Science & Technology

NCC revises determination on Unstructured Supplementary Service Data pricing

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The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) on Wednesday said it had revised its determination on Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) pricing.


The commission said the pricing, published on July 23, 2019, was in furtherance of its mandate to protect the interests of consumers and support a robust telecommunications sector.

Dr Ikechukwu Adinde, NCC Director, Public Affairs, said the amendment was necessitated following a protracted dispute between Mobile Network Operators (MNO) and Financial Institutions on the applicable charges for USSD services and the method of billing.

“ As a responsive and effective regulatory authority, we recognize that our policies are not static and may be modified from time to time as circumstances demand.

“This is coming on the heels of a recent directive by the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa  Pantami, regarding a review of the USSD pricing by all parties involved.

“It followed a presentation made by the Commission on the billing structure, determination of USSD pricing, current status and the way forward,’’ he said in a statement.

Adinde said the decision was taken to suspend the commencement of end-user billing, where consumers were being charged directly from their airtime balance for use of USSD channels as opposed to corporate billing where the banks paid the MNOs for the use of USSD service.

He said the Minister of Communication was “genuinely besieged with a barrage of complaints at the attempted commencement of end-user billing by service providers.”

According to him, USSD is a service to banks and not to the Telecommunications Consumers.

“As such, banks should see themselves as corporate customers of telecommunication operators with a duty to pay for using the its network and infrastructure, including USSD channels extended to them for service delivery to their customers.

“Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) have no direct relationship to bank customers, and cannot, therefore, charge directly for usage of USSD channel,” he said.

Adinde, however, said USSD channel had evolved over time from exclusive channel used for only telecommunication services such as balance inquiry and recharges to a channel for the deployment of a broad spectrum of services.

He said that they included financial, insurance, agricultural, government services and more.

“The use of USSD channel has become a critical resource in the economy, more so in this era of the COVID-19 pandemic that has witnessed a rise in reliance on digital services.

“The NCC also determined that MNOS must not charge the consumers directly for the use of USSD channels for financial services in the form of end-user-billing.

“The transaction should be between the MNOs and the entity to which the service is provided which are Banks and Financial Institutions,’’ he said. 

Edited By: Olagoke Olatoye (NAN)

 

 

https://nnn.ng/ncc-revises-determination-on-unstructured-supplementary-service-data-pricing/

COVID-19

E! hosts skip Emmys red carpet after testing positive for COVID-19

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The E! “Live From the Red Carpet” preshow for the Emmy Awards is missing a couple of key players this year.


During Sunday’s broadcast, Giuliana Rancic and Vivica A. Fox – who were expected to host a portion of E!’s 2020 red-carpet coverage – both announced that they tested positive for COVID-19 and therefore could not emcee the show as planned.

“As I go into my 20th year on the E! red carpet, I have to say I do not take missing an award show lightly.

“But unfortunately, this year is just so different. As part of E! and NBCUniversal’s very strict testing guidelines – especially before an event like this – I did find out that I tested positive for COVID-19.

“As much as I didn’t want to hear that, I’m very thankful I heard it before I traveled and possibly could have exposed other people. As far as my health, I’m doing well,” Rancic said via video chat.

Rancic added that her husband and son also tested positive for the respiratory illness and are “taking care of each other” in quarantine.

“I’m wishing you all the best,” she continued from home, adding:  “Please protect yourselves and protect those around you. Take good care, and I’ll see you on the next red carpet.”

Later, E! hosts Brad Goreski and Nina Parker shared a statement from Fox explaining her own absence.

“I’m terribly sorry I cannot be with my E! family tonight,” the message read.

“Unfortunately I have tested positive for (COVID-19), so in an abundance of caution, I’ve isolated myself at home.

“During these unprecedented times, it’s more important than ever that we follow all safety and health rules and guidelines to protect ourselves and each other. … I look forward to seeing everyone again soon.”

Parker and Goreski – who were originally slated to host the E! “Countdown to the Red Carpet” from 4:30 to 6 p.m. Eastern before passing the baton to Rancic and Fox – simply extended their hosting duties to the “Live From the Red Carpet” telecast.

Edited By: Emmanuel Yashim
Source: NAN

https://nnn.ng/e-hosts-skip-emmys-red-carpet-after-testing-positive-for-covid-19/
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COVID-19

NCDC records 97 new COVID-19 infections, total cases now 57, 242

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The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has recorded  97 new coronavirus (COVID-19) infections in the country, bringing the total confirmed cases to 57, 242 nationwide.


The NCDC disclosed this on its official twitter handle on Sunday .

It added that three persons died of COVID-19 complications while 138 patients, who recovered at various isolation centres across the country the same day, were discharged.

Based on the figures released, Lagos state recorded the highest number of infections with 46 new cases.

The data released also indicated that Kwara recorded 12 new infections, Rivers 11, and Adamawa 4.

Others were Niger – 4, Ogun – 4, Osun – 4, Ekiti – 3, Imo – 3, Kaduna – 3, Plateau – 2, and Federal Capital Territory (FCT) – 1.

According to the NCDC, the 36 states and FCT have now recorded at least one confirmed case of the virus.

“Till date, 57, 242 cases have been confirmed, 48, 569 cases have been discharged, and 1,098 deaths have been recorded in 36 states and the FCT,” the centre said.

NCDC stated that a multi-sectoral national emergency operations centre (EOC), activated at Level 3, has continued  to coordinate the national response activities across the country.

Edited By: Kamal Tayo Oropo/Emmanuel Yashim
Source: NAN

https://nnn.ng/ncdc-records-97-new-covid-19-infections-total-cases-now-57-242/
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Sport

Golf: DeChambeau muscles his way to United States Open victory

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A bulked-up Bryson DeChambeau bashed his way to a six-shot United States Open victory on Sunday, silencing any lingering questions as to whether his brawny game could translate to the major stage.


World number nine DeChambeau, who began the day two shots back of United States Open debutant Matthew Wolff, clinched his first major title with a mix of jaw-dropping drives and clutch putts.

He shot a virtually flawless three-under-par 67 to reach six under for the tournament at Winged Foot.

“On nine is when I first thought, ‘OK, this could be reality’,” DeChambeau, speaking during the trophy presentation, said of his mindset after an eagle at the par-five ninth.

“I made that eagle, long eagle putt and I shocked myself by making it, too, and I thought to myself, ‘I could do it’. And then immediately after, I said, ‘nope, you’ve got to focus on each and every hole’.”

Wolff (75), appearing in only his second major, was one shot back of DeChambeau at the turn but fell apart over a back nine that included two bogeys and a double-bogey.

A fearless DeChambeau, whose final round included the eagle, two birdies and a bogey, attacked at every chance.

For his efforts was the only player to break par in the final round as he cruised to a maiden major at his 16th attempt.

The 27-year-old had re-emerged from the PGA Tour’s three-month COVID-19 suspension in mid-June packing serious muscle and hitting a startling distance off the tee.

He attacked Winged Foot all week like few other golfers can.

So confident in his approach, DeChambeau unleashed his driver on practically every par-four and par-five hole as he figured the birdie chances would outweigh the risk that Winged Foot’s nasty rough creates.

DeChambeau grabbed the solo lead after five holes, hit a perfectly-paced 40-foot eagle putt at the ninth to maintain a one-shot cushion.

It was a tournament that came down to a two-horse race between him and Wolff as they made the turn.

The 21-year-old Wolff was bidding to become the first player to win the United States Open on his tournament debut since Francis Ouimet in 1913.

But he bogeyed the 10th and 14th holes, before a double-bogey at 16.

“I battled hard. Things just didn’t go my way,” said Wolff. “But first United States Open, second-place is something to be proud of and hold your head up high for.”

Former British Open champion Louis Oosthuizen (73) birdied the last to finish alone in third-place, a distant eight shots back of DeChambeau.

He was one shot clear of Harris English (73), who made a double-bogey at the first where he lost his tee shot.

Xander Schauffele (74) looked ready to make a back-nine charge after making the turn fresh off back-to-back birdies.

But the world number seven made five consecutive bogeys from the 13th and finished in fifth-place.

Northern Irishman Rory McIlroy (75), who finished in a share of eighth-place, was almost left in a state of disbelief at DeChambeau’s win.

This was given his inaccuracy off the tee at a tournament renowned for its thick rough.

“I don’t really know what to say because that’s just the complete opposite of what you think a United States Open champion does,” said McIlroy.

“Look, he’s found a way to do it. Whether that’s good or bad for the game, I don’t know.

“But it’s just – it’s not the way I saw this golf course being played or this tournament being played. It’s kind of hard to really wrap my head around it.”

 

(
Edited By: Olawale Alabi)
Source: NAN

 

 

https://nnn.ng/golf-dechambeau-muscles-his-way-to-united-states-open-victory/
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General news

Health workers suspend 7-day nationwide warning strike

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Members of the Joint Health Sector Unions (JOHESU), have suspended their seven-day nationwide warning strike.


Mr Josiah Biobelemoye, JOHESU National Chairman, made this known in a statement at the end of its expanded National Executive Council meeting on Sunday in Abuja.

Biobelemoye directed all members of the union to resume work by Sept. 21 and also await further directives.

Members of JOHESU and the Assembly of Healthcare Professional Associations (AHPA) embarked on a seven-day warning strike to press on its demands from the Federal Government.

The union demands included disparity in the payment of hazard and inducement allowances to workers in the frontline containing the spread of COVID-19 among others.

Biobelemoye said:“ I bring fraternal greetings to you from the entire members of the Joint Health Sector Unions (JOHESU) and the Assembly of Healthcare Professional Associations (AHPA).

“This is to bring to your notice that the 7-day nationwide warning strike embarked upon by the members of the Joint Health Sector Unions (JOHESU) would come to an end midnight of today, Sept. 20.

“By this notice, all health workers under the five Unions that make up Joint Health Sector Unions (JOHESU) and Assembly of Healthcare Professional Associations (AHPA) shall return to work on Monday, Sept. 21, 2020 across all Federal Health Institutions in the country.

“However, the Federal Government through the Ministry of Health has continued to exhibit high level of bias/discrimination by refusing to address the demands of our members as presented by JOHESU within the seven days of the warning strike as was done to other bodies in the health sector.

“The next line of action would be decided in due course by the expanded National Executive Council of JOHESU.”

He also alleged that rather than call JOHESU for dialogue to resolve the trade dispute, the Federal Government resorted to intimidation and blackmail of the union leaders using all forms of instruments and faceless organisations.

He further said that JOHESU would continue to use all legitimate means to defend the rights and demands for the welfare of its members in the health sector.

“Nigerians should bear us witness that JOHESU has shown high patriotism by demanding that public health system in Nigeria is sustained and adequately financed for effective, efficient and affordable healthcare service delivery.

“In view of the above and in line with the resolution of the expanded NEC meeting held physically and virtually today, Sunday, Sept. 20, 2020, I hereby declare that the seven days warning strike is suspended.

“All our members are directed to resume work by Monday, Sept. 21, 2020 while awaiting further directives.

“Finally, I wish to thank all the leaders at all strata and members for their commitment, selflessness, cooperation and resilience during the seven days warning strike,” he said.

Edited By: Dianabasi Effiong/Felix Ajide
Source: NAN

 

https://nnn.ng/health-workers-suspend-7-day-nationwide-warning-strike/
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