2020/07/09

Ibrahim Magu The Crooked EFCC Chairman Has Been Replaced by Mohammed Umar

Guardian.ng reports: Mohammed Umar, Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP), has been appointed as Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), following the suspension of Ibrahim Magu, who is being investigated for alleged corruption.

Mohammed, who, until his appointment, was the Director of Operations at the anti-graft agency, resumed duties yesterday. The presidential probe panel on corruption allegations against the suspended acting chairman of EFCC sat again yesterday.
Headed by Justice Ayo Salami, the panel, which sat inside the Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa, Abuja, specifically looked at sundry documents and chatted with persons connected to the case.
Access was again denied unauthorised persons at the premises, as Department of State Services (DSS) operatives manned the gate to provide watertight surveillance in the vicinity.
ACCORDINGLY, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has asked the Federal Government to immediately begin prosecution of Magu. The party, in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, yesterday, observed that the alleged diversion of recovered funds and fraudulent sale of assets seized by the EFCC among other forms of sleaze, as detailed in the memo by the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, as well as the DSS report on Magu’s activities, further exposed the racket that the fight against corruption had become under the All Progressives Congress (APC) government.
It stated that Magu’s indictment reinforced its position that the hyped corruption war by the EFCC under Magu had been a huge scam.This is as the Peoples Democratic Party Youth Alliance (PDPYA) called for immediate resignation of Vice President Yemi Osinbajo for his involvement in the case. Magu, who is under probe on a 22-count charge of fraud, alleged that he gave N4 billion out of the N39 billion he recovered to Osinbajo.
In a release made available to newsmen yesterday, Kalu said the development was clear evidence that the President Muhammadu Buhari administration had only been paying lip service to the corruption fight.
IN the same vein, former governor of Ekiti State, Ayodele Fayose, has asked security agencies to tighten the noose around Magu, for him not to escape. Fayose yesterday called on the DSS, the police and other security agencies to place the suspect on the country’s watch list, so that he would not disappear into thin air.
This is just as the Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) called on the panel to be thorough and fair in its investigation. According to the Executive Director, CISLAC, Auwal Musa (Rafsanjani), while it is unclear what the real issues are, “CISLAC is concerned about the conflicting signals it sends to Nigerians. Being that Magu heads a very sensitive position in a government agency tasked with the investigation of financial crimes, it is thus pertinent that the case be handled with all diligence and transparency to ensure that the gains in the fight against corruption are not lost in the battle for supremacy and political advantage.”
IN a related development, details of how billions of naira was allegedly siphoned at Upper Benue River Basin Development Authority (UBRBDA), a federal agency in Yola, Adamawa State, have emerged.Transparency Monitoring Group, yesterday, made new corruption revelation it claimed was perpetrated at UBRBDA, and therefore chided anti-graft agencies in the country for turning a blind eye.
In a fresh petition by its head of mission, Kabiru Garba, TMG wondered why EFCC and the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC) refused to act. The petition also queried the National Assembly fir its silence despite allegations of monumental fraud involving budgetary irregularities reported at UBRBDA.

How we tracked ‘Woodberry’ via iPhone, WhatsApp, Bitcoin transactions – FBI

Premiumtimesng.com reports: Olalekan Jacob Ponle, popularly known as Woodberry, was nabbed through details accessed from his WhatsApp, iPhone and Bitcoin transactions, court documents obtained by PREMIUM TIMES reveal.
Mr Ponle, alongside Ramoni Igbalode, also known as Hushpuppi, was arrested in the United Arab Emirate on June 10 for multiple fraud charges after a raid by operatives of the Dubai crime unit.
The duo were then extradited to the United States on July 2.
Mr Ponle, 29, is currently facing charges bordering on wire fraud conspiracy at a United States District Court sitting in Illinois.
The court had since June 25 issued an arrest warrant to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) regarding Mr Ponle’s case after a criminal complaint was filed.
His first appearance in court was on July 3, after which the preliminary hearing was set for July 16 before Judge Jeffrey T Gilbert.
However, as provided by a section of the U.S. laws on the release or detention of a defendant pending trial, Mr Ponle will be remanded in custody until a further order of the court.
If found guilty, he is liable to a jail term ranging from 20 to 30 years.
Page Pate, a U.S. law firm, stated on its website that penalties for wire fraud include a prison sentence of up to 20 years (30 years if the case involves federal disaster relief funds or a financial institution), restitution to any victims and a fine set by the judge.
How he was tracked
Ali Sadiq, a Special Agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), chronicled how the bureau tracked down through his online activities.
He said this in a criminal complaint document filed at the court and obtained by PREMIUM TIMES.
He stated that Mr Ponle, who often adopted a pseudonym Mark Kain, has defrauded several United States-based companies through Business Email Compromise (BEC) schemes.
This scheme compromises legitimate business email accounts through computer intrusion techniques or social engineering and uses those accounts to cause the unauthorised transfer of funds.
Techniques for perpetrating these schemes include phishing, spear phishing, identity theft, email spoofing, and the use of malware.
“Beginning no later than January 2019 and continuing until at least September 2019, OLALEKAN JACOB PONLE conspired with others to engage in BEC schemes to defraud several United States-based companies. These schemes resulted in attempted and actual losses to victim companies in the tens of millions of dollars,” the criminal complaint document read.
As part of the scheme, he reportedly directed ‘money mules’ in the United States to open bank accounts in the names of victimised companies.
According to Mr Sadiq, proceeds from BEC schemes, “ranging from hundreds of thousands of dollars to millions of dollars”, were then wired by unwitting employees to the bank accounts opened by Mr Ponle’s mules.
Mr Ponle then instructed the mules to convert the proceeds to bitcoin (virtual currency) and to send the proceeds of the BEC schemes to a bitcoin wallet that he owned and operated.
Bitcoin, a type of cryptocurrency, is generated and controlled through computer software operating on a decentralised peer-to-peer network.
Its transactions are recorded in the Bitcoin blockchain which makes it hard to trace because the identities of individuals are partially anonymous.
Massive scheme, more findings
In fact, one of those BEC schemes involved two Chicago-based companies. One was defrauded of $2.3 million and the other, sent wire transfers totaling $15.3 million.
Preliminary blockchain analysis done by the FBI indicated that the 29-year-old received at least 1,494.71506296 bitcoin related to these BEC schemes, valued at over $6 million dollars at the time he received the proceeds.
Finding also revealed that the money mules in the United States were approached by a person they knew as “Mark” or “Mark Kain.” Mark later directed them to open bank accounts in the names of these companies.
Those accounts received proceeds from the BEC schemes, and on Mark’s instructions, the
money mules converted proceeds to bitcoin and sent proceeds to Mark.
According to Mr Sadiq, “Mark Kain” contacted Individual B using telephone number (323) 985-4088 (“the 4088 phone number”).
Mr Sadiq noted that these telephone details were records obtained from Dingtone, a messaging and voice call application.
He added that his review of the chat transcripts from online messaging applications like WhatsApp showed him how Mr Ponle and his mules transact.
“Mark instructed Individual B and Individual A to send money to the bitcoin wallet 16AtGJbaxL2kmzx4mW5ocpT2ysTWxmacWn (“the 16AtGJ BTC Wallet”) on at least nine occasions.
“Records obtained from Bitpay, a processor of cryptocurrency transactions, indicated that between approximately September 18, 2015 and November 29, 2016, the 16AtGJ BTC wallet made five purchases associated with the Gmail account hustleandbustle@gmail[.]com (the “hustle Gmail account”).
“Based on records obtained from Apple, an iCloud account (Subject Account 1) was subscribed to by Jacob Olalekan, listing the 7890 phone number, the hustle Gmail account, and a physical address in Johannesburg, South Africa.
“Based on my review of records from Apple, Subject Account 1 contained several identity documents and photographs of PONLE. These included a photo of a Nigerian passport with a photo of an individual named Olalekan Jacob Ponle, born in May 1991 in Lagos, Nigeria, a photo of a United Arab Emirates visa with a photo of an individual named Olalekan Jacob Ponle with the profession ‘marketing’,” the document read.
The FBI agent insisted Mr Ponle and his accomplices, gained access to emails and financial records of these companies to perpetrate fraud.
“Based on the above information, there is probable cause to believe that, beginning no late than January 2019 and continuing until at least September 2019, at Chicago, in the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division, and elsewhere, PONLE conspired to commit wire fraud, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1349,” Mr Sadiq said.

Markets stagger over CBN’s secrecy on naira devaluation

Guardian.ng reports: The Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) handling of the naira devaluation is still shrouded in secrecy, six days after the local currency took about a 5.5 per cent cut on the Secondary Market Intervention Sale (SMIS).
The Guardian had reported on Tuesday that the CBN bowed to pressure, devaluing the troubled naira at the SMIS, a window through which the apex bank intervenes in critical areas of the economy, including importation.
Days after the regulator informed bidders of the decision, there has been no official confirmation, an action that has further upset the market with many operators said to be holding back foreign currencies.
Efforts to have the CBN spokesperson, Isaac Okorafor, confirmed the development failed. As at 12:46 p.m. yesterday, he responded to one of several calls, saying: “Sorry, I am in a meeting. Send an SMS.” He was yet to respond to the message as at press time.
As at yesterday, the circular sent to bidders on Friday had not been uploaded on the CBN’s website. As at 3:00 p.m., the exchange rate last updated on Tuesday still showed N361/$1.
A reliable source said the apex bank “is in a fix, as it is not sure the new exchange rate reflects market reality.” The source suggested that the CBN might be wary of publicly announcing the new rate, unsure whether “it is sustainable.”
The source also suggested that the planned unification is currently facing a political test, which might force the apex bank to “retrieve” and re-evaluate its execution route. It was learnt that vested interests have mounted pressure on the bank to drop any plan of ending the multiple-exchange regime, which many individuals have exploited against the common interest of the country.
CBN Governor Godwin Emefiele had said a few weeks ago that exchange unification was an option his team was considering. This statement, however, has generated controversy.
Reacting to the forex adjustment, Abiodun Keripe, Head of Investment Research at Afrinvest Securities, said the market exchange is between N400/$1 and N410/$1 just as he described the latest devaluation as an entry point to the planned unification.
The dollar, this year, has traded at about N500 at the black market. Many people see this as a true reflection of a floated forex market. What is quite shocking, however, is that the Central Bank is in a fix on how to stabilise the market it regulates and dispel unhealthy speculation.
Experts are worried about the implication of the secrecy and what looks like lack of coordination and direction. Transparency and clear communication, they admitted, are critical to the growth of any market.
While devaluation might help to circumvent dwindling external reserves, it would only bolster the economy if the country expands its base beyond oil and gas. With lip still being paid to diversification, backward integration in critical sectors, and local content development, there might be no respite for the naira.
The risk, economists warned, can only be addressed by developing multiple sources of foreign exchange earnings. This means sincere attention must be paid to growing the agriculture sector and developing solid mineral resources in different parts of the country, aggressively promoting domestic input sourcing, and deepening local capacity.
The experts based their argument on the fact that in view of the import-dependent nature of the Nigerian economy, any upward adjustment of the exchange rate will result in higher inflation rates, at least, in the short-run, necessitating tight monetary policy by the CBN and high interest rate environment.
A unified exchange rate also means an additional burden for the government, which will now adopt the new higher rate for its official transaction. This means dollar-denominated components of government spending will be done at higher costs.
Uche Uwaleke, a professor of Capital Market and Head of the Banking and Finance Department at Nasarawa State University, Keffi, argued that the upward adjustment would further deplete the external reserves and worsen the burden of the country’s external debt service obligations.
According to him, this would make the 2020 budget unrealistic, having been based on an exchange rate of N360 per dollar. It would also threaten the take-off of the recently approved Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF).
Uwaleke admitted, though, that adjustment of the official exchange rate to align with the rate in the autonomous forex market would translate to increased naira inflows into the federation account and eliminate opportunities for currency round tripping and sharp practices.
He insisted that abolishing the official exchange rate and leaving the fate of the naira entirely to market forces portend grave implications for an economy that has a single product (crude oil) as principal source of foreign exchange.
The naira devaluation came weeks after the CBN announced it would end the era of multiple exchange rates in Nigeria.The currency weakened to N380.50 per dollar in off-market trades, from its previous N360.50 close on Monday, traders said. On Tuesday, the naira eased 5.6 per cent on the official market after the CBN sold dollars to lenders at a lower rate, bowing to pressure from international lenders to unify its multiple exchange rates.
Uwaleke insisted that the immediate implication is increased cost of importing petroleum products, which would lead to a hike in the pump price of fuel, especially now when the downstream sector is being deregulated.
“It is important to recognise that the financial market is information-driven. The forex market is highly sensitive and so a cautious approach is required. I think this is what the CBN is pursuing.
“The unification of exchange rates should be gradual, to moderate its effects on the economy. The CBN has to be careful the way it goes about it, so as not to give speculators a field day. I also think the CBN has sent out enough signals that make for clarity in the forex market, including the recent merger of SMIS rates with the I&E window.”
Uwaleke urged government to ensure that the downside risks are mitigated. That is by developing multiple sources of forex outside oil, and promoting the use of domestic products and services by supporting their availability at competitive prices.
“It is important to bear in mind that any further adjusting of the official exchange rate by the CBN to align with the rate in the market has both merits and demerits,” he said.
Prof. Joseph Ajibola, former President of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria, said the implication of a deteriorated exchange rate of the naira to the dollar is an instant increase in the cost of living for the citizenry. He said this is because the nation’s economy is still over dependent on imports.
He said: “It is a desirable policy to narrow the gap between the official and black market exchange rates. But it does not happen so easily. What drives the gap is the scarcity of foreign exchange at the official market, which forces users to patronise the black market. Speculators usually take advantage of the situation to hoard foreign exchange and manipulate the rate.”
He, therefore, urged government to encourage export-oriented activities and penalise foreign exchange speculators, stressing: “All stakeholders in Nigeria must promote consumption of more locally produced goods and drive local content to replace imported raw materials. There is a limit to what can be achieved through the fixing of exchange rate by fiat.”
Also, Sheriffdeen Tella, a professor of Economics at Olabisi Onabanjo University in Ogun State, noted that the CBN has liquidity problems because it has not been allowed to manage the reserve and proceed properly.
“The government is bent on servicing debts to be able to get fresh loans, thus depleting the reserve as income comes in. In such a situation, the CBN can succumb to anything. Unifying the exchange rate should be a gradual process and should also be based on results of empirical study. The CBN should be insistent on what is good for the economy based on its research outputs,” Tella said.
He said he did not think the country can operate one exchange rate immediately but it could get there gradually. “Having as many as four or five rates is not good enough. But the bottom line is the shortage of fund with the Central Bank due to serious fall in sale and, consequently, revenue.”
The professor added: “There is the need to ask for a moratorium on our loans and stop borrowing from abroad. There is money to be borrowed in this country which is cheaper.”

WAEC reacts to Nigeria’s embargo on WASSCE

PremiumTimesNG.com reports: The West African Examinations Council (WAEC) has reacted to the abrupt U-turn made by the federal government on the resumption of schools across the country, and its earlier announcement of dates for the commencement of the 2020 May/June diet of the West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE).
The regional examination body said it is within the legitimate power of governments of the five-member countries to make such decisions.
In an exclusive telephone interview with PREMIUM TIMES, the WAEC’s Head of Nigeria’s Office (HNO), Patrick Areghan, said the examination body was still reviewing the situation and that it would make its position known soon.
Mr Areghan, who came into office in March 2020, was supposed to oversee the May/June 2020 examination, the first national examination under his watch until the coronavirus pandemic struck, forcing the indefinite postponement of the examination.
The HNO said he could not speak on whether the examinations would continue in the other four countries or not until the “coast is clear.”
He said; “We cannot make any categorical statement for now. We are operating in five-member countries and we cooperate with the government. We recognise the fact that the government has the right and power to take positions, and we cannot confront the government. We work hand in hand with the government.”
He, however, pledged to update the public as soon as final decisions are taken.
Minister’s position
Nigeria’s minister of education, Adamu Adamu, had on Wednesday announced the reversal of the government’s earlier position on schools’ resumption, saying the atmosphere is yet unsafe for teaching and learning in the country.
Mr Adamu’s position was based on the rising cases of coronavirus diseases in the country, saying children would find it difficult to observe the required protocols including social distancing, to keep themselves safe if allowed to return to schools.
The minister also said no Nigerian school will participate in the WASSCE earlier scheduled to hold between August 5 to September 5.
The Minister of State for Education, Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, announced during a media briefing on July 6 that the examination will now take place between August 4 and September 5.
Speaking to State House correspondents at the end of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting presided by President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday, Mr Adamu said Nigerian schools will not reopen any time soon “until it is safe to do so because of the COVID-19 pandemic”.
He said final year students preparing for the Senior Secondary Certificate Examination (SSCE) will not be allowed to return to school contrary to the earlier announcement.
Mr Adamu said the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) cannot determine the resumption date of schools for Nigeria.
He said he would prefer that “Nigerian students lose an academic year than to expose them to dangers.”
“Schools under the supervision of the Federal Ministry of Education will not reopen on August 4th or any time soon. Our schools will only open when we believe it is safe for our children and that is when the situation is right, not when the number of COVID-19 infection is going up in the nation. So, I just want to make that clear,” Mr Adamu said.
He said the government will not reopen schools now for examinations or any other reason “unless it is safe for our students because WAEC cannot determine for us what we do so schools will remain closed.”
“Yesterday, we called a meeting of stakeholders to tell us their situation and what needs to be done in order to reopen schools but while the meeting was going on, WAEC announced that they will start exams so let’s see who they are going to start with,” he said.
The minister appealed to schools that have already reopened to rescind their positions.
He also said state governments that have already announced the reopening of their schools should reconsider “because it is not safe for schools to open.”
He said, “I feel responsible for the children in Nigeria not just those in federal government-controlled schools. Please let us save our children from the pandemic.
“You can look at this scenario; just one infected child going into a class can infect everyone in the class and after classes, they go back to the hostel. Because children cannot observe social distancing as expected. If one child in the hostel is infected, the next morning everybody will be infected so this is not the right time to open schools.”
He explained that what he said was not part of resolutions at the day’s cabinet meeting “but he needed to clear the air on the matter.”
He said certain protocols have to be met and schools have to be decontaminated before they reopen.

2020/07/08

The Federal Government of Nigeria Suspends The Reopening of Schools

This Day Live: The federal government has suspended its earlier plan to reopen schools to enable Nigerian students participate in scheduled external examinations.
Schools across the country were closed in March to curb the spread of COVID-19. The federal government had earlier announced the reopening date of July 13 for graduating students in Primary Six, JSS 3 and SSS 3.
Announcing the suspension after Wednesday’s virtual Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting in the State House, the Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu, said Nigerian schools would not be reopened until the COVID-19 pandemic drastically subsides.
Consequently, he said Nigerian students would not participate in Senior Secondary Certificate Examinations (SSCE) scheduled to commence on August 4.
Adamu said the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) had no right to determine resumption date for schools in Nigeria.
He also said Nigerian students would rather be made to lose an academic year than to be exposed to danger.
The federal government had on July 6 announced announced that the West Africa Examination Council (WAEC) examination would hold from August 4 to September 5. The Minister of State for Education, Mr Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, had made the announcement at the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 daily briefing in Abuja.
Nwajiuba had said that as soon the WAEC examination was concluded the NABTEB and NECO examinations would also follow, and advised states that were willing to have the examinations to make their schools available for revision classes.

The Federal Government of Nigeria Suspends Ibrahim Magu as chairman of EFCC

Premium Times reports: Ibrahim Magu has been suspended from office as the acting-chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.
Mr Magu was suspended on Tuesday by the Buhari administration amidst allegations of gross misconduct, two senior EFCC officials familiar with the development told PREMIUM TIMES.
The suspension was also confirmed by top officials at the presidency.
The officials, who spoke under anonymity because the matter was still developing and the memo conveying it was yet to be circulated to Mr Magu and other concerned parties, said the next most-senior EFCC official next to Mr Magu was asked to take charge.
But there are concerns that the next official, Ola Olukoyede, the agency’s secretary, has no background as an operative.
This raises the possibility of Mohammed Abba, director of operations, being allowed to take charge because of his background as an operative.
Efforts to reach presidential spokespersons, Garba Shehu and Femi Adesina, on the suspension have not been successful.
Mr Magu was recently accused of corruption, insubordination and abuse of office by Attorney-General Abubakar Malami.
Stemming from Mr Malami’s allegations, Mr Magu was arrested on Monday morning by a police team outside his office in Abuja.
He was driven to the Presidential Villa where he appeared before a panel investigating the allegations against him.
After his appearance before the panel, he was taken into custody by the police, where he was held overnight by detectives.
Mr Magu hs been leading the anti-graft agency in acting capacity since 2016, overseeing scores of high-profile corruption cases that have seen many politicians and businessmen convicted and sentenced to prison
He strongly denied wrongdoing, with his aides arguing that he has run the office diligently and away from sharp practices.

DSS Currently Searching Suspended EFCC Chairman, Ibrahim Magu's House

Sahara reporters reports: Operatives of the Department of State Services and Nigeria Police Force are currently searching the house of Ibrahim Magu, suspended Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.
The search is taking place at Magu's residence in Karu and Maitama in Nigeria's capital, Abuja, sources say. 
Magu was arrested on Monday over allegations of corruption and diversion of public funds. 
He is currently undergoing investigation.

Black Friday as We Know It Is Finally Dead According to CNN

CNN reports:  New York(CNN)This could be the year Black Friday finally unravels.
For decades, the day after Thanksgiving has attracted massive crowds and hysteria outside of malls and stores nationwide.
Thousands of shoppers gather sometimes as early as 5 pm Thanksgiving Day itself, jostling for the mad dash into their favorite shops to grab Black Friday doorbuster deals on flatscreen TVs, diamond necklaces, holiday toys, winter coats and more.
Now imagine this scenario in a pandemic.
"I just can't envision that happening this year," said Scott Rankin, principal and national consumer and retail strategy leader with KPMG US.
"With everything that's going on, there may be no Black Friday at all," said Rankin. "I can't imagine retailers buying inventory to stock up for an event designed to pack hundreds of people into a store. There are so many risks to that."
The only way Black Friday can be the annual shopping bonanza it has been for decades, he said, is "if by some stroke of luck we have a vaccine and everyone gets it by Black Friday."
At least one retailer is already thinking ahead to a different Black Friday game plan this year.
Macy's CEO Jeff Gennette raised the issue with analysts just last week. "When you look at the stores, I would tell you that [crowds are] a big concern of ours. But when you think about a Black Friday, if you think about the 10 days before Christmas, what does that mean in terms of traffic if people are nervous about gathering with crowds?"
At the same time, more consumers have actively embraced online shopping. Noting the trend, Gennette said Macy's is looking to focus on online deals for Black Friday.
Macy's (M)is also considering a much earlier start to its Black Friday marketing push, potentially right after Halloween, and plans to adopt one other tactic for the first time during the upcoming holiday shopping season.
"Curbside pickup is going to be a big secret weapon for us. We didn't have it last holiday season," said Gennette. "We think that's going to be huge for this holiday season."

Losing its relevance

Industry watchers say Black Friday has been losing its relevance with shoppers in recent years.
One reason is because retailers started to spread their deals out over many days instead of just one day. And consumers increasingly have turned to the internet to find even deeper deals than in-store bargains, forcing more holiday shopping to shift online.
"I think it's accurate to say that online sales now account for as much as 40% of Black Friday sales," said Rankin.
Online sales were rising even before the pandemic. In 2019, shoppers spent more than $600 billion online, up nearly 15% from the previous year, according to the Commerce Department.
"Black Friday has definitely transitioned more into a digital affair in the past five years," said Neil Saunders, retail analyst and managing director at GlobalData Retail. "The focal point is not that single day anymore. It's an event spread out over several days."
Saunders expects Black Friday will be even more diminished this year, especially if Covid-19 sees a second wave in the fall and winter.
"As a single day, yes, much less relevant than ever this year," he said.
Still, there are some encouraging signs for retailers that consumers' appetite for shopping remains strong despite the current challenges.
"As stores reopen, there are still people lining up to go shop," said Rod Sides, who leads Deloitte's US retail and distribution practice. "Some retailers will look at this and think the risk is too great to attract big crowds on Black Friday. But there could be others who won't be too worried as long as they are able to keep their employees and customers safe. It could be somewhat of a mixed bag."

2017/07/21

History Made! UK Gets Her First Female 'Toppest' Judge

Many years ago women were clearly marginalized, but this sleazy vice is well on a swift fall as women now, say, run for huge political positions, and get to top positions in their own 'right'. History will be made as Baroness Hale, age 72, will get appointed as UK's first female top judge, that is, the chief judge of the Supreme Court.


With its official website at Supremecourt.uk, the Supreme Court is the final court of appeal for civil cases in the UK, and criminal cases from England, Northern Ireland and Wales - which means it considers cases where an order had already been made in a lower court and is being challenged.
Perhaps not for the sake of feminism, she has previously criticised the judicial appointments system for selecting from a pool of predominantly white men from similar economic and academic backgrounds.
As regards her appointment, in a statement Number 10 said the family law expert would take up the position following the retirement of Lord Neuberger in September, having been his deputy since 2013.
As of 2013, she has said: "I look forward to building upon his pioneering achievements, including developing closer links with each part of the United Kingdom, for example by sitting outside London, and improving the ways in which we communicate our work to the public.
A question that must be asked here is whether Hale will be competent in the towering position? Here's what Andrew Langdon QC, the chairman of the Bar, said: ''It is well known that Baroness Hale is a most distinguished jurist and has long been at the forefront in the task of arguing for a properly diverse judiciary.
In this connection, having the society in mind, she has also said: "Recent high-profile cases mean that more people than ever before have heard of the Supreme Court, and we hope that this will help to create a broader understanding of how the judiciary serves society."
October 2 will be historic as Lady Hale will be officially sworn in as president on that day. She will be, along with three new justices. Of whom one is a female - the second female judge, Lady Justice Black.

Credit: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-40679293

2014/03/13

Creating Opportunities with Your Blog

The internet-verse is filled with writers. While some are average ones (in fact, a larger quota belongs to average writers) there are some, which are exceptionally talented and creative, would produce some great content that holds potential of being liked by all and sundry.




You'd love this4 Tips for Knowing When to Monetize a Blog



That said, being successful as a blogger is an amalgamation of too many factors. Not only you have to be good at your art, you also have to take along several other factors that should be able to grab those eyeballs and take your content to a place wherefrom it is read by a larger section of audience.

Let us look at some of the most impacting factors that can help you make your blog click:


Keep a Tab on The Kind of Readers You are Catering to


When I say the ‘kind of readers’ it refers to various little things like their interests, their demographics, their age group, their supposed command over the language you are writing in, etc. let’s say if you are writing articles on health tips, it would be totally unnecessary to include heavy duty words and confusing vocabulary in your articles. At the end of the day, you are writing out those tips to help someone, not impress them. If they are not able to deduce what you are saying through your articles, the might as well navigate to a place that is filled with comprehensible content.


ReadWhat Widget Can I Use on My Blog?


At the same time, if you are running a blog on poems, make sure you write them well. There is no dearth of wannabe poets out there. Get some feedback for your poems before you start publishing them with a hope that your poem blog will be popular one fine day. With poem, it works well when you already have a knack of writing them, and using some not so common words


Market Your Blog Well


Your audience has to be made aware of your presence, only then will it show any sort of interest in visiting your website. You need to promote your blog on different platforms – be it social media, forums, relevant and related blogs, etc. – if you need to make sure that it has an existence beyond its domain as well. Unless you do that, you won’t be able to gain a lot of traffic. It is also a means to create positive reputation for your website. Posting comments on websites and blogs with good PR would mean that Google will see the quality of back links to your site and rate it higher as well. You also need to optimize it according to SEO guidelines in order to ensure that search engines pay the amount of attention it demands.


Active Link Building


I already touched upon how comments help you in link building process. One the more reliable ways to do so is guest posting. Write articles for higher ranked blogs and post links to your website in the author’s bio. This way, you make sure Google also grants your blog a good page rank.


You'd want to read thisThings I do to Gain More Authority On Search Engine Result Pages and Drive More Traffic (SERPs)


Keep all these aspects of blogging in mind and you would not just be grabbing opportunities, but also creating them.


This is a guest post by Maria: Maria is a PHP Development expert who seamlessly delivers focus in her writings. She works for Xicom Technologies, a Offshore PHP Development Company. To get quality development services, Hire PHP Programmer from Xicom Technologies.

2014/03/09

6 WordPress Web Design tips that’ll Boost your Site's Performance Score

If you’re a web designer, you might be well familiar with the popularity of WordPress CMS. Well, there are situations when you may find it difficult to jot down all the essentials that need to go into a great website. Thankfully, there are tons and tons of great WordPress web design tips that have the potential of allowing you to take a sigh of relief and come up with a website that meets your customized needs to the fullest. In this blog, I’ll be covering 6 best tips that’ll aid in empowering your WordPress website designing performance.









Tip No.1- Keep the Design Simple 

Prior to adding all kinds of embellishments to your WordPress website, make sure to analyze whether you really require them or not. The simpler you keep your web design; the better it would be for your website’s success. Simplicity is actually the key to attaining a brilliant web design. Hence, I recommend you to maintain a clean and simple design for your WordPress website.

Read: How to Create a Simple Logo (Header) for Your Blog with Free Online Tool 


Tip No.2- Pay Attention to the Load Speed of Web Pages





While designing a WordPress website, make sure to pay attention to the speed at which the pages load. Slow loading websites are disliked by everyone and in order to make your website stand out from the crowd, it is crucial to look into the page load speed. Including too many special effects in your website may distract your visitors from getting a complete idea about your business message.


Tip No.3- Use images to convey your message





Images work as perfect tools for conveying a message. While designing a WordPress website, make sure to stock up on image to complement your words. You can access free sources such as Flickr, iStockPhoto.com, BigStockPhoto.com etc. where you can find images that suit your business theme.



Tip No.4- Choosing the right font for your web content is important


It is recommended to set up custom fonts on your WordPress website to get that extra effect. You need to carefully choose a font that reflects the brand you’re designing for. Moreover, custom fonts can always allow you to break free from the traditional fonts that are being chosen by a majority of websites.


Tip No.5- Format the words that need to go into your web pages


It’s not worth spraying a bunch of words on your web pages and keeping them lying there like that. In order to enhance your service quality, you need to organize the words into sub-heads, short paragraphs and bulleted lists so as to give a visually appealing look to your website. You can opt for WordPress formatting bar to include emphasis and interest in your web pages.


Tip No.6- Make your website’s colors memorable




Colors are effective tools for inviting people into a brand new world where they can gather information and make suitable purchases with just a simple click of the mouse. Great color tone will set your WordPress apart and create a special impression on the minds of the visitors. You can either use a limited color palette or choose an accent color for designing the web pages.


Conclusion


So, that’s it for this post guys. Hope you’d have loved the tips mentioned above. Trust me, abiding by these WordPress web design tips will ensure a greater success rate for all your WordPress web-designing projects.

This is a guest poast by Liza WilliamsLiza Williams is a web developer by profession and a writer by hobby and works for OSSMedia Ltd company. She loves sharing information regarding wordpress, Magento, Drupal and Joomla development tips & tricks. If you are looking for WordPress Development Services then just get in touch with her.

2014/03/05

Designer Apps that gives your Phone a New Look Every day

There are numerous appearances of Android: There's the stock form offered by Google that is adapted in Google's vision, and there's the form that your maker might rather have you utilization. In terms of interfaces we wish we could change, the last form is generally the one bringing about migraines.






 

 

Go Launcher Ex: (Theme apps


It is the most prominent customized application in android market. Download the go launcher ex and get diverse subjects for your telephone. Diverse subjects could be set consistent with subject and feel. In topics, go launcher windows and dark are well known. The application could be downloaded free from the android market. Included widgets are likewise critical for subject to work.


Lovely Widgets: (Icon App)


The application characteristics customized tickers and diverse switches. It additionally characteristics climate redesigns. The application might be set in diverse skins and topics. The application characteristics distinctive ring tones and warning sounds. Nonetheless, the application is a paid one, so you need to purchase it from the android market. It is handy for customizing your telephone.


Nova Launcher


Nova Launcher is an alternate incredible approach to add customization to your telephone. It not just permits you to include the subjects you like, additionally offers customization by downloading symbols packs. The client can change the window shades and browse the numerous scrolling choices accessible. In the meantime it is quick, liquid and quite simple to utilize.


SPB Shell 3d Android Apps


Need to give your telephone a 3d impact, then download this application from the android market. The application backs 3d home screen launcher with brilliant organizer choices. The telephone additionally upholds 3d widgets, which help to customize your telephone. Other diverse boards and widgets might be utilized as a part of the application. It is a paid application that could be downloaded from the application store.


Mystery Locker Main: (Lock home screen)


Acquire more choices to bolt home screen, then this application is adept for you. The application helps distinctive lock forms. It gives you a chance to slide and long press the lock on home screen. The application gives you a chance to enact the telephone with alternate routes. It likewise backings modified wallpaper for home screen. It could be downloaded for free from the android market.


Molecule Launcher


Molecule Launcher is a fabulous Android Launcher that takes a moderate methodology to updating your telephone. Again it is unreservedly accessible in the application store and once you download it, it is not difficult to situate up. You can browse the numerous topics that are accessible in the Atom Store and provide for you telephone an extraordinary makeover. We particularly like The Color of Cities Theme with little, hand outlined symbols.


With these free android launchers, you can give your telephone full-fledged makeovers and make Android an unbelievably pleasant experience. When you feel worn out on the topics, you can utilize Icon Packs and Lock Widgets to make just took the ribbon off new search for your telephone. Welcome to the universe of Android where you don't need to get exhausted in the event that you know the right devices to work with.

Read: How to Correct Your Phone’s time Accurately Using Your Brain

A good phone system is a vital tool in each and every business organization for effective communicate. A phone system direct enables the staff, managers, clients and the owners of a business to be in touch thus facilitating good interaction thus better good quality and better services. This systems saves time as it can allow the caller to leave a message if the respondent on the other hand is not available.


This is a guest post by Emily Matthews: Emily Matthews is a content writer. She is a professional blogger from Kent and have written many articles on Lifestyle, Health, Technology, Food and Fashion categories. Now she is doing research on phone system direct.

2014/02/25

YouTube Marketing Tips to Increase Your Video Views

One of the famous social site which helps business go viral is “YouTube.com”. The interactive nature regarding YouTube is the reason why it's got received a real large popularity amid Internet users of age groups. The key towards accomplishment regarding YouTube is usually of which not simply can certainly people distribute videos regarding on their own, they can certainly leave comments around the videos regarding other people. YouTube video promoting is simple but intricate simultaneously; this is because promoting YouTube video needs to be done in such a way that you are not necessarily appearing in order to right market place your business.




You'd love this: Sure & Un-beatable Internet Marketing Tips



YouTube video advertising would be more effective when the approach involves viral video advertising being a core ingredient. The ultimate way to get the video advertising portion to go viral should be to find people speaking about the idea as soon as they notice. This can indicate undertaking a thing from the video which is thus sudden or even catchy towards the memory space which it will continue having people prolonged as soon as they have left the website. They may really feel required to talk about the idea with their friends after which you could have became popular in applying YouTube for successful online video advertising and promoting tool.


Post unique video content




There ought to be quality crucial to your videos because it can be difficult to acquire video recognizes in addition to steps inside look for formula when the video can be out-of-date. It really is safer to get in which video in addition to re-submit that for anyone who is aiming to create recognizes in a very provided field in addition to possess a opportunity to struck the actual homepage with additional alleviate.

Read: 4 Reasons Why Content Stitching Shouldn't EVEN be Your Last Resort

ReadA Simple Guide to Write Mind Boggling Guest Posts


Short videos are views increasers


It really is extremely hard in order to add large videos in order to YouTube. Generally speaking, YouTube features a limit with regards to the file size involving videos which is often submitted for the web site. Based on this, seek to keep your online video media easy along with brief. In addition, most people who look at the site usually are not drawn to long along with boring video lessons. Suggested length is 4 minutes for your videos gain more YouTube views.



Share many places as possible



ReadSyndication Sites that Gave my Blog a Turn Around in Traffic

You should advertise your videos effectively so people are able to see your videos. In case you ended up a celebrity, after that apparently, it becomes a different case. There are numerous approaches used to promote your video content. For starters, it is possible to mail ones associates and also clients to express to these individuals in relation to your video. It's also possible to optimize marketing and advertising by utilizing blogging platforms. You may even available a twitter profile or even a Facebook fan page. Encourage your online video through pay per click, subscribing to forums, and also placing information sites.