Armed group blow-up another Agip facility in Rivers, demand justice

THE new militant group in Rivers State, Bayan-Men, has attacked another oil facility belonging to the Nigeria Agip Oil Company (NAOC) at Obosi area of Omoku, Ogba-Egbema-Ndoni Local Government Area.

The attack came following the expiration of the 24-hour ultimatum the group gave to Agip to address its demands.

It was gathered that the violent agitators blew up Onosi-Ogu Manifold owned by the firm at Obosi, causing an explosion that rocked the area.

A source, who spoke in confidence, said that Agip had yet to put out the fire of the last week’s attack on its facility.

The militant group, in a statement, took responsibility for the attack saying it was fighting for justice against the Omoku people.

The statement signed by its Commander, General Agaba, threatened to carry out more attacks on Agip facilities if the firm fails to directly engage the communities of Omoku.

Agaba in the statement said: “The action we carried out yesterday (Tuesday) as a result of Agip’s failure to comply with the 24 hours ultimatum we gave to them to engage our people on how to commence dealing directly with individual communities other than through individuals.

“We are not criminals, we are intellectuals. The fact is that when a man is pushed to the wall, he bounces back with double force. We are giving Agip another seven days to open windows of negotiation with the 27 communities of Omoku clan.

“This meeting will involve the chiefs of these communities, the CDC (Community Development Committee) chairmen of the Communities and the Youths Presidents of the 27 communities. That is how we want it.

“We don’t want it in anybody’s parlour, we want it at the Civic Centre where everybody will come. The reason we want to soft-pedal now is because the appeals from different quarters and our Nchaka festival that is coming up in Sunday. We don’t want anything to affect our festival.”

He regretted the interference of the military in the development, saying that the group was interested in justice for their people.

Agaba said: “We are surprised at the level of interference by the military and DSS who are in charge of the federal government facility. They are supposed to maintain law and order.

“The Federal Government had advised them (Agip) to deal with the different communities independently. Why are the security men taking side with the company?

“They come, take money and subvert justice. What we want is Justice. You can’t come to my community and take the land and leave me hungry. We have heard that Agip has sent military to put out the fire but they have not been able to do that. It is now or never.”

When contacted, the Spokesperson, Joint Task Force (JTF), Maj. Victor Olukoya, said he would only talk about the incident in his office if our correspondent could visit him.

When pressed further, he said: “The way you are trying to do your job is the way I am trying to do mine. Come to my office so that we can talk about it”.■

[Author: Mike ODIEGWU / The Nation]

Asteroid the size of Burj Khalifa heading for Earth mid-December

Designated 163899 (2003 SD220), the massive asteroid is has a diameter of approximately 791 meters. But while considered potentially hazardous, it also has potential for exploration.,

A massive asteroid, comparable in size to the tallest building on Earth, is heading for the planet in mid-December, as noted by NASA’s asteroid tracker.

Designated 163899 (2003 SD220), the massive asteroid has a diameter of approximately 791 meters, nearly half a mile long. This is nearly the size of the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, the tallest manmade structure on Earth. 

However, observations made in 2015 by the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico suggested it could be far larger, at least 2 kilometers in length, with observers comparing its shape to that of a sweet potato. 

NASA later came up with different measurements, around 1.6 kilometers, and compared its shape to that of a hippopotamus. However, current NASA estimates place the asteroid at a diameter of 791 meters.

The asteroid is set to fly past the Earth on December 17 within a distance of around 5.4 million kilometers away from the planet at a speed of 5.6 km/s. 

For comparison, the distance between the Earth and the Moon is far less than that – around 385,000 km. As such, despite being classified as a Potentially Hazardous Asteroid (PHA) due to its size and close proximity to Earth, it seems unlikely to pose a threat to the planet. In fact, NASA has declared the Earth safe from asteroid impacts for the next 100 years.

The asteroid is considered to be in the Aten-class, meaning its orbit crosses over with Earth’s orbit around the Sun, but it spends most of its time inside it.

As such, there is the theoretical chance it could one day strike the planet, but current calculations show this isn’t a concern right now.

However, there is other value in this asteroid, as it could hold the potential for being the site of a possible robotic exploration mission. Currently, no such mission is planned, but it is theoretically possible.

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory calculated data for a hypothetical exploration mission to the asteroid. According to these calculations, it would have a delta-v (a measure of various values and factors determining how difficult it would be to properly maneuver a spacecraft during takeoff and/or landing) of 9.851 km/s. For comparison, this is around the delta-v for launching a rocket into low-orbit.Asteroid exploration is a major field in astronomy, and many space agencies have expressed interest in exploring the many large objects in the solar system. In October, the United Arab Emirates announced plans for a new mission to explore asteroids, and be the first Arab nation to successfully land a spacecraft on an asteroid.

Tentatively set to launch in 2028 with a seven-year development time for the spacecraft, the mission will see the UAE explore the planet Venus, as well as seven asteroids, culminating in a planned landing on an asteroid itself in 2033 after a five-year journey.

Three nations have landed on asteroids in the past, and many see them as possible sources for future mining operations, as these asteroids can be rich in raw materials.

Regardless of the potential though, many are also rightly worried about the dangers of near-Earth asteroids, as impacts can be devastating and humanity currently lacks an adequate means of defending against them.

One method for possibly stopping the impact of an asteroid is through the use of deflection, which would mean launching something to slightly alter its path.In layman’s terms, it means punching an asteroid with a rocket with enough speed to change its direction by a fraction of a percent.

The most prominent of these efforts is the Double Asteroid Redirect.ion Test (DART) Mission, set to be launched in November, the result of efforts by NASA and the Applied Physics Laboratory.

However, other measures have also been considered – such as disruption, meaning destroying the asteroid, but at this time – these remain hypothetical.■

[Author: Aaron REICH / The Jerusalem Post]

Israel tech makes Time’s list of 100 best inventions of 2021

PERCEPTO, based in Modi’in, was listed in the Artificial Intelligence category for its software that enables drones and robots to automate inspections, emergency response and security.

Time magazine’s annual list of the 100 best inventions of the year, released this week, included a number of Israeli-developed technologies.

Percepto, based in Modi’in, was listed in the Artificial Intelligence category for its software that enables drones and robots to automate inspections, emergency response and security.

The company’s solution allows critical infrastructure and industrial facilities to monitor sites remotely and without a human operator to prevent serious failures, respond quickly to disasters, and enable business continuity. The company also makes Sparrow, the most deployed drone-in-a-box solution on the market.

“It is truly an honor to receive this award from Time, a great and respected media brand for nearly a hundred years,” said Percepto CEO Dor Abuhasira.

“Percepto created a new paradigm for industrial facility inspection by integrating AI and autonomous robot management with advanced visual data analysis. Being on this list is a testament to this accomplishment, and we thank the editors and staff at Time for this recognition.”

In the transportation category, ElectReon was selected for its system to charge electric vehicles wirelessly using electrical fields generated by coils under the asphalt roads. This reduces the size of batteries required in vehicles, reducing their weight and cost, and enabling an almost unlimited driving range as it obviates the need for infrastructure for charging stations and gas stations.

The company is currently working on various pre-commercial projects in Germany, Italy, Sweden and Israel, and intends to expand to North American markets soon.

“It is a great honor to be included in Time magazine’s prestigious list of inventions,” said CEO Oren Ezer.”

We are working to spread the word about wireless charging technology and electric roads, to make them more central over time for fleet operators and public transportation and even for private vehicles.

This announcement and the rise in awareness of the issue of reducing emissions illustrate the great potential of technology.”

In the accessibility category, OrCam’s Read uses computer vision and artificial intelligence to read any piece of text aloud, helping tens of millions of people who struggle with comprehension difficulties, poor vision, dyslexia or other issues. The device, priced at $1,990, can read text in multiple languages and respond to voice commands.

OrCam, which develops multiple products for people with vision impairment, was founded by Amnon Shashua and Ziv Aviram, who also founded autonomous-driving technology giant Mobileye.

Finally, under sustainability, Afula-based SupPlant was included for its sensor-less solution to collect and analyze climatic, plant and irrigation data to guide farmers with low-cost irrigation recommendations, weather forecast and crop stress alerts, as well as AI-enabled agronomic guidance to make smallholders more resilient to climate change.

The company intends to serve at least two million smallholders across Africa and India by 2022, the company has said. Last month, it provided access to 500,000 maize farmers – mostly women living in Bungoma and Busia – to technology that will help them avoid crop failures.

Time’s annual list highlights inventions “that are making the world better, smarter and a bit more fun,” with products nominated by its editors and writers, and through an online application process.■

[Author: Zev STUB / The Jerusalem Post]

U.S Secretary of State to visit Kenya, Nigeria & Senegal

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken will travel to Kenya, Nigeria, and Senegal next week. It is the first time the highest-ranking official from the Biden administration will be visiting sub-Saharan Africa.

Blinken’s meeting with Kenya’s Uhuru Kenyatta, Muhammadou Buhari of Nigeria, and Senegal’s Macky Sall will centre on economic cooperation, security, and COVID-19.

What specific issues would you expect these leaders to prioritize as they meet next week?■


Barcelona perform Dani Alves U-turn after Xavi requests signing of his former team-mate

Daniel Alves

Barcelona have performed a U-turn regarding the possible return to Camp Nou for Dani Alves, with GOAL able to confirm that a deal for the veteran defender is now close.

It appeared at one stage as though the prospect of bringing the 38-year-old backto the Blaugrana would be passed up, with the Liga giants exploring other recruitment options.

New head coach Xavi is however eager to be reunited with his former team-mate and has requested an agreement with the Brazil international be reached.

Alves left the door open for Barca to make their move when telling Sport in October that he would be willing to listen to offers.

He said: “It would sound very opportunistic to say that Barca need me now. I always said that I left because I saw things were not the way I thought they should be.

“You never want to see everything that [has] ended up happening since I left. I’ve said that when Barca need me and want me, I would be at their disposal regardless of where I am. The affection, love and respect I have for this club is too much.

“If Barca think they need me, they just have to call me. I still think I can contribute anywhere, but more at Barca because of the number of young players that they have now.”

Ronald Koeman was still in charge at that time, with Alves ay Camp Nou to watch the Champions League clash with Dynamo Kyiv.

Xavi inherited a squad from Koeman that already includes right-back options such as Sergino Dest and Sergi Roberto.

Barca have however been struggling for consistency and another experienced head alongside Gerard Pique, Jordi Alba and Marc-Andre ter Stegen would not go amiss.

Alves is also a financially sound addition for a club that has racked up some eye-watering debts and is finding it difficult to generate funds for big-money transfers.

The South American has been available as a free agent since severing ties with Sao Paulo in September.

He will need time in which to get up to full speed, but he is already well versed in the demands of life at Camp Nou.■

[Courtesy: The Football King]

Messi Hints At Barcelona Return

Lionel Messi

PARIS Saint-Germain star forward Lionel Messi has hinted on a potential return to Barcelona at some point.

Messi took centre stage in the media over the latter weeks of the summer transfer window.

This came with the 34-year-old having been forced to end his chapter at Barcelona and instead seek out a new club.

Just hours after it was suggested that Messi was on the verge of putting pen to paper on a new deal at the Camp Nou, the Blaugrana released a statement, confirming the departure of their greatest ever player.

However, the early weeks of Messi’s career at PSG have since proven something of a mixed bag, but impressing in the Champions League with three goals in three games.

On the domestic front, though, the South American is yet to open his account in Ligue 1, and was hauled off at the interval in PSG’s meeting with Lille this past Friday.

And speaking during an interview with Diario Sport this weekend, it should come as little surprise to hear that Messi was drawn on the possibility of one day returning to the Camp Nou.

Messi, told Diario Sport: “Yes. I’ve always said it that I would love to be able to help the club & be useful in whatever I can. I’d love to be a technical secretary at some point. I don’t know if it’s going to be at Barcelona, or not.

“If there is the possibility, I would like to contribute again in what I can because it is the club I love and I’d love to see the club be good, to continue to grow and to remain one of the best in the world.”■

[Courtesy: Complete Sports]

Okocha, Ronaldinho Are World Class Players -Pochettino

Ronaldinho & Jay Jay Okocha

PARIS Saint Germain manager, Mauricio Pochettino has described former Super Eagles midfielder, Austin Okocha and former Brazilian star, Ronaldinho as world class players during their playing days.

Recall that Okocha and Pochettino were teammates at PSG between 2001 and 2002, where the Nigerian icon played 84 games for the Ligue 1 giants scored 12 goals.

However, in a interview with Ligue 1, Pochettino said that it would be difficult to compare the likes of Lionel Messi and Kylian Mbappe with Okocha and Ronaldinho.

“We are talking about the best players in the world,” Pochettino added.

“It is difficult to compare because… I hate to compare the players because we are talking about the best players in the world, and 20 years ago of course this with Okocha, Ronaldinho, Anelka…”

“Many players that were amazing. And now we are talking about Neymar, Mbappé, Messi… you cannot go higher than this level of player,” he concluded. ■

[Courtesy: Complete Sports]

“The Price for our Sovereignty is Greater than any Individual or Business” – RSM Eze Samuel

Biafran National Guard ‘RSM’ Eze Samuel

IN a chat with Kamalu Iroegbulam of SUNBIGHT MEDIA, Regimental Sergeant Major of the Biafran National Guard, Eze Samuel, described as an effort of ridicule but in reality a useless action, the ABN TV interview to the manager of Benkama filling station located at Amaekpu- Ohafia.

According to him, the Head of BNG was ready to pay for what he collected in the pet store of the filling station but the manager and his staff were too frightened and even ran away.

“We disarmed the security men at the filling station because the Biafra Armed Forces has not yet approved any vigilante group or private security company in any  town, borders, boundaries and territories of Biafra.”

RSM Eze Samuel said the priority of any right thinking human being at the moment should be the unconditional acquittal and release of Biafran prisoners of conscience imprisoned for over fifteen (15) years in the Onitsha and Awka prisons.

These innocent men and women unjustly imprisoned for exercising the Right to Self-determination includes: Mrs. Onyekachi Orji, Miss Okwudiri Bassey, Uche Idikaigbo, Michael Okezie, Uchenna Nicholas, Peter Igbokwe, Ikechukwu Aghara, Chima Asor and Chinweike Irondi.

Others are Sabastine Amadi, Casmir Odakara, Ojemba Anyanwu, Eni Kalu, Ndubuisi Okam, Ikechukwu Chikwem, Emmanuel Orji, Chukwuma Kalu, Chidiebere Chikwem and Mmaduabuchi Asika. Including Mazi Nnamdi Kanu and Benjamin Onwuka.

“We will not apologise for  whatever action that we have taken to get on with the self-defence of our borders, boundaries and territories because the price for our Sovereignty which includes laying down our lives is greater than  any Individual or Business”

“The Biafran National Guard is mandated by United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, article 32.1 which states that “Indigenous peoples have the right to determine and develop priorities and strategies for the development or use of their lands or territories and other resources, he concluded. ■