Israel sets up AI consortium to advance genome editing



The project costs 36 million shekels (about 10.3 million U.S. dollars) for a period of 18 months, with an option to extend operations for additional 18 months.

Genome editing technologies are capable of enacting changes in genetic material, such as removing a piece of DNA and inserting a better segment instead.

Genome editing may lead to the development of advanced medical treatments, the treatment of genes that contribute to diseases, improving the quality of agricultural produce and more.

The consortium will be comprised of various companies and leading academic groups in the fields of biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, agriculture, bioinformatics and fish farming.

It will focus on the integration of AI and genome editing technologies to develop advanced computational tools that can improve the accuracy and efficiency of genome editing and enable swift and effective implementation of these tools in industry and research.

The new project is part of the IIA’s Bio-convergence Initiative, integrating biology with engineering, AI, physics, computation, nanotechnology, material science and advanced genetic engineering to address unmet needs in health, agriculture and energy.

IIA’s CEO Aharon Aharon said “the consortium will enable Israeli industry to be at the forefront of genome editing worldwide, while recruiting leading scientists and deploying innovative technologies developed in Israel.”



Osinbajo inaugurates fashion cluster shared facility for MSMEs in Lagos



Vice President Yemi Osinbajo on Friday performed the virtual inauguration of the Fashion Cluster Shared Facility for Micro Small and Medium Enterprises(MSMEs), the Eko Fashion Hub 1, in Lagos State.

Laolu Akande, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Office of the Vice President, disclosed this in a statement in Abuja.

Osinbajo said that the Federal Government remained deeply committed to creating a more business friendly environment for MSMEs to thrive, as they were the engine room of the Nigerian economy.

According to the Vice President, the Economic Sustainability Plan (ESP), has in it, a Survival Fund for MSMEs.

He said that President Muhammadu Buhari’s approval of the implementation of the MSMEs Survival Fund as part of the ESP was to cushion the impact of COVID-19 on the economy.

“Under the Survival Fund is a Payroll Support Scheme, which will provide up to N50,000 in monthly salaries for up to 10 staff of a qualifying business, for a period of three months.

“There is also a N50,000 grant for 100,000 small and medium-scale businesses, while 333,000 self-employed persons working as artisans and transporters will benefit from a one-off grant of N30,000.

“The President has also approved that the Federal Government bear the full cost of business name registration for 250,000 new businesses nationwide.

“We are doing all these to support MSMEs across the country to maintain their staffing levels and keep their businesses afloat through these very challenging times.”

The Vice President said the Buhari administration’s commitment to the success of small businesses was evident in its MSMEs Clinics initiative.

Osinbajo said that the clinics extended business support services to small businesses across the country, of which the MSMEs Shared Facility Scheme was a core component.

“The Eko facility, which was developed through collaboration between the Federal Government, the Lagos State Government, and the Organised Private Sector, is an end-to-end fashion production centre equipped with needed machinery and will be made available to the public under a shared facility style structure.

“When MSMEs thrive the economy thrives, when they struggle, the economy struggles.

“MSMEs’ Shared Facility Scheme being implemented by the Federal Government under the National MSMEs Clinics seeks to provide high-quality operating equipment, which small businesses can access at a reasonable cost, within a conducive space,’’ he said.

According to the Vice President, the facilities will help to reduce operating costs for users, allowing them to invest the savings in expanding their businesses and hiring more staff.

The Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, who was physically present at the event in Ikeja, commended the President and Vice President for supporting the scheme.

He said that there were plans to replicate the same in other parts of the state.

There are 161 machines at the EKO facility, including 74 industrial straight sewing machines, 10 industrial steam pressing irons, four monogramming machines, eight industrial button-hole and five industrial button tacking machines.

It also has Tinko and Coil machines, heming and industrial weaving machines, among others.

The Facility has a 100kva standby generator and a 2kva solar power system.

The Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment, Mariam Katagum, Managing Director, Access Bank, Herbert Wigwe and the Special Assistant to the President on MSMEs, Tola Johnson joined the event.

Others were the CEO, Bank of Industry, Mr Olukayode Pitan, Director-General, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency (SMEDAN), Dr Dikko Umaru Radda, Registrar General, Corporate Affairs Commission, Alhaji Garba Abubakar and Managing Director, NEXIM Bank, Abba Bello.

Dr Lola Akande, Lagos State Commissioner for Commerce, Industry and Cooperatives among other government functionaries also attended the event.

Osinbajo had in June, virtually inaugurated and handed over the 200,000-capacity Yam Storage Facility at the Zaki Biam International Yam Market in Benue State.

He had said there were also plans to establish similar facilities in other parts of the country, including in Kaduna, Anambra and the FCT.

Edited By: Felix Ajide
Source: NAN


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Lagos bye election :I’ll honour my predecessors’ legacies, says Abiru



The All Progressives Congress candidate for the Oct. 31 Lagos East senatorial bye election, Mr Tokunbo Abiru, on Friday promised to deliver democratic dividends to the people of the district, if elected.

Abiru, a former Managing Director of Polaris Bank, made the promise during a meeting with party stakeholders, community leaders and residents in Kosofe.

He said previous representatives of the senatorial district did very well for the people, promising to offer same quality representation to honour their legacies, if elected.

The APC candidate said he was passionate about the progress of the senatorial zone and would not disappoint the people.

“I thank you great party members for nominating me as the candidate of our great party and I promise not to betray the confidence reposed in me.

“I will work with other elected members of the National Assembly from the state to deliver the dividends of democracy to the people of this senatorial district and the state.

“By God ‘s grace ,I will honour the legacies of those who had represented this district at the Senate .

“My father, Justice Abiru  first represented  this district; he did very well and I can’t afford  not to honour his legacies.

“Then came Senator Ogunlewe, he did extremely well too.Then Senator Mamora,Senator Ashafa and Senator Bayo Osinowo,May Allah bless his soul.

“These great men did extremely well for our people. Just like them, I will be the senator of the people. I will offer quality representation to honour the legacies of my predecessors if elected “,he said .

Abiru said he would bring all his competences and experience of over 30 years in the banking sector to bear on rendering service to the people of Lagos East.

He said he stabilised Polaris Bank and returned it to path of profitability as CEO, promising to bring the same zeal and character to the Senate if elected .

Abiru also promised to pursue efforts and initiatives to attract development to Lagos East to better the lot of constituents.

“Also poverty alleviation will be one of my priorities if elected .I already have the template and the structure to reach out to the people of this great zone.

“By God’s grace ,I shall implement programmes and initiatives to promote the prosperity of our people and reduce poverty”,he said.

Abiru said if elected he would work with other federal lawmakers to push for special status for the state in view of the pressure on it as a former federal capital.

The candidate commended Gov. Babajide Sanwoolu for his interventionist strides in the state ,promising to join  hands with him and others to bring more development to the district and the state .

He urged residents of the senatorial district to vote overwhelmingly for him and APC on Oct.31.

Abiru particularly urged residents of Kosofe to prove their huge voting strength and significantly improve the voting figures from the area on the day of the election.

In his remarks,Chief Kaoli Olusanya,APC Vice Chairman ,Lagos East,described Abiru as a man of competence ,pedigree and character.

He said none of the  other candidates for the senatorial election had the rich credentials of Abiru.

Olusanya however said the people of Kosofe in particular had to vote en masse to make Abiru’s victory emphatic.

He said it was regrettable that the votes from Kosofe for APC had depleted over previous elections and urged the residents to use the bye election to prove their massive support for APC.

“We are expecting at least 130,000 votes for Abiru and APC from Kosofe”,he said.

Speaking ,Mr Obafemi Saheed ,the party’s candidate for Kosofe 2 bye election ,also scheduled for Oct.31 ,said he and Abiru were contesting to serve the people.

Saheed said just like Abiru,he would use his experience as an economist and a banker to serve the people of Kosofe.

“Our people in the party in Kosofe have put their differences behind them and have resolved to vote massively for the party’s candidate.It shall be big victory by God’s grace “,he said.

NAN reports some of the prominent party members at the meeting include Mrs Yetunde Arobieke; Commissioner for Wealth Creation ; Rep Rotimi Agunsoye (Kosofe );a member of the state House of Assembly,Mr Rotimi Abiru(Shomolu 2) and another state legislator ,Mr Sanni Okanlawon(Kosofe 1)

Council chairmen of Kosofe LGA, Agboyi Ketu Local Council Development Area and IKosi Isheri LCDA were also present.

Edited By: Oluwole Sogunle
Source: NAN
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General news

Maritime Agencies synergise for safety of waterways, improved transportation



The Maritime agencies in the country on Thursday resolved to ensure security and safety on waterways for improved water transportation through adequate collaboration and synergy.

Dr George Moghalu, Managing Director of the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) disclosed this at the end of the Third Monthly Meeting of Chief Executives of Maritime Agencies in Lokoja.

Moghalu said the Chief Executives of the agencies discussed issues relating to maritime security and safety, capacity building and enforcement of security protocols, to reduce the carnage on the nation’s waterways.

“This is our routine meeting which from the point when we started, is aimed at building synergy by coming together, taking our policies together, to see how we can work together for the benefit of our nation, Nigeria.’’

According to him, the CEOs at the meeting constituted a committee on the multimodal approach to cargo delivery, to enhance seaport and dryport operations.

“We are looking at what we can do to harmonise the operations of all maritime agencies in the country to better the maritime industry, especially in the area of movement of cargo between the waterports.’’

He said that there was a need for effective water transportation in view of the positive impact it would make on the economy, in reducing ports congestion and haulage of heavy duty goods through the roads.

On frequent capsizing of boats and mishaps on the Waterways and safety measures, he noted that only last week, the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency/ (NIMASA) organised a “world-class safety and security conference” in the country.

“The Safety issue is not peculiar to our Waterways, we also have security challenges on land but the important thing is that government is conscious of this fact.

“Agencies of government are also conscious of this fact. Gunboats have been acquired, NIMASA is also doing a lot in that direction.’’

Moghalu urged the citizens to play roles expected of them and obey basic rules and regulations laid down by NIWA, as he attributed the incessant boat mishaps to non-compliance by boat riders.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that agencies present at the meeting included NIWA, NIMASA, Nigeria Customs Service, Nigeria Railway Corporation (NRC), Shippers Council and the Federal Ministry of Transport, among others.

Edited By: Idonije Obakhedo
Source: NAN

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Science & Technology

NIGCOMSAT partners other satellite agencies to power 1st African Satellite-Based Augmentation System



The Agency for Air Navigation Safety in Africa and Madagascar ASCENA have commenced a Satellite-Based Augmentation System (SBAS) broadcast signal over Africa and the Indian Ocean (AFI) region.

This is contained in a statement by NIGCOMSAT General Manager, Corporate Affairs, Mr Adamu Idris in Abuja on Thursday.

According to him, the aim is to provide the first SBAS open service in this part of the world on NigComSat-1R satellite, a communications satellite managed and operated by NIGCOMSAT Ltd under the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy of Nigeria.

He said the open service was provided as part of the ‘SBAS for Africa and Indian Ocean’ programme which pursue the autonomous provision over the continent of SBAS services to augment the performances of the satellite navigation constellations GPS and Galileo.

NIGCOMSAT Managing Director/CEO, Dr Abimbola Alale expressed delight over the development.

“We are proud to be part of this ambitious programme to provide satellite navigation services in the African and Indian Ocean region.

” The use of our geostationary communication satellite, NigComSat-1R navigation payload to broadcast the first signal will be Africa’s premier communications satellite contribution to SBAS as a regional satellite-based augmentation system for the continent,”she said.

NIGCOMSAT SBAS Project Manager, Dr Lasisi Lawal, said the services will help improve GPS accuracy to within a meter and boost integrity, availability and continuity of safety-related applications.

” The SBAS services will improve flight safety and efficiency in Africa, as well as support safety and commercial applications related to land, sea and rail transportation which are beneficial to the economy.

” It will follow the policy direction of the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Pantami in digitalising the Nigerian economy,”he said.

Lawal said the services was expected to grow the GDP and value propensity not only in the communications sector but aviation, maritime, railtransport, precision agriculture, survey, oil and gas,

He said it would boost security of strategic national infrastructure and mass market applications for sustainable development beyond Nigerian shores.

Lawal said the open service essentially aimed at carrying out technical trials as well as partnering with airlines, field demonstrations for aircraft and rotorcraft, to demonstrate the benefits of the future operational safety-of-life SBAS services expected from 2024.

“It is expected to include Precise Point Positioning (PPP) and emergency warning service to populations, which performance will be proven through demonstrations.

” The signal-in-space is generated by a dedicated system tested, developed as part of the SBAS for Africa and Indian Ocean preliminary design phase, which is financed by the EU and awarded to Thales Alenia space, a joint venture between Thales 67 per cent and Leonardo 33 per cent .

“The SBAS for Africa and Indian Ocean is based on the European EGNOS developed by the European Space Agency (ESA) acting under delegation of the European Commission and operated by the European GNSS agency GSA, “he said.

Lawal said the system prototype use reference stations network, the SAGAIE network deployed by CNES and ASCENA with the support of Thale Alenia space.

He said the signal was broadcasted via the SBAS payload on NigComSat-1R geo satellite of NIGCOMSAT Ltd and uplink station deployed in Abuja (Nigeria).

” It is compliant to the standards and recommended practices of the International Civil Aviation Organisation and the Minimum Operational Performance Standard developed by the Radio Technical Commission for Aeronautics (RTCA) organisation.

” It will be visible in the whole of Africa and the Indian Ocean up to the West Australian coast and also in Europe,” he said.

Edited By: Ali Baba-Inuwa
Source: NAN

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