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Weak Dollar slashes Oil Price to $55

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After the early slide, crude oil prices rebounded Thursday as dollar weakness and signs of production cuts by the world’s top crude exporter, Saudi Arabia, eased concerns about excess supply in the global market. The dollar was said to have added support as it slipped against a basket of currencies, making dollar-denominated oil cheaper for holders of other currencies.

Before yesterday’s swing in oil prices, President Donald Trump, on Wednesday took credit for driving down oil prices, saying the drop amounted to a tax cut for Americans.

“People see that gasoline (petrol) is way down and the reason it’s way down is that I called up some of the OPEC people,” Trump reportedly told reporters.

“I made calls, I said you better let that oil, that gasoline flow, and they did,” he added.

However, despite Trump’s intervention, the price of international benchmark crude, Brent crude futures rose by 94 cents at $55.85 per barrel, while the United States US West Texas Intermediate oil futures rose 65 cents to $47.19 a barrel.

The Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), led by Saudi Arabia, alongside other producers led by Russia, agreed last year to rein in supplies starting from January after oil tumbled from above $86 on worries about surging output.

Before OPEC and other producers took a decision to lower output, Trump had made it clear that he did not want oil prices to rise.

Many analysts had thought Saudi Arabia was coming under US pressure to resist calls from other OPEC members for lower crude output.

Trump had praised Saudi Arabia for helping to lower oil prices as pressure intensified to impose tougher sanctions on the Middle East ally following the murder of Saudi journalist, Jamal Khashoggi.

In a tweet when oil price was $63, Trump had thanked Riyadh for the drop and called for prices to go even lower, likening it to “a big tax cut” that could boost the United States and global economies.

The swing in the oil price, which fell as much as two per cent in earlier trade, mirrored volatility in other markets after tech giant, Apple, cut its sales forecast, citing a slowdown in China.

This has added to concerns about a slowing global economy, which weighs on prospects for oil demand.

More broadly, oil markets have been sliding with rising production from top producers, the United States and Russia.

Supply from Iraq, the second biggest producer in OPEC, has also climbed, with December 2018 exports at 3.73 million bpd versus 3.37 million bpd in November.

Both Brent and US crude was down more than a third in the last quarter of 2018, the steepest decline since the fourth quarter of 2014.

However, for most of 2018, oil prices were on the rise, driven up by healthy demand and supply concerns, especially around the impact of renewed US sanctions against major producer Iran, which were introduced in early November.

Brent rose by almost a third between January and October 2018, to a high of $86.74 per barrel, the highest level since late 2014, the start of a deep market slump amid a bulging global oversupply.

Many leading analysts and traders at the time said they expected crude to hit $100 per barrel again by the end of 2018. Instead, Brent prices have wiped out all of 2018’s gains, plunging by almost 40 per cent from the $86 year’s high, in what has been one of the steepest oil market sell-offs of the past decades.

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Politics

A Nigerian heads the United Nations (UN) General Assembly

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Professor Tijjani Mohammad Bande is the new President of the United Nations (UN) General Assembly.

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Outgoing president of the UN GA, María Fernanda Espinosa Garcés disclosed this today in a joint media briefing with the Foreign Affairs minister, Geoffrey Onyeama at the State House.

The announcement was made after a meeting with President Muhammad Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

Daily Trust reports that Bande, is the permanent representative of Nigeria to UN.

Bande, a former director-general of the National Institute of Policy and Strategic Studies, Kuru, Plateau State was born at Zagga in present day Kebbi State.

He holds a M.A in Political Science from the Boston University, Boston, Massachusetts, USA in 1981 and a PhD in Political Science from the University of Toronto, Canada in 1987.

He was the Vice-Chancellor Usman Danfodiyo University, Sokoto, bewtwen 2004 and 2009.

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Meghan Markle and Prince Harry are the proud parents of a baby boy

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The royal couple announced the happy news like many parents all over the world — on Instagram.

They shared their happiness of their newborn on @SussexRoyal, their new Instagram account that they launched on April 2.

The name of the baby boy will be announced in due course.

In the caption, the proud parents wrote: “We are pleased to announce that Their Royal Highnesses The Duke and Duchess of Sussex welcomed their firstborn child in the early morning on May 6th, 2019. Their Royal Highnesses’ son weighs 7lbs. 3oz.

“The Duchess and baby are both healthy and well, and the couple thank members of the public for their shared excitement and support during this very special time in their lives. More details will be shared in the forthcoming days.”

The royal couple previously announced that they are keeping the plans around the arrival of their baby private, which means royal fans should not expect for Meghan to pose on the steps of a hospital like Kate Middleton did after the birth of each of her three children.

However, royal fans will get to see the happy couple with their new baby soon after the birth. Within a few days after welcoming their first child, Meghan and Harry will take part in a photo op with their new baby on the grounds of Windsor Castle.

The royal baby is the seventh in line of succession after Prince Charles, Prince William, Prince George, Princess Charlotte, Prince Louis and Prince Harry.

The couple is expected to take their baby home to nearby Windsor. Harry and Meghan left their home at Kensington Palace earlier this month and moved into Frogmore Cottage just weeks before the arrival of their first child.

Meghan kept up a busy schedule throughout her pregnancy. She announced her royal patronages in January, which was followed by several visits to key charities. She also embarked on a royal tour of Morocco with Harry in late February — just days after her stateside baby shower with close friends in New York City.

The birth of the royal baby follows a whirlwind year for Meghan and Harry, which saw them tie the knot in a fairy tale royal wedding in May, announce their pregnancy news in October and then take on their first major royal tour together Down Under.

Harry and Meghan’s joint Instagram account was the first step in their transition to a new office after breaking up their joint “court” with Kate Middleton and Prince William.

With all there pressures that come with bringing a baby into the world, Meghan and Harry are resolved to build a sanctuary for their little family in their new cottage home in Windsor.

“This is a very happy time for Meghan and Harry,” says a source. “This baby has brought them even closer.“

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How We Produced Best A-Level Results in UK – Dayo Olukoshi

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In this interview, the Nigerian principal whose school produced the best 2018 A-level results in the UK, Dr Dayo Olukoshi, and who was also honoured by the Queen, told us how his school made it happen – and why it can happen even in Nigeria.

Do you remember how you received the news that over 100 of your students obtained straight As in this year’s A-Level?
I was of course very delighted but not surprised. We have a robust tracking system in place in our school to monitor the progress of our students and act swiftly on any indications of underachievement or underperformance in relation to targets.

Brampton Manor Academy has produced many students who went on to Oxford. More are going there this year. What is the school doing differently?
At Brampton Manor, there are no gimmicks. We focus strongly on getting the basics right: consistently good quality teaching; ambition; excellent attendance and hard work. Our school motto ‘success through effort and determination’ sums up our approach here at Brampton.

This year 20 students gained places at Oxford and Cambridge universities, with many more securing places at world class universities like Imperial College, London School of Economics (LSE), Durham University and St Andrew’s University to name a few. We believe very strongly that there is no ceiling to what our students can achieve.

How do you keep teachers motivated and committed to their job at BMA?
Our teachers get a lot of job satisfaction and motivation from seeing the fruits of their hard work translate into life-changing outcomes for the students they are privileged to educate.

When we recruit teachers, we are looking for people that share our missionary zeal – life changers! We eliminate unnecessary bureaucracy and empower our staff to take risks and innovate in their classrooms.

Learning is fun and enjoyable and our teachers do their utmost to make sure that every hour they spend with their children is purposeful and impactful.

Apart from having committed teachers and hard-working students, what other factors have contributed to the school’s the academic success over the years?
At Brampton Manor, we have a shared vision and a common purpose. Although we are located in a deprived part of the country, we believe that so-economic disadvantage must never be allowed to be a barrier to our students’ academic and social achievements.

So, we have a culture of high expectations here at Brampton and you will never find a teacher here at Brampton say to a student that they can’t achieve their dreams.

In return, the students are motivated by the belief of the staff in their potential to achieve great things and as school leaders, we tap into this by creating an enabling environment in which dreams translate into reality.

What specific lessons can other schools, especially those in less privileged areas/parts of the world, learn from Brampton Manor Academy’s success story?

There are no secrets or short-cuts to success: you need good quality and passionate teachers. An education system can never be better than the quality of its instructors/teachers.

“We believe very strongly that there is no ceiling to what our students can achieve.”

The quality and standard of education in Nigeria continue to be a source of concern. What do you think could be done to improve them in Nigeria?
I was quite fortunate to receive good quality education during my secondary school education in Nigeria at Federal Government College Sokoto under the excellent leadership of the Principal, Mr. Harwood and the subsequent Principals (Mr. Adigwe and Mr. Ajepe).

The teachers were first rate: very well qualified in their subjects and they had a strong passion for teaching and our wellbeing. We also had excellent teaching and non-teaching resources to ensure that we developed into well-rounded individuals. We need to go back to that era in Nigeria.

When you meet Nigerian parents sending their children to schools abroad (in the UK, and elsewhere), how do you feel, especially because Brampton Manor is a public school?
I think this is a matter of personal choice for each parent. Schools shouldn’t just be about results (important though they are) but about a nurturing environment that would enable each child to grow up into confident and well-rounded individuals prepared for the world of work.

So, my advice will be that parents should schools (fee paying or not) that they believe will best meet the individual needs of their children.

Tell us how you got to work in Brampton
I joined Brampton Manor as the Principal/headteacher in 2008, having previously worked as a teacher and senior leader in various UK schools since 1992.

What sort of challenges have you faced over the years and how did you overcome them?
I consider every challenge I have faced as an opportunity to excel rather than an obstacle to overcome. A single-mined focus on the end goal is always helpful in overcoming challenges.

Have you been faced with racism?
Of course I have encountered racism (both direct and indirect) but you must never allow bigots to define who you are or alter your destiny.

How do you stay focused especially when you find yourself in difficult, racially-charged situations at work?
To lose focus is to hand victory to bigots! A person with clear mission and purpose cannot and must not allow themselves to be deflected by the ‘noise’ of a tiny minority of petty-minded individuals.

Having said that, I must say that the UK and London in particular is such a racially diverse community and the harmony that exists between the different groups (whilst not perfect) is still worthy of celebration.

Have you ever considered coming back home to teach?
At Brampton Manor, a significant portion of our students are from Nigeria and other African/Caribbean countries, so in a way, I feel like I am at home already. I am a man whose paths are led by God and where He sends me, I will go without question or hesitation.

Do you belong to any network of Nigerians in diaspora?
Not as such – I attend KICC church though and enjoy the inspiring and motivational teachings of Pastor Ashimolowo.

How do you stay in touch with home (Nigeria)?
I still have a lot of family in Nigeria who I am in touch with regularly.

You’re one of those the Queen will decorate with MBE. What does that mean to you?
Actually, I was awarded an OBE (Most Excellent Order of the British Empire), which is a higher honour than the MBE by Prince Charles on behalf of the Queen on my birthday! The OBE was for ‘services to education’.

Although the honour was given to me, it really is for all the staff that have worked tirelessly over the years to help make a difference to the lives of our young people.

How do you balance work with family?
Now, that’s an area that I still need to work harder on. I am fortunate to have the support of a strong leadership team, to whom I am able to delegate a lot of responsibilities.

I also enjoy the steadfast and unalloyed support of my beautiful wife (Sola), which makes so much easier for me to achieve a better balance. I think my scorecard in this area will read ‘can do better’.

What is your biggest concern about the state of education in Nigeria?
There is no question that Nigerians are talented, hardworking and intelligent people and we are currently operating significantly below our capacity and potential. Education must be prioritized, otherwise, we risk condemning generations of our young people to a life of underachievement and failure.

What do you think can be done to change the course?
We need committed leadership and a re-orientation of the populace. Nigeria is our country and home and we have no other.

No one can make Nigeria better other than Nigerians! In order to change course, we first need to recognize the status quo isn’t acceptable and this isn’t just a matter for the government!

It’s been reported in some circles that CNN and Sky did not report/or under-reported your school’s achievement. Is that correct – and you think there’s a racial motive, if it’s true?

I am not aware of this and even if it is true, I am not bothered. We don’t do what we do here at Brampton Manor for media and public acclaim.

Speaking personally, my confidence and trust is not in man, but in God. As far as I know, the news of the school’s success was reported by the BBC, Voice Newspaper and Huffington Post amongst others.

Is any of your children interested in becoming a teacher?
I don’t know yet – I simply commit them into the hands of God and ask Him to direct their paths. However, I cannot think of a more rewarding profession to be paid to do what you enjoy!

There appears to be an upsurge of Nigerian professionals migrating abroad. Do you think the trend would be reversed anytime soon?
There are many talented and excellent Nigerians occupying prominent positions in virtually every sphere of human endeavor all over the world. These Nigerians are making a difference that goes well beyond their current place of abode/residence.

It also the case that a number of professionals are migrating in order to be able to upskill themselves better and practice their craft more effectively.

I am sure that as Nigeria becomes a more enabling environment for such people, the trend will be reversed. There is hope for our beloved country and I am confident that Nigeria will one day become the envy of the whole world.

What is your next goal?
As the Lord leads me.

Source: theinterview.ng

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Politics

Comedian becomes Ukraine’s president

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Volodymyr Zelensky, a comedian with no political experience won a landslide victory in Ukraine’s presidential election Sunday, exit polls showed, dealing a stunning rebuke to the country’s political establishment.

Volodymyr Zelensky

Zelensky whose only previous political role was playing the president on television, trounced incumbent Petro Poroshenko by taking 73 percent of the vote, according to exit polls conducted by several think tanks.

Poroshenko, who lost to the television star across all regions of the country, including in the west where he traditionally enjoyed strong support, has already called Zelensky to congratulate him.

In a series of tweets, he also said he would not quit politics yet.

“Never give up…. Never, never, never… Neither in the big nor in the small, nor in the a significant, nor in the shallow… Never give up if that doesn’t contradict honour and common sense.

“Already next month I will leave the post of head of state. So the majority of Ukrainians decided, and I perceive this decision. I will go from the office of President. But I do not go out of politics. Firmly want to declare and explain why.

“Our team will defend our course for the European Union and NATO membership. Because only in the world’s strongest collective security system, we can receive reliable protection from Russia, guarantee the independence of the country and the safety of citizens.

“Our team will be protecting visa-free. Our team will protect our army from mid-country attacks, from any attempts to diminish the historical significance of its exploit. Our team will protect the Ukrainian language. If the next week’s board adopts the law on language, I will definitely sign it.”

The election was an extraordinary outcome to a campaign that started as a joke but struck a chord with voters frustrated by poverty, corruption and a five-year war that has claimed some 13,000 lives.

The 41-year-old star of TV series “Servant of the People” will now take the helm of a country of 45 million people beset by challenges and having run on the vaguest of political platforms.

After taking the most votes in last month’s first-round election, Zelensky had enjoyed a strong lead over the 53-year-old Poroshenko going into Sunday’s poll.

Voting earlier in the capital Kiev, the beaming frontrunner had said his campaign managed to bring Ukrainians together.

“We have united Ukraine,” he said, wearing a casual suit with a t-shirt and accompanied by his wife. “Everything will be all right.”

Sparkling wine was on offer at his campaign headquarters as the star’s team prepared to toast his victory on Palm Sunday, a week before Orthodox Easter.

Preliminary results were expected in several hours but the same exit polls were accurate in the first round.

From Ukrainian-speaking regions in the west of the country to Russian-speaking territories in the war-torn east, many voters said they feared uncertainty but yearned for change.

“We’re tired of all the lies,” said Marta Semenyuk, 26, who cast her ballot for the comedian.

“I think it just cannot get any worse and I hope he’ll live up to his promises,” said Larisa, an 18-year-old student from the government-held eastern port city of Mariupol.

Zelensky’s victory opens a new chapter in the history of a country that has gone through two popular uprisings in the last 20 years and is mired in a conflict with Moscow-backed separatists in the east.

His supporters say only a fresh face can clean up Ukraine’s politics and end the separatist conflict.

But others doubt the showman will be able to take on the country’s influential oligarchs, negotiate with the likes of German Chancellor Angela Merkel and stand up to Russia’s Vladimir Putin.

“People have gone mad,” Viktoriya Olomutska, a 39-year-old Poroshenko supporter, said in Kiev. “Cinema and reality are two different things.”

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