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Wizkid Breaks a New Record on Spotify

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Afropop star, Ayodeji Balogun aka Wizkid has become the first African artist to hit eight million monthly streams on Spotify. Spotify is an online, music streaming platform that pays royalties based on the number of artists streams as a proportion of total songs streamed.


The streaming records revealed Wizkid’s popularity on the platform on Monday.

The previous record was held by Congolese rapper and singer, Maitre Gims. He had seven million monthly listeners.

This win follows Wizkid’s recent collaboration with DJ Spinall and Tiwa Savage on ‘Dis Love’.
The singer also featured on ‘Like,’ a new single by British-Ghanaian rapper and singer, Kojo Funds.

The music star is also the first African artist to walk the runway at a Dolce and Gabbana fashion show while his music `Soco’ played at the background.

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Travel & Tourism

Uber hopes to expand its bus system to Lagos

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Uber is hoping to expand its imprint on public transportation in Africa’s largest city.

The ride-hailing firm is working on plans to help develop a bus system for Lagos, a gridlocked metropolis with over 20 million people. Company representatives have met with transport officials from the city, toured the terminals of the newly-launched smart city buses, and discussed plans for collaboration, Uber’s general manager for sub-Saharan Africa Alon Lits confirmed to Quartz Africa on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Cape Town.

In June, Uber’s chief business officer Brook Entwistle visited the city and met with the Lagos state governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu. Any plans would require full approval and collaboration by the state government which is known for its proclivity for bureaucratic control.

The moves are indicative of Uber’s plan to become the “Amazon” for transportation and tap into riders’ preferred mobility options. It’s also part of a strategy to add into its array of locally-popular forms of motorized transport, given the roll-out of boda-boda motorcycles in cities like Kampala, three-wheeled tuk-tuks in Dar es Salaam, or quick-trip, low-cost options on fuel-efficient vehicles in Nairobi. The e-hailing firm has also been partnering with transit agencies in cities to expand transportation access, decrease car ownership, and reduce congestion.

The bus options offer a “huge opportunity,” Lits said, given millions of people across the continent use them to move on a daily basis. In Lagos, about 80% of total daily passenger trips as of 2015 were made by public transport dominated by buses.

One option Uber could consider for the city is to offer real-time transit information and cashless ticketing on the Lagos Bus Services, allowing riders to plan their journeys and buy tickets. Traffic is a major challenge in Lagos with inadequate traffic guidance, bad roads, and unruly drivers making it all the worse. The city also does not yet have a modern light railway system for regular commuters though it is building one.

“I think the bus will prove to be a game-changer for Lagos and is obviously very much needed,” Lits said. He also added city officials were “excited” by the prospects of partnership. “It is a longer-term engagement but it is something we are willing to do and I think grateful for the willingness on the other side.”

The ride-hailing giant has launched similar experiments in cities including Denver, where commuters can buy, book and pay for bus and train rides using an in-app ticketing service

Six years after launching in Africa, Uber has been constantly adapting its business models to the needs of local markets amid competition from rivals. For example, African cities, led by Nairobi and Lagos, played a key role in driving Uber’s global strategy around cash. Last December, the San Francisco-based company launched its first bus service globally in Cairo: another traffic-clogged city where local firm SWVL was already using technology to help customers reserve seats on clean, air-conditioned, and high-quality buses.

After raising about $80 million in the past two years, SWVL has now expanded to Kenya and Pakistan and is looking to move into Nigeria, South Africa, and Côte d’Ivoire, chief executive Mostafa Kandil recently told Quartz. In Kenya, Safaricom-backed Little also launched a bus service to bring order to the unruly public matatu buses.”

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Travel & Tourism

Nigerians to pay more for US visa

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The U.S. government has announced that it is imposing a ‘reciprocity fee’ on Nigerians seeking to travel to the United States. The new fee will only apply to Nigerians whose visa request has been approved.

The announcement was made in a statement by the U.S. Embassy in Abuja. The new fee ranges from $80 to $110 (28,8000 to N39,600) depending on the type of visa being applied for.

“The reciprocity fee will be charged in addition to the nonimmigrant visa application fee, also known as the MRV fee, which all applicants pay at the time of application,” the embassy said.

The embassy added that the fee was being imposed to reciprocate a similar one by the Nigerian government on Americans seeking to travel to Nigeria.

“U.S. law requires U.S. visa fees and validity periods to be based on the treatment afforded to U.S. citizens by foreign governments, insofar as possible.”

The U.S. is a major destination for thousands of Nigerians who travel annually for various reasons including education, leisure, and work.

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Movies Review

Disney’s ‘The Lion King’ crosses billion-dollar mark in less than 3 weeks

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Disney’s ‘The Lion King’ has crossed the billion-dollar mark after less than 3 weeks in theaters.

The Lion King

News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the live-action remake of the 1994 movie features Beyonce, Donald Glover and Chiwetel Ejiofor in lead roles.

The movie joins ‘Avengers: Endgame’, ‘Captain Marvel’ and ‘Aladdin’ as the fourth Disney title to surpass one billion dollars in global ticket sales in 2019.

With its blockbuster slate, Disney has nearly 38 percent of the domestic market share, a cut that increases to more than 40 percent when Fox, which it just purchased, is added.

‘The Lion King’ earned 361 million dollars at the domestic box office and 638 million dollars overseas.

Outside of North America, it had especially strong showings in China with 115 million dollars, along with the United Kingdom with 48 million dollars and Brazil with 44 million dollars.

The movie also stars Billy Eichner and Seth Rogen as Timon and Pumbaa. James Earl Jones reprised his role as Mufasa from the original animated film.

The milestone comes on the heels of another Disney benchmark. Between July 26 and July 28, the company set a new all-time record for global ticket sales for a single studio.

Disney hit 7.67 billion dollars worldwide, smashing the mark it previously set in 2016 with 7.61 billion dollars.

Disney set a new record in 2016 with four films that grossed over 1 billion dollars. In the coming months, Disney will release ‘Frozen 2′, a ‘Maleficent’ sequel and ‘Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker’.
(NAN)

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Relationships

Most marriages in Nigeria are illegal – Minister

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Most marriages conducted in religious houses in Nigeria could be deemed illegal as the Federal Government has disclosed that most worship centres conducting marriages in the country lack the license to do so under the statutory Marriage Act.

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Interior, Barr. Georgina E. Ehuriah stated this Wednesday in Abuja while speaking at a one-day stakeholders’ conference on conduct of statutory marriages in accordance with the Marriage Act cap, M6, LFN 2004 as amended.

“At present, only about 4, 689 licensed places of worship in Nigeria have updated their records with the Ministry of Interior, of which only 314 have renewed their licenses.

“The implication of this is that marriages conducted in unlicensed places of worship are not in line with the Marriage Act and cannot serve legal purposes when the need arises, and such unlicensed places of worship are operating contrary to Section 6(1) of the Marriage Act,” she said.

According to her, the decision to organize the stakeholders’ conference was necessitated by the ministry’s experience in the discharge of its duties “which pointed to the fact that there are extant issues which require the joint attention of key stakeholders”.

She added that while the ministry was already building a database of all statutory marriages conducted in Nigeria, it had also developed a database of all places of worship licensed for celebration of marriages, urging stakeholders to take advantage of the Conference to discuss the major challenges they face in complying with the provisions of the Act.

The Permanent Secretary said she had already put in place machinery to kick start the process for the amendment of the Marriage Act to adequately meet the needs of citizens in the 21st century. “Also, arrangements are on-going to give couples whose certificates were not issued in line with the Act the opportunity to bring them to conformity”.

Earlier, Director, Citizenship and Business in the ministry, Mr. Stephen Okon had said the conference was scheduled to hold in three major cities across the geo-political zones, adding that it would provide an avenue to educate the public and create awareness on the key requirements of the Marriage Act while also drawing the attention of stakeholders and the general public to the consequences of non-compliance with the Marriage Act.

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