On November 30, Barbados will officially remove Queen Elizabeth II as its head of state and install Governor General Sandra Mason as president.
It’s the first time in three decades that Britain has lost one of their many realms.
“This is monumental from our point of view,” Suleiman Bulbulia, a member of the committee tasked with analyzing the change, told Bloomberg News. “This is the next step in our journey — cutting the umbilical cord that connects us to the U.K.”
While the move is more symbolic than anything since Barbados has been a sovereign nation since 1966, the transition does underscore the growing streak of nations officially becoming independent in the Caribbean. The Caribbean is home to nine of England’s 16 commonwealth realms.
“The time has come to fully leave our colonial past behind,” Governor General Mason said when the transition was announced last year, according to Bloomberg. “Barbadians want a Barbadian head of state.”
Bulbulia says leaving the commonwealth won’t affect economic conditions in Barbados, but it will be a very important morale boost to the 287,000 people who live on the island. Government agencies, such as The Royal Barbados Police Force, will need to have their names changed.
The last nation to leave the commonwealth realm was Mauritius in 1992. Additionally, the Bahamas, Jamaica, Grenadines and St. Vincent have all considered leaving the monarchy.
Ways hackers break into your WhatsApp account, and how to curb it
Have you ever received a message from any of your contacts that reads something like this; “Hello, I’m having trouble and asked WhatsApp to send you my sms code”?
Well, if you have received such from a friend, his/her line had most likely been hacked, and the hackers were trying to do same to yours.
A recent research conducted in Australia showed that in 2019 alone, Australians have lost almost $90 million. The figures rose by 62% during the period the COVID-19 lockdown lasted, with one in every 6 social media user falling victim.
According to the research conducted by software security provider, NortonLifeLock, this was common across WhatsApp, TikTok and Instagram, getting even more young people who considered themselves too smart to be scanned.
How is this possible?
WhatsApp is a messaging application linked to your mobile phone number. The app is designed to be used on one device at a time, with an advanced end-to-end encryption that only allows sender and receiver to see the messages.
Any attempt to log in from another device requires a 6-digit verification code that only the owner of the sim card has access to.
When the hacker tries to access your WhatsApp account from another device, the app prompts for the 6-digit verification code.
Now, this is where you have to be alert. The hackers will try to get the six-digit verification code by any means.
They could claim to be calling for any reason, and then request the code to verify that you really own the sim card. Or they could claim that you are the beneficiary of some windfall, and they need the code to confirm.
The sad part of it is that as soon as you fall victim, all your contacts become potential victims as well, because they now utilise the access to send a WhatsApp message to them.
The message could also be asking them for their verification code, personal or financial details, or it could start out as romance or online dating where the victim is roped into believing that he is in some sort of romantic tryst.
Worse still ask them to make payment for some product or service they would never receive, or offer juicy deals where they claim to double the victim’s supposed investment.
Quick tip here; Never make payment, or give out a loan to any contact based on a WhatsApp message. No matter how stranded the person claims to be; insist on a voice or video call before sending money into any account.
Personal details, pins and codes should be a no-no. Any verification code, token or pin sent to your sim card is not meant to be divulged to anyone else. Giving it out allows the hackers to impersonate you.
So what if you discover you have been deceived into giving out your details?
Quickly try to change your passwords and deactivate all online transactions on your accounts. If you can reach your bank, place a hold on transactions of any kind and freeze your cards. This authorises your bank to disregard any request to move out funds from your account, until you say otherwise.
This can only work if you discover really fast, but as advised, it is a situation best avoided.
What to look out for?
According to Cybersecurity expert Mark Gorrie, the first red flag to look out for is “spelling mistakes or poor grammar”. Fortunately, the scammers are not that ‘smart’ and they make errors which they keep sending to their potential victims repeatedly.
Once you find that your contact (friend or client) is sending you a message containing spelling errors, don’t ignore it. Place a call across and find out what is going on. Scammers almost never take such calls and if they do, you will figure out that you have the wrong person.
Another thing to beware of is generic greetings or URLs that don’t match the company in the message. Often, such urls could take you to sites where you are then asked to fill in personal and sensitive data.
Importantly, if the offer looks too good to be true, it most likely is.
Wendy Williams’ Brother Speaks Out On Dementia Rumors
The Wendy Williams Show returned on Oct. 18 but without the show’s star due to her ongoing health issues. There are now reports the longtime talk show host is suffering from early signs of dementia. Williams’ brother, Tommy, is speaking out.
Tommy exclusively told The Sun, “We haven’t had any alerts like that and I haven’t seen anything like that or have had conversations with her that would lead me to believe that. We routinely go up and check on Wendy even though we’re all down here in Florida.”
She continued, “I try to make it up there and my dad speaks with Wendy frequently. So no, we don’t have any concerns concerning her mental state. It’s all physical.”
There are reports that the talk show host is confined to a wheelchair, which Tommy didn’t address.
He also added, “I am trying to find out if she’s coming down for Thanksgiving. I mean, she’s normal like that.”
The Wendy Williams Show was originally set to return Sept. 20 but was pushed back to October 4. The new season eventually premiered on Oct. 18 without Williams. Guest host have included Bevy Smith, Leah Remini and Sherri Shepherd.
TMZ reported Williams, 57, was voluntarily admitted to a New York City hospital on Sept. 14 for a psych evaluation. The outlet also reported she tested positive for the coronavirus, but she was vaccinated and asymptomatic. However, she has now tested negative for COVID-19 and has been released from the hospital.
On Nov. 8, Williams gave an update on Instagram, writing, “HOW YOU DOIN’? I MISS YOU ALL! As everyone knows, my health has been a hot topic. I’m making progress, but it’s just one of those things that’s taking longer than we expected.”
She continued, “I’m a woman of a certain age, and I know enough to listen to my doctors and will return to my purple chair as soon as we all agree I’m ready. I want to thank all of my staff and our guest hosts for stepping up and stepping in while I can’t be there.”
She also wrote “doing everything… to get back to work.”
“But right now Wendy has to focus on Wendy. I love you for watching,” she added.
It remains unknown when Wendy Williams will return to her talk show.
Air Traffic Controllers 2-day strike leaves Passengers stranded
Nigerian Air Traffic Controllers, ATCs, commenced two days disruption of early morning domestic flights across the country to press home their demands for better working conditions.
The disruption is expected to last for three hours each day between 6 am and 9 am.
The action has already affected the flight schedules of many airlines as they had to reschedule.
The action of the Traffic Controllers is coming after another ATC, Mr Aniekan Effiong Inuk, died in the early hours of Monday, November 22, 2021 while on duty at the Nnamidi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja.
A statement issued by the Controllers yesterday read: “That commencing from 0600 UTC today, 23rd November 2021, ATC units nationwide should operate flow control. That all departures should be spaced at 20 minutes intervals. That all international flights are exempted.”
“That all ATCOs should endeavour to be on high alert should there be a need to escalate this exercise beyond flow control, we are ready to further such actions. That this exercise will be for two days and will be strictly executed at the four major airports with strict coordination from adjacent aerodromes before any start up is issued”.
Speaking further on the grievances of the Controllers and action to be taken in another statement titled: An SOS On Poor Air Traffic Control Working Conditions And Staffing, signed by Abayomi Agoro, President of the association and Rev. Agbonlahor Felix, General Secretary, the union said: “Nigerian Air Traffic Controllers’ Association (NATCA) rose from an emergency meeting conveyed over the tragic, painful and avoidable exit of one of our diligent and dedicated colleague Mr Aniekan Effiong Inuk in the early hours of Monday, November 22, 2021.”
“The council observed that within the last two years, Nigerian Air Traffic Controllers Association has lost nine of her members on active service due to stress-related health complications which seem associated with poor working conditions and inadequate staffing. “
“Several appeals to management and other stakeholders in the industry and inactions by appropriate managers on communiqués from the Association’s past Annual General Meetings had failed to address the issues. “
“The death of Mr Aniekan Effiong Inuk on active duty at Abuja airport whose sad event is not unconnected with the unavailability of operational vehicle to move him to a hospital in record time amongst others is one too many.”
“Hence, Air Traffic Controllers are embarking on a three (3) hours flow control for two days, 23rd and 24th November, 2021 from 0600UTC to 0900UTC to register our displeasure and call the attention of relevant authorities and the public to quickly address our concerns without further delay.”
Meanwhile, Some airlines have sent messages of flight delays and adjustments to their customers who were already at the airport while some have cancelled flights outright blaming the action on ATCs.
A Green Africa Airways flight scheduled to depart Lagos for Akure at 1.34 pm was first cancelled, then rescheduled to 4.45 pm and then another notice of delay was sent to customers.
“Flight 318 from QOW to AKR scheduled for 23 Nov 2021 04:45:00 has been cancelled. This is due to an ongoing industrial action by Air Traffic Controllers. We apologise for any inconvenience this might cause you.”, the message to passengers read.
“Please be notified that your flight 307 from AKR to LOS will be delayed due to an industrial action by Air Traffic Controllers at some major Airports in the country today.”, another message reads.
The ATCs are, amongst other demands, asking the government to “approve and implement a 500% upward review of the annual ATC medical allowance to enable ATCOs to carry out comprehensive medical assessment among other stuff.”
“That all Air Traffic controllers be enrolled in an enhanced comprehensive health and life insurance schemes that will meet their health needs. “
“That standard medical emergency kits be provided at all ATC units and yearly Health Safety Environment (HSE) training programs for ATCOs be conducted,” amongst other demands.
We Don’t Have Control Over Cooking Gas Price ― FG
The federal government on Tuesday said that it has no control over the price of cooking gas because the product is fully deregulated in the country.
The minister of state for petroleum resources, Timipre Sylva, who made the declaration in a chat with correspondents however noted that President Muhammadu Buhari is worried about the hike in the price of cooking gas.
The minister was at the presidential villa, Abuja to introduce to the president the CEO, Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority, NMDPRA,
Engr. Faruk Ahmed and the CEO, Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission NUPRC, Engr. Gbenga Komolafe.
He asserted that gas prices are determined by the global market, even though he indicated that government will everything possible to bring down the price of cooking gas especially during the Yuletide season.
He said, “We must understand that cooking gas is not subsidized. It is already a deregulated commodity. So the price of cooking gas is not determined by the government or by everybody in the industry. In fact, gas prices are determined internationally.
“And you all are aware that in Europe, today, gas prices have gone up. There was even a crisis in Europe relating to gas prices. So the pricing of gas internationally now affects also the price of gas in the country.
“Apart from that, there are some issues around VAT charges on imported gas, and of course, taxes on imported gas, which we are handling. But of course, quite frankly, these taxes on imported gas, you must also juxtapose it side by side with the local producers of gas.
“So, if you incentivize the importance too much, then you will also kill the local industry. And also, you don’t want to incentivize the local industry at the expense of the imports, because if incentivize the local industry at the expense of the imports, then you will not have enough gas produced within the country.
“So, these are the issues of balancing that the midstream and downstream regulatory authority are handling and I want to assure you that we are quite concerned.
“Mr. President also is very concerned. He is aware that the price of cooking gas is high in the market, and we’re doing everything trying to see how we can bring down the price of gas especially as we approached the Yuletide.”
Sylva also disclosed that the president has directed him to proceed to Nembe, Bayelsa State to investigate the level of damage caused by the recent gas spillage in the area.
The minister stated that he will visit the affected communities on Wednesday to assess the situation.
He said; “And the question which is on the spillage in OML 29, we are quite aware of it. Unfortunately, it has happened. It is also one of the issues I discussed with the president as a minister and he has actually asked us to go and visit the site to assess the situation and report back.
“Definitely, we are quite concerned with what is happening in Nembe and will be going there very soon tomorrow. In fact, to go and look at what is happening and report back.
“Mr. President is very personally interested and we have discussed it and he said we should go there and come back and report to him because environmental degradation issues are things that we are not going to condone but of course we’ll work with the operators of OML 29 to ensure that this spillage is brought under control as quickly as possible.”
On the resurgence of fuel queues in parts of the country, the minister directed the CEO of the Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority, Ahmed to answer it.
The NMDPRA CEO explained: “You see intermittent queues in some parts, maybe of Abuja and maybe the environs, basically what happened is that some of the depot owners are selling PMS, above the official ex-depot price of N148, they are selling at N156, N157.
“And the reason they adduced is that they are paying for their logistics like shipping in US dollars, they’re paying for NPH, port charges and NIMASA charges in US dollars.
“They have to go to black market to source these US dollars. And that differential between the official and the black market they buy, that is why they added about N9 to N10 to N15 and it depends on whether you are in Lagos, Calabar, Port Harcourt, or Oghara.
Now, we had a meeting the week before last on Tuesday, the 9th, and the NPA was there represented and the DG NIMASA was there as well NNPC, major marketers were all there and we all agreed and resolved that NNPC excess capacity of their shipping their vessels will be chartered to all marketing companies. We will be charging in Naira so that NNPC now will go and source for converting US dollars through the CBN.
“As for the NIMASA and NPA charges, it was all agreed that they will revert to their supervising ministry to get direction on the receipt of these charges in Naira rather than US dollars and I understand the process of that engagement with their supervising ministry has already commenced.
“Once the NNPC from the 15th of this month, they have already converted to charging Naira instead of dollars for their excess capacity charter to all marketing companies. So, I believe with this, there will be no reason for the depot owners to increase their price beyond the official selling price of N148 naira.
“Now, we have been working tirelessly in the past few years to sensitize our people to start using LPG for example. And they were making an effort to do so. People are now interested in are working towards utilization of LPG, but then the production is not commensurate with the demand.
“And this is why we want to focus on investment in the area. Now, a lot of major oil companies like their IOCs want to invest, but the pricing framework is an issue for them. So, we’re working with the guidance of the Honourable Minister of State for Petroleum Resources to ensure that we put the pricing framework that is attractive enough for the investors but at the same time is simple enough for the consumers, whether it is power, or industrial base, or the commercial sectors.”
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