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Nigeria Loses N127b Yearly to Telecoms Infractions

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Telecommunications

Nigeria loses about N127 billion yearly as a result of infractions of the laws, rules and cybercrimes, the Administrator, National Judicial Institute (NJI), Hon Justice Rosaline Bozimo said yesterday in Lagos.

She spoke at the opening of the seventh Annual Workshop for Judges on Legal Issues in Telecoms organised by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) in conjunction with the NJC. She lamented that while the telecoms sector has grown with over 150miilion active mobile lines, allegations of fraudulent deductions from customers’ accounts, unsolicited messages and others have become a great concern in the industry.

She said another issue that is plaguing the country is the scourge of kidnapping which she said is on the rise, adding that security agencies have to struggle to identify devices and location of kidnappers and their victims.

“The Boko Haram terrorists use mobile lines to coordinate their terror activities. These, among other challenges, may require data and information generated from telecoms services (providers) to serve as evidence in the course of prosecution of related cases. Thus, the need for continuing education of judges in respect of the operations of the telecoms industry is essentially necessary in order to enable them make better informed decisions,” Justice Bozimo said.

In his key note address, the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Hon. Justice Mahmud Mohammed, said the NCC has advanced the use of information communications technology (ICT) for different aspects of national development.

Represented by Hon Justice Walter Ononghen (Justice of the Supreme Court), the CJN said: “With these new technologies and services, traditional business models and concept of regulation are now being challenged. In this context, policymakers, regulators and courts face significant challenges as the telecoms industry is growing fast into the more complex areas and form. The judiciary, as an arbiter cannot be left behind the times. We are currently undergoing various technological reformations and an ethical resurgence that is repositioning the third arm of government for better justice delivery.”

According to him, in keeping with best practices and the demands of a technology age, judges must possess a sound knowledge of the law and procedures while becoming proficient in the use of ICT to expedite justice delivery.

“The modern judiciary that we are creating through the introduction of the renowned Nigeria Case Management System (NCS) makes knowledge of ICT pre-requisite to progress on the bench and we are determined to make the phased transition from paper to based system to an automated one,” the CJN added.

Also speaking, the CEO, NCC, Prof Garba Dambatta, said the programme was conceptualised to bridge the knowledge gaps in topical and emerging areas of telecoms with a view to keeping the judiciary abreast of relevant issues in the industry.

“The emergence of over-the-top (OTT) services which is a non-traditional means of communication has left telecoms regulators all over the world grappling with the issues of whether to regulate or not while balancing the expectations of relevant stakeholders in the industry,” Prof Dambatta said.

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and Investing.com, with over a decade experience in the global financial markets.

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Biotech Firm Launches Lassa Vaccine Trial in West Africa

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Lassa Fever

Biotech Firm Launches Lassa Vaccine Trial in West Africa

A biotechnology company, INOVIO, says the first participant in Lassa vaccine trial has been dosed in a Phase 1B clinical trial for INO-4500, its DNA vaccine candidate for Lassa fever.

The clinical trial is being done in Ghana, the firm says, adding that INOVIO is focused on bringing to market precisely-designed DNA medicines to treat and protect people from infectious diseases and cancer.

The Phase 1B clinical trial (LSV-002), ongoing at the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research in Accra, Ghana, is the first vaccine clinical trial for Lassa Fever to be conducted in West Africa, where the infection is endemic.

The lead clinical Principal Investigator for LSV-002 is Professor Dr. Kwadwo A. Koram, an expert and specialist in tropical medicines and epidemiologist with more than 20 years of research experience, including malaria vaccines.

INO-4500 was also the first vaccine candidate for Lassa fever to enter human trials, PUNCH Healthwise reports.

Already, the Director-General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu, has tweeted his commendation.

Said Ihekweazu, “Fantastic news. The urgency of now. A vaccine for Lassa fever. We have worked very hard with WHO, CEPI vaccines, ACEGID, BNITM_de and many others to put this on the global health agenda. We will keep pushing.”

According to a press release by the biotechnology company, INOVIO is advancing INO-4500 with full funding from the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), a global partnership that leverages funding from public, private, philanthropic and civil society organisations to support research projects to develop vaccines against emerging infectious diseases.

INOVIO previously received a $56m grant from CEPI in 2018, under which the company is developing vaccine candidates for Lassa Fever and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS).

“INOVIO and CEPI are committed to making a vaccine available as soon as possible for emergency use as a stockpile product post-Phase 2 testing,” the press release stated.

The statement notes that INOVIO’s Phase 1B clinical trial, LSV-002, will enroll approximately 220 adult participants who are 18 – 50 years old, with the primary endpoints of evaluating safety and immunogenicity in an African population.

The dosing regimen involves two vaccinations at zero and 28 days with either 1.0 mg or 2.0 mg dosing levels. In addition to providing valuable insights on the INO-4500 safety and immunogenicity profile, this trial will inform dose selection for subsequent Phase 2 studies in West Africa.

Lassa fever is an animal-borne, acute hemorrhagic viral illness primarily observed in parts of West Africa.

Infection is spread through contact with infected rodents, as well as person-to-person transmission via bodily fluids (primarily in health care settings).

The disease can cause a range of outcomes, including fever, vomiting, and swelling of the face, pain in the chest, back and abdomen, bleeding of various parts of the body including the eyes and nose and death.

Lassa virus infection in West Africa is estimated to affect 100,000 to 300,000 people annually, and is responsible for 10 – 16 percent of hospital admissions in the region. The virus is responsible for approximately 5,000 deaths annually.

Because of difficulties in diagnosing Lassa fever, the lack of standardised surveillance assays, and the remote nature of many of the areas in West Africa where outbreaks typically occur, the numbers of reported cases and deaths are very likely significantly lower than the actual numbers of cases and deaths.

Though the majority (about 80 percent) of Lassa virus-infected persons are asymptomatic or have mild symptoms, the infection can be quite serious to fatal in others. The case-fatality among patients hospitalized for Lassa fever is about 15 – 20 percent and, in some epidemics, case-fatality has reached 50 percent in hospitalized patients.

Up until now, there are no licensed vaccines or treatments specifically for Lassa fever.

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Google Says It Will Start Accepting Political Ads in US

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A logo is pictured at Google's European Engineering Center in Zurich

Google Says It Will Start Accepting Political Ads in US

Google has said it will resume accepting all political advertisements in the United States from Feb. 24.

The search giant disclosed in an email to advertisers on Monday.

Google paused all political advertisements in January when Trump’s mobs invaded U.S. Capitol.

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Elon Musk’s SpaceX Raised $850 Million at $74 Billion Valuation

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Elon Musk's SpaceX Raised $850 million at $74 billion valuation

Elon Musk’s SpaceX Raised $850 Million at $74 Billion Valuation

Elon Musk‘s SpaceX completed a $850 million equity funding round last week, according to people familiar with the funding.

According to the sources, SpaceX raised the $850 million at $419.99 per share or just 1 cent below the $420 price that Musk made infamous in 2018 when he announced he had enough funding to take Tesla private at that price.

The new funding round also represents an increase of around 60 percent in the firm’s valuation from its previous round in August, when SpaceX raised almost $2 billion at a $46 billion valuation.

SpaceX raised only a portion of the funding available in the marketplace, with one of the sources familiar with the funding saying, SpaceX received “insane demand” of around $6 billion in bids in three days.

 

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