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NNPC Scandal: Kachikwu, Baru meet, agree on stronger oil sector regulation – Premium Times Nigeria


For a moment on Tuesday, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Ibe Kachikwu, and the Group Managing Director, of the Nigerian National petroleum Corporation, NNPC, Maikanti Baru, appeared to set aside their differences to speak about ways to building a stronger and more efficient petroleum industry.

The two top officials have not had the best of relations since last week Tuesday when a letter Mr. Kachikwu wrote to President Muhammadu Buhari accusing Mr. Baru of insubordination and corruption surfaced online.

With Mr. Baru’s reply still generating ripples in the media, it seemed unlikely both officials would come together soon.

But, during the third planery session of the Nigerian Economic Summit, NES 23 in Abuja on Tuesday, both spoke of a stronger, more encompassing regulatory authority that would soon emerge in petroleum industry after the passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill, PIB.

Mr. Kachikwu said the government was still working to make the regulatory environment in the industry better, pointing out that by the time the National Assembly completes its work on the PIB, “a much stronger, a much larger independent regulator would emerge.”

“Whatever model of PIB that we are pushing, the point that Dr. Baru made is very, very key,” he said referring to the NNPC boss. “To see an independent regulator with very enormous powers, with less of political interference so that individuals could do their work and also whittle down the powers of the minister, so that these institutions could work and work well.”

He added: “The reality is that no one will work as a minister forever. You are going to hand over that portfolio. We should be looking for the system surviving and able to work well. So, it’s something that we are working with the National Assembly very hard on and I think if you look at the issues that come up, there are a lot of emphasis on that independence.

He said government would develop policies that would ensure the global decline in fossil energy does not take Nigeria unawares any more, adding that government was already thinking in that direction.

‎The minister, who was the moderator in the panel on energy, said the government was currently dealing with the fundamentals‎ of ensuring the refineries worked, while ensuring the availability of energy sources to meet the country’s day to day needs.‎ ‎

On the forthcoming marginal fields bidding round, Mr. Kachikwu said government was determined to ensure transparency in the process, to give the public all that they need to know about who gets what and able to monitor the progress.

‎‎He said these were some of the issues the Niger Delta communities, and indeed all Nigerians, were always inquiring about.

“The more transparent it is, the better for us. We are developing models to ensure better regulations geared towards transparency in the bidding process, and we would alert Mr. President as soon as we are done,” Mr. Kachikwu said.

‎Earlier, Mr. Baru, lamented that previous marginal field bidding rounds has not achieved the objectives the government set out to achieve, saying only nine out 14 of those who won the licenses were operational.

Describing this as “not good enough”, Mr. Baru said he was committed to work closely with the minister to address the concerns and constraints that hindered the remaining five companies from appropriately operating the marginal oil fields.”



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IMF tells rich nations that greater urgency needed on climate change


The International Monetary Fund has warned the world’s richest nations to have a greater sense of urgency about climate change, a day after the former Australian prime minister, Tony Abbott, delivered a bizarre speech to a London-based thinktank claiming climate change was “probably doing good”.

The IMF’s latest World Economic Outlook (WEO), released overnight, has dedicated an entire chapter to the impact of weather shocks and climate change on global economic activity.

It warns coping with climate change will be one of the “fundamental challenges” of the 21st century and it calls on the global community to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions before they create “more irreversible damage”, saying richer countries must help low-income economies adapt to rapidly increasing temperatures.

Directly contradicting one of Abbott’s arguments that Australia’s contribution to global emissions has been so small it is not worth restructuring its economy to change its energy use significantly, the IMF says nations with developed economies such as Australia – one of the highest per capita emitters in the world – have a responsibility to act.

“Advanced and emerging market economies have contributed the lion’s share to actual and projected climate change,” the report says. “Helping low-income developing countries cope with the consequences of climate change is both a humanitarian imperative and sound global economic policy that helps offset countries’ failure to fully internalise the costs of greenhouse gas emissions.

“Since the turn of the 20th century, the Earth’s average surface temperature has increased significantly. Sizeable swings in global temperatures used to happen over long periods, such as fluctuations in and out of the Ice Ages. However, the speed at which the climate has changed over the past 30-40 years appears to be unprecedented in the past 20,000 years.

“Climate change is a negative global externality of potentially catastrophic proportions and only collective action and multilateral cooperation can effectively address its causes and consequences.”

Overall, the IMF is estimating global output growth will increase from 3.2% in 2016 to 3.6% in 2017 and 3.7% in 2018, after upgrading its growth forecast by 0.1 percentage points for 2017 and 2018.

Maurice Obstfeld, the IMF’s economic counsellor, says the global cyclical upswing that began midway through 2016 is continuing to gather strength and is reaching more broadly than any upswing in a decade – roughly 75% of the world economy, measured by GDP at purchasing power parity, is sharing in the acceleration.

But he has cautioned the recovery may not be sustainable because growth in nominal and real wages remains weak compared with past recoveries, including in Australia.

“In particular, most advanced economies face medium-term growth rates significantly lower than in the decade before the global financial crisis of 2007–09,” he said.

Abbott warned this week, in a speech that was being politely ignored by some of his colleagues on Tuesday, that climate change itself was “probably doing good; or at least, more good than harm,” and measures to deal with climate change would damage Australia’s economy.

“In most countries, far more people die in cold snaps than in heatwaves, so a gradual lift in global temperatures, especially if it’s accompanied by more prosperity and more capacity to adapt to change, might even be beneficial,” he said.

The IMF warns specifically in its report that rising global temperatures could wreak havoc in parts of the world, particularly in hotter climates where people were too poor to migrate.

Obstfeld has called on the global community to exploit the current cyclical global upswing to pursue domestic and international reforms.

“Priorities for mutually beneficial cooperation include strengthening the global trading system, further improving financial regulation, enhancing the global financial safety net, reducing international tax avoidance, fighting famine and infectious diseases, mitigating greenhouse gas emissions before they create more irreversible damage, and helping poorer countries, which are not themselves substantial emitters, adapt to climate change,” he said.

“If the strength of the current upswing makes the moment ideal for domestic reforms, its breadth makes multilateral cooperation opportune. Policymakers should act while the window of opportunity is open.”



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We’re using recovered looted funds to finance 2017 budget – FG – Punch Newspapers


Everest Amaefule, Abuja

The Federal Government is using part of the stolen funds recovered from those that looted the economy to finance the 2017 budget, President Muhammadu Buhari has said.

Buhari who spoke at the 22nd Annual Conference of the Association of National Accountants of Nigeria in Abuja on Tuesday was represented by the Accountant General of the Federation, Alhaji Idris Ahmed.

He said the government had resolved to use some of the recovered stolen funds to finance the 2017 budget.

Buhari said, “My Administration has practically done much in delivering on its core focus of diversifying the economy.

“Part of the stolen funds recovered is being used by government to finance the 2017 budget.

“Power generation has peaked at an all-time high of 7,001 Megawatts in the third quarter of 2017.”

The president also disclosed that his administration was aiming at the production of 10,000 Megawatts of electricity by the year 2020.

He said the firm implementation of the Treasury Single Account since September 2015 had significantly enhanced transparency in the Federal Government’s Public Financial Management System.

Speaking at the conference, ANAN Chairman of Council, Alhaji Shehu Ladan, pledged the support of the association to the government’s economic agenda.

Ladan said, “The accountant is key. We are calling on our members to increase their integrity quotient. As an association, we are strengthening our discipline mechanism to ensure that members found wanting do not go unpunished.”

He said it was important for the government to ensure the reinvestment of the recovered stolen funds to make for quicker recovery of the economy.

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How Will the Clean Power Plan Repeal Change Carbon Emissions for Your State?


It all depends on where you live. For California, repeal won’t make much difference. For West Virginia, it could matter a lot.

When the Obama administration unveiled the Clean Power Plan in 2015, each state was given individual goals to slash power sector emissions. The aim was to shift utilities away from coal in favor of cleaner sources like natural gas, wind, solar and nuclear to help address global warming.

Even though the rule has never taken effect — it was temporarily blocked by the Supreme Court in 2016 and is now slated for repeal by the White House — dozens of states were making that shift anyway, driven by economic considerations and local clean-energy policies.

But the Obama-era regulation would have pushed a smaller handful of other states, like North Dakota and Indiana, to cut emissions more deeply than market forces alone are doing. Without the Clean Power Plan, those states may not take more forceful action on climate change.

A new analysis from the research firm Rhodium Group breaks down which states appear to be still on track to meet their Clean Power Plan targets even after repeal and which are not. Nationwide, the group projected that emissions from electricity would fall 27 to 35 percent below 2005 levels by 2030 even without the plan — but could have declined even further if the rule had gone into effect.

25 states are likely to beat their targets.










Note: Vermont, Hawaii, and Alaska were initially excluded from the Clean Power Plan.

The repeal isn’t expected to change much in the short term for these 25 states.

Many Democratic-controlled states have pledged to implement the Paris climate agreement, even as President Trump vows to abandon it, and are drafting their own policies to curtail pollution from power plants. Oregon and New York plan to retire their last coal units by 2020. California’s legislature has authorized a sweeping climate program to decarbonize not just electricity, but transportation and buildings as well.

A number of Republican-controlled states that filed lawsuits to block the Clean Power Plan are also likely to meet their targets anyway. In Oklahoma, a glut of cheap natural gas from hydraulic fracturing has displaced coal power, and wind turbines now provide a quarter of the state’s electricity.

Brian Alford, a spokesman for OG&E, a utility in Oklahoma, suggested the trends show that “the industry can achieve meaningful CO2 reductions” without a complex federal rule. But some environmentalists argue that this just shows the original plan should have been even more ambitious.

10 states may be close to hitting their targets but could miss.

The Rhodium Group analysis identified another 10 states that are reducing emissions in their power sector but might fall short of the Clean Power Plan’s original goals, depending on how technology and market forces evolve.

If, for instance, natural gas prices rise sharply in the future, existing coal plants in some states could suddenly become more competitive and run more often. (A recent proposal by the Energy Department to subsidize existing coal plants could also make a difference here.) And if the current growth in renewable energy slows unexpectedly, states like North Carolina and Maryland could end up with emissions higher than the Clean Power Plan would have required.

But, conversely, if natural gas remains cheap and the cost of wind and solar continues to fall sharply, these 10 states should hit their targets.

Ted J. Thomas, the chairman of the Arkansas Public Service commission, said that he expected Arkansas to beat the Clean Power Plan goals years ahead of the original 2030 deadline. But, he added, if the plan had remained in place and natural gas prices had risen, the state might have had to consider more “wrenching” changes to its power sector.

12 states may miss their targets.

With the Clean Power Plan repealed, 12 states may not meet the emissions goals laid out by the Obama administration. Some, like West Virginia, a coal-heavy state, would miss the targets by a large margin. Others, like Texas, are projected to just barely fall short. Those 12 states produced 40 percent of the country’s carbon emissions from power plants in 2014.

Analysts say that the Clean Power Plan would have had the biggest effect in these states, spurring utilities and state regulators to include climate policy in their decisions and potentially encouraging solar or wind to expand into regions where they are currently less prevalent.

“The C.P.P. would have forced every state to develop a power sector greenhouse-gas reduction plan, which likely would have resulted in a bunch of states opening up markets to solar in new ways — faster fossil plant retirements, renewable standards, etc.,” said Shayle Kann, head of GTM Research.

Not everyone is convinced that all of these states will miss the emissions targets. Bruce Nilles, senior director of the Beyond Coal campaign at the Sierra Club, said that Texas was currently considering the closure of another large coal plant, with more retirements possibly on the way. His group is trying to persuade utilities in the state that future climate regulations are inevitable, so they should accelerate investments in cleaner energy as a hedge.

“We think of this Rhodium Group analysis as a floor on what’s possible, not a ceiling,” Mr. Nilles said. The electricity sector is evolving so quickly, he added, that “a lot of states may end up surprising us.”



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Former President Obasanjo To Appear In Nollywood Sitcom


Nollywood star Samuel Ajibola has announced that former President Olusegun Obasanjo will star in the widely anticipated episode of Dele Issues

This special episode, titled: “Dele for President,” which is scheduled for release on YouTube on October 14, 2017, has been the talk of the town since its announcement.

The trailer combines the element of suspense and comedy as Obasanjo is seen supporting and declaring “Dele For President”, ultimately making the episode a must-watch.

Also Read: Autopsy Reveals Davido’s Friend, Tagbo Died Of Too Much Alcohol

Dele issues

Samuel Ajibola who is popularly known as Spiff in the sitcom ‘The Johnsons’ made the announcement on social networking site Instagram, he wrote;

“I’ve had this picture for Months, but I’ve been looking at this Picture for the past 3 days, knowing I was going to post it up this Morning but not knowing what to write under it as a Caption.

Then I woke up this Morning and the first song that came to me was “you raised me up so I can stand on mountains, you raised me up to walk on stormy seas, I am strong when I’m on your shoulders, you raise me up to more than I can be” And then I got it! This is it! What I’ve been looking for? My caption would revolve around the Grace of God.

To start with, Who am I? That on my very own first project as a Producer (I’m talking about the Dele Issues nonsense I’ve been disturbing you guys with every time on social media..lol) , that I would have the privilege of having a Former president of my Country (Chief Olusegun Obasanjo) feature in my own skit because of an idea I just conceived in my mind once? I meant, as at the time I thought of this idea I thought I was just being crazy, but then again I remembered a quote I’ve seen some time ago that says ” your dreams are not Big if they don’t scare you”.

Also Read: Nigerian Striker Isaac Success Arrested In UK Over Sex Dispute With 4 Prostitutes

All I did thereafter was to chase this dream and I left everything to God’s hands. Now I can confidently say that on the 14th of October on my YouTube channel ( just search “Samuel Ajibola TV” and you will see it) I would be posting the #Deleissues(special edition) skit by 12 pm. If there is any advice I can give you young guys out there, it is this.

”Please don’t be ever scared to chase your dreams that came from any crazy idea you’ve ever thought of in your head. Write it down and chase that dream with every single thing you’ve got. I mean, you’d never know…Just like me.”

 



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Da Vinci Portrait of Christ Expected to Fetch $100M at Auction



The last privately owned Leonardo da Vinci painting and one of fewer than 20 by the Renaissance artist known to still exist is hitting the auction block, Christie’s announced Tuesday.

Salvator Mundi, an ethereal portrait of Jesus Christ that dates to about 1500, is expected to sell for about $100 million at Christie’s in November, making it among the most highly valued works ever to be sold at auction.

“This is truly the Holy Grail of art rediscoveries,” said Alan Wintermute, Christie’s senior specialist for Old Master paintings, explaining that the portrait sometimes called “the male Mona Lisa” had long been thought to have been lost or destroyed.

The portrait depicts Christ in vivid blue and crimson robes holding a crystal orb.

First recorded in the private collection of King Charles I, the work was auctioned in 1763 before vanishing until 1900, by which time Christ’s face and hair had been painted over, which Wintermute said was “quite common” practice.

Sold at Sotheby’s to an American collector in 1958 for 45 pounds, it again sold in 2005 as an overpainted copy of the masterwork, he said.

The new owner started the restoration process, and after six years of research it was authenticated as da Vinci’s more than 500-year-old masterpiece, which culminated in a high-profile exhibition at London’s National Gallery in 2011.

The auction house did not identify the seller, a European private collector who acquired the work after its rediscovery in 2005 and lengthy restoration. The painting stands as the first discovery of a da Vinci painting since 1909.

Salvator Mundi will be sold at Christie’s in New York at its November 15 sale of postwar and contemporary art following public exhibitions in Hong Kong, London and San Francisco.

“We felt that offering this painting within that context is a testament to the enduring relevance of this picture,” said Loic Gouzer, chairman of Christie’s postwar and contemporary art.

Speaking to its $100 million estimate, Wintermute said, “There has never been anything like it sold, and so the market will decide.”

The same sale at Christie’s will feature Andy Warhol’s monumental Sixty Last Suppers, a piece from one of the pop artist’s final series before his death in 1987.

The 32-foot, multiple-image work is estimated to fetch $50 million.



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New timeline in Vegas shooting raises questions on police response


(Reuters) – Las Vegas police faced new questions on Tuesday about their response to this month’s mass shooting at an outdoor concert, a day after a county sheriff disclosed the gunman shot a security guard before, not after, opening fire on a concert crowd below his window at the Mandalay Bay hotel.

Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department spokesman Aden Ocampo-Gomez said the office will respond later to questions involving police response time to the shooting that killed dozens of people at an outdoor concert.

On Monday, Clark County Sheriff Joseph Lombardo disclosed that gunman Stephen Paddock shot a hotel security guard responding to a door alarm near his 32nd-floor suite six minutes before he began firing out his window. Officials initially said Paddock shot the security guard after he began raining bullets down on the crowd.

“What we have learned is (the security guard) was encountered by the suspect prior to his shooting to the outside world,” Lombardo said.

Paddock, 64, killed 58 people and injured hundreds, before fatally shooting himself as police responded. Nine days later, his motive remained a mystery.

Lombardo did not address whether the mass shooting could have been prevented based on the new timeline, but said it was unclear why Paddock stopped firing on the concert.

In an active shooter situation, response time can be as fast as three minutes, said Sid Heal, a retired Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department commander and tactical expert. He questioned why it took police so long to reach the room if hotel security immediately called them.

FILE PHOTO: An example of a bump stock that attaches to a semi-automatic rifle to increase the firing rate is seen at Good Guys Gun Shop in Orem, Utah, U.S. on October 4, 2017. REUTERS/George Frey/File Photo

“Someone needs to account for those minutes,” he said.

Nevada Lt. Governor Mark Hutchison told CNN on Tuesday that there was a lot of information to evaluate, but acknowledged that Paddock did not stop firing because of the guard, Jesus Campos, as was initially assumed.

Campos immediately alerted the hotel’s in-house security team after he was shot at 9:59 p.m., Lombardo said.

Police were not aware Campos had been shot until they met him in the hallway at 10:18 p.m., three minutes after Paddock had stopped firing on the concert. Police blew open Paddock’s hotel room door 81 minutes after the shooting started.

Protocol for Las Vegas hotels and casinos is to barricade the corridor where a shooting takes place and wait for police to arrive, said David Shepherd, a security expert who advises the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department and who ran the security team at The Venetian hotel on the Vegas Strip for eight years.

Police are trained to wait and negotiate with a shooter, rather than storm the room immediately, he said. The initial reports that night of multiple shooters at several hotels would also have confused police, he added.

“One of the biggest priorities is not to lose the life of a police officer,” Shepherd said by telephone. “So in those six minutes, it is highly unlikely police would have stormed that room.”

The president of the union that represents Campos and officials with MGM Resorts International, which owns the Mandalay Bay, could not be reached for comment.

Reporting by Tim Reid, Alex Dobuzinskis and Keith Coffman, writing by Ben Klayman



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Brazil vs Chile LIVE score and goal updates from crucial South American World Cup qualifier in Sao Paulo


Evening all

So, the final night of South American qualifying is upon us.

Brazil…well they have no worries.

Since the arrival of Tite, the Selecao have been on a roll and tonight they’ll go out in Sao Paulo and play with a swagger.

For Chile, no such luxury. La Roja know only a win guarantees a spot in Russia. A draw will see them needing results elsewhere to go in their favour.

Defeat…well that’s unthinkable.

La Roja will have to look to cause an upset without key man Arturo Vidal, with the Bayern Munich midfielder serving a suspension having picked up two yellow cards in recent qualifiers.

Bayer Leverkusen man Charles Aranguiz is a big injury doubt, meaning boss Juan Antonio Pizzi could be without his two first choice central midfielders for their biggest game of the entire qualification campaign.

Can they get through it? We’ll soon find out.

Follow all the action tonight, right here, and we’ll keep you up to date with all the goals elsewhere too.

(Image: REUTERS)



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Historic ‘masterpiece’ believed to be littered with subtle, secret rude images


Mr. and Mrs. Robert Andrews is a painting considered to be one of artist Thomas Gainsborough’s finest.

A slender gentleman, gun in hand and dog at his heel, stands next to his wife, who sits beneath a tree before a serene bit of countryside.

Gainsborough finished the work in 1748. The piece supposedly celebrates the marriage of a loving young couple. There’s a space on the woman’s lap for the addition of a child.

But there are new thoughts that the masterpiece contains a number of rude references. Was the revered artist being naughty?

Gainsborough: high-level troll?


The Telegraph reports that the piece, rather than a picture of love and pastoral joy, might be a work of subtle revenge, littered with phallic symbols and mockery.

There are thoughts that the bag sported by Mr Andrews is a different kind of sack.

Behind, meanwhile, a pair of donkeys represent the couple. The animals are tucked away to the side. There’s even a suggestion of a penis scribbled over Mrs Andrews’ lap.

Gainsborough had once been friends with the couple in the painting, but their relationship reportedly soured. And it led the artist to sneak some gentle jibes into his work.



Historian James Hamilton has written a biography on Thomas Gainsborough and thinks his famous painting should be reappraised.

“Certain signs point towards the painter’s revenge,” said James.

“Something went very wrong. Gainsborough was a randy gentleman living in a randy age. Sexual innuendo and graffiti were not foreign to him.

“A painting with such a high finish and express detail as Mr and Mrs Andrews would not have been left [partly unfinished] and delivered without a clear understanding, serious discussion or a fundamental falling out.

“It was never given a title, it was never engraved, and was put away out of the public gaze until the 20th century when all involved were long dead and whatever controversy there was forgotten.”

The painting is currently hanging at the National Gallery, where it’s lived since the ’60s.

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