Huawei CFO arrested: Why Meng Wanzhou’s detention on U.S. extradition charges is a big deal

Business, international News, News, Tech

Along with Huawei’s success has come suspicion about the company’s ties to China’s government, its willingness to overlook U.S. sanctions and the security of its systems.

By Jason Abbruzzese 

The arrest of a Chinese tech executive in Canada on Saturday was the most recent and public chapter of an ongoing battle between the U.S. government and one of the world’s biggest tech companies — Huawei.

The arrest, which came on U.S. extradition charges, featured a heightened level of intrigue due to the profile of the person arrested: Meng Wanzhou, Huawei’s chief financial officer and daughter of Huawei’s secretive founder, Ren Zhengfei, who is one of the most powerful businessmen in China. The arrest came amid reports that Huawei had been sending U.S. technology to Iran in violation of U.S. sanctions against the country.

Huawei is not a household name in the U.S., but the company has emerged as one of the largest tech firms in the world in the past decade thanks to its success in producing telecommunications equipment including cell towers and equipment for next-generation 5G wireless networks. Huawei is also second in the global smartphone market, having surpassed Apple earlier in 2018.

But along with its success has come suspicion about the company’s ties to China’s government, its willingness to overlook U.S. sanctions and the security of its systems.

“Huawei is effectively an arm of the Chinese government, and it’s more than capable of stealing information from U.S. officials by hacking its devices,” Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., said in February when he introduced legislation to block the U.S. government from buying telecom equipment from Huawei or ZTE, another Chinese hardware maker. President Donald Trump signed the the bill in August.

The arrest of the Huawei executive is a BIG deal in China and is probably being underplayed in the US news cycle. Equivalent of an Apple or Facebook exec being arrested in China. …

310 people are talking about thisTwitter Ads info and privacy

Ren, a former Chinese army engineer, started Huawei in 1987 and found initial success making telephone equipment. Huawei’s expansion into telecommunications technology in the 1990s would fuel the company’s international expansion — and put it on the radar of U.S. security experts. Meng has been seen as the successor to Huawei.

In 2017, Fortune magazine ranked Huawei as the seventh-biggest tech company in the world by revenue, with more than $89 billion. The company has more than 180,000 employees.

Despite its size and global reach, only 38 percent of Americans said they had heard of Huawei, according to the survey company Morning Consult. The company’s name has also been something of a mystery for some in the West who wonder how to pronounce it. The company even made a humorous video for the U.K. about how to pronounce Huawei.

China’s rise as a global power has coincided with the emergence of the internet as a major av


Facebook Shares Jump Amid Blowout Earnings: “Nothing That Was Feared, Happened”

Tech, Uncategorized

Despite reporting blowout earnings, and beating on every single line time, Twitter failed to close in the green today, fading a 13% early spike, and continuing the curse of the Q1 earnings season in which the more powerful the beat, the more shocking the Fed.

So will Facebook succeed where its smaller social media peer failed, especially with the world so keenly focused to see if Facebook indeed suffered a sharp drop in users as a result of the Cambridge Analytica scandal and the #DeleteFacebook campaign?

Well, moments ago Facebook reported earnings and, just like Facebook it too beat on the top and bottom line, reporting revenue of $11.97BN, above both the average consensus exp. of $11.41BN and the highest sellside estimate of $11.73BN. The revenue in the quarter was just shy of record, and only Q4 2017 surpassed it.

Furthermore, advertising revenue was $11.80BN, or virtually all, while mobile ad revenue was 91% of total.

EPS likewise beat, with FB reporting $1.69, also beating both the average and highest sellside estimates of $1.35 and $1.52 respectively.


s worth noting that while revenue rose by 49% Y/Y, costs rose by 39% to $6.5BN, which resulted in a 46% operating margin, above the 41% from a year ago.

The company also reported that its effective tax rate was only 11%. No surprise here.

* * *

When it comes to the all important DAU and MAU, Facebook reported monthly active users of 2.20BN, just beating estimates of 2.19BN, while daily active users came in line with expectations at 1.45BN. More operational and financial highlights:

Daily active users (DAUs) – DAUs were 1.45 billion on average for March 2018, an increase of 13% year-over-year.

  • Monthly active users (MAUs) – MAUs were 2.20 billion as of March 31, 2018, an increase of 13% year-over-year.
  • Mobile advertising revenue – Mobile advertising revenue represented approximately 91% of advertising revenue for the first quarter of 2018, up from approximately 85% of advertising revenue in the first quarter of 2017.
  • Capital expenditures – Capital expenditures for the first quarter of 2018 were $2.81 billion.
  • Cash and cash equivalents and marketable securities – Cash and cash equivalents and marketable securities were $43.96 billion at the end of the first quarter of 2018.
  • Headcount – Headcount was 27,742 as of March 31, 2018, an increase of 48% year-over-year.

So how is Facebook doing so well despite all the controversy? Well, as Bloomberg notes, the company remains the best option for advertisers on mobile phones, especially now that we know how much discrete information the company collects about everyone. In the online ad space, Facebook and Google continue to capture the majority of the growth in digital advertising.

Commenting on the results, GBH Insights head of tech research Dan Ives said:

“Facebook delivered its much anticipated 1Q18 (March) results which came in ahead of Street expectations and should give the bulls finally something to hang their hat on after the company (and its investors) have just gone through the darkest chapter in Facebook’s history post Cambridge.”

“On the all-important user front with engagement and user defections a clear worry heading into earnings and causing major agita on the Street, Facebook delivered DAU of 1.45 vs. the Street at 1.45 billion and MAU of 2.20 vs. the Street’s 2.20 billion estimate, which we would characterize as a relief given fears of missing this number were running rampant.”

Bloomberg’s Sarah Frier was just as optimistic, noting that “nothing that investors were super worried about happened. No slowdown in user growth (though we didn’t get numbers on engagement). No problems with revenue. But you can bet that the call will still have difficult questions. Cambridge Analytica happened at the end of the quarter. We’re not seeing the impact in these numbers.

But perhaps even more important than Facebook’s earnings and user numbers, was the news that in April, the company increased the amount authorized under its share repurchase program by an additional $9.0bn; originally FB was authorized to repurchase up to $6.0b of Class A common stock under the repurchase program. Which means that as Zuckerberg has been selling a record amount, Facebook itself has been buying.

Here are the key slides from the company’s Q1 presentation.

Daily Active Users: the US appears to have topped out at 185 million

Monthly Active Users: here the US and Canada saw a 2 million increase to 241 million. This means that two thirds of all Americans and Canadians are on Facebook at least once a month.

Revenue: all advertising, with US and Canada responsible for roughly half of total

ARPU: continues to rise on a Y/Y basis

Income from operations: second highest of all time.

Net income: thanks to the plunge in the tax rate, net income hit an all time high.

Capex: more than doubled

With all that said, shares have spiked, peaking at $167.25 so far after hours. Putting the move in context, if they open here on Thursday they’ll be just below where they began the week.

And here is Bloomberg’s take: “Looking at the share move, it’s positive but not a major sigh of relief — shares are still behind where they were when the Cambridge Analytica crisis first broke.Wall Street still wants to hear more from Zuckerberg.”

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This Is How Many Autonomous Cars Will Be on the Road in 2025 — Self-driving cars

News, Tech While autonomous driving may be just one subcategory of the automobile industry, it’s actually quite broad when you dive into it. There are all sorts of different technologies to make it work and even different ways to get the same result. Even the companies involved are broad-based, ranging from big-tech like Alibaba Holding Group (BABA) […]


There are all sorts of different technologies to make it work and even different ways to get the same result. Even the companies involved are broad-based, ranging from big-tech like Alibaba Holding Group (BABA) to Intel Corporation (INTC)  , Alphabet Inc (GOOGL) (GOOG)  and Nvidia Corporation (NVDA)  — with Nvidia and Alphabet being holdings in Jim Cramer’s Action Alerts PLUS Charitable Trust Portfolio. There’s startups big and small, ride-sharing companies like Uber and Lyft, as well as seemingly every automaker getting involved.

With that in mind, how many cars can we expect in 2025 to have autonomous driving capabilities? According to ABI, a marketing firm, roughly 8 million vehicles will be shipped that year with self-driving capabilities of level 3 or higher.

For those unaware, autonomous driving levels range from 0 through 5, more of which is explained right here.

In any regard, 8 million level 3-and-higher autonomous driving cars doesn’t sound like that many. In 2017, 94.5 million vehicles were sold globally. Using that figure, just 8.5% of sales would be for these autonomous cars.

But also consider how impressive level 3 driving is. A big shift happens from level 2 to level 3 autonomous driving, that being that the vehicle is capable of monitoring its surroundings rather than requiring the driver to do so.

Many consider Tesla Inc (TSLA)  , with its Autopilot feature, to be one of the best self-driving features on the road today. That however is only considered level 2 driving and only one company has a production car coming with level 3 right now, which is the Audi A8.

That doesn’t mean the driver shouldn’t pay attention, only that the car is capable of maneuvering most of the scenarios it encounters. Level 4 driving puts us close to fully autonomous driving.

Given that we have essentially 0 cars on the road today that are level 3, 8 million in just 6.5 years sounds pretty impressive.

The Future of Driving

Honestly though, I’m wondering if it will even take that long. It’s a good over/under to shoot against though.

When I talked to Nvidia’s senior director of automotive earlier this year, Danny Shapiro told me that we’re getting close to fully autonomous capabilities. For years the biggest issue was computing power. Nvidia’s solved that. So now it’s on to training these self-driving systems and Nvidia’s new product can expedite that process exponentially.

Tesla is shipping its cars with all the necessary self-driving hardware already included. Over-the-air updates can then add new pieces of software to the car, so that it can safely activate and use these autonomous driving functions in the future.

Ford Motor Co (F) is looking to deploy self-driving taxis in “scale” in 2021, while General Motors Co (GM) is looking to launch its level 5 robo-taxis in 2019.

In that light, consider this: If Ford and GM are capable of level 5 autonomous taxis by 2021, would it really take four more years for the auto market as a whole to reach 8 million units annually of level 3, 4 and 5 combined?

There are a lot of inputs to consider here. First, there’s component supply, be it from LiDAR, radar, chips, GPUs and a whole lot of other factors. A shortfall here could mean limited output of autonomous cars. There’s also the economy to consider. Self-driving cars won’t be cheap and if the economy is in a recession, auto sales will suffer. More specifically, auto sales of higher cost cars will too. And don’t forget about regulations. While the U.S. has been pretty open to autonomous cars so far, it’s not a guarantee it will stay that way, or that other countries will remain open to autonomous driving.

Still, I’m of the personal belief that we’re closer to autonomous driving than many consumers realize and because of that, automakers have the potential to surpass 8 million annual units before 2025. There’s too much money to be made and to be saved with the use of these cars, and too many lives that can be saved to keep them off the roads. Plus, the technology is moving a lot faster than many currently realize.

Given how far away we are from 2025, it’s ultimately impossible to say what the sales figure will be. 8 million seems pretty reasonable, but the optimist in me thinks this may be a conservative mark.

via This Is How Many Autonomous Cars Will Be on the Road in 2025 — Self-driving cars

Rare glimpse of Assad family ties to Russia in kids’ stay at seaside camp

News, SYRIA, Terrorism
© Reuters. A general view of the Morskoi camp, part of the Artek International Children's Centre, located near the city of Yalta© Reuters. A general view of the Morskoi camp, part of the Artek International Children’s Centre, located near the city of Yalta

By David Axelrod

SEVASTOPOL, Crimea (Reuters) – News that Russia hosted the teenage children of Bashar al-Assad at a lavishly-rebuilt Black Sea summer camp in Crimea last year has given a rare glimpse into the personal lives of the Syrian president’s family and his close relationship to Moscow.

Nestled on the Crimean coast since 1925, the Artek Seaside camp served for decades as an elite summer holiday resort for children of those favored by the Soviet Communist Party and foreign delegations invited from its satellite states.

Russia has given the camp a $180 million renovation since seizing the Crimea peninsula from Ukraine in 2014. Guests stay in newly-built dormitories by the sea.

That Assad’s sons Hafez and Karim and daughter Zein had stayed there last year with a group of other Syrian children was made public only this week, when a Russian lawmaker on a delegation to Damascus said Assad had mentioned it.

Alexei Kasprzhak, the resort’s director, told Reuters he learned of the children’s identities only after they arrived last year. The three children were given no special treatment, joining the regular programme with the other Syrian children in their group, he said.

If any of the other Syrian children had any issues with being at camp with the president’s kids, “it passed quickly and didn’t create any problems for us and therefore we didn’t have to resolve them, thank God,” Kasprzhak told Reuters.

A source close to the camp’s management who spoke on condition of anonymity said the president’s children “didn’t stick out at all” during their three-week stay.

“They also attended all the events organized in the camp, they went to the evening campfire like everyone else, so it is not the case that they lived in some kind of special premises or slept on special pillows.”

The choice of destination shows how close Assad’s personal ties with Russia have become since Moscow entered the Syrian conflict in September 2015, turning the tide in his favor. Now in its eighth year, the war has killed more than 500,000 people.

The Seaside camp, 12 km (7.5 miles) from the Crimean city of Yalta, is the oldest of a network of 10 Artek camps run by the Education Ministry. During the Soviet era, winning a place there for a summer was a valued prize both for Soviet children and for visitors from countries in Moscow’s orbit.

In 2015, a year after Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine, the Russian government launched a five-year programme to revamp it. As of last June over 11 billion roubles ($180.71 million) had been spent on renovations, the RIA news agency reported.

Records published on the state procurement site show that 9.2 billion roubles worth of tenders to develop the resort were awarded to Stroygazmontazh, a construction firm on U.S. and European sanctions blacklists, owned by Arkady Rotenberg, a former judo sparring partner of president Vladimir Putin.

Most dangerous attack techniques, and what’s coming next — Infosec News Ireland

News, Tech

Experts from SANS presented the five most dangerous new cyber attack techniques in their annual RSA Conference 2018 keynote session in San Francisco, and shared their views on how they work, how they can be stopped or at least slowed, and how businesses and consumers can prepare. The five threats outlined are: 1. Repositories and […]

Experts from SANS presented the five most dangerous new cyber attack techniques in their annual RSA Conference 2018 keynote session in San Francisco, and shared their views on how they work, how they can be stopped or at least slowed, and how businesses and consumers can prepare.

dangerous attack techniques

The five threats outlined are:

1. Repositories and cloud storage data leakage
2. Big Data analytics, de-anonymization, and correlation
3. Attackers monetize compromised systems using crypto coin miners
4. Recognition of hardware flaws
5. More malware and attacks disrupting ICS and utilities instead of seeking profit.

Repositories and cloud storage data leakage

Ed Skoudis, lead for the SANS Penetration Testing Curriculum, talked about the data leakage threats facing us from the increased use of repositories and cloud storage:

“Software today is built in a very different way than it was 10 or even 5 years ago, with vast online code repositories for collaboration and cloud data storage hosting mission-critical applications. However, attackers are increasingly targeting these kinds of repositories and cloud storage infrastructures, looking for passwords, crypto keys, access tokens, and terabytes of sensitive data.”

He continued: “Defenders need to focus on data inventories, appointing a data curator for their organization and educating system architects and developers about how to secure data assets in the cloud. Additionally, the big cloud companies have each launched an AI service to help classify and defend data in their infrastructures. And finally, a variety of free tools are available that can help prevent and detect leakage of secrets through code repositories.”

Big Data analytics, de-anonymization, and correlation

Skoudis went on to talk about the threat of Big Data Analytics and how attackers are using data from several sources to de-anonymise users:

“In the past, we battled attackers who were trying to get access to our machines to steal data for criminal use. Now the battle is shifting from hacking machines to hacking data — gathering data from disparate sources and fusing it together to de-anonymise users, find business weaknesses and opportunities, or otherwise undermine an organisation’s mission. We still need to prevent attackers from gaining shell on targets to steal data. However, defenders also need to start analysing risks associated with how their seemingly innocuous data can be combined with data from other sources to introduce business risk, all while carefully considering the privacy implications of their data and its potential to tarnish a brand or invite regulatory scrutiny.”

Attackers monetize compromised systems using crypto coin miners

Johannes Ullrich, is Dean of Research, SANS Institute and Director of SANS Internet Storm Center. He has been looking at the increasing use of crypto coin miners by cyber criminals:

“Last year, we talked about how ransomware was used to sell data back to its owner and crypto-currencies were the tool of choice to pay the ransom. More recently, we have found that attackers are no longer bothering with data. Due to the flood of stolen data offered for sale, the value of most commonly stolen data like credit card numbers of PII has dropped significantly. Attackers are instead installing crypto coin miners. These attacks are more stealthy and less likely to be discovered and attackers can earn tens of thousands of dollars a month from crypto coin miners. Defenders therefore need to learn to detect these coin miners and to identify the vulnerabilities that have been exploited in order to install them.”

Recognition of hardware flaws

Ullrich then went on to say that software developers often assume that hardware is flawless and that this is a dangerous assumption. He explains why and what needs to be done:

“Hardware is no less complex then software and mistakes have been made in developing hardware just as they are made by software developers. Patching hardware is a lot more difficult and often not possible without replacing entire systems or suffering significant performance penalties. Developers therefore need to learn to create software without relying on hardware to mitigate any security issues. Similar to the way in which software uses encryption on untrusted networks, software needs to authenticate and encrypt data within the system. Some emerging homomorphic encryption algorithms may allow developers to operate on encrypted data without having to decrypt it first.”

most dangerous attack techniques

More malware and attacks disrupting ICS and utilities instead of seeking profit

Finally, Head of R&D, SANS Institute, James Lyne, discussed the growing trend in malware and attacks that aren’t profit centred as we have largely seen in the past, but instead are focused on disrupting Industrial Control Systems (ICS) and utilities:

“Day to day the grand majority of malicious code has undeniably been focused on fraud and profit. Yet, with the relentless deployment of technology in our societies, the opportunity for political or even military influence only grows. And rare publicly visible attacks like Triton/TriSYS show the capability and intent of those who seek to compromise some of the highest risk components of industrial environments, i.e. the safety systems which have historically prevented critical security and safety meltdowns.”

He continued: “ICS systems are relatively immature and easy to exploit in comparison to the mainstream computing world. Many ICS systems lack the mitigations of modern operating systems and applications. The reliance on obscurity or isolation (both increasingly untrue) do not position them well to withstand a heightened focus on them, and we need to address this as an industry. More worrying is that attackers have demonstrated they have the inclination and resources to diversify their attacks, targeting the sensors that are used to provide data to the industrial controllers themselves. The next few years are likely to see some painful lessons being learned as this attack domain grows, since the mitigations are inconsistent and quite embryonic.”

RSA Conference 2018

from Help Net Security – News

Most dangerous attack techniques, and what’s coming next — Infosec News Ireland

IT workforce increasingly overworked and stressed out — Infosec News Ireland


45% of IT workers are feeling the pressure of strained technology operations and suffer regular stress in their jobs, according to Chess Cybersecurity. IT staff who said they were stressed out indicated the following: 59% work more than 45 hours a week, 20% more than the ONS’s stated national average of 37.1 hours, hinting at […]

IT staff who said they were stressed out indicated the following:

  • 59% work more than 45 hours a week, 20% more than the ONS’s stated national average of 37.1 hours, hinting at a chronic overworking problem in the sector
  • Six out of 10 lack the resources to do their jobs well
  • Almost half say they do not have a good work/life balance
  • 53% feel underpaid for the contribution they make
  • Staff would clearly benefit from more support – only four out of 10 think IT is a respected department in the organisation.

“We were not surprised to hear that working in the IT industry can at times be increasingly stressful,” said Kate Wood, culture director, Chess. Of those employees who took the survey citing regular stress at work, almost half claim they don’t feel supported in the role by senior managers, and two thirds don’t have adequate resources to do their jobs well.”

“From these results, we can see that IT workers need to proactively take steps to manage stress in the workplace, and that means first understanding its causes and effects,” commented David Price, CEO, Health Assured. “We should provide employees and managers with training to identify and manage stress, and by actively supporting employees in the workplace, we can not only reduce workplace stress but also prevent consequential health issues.”

“Stress alone isn’t a mental condition that is classed as a disability under the Equality Act 2010, but it can lead to further medical conditions that can fall within the definition of disability, such as depression, anxiety or heart disease. Proactively talking to employees with stress, and providing workplace support, will help ensure stress is managed before it progresses,” continued Price.

The research has shown a strong link between overworking and stress. There have been a number of academic findings published in the last 12 months highlighting the problem of overworking:

  • Australian National University found that working over 39 hours a week is a risk to wellbeing
  • Columbia University Medical Center linked office workers’ sedentary lifestyle to premature death
  • University College London linked overworking with cardiovascular problems
  • The Society for Occupational Medicine stated the number of hours people are required to work has a pervasive influence on mental as well as physical health.

“It is clearly detrimental to every employee’s wellbeing, not to mention the company’s own operations if key IT members are suffering from stress,” said Gavin Wood, cybersecurity director – group, Chess. “These employees are dealing with crucial aspects of the company’s IT systems, such as their security defences, every single day. Allowing these health issues to go unheeded could, therefore, come at a significant cost to the business, in addition to letting down the employees themselves.”

from Help Net Security – News

via IT workforce increasingly overworked and stressed out — Infosec News Ireland

Watchful Eyes: The 5 Best Security Cameras for Under $100


* Security cams let you keep tabs on your home the smart way
* Choose from models that offer two-way audio, night vision and more
* Sync your phone for live updates

Whether you’re looking for a security system to watch your home while you’re away or to simply help keep tabs on your newborn baby, a good security cam can do all that and more. Being able to sync your phone to your security camera has never been easier — making it possible to receive live updates and check in whenever and wherever you want.

1. NexGadget Security Mini IP Camera

This security cam features a quick and easy setup. Simply download the app to your phone or tablet and you’re ready to go. With clear HD 720p video and one-way audio, you can see and hear what’s happening in and around your home. Because this camera is made for indoor use only, night vision’s not included.

NexGadget Security Mini IP Camera


2. Yi Home Security System

With an impressive 4X digital zoom, this security camera is able to zero-in and virtually any part of your home. Equipped with 720p HD recording capability and two-way audio, this handy security system offers an easier and more intuitive way to watch over your home no matter where you are.

Yi Home Security System


3. UOKoo Wireless Security Camera

This handy security camera records 720P HD video and offers night vision and two-way audio. With an intuitive motion sensor detection and remote access, you can sync it to your smartphone or tablet for real-time updates.

UOKoo Wireless Security Camera


4. TENVIS HD IP Camera

With an extended video range and an impressive 1280×720 MP HD camera, this security cam is able to take crystal clear videos during the day and at night. There’s also a smart alarm system that lets you set up two-way monitoring to give you more control over your home security network.



5. FREDI Hidden Mini Camera Spy Camera

A tiny camera that packs a powerful punch, the FREDI offers a 140-degree wide-angle lens, a rechargeable battery for on-the-go use and even comes with an intuitive night vision mode with a range up to 16 feet. It’s a great mini camera that’s able to do everything a larger security camera can do and more.

FREDI Hidden Mini Camera Spy Camera

 Image courtesy of Amazon


This Tiny Device Adds the Utmost Security to Your Home

Best Hidden Home Security Cameras 2018 — Home Security Camera Systems | Outdoor Security Camera System | Best Wireless Security Camera System


The post Best Hidden Home Security Cameras 2018 appeared first on Home Security Camera Systems | Outdoor Security Camera System | Best Wireless Security Camera System.

via Best Hidden Home Security Cameras 2018 — Home Security Camera Systems | Outdoor Security Camera System | Best Wireless Security Camera System

Self-driving cars. Scooters. The future of commuting to work is here


Innovation is underway to rethink one of the biggest headaches we face on a daily basis: getting to work.

From crowdsourced shuttle buses to companies offering rides to lure top talent, here are concepts used in some cities that could one day help your morning commute.

1. Employers shuttle you to work

Some of the largest US companies, including Google, Apple and Facebook, offer shuttles or arranged ride shares to get employees to work. These shuttles often come with free WiFi, and pick up near employees’ homes.

“It’s the dawn of private transportation systems operating under the radar,” Ryan Croft, co-founder of TransitScreen, a startup providing real-time transit planning information, told CNN.

google bus 1
Google offers bus services for its employees.

He argues governments aren’t offering personalized services, so companies are stepping in with alternatives. Employers also don’t have to follow a set route — they can adjust to where their workers live.

“A train isn’t going to move their station, and buses very rarely move their stops,” Croft added. “There’s a little bit more incentive for companies to provide a good service.”

2. Crowdsourcing makes your route more direct

lfyt phone app

Ford wants to fix transportation issues in major cities such as New York, San Francisco and Seattle with the help of algorithms and commuters themselves.

The company offers a crowdsourced shuttle bus service called Chariot that considers feedback from riders and determines where to route shuttles. Passengers book a $4 seat through an app, and Chariot’s algorithms map out routes based on demand and where riders are going. Similarly, startup Via operates a crowdsourced commuting service in New York City, Washington DC and Chicago.

Ford’s involvement in Chariot, which it acquired in 2016, is part of its strategy to transform into a “mobility company” by offering ways to transport people beyond selling cars.

Toyota is evolving into a mobility company, too: In January, it unveiled a concept vehicle that could operate as a ride-sharing service, deliver packages or host a mobile store.

3. Share a bike or a scooter

bird scooter 1

City governments are partnering with startups to offer alternative commuting options.

For example, LimeBike, a one-year-old bikeshare startup, has teamed up with 33 US cities, including San Diego, Washington, DC and Charlotte, North Carolina, to bring bikes to the cities to cut down on traffic.

Lightweight electric scooters are a part of a growing trend, too. In the last seven months, 50,000 people have rented them from the startup Bird in Santa Monica, California, and six other cities.

Bird offers an electric scootersharing service for short trips in dense areas, such as riding from a train station to one’s office. Silicon Valley startups, including LimeBike, Spin and Waybots, offer scooters across US cities, too.

“This is an increasingly important part of cities and campuses as traffic gets worse and cities grow more dense, said Sanjay Dastoor, CEO of Waybots, which recently started testing in Washington, DC.

But the rapid growth of these services have led cities such as San Francisco and Dallas to plan regulations for scooters and bikes due to complaints about improper parking.

4. Take a train and a taxi. Pay with one app.

uber app 2
Uber has a new partnership with a public transit mobile ticketing company, and envisions letting riders book transit tickets in its app.

How we find, book and pay for our trips to work is ripe for change. Right now, transportation apps and services are fragmented — you might have to use several apps to make different payments for a train ticket, rideshare and bike trip.

In the future, Transit app COO Jake Sion expects commuters should be able to price their entire commute and pay for it in one app. His Transit app already helps commuters plan their trips around cities. The goal is to make it easy for people to find ways to get around without owning a car.

“You can already compare multiple options — an Uber trip, a train ride, bikeshare, or a short walk — and choose the best route with one app,” Sion told CNN. “But in the not too distant future, we expect it’ll be easier to combine and pay for them in one app, too.”

5. Hail a self-driving car

waymo jaguar i pace front
Waymo is working with Jaguar to make one of its SUVs self-driving.

Adventurous Phoenix residents can already hitch a ride to work in a self-driving car. Waymo, the self-driving arm of Google’s parent company, is testing its autonomous Chrysler Pacifica vans on roads throughout the city. It plans to officially launch a self-driving service in the area by year’s end.

Tests are underway from other companies such as GM, Toyota and Ford in California, Arizona, Florida and Massachusetts. But it may take up to 10 years before the service comes to a city near you.

However, the industry recently suffered a setback in March when a self-driving Uber in Tempe, Arizona, struck and killed a pedestrian. (Experts have said Uber’s system failed to meet expected performance, and the US government is investigating.)

Still, experts believe self-driving cars and trucks will be safer than traditional vehicles in the future. Considering about 1.25 million people die each year on roads worldwide — and most of which are due to human error — machines could offer a significant improvement.

Audio Assault Dirt Machine v1.1 VST VST3 AU AAX RTAS [Mac OS X] — Straylite Media


Audio Assault Dirt Machine v1.1 VST Free Download Latest Version for MAC OS. It is full offline installer standalone setup of Audio Assault Dirt Machine v1.1 VST Crack Serial key for macOS. Audio Assault Dirt Machine v1.1 VST Overview Audio Assault’s “Dirt Machine” is your new favorite distortion pedal plugin! Built on the same engine […]

Read More via Audio Assault Dirt Machine v1.1 VST VST3 AU AAX RTAS [Mac OS X] — Straylite Media

LG’s 2018 OLED TVs sport new processor, promise smoother motion

Homes, international News

LG is shipping its latest 2018 OLED TVs in Singapore this month, with each sporting a new processor that enables richer colours, sharper images and smoother motion.

The top-end lineup is led by the wallpaper-like W8. If the paper-thin design with a depth of just 2.57mm looks familiar, that is because it’s an update to last year’s W7 that set the standard for a money-no-object TV.

The 2018 version comes with the usual breakout box cum speaker that is connected via a flat cable which can be hidden in the wall. Image quality-wise, it has been souped up with LG’s fancily-named Alpha 9 processor.

What the chip does, according to the Korean electronics firm, is to reduce the noise that is common on a video. Instead of a usual two-step noise reduction process, the chip helps the new TVs undergo a four-step process now to make images clearer.

The chip also works hard to process high frame rates of up to 120 frames per second, so that motion appears smoother than before.

In a demo for Singapore media today, LG executives showed how the new processor reduces judder, a common problem that appears in shots where the camera moves with the action.

Of course, you can always turn on “movie mode” and have the image become smoother but less sharp. Some users might even prefer to avoid an image where everything is in focus, which some call the “soap opera” effect, so your mileage might vary.

Still, what LG has done with the Alpha 9 is clear with a side-by-side demo today with an older TV, from an unnamed rival OLED TV maker. It showed not just stuttering motion but also buzzing when you had thin lines tightly packed together on screen.

Good news is, the new chip is also available in LG’s two other new OLED TV models this year. The E8 comes with features that are available across the line, such as support for various HDR (high dynamic range) formats, which promise improved contrast, brighter images and a wider colour palette.

However, the E8 looks more like a conventional TV than the W8. It is still extremely thin but it has its main systems built in at the bottom, instead of using a separate box.

Then there’s the C8, which also sports most of the features of its more expensive siblings, such as HDR and the Alpha 9 processor. However, it comes with a 2.2 channel, 20-watt speaker system instead of the more powerful 4.2-channel, 60-watt one you get on the more expensive models.

The C8 is the entry point this year for an LG OLED TV, which as you might know by now, is the superior TV technology (despite what Samsung says about its similarly-named but inferiorQLED TVs).

OLED TVs provide unrivalled blacks and smooth motion that even top-end LED TVs, such as Samsung’s QLED range, cannot match. The technology, pushed by LG for a few years now, has been taken up by Panasonic and Sony as well.

Yet, despite the competition, LG seems confident enough not to drop prices for its entry-level C8 OLED TVs, compared to last year.

They now start from S$4,699 for a 55-incher and S$7,299 for a 65-incher, going up to a grandS$19,999 for a 77-incher (for those lucky enough to have a home larger than the average Singapore apartment).

Meanwhile, the mid-end E8 will go for S$7,999 for the 55-inch version and S$10,999 for the 65-incher.

Got even more money in the bank to splurge on a TV? The W8 should be a welcome addition at home at S$11,699 for the 65-incher and S$34,999 for the 77-incher.

You must be nuts – or very rich – to blow S$35,000 for a TV, right? Apparently, there were people buying up the top-end W series last year, according to market sources, and not all of them live in Sentosa Cove, either.

No wonder LG is happy to show off its new 2018 OLED TVs while keeping prices fairly stable. People are coming round to the fact that OLED is the way to go if they take video quality seriously.

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Google updated Maps, Earth 3D/2D imagery for 40% of the world’s population in the past year

News, Uncategorized


For Earth Day 2017, Google Earth rather appropriately received a huge revamp that dropped the desktop app for a web client, redesigned the mobile apps, and added several features to better explore the world. A year later, Google is sharing several usage stats for the updated service.

Nintendo Switch

Google frequently updates the satellite imagery used in its mapping products with sharper and more detailed data. In the past 12 months, Google notes that it “added enough new 3D and 2D imagery to cover 3 billion people.” Covering 40% of the world’s population, 400 cities and metro areas received new high-resolution 3D imagery in both Maps and Earth.

Meanwhile, the I’m Feeling Lucky feature added to Earth last year has been used 190 million times. Similar to on Google Search, tapping the dice button takes users to a random location on the globe to explore.

The built-in Postcards feature that allows users to snapshot a location created 40 million postcards, which would be equivalent to $50 million, €39 million, or ¥3 billion in actual postage fees.

Lastly, the Voyager tool that allows users to take one of 300 interactive tours was used millions of times in the past year, with the functionality being especially useful for teachers and students.

Check out 9to5Google on YouTube for more news:

More Info:

VW promises cars with autonomous parking tech in 2020 — Self-driving cars

Business, International Finance Share Facebook Tweet Pinterest Email Volkswagen wants to take the hassle out of finding parking spots and has begun testing autonomous parking technology at the airport in Hamburg, Germany, using VW, Porsche and Audi vehicles. And this system does not rely on hardware integrated into the pavement or the parking structure; […]

via VW promises cars with autonomous parking tech in 2020 — Self-driving cars

The Business of Beauty x BLK/OPL relaunch in Nigeria + A GIVEAWAY — Ellapinkette || Beauty. Lifestyle.

Fashion, Uncategorized

Here’s what I think about the Business of Beauty in Nigeria. Plus there’s a giveaway in this one so do check it out. 💗

via The Business of Beauty x BLK/OPL relaunch in Nigeria + A GIVEAWAY — Ellapinkette || Beauty. Lifestyle.

Low-Cost Streaming Service Philo Coming to Apple TV This Summer, Unlocking TV Everywhere Authentication Soon — Kopitiam Bot

international News

(Source: At the time of its announcement the company said a Philo app would be coming to Apple TV, and now CEO Andrew McCollum has confirmed that the Apple TV app for Philo will be launching this summer (via Philo for iOS Alongside the launch window for the Apple TV app, McCollum revealed that […]

via Low-Cost Streaming Service Philo Coming to Apple TV This Summer, Unlocking TV Everywhere Authentication Soon — Kopitiam Bot

In defense of the HomePod – TechCrunch

International Finance, Power

In defense of the HomePod – TechCrunch

Comments Offon In defense of the HomePod – TechCrunch

pod3My HomePod, Google Home and Amazon Echo all live within about 15 feet of each other in my apartment.This is as much a testament to my obsession with smart home crap as it is to my inability to buy into a single tech giant’s hardware ecosystem. I’ve gone all-in with each assistant at various times but now my entire connected life is run through a series of commands that are held together by specific intonations, exact phrasing and speaking volumes of which I alone fully grasp. I solely hold the recipes to my MacGyvered connected life. (This has made life difficult for my roommate who sometimes has to ask me to turn the lights on, but truthfully he should have known what annoying techiness laid ahead when he saw me unpacking my VR rig as we moved in.)

This amalgam of chatty smart assistants has made me pretty in tune with each of these product’s faults, but it’s also helped me gain a deep appreciation for the individual strengths of the platforms themselves.

This week, Bloomberg reported that times are tough for the HomePod . Apple is cutting production, some of its retail stores aren’t breaking double digit sales of the device on a daily basis and it only has a small sliver of the smart speaker market. This report brought a lot of critics out of the woodwork who heralded the ignorance of Apple’s product strategy and harped on the smart speaker’s general dumbness and lackluster feature set.

Now, I’m not in the habit of defending near-trillion dollar companies, but I think much of this criticism is misplaced. The HomePod is probably the best-functioning smart speaker of the bunch, and I’d also contend that the company’s overall strategy is far from being “years behind” its competitors. Apple’s AI strategy needs some TLC to strengthen Siri, but with the AirPods and HomePod, Apple is building a unified front on audio hardware that will weather the gimmicks of a market that seems artificially mature to begin with.

A misunderstood market

First off, I’ve always found the “smart speaker market” to be a pie that’s sliced in a bizarre way. For as intimately tied to smartphones as voice assistants are, saying that Amazon remains the clear winner in a category that excludes the billions of mobile devices with deep voice assistant capabilities seems accurate but deeply wrong at the same time.

It’s also why I don’t think Apple needs to be as worried about getting a $50 product like the Home Mini or Echo Dot out there, because while Amazon desperately needs a low-friction connection to consumers, Apple doesn’t gain as much by putting a tinny speaker into a can that will do even less than what “Hey Siri” on your iPhone could do.

$349 is pretty far (too far) in the other direction, but the high-end hardware is the sell for Apple and the concept that consumers are going to default to another smart assistant than what their phone uses is only a problem that will exist in the early days of Siri and Google Assistant. Amazon’s technologies can get better and better but if Google Assistant is the only one with intimate knowledge of your Google Account activities and Siri is the only one that you can send iMessages with, there’s not much of a conversation to have.


Listen up

The dumbest answer from a smart speaker is always the one you’re waiting on that never comes. Just as the Airpods have succeeded in their approach thanks to the less sexy connectivity advances, the HomePod wins on the intelligence of its listening capabilities via a microphone array that can hear me at a whisper’s volume even while loud music is playing. It’s an overlooked feature in hardware comparisons, and it’s honestly one of the most important in practice.

I’ve yelled so many “Hey Google’s” while the TV is playing that never registered. Meanwhile, I’ve learned that I don’t really have to raise my voice to talk with the HomePod. That, along with its much blogged-about location-aware features of the HomePod, make it a device that feels like more of an ethereal presence in my apartment and less tied down to a physical location where I point my head and yell. While Amazon’s tech here has long been impressive as well, I’ve found the HomePod to be a bit more effective when tunes are blaring while pretty much laying waste to Google’s smart speakers (including the Max) which have always seemed to be hard of hearing in noisy environments from my experience.

Unskilled intelligence

Now, Siri is absolutely less good than Google Assistant when it comes to being a phone assistant, but a lot of these shortcomings don’t translate as jarringly to the HomePod. Apple has made the wrong calls with third party integrations for Siri on iOS but the current state of Alexa Skills and Google Assistant Actions suggests that Apple isn’t missing a ton on the smart speaker third-party platform front yet.

Something like ordering a pizza with Domino’s on an Echo or Google Home requires a bizarre amount of effort that is only easy if you do most of the work on your phone ahead of time. I wouldn’t say that Apple missing this feature has torn a hole in its core intelligence, likewise most of these “skills” generally don’t give me the context I need to make a decision.

I don’t get why there’s so much love thrown at these smart speaker development platforms. The fact is, they’re largely outlets for brand marketing budget dollars, rather than bastions of consumer utility. Sure, some of these apps are fun and may ultimately make the Echo a more family-friendly device than the HomePod, but the bloatware eventually becomes an afterthought as the gimmick wears off. Amazon needs this right now, not consumers.


Making calls, distinguishing between multiple users and accessing calendars are all pretty baseline features that one hopes that the HomePod receives updates for soon. Nevertheless, the HomePod is not an unfinished product as some have said, and is certainly not “years behind” its competitors. It certainly feels more finished than some of the hardware products in Amazon’s divergent smart speaker cornucopia.

They’ve made some annoying decisions regarding music streaming support; Apple Music is an absolute necessity to enjoy this product. I’ve been a Spotify listener in the past, but I’ve never been a power user of playlists which left me pretty vulnerable to switching if it made life easier with the HomePod and my AirPods, which it did.

Apple Music is just one more exclusive element of the ecosystem, and by extension, Siri. Despite Spotify’s sky-high market cap, I don’t really see a good reason not to be bullish on Apple Music. The service is rapidly growing and — if trends hold — will overtake Spotify in paid subscriber count sometime this summer. It seems unrealistic that Apple will bring Apple Music support to the Echo or Google Home, but it’d be nice if some skeleton support came to Spotify on HomePod in the meantime, though I kind of doubt this as well.


It’s all about the ecosystem; the “smart speaker market” doesn’t matter and never will as we define it now. What Google gains with a cheap entry point of a Google Home Mini is a way to drive people to features they didn’t know their phones had. Apple is using the HomePod to set a baseline while they look to build up these features that Siri doesn’t have yet. Amazon’s Alexa may have a chance in the context of the connected home, but it’s hard to imagine a world where you don’t want your mobile device and home assistant hub being intimately tied at an OS level.

The AirPods and HomePod are very good examples of OS-integrated hardware, and while Siri needs a facelift and perhaps some brain surgery, Apple’s thinking with the HomePod is about where it needs to be. It’s a platform that should really be a bit experimental for the time-being. These things were pushed into people’s homes so quickly by an Amazonian quest for market domination, but so much of the utility of smart speakers is still tied up in their frustrations.

Like the AirPods, the HomePod has isolated the right challenges to tackle first. “Winning the smart speaker market” isn’t going to happen for this product, but I get a sense that Apple’s thinking with the HomePod is tied up in a healthy self-awareness that its competitors lack.

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BBNaija 2018: Dino Melaye hosts Bambam and Teddy A

BBNaija, Big Brother Naija, Celebrity Gists


Dino Melaye, the lawmaker representing Kogi West senatorial district, on Thursday evening hosted Big Brother Naija ex-housemates, Teddy A and BamBam.

The ex-housemates, who were romantic partners while in the Big Brother house, were hosted in Melaye’s Abuja home.

An excited Dino and fan of the reality show shared a photo of himself with the BBNaija ex-housemates on his social media pages.

He wrote “Teddy A and Bambam of Big Brother at my crib. Great guys.”


100 Shades of Ufuoma McDermott!

Africa, Fashion, personality

100 Shades of Ufuoma McDermott! Movie Star celebrates Wedding Anniversary with New Photos

Nigerian actor and former model Ufuoma McDermott celebrated her 8th wedding anniversary to husband Steven McDermott yesterday. The couple got married in 2010 and have two lovely kids, Kesiena Alize and Isio Jared.

To mark the anniversary, Ufuoma McDermott had a photo session shot by Ebenezer Dada which she tagged #100ShadesOfUfuoma.
She captioned a photo with


Today is my official #WeddingAnniversary
This day 8 years ago, my husband and I, together with a few friends signed the dotted lines at the Ikoyi registry.
8 years gone. 80 more to go



This is the sickening amount pharmaceutical companies pay top journal editors  by Jim Staab

Business, International Finance, international News, Phamaceuticals

editorThis is the sickening amount pharmaceutical companies pay top journal editors  

It’s no secret that scientists can be corrupted – in the past, researchers have purposefully hidden data onclimate change, and the dangers of sugar, just to name a few.But while people can be bought, the scientific method itself – the idea that a hypothesis must be observed, tested, replicated, and the results then published in a peer-reviewed journal – has always remained a beacon of objectivity, assumedly free of bias by its very nature.

Unfortunately, in recent years scientific publishing has been running into serious trouble.

Through predatory journals, publication bias, and a publish-or-perish mentality, the way we practice the scientific method has been corrupted right under our noses – we’re at a point now where some studies can’t even be reproduced.

More recently, it’s become clear that the system for publishing results on evidence-based medicine is broken, too.

On paper, evidence-based medicine is a good thing. It’s how we get life-saving treatments and medication, and it’s the requirement for any new drugs to be based on solid, peer-reviewed research.

But this assumes that peer-reviewed research will be unbiased, and that’s not always the case.

Just last week, a report concluded that many clinical trials are greenlit based on a shockingly poor evidence base, sometimes without any published data.

Now nephrologist Jason Fung has taken to Medium to highlight even more damning evidence against the journals we rely on to print the best academic research.

His article is a summary of information that’s already out there, published in the lead up to a presentation to the European Parliament this week. But seeing it all in one place is confronting.

Most shocking: medical journal editors are paid huge sums by pharmaceutical companies each year.

This is something most of us already know – we see the sponsored pens and all the fancy conferences doctors go on thanks to ‘big pharma’.

But that’s only a small part of it. The industry also just hands them money directly.

A paper published last year in the British Medical Journal examined how much money editors of the world’s most influential medical journals were taking from industry sources.

Of the journals that could be assessed, 50.6 percent of editors were receiving money from the pharmaceutical industry – in some cases, hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Here’s just a small highlight showing editor payments received in 2014 – the amount on the left is direct payments, and the ‘research’ payments on the right are less regulated, usually made in the form of expensive research trips.

The average ‘in hand’ payment in 2014 alone was US$27,564, plus research funds.

Worst on that list is the Journal of the American College of Cardiology (JACC), where 19 of its editors received, on average, US$475,072 personally and another US$119,407 for ‘research’.

And that’s not even mentioning the amount of reprint money journals get whenever they publish a study that supports a pharmaceutical company, and the company pays for hundreds of copies to send out to doctors.

The Lancet earns 41 percent of its income from reprints, and the American Medical Association gets 53 percent.

“The medical profession is being bought by the pharmaceutical industry, not only in terms of the practice of medicine, but also in terms of teaching and research,” said the late Arnold Relman, a former editor-in-chief of the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) in 2002. He passed away in 2014.

“The academic institutions of this country are allowing themselves to be the paid agents of the pharmaceutical industry. I think it’s disgraceful.”

Why does all this matter? In the face of these kind of numbers it’s easy to see why journal editors would choose to print research that supports products of these companies, and ignore the evidence that goes against them.

And that’s exactly what’s happening.

Research backed by the pharmaceutical industry is far more likely to have positive results published than government-funded science.

Not only that, but negative results are often ignored. In a 2008 study that Fung cites, 36 out of 37 studies that were favourable to antidepressants were published.

In comparison, only 3 out of 36 studies that were not favourable to the drugs made it to print.

That means if you were to solely look at the published literature, you would think an overwhelming 94 percent of studies show these antidepressants work, when, in reality, only 51 percent of the studies conducted were actually positive.

Seeing these numbers in black and white is sobering.

Despite grumbles of ‘big pharma’, most of us still put our faith in the peer-review process, confident that the scientific method will guide us in the right direction regardless of people’s own bias.

Unfortunately, the results provided to us by the scientific method are only as good as the editors that gatekeep them.

This is why more and more researchers are publishing their work in pre-print and open-access journals, where the world can see their research for free.

There’s also a push to get organisations to publish all valid results, even if they’re negative.

We have a long way to go, but it’s only by acknowledging a system is broken that we can begin to fix it.

BBNaija Day 74: The Minaship Sails Again

BBNaija, Big Brother Naija, Uncategorized

After what seemed like an eternity of going back and forth, Mina finally threw the tension out the window and made peace.

After the Task festivities, things took a bit of a turn and the slope went slippery when Alex decided to put on her good friend cloak and confronted Nina about her ‘post-breakup’ behaviour; mentioning that Miracle was in fact hurt by all that has happened, but simply found solace in the company of the rest of the Housemates. Thanks to Nina’s new found stubbornness however, it all went south real quick.

Emotional Wreck

1523519800 34 screen shot 2018 04 11 at 11.07.11 pm  1

Seeing as Nina refused to initiate their peace making process, Alex decided to play mediator and true enough, convinced a very minimally interested Miracle to engage and hear Nina out. The festivities took place in the confined bathroom space that only seemed to get smaller as the tension between the not so former lovebirds grew. It was pretty clear that Nina was adamant in her pursuit for sentimental justice and despite having a rather messy approach, she managed to put her point across, displaying the ‘not no naïve’ side to her and in not so many words, letting Miracle know that she was close to not caring anymore.

Calming The Storm

Miracle on the other hand had enough calm for the both them and even though he looked confused and rather uninterested for more than half the time, he managed to get his very well-articulated point across and explained how he drew his conclusions; confirming what Alex had said about him taking an emotional knock thanks to her ‘bff’ reference but deciding against self-pity and isolation.

Mina The Return

Through the rolling of eyes and having almost the entire House as jury in this specialised court session, Miracle and Nina’s apologies followed the oath-taking format as per the mediators Anto, Alex and Tobi and after a while of verbal pushing, pulling and shoving, love won, low-key though.
The winds of forgiveness seem to have blown about overnight because unlike last night when the two refused to even seal their apologies with a handshake; today saw them locking hands, call it morning glory. Mina is back!

#BBNaija 2018: ‘I’d rather remain single than date Miracle outside the house’ – Nina confesses

Big Brother Naija housemate, Nina has made it clear that there is no future between herself and her love interest, Miracle after the show.

Nina who has always talked about her boyfriend in the house made this clear during a discussion with Rico Swavey last night, and also admitted that her ‘friendship’ with Miracle won’t just end after the reality show, as she would love to keep him as a friend.

She said if her boyfriend doesn’t accept her back because of her dealings with Miracle in the BBN house, she would rather remain single than date Miracle.

Watch the video below: before the discussion with Rico, Nina had also told other housemates; while they were relaxing in the jacuzzi that she and Miracle ‘can never ever date outside’.

Also Check:  #BBNaija 2018: Alex Continues To Mourn Over The Eviction of Her ‘Romantic’ Partner, Leo (Video)

Watch below:

BBNaija 2018: How Nina demanded sex from Miracle

Big Brother Naija 2018 housemate, Nina has romantically demanded sex from fellow housemate, Miracle.

Nina and Miracle who had already known each other before coming into the Big Brother House, chose each other as strategic partners at the very beginning of the show.

They were later separated and paired with other housemates but that did not change anything as they have remained romantic partners.

They have been caught having sex in Big Brother house twice.

Latest footage uploaded on Big Brother Naija 2018 Twitter handle on Tuesday revealed the two housemates discussing sex.

In the video, Miracle started by saying, “I was calling so that I could kiss you. I really missed you right now.”

Nina said, “I want something from you.”

This time, Miracle responded to by saying, “You want food? As he leaned towards Nina, for a kiss, she (Nina) added, touching his face, “I want to make love,” they both laughed.


2018/2019 Trending Ankara tops By Emem Jacks

Africa, Fashion

Ankara Tops

Trending Ankara tops on jeans for ladies.

Ankara prints is definitely the trending fashion now. Ankara blouses on jeans fashion is undoubtedly one of the most popular fashion. Beautiful Ankara top goes well on jeans, do if you are a lover of Ankara and jeans, this article is definitely for you.

Looking back at those time when the only thing you can make from Ankara was buba, but  now you can make out any style with Ankara and look very good in it.

Why jeans?

Demin jeans are probably the most fashionable piece of clothing out there which is extremely adored by everyone, both male and female. Jeans can make you look casual, elegant, eye catching or rebellious. Depending on what you want and if you can combine it with the right top.

Jeans can match literally every piece of clothing ranging from tuxedos, blouses, formal wear or t-shirts. Besides jeans is cheaper compared to other piece of clothing. 

There is a modern trend in not only Nigeria but Africa to combine Ankara tops with jeans which looks very refreshing, compelling, alluring and also bright. Since Ankara prints is very colourful and bright. 

One of the styles is the peblon top, which is absolutely gorgeous and makes a befitting cooperate wear when combined with the right accessories.

These Ankara tops are simply breath taking especially when combined with the right outfit, which in this case is jeans. No matter what you wear you will literally have everyone stunned in your Anna print. Ankara is another celebrity signature look, so if you are pinning to look like your favorite celebrity I suggest you go for Ankara print and find the right style to suit your body figure, height and complexion. So, I hope you find the right Ankara print style that suits you. There are more Ankara print tops below;

BBNaija 2018: I hate Miracle, want him in hell – Nina says in tears

BBNaija, Big Brother Naija, Uncategorized

ninappBig Brother Naija 2018 housemate, Nina on Tuesday night broke down in tears over her relationship Miracle.

The love between the romantic partners- Nina and Miracle seems to be fading off as they both exchanged hurtful words.

However, Nina speaking to Tobi about the situation, broke in tears, saying that she regrets ever dating Miracle.

Nina“Do you know I just realised that from the first day I came in, I have been wasting my time with someone.

“I don’t care about Miracle anymore. I hate him. Once I don’t like you, as the days go by, I look for reasons to hate you.

“I don’t want Miracle in my life, he should go to hell.

“We kissed. It was fake. It wasn’t real.

“Give me drink, let me drink and sleep. I won’t cry again


BBNaija 2018: I will never appeal for votes -Tobi

BBNaija, Big Brother Naija, Uncategorized

Tobi1BIg Brother Naija 2018 housemate, Tobi has said he does not need pity votes to win.

Tobi admitted this while discussing in a group conversation with Alex, Lolu, Khloe, Miracle and himself.

Khloe had earlier on during the discussion praised Dee-one, describing him as a good friend.

However, she believed that Dee-one didn’t stay long in the game because he passed the wrong message to the viewers.

Tobi in agreement with Khloe said he would never appeal to viewers to stay in the game.

“I will never appeal to people’s emotions or pity to win this game. It is the last thing I would do,” Tobi stated.


This publication is basically written to review details about TOBI Big Brother Naija 2018 star.

Name: Oluwatobi Bakre (aka TOBI)

Gender: Male

Age: 23 at 2018

Occupation: Banker/Photographer.

Tobi BBNaija Birthplace is Ogun State Nigeria respectively.

The Big Brother Naija Star is a native of Ogun state, Bakre is passionate about photography and football. His hobbies range from poetry, dancing, rapping, singing, drawing and also enjoys networking with people and playing football.

Tobi and fellow Big Brother Naija season 3 housemate Leo have known each other for quite some time even before coming to Big Brother Naija Live Show.

Against all odds, BBNaija Tobi, graduated from the University of Lagos considering he is an addicted clubber who lives on social media.

During his stay in the house, he mostly miss his family and turning up big time.

The youngest of four siblings, Tobi’s most painful experience in life was seeing his Dad cry at his grandmother’s funeral.

Forever supportive, Tobi’s family shares in the Big Brother Naija excitement. He has always wanted to be in the House if only “for fun” and not always the prize.

His favourite food is plantain and eggs sauce, whilst his favourite artiste is Davido OBO.

What irritates you the most about other people: People being fake

What will you be bringing into the Big Brother Naija house: Lots of fun

What will you do with the prize money: Help my friends first, then buy properties and invest.

Luxury Ease Interiors; Affordable luxury; our lifeline

Furnishing, Homes, personality

Luxury Ease Interiors: A simple , sophisticated approach to every detail in design. Working with you , every step of the way.

Created in 2012


bucky8Bukky Lepe;  09092220375


Space planning , sale of couture upholstery and curtain fabrics , 3D wall panels, window treatments, luxury rug and carpeting, bespoke furniture, painting and paint effects

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Africa must steer the rules of the international financial sector

Business, International Finance, international News, World Bank
Although tax evasion is illegal and tax avoidance isn’t, both erode sustainable development in Africa.

The release of the Paradise Papers last year and the Panama Papers in 2016 revealed the role tax havens play in facilitating tax avoidance, tax evasion and illicit financial flows. The Panama Papers showed dealings associated with tax evasion and illicit dealings, while the transactions uncovered by the Paradise Papers involved largely tax avoidance.

Both flows negatively affect sustainable development in Africa, but tax evasion tends to generate a bigger response than tax avoidance, and subsequently provokes stronger political will to crack down on tax havens. Understanding the differences between tax evasion and avoidance, their influence in Africa and whether they qualify as illicit financial flows is essential when developing effective responses. Both are attempts by an individual or corporation to pay fewer taxes – but while tax evasion is illegal, tax avoidance isn’t.

In practice, the distinction between the terms is not always clear. The Inter-Agency Task Force on Financing for Development describes tax-avoidance practices as existing in a grey area that exploits differences in legal standards across countries, weak legal systems in some countries and different interpretations and acceptance of norms on international taxation. Whether these practices qualify as illicit financial flows is complicated.

There is general agreement that tax avoidance practices are the financial side of criminal activity and efforts to define them contain common elements, but many definitions still exist. One that has increasingly gained traction is ‘cross-border transactions of money illegally earned, transferred or used’. Of particular relevance to the leaks of the Paradise and Panama Papers is determining whether the flows are illicit, which takes into account both the legality and the legitimacy of the flow.

As tax evasion is illegal while tax avoidance is legal, focusing only on legality could undermine the application and effectiveness of international efforts to combat the problem. Determining what constitutes illicit financial flows also depends on the legislation of a particular state, due to differences in legal frameworks.

So international mechanisms designed to tackle tax-related illicit financial flows can be impaired by differences in national legislation, as well as a lack of capacity or willingness to enforce the laws.

Assessments that judge the legitimacy of a flow take into account factors such as rules, customs and fairness. It is widely considered legitimate for an individual to avoid paying taxes, but illegitimate for an individual to evade paying taxes. This distinction is important for determining whether an action is classified as tax avoidance or evasion. Thus, as illustrated by the World Bank, tax evasion is considered an illicit financial flow while tax avoidance is not.

Illicit financial flows fuel criminal economies, contribute to violence, perpetuate existing inequalities, subvert government institutions and undermine the integrity of legal and financial systems. They have even inhibited achieving some of the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals in sub-Saharan Africa. Tax avoidance and evasion reduce the funds available for sustainable development in Africa.

But beyond monetary losses their consequences are even more serious. While both thwart Africa’s development, flows that are classified as tax evasion – and thus illicit financial flows – generate much more swift and tough international responses. Specifically this shapes the perception and treatment of tax havens.

One problem in developing cohesive international frameworks for cracking down on tax havens is contrasting views about the value and threat of tax havens. This includes tensions between stakeholders from developed, northern nations and those from developing southern countries.

Some argue that tax havens might have a positive effect on the global economy, facilitating greater global investment and allowing firms and individuals opportunities for tax avoidance to sidestep poorly designed tax systems. But evidence increasingly shows that these ‘treasure islands’ help facilitate crime and drain Africa’s resources.

The African Network of Centres for Investigative Reporting showed that African actors and illicit financial flows figuredprominently in the Panama Papers. This is problematic for Africa, as northern counterparts tend to have a stronger voice and greater leverage in the creation and enforcement of laws and regulations governing the financial sector. No African nations are members of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), and only South Africa belongs to more than one of six influential international financial institutions.

Also, when the OECD and the G20 designed the Common Reporting Standard – a standard for information exchange and the basis for bilateral agreements between states – they did so without meaningful consultation of low-income states.

The result, the Financial Transparency Coalition explains, is ‘a system designed by wealthy nations, with wealthy nations in mind, making many of the prerequisites impossible for countries that don’t have sizable tax administration budgets or advanced technical capacity’. Also, some wealthy countries choose to share information predominantly or exclusively with other wealthy countries.

Various responses are needed to combat tax avoidance, tax evasion and illicit financial flows more broadly – but increasing the contribution of African states in international financial institutions is essential. Africa must have a voice within international financial institutions to ensure that regulations, policies and responses reflect African priorities. This will help ensure that priority is given to the flows that most negatively affect sustainable development.

Without this participation, Africa’s relationship with tax havens will continue to be one of pain and no gain.

Marcena Hunter, Senior Research Analyst, Global Initiative against Transnational Organised Crime