Friday, 31 May 2013

Expert urges Nigerians to shun unhealthy diets, lifestyles

AS the nation marked 14 years of uninterrupted democracy, Nigerians have been advised to take responsibility for their health by shunning unhealthy diets and lifestyles in order to produce a productive workforce for the country.
An expert in healthy living, Mrs. Victoria Kayode, gave the advice yesterday at a seminar entitled, “Reclaim your Health”.
Speaking with journalists at the seminar in Abuja, Kayode, who is also the founder of LivinMedia Nigeria Limited, stressed why, according to her, it is better to stay healthy than looking for healing.
Kayode, who lamented that majority of diseases and sicknesses, which are prevalent today are as a result of intake of bad diets and bad lifestyles, said her passion to see people live well and make those that are sick get well, prompted her to go into the field.
Her words: “We see people moving about with many conditions that are majorly as a result of what they eat, what they do and what they fail to do; so we preach diet and lifestyle change”.
She said her team has been teaching healthy living in churches, schools, mosques, offices, seminars, conferences, among others.
However, Kayode said that was the first time she was organising a free seminar for the general public in the Federal Capital Territory, disclosing plans to reach out to those at the grassroots.
“We have been teaching healthy living as our own quota to bring to the barest minimum (if not to eradicate) sicknesses and diseases in our environment for the past eight years and we believe we still have much ground to cover”, she said.

Highpoint of the event was talks on different health issues delivered by resource persons, blood pressure checks, height and Body Mass Index by experts and responses to questions on health asked by participants.
While speaking on the topic, “Reclaim your health”, Rev. Tony Akinyemi advised Nigerians not to wait for diseases to strike before making moves.
“We can pre-empt, prevent, be proactive and there are things we can do to stay healthy. There are preventable and avoidable diseases; so everybody should be alive and awake to take the various responsibilities they have in making sure we maintain a healthy nation; because from a healthy nation, we will have a healthy, productive workforce, so that we can enhance our overall development as a nation,” the cleric said.
Other resource persons, who spoke at the seminar were Brig.-Gen. Abimbola Amusa, a doctor in the Nigerian Army, who talked on Orthodox Medicine and Healthy Living Issues and Pastor Titi Somefun, who spoke on “Look Fine but Unhealthy Inside”.

Rising breast cancer cases linked to excessive alcohol consumption, contraceptive pills

WOMEN under 50 are being diagnosed with breast cancer at the record rate of 27 a day, reaching 10,000 a year for the first time. One in five cases now involve women in this age bracket, while the rate is still climbing among older women.
Experts fear modern lifestyles are to blame for the rise among younger women. Many are drinking excessively, overeating and failing to exercise- all habits, which contribute to breast cancer.
The growing trend for women to delay having children until their 30s and 40s, have smaller families and breastfeed for short periods of time, if at all, also pushes up the risk, claims Cancer Research United Kingdom (UK). The charity suggested that increasing use of the contraceptive pill might also play a role in the rise.
Breast cancer kills around 12,000 women annually, but more than ever before are surviving due to advances in treatment. In women under 50 the death rate has almost halved in the last 20 years.
Chris Askew, chief executive of Breakthrough Breast Cancer, said: “Although breast cancer is more common in older women, it’s worrying to see an increase in the number of younger women diagnosed with the disease.
“More women than ever are surviving which is great news, however more women are getting breast cancer and we must invest in vital research for new treatments and disease prevention.”
Statistics released by Cancer Research UK show that around 7,700 women under 50 were diagnosed with breast cancer in 1995 in the UK, but the figure had risen to 10,068 in 2010.
The increase in breast cancer in women of all ages over the same period was 18 per cent. In younger women, a family history of the disease increases the risk.
But experts are concerned about changing lifestyle patterns among younger women, with many choosing to have children later or remain childless, which boosts the risk.
Pregnancy before the age of 30 and breastfeeding cuts a woman’s lifetime number of menstrual cycles, thereby reducing overall exposure to oestrogen, a hormone, which drives most breast cancer tumours.
Previous research suggests women who breastfeed for six months reduce their risk of dying of cancer by ten per cent, possibly by a direct effect on breast cells making them more resistant to cancer.
Age remains the strongest factor for breast cancer, with a healthy lifestyle cutting risk at any age.
Scientists estimate four out of every ten cases in the UK could be prevented through maintaining a healthy weight, drinking less alcohol and being more physically active.
Experts fear modern lifestyles are to blame for the rise among younger women. Many are drinking excessively, overeating and failing to exercise – all habits, which contribute to breast cancer.
Women who are overweight or obese run a higher risk of developing the disease, probably through changes in sex hormone levels triggered by weight gain.
Studies show drinking just one large glass of wine a day increases the chances of developing breast cancer by a fifth.
Cancer Research UK says the contraceptive pill slightly increases the risk while women are taking it, and it has become more popular.
Sara Hiom, the charity’s director of health information, said: “The number of cases in women under 50 diagnosed with breast cancer is increasing slowly, but thanks to research, awareness and improved care, more women than ever before are surviving the disease.
“Women of all ages who notice anything different about their breasts, including changes in size, shape or feel, a lump or thickening, nipple discharge or rash, dimpling, puckering or redness of the skin, should see their GP straight away, even if they have attended screening. It’s more likely not to be cancer but if it is, detecting it early gives the best chance of successful treatment.”
Mia Rosenblatt of the Breast Cancer Campaign said: “This increase in cases among younger women is a pattern evident across all ages. It is vital that the particular concerns of younger women, such as fertility issues as a result of treatment, are addressed and that specialist support is provided by clinicians.
“Apart from being a woman, age still remains the biggest risk factor for breast cancer, with 80 per cent of cases in women over the age of 50. However, no matter what their age, all women need to be breast aware.”

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Who should manage the family’s finances?


Who should manage the family’s finances?
Many homes seem to have experienced financial difficulties one time or the other due to poor money management.
When I was growing up, I often heard of families where the man was the neighbourhood drunk, and one of the ways you knew the man has received his salary is when he orders drinks for everyone at the bar and spends the night in the gutter.
He would get so drunk that he could not make his way home successfully, ending up in the gutter. Often, village youths who know the drill will follow him to the gutter and help him empty his pockets. He usually staggers home at the break of dawn with a hangover and empty pockets, ready to pick a fight when the wife dares ask for housekeeping allowance.
In some instances, other women come into the picture. The man maintains two homes with no clear plan for the future. He becomes a rolling stone that gathers no moss. He works long and hard but has nothing to show for his days of toiling.
A future dependent on pension
I have heard so many complaints from wives about how the husband mismanages the family finances. The most common complaint is that the husband has refused to build his own house and has become comfortable as a tenant, in some cases to a much younger landlord. In some cases, the man actually built, but in the village.
The house in the villages remains empty attracting no rent while the family remain tenants in the city. Many wives complain the husband has become so busy doing good to outsiders while his household lacks. Apart from not having a place of their own they can call home, the family has no emergency fund for the rainy day.
The family’s financial future is pinned on a paltry pension whose regularity is not guaranteed. These wives feel insecure, naked and exposed, and often look for what to do to protect the family financially in case of the unexpected.
 Saving for a rainy day
Often when the man loses his job, it is the wife that comes to the rescue. In one case, it was the wife’s collection of gold jewellery that saved the day in putting food on the table and sending the children to school. Had the woman fallen for the trap of gathering boxes of clothes, shoes and costume jewellery, the family would have had to beg, and the children may have to drop out of school and take to the street, trading to fend for the family.
Few men recognise the wisdom of saving for the rainy day but are busy keeping up with the Joneses until the rug is pulled from under their feet. They go on as if there is no tomorrow but when the rainy day comes, they become helpless. It begins to seem like the men have no sense while all the common sense resides with the women.
My wife had rescued me many times from dumb financial decisions in times past when financial illiteracy was my middle name. Women seem to be blessed with superior discernment abilities and can smell trouble miles away before men, who seem to wait until they see the danger with their eyes, which is often too late. Women seem to be able to smell phonies while men easily get carried away by sight and appearances, especially if the other party is a pretty female. I have gotten my fingers burnt when I forged ahead regardless of warnings. In the early years of my marriage, I wanted to prove that I am the man and do have my own mind. With the benefit of hindsight, I have come to see that two good heads are better than one.
Are women better money managers than men?
Are all women good with money?
 I believe the answer is yes and no. On the whole, it may look like women are more mature when it comes to handling money. They are in the front line when it comes to making sure that the household is catered for. They are the ones the children cry to when they are hungry or become sick etc. They are in the trenches while the man may get caught up with the corporate world, football and politics.
 However, it is not all women who are saints when it comes to handling money. Some women do not know when to apply the brakes when it comes to clothes, shoes, jewellery, even mobile phones. Some wives pester the living daylights out of their husband when a new phone hits the market. Some men do not trust their wives with their ATM cards. Some men have had to settle debts (gbese) piled up by their wives. Such women love to be in the happening crowd. They have their own clique and club. Their asoebi is first class; you need to shell out a hundred thousand naira or more to belong. Membership is by invitation only. If your husband is not loaded, you have to steer clear. They travel to the US, London, Paris, Dubai etc to do their shopping and spare no expenses to belong to the top class.
The rainy day can wait, today must be lived to the fullest. Some husbands, for the sake of peace, give in to their wives and wipe out their savings on the latest automobiles, exotic holidays etc. The husband makes the money while the wife spends it.

Budgeting mistakes to avoid


Budgeting mistakes to avoid
Many of the slips that make it difficult for people to stick to their financial plans can be avoided, SIMON EJEMBI writes
 Your mind is made up. This time around you are resolute; you are not going to let your money slip away just like that. You are going to keep track of every naira you spend and ensure you implement your budget this time around.
Many people often find themselves in this state of mind at the start of a new month or as pay day approaches. Yet many of them fail to achieve their goal. Before the month is half-spent, they have abandoned their budgets.
Experts say this is largely as a result of poor planning and mistakes made in drawing up a budget and trying to implement it.
Some of the common mistakes, you should note when making a budget are:
Having unrealistic expectations
In drawing up a budget, it is important to know the amount of money you are expecting or that will be available to you. However, some people end up listing their needs (and wants) and then thinking about how they will get the money to meet them. By doing so, they tend to overestimate their expectations. While it is okay to be optimistic about income or earnings, when it comes to budgeting, it is important to be precise. This is because once you draw up a budget based on expected earnings of N100, 000, for instance, and you end up with N70, 000 that budget is doomed.
Failure to document expenses
Many people do not keep track of their expenses. They believe they can easily recall expenditure they make at the end of the day or when they have time. It is at the end of the month that they realize their brain is not as powerful as they thought. Surely, trying to recall every single thing you spent money on in a month is impossible. The best way to keep track of your expenses is to document them as they happen. Make a habit of keeping receipt, taking notes. When you go shopping and you discover that the prices of some of the things you bought are higher than it was in your budget, it is important that you note those changes.
According to experts, it is hard if not impossible to properly implement your budget if you do not know where your money is going. If you are too busy in the day to note your expenses, they advise that you find time to do so every night, updating your budget to ensure that it reflects actual expenses you made.
Underestimating prices
Another mistake people make is that they make their budgets based on assumption as against drawing up one based on current prices of items. Because prices of items can fluctuate at short intervals, it is not wise for you to make a budget based on last month’s prices. This is more so when it comes to food prices, especially seasonal food items such as fruits, tomatoes and yams.
To avoid this mistake, experts advise that you try to make it a habit to do market surveys or go window shopping. While you may consider this as time-wasting, the truth is that in the long run it can prevent you from underestimating prices and save your budget. If you make a budget and later discover when you go shopping that you have underestimated the prices, you may end up having no money for important purchases or payments later.
Being too frugal
According to experts, when you are too frugal with your budget, you are likely to become frustrated with it and abandon it all together. This is because it is like a source of deprivation; an item that makes you overly cautious and miserly.Of course, the idea of a budget is to help you keep expenses in check and boost your savings, however, you must take care that it does not choke you. To do that, you have to keep a budget reasonable and give yourself room for a ‘treat’ of some sort.
Planning for the short-term
Budgets are tools of financial planning. They are meant to guide you in the execution of a financial plan which may span years and even decades. This is why it is important that in drawing up your budget you keep the goal in focus. Planning with just a month in focus, may make you lose sight of your goal. Remember, it is just not about surviving financially for one month, it is about taking steps – with each budget, that guides you to your ultimate financial goal. If you have a rather large expenditure to make at some point in the course of the year, it is important that each of your budgets takes that into consideration.
Not saving much
If your budget is not boosting your savings, it is a sign that you are not getting it right. According to experts, just as you budget for your transport to work, so you should make provision for savings in your budgets. They stress that it is wrong to assume that you wouldn’t save whatever is left of your income after you have taken care of your needs. But many people do not take note of this; there is no provision for savings on their budgets. Your budget is expected to include an amount marked as savings. It could be anything from 10 per cent of your income upwards. If you have difficulty keeping to such a plan, you can overcome the challenge by making arrangements for your bank to deduct the money directly from your salary.
Spending more than you earn
This is perhaps the most common mistake people make when it comes to budgeting. Their budget is more than their earnings. Experts say this has to be avoided or else financial freedom will be impossible. The say the right thing to do is to ensure that your budgetis lesser than your income.
Ignoring ‘minor’ details
Many people leave many details out of their budgets in the belief that they are too small. But these little details or expenses that are left out can make you fail in your attempt to implement the budget. This is because when added up, they amount to much. Some people even categorise the cost of recharging their phones in this category, but many people will admit that their phone bill run into thousands at the end of the month – regardless of the fact that they recharge their phones with ‘just’ N200 every now and then. Oh, and that grilled meat that you buy regularly, which is also not in your budget can cost you thousands at the end of the month too. The fact is that no expense is too small to be covered in your budget.
Not planning for emergencies
This is considered one of biggest mistake people make when it comes to budgeting. They have no plan for unforeseen circumstances. They only consider their needs. So, when they fall ill or get involved in an accident or need to make a sudden repair on their car, they become desperate, sometimes, being forced to borrow money.

Do you have a cash flow plan?


Ola Emmanuel
As water is to the fish and as air is to life, so is cash to business. No living thing can survive without the air; likewise, a business deprived of cash will die prematurely. Cash is liquid, it also flows like water. It has a way of finding its level or channeling its flow toward the direction it’s desperately needed. If an individual’s or a business’ purse has been made to become like a hill or mountain through poor decisions, bad spending habits or other circumstances, cash will natural flow towards the ‘valley’ – a welcoming pocket. It is also sure that the direction it flows can either bring prosperity and blessing or ruin, chaos, disappointment, and gnashing of teeth.
A business cannot exist without cash flow; but a thriving business needs good flow of cash in both directions – into and out of the business. However for a business owner to be happy, the volume of flow into the business should be higher than the volume flowing out. Let me explain it in another way: like a house, it is ability to keep the cash’s entrance door wide open but the exit door carefully and consciously controlled that makes a business operator a very happy person.
When a business is started, it is normal if expenses are higher than amounts generated from sales. If a business runs out of cash during this period, such a business may die before it reaches the period where it can sustain itself. The challenge before every business manager is how to adequately sustain the flow of cash in both directions during the period that the business is prone to failure, and to carefully plan and monitor the flow at other times in the life of the business.
In doing a financial plan for a business, it is necessary that the issue of cash flow be considered carefully. During the period that sales may be low, how will a business meets its payment obligations? How do you keep the employees in good shape? True to who they are, when some employees sense that the business they work for is not liquid financially, they are less bothered about what contribution they can offer to make the business thrive.
Rather, their minds are occupied with how to move out and secure another job; and the resources of the struggling business may be used to search for and secure other employment. For an entrepreneur not to find him or herself in this situation, he or she needs careful cash flow plan. Also, a business that is transacted on credit will need at least double the amount needed for stocks and materials for its operations not to stop while awaiting payment for products sold. And if a particular equipment will be required for the business and it has to be by cash payment, the business may have its operations hindered.
A cash flow plan is a forecast that shows how much money is expected to come into a business and how much is expected to flow out of the business in a particular period, usually a month. It is a table that reveals well ahead of time when a particular amount of money is expected to come into the business and when a particular payment is to be made.
In doing a cash flow plan, it relies heavily on its twin sister, the sales and costs plan (discussed last week on this page), and it requires about twelve steps – depending on the knowledge of the person doing it.
The cash flow plan for your business should show in figures the amount of money likely to be in your bank account or cash box at the end of each month of a period the plan covers. It should show where money is coming from (whether from sales of products, liquidation of investments, gifts, loan, or wherever) and the exact amount that is expected. Likewise, your cash flow plan should vividly reveal what items you may need to spend money on in your business and how much you need to spend.
If you have known ahead of time how much money that may lie idle in your bank account in a particular month, you will be able to have ample time to plan very well to judiciously engage the money, and if you will need a particular amount of money in a particular month you will be able to have ample time to think about where the money will come from and what you need to do to secure it. This is part of business riddle a good cash flow plan helps you solve.

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Huawei Ascend P6 Just 6.2mm Thick : Android Smartphone Will Launch In June

Huawei Ascend P6
Huawei look set to unveil the world's thinnest smartphone - the Ascend P6.

Huawei have come a long way... they used to produce budget handsets and OEM phones for mobile operators. That's all changed and they've already launched a a number of premium smartphones and it looks like another is incoming - the Huawei Ascend P6.

We first heard about the Huawei Ascend P6 earlier this month when a French website leaked the first details of it's existence. The standout feature of the new smartphone is that it's just 6.2mm thick, making it the thinnest smartphone in the world !

Fresh images of the Ascend P6 have now been posted by trusted industry-insider EVLeaks. They highlight just how thin the new smartphone will be , while at the same time showcasing it's premium design , including a brushed aluminium case and metallic side-skirts.

The design of the Huawei's smartphone reminds us of Sony's Xperia Z - albeit made from metal rather than glass. Impressively, the weight is thought to have been kept to just 120g and we've also got a good idea of it's specification - thought to include a 1.5 GHz quad-core processor , 2GB of RAM and a 5 mega-pixel camera.

Any doubts of the leaks validity were quashed when Huawei's Device Chairman announced the Ascend P6 would be unveiled on June 16th,  at a press event in London. He's since removed the information from the Chinese social network Weibo - but not before we spotted the all important information.

As soon as we hear more about Huawei's Android smartphone you'll be the first to know. If the Chinese company get the pricing right  then the Ascend P6 could be a nice alternative to higher-priced premium smartphones, such as the Galaxy S4 and iPhone 5.


Ada And Melvin To Rep Nigeria At Big Brother Africa The Chase

28 housemates from 14 African countries made their way into the Rubies and Diamonds houses for the eighth episode of Big Brother Africa tagged “The Chase”, which commenced on Sunday night.
Flying the Nigerian flag for the next 91 days to vie for the $300,000 prize money are Lagos based model; Ada Beverly Osu and model cum actor, Melvin Oduah.
Melvin was the first runner up at the Gulder Ultimate Search VI, and was also the first runner up at 2011 edition of Mr Nigeria 2011.
BEVERLY, Model, 21, Nigeria
Her bio according to BBA The Chase’s website reads: Beverly is a model from Lagos. She describes herself as “smart, sexy, humble, loyal and crazy”. One of her favourite qualities is her sense of humour. In other people, she values “consistency, cleanliness, truth and humility” and dislikes unkept promises, lies and pretence.
Beverley says that viewers can expect “a total packaged African young diva to command the right qualities and characteristics of a blunt, sexy go-getter”. She doesn’t really have any role models, choosing rather to take unique attributes from different people. Asked who has influenced her life most, Beverley says “who I want to influence me all depends on the situation at hand”.
Her favourite musicians include John Legend, Kelly Rowland, Phenom and Rihanna.
MELVIN, Model and actor , 27, Nigeria
His bio according to BBA The Chase’s website reads: Melvin is a model and actor from Delta State with a BSc in Chemistry. Melvin enjoys listening to Nicki Minaj, Rick Ross and R Kelly.
His favourite place in Nigeria is Lagos and he says the best things about the continent as a whole are the culture and people. Outside of Nigeria, he enjoys spending time in South Africa and the USA because “these are places where you can relax and relate to people conveniently”.
His friends and family inspired him to enter Big Brother. He has always been a fan of the show and has previously come out tops in two other reality shows. He is hoping to use all his experience and charm to go all the way on Big Brother. If he wins the grand prize, he’ll invest it, but he’s also hoping to make his country proud and use this experience as a platform to achieve other things in his career

Monday, 27 May 2013

How to lose a good woman

Men, we do this to ourselves
Ice does melt in the presence of heat
A good lady does slip away from a careless man
The blame is on you when the good she walks out the door

Call it our ego, our uncouthness
Call it ill-placed wisdom or lack thereof
But a good lady should be loved
Or else you stand to lose

Man, you will lose a good lady
When you stop listening anymore
When she begins to notice
You don’t value her time like before

You will lose a good lady
When you treat her like a child
Shouting down at her, ordering her around
When you proving a point means she physically hurts

You will lose a good lady
When you abuse her trust
When she loses faith in you
And your words no longer credible

You will lose a good lady
If you treat her with double standards
Expect her to be open with you and tell you all
But you punctuate your life with secret codes and no-go zones

You will lose a good lady
When your insecurity leads to baseless suspicions
Keeping a surveillance on her like a criminal
Inspecting and interrogating her becomes your obsessed mission

You will lose a good lady
When she feels you can be left out, done away with
When she will rather confide in another or keep quiet
Cause talking to you stopped being enjoyable but causes headaches

You will lose a good lady
When you stop making her happy
When you make her laugh no more because you are so cold
You’ll look into her eyes one day and realize she left a long time ago

Don’t crucify her. The problem is you
Man, if you look back well
You will notice how many times she tried
To steer the love back on course

But she is a good lady deserving of the best
Choosing a man is like choosing a climate
She will keep off you when you begin to drain and demean her
And plant herself in a climate that brings out and treasures her best

Schulz on Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

In a 1973 essay called “Approaches to What?,” the French writer Georges Perec coined an excellent word: endotic. The opposite of exotic, it refers to anything so familiar that we fail to register it—paper towels, say, or the kinds of beds we sleep in, or the fact that, unto others, we have accents. Generally speaking, only outsiders notice these particulars, which produces something of a paradox: Those who are least at home in a culture often perceive it best.
That outsider acuity is both the subject and the method of Americanah, a new novel by Nigerian writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. It is her third, after the 2003 ­coming-of-age story Purple Hibiscus and the 2006 Half of a Yellow Sun, about life during the Biafran War. Both books are ­excellent—the first won the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize, the second the ­Orange Prize—as is her 2009 short-story collection, The Thing Around Your Neck. But Americanah, which does us the great if uncomfortable favor of exposing parts of our culture many of us fail to see for ourselves, is a work of a different order.
I use that phrase deliberately: With this new book, Adiche has scaled up. Americanah traverses three genres (romance, comedy of manners, novel of ideas), three nations (Nigeria, Great Britain, the United States), and, within each, a swath of the social spectrum as broad—and as difficult to nail—as the hand spans in a Rachmaninoff concerto. It is a book about identity, nationality, race, difference, loneliness, aspiration, and love, not as distinct entities but in the complex combinatorial relations they possess in real life.
The book opens in Princeton, a town so pristine it actually sounds that way. Immediately, though, it swerves south, to Trenton, the closest place where its protagonist, Ifemelu, can get her hair braided. That’s a long way to go for a hairdo, but it’s nothing compared to how long braiding can take—in this case, 365 pages. Adichie is hardly the first person to use hair to show how the personal and political become, so to speak, entangled; see Audre Lorde, bell hooks, Chris Rock—or, heck, Hair. Still, her version is clever. Adichie, too, is braiding and weaving, and the longer she leaves Ifemelu in that dilapidated, overheated salon, the more clearly the strands of her story emerge.
That story begins nearly twenty years earlier, in Nigeria, when the teenage Ifemelu and a boy named Obinze fall in love. They are bright, motivated, and earnest—which is to say, everything the Nigerian state is not. Surrounded by corruption and dysfunction, they eventually respond, as many members of their real-life generation did, by leaving. Ifemelu goes to the United States. Obinze, rejected by America’s post-9/11 gatekeepers, heads to England, on a tourist visa he soon overstays. Eventually he is discovered and sent back to Nigeria, where he begins an ascent that culminates in a fancy house, a wife and daughter, and a distant, viscous, alienated boredom. Meanwhile, in America, Ifemelu finds herself surviving through work so humiliating that she cuts off all communication with Obinze—and, effectively, with herself. Gradually, though, her life swings upward as well. She launches a blog about race in America, earns readers and speaking fees, buys a condo, and begins dating a handsome, conscientious Yale professor. Yet by the time we meet her in that salon, she has decided to trade all this for a one-way ticket back to Nigeria.
Much of what keeps the arc of this book taut, then, is the question of whether Ifemelu and Obinze will reunite, and on what terms. But on top of that most familiar of all narrative scaffoldings, a love story, Adichie builds an altogether different tale: one about all the ways we humans fail to love each other—and one that, in the end, isn’t familiar after all.
“This is America. You’re supposed to pretend that you don’t notice certain things.” That’s how a friend explains to the newly arrived Ifemelu the curious behavior of a cashier in a clothing store—who, in asking which of two salespeople helped her, attempts to distinguish between them on every imaginable basis except the obvious one: skin color.
Pretending not to notice certain things about America is exactly what Adichie refuses to do in this book. On the contrary, she notices nearly everything, from how we socialize to what we eat to what we say. (Endotic also refers to the inner ear, and Adichie has a keen one. The two words she identifies as most distinctively American are trouper and blowhard.)
Most of all, though, she notices how race works. Some of those observations are recorded in Ifemelu’s blog, which includes posts on the phrase oppression olympics, for instance, and on dreadlocked white guys who dismiss racism as “totally overhyped.” But her more successful observations emerge through the interactions between characters. Adichie is uncommonly sensitive to the space between people, the way it ripples with all kinds of invisible forces: physical beauty, economic discrepancy, sexual attraction, intellectual appraisal, guilt, resentment, envy, need. In America, she recognizes, the most potent of all the invisible strings—the strong nuclear force of our social physics—is race.
Adichie’s analysis of that force is specific, damning, clarifying, and comprehensive. She is merciless about white liberal attitudes toward race, with their prevailing mix of awkward self-consciousness, contented ignorance, self-satisfaction, and submerged fear. (White women gush to their nannies about the “rich culture” of Africa; white party guests hasten to tell Nigerians about their charity work in Malawi.) But she is equally caustic about everyone else’s anxious racial jostling: black immigrants toward African-Americans, Caribbean immigrants toward Africans, Senegalese toward Nigerians, Nigerians who went abroad toward those who stayed behind, Nigerians who stayed behind toward “Americanahs”—local slang for those who return home after a stint in the United States.
This cataloguing sometimes goes awry, as do other parts of the book. Adichie is never less than astute about racism, but her treatment of it can blur the line between fiction and op-ed. She is an excellent raconteur, but some threads of this story escape her—notably, one about Ifemelu’s cousin, who suffers an incident too serious for its slim handling. Obinze feels fully human, but Ifemelu is mostly a voice, and one that sometimes slips from character to author.
I was also somewhat troubled by Americanah’s ambient temperature. Half of a Yellow Sun, a book about atrocities, overflows with love; its characters are inclined by kindness, and forced by war, to transcend both the narrow fissures of private difference and the broad fissures of nationality and class. By contrast, this new book, about lesser atrocities, is cool and withholding. Only Ifemelu and Obinze fully love and forgive each other. (Very fully. Adichie writes great sex scenes: specific, private, hot, tender—so convincing you could slide your hand under their shirt.) That reflects a reality, of course: We sometimes love most those to whom we don’t need to explain ourselves. But I missed the warmth of the earlier novel, and I felt uneasy about what its absence implies about the limits of empathy and the intransigence of difference.
Still, none of this trumps my admiration for Adichie’s grasp of social dynamics, and her precision and fearlessness in committing them to the page. Midway through her cultural anatomy lesson, I found myself laughing—ruefully, from recognizing myself and my country, but also delightedly, from recognizing an echo of a familiar voice. In Americanah, Adichie is to blackness what Philip Roth is to Jewishness: its most obsessive taxonomist, its staunchest defender, and its fiercest critic.
Roth’s transformational imaginative act was to reinvent the marginal Jew as an American Everyman, even while refusing to downplay the specificity of Jewishness. Adichie does him one better. From The Namesake to The Joy Luck Club to Pnin, stories of immigrants adjusting to the United States are as central to American literature as they are to the American Dream. But Americanah, which seems in some ways like that kind of story, surprises us: Its arc is one of return. In the end, Ifemelu goes back to Nigeria, not because she didn’t succeed in America, not because of any crisis back home, but simply because she wants to. Roth challenged the identity of the hero. Adichie challenges the end point of the journey.
That makes Americanah a new kind of migration story, one that reflects a political shift and suggests a literary one. It’s one of the better novels I’ve read about life in contemporary America, but I’m not tempted to call it a Great American Novel. Instead, it strikes me as an early, imperfect, admirable stab at something new: a Great Global Novel. Ifemelu was well on her way to becoming an American—that promise dangled before, and coveted by, so much of the world for so long. She chooses, instead, to become an Americanah: an identity predicated on experience rather than nationality, trajectory rather than place. It’s an open question whether identities like that will change the world for the better. But, in Adichie, they have already done so for literature.
Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Alfred A. Knopf.

5 important traits of good husband material

Your marriage can be the most beautiful thing to ever happen to you but only if you go into it knowing exactly why you are getting into it in the first place. There are marriages that are very successful and while it takes both parties to play their role, your partner choice really matters. Often you will ask a girl to describe her ideal man and you will be likely to hear something about looks (height, complexion etc) and financial statuses. While these are ok things to look for in a man (after all sometimes the heart wants what it wants) they will not make your marriage work!
Judging by the number of divorces and separations growing by the day it is clear that most marriages are not working. Not to be discouraged though there’s a guide to picking a man whose traits will indeed shape your marriage. So if you have a serious boyfriend, do confirm if he has any of the qualities below. Confirm whether:
He is a believer
Give up? Not this guy…he is the tools man with enough hope to cater for a village. In the future, if your relationship seems like it’s losing the sparks he will be there with his tools to fix things. This guy believes in his God and he believes that all things are possible if you believe. He always believes that there will be a brighter tomorrow. He is a fighter and he fights for what is right for both of you. He will never give up on you or your marriage because he believes everything in this life is fixable. His faith gets him through the day and gets him through everything. When he believes in something he goes into it with his whole being and this always works in his favor. The best part about this guy is that he shares his good qualities not just with you as his wife but with everybody else and good morals he does have.
He is a provider
When you get married you are starting a new life with somebody else with the very likely possibility of adding a few other people in your family who will have to be under your care whether you like it or not. There comes a time in marriage though when you may hit a block and may not be able to provide like you used to and when this time comes your man will unleash his natural-born provider self which will help solve problems much faster and everyone survives. I mean this is the kind of guy that will put his family’s needs before his and he wouldn’t mind going that extra mile to provide for your needs and those of his offspring because he knows it’s his job.
He is a critical thinker
In marriage you will always need a team player as your partner as he will always stand by what you believe in. When those rough times come you will need someone to take the wheel and think smart on the best possible solution. The critical thinker does not like defeat and if that ever happens he will have given it a proper fight. Those times when you will require an extra brain to help you think, he will try as much as possible to take your half of the problem and help solve the bloody equation. A critical thinker has some patience about him and he will always look for the best possible solution for the problem.
He is a rock
This guy is so dedicated to his marriage and when it comes to his family and his relationship with his wife he becomes twice the man. He will make it his duty to have strength for two and therefore just him alone will always provide you with the support system that you need in life. Life together will be smoother. He will always keep strong and make sure the strength rubs off on you and he will always want to maintain the strength enough for the two of you. He will be your friend always and will always give you an audience. His shoulder will be always available for you.
He is a free spirit
Si life has to be lived? This guy lives it and knows how it is done. He enjoys it. Stress is not in his vocabulary and he is very positive about life in general and you definitely want this kind of spirit by your side at all times. This chap never wastes time and energy worrying and thinking of things that will never happen. He is realistic. I mean he is in love with life. He does what he loves to do and he does it with a passion. He even probably loves his job. His happiness is infectious. Each new day to him presents another 24 hours to live and do the things he loves and if he loves you then he will always look forward to the next day so that he can love you a little bit more. You had a bad day at work? Quick quick he will brighten your moods in a jiffy. Your marriage will be full of laughter, life, smiles and happy times. And boredom will be nowhere near your home.

Big Brother Africa: ‘The Chase’ begins

bba 2013 huddah
The eighth season of Big Brother Africa premiered Sunday night, introducing new housemates in Africa’s most popular reality show. Big Brother-The Chase, as it will be known, will have 28 housemates from across Africa, each eying and vying for the $300,000 prize.
The show began with a moment taken to remember former housemate Goldie from Nigeria. who passed away earlier this year. Also featured were performances from Mafikizolo as well as comedian Tumie Morake from South Africa. Kenya was represented by STL, who gave a crowd-thrilling performance and comedian Churchill, who alongside Tumie thrilled viewers with their insights on the two houses, Rubies and Diamonds, that the housemates now occupy. But the stars of the night were the housemates, who hailed from Zambia, Uganda, Ghana, Sierra Leone, Nigeria, Botswana, Namibia, Malawi, Angola, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Ethiopia,Tanzania and of course, Kenya.
The Kenyan representatives were 21-year-old socialite and model Huddah Monroe, not a stranger to Kenyan audiences especially on social media where she has caused quite a stir with her semi-nude photography. Huddah, on her BBA profile, said she chose to compete in the reality show because it was “a once in a lifetime thing… it [Big Brother Africa] has brought a lot of opportunity to a lot of people.”
Huddah was revealed as one of Kenya’s representatives, which ignited quite a stir online from debates of whether her stated age of 21 was true or not.  Kenya’s second representative in the BBA house was Annabel Mbaru, a 24-year-old fashion designer and student who revealed she loved attention and is looking forward to having Africa’s eyes on her 24/7.  Ann and Huddah are both in the Diamonds house.
Last year Kenya came close to scooping the top prize when Prezzo emerged as the runners’ up, the closest Kenyans have come to winning BBA.  Capital Lifestyle Magazine wish the Kenyan reps Huddah and Ann the best of luck!

Sunday, 26 May 2013

How to track your expenses on a daily basis

The ability for someone to control his or her finances is a skill that sadly not many of us are taught. However, it is a skill that can be quickly learned and mastered with basic practices and the right frame of mind.
Begin with reminding yourself why tracking your finances is so vital to your current and future wealth. The money you have affects on where and how you live, the car you drive, the clothes you wear, the vacations you take, and the people you are able to assist financially. It is very important to start tracking your finances in order for any of these avenues to change.
If you are unable to manage your current finances, then it will be impossible for you to handle your future wealth, so start tracking where your income is going on an annual, monthly, and daily basis. Tracking can range between the simple act of saving bills and receipts and writing them down in a notebook to the slightly more complicated process of buying and setting up a budget helping computer program. It is central to be completely honest while tracking, no matter how silly or embarrassing the purchase may seem, because you are only harming yourself and your future wealth.
While you are tracking, take note of the unnecessary places your money is going and cut them out of your spending routine. Small daily expenses really add up over time so changing your weekly buying habits will greatly affect your annual budget. You will most likely have to limit your spending now in order to expand it later on.
Financial experts say, tracking your finances by living within the budget you create and by cutting up your credit cards. Pay with cash for a while, considering statistics show that consumers spend a good deal less at stores and restaurants when they pay with cash rather than when they swipe a card.
Finally, attempt to save at least ten percent of your monthly income to build a secure financial wall around yourself. Money experts suggest having at least six months worth of income saved in case of losing job or some other unforeseen disaster. After you have the six months worth of money stored away, you can use the ten percent, or more, you are saving to invest in different endeavors. Even just letting your money sit in a savings account accrues interest and allows you to control the growth of your finances.

Insomnia May Triple Risk of Heart Failure

There is an abundant -- and ever-growing -- body of evidence that indicates sleep plays an important role in cardiovascular health. Poor sleep is associated with a range of heart problems, including high blood pressure and increased risk of heart attack. Now, new research shows a link between insomnia and heart failure. Nearly 6 million adults in the United States suffer from heart failure, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Heart failure is directly responsible for more than 55,000 deaths every year and is a contributing factor to hundreds of thousands more deaths in the U.S. annually.
Researchers in Norway conducted a large-scale study of the relationship between insomnia and heart failure and found that the presence of several symptoms of insomnia is associated with a dramatically elevated risk of developing heart failure. The investigation included more than 54,000 men and women between the ages 20-89. All were participants in a large-scale public health study in Norway. At the study's outset, none of the men and women included had known symptoms or evidence of heart failure. Researchers collected data on participants' sleep, including detailed information on three common symptoms of insomnia:
  • Difficulty falling asleep
  • Difficulty staying asleep
  • Waking feeling un-refreshed -- a sign of non-restorative sleep

Researchers also gathered information on other aspects of health, including risk factors for cardiovascular disease. Participants were then monitored over a period of more than 11 years. Over that period of time, slightly more than 1,400 people developed heart failure. Researchers analyzed data to identify a possible relationship between the incidence of heart failure and insomnia symptoms while controlling for other factors that could influence the risk of heart disease, including age, cholesterol and high blood pressure, body mass index, history of heart problems, and alcohol and tobacco use. They found that insomnia was associated with a higher risk of heart failure:
  • People who experienced insomnia symptoms had a higher risk of developing heart failure than those who did not experience insomnia symptoms.
  • The risk increased for people who had multiple symptoms of insomnia.
  • People who experienced all three insomnia symptoms -- difficulty falling asleep, difficulty staying asleep, and non-restorative sleep -- had more than triple the risk of developing heart failure than those with no insomnia symptoms. People with all three insomnia symptoms also had significantly higher risk of heart failure than those with one or two symptoms of insomnia.

The study results show a strong association between insomnia and heart failure. But they do not provide any evidence to answer the question of whether -- or how -- insomnia might directly cause heart failure. Additional research is necessary to determine if disrupted sleep plays a causal role in the development of heart failure.
Heart failure occurs when the heart is unable to pump blood effectively at levels that meet the body's constant needs. This is a serious cardiovascular disease that has no cure. Other research has shown evidence of a link between sleep problems and heart failure, including studies that indicate an increased risk for heart failure among patients with obstructive sleep apnea.
There is also a great deal of evidence that sleep is critically important to heart health, and that disrupted, poor, and insufficient sleep is associated with elevated risk of cardiovascular disease:
  • This large-scale investigation, conducted by members of the Norwegian research team responsible for the current study found people with insomnia at elevated risk for heart attacks. People with insomnia had a 27-45 percent greater risk of heart attack than those without insomnia symptoms.
  • This study showed people who slept fewer than six hours a night had a 48 percent higher risk of heart attack as well as a 15 percent increased risk of stroke.
  • Sleep disordered breathing -- which commonly manifests as snoring or in obstructive sleep apnea -- is associated with higher risk of heart failure, stroke, and coronary heart disease, according to this research.
  • Poor sleep is also linked to elevated rates of high blood pressure, an important risk factor for heart attack and heart failure.

Science is still working to get to the root of the relationship between sleep problems and cardiovascular disease. Lack of sleep has been associated with calcium build-up in the arteries, as well as with inflammation and dysfunction of the central nervous system. Definitive answers to the role that sleep plays in cardiovascular disease may well lie in these areas. But the mechanisms by which sleep may influence -- or cause -- diseases of the heart are not yet well understood. Still, there is little question that maintaining healthy sleep habits, and addressing sleep problems promptly with your physician, is beneficial to your overall health and to heart health in particular.

Do you really need to pay off that debt right now

There’s a lot to be said for paying off your debt and living debt free. But should you really work hard to pay off all of your debt right now?
High interest consumer debt vs. other debt
Too often, we lump all debt together and call it “bad.” And while there is an argument that there’s no such thing as good debt, the truth is that some debt is worse than other debt.
High interest consumer debt is the worst type of debt. This is money owed on things that we consume — things that don’t retain value and don’t provide the hope of income or some type of solid return later. Not only do you pay for something that won’t have the same value a year from now (or that might be totally gone a year from now), but you also pay a high rate of interest on it.
Credit cards are a good example of this, since credit card debt often (but not always) results from purchases made for consumer items like clothes and electronics. High interest consumer debt doesn’t offer you the chance to build assets, and you almost definitely won’t receive any sort of return; you’ll just be paying high interest charges into someone else’s pocket.
Other types of debt aren’t quite so terrible. While there’s a growing concern over student loans, and student loan debt can keep you down, it isn’t the worst thing out there. In fact, when used carefully and judiciously, student loans can help you get the education and skills you need to boost your earning power over time. Student loans often come with lower interest rates than consumer loans, which means you pay less for the privilege of borrowing.
Depending on how you use low interest debt, you can see a return, whether it’s a mortgage or a business loan. But you have to be careful not to get carried away to the point that your low interest debt turns into a burden, rather than a benefit.
Choosing to put off paying a debt
Not too long ago, my mom asked me why I wasn’t putting as much as I possibly could toward my student loan debt. My answer was this: the fixed interest rate on my student loans is below 2 percent. I’ve been able to manage better returns than that on my investments. My annualized returns on my conservative retirement account have even beat that— recession and all.
Some debts are a little more urgent than others. You’re probably not going to earn 18.99% on your investments, so paying down credit card debt makes sense. But if you have low interest, non-consumer debt, you might think twice before retiring it.

Sugary Drinks Raise Kidney Stone Risk, What Else

Kidney stones and sugary drinks
Drinking fluids is encouraged to help prevent the recurrence of kidney stones, but sugary drinks should not be on that list, according to new research from Brigham and Women’s Hospital. What other things should you do to help prevent kidney stone risk?

What you eat and drink matters

Before explaining the different ways you can reduce your risk of developing kidney stones, let’s look at the latest study first. The goal of the study was to identify which fluids are helpful or harmful when it comes to preventing kidney stones, a condition that affects 20 percent of men and 10 percent of women in the United States.
After analyzing data from 194,095 people who were followed for more than 8 years, the investigators concluded that sugary drinks such as regular soda and punch were associated with a greater risk of kidney stone formation while coffee, wine, orange juice, and tea were associated with a lower risk.

Specifically, individuals who consumed just one sugary cola daily had a 23 percent increased risk of developing kidney stones than did people who had no more than one such beverage per week, a 33 percent higher risk related to sugary noncolas, and an 18 percent greater risk for punch. Caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee use was associated with a 26 percent and 16 percent lower risk, respectively.
What else increases kidney stone risk?
Dehydration. Perhaps the most important risk factor for kidney stone development is a lack of sufficient fluids. However, as the previously mentioned study noted, what you drink is also important when it comes to kidney stones. Maintaining adequately intake of water (about 8 cups daily) is important for the prevention of kidney stones.
Vitamin C. This popular vitamin and antioxidant has lots of benefits, but too much of a good thing can result in kidney stones. An 11-year study from Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm found that men who took high doses (about 1,000 milligrams) of ascorbic acid (vitamin C) daily had a twofold increased risk of developing kidney stones.
The good news from the study’s authors is that their findings “should not be translated to dietary vitamin C.” Therefore, men should not avoid foods high in vitamin C because of worries about kidney stone risk.
Calcium and vitamin D. Research shows that postmenopausal women who take calcium and vitamin D supplements (1,000 mg and 400 IU, respectively) for years may increase their risk of kidney stones by 17 percent. The role of calcium in kidney stone risk may also be related to the intake of salt (see below) and insufficient intake of water, which also is a risk factor for kidney stone formation.
Salt. Excessive salt consumption can increase one’s risk of kidney stones because salt attaches to calcium and raised the amount of calcium the kidneys need to filter. The most common type of kidney stones consists mainly of calcium and other waste products. Although the kidneys in most people can eliminate extra calcium in urine, for others the calcium stays in the kidneys, raising the chances of kidney stone formation.
Certain medical conditions. If you have undergone gastric bypass surgery or if you have inflammatory bowel disease, chronic diarrhea, hyperparathyroidism, renal tubular acidosis, urinary tract infections, or cystinuria, or if you take certain medications, you are at increased risk of developing kidney stones. Be sure to ask your healthcare provider about your risk.
Obesity. If you have a high body mass index (BMI) and are obese, you are at increased risk of kidney stones.
Genetics and diet: A combination of a genetic factor and diet can increase your risk of kidney stones. Scientists have found that a variation in the gene claudin-14, which is usually inactive, can increase the risk of developing kidney stones by about 65 percent.
In some people who consume too much salt or calcium and who don’t drink enough water, the claudin-14 gene stops calcium from returning to the bloodstream. This activity then results in an accumulation of calcium in the urine, which can lead to kidney stones.
Other dietary factors. Among the other factors in the diet that may contribute to the formation of kidney stones include animal protein, sucrose, and oxalates. In this latter category, foods rich in oxalates are spinach and collard greens (high amounts of oxalates), with lesser amounts in almonds, peanuts, soybeans, and black tea, among others.
The development of kidney stones is mainly associated with dietary choices. You can help prevent kidney stones by avoiding sugary drinks and making other wise food and beverage choices.