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Take Out IPPIS Condition on Universities, ASUU tells FG

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ASUU and FG at Loggerheads Over IPPIS

The demand for Earned Academic Allowances (EAA), renegotiation of the 2009 Agreement, revitalization, among others were the conditions laid down by ASUU when it embarked on the nationwide strike which started on 23rd of March, 2020.

In a statement made by Professor Biodun Ogunyemi, ASUU President, he urged the Federal Government to reconsider its stand and take off the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information Service (IPPIS) from Nigerian Universities.

ASUU pleaded with Nigerians to bear with them and have it in mind that they are fighting every Nigerian battle for better and improved government universities.

“Our Union is struggling to ensure that the children of the poor, who cannot afford the prohibitive cost paid in private universities or do not have opportunities to study outside Nigeria, get quality education which is not priced beyond their reach.

“This will only happen when government adequately funds public universities and addresses the rot and decay in them.

“ASUU has shifted positions in some respects.

“For instance, our members have reduced their demand of one tranche N220bn of the outstanding revitalization fund by 50 per cent.

“The Union has also agreed that N30bn out of the so far verified arrears of N40bn of the earned academic allowances (EAA) be paid to our members while the balance of N10bn could be spread over the next two tranches,

“We were equally making steady progress on other issues,” he explained.

ASUU President, Prof. Ogunyemi, clarified that the major delay in reaching a conclusive agreement was government insistence on the acceptance of the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) platform by all federal universities in the country and the condition that the payment of withheld salaries and other due entitlements will be paid through the IPPIS

He added that the government is imposing IPPIS on Nigerian universities which is against the provision of the law on autonomy and universal practices.

However, he said that although the IPPIS was engineered by the World Bank, the UTAS was locally developed by ASUU members and the union is at the final stage of the integrity test of the Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS) with the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA)

Prof. Ogunyemi said UTAS had been presented to the Minister of Education and senior management staff, the President and leadership of Senate, and the Office of the Accountant-General where NITDA and Office of the National Security Adviser and other MDAs were fully represented.

“Last Thursday, 5th November, 2020, the National Universities Commission (NUC) facilitated the presentation of UTAS to Vice-Chancellors and Bursars of federal universities.

“All questions raised at the four levels of presentation of UTAS were satisfactorily answered.

“With the full cooperation of the concerned agencies, the final test with NITDA could be completed as a matter of days and UTAS adopted in place of IPPIS in our universities.

“ASUU disagrees with government on the use of IPPIS during the so-called transition period.

“In practical terms, there is no transition period if government is sincere,”Ogunyemi added.

Prof. Ogunyemi, said they are at the last stage of integrity test for UTAS, however, over three-quarters of ASUU members are yet to be registered on IPPIS and it will take longer to capture them all on the IPPIS system.

He said the rumor that the GIFMIS platform used in paying ASUU members’ salaries before the advent of IPPIS is false. He claimed that some of its members received part of their withheld salaries last week despite not been registered on the IPPIS platform.

“But, in furtherance of the attack on ASUU, the Accountant-General of the Federation (AGF) has illegally seized all the deducted union check-off dues of our members in the last nine months.

“So, government should release all what is due ASUU members and the union without the conditionality of IPPIS.

“That would enable us conclude on the outstanding five demands including revitalisation, EAA, renegotiation of the 2009 Agreement, inauguration of the Visitation Panels.

“Others are proliferation of state universities and governance issues in them of the Union to pave way for the quick resolution of the lingering crisis.

“It is government that is prolonging the matter, not ASUU,” he added.

Sport Business

30-day Countdown to Euro 2020 on StarTimes

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The UEFA Euro 2020 is now just 30 days away and fans around the world are gearing up for what promises to be a unique and thrilling tournament.

The European Championship will take place between 11 June and 11 July in 11 different cities. There will be 51 games, with the group stage – running from 11 to 23 June – a torrent of live football, with three matches most days.

African fans will be able to watch all matches live and in HD on the StarTimes Sport channels as well as on StarTimes ON streaming application, as the leading digital TV operator secured the broadcasting rights to the Euro 2020.

All 24 teams at the final tournament are guaranteed to play at least three games. Then the top two in each of the six groups along with the four best third-placed finishers will proceed to the knockout phase – where things get even more exciting. From that point, every game is sudden death: win and teams reach the next round, lose and they are going home.

Two teams will ultimately make it all the way to the 11 July final at London’s Wembley Stadium.

Football fans can acquire StarTimes decoder set including one-month bouquet at only N7400 for DTT (antenna) or N11,200 for DTH (dish) and watch all 51 games live and in HD.

African fans have been forced to pay ever higher prices to watch major competitions in the past. We know what they have been going through during the past year, COVID-19 pandemic has been hard on all of us. At StarTimes, we want to ensure that nobody is excluded from this amazing football festival,” says Lazarus Ibeabuchi, StarTimes Nigeria PR Manager.

Streaming users are not left out and will be able to enjoy the whole tournament for N1000 a month on StarTimes-ON app.

Euro 2020 was postponed by a year due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The tournament kicks off with Turkey taking on Italy in Rome on June 11.

Which Country is Hosting Euro 2020?

To celebrate the 60th anniversary of the competition, UEFA decided to host it in several cities across the continent.

The venues are currently scheduled to be:

•              Wembley Stadium in London (England)

•              Stadio Olimpico in Rome (Italy)

•              The Olympic Stadium in Baku (Azerbaijan)

•              Krestovsky Stadium in Saint Petersburg (Russia)

•              La Cartuja in Seville (Spain)

•              Arena Națională in Bucharest (Romania)

•              Johan Cruyff Arena in Amsterdam (Netherlands)

•              Hampden Park in Glasgow (Scotland)

•              Parken Stadium in Copenhagen (Denmark)

•              Puskás Aréna in Budapest (Hungary)

•              The Allianz Arena in Munich (Germany)

How does the group stage look?

Group A: Turkey, Italy, Wales, Switzerland

Group B: Denmark, Finland, Belgium, Russia

Group C: Netherlands, Ukraine, Austria, North Macedonia

Group D: England, Croatia, Scotland, Czech Republic

Group E: Spain, Sweden, Poland, Slovakia

Group F: Hungary, Portugal, France, Germany

GROUP STAGE

Friday 11 June

Group A: Turkey vs Italy (20:00, Rome)

Saturday 12 June

Group A: Wales vs Switzerland (14:00, Baku)

Group B: Denmark vs Finland (17:00, Copenhagen)

Group B: Belgium vs Russia (20:00, St Petersburg)

Sunday 13 June

Group D: England vs Croatia (14:00, London)

Group C: Austria vs North Macedonia (17:00, Bucharest)

Group C: Netherlands vs Ukraine (20:00, Amsterdam)

Monday 14 June

Group D: Scotland vs Czech Republic (14:00, Glasgow)

Group E: Poland vs Slovakia (17:00, St Petersburg)

Group E: Spain vs Sweden (20:00, Seville)

Tuesday 15 June

Group F: Hungary vs Portugal (17:00, Budapest)

Group F: France vs Germany (20:00, Munich)

Wednesday 16 June

Group B: Finland vs Russia (14:00, St Petersburg)

Group A: Turkey vs Wales (17:00, Baku)

Group A: Italy vs Switzerland (20:00, Rome)

Thursday 17 June

Group C: Ukraine vs North Macedonia (14:00, Bucharest)

Group B: Denmark vs Belgium (17:00, Copenhagen)

Group C: Netherlands vs Austria (20:00, Amsterdam)

Friday 18 June

Group E: Sweden vs Slovakia (14:00, St Petersburg)

Group D: Croatia vs Czech Republic (17:00, Glasgow)

Group D: England vs Scotland (20:00, London)

Saturday 19 June

Group F: Hungary vs France (14:00, Budapest)

Group F: Portugal vs Germany (17:00, Munich)

Group E: Spain vs Poland (20:00, Seville)

Sunday 20 June

Group A: Italy vs Wales (17:00, Rome)

Group A: Switzerland vs Turkey (17:00, Baku)

Monday 21 June

Group C: North Macedonia vs Netherlands (17:00, Amsterdam)

Group C: Ukraine vs Austria (17:00, Bucharest)

Group B: Russia vs Denmark (20:00, Copenhagen)

Group B: Finland vs Belgium (20:00, St Petersburg)

Tuesday 22 June

Group D: Czech Republic vs England (20:00, London)

Group D: Croatia vs Scotland (20:00, Glasgow)

Wednesday 23 June

Group E: Slovakia vs Spain (17:00, Seville)

Group E: Sweden vs Poland (17:00, St Petersburg)

Group F: Germany vs Hungary (20:00, Munich)

Group F: Portugal v France (20:00, Budapest)

KNOCKOUT PHASE

Round of 16

Saturday 26 June

1: Group A Second Place vs Group B Second Place (17:00, Amsterdam)

2: Group A Winner vs Group C Second Place (20:00, London)

Sunday 27 June

3: Group C Winner vs Third Place Group D/E/F (17:00, Budapest)

4: Group B Winner vs Third Place Group A/D/E/F (20:00, Seville)

Monday 28 June

5: Group D Second Place vs Group E Second Place (17:00, Copenhagen)

6: Group F Winner vs Third Place Group A/B/C (20:00, Bucharest)

Tuesday 29 June

7: Group D Winner vs Group F Second Place (17:00, London)

8: Group E Winner vs Third Place Group A/B/C/D (20:00, Glasgow)

Quarter-finals

Friday 2 July

QF1: Winner 6 vs Winner 5 (17:00, St Petersburg)

QF2: Winner 4 vs Winner 2 (20:00, Munich)

Saturday 3 July

QF3: Winner 3 vs Winner 1 (17:00, Baku)

QF4: Winner 8 vs Winner 7 (20:00, Rome)

Semi-finals

Tuesday 6 July

SF1: Winner QF1 vs Winner QF2 (20:00, London)

Wednesday 7 July

SF2: Winner QF3 vs Winner QF4 (20:00, London)

Final

Sunday 11 July

Winner SF1 vs Winner SF2 (20:00, London)

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WHO Approves COVID-19 Vaccine Made by Sinopharm in China

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The World Health Organization said Friday it has approved for emergency use a coronavirus vaccine developed by Chinese state-owned pharmaceutical group Sinopharm.

Beijing’s Covid vaccine is recommended for adults 18 years and up with a two-dose regimen, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said at a press briefing.

The new addition to the list of usable vaccine options could hasten efforts to control the spread of Covid-19 and its variant forms, which are driving new infections in many parts of the world.

“Solving the vaccine crisis requires that we pull out all the stops,” Tedros said.

Sinopharm’s shot is the sixth to receive the WHO’s approval for “safety, efficacy and quality,” he said.

“Vaccines remain a vital tool. But right now, the volume and distribution of vaccines are insufficient to end the pandemic, without the sustained and tailored application of public health measures that we know work,” Tedros said.

“The pandemic has shown that when health is at risk, everything is at risk. But when health is protected and promoted, individuals, families, communities, economies, and nations can thrive,” he said.

The state-owned drugmaker’s two-dose Covid shot has already been approved for emergency use in China, the United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain.

Another Chinese shot, made by the private company Sinovac, has not yet been approved by the WHO.

In the U.S., vaccines developed by Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson have received emergency use authorizations by the Food and Drug Administration.

The WHO has granted emergency validation for those three shots, as well as for vaccines produced by AstraZeneca-SK BIO and the Serum Institute of India.

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Crypto.com Becomes Official Cryptocurrency & NFT Sponsor Of The 2021 Coppa Italia

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Lega Serie A and Crypto.com announced that they have reached an important partnership agreement on the occasion of the 2021 Coppa Italia Final, which will see Atalanta challenge Juventus on 19th May at the Mapei Stadium in Reggio Emilia.

Lega Serie A is proud to be the first football league to sign a partnership agreement with a cryptocurrency and NFT platform. The partnership, which begins with the Coppa Italia Final is expected to extend long into the future. To commemorate the first time Atalanta and Juventus meet at the Coppa Italia Final, a special NFT collection will be made available including the official trophy, match highlights, and more.

With the fastest growing crypto app and over 10 million users worldwide, Crypto.com is proud to be Lega Serie A’s first cryptocurrency partner. Together the two organizations will create new experiences for football fans in Italy and beyond, starting with special NFT collectibles available exclusively at Crypto.com/NFT.

“We are extremely proud to announce this prestigious partnership with Crypto.com, a leading company in the world of cryptocurrencies and NFTs – said Luigi De Siervo, CEO of Lega Serie A – We are the first football league in the world to sign an agreement in this new market which is extremely innovative and relevant not only for sports fans, where other world-class leagues such as the NBA have been operating in recent months. In this way Lega Serie A aims to expand its target audience and continues the international growth of the brand, always looking to the future and innovation. The Coppa Italia Final will be an expression of these values and will offer millions of fans around the world an exciting experience not only on the pitch but also before and after the game, thanks to the many commercial and marketing initiatives that we will organize with our partners”.

“We are proud to collaborate with an exceptional partner such as Lega Serie A, the latest in an exciting roadmap of sports partnerships we’ll soon be announcing,” said Kris Marszalek, co-founder and CEO of Crypto.com. “It’s a unique opportunity to support the world’s most popular sport during the historic match between Atalanta and Juventus, surely to be watched by football fans world-wide. Through our partnership, we will bring together the best of blockchain technology and football by co-creating NFTs sure to become instant classics and highly coveted collectibles.”

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