‘Game of Thrones’ Director Defends Ed Sheeran’s Cameo

The director of the Game of Thrones premiere, Jeremy Podeswa , is defending Ed Sheeran for his cameo after Twitter was polarized over his appearance during the episode.
I’m a bit surprised that people have made that much fuss about it. To me, he does seem quite organic, in his own way, to the show,” Jeremy told Daily Beast .

The truth is, everybody on the show is famous now. So it doesn’t mean anything to me. It’s about, are they appropriate for the role? Are they doing a good job? And it was yes, yes, yes to all those questions with him,” Jeremy continued, adding Ed was “delightful” to direct. Ed deleted his Twitter account hours after his cameo aired.

He is a lovely person; he’s really down-to-earth. If you didn’t know that he was a pop star or an entertainer of any kind, you would think he’s just one of the guys. And he is. He really just wanted to do a great job. He’s been acting for a little while; he takes it very seriously. And he was a real trouper, too. We were shooting in the middle of nowhere in Northern Ireland. He sat around outside with the cast and crew all day long, and just kind of hung out and was good-humored and lovely. He took direction well. He really could not have been nicer,” Jeremy continued.

It is a funny thing because I really, genuinely believe that if you didn’t know who he was, you would have just thought he was one of the gang, effortlessly,” he concluded.

UN Celebrates Mandela’s Service To Humanity

​The UN on Tuesday commemorated the Nelson Mandela International Day on what would have been his 99th birthday, to honour his lifetime of service and dedication to justice and equality.

Secretary-General António Guterres told a meeting of the General Assembly on the occasion of Nelson Mandela International Day that “the best tribute we can pay this great man is not words or in ceremonies, but actions that improve our world”.

Observed annually on July 28, the day is meant to inspire people all over the world to make a positive difference in their communities by volunteering at least 67 minutes of their time in recognition of Mandela’s 67 years of public service.

Each of us can make a difference in promoting peace, human rights, sustainable development, and lives of dignity for all,” Guterres said.

The UN chief said that he had met Mandela, also known as “Madiba”, and was struck by his wisdom, compassion, and humility.

Known as prisoner 46664 for 18 years on Robben Island, Mr. Mandela did not succumb to bitterness or personal animosity, but rose above it all to lead his country.

“One of the most important lessons we can learn from Nelson Mandela is that to make progress, we must look forward however difficult that may be,” Mr. Guterres said.

Also addressing the General Assembly, the current president, Peter Thomson, noted that Mandela’s fight for a world that is just and fair “remains as relevant today as it was during his lifetime.”

BREAKING NEWS: Nigerian Govt Releases Details Of Paris Club Payment To States (FULL DETAILS)

The Nigerian government has released details of payments to the 36 states as refund of “over-deductions on Paris Club, London Club Loans and Multilateral debts on the accounts of States and Local Governments (1995-2002).”

The latest payment is the second tranche of the refunds to the states.

A total of N243.8 billion was released to the 36 states and Abuja in the second tranche.

The Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, said approval for the release of the fund was given by Acting President Yemi Osinbajo on May 4.

The details, released by the Ministry of Finance on Tuesday evening, showed that Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Delta, Kano and Rivers received the largest sum of N10 billion each.

The states had earlier promised to use a large chunk of the money to settle debts owed workers and pensioners in their respective domains.

“The releases were conditional upon a minimum of 75 per cent being applied to the payment of workers’ salaries and pensions for States that owe salaries and pension,” Salisu Dambatta, a finance ministry spokesperson said in the statement.

The finance ministry said it was reviewing the impact of these releases on the level of arrears owed by the various state governments.

See the full details of the amount received by each state below.


Why Nigerian Govt Is Stopping Production Of Local Movies, Music, Abroad — Lai Mohammed

The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, has reacted to criticisms trailing his recent pronouncement on steps being taken by the government to discourage the production of Nigerian movies and music outside the country.
In a chat with PREMIUM TIMES, on Sunday, he said it was to tackle the exploitation of perceived loopholes in the Nigerian Broadcasting Code, NBC.
The NBC code today as it stands has been exploited and not defined and that’s why movies being directed by Nigerians with Nigerian actors, actresses can be shot in South Africa and then brought back to be consumed in Nigeria.

“All we are saying is that we are going to amend the code in a manner that it will not be possible for you to exploit any loophole there to go and shoot outside Nigeria film, music or programs that are meant to be consumed in Nigeria,” Mr. Mohammed said.
Mr. Mohammed on Saturday said the government had taken steps to get the Nigeria Broadcasting Code, NBC to put an end to the trend of producing Nigerian music, movie and programs abroad.
This however drew criticism from Nigerians who asked the minister to address the issue of government officials going for medical treatment abroad first before sanitising the movie industry.
However, the minister said the government had no ill-feeling in its move to dissuade Nigerian films from being produced abroad.
It is not directed at any particular incident, every country should respect the local industry of other countries. For example, in Ghana they introduced a law today that demands visiting actors to pay a thousand dollars to the government coffers while visiting directors and producers pay 5,000 dollars. We must create an enabling environment and also generate revenue from our creative industry.

“The argument is simple, when you go to shoot a film offshore, you use the work force of that country to develop the capacity of that country and you improve the economy of that country and that is what we are trying to do here.
Meanwhile, some Nigerian artistes have reacted to the development.
Jude Okoye, Manager and elder brother to multiple award winning duo, P-square took to Instagram to lambast the federal government, describing the plan as an exercise in hypocrisy.
An industry they never encouraged, supported or empowered is what they now want to control. Let all of you stop running to abroad when you are sick.

“You people are the ones refusing to fix our health facilities so you travel out when mosquito bite ‘una.’ So why tell us where to record when you can’t provide uninterrupted power here in Nigeria. Sometime I wonder how we got it all wrong.
In his reaction, Peter Okoye, one of the P-square duo said the government should be grateful to entertainers “for putting Nigeria in a good light despite the shame they bring upon the country.”
The government has been failing us since 1960,” sometimes am ashamed to be called a Nigerian. Another nationality loading,” he tweeted.

Health Minister Intensifies NHIS Sweep, Suspends Eight Top Staff

​The Minister of Health, Isaac Adewole, has suspended eight top management staff of the National Health Insurance Scheme, NHIS, days after suspending the executive secretary of the agency over corruption allegations.

A statement by the health ministry on Monday said the suspension of the officers was to pave the way for a thorough investigation of the agency and the affairs of its former executive secretary, Usman Yusuf.
The minister directed the acting executive secretary of the agency, Attahiru Ibrahim, to ensure the immediate implementation of the suspension order.
Those suspended are:
1. Olufemi Akingbade – General Manger, Zonal Coordinator South- South Zone
2. John Okon – General Manger, Finance Account
3. Yusuf Fatika – General Manger, Human Resources and Administration
4. Shehu Adamu – Assistant General Manager, Audit
5. Vincent Mamdam – Assistant General Manager, Head Insurance
6. Safiyanu Attah – Senior Assistant Officer, Marketing
7. Owen Udo Udoma – Senior Manager, Contribution Management
8. Innocent Abbah – Senior Assistant Officer, Planning Research and Monitoring
Mr. Yusuf, 54, took over the state-run health insurance provider on July 29, 2016.
But his reign at the health ministry parastatal has been fraught with allegations of fraud.
The suspension came weeks after the Senate launched investigations into his activities as the NHIS chief.
The lawmakers accused Mr. Yusuf of “corrupt expenditure of N292 million” which he allegedly spent on health care training “without recourse to any appropriate approving authority.”
The NHIS chief has denied any wrongdoing.
On Wednesday, the House of Representatives asked the health minister to recall Mr. Yusuf.
Mr. Adewole had ordered the suspension to allow for unhindered investigation of the corruption allegations.

12.9 million Infants Got No Vaccines In 2016 – UN Agencies

​UN agencies on Monday warned that no fewer than 12.9 million infants did not get any vaccines in 2016.

According to the WHO and UNICEF, the number represents about 10 per cent of babies around the world.

The UN agencies warned that no fewer than 13 million infants missed out on immunisation, including the combined vaccine against the potentially deadly diphtheria, tetanus and whooping cough.
These children most likely have also not received any of the other basic health services,” said Jean-Marie Okwo-Bele, WHO’s top immunization expert.
The UN agencies said no fewer than seven million children who have not received routine vaccinations live in conflict zones or humanitarian hot spots such as Afghanistan, Nigeria or Pakistan.
Since 2010, the agencies warned that global rate for routine immunisation among children has stalled at 86 per cent, below the target of 90 per cent.
Source: NAN

Cristiano Ronaldo Confirms Girlfriend Georgina Rodriguez Is Pregnant

Cristiano Ronaldo reportedly confirmed that his girlfriend Georgina Rogriguez is pregnant with his fourth child!

It is being reported that when asked by Spanish Newspaper El Mundo if he was excited about his child on the way, he responded, “Yes, very much,” (via Daily Mail).

Fans had been speculating for weeks that Georgina was expecting, and news of the new baby comes weeks after he welcomed twins.