choice for Nigerians because of the unprecedented manner with which we pioneered various technologies and products in the market,” he stated.
Huawei expressed excitement about the opportunity given to the firm by Globacom to handle the network expansion project, describing it as the biggest network expansion project it has handled in Nigeria.
“This is a huge expansion project. We promise Globacom and its teeming subscribers that we will meet their expectations and deliver a network they will all be proud of. Globacom is definitely going places,” said David Fan, Huawei’s Vice-President, West Africa.
He noted that Globacom and Huawei were culturally similar as global brands from emerging markets, adding that they would provide the company with Long Term Evolution (LTE or 4G) services that would give Globacom the comparative advantage.
Under the partnership, Globacom will build new switches, increase mobile switching centres to ease congestion and construct an additional 4,000km of optic fibre cable to complement its existing fibre optic facility, which is the most extensive fibre coverage of Nigeria.
Glo has state-of-the-art IP/MPLS and TDM technologies (30 gigabyte capacity) to meet requirements of enterprise customers, video, voice and data services. The TDM network will also be upgraded to a fully integrated Generalised Multi-protocol Label Switching (GMPLS).
Part of the upgrade will also include the installation of new base stations and densification of existing ones; setting up of three new mini call centres across the country to take care of the vast increase in subscriber figures; and upgrade of the radio access network which will ensure that data customers enjoy unparalleled speed and reliability.
“This is in line with our commitment to provide our customers world-class information, communication and technology (ICT) services through constant deployment of latest technologies.
“We will stay committed to our corporate promise at inception that Globacom would build a robust ICT network infrastructure that is comparable with the best in the world, and would consistently deliver value to its esteemed customers,” Jameel stated.
Delivering the vote of thanks, Globacom’s Executive Director, Legal Services, Mrs. Gladys Talabi, said the partnership was formed to provide subscribers on the network with unlimited possibilities.

How Extreme Savers Can Retire By 40

NEW YORK (MainStreet) —Financial advisers have long recommended saving between 10 and 15% of your income for retirement. For a growing number of people around the world, that just isn't enough.
Instead, these extreme savers have decided to save half or more of their income to get on the fast track to financial independence. While the average American family has a savings account of just $3,800 and a quarter of American families have no savings at all, these men and women have found some key habits to avoid the trap of living paycheck to paycheck and struggling with high credit card debt.
Housing, Transportation Choices Key
While a lot of personal finance gurus focus on things like the "latte factor," extreme savers focus on the big things like housing and transport, says Olivia Campbell, who saves around 75% of her $90,000 salary. "I don't have much interest in cutting down on little expenditures," Campbell says. "They really don't add up that much, and its often little things like the coffee with a friend that add a lot to your happiness." Instead, Campbell keeps housing and transport costs low.
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So does U.K.-based Chenda Forrest, who credits her housing situation for her 50% savings rate. "I live in a small shared flat close to local amenities, which means I can live without a car," she says. "It seemed such a waste of my working hours to have nothing to show for it. A 50% saving rate always seemed a simple goal to have; whatever I spent I banked."
Even in unwalkable neighborhoods, extreme savers find a way. Suburbanite Stephanie Williams saves about 65% of her $34,000 yearly salary, crediting her lack of a car and shopping ingenuity to her success. "I found a used dog stroller on Craigslist that I use to cart home 20 pound bags of rice and flour from Costco rather than take a cab or buy smaller bags at a higher price," she says. While that may sound extreme to some, Williams says she doesn't care, because she's on track to retire before 40. "Work is overrated. I would rather spend my life traveling and pursuing my hobbies than chained to a desk," she says.
The Fast Track to Retirement
It takes less than one year for some of these extreme savers to have enough of a nest egg to cover a year of expenses, bringing retirement closer than most could imagine. "I originally intended to retire or become financially independent by 40, but I'm now on pace to reach that mark by my 37th birthday," says Jason Fieber, 30, of Sarasota, Flor. who tracks his savings progress on his blog.
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While it depends on how your investments perform, how long you expect to live, and what income you require in retirement, most extreme savers find they can retire within 15 to 20 years if they consistently save half of their income. "I think the most motivating factor that can encourage saving is asking yourself when you want to retire," Forrest suggests. "The math is so simple to calculate, yet most people are completely clueless."
Choosing Simplicity and Freedom
For extreme savers, living cheaply is less of a sacrifice, and more a step toward simplicity and freedom. "Simplifying my life has brought me clarity and a peace that no material object ever could," says Fieber. "In order to achieve a high savings rate I gave up my car, and now I ride the bus. I also have a 16-year old 49cc scooter that gets me around town in a pinch." To boot, he also eats mostly at home and avoids buying the latest and greatest, allowing him to save 60% of his net income. "I tend to take solace in my easy, enjoyable life where I put a premium on time and freedom."
Fieber, who earns $55,000 annually working at a local car dealership, has gone from having $5,000 in savings to having $100,000 in dividend-yielding stocks in just three years. "My job is not glamorous or particularly high-paying, which just goes to show how possible all of this is," he say

7 Secrets Wealthy People Know about Amassing and Maintaining a Fortune

Becoming wealthy enough to keep the wolf from your door doesn't mean an end to unwanted callers. For every newly minted billionaire, there are cautionary tales of the well-heeled undone by visits from the the tax man, the loan officer and Uncle Sam himself.

A fortune requires finesse. As well as a willingness to embrace financial exotica, trips to Bermuda and the drive to start your own business--as a survey of FORBES' knowledge of the world's wealthiest people reveals. Below are seven tricks, secrets and maneuvers regularly conducted by those with more than a shekel or two to accumulate and maintain their fortunes.

1. Start Your Own Business
Warren Buffett, chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway (AP/Nati Harnik) Click over to FORBES' roll of billionaires, and you'll notice something if you dig into the biographies. Nearly all of the 1,426 billionaires  made their fortunes through an entrepreneurial spirit (or their fortunes come from a family member who created the business). Ten-figure sums aren't earned by rising through corporate ranks. They're made from creating the whole shebang from scratch. It will likely occur by happenstance, in the most unsuspecting of ways. Recall that the world's fourth richest man, the aforementioned Buffett, left the working world in 1955 with plans to retire. Shortly after, cajoled by a seven-person group of family and friends, twentysomething Buffett formed a partnership that laid the groundwork for his $53.5 billion fortune. He did so over a small dinner at the Omaha Club.

[More from Forbes: Billionaire Hedge Fund Managers]

2. Put Growth Investments In A Roth IRA
The investments with the greatest potential for growth should go into a Roth IRA. They sit there tax free, and as long as you wait until the age requirement (59 and a half), withdraws won't be levied either. Employees at fast-growing private companies often go this route. Peter Thiel did it as CEO of PayPal in 2001, buying 1.7 million shares for 30 cents a share through his Roth. The 2002 eBay acquisition of PayPal make those shares produce a $31.5 million profit. The man who founded PayPal with Thiel, Max Levchin, has also done something similar. His Roth has already sold 3.1 million Yelp shares and holds another 3.9 million. Result: some $95 million that an elder Levchin can withdraw tax free.

3. Find Stocks You'll Never Sell

At the forefront of investing royalty in the last century was an intense man with round glasses from northern California named Philip Fisher. He became the first to author an investing book that cracked The New York Times bestseller list with Common Stocks and Uncommon Profits in 1958. It became an establishing text for modern growth investing, laying out a 15-point strategy that wound up catching the attention of a young man from Nebraska: Warren Buffett, who would make tens of billions of dollars through a combination of Fisher's tenets and those by value investing founding father Benjamin Graham.
Today, Fisher's son, Ken, is also a billionaire. He manages a $42 billion asset management company, and still calls northern California home. The younger Fisher is perhaps more value oriented than his father--especially favoring the price/sales ratio when assessing a company's worth--but there's a particular point in his father's work that he says is never far from his mind. Probably because it plays well in value investing, too. It's the idea that you buy a stock with the mentality to own it forever.
Papa Fisher had good reason to buy and never let go. He faced capital gains rates that topped 45%. (Today's, by contrast, cap gains are much lower at 20% or so.) He bought DuPont and Dow Chemical in the 1930s, selling them only four decades or so later. He picked up Motorola in the 1980s, and still owned shares when he died at age 96 in 2004.

Does such a mentality have a place in today's world of milisecond trading? "If done right, yes," says the younger Fisher. "People aren't perfect, though."
4. Insurance, Bermuda-Style
The latest tax loophole exploited by hedge funds involves the reinsurance business. A whole host of billionaire hedge fund managers have started Bermuda-based reinsurance companies since 2011, according to Bloomberg, and the roll includes bold-faced names like John Paulson, SAC Capital Advisors' Stevie Cohen, Third Point's Dan Loeb. (They were inspired by Greenlight Capital's David Einhorn.) By sending money through these companies, the hedge funds recycle it and reduce personal income taxes and delay the eventual tax bill. Normally the managers would be paying either ordinary income taxes (39.6%) or long-term capital gains taxes (20%).

5. Make Your Corporation Pay You

Actress Hilary Duff (Kevin Winter/Getty Images)Ever heard of these corporations: Screaming Lord Baltic, Flip-Flop Films or On Nets Above People? Probably not, unless you're toiling in Warner Brothers' back-office.
Each of those entities were incorporated by an entertainer, specifically those advised by Scott Feinstein, who reps celebs like Aaron Paul, Hilary Duff and Taylor Lautner. Feinstein suggests the maneuver because it allows clients to better manage taxes and expenses. Celebs many times have trouble deducting some of large business expenses they face.  "These are people paying out like 20% or 40% in their income in expenses," to people like agents and managers, Feinstein says. Why can't the silver-screen crowd make the deductions? The Alternative Minimum Tax, something every American pays. "It effects something like 20 million Americans, and it limits how many expenses you take to eliminate your taxable income."
To get around this, celebs start a corporation and instruct producers to pay the corporation, not them directly. (The government made an exception for entertainers to earn wages this way, Feinstein says. You, in all likelihood, can not.) The corporation, in turn, pays the entourage, and the star emerges with a lowered taxable income.

[More from Forbes: 7 Secrets Wealthy People Know]
While Feinstein favors this method, he refuses to take the blame for the oddity of the corporate names: "I tell them to come up with something that means something to them." Screaming Lord Baltic. Huh.

6. Think Like Zuck. Think Trusts

Doubts about Facebook the company's longevity aside, Mark Zuckerberg and his co-founder Dustin Moskovitz have already taken steps to secure their family's legacy. As FORBES reported last March, Zuckerberg and Moskovitz put pre-IPO stock into a type of financial instrument called a grantor retained annuity trust (GRAT). The pair, by FORBES estimates, wound up moving more than $200 million to the trusts. Future payouts will avoid the 45% gift tax that existed (in 2008) when these trusts were created. Perhaps not as cool as sliding $1 billion past the IRS, but a GRAT is especially useful for stashing away hard-to-value assets, like private companies shares, because it allows changes to the trust's details if you're audited.

7. Cash Flow Is Important. Buy MLPs, Sell The Steak House

Where does Brad Pitt put his multi-million-dollar paychecks? It's not too much to presume that he, like much of Hollywood, has money invested in master limited partnerships (MLPs). Conversations with five of Hollywood's top money managers revealed a cult following for these stocks, which generate strong yields and cash flow. Like real estate investment trusts, MLPs pay no taxes. Hence, they have more to share with investors, and payouts are more lightly taxed.

They're certainly more than one-hit wonders. The Alerian MLP Index's returns beat the S&P 500's on a 1-year, 3-year-, 5-year and 10-year basis. The index, holding some 50 MLPs, favors gas-and-oil infrastructure companies like Enterprise Products Partners, Kinder Morgan and Plains All American Pipeline.
Alan Goldman, a Los Angeles business manager with a star-studded rolodex and client roster, says he's often left talking his crew out of pitches on the next trendy restaurant, instead advising more consistent investments, like MLPs. "We find that they need to be more conservative than Joe Average." Goldman sighs. "The restaurants are very, very popular with entertainers. We look at something like a restaurant and just assume that the money is gone."