On November 24, a new variant of the COVID-19 pandemic which has ravaged the world for a long time was discovered by South African scientists. On November 26, the World Health Organisation designated the variant as one of high concern, and named it Omicron. Now, the variant appears to be hitting countries hard, with the European continent being the most affected by the virus.
As at December 9, the Omicron variant cases have been reported in more than 50 countries since it was first discovered in South Africa. However, the European Union has recorded a total of 337 confirmed cases of the Omicron variant to date, with Denmark recording the most (83), Portugal following at 37 cases and the Netherlands recording the third-highest at 36 cases.
The United Kingdom alone has seen 246 cases of the Omicron variant, with European Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (ECDC) reports saying the variant has a growth rate of about 35% per day. This report was as at December 6, 2021. As at December 8, the number of cases in the United Kingdom had grown to 437 and was said to have a growth rate of over 50%.
In comparison, all other countries outside the EU where the Omicron variant has been reported amount to a total of 1,121 confirmed cases. The United Kingdom presently has the highest number of cases outside the EU.
Looking at the growth rate of the Omicron variant, the European Centre for Disease Control and Prevention has said that the variant has a very high risk of spreading even wider than it is now. As the number of cases increase rapidly, the CDC predicts that it could be the primary strain among countries in the EU by February 2022.
The Omicron variant is already dominating some parts of the United Kingdom, with UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson saying that the variant is now the dominant strain of COVID in London, overtaking the Delta variant. The exponential rate at which the variant is spreading has caused countries to establish new restrictions to slow the virus. France has introduced new restrictions, disallowing “leisure travel” and only permitting trips that are deemed essential.
Jake Paul Acquires Stake in UFC Parent Company, Endeavour Group Holdings
Jake Paul, a Youtuber turned boxer, on Tuesday announced he has purchased a stake in Endeavour Group Holdings, the parent company of Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) to protest the poor pay structure of fighters, among other things.
Paul, a long-time advocate of better pay and treatment of fighters, had called on Dana White, the President of UFC to increase athletes’ pay and give them good health care policy given the level of risk they take.
Jake Paul, 24, said he partnered Geoffrey Woo in his investment and called on other wealthy individuals, hedge funds, etc to join him in order to force UFC to make changes to its pay structure.
He tweeted, ‘I’ve invested in EDR (UFC) stock with my partner @geoffreywoo 2 focus on UFCs ESG standards relating to fighters’.
‘We believe EDR can drive long-term economic value by increasing UFC fighter pay & providing them healthcare.
‘Reaching out to @EngineNo_1 to partner on this ‘endeavour.”
The move was after Francis Ngannou, a Cameroonian UFC fighter and the heavyweight champion of the world, disclosed that he received $600,000 per fight as a champion despite the level of risk involved while the likes of Tyson Fury, Anthony Joshua and other boxers get paid $30 million and even more in case of Anthony Joshua.
Ngannou has since refused to extend his contract except certain adjustments are made to allow him the freedom to cross over to boxing.
Jake Paul, a new boxer with just three fights in 2021, earned $40 million, according to Forbes’s latest athletes’ earning report.
‘My partner Jake has lead the way in changing the business of combat sports by not just talking about it, but being about it — fighter pay, healthcare, & championing women’s sport,’ Woo said.
‘And today is our next step in our vision of revolutionizing the industry.
‘UFC has faced a rising chorus of criticism for the exploitation of its athletes — the [love] of [the] biz.
‘The ratio of revenue going to athletes vs. owners & leagues is well below industry standard.
‘This disparity hurts long-term shareholder value & this is not going to magically change.
‘Jake is the archetype of the future, where individual transcends the machine.
‘This is happening across all sectors — media, entertainment, & tech start-ups where dynamic, innovative individuals & creators are bargaining toe-to-toe w the owners, the institutions, and the academy.
‘We believe the best way to accelerate this inevitable revolution is to lead it from within the UFC as co-owners & impact investors.
‘We will use our investment stake to rally fans, athletes, fellow shareholders, and management to do the right thing.’
NPower News: FG Commences Processing Of November Stipends To Batch C Beneficiaries
Batch C beneficiaries of the NPower scheme should expect their November stipend soon, as the Payroll Status has now been converted from pending to processing.
Investors King learnt that a few beneficiaries have started receiving their alerts as of Tuesday morning.
Recall that Investors King had earlier reported that there are indications that the November and December stipends will be paid to all beneficiaries in the first week of February. The stipend for these two outstanding months had already been approved by the Minister for Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Hajiya Sadiya Umar Farouq and should be disbursed soon.
Meanwhile, about 80% beneficiaries of the Npower scheme have received their September and October stipends. Those who are yet to receive their payment are encouraged to exercise patience and also verify their details for any error. The scheme noted that there might be a delay in payment due to Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement Scheme (NIBSS) validation, as this validation takes quite a while.
Beneficiaries with complaints of detected errors in their details are expected to send their correct particulars to firstname.lastname@example.org to effect the necessary changes.
The scheme has also disclosed that beneficiaries for Batch C, stream 2 are yet to be shortlisted. “Disregard any information that says it has. You will be notified if you are shortlisted when shortlisting is done”, it warned.
The NPower scheme was set up by the President of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari on 8 June 2016 to address the issues of youth unemployment and help increase social development.
The NPower scheme is categorized into Graduate Programmes and Non-Graduate Programmes and is targeted towards providing solutions to the nation’s under-developed public services like education, healthcare, and civic engagement.
Francis Ngannou Defeats Ciryl Gane, Displays Unique Wrestling Skill
Cameroonian UFC Heavyweight Champion of the World, Francis Ngannou, defeated Ciryl Gane to retain his belt with shocking wrestling and grappling skills no one saw coming leading up to the fight.
When the UFC 270 main event between heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou and interim champ Ciryl Gane was made official, it’s unlikely anyone expected an Ngannou win to come on the strength of his wrestling and jiu-jitsu. That’s exactly how the fight played out on Saturday night, however, with Ngannou surviving some rough early rounds before leaning on an unlikely combination of takedowns and ground control to pull away and take a unanimous decision victory inside the Honda Center in Anaheim, California.
Gane came out wanting to grapple with Ngannou, pushing forward and ending up in a clinch, though Ngannou was able to easily fight off the takedown attempt. From there, the expected striking battle broke out, with Gane using his slick footwork to try to move around the Octagon and pick angles and Ngannou looking for his trademark bombs.
The problem for Ngannou was actually finding Gane to land those shots. The grappling early appeared to drain Ngannou’s gas tank and he then was forced to chase Gane around the Octagon, with Gane casually moving, turning sideways and touching Ngannou with a variety of strikes as he built up a lead through cleaner work in the opening rounds.
In the third round, Ngannou finally had a moment, catching a Gane high kick and turning it into a massive body slam to end up on top in side control. Gane was able to escape back to his feet, only taking a few punches when he gave up his back to get back to standing only for Ngannou to again briefly take the fight to the ground. Shockingly, Ngannou scored with another takedown late in the round.
Having seen an unexpected side of Ngannou’s game, Gane looked to maintain distance with a steady diet of kicks in the fourth round, but Ngannou managed another takedown when he was able to close the distance and grab a body lock. Gane fought back to his feet only to be taken down yet again, keeping the fight on the ground for the remainder of the round.
With the fight seemingly tied up at two rounds apiece after Ngannou’s grappling had turned the tide, the fifth round seemed to be where the fight would ultimately be decided. After some early striking from Gane, he stepped inside and scored his own takedown, putting Ngannou on his back. Gane then made a pivotal mistake, abandoning the position in search of a leg lock.
Ngannou survived the leg lock to end up in top position, battling to improve his position while not doing much damage with strikes before the final horn.
The decision to go for the leg lock did prove to be Gane’s undoing, as the official scorecards read 48-47, 48-47, 49-46, all for Ngannou.
“I knew that he was going to be a tough opponent, no doubt,” Ngannou said after the fight. “I was surprised that he held on to the end of the fight but he was very good. The only thing that I had to do, that my coach reminded me all the time, was stay composed. Trust yourself, don’t chase him.”
Ngannou also confirmed rumors of a pre-fight knee injury while discussing the build to the fight.
“I hurt my knee, tore my MCL completely and hurt my ACL,” Ngannou said. “I wanted to pull out of this fight but couldn’t see myself retreating from this fight because it was a chance to make a statement and remind everyone that I’m the champ.”
CBS Sports was with you the entire way on Saturday bringing you all the results and highlights from the UFC 270 below.
UFC 270 card and results
- Francis Ngannou (c) def. Ciryl Gane via unanimous decision (48-47, 48-47, 49-46)
- Deiveson Figueiredo def. Brandon Moreno (c) via unanimous decision (48-47, 48-47, 48-47)
- Michel Pereira def. Andre Fialho via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
- Said Nurmagomedov def. Cody Stamann via first-round submission (guillotine choke)
- Michael Morales def. Trevin Giles via first-round TKO (punches)
- Victory Henry def. Raoni Barcelos via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
- Jack Della def. Pete Rodriguez via first-round TKO (punches)
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