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Ebonyi APC raises alarm over 10 violent attacks on members in 8 days

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Eze at the middle welcomes VP Yemi Osinbajo in his office


The Ebonyi State APC  chairman, Pastor Eze Nwachukwu Eze has raised the alarm, calling on the Nigerian security agencies to safeguard the lives of the members and supporters of the party.

The call became pertinent after 10 violent and criminal attacks on the members and supporters of the party within eight days by known PDP members and appointees of the government.

Eze addressed the media on these incidents and called for better measures by the security system to live up to their expectation and ensure that the vow of the state government to crush and grind any position that would make them lose is not implemented.

He listed the carnages to include

  1. Izzi attacks and killing that left one dead and over 32 houses burnt down by thugs of the PDP sponsored by a senior legislator from Izzi.
  2. Attack to disrupt the APC rally at Ebonyi LGA
  3. Attack on Prince Nweze Onu, the APC  senatorial candidate by a notable PDP leader whose names had been reported in the news.
  4. Attacks at Onicha to stop the APC rally
  5. Attacks on APC members in Okposi to stop rally led by a notorious thug of the party who came with over 150 others
  6. Attacks and destruction of APC office in Ohaozara
  7. Attacks and demolition of 2 APC campaign cars in Etiti Edda at the night of February 12 after the campaign rally at Edda
  8. Attacks on an APC  member at Ekoli Edda at the evening of the postponed presidential election – attacker a known PDP thugs linked top other attacks
  9. Attacks on the home of APC zonal publicity secretary, Chris Nnanna Ogba in Ezzama, Ezza South on the night of February 16 and injury to his aged grandmother – leader of attackers a known PDP member in the council and appointee of the government.

Eze stated that all these incidents are already reported to the police, and called on the Ebonyi police to expeditiously handle the matter and ensure the prosecution of the accused persons.

He also assured the party members and supporters in the state not to despair as all lawful measures would be taken to checkmate the incidents. u

Airbus set to scrap production of the world’s largest airliner

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Europe’s Airbus announced plans to scrap production of the world’s largest airliner on Thursday, abandoning its A380 superjumbo program in favor of smaller, more nimble jets.

In a statement published on Thursday, Airbus said the last A380 will be delivered in 2021.

The decision comes after Emirates — the largest A380 customer — decided to cut back its orders of the iconic aircraft and order a total of 70 of the smaller A350 and A330neo models instead.

“As a result of this decision we have no substantial A380 backlog and hence no basis to sustain production, despite all our sales efforts with other airlines in recent years. This leads to the end of A380 deliveries in 2021,” Airbus CEO Tom Enders said in a statement on Thursday.

Europe’s Airbus announced plans to scrap production of the world’s largest airliner on Thursday, abandoning its A380 superjumbo program in favor of smaller, more nimble jets.

In a statement published on Thursday, Airbus said the last A380 will be delivered in 2021.

The decision comes after Emirates — the largest A380 customer — decided to cut back its orders of the iconic aircraft and order a total of 70 of the smaller A350 and A330neo models instead.

“As a result of this decision we have no substantial A380 backlog and hence no basis to sustain production, despite all our sales efforts with other airlines in recent years. This leads to the end of A380 deliveries in 2021,” Airbus CEO Tom Enders said in a statement on Thursday.

Europe’s Airbus announced plans to scrap production of the world’s largest airliner on Thursday, abandoning its A380 superjumbo program in favor of smaller, more nimble jets.

In a statement published on Thursday, Airbus said the last A380 will be delivered in 2021.

The decision comes after Emirates — the largest A380 customer — decided to cut back its orders of the iconic aircraft and order a total of 70 of the smaller A350 and A330neo models instead.

“As a result of this decision we have no substantial A380 backlog and hence no basis to sustain production, despite all our sales efforts with other airlines in recent years. This leads to the end of A380 deliveries in 2021,” Airbus CEO Tom Enders said in a statement on Thursday.

SOURCE; CNBC.com

China’s January trade data come in much stronger than expected

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China on Thursday reported exports and imports data for January that easily topped expectations.

That better-than-expected news comes as Beijing’s trade dispute with the U.S. and other factors lead investors to worry that China’s economy — long an engine of global growth — may be facing a sharp slowdown. Those concerns were compounded last month when China’s customs data showed exports and imports both fell surprisingly in December.

January’s official data, however, painted a much more optimistic picture about Asia’s largest economy.

Dollar-denominated exports for the month rose 9.1 percent from a year ago, according to Chinese customs data. China’s exports in January were expected to have contracted 3.2 percent from a year earlier, according to economists in a Reuters poll, compared with the previous month’s 4.4 percent decline.

January dollar-denominated imports, meanwhile, fell 1.5 percent on-year, which was far better than expectations of a 10 percent decline from a year earlier, according to the Reuters poll. Imports in December fell 7.6 percent from a year ago.

China’s overall trade surplus was $39.16 billion in January. That easily topped the $33.5 billion expected, according to the Reuters poll. That was still lower, though, than December’s trade surplus of $57.06 billion.

China’s imports from the US plummet

China’s closely watched trade surplus with the U.S. fell to $27.3 billion in January, from $29.87 billion in December.

In January, China’s exports to the U.S. fell 2.4 percent from a year ago, while imports from its trade war opponent tanked 41.2 percent over the same period.

Despite the upbeat data, analysts say data from China in the first two months of the year must be treated with caution due to business distortions caused by the timing of the week-long Lunar New Year public holiday, which fell in mid-February in 2018 but started on Feb. 4 this year.

Mixo Das, Asia equity strategist at J.P. Morgan, said he would not read too much into a single data point, especially with the presence of such distortions like the national holidays, cyclical trends and ongoing structural changes.

Das told CNBC he still expected China’s economy to bottom in the first half of the year.

“Even if the latest recovery in trade is genuine, the outlook for this year is still downbeat,” concurred Julian Evans-Pritchard, senior China Economist at Capital Economics.

That is due to an expected slowing in global growth that would hit Chinese exports, as well as cooling demand at home, Evans-Pritchard wrote in a note Thursday.

In fact, seasonally adjust trade data will show that even though exports and imports both did better than expected in January, they still remained weaker than a few months ago, he added.

“For now, then, the broad trend in shipments still appears to be pointing down,” Evans-Pritchard said.

Thursday’s data release comes as American and Chinese trade negotiators began a new round of talks in Beijing this week as the world’s two largest economies renewed efforts to reach a deal.

Officials from both countries are trying to reach a deal ahead of a March 1 deadline when U.S. tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports are scheduled to increase to 25 percent from 10 percent.

Chinese President Xi Jinping will meet with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer on Friday, the South China Morning Post reported.

SOURCE; CNBC.com 8 \

Germany narrowly escapes recession after flat growth in the fourth quarter

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Germany has narrowly avoided a technical recession after it posted flat growth in the fourth quarter, raising concerns that Europe’s largest economy is continuing to slow down.

Preliminary data showed growth of 0.0 percent in the fourth quarter from the previous quarter, Germany’s federal statistics office Destatis said Thursday, below a Reuters forecast of 0.1 percent..

Destatis added that “positive contributions” in the fourth quarter came from domestic demand “however, development of foreign trade did not make a positive contribution to growth in the fourth-quarter.”

The latest growth data from Germany come after a period of domestic tumult, particularly for its beleaguered car industry, and global concerns over trade, import tariffs and growth.

The flat fourth quarter data shows that Germany has narrowly avoided a recession – defined as two consecutive quarters of declining growth. It does not bode well for Europe, however, which sees Germany as a traditional growth driver in the region.

“After a dynamic start into the first half of the year (+0.4 percent in the first quarter, +0.5 percent in the second quarter), a small dip (-0.2 percent in the third quarter, 0.0 percent in the fourth quarter) was recorded in the second half of the year. For the whole year of 2018, this was an increase of 1.4 percent,” Destatis said.

Black eyes

The year 2018, which started off with expectations of the best growth performance since 2011, “ended with a big stinker,” Carsten Brzeski, chief economist at ING Germany, said following the flash data.

“The German economy escaped a technical recession with the smallest margin possible,” Brzeski said in a note Thursday in which he noted that “the black eye just got blacker.”

Brzeski put the weak performance of the German economy in the second half of the year down to “too many one-offs, surfacing structural weaknesses and external uncertainties.”

“Just think of cars, low water levels in main rivers, the trade conflict between the U.S. and China, Brexit or the lack of investment in digital and traditional infrastructure, delays of railways and airlines as well as hardly any significant new structural reforms in the last ten years. What a list! However, it is still not necessarily the end of a long positive cycle,” he said.

“The upside from today’s data is that it can hardly get worse. Economic fundamentals remain solid and from here on, chances of a (gradual) rebound are still much higher than chances of yet another disappointment.”

Source; CNBC.com

China set to overtake US in race for data as information increasingly drives economies

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China will generate more data than the United States by 2025 as it pushes into new technologies such as the so-called Internet of Things, according to a new report.

Data created and replicated in China will outpace the global average by 3 percent annually, a study from the International Data Corporation and data storage firm Seagate found. The report said in 2018, China generated about 7.6 zettabytes of data and that number will grow to 48.6ZB in 2025. A zettabyte is approximately around a trillion gigabytes, which is a commonly used measure today.

Meanwhile, the U.S. generated about 6.9ZB of data last year. That number is predicted to be about 30.6ZB in 2025.

This all matters because information is increasingly seen as the currency upon which the global economy relies.

“Data is at the heart of this digital world and we are increasingly becoming an information economy,” IDC analysts wrote in the report, adding that it is crucial for services built using next-generation technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning and the Internet of Things.

Fintech in China

Companies are using data to reach new markets, improve customer service and, in some cases, create new revenue streams by selling that information, the report said. “Data may not be on a balance sheet, but data is a company’s most valuable intangible asset, which can create a competitive edge in digital transformation.”

The analysts pointed to the example of how Chinese tech giants Tencent and Alibaba took on traditional banks in the country by introducing their widely-used WeChat Pay and Alipay digital payment services. Using the massive amount of user data these companies have collected over the years, they can create personalized financial services tailored to the specific behaviors and preferences of their customers, the IDC analysts said.

By 2025, the total amount of new data created is predicted to increase to 175ZB from 33ZB in 2018, the report said. Major growth drivers are set to be data collected from entertainment platforms, video surveillance footage, internet-connected devices, productivity tools, and metadata, which is vital for analytics and contextualizing the information.

Data being ‘weaponized’

While the availability of more data on their customers is something businesses can cheer about, others have raised concerns over how that information is being used. Data collected from social media and other free services are often used by advertisers to target certain groups of people.

“Our personal information is being weaponized against us,” Ayden Férdeline, a tech policy fellow at the Mozilla Foundation, told CNBC.

He said if an advertiser identifies someone who has a cat and targets them through advertisements for cat food, the harm there is minimal. But, when an advertiser targets someone who has an insecurity about their appearance by showing them ads for cosmetic surgery or weight-loss pills not approved by medical boards, that’s when it becomes dangerous.

“With micro-targeting, there are now personal information being used to narrowly target us for ads. Consumer advocates simply cannot proactively respond to deceitful campaigns or unfair market abuses if they can’t see it themselves,” Férdeline said.

The implications extend beyond just advertisements selling personal products. Last year, Facebook received criticism after it was revealed that a London-based political consultancy, Cambridge Analytica, improperly harvested as many as 87 million Facebook profiles for data.

Even more concerning is the fact that large tech companies are collecting data, which have been used to build models of users that can predict how they are going to behave or respond to certain ads and other messaging.