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Singer, Ciara accepted into Harvard Business School

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American singer, Ciara has been accepted into the prestigious Harvard Business School.

The 33-year-old pop star took to Instagram, wearing a Harvard sweater, to announce the news.

“I always dreamt of going to college, but by God’s grace, my music career took me on a path that I’m so thankful for,”she captioned the post.

“This week I got accepted into Harvard! Words cannot describe my excitement!”

She was accepted into the Ivy League’s Business of Entertainment, Media, and Sports program, run by Professor Anita Elberse whom she thanked for “a once in a lifetime opportunity to attend Harvard”.

According to Harvard Business School’s website, the program will help participants to “uncover new approaches for driving revenue and success in today’s entertainment environment.”

It also says, “through an up-close examination of why some creative businesses thrive while others fail to survive, you will learn when to make smaller versus blockbuster bets, the best way to capitalize on market disruptions, and how to establish long-term competitive advantage.”

The “Level Up” singer, released her seventh studio album, Beauty Marks on May 10 under her own label, Beauty Marks Entertainment.

She is married to Russell Wilson, the highest paid player in NFL.

She has two children, 5-year-old Future Zahir, who she shares with her ex, and 2-year-old Sienna who she shares with Russell Wilson.

Entertainment

Singer Simi raises concerns over plight of women in decision making

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Popular Nigerian singer, Simisola Ogunleye a.k.a Simi as expressed concern over the plight of women attaining their optimum  goals especially in decision making processes.

She said via her Twitter account @Simplysimi on Monday that women have to sweat to gain spots in policies and decision making processes in the country.

She wrote,

“I woke up angry today cos of a conversation I had before bed.

“Women are so strong. So obviously strong. You sweat blood for a spot at a table that disrespects a sweat. 

 

“Then you spend every single day convincing people you belong there. And the damn table isn’t even all that.

 

“And when you say “F…. it. My life, my rules.” They ask why. It’s because it never ends. Nothing is ever enough. And complaining is a waste of time.

 

This is why most of the women that STAY winning have to win on their own terms. Ass-kissing is exhausting.’’

 

The bubbly expectant mother said that, her tweets were triggered by a discussion she had before going to bed the previous night.

 

She noted that although I have women are so strong but they have to struggle twice as hard to get a spot at the table, and when they get a table, they are still disrespected.

 

Angry at the situation of things, Simi said women have to spend every single day of their lives trying to convince people that they belong where they are.

 

The 32 year old singer stated that when women finally decide to be in charge of their lives and make their own rules, they are still questioned.

 

Simi said that she still has a lot to say about the subject matter, but noted that it is not yet the right time.

 

According to her, if she does not spill out what was in her mind, she may stay angry all day.

 

Simi, recently took to her Instagram account to share a similar story saying that feminism makes men vulnerable.

 

The singer stated that feminism makes many men feel vulnerable because the same society that makes them feel superior wants  women to become better.

Simi explained that life would actually be easier for everyone if men also support feminism.

The singer and her husband Adekunle Gold are expecting their first child as revealed in the music video for Simi’s latest song “Duduke”.

With lines such as “I cannot wait to see you, you are the treasure I have been waiting for… I am waiting for the day I finally get to kiss you,” a heavily pregnant Simi sings to her unborn child.

Released under her own record label, Studio Brat, “Duduke” is Simi’s first official single in 2020.

Edited By: JaneFrances / Ekemini Ladejobi (NAN)

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Jazz Singer Melody Gardot seeks digital orchestra to beat coronavirus blues

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American Jazz Singer Melody Gardot is inviting musicians around the world to play along digitally on her new album to overcome the solitude and financial strain of coronavirus lockdown.

For the song “From Paris with Love” on her new album, Gardot is asking orchestra musicians worldwide – strings, woodwinds or harp to contribute remotely by playing along to a score and a backing track.

Producers will assemble the performances into what she called a “digital global orchestra” to make it sound as if all musicians are playing together in the same room.

The chosen musicians will be paid professional studio rates and royalties will be donated to charities benefiting healthcare workers.

Confined in her home in Paris, Gardot had been set to record part of her new album with the London Symphony Orchestra just before a Europe-wide coronavirus lockdown put an end to all music production.

For the video clip of the song, Gardot has invited fans to contribute short video portraits of themselves from wherever they are in the world with a sign “From (their city) with Love”.

“We all worry about contagion now but a smile is one of the contagious issues that I would like to have,” Gardot told Reuters.

“It can make us feel a little more connected in spite of what is going on. We cannot touch each other, we cannot travel, this is kind of a postcard,” she said.

Participating musicians will receive instructions on how to record and film themselves performing the piece at home and can file their contributions till May 18 at midnight.

Gardot, who sells more records in Europe than in the U.S. and is very popular in France, is one of many musicians worldwide who have tried to break the barriers of lockdown by using social media for live or recorded performances.

The Grammy-nominated singer said the lockdown had knocked her out of her rhythm of constant touring, often playing several days a week, 11 months a year.

She said the isolation had been relatively bearable compared to being in hospital for a year after being knocked off her bike by a car when she was 19.

“Is (the lockdown) heart-breaking in a fraternal way but for myself, I have seen rainier days,” she said.

Edited By: Emmanuel Okara/Adeleye Ajayi (NAN)

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Singer, Adele stuns fans with drastic weight loss

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British singer and songwriter, Adele Adkins popularly known as Adele, has continued to surprise fans with her weight loss achievements.

The ‘Hello’ singer showed off her seven stone  loss in a little black dress paired with black heels for an Instagram post to mark her 32nd birthday.

The hit-maker took the decision to transform her body and health following her split from husband, Simon Konecki with whom she shares a son.

Adele’s weight loss was the result of “a strict diet and fitness routine of cross-training and full-body Pilates,” according to People magazine.

 

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L-R: Adele before and after (Photo credit: Getty/Twitter)

“Her whole focus during the weight loss journey has really been all about how she can be healthier and how can she treat her body better.

“It was never about losing weight. Her weight loss happened because she has cut down drinking and is eating more real food.

“But she now loves her physical transformation too. She is more confident, dresses differently and she just seems happier overall.”

Her industry friends have continued to express awe over her new look, with model, Chrissy Teigen commenting, “I mean are you kidding me?”

However, a fan, @hollyshortall said, “It makes me a bit sad to see people commenting on Adele in a way that makes it seem she wasn’t as beautiful when she was bigger, which she was.

“It’s taken me a long time to realise health & happiness are what matters, not size! I love her and I hope she is healthy & happy!

In a birthday message from 2019, the singer said, “I’ve changed drastically in the last couple years and I’m still changing and that’s okay.”

She is the recipient of nine Brit Awards, an Academy Award, a Golden Globe Award, fifteen Grammy Awards, eighteen Billboard Music Awards, five American Music Awards, and two Ivor Novello Awards for Songwriter of the Year.

Edited By: Ekemini Ladejobi (NAN)

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Singer Kelly Rowland joins U.S. coronavirus special to aid black community

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Kelly Rowland, Halle Berry, and Anthony Anderson are among a host of black celebrities taking on the coronavirus epidemic as the disease continues to disproportionately affect minorities in the U.S.

The actors and singers will take part in television special “Saving Our Selves: A BET COVID-19 Relief Effort,” airing on cable channel BET on Wednesday, that aims to deliver financial, educational and community support directly to the African American community.

Early data from U.S. states shows African Americans are dying from coronavirus at higher rates than the population at large, highlighting long-standing disparities in health and inequalities in access to medical care.

Rowland, a founder member of Destiny’s Child who will host the event along with Regina Hall and Terrence J., said the statistics have made her heart drop.

“We can’t have something like this take out our community,” she said. “I feel like we’ve been through so much. Our ancestors have been through so much. So we have to get through something like this,” Rowland said.

Others participating in Wednesday’s special include Chance the Rapper, DJ Khaled, Charlie Wilson and Fantasia.

Before U.S. states imposed strict lockdowns a month ago, Rowland was preparing to release an album she’s been working on for six years.

She decided to drop the first single “Coffee” early last week with hopes of bringing a bit of escapism to people.

She said the opening bells of “Coffee” took her back to a favourite spot in Jamaica.

“I was, like, if it makes me feel like that, I wonder what would it do for other people?… The women that are in this video are just so grounded in their beauty and sexuality and they’re so unapologetic about it. I was like, yeah, we need some of that right now.”

Edited By: Emmanuel Okara/Emmanuel Yashim (NAN)

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COVID-19: Afro pop singer shares cash, food items in Ilorin

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An Ilorin-based Afro Pop Singer, Ayokanmi Eyanro, popularly known as “Frequency’’ has doled out over N500,000 cash and food items worth N200,000 to some residents of rural communities in Ilorin.

The musician said the gesture was to cushion the palpable effect of lockdown on rural dwellers in parts of Kwara State.

News Agency of Nigeria reports that the Eiyenkorin, Alore, Taiwo Isale and Niger Area of Ilorin, are among the communities that benefitted from the gesture on Tuesday.

The singer mentioned some of the food items distributed to include rice, noodles, semovita and Gari.

According to him, the gesture is his modest stimulus package to complement the efforts of the government in mitigating the hardship the lockdown has brought on the people.

He, however, called for calm among residents, saying that contact tracing of people infected with the virus was capable of reducing the spread of the disease.

“No preferential treatment should be given to suspected covid-19 victims at this critical moment as the disease is no respecter of persons.

“I wonder why anyone will even want to hide his status or get special treatment in this situation we find ourselves.

“In the real sense of it, the elite in the society should lead by example in disclosing their status, and sharing their success stories to encourage the masses to show readiness to fight this scourge,’’ he said.

He advised residents in the state to adhere strictly to the precautionary measures toward prevention and control of the deadly virus.

Edited By: Martins Odeh/Felix Ajide (NAN)

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Country folk singer, John Prine dies at 73 of coronavirus complications

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Grammy-winning Singer John Prine, who wrote his early songs in his head while delivering mail and later emerged from Chicago’s folk revival scene in the 1970s to become one of the most influential songwriters, died on Tuesday.

He was 73.

According to his wife, Fiona Whelan Prine, who was also his manager, Prine was hospitalised in Nashville on March 26, suffering from symptoms of COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the novel coronavirus,

“We join the world in mourning the passing of revered country and folk singer/songwriter John Prine.

“Widely lauded as one of the most influential songwriters of his generation, John’s impact will continue to inspire musicians for years to come. We send our deepest condolences to his loved ones.” the Recording Academy said in a written statement.

A Publicist for Prine confirmed his death due to complications from COVID-19 at Vanderbilt University Medical Centre in his adopted hometown of Nashville.

Born in Chicago on Oct. 10, 1946, to William Prine and Verna Hamm, both originally of Kentucky, Prine was taught by his older brother David to play guitar at the age of 14 and attended music classes at the Old Town School of Folk Music.

After graduating from high school in suburban Maywood, Illinois, Prine worked as a mail carrier for five years, performing in Chicago clubs in the evenings at occasional “open mic” nights.

He would say later that some of his best-known early songs were written while he walked the streets of Chicago delivering mail.

“I likened the mail route to being in a library without any books. You just had time to be quiet and think and that’s where I would come up with a lot of songs.

“If the song was any good I could remember it later and write it down,” Prine told the Chicago Tribune in a 2010 interview.

He was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1966, stationed in Germany during the Vietnam War, before returning home to dedicate himself to music and establishing himself as a leading member of Chicago’s folk revival scene.

That album, widely praised by critics, contained several songs that would become staples of Prine’s catalogue.

They included “Angel from Montgomery,” about a woman wishing for deliverance from her unfulfilling life; “Paradise,” about a Kentucky town devastated by strip mining; and “Sam Stone,” chronicling the downward spiral of a drug-addicted Vietnam War veteran and containing the oft-quoted refrain:

“There’s a hole in daddy’s arm where all the money goes, Jesus Christ died for nothing I suppose.”

His early song writing style earned comparisons with no less than folk Great Bob Dylan, who later called Prine one of his favourites

He won his first Grammy Award in 1991; Best Contemporary Folk Album for “The Missing Years.”

He would win a second Grammy in the same category in 2005 for “Fair and Square’’.

In December 2019, the Recording Academy honoured him with a lifetime achievement award.

Prine survived squamous cell cancer in 1998, undergoing surgery to his neck and tongue that left his voice with an even deeper, gravelly tone.

In 2013, he was diagnosed with cancer in his left lung and had it removed.

Prine was able to find humour in his struggle with cancer, joking that it actually improved his voice.

The same humour suffused much of his work, alongside its poignant commentary about the struggles and foibles of ordinary people.

“If I can make myself laugh about something I should be crying about, that’s pretty good,” he once said.

Edited By: Emmanuel Okara/Adeleye Ajayi
(NAN)

 

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‘Naira Marley’ fans storm court in support of singer, as Lagos drops case

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In spite of the lockdown still in place, dozens of fans of singer, Azeez Fashola, aka Naira Marley, were at the premises of an Ikeja Chief Magistrates’ Court to show support for their idol, the Nigeria News Agency reports.

NAN reports that the fans, also known as Marlians and no fewer than 200, came to show massive support for Marley who was to be arraigned on Wednesday alongside a politician, Babatunde Gbadamosi and his wife, Folashade Gbadamosi.

They were alleged to have contravened the COVID-19 induced social distancing directives of the Lagos State Government.

NAN reports that there was pandemonium outside the court premises when Naira Marley and his co-defendants were being driven away by the police after the four-count charges against them were dropped by the Lagos State Government.

There was a huge stampede with loud cries of “Marlians” by the fans some of whom ran after the police vehicles to catch a sight of the singer.

The security officials present had to fire some gunshots in the air to disperse the fans.

One of the Marlians, Mr Ismail Adewale, an estate agent who goes by the alias Lord Mayor, told NAN that he came to the court to show his love, solidarity and support for the singer.

“I like Naira Marley because he represents an average man on the street, he also represents an identity of the street guys. We love his music and what he projects,” the fan said.

Adewale said, though Naira Marley flouted the law, the court should temper justice with mercy and give him a lenient sentence.

“What he did is against the enactment of the social distance law but that does not mean he should not be charged because there is a law in place.

“We just want Lagos State Government and the people at the helm of affairs of the court to temper justice with mercy.

“If he is going to be tried in court, it is not because the government does not like him, they are just using him as a deterrence because he is an ambassador of an average man on the street,” he said.

Adewale noted that no one is above the law and that even American superstars such as R. Kelly and Michael Jackson have had to face trial when they were accused of committing crimes.

Another Marlian, Miss Abiodun Bakare, said that she came to the court to show some love to the singer.

“There is nobody above the law, I just love Naira Marley and I will always be his fan,” said Bakare, who described herself as a businesswoman.

Mr Bolaji Akinrele, a student, also told NAN that he was in court to see Naira Marley and to witness the outcome of the court case.

He described the singer as the “voice of the voiceless people on the streets”.

Akinrele noted that though he felt Naira Marley was being unfairly treated by the government and the press, the law must take its course.

“I love Naira Marley because of his music and his attitude toward the government. He tells us the truth and let us know how the government is treating us.

“The government treats us like we do not have rights. They do not give us our entitlement. For example, in this time of Coronavirus, we are supposed to collect some entitlements, but we are not getting anything.

“There should be someone enlightening us on what is going on and I think Naira Marley is the one who has been doing that,” he said.

Another Marlian, Miss Saidat Abiodun, said she came to also show love to Naira Marley and other fans at the court premises.

“I just love him, his music and his person. I do not think the government is treating him badly. If he commits an offence, he has to face the law,” Abiodun said.

NAN also reports that the defendants were attendees of the 43rd birthday party of Nollywood actress, Funke Akindele’s husband, Abdul-Rasheed Bello, aka JJC Skillz.

Edited By: Kamal Tayo Oropo/Wale Ojetimi
(NAN)

 

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‘Lean on Me’, ‘Lovely Day’ singer Bill Withers dies at 81

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Bill Withers who wrote and sang a string of soulful songs in the 1970s that have stood the test of time, including “ Lean on Me, ” “Lovely Day” and “Ain’t No Sunshine,” has died from heart complications, his family said in a statement to The Associated Press.

He was 81.

The three-time Grammy Award winner, who withdrew from making music in the mid-1980s, died on Monday in Los Angeles, the statement said.

His death comes as the public has drawn inspiration from his music during the coronavirus pandemic, with health care workers, choirs, artists and more posting their own renditions on “Lean on Me” to help get through the difficult times.

“We are devastated by the loss of our beloved, devoted husband and father.

“A solitary man with a heart driven to connect to the world at large, with his poetry and music, he spoke honestly to people and connected them to each other,” the family statement read.

“As private a life as he lived close to intimate family and friends, his music forever belongs to the world. In this difficult time, we pray his music offers comfort and entertainment as fans hold tight to loved ones.”

Withers’ songs during his brief career have become the soundtracks of countless engagements, weddings and backyard parties.

They have powerful melodies and perfect grooves melded with a smooth voice that conveys honesty and complex emotions without vocal acrobatics.

“Lean on Me,” a paean to friendship, was performed at the inaugurations of both Barack Obama and Bill Clinton. “Ain’t No Sunshine” and “Lean on Me” are among Rolling Stone’s list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

“He’s the last African-American Everyman,” musician and band leader Questlove told Rolling Stone in 2015. “Bill Withers is the closest thing black people have to a Bruce Springsteen.”

Withers in 2015 at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony. (AP Photo/Mark Duncan)

His death caused a torrent of appreciation on social media, including from former Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett, who said Withers’ music has been a cherished part of her life.

“It added to my joy in the good times, and also gave me comfort and inspiration when I needed it most,” she tweeted.

Singer José James said “we need his message of unity now more than ever” and Billy Dee Williams tweeted “your music cheered my heart and soothed my soul.”

“We lost a giant of songwriting today,” ASCAP President and Chairman Paul Williams said in a statement.

“Bill Withers’ songs are among the most treasured and profound in the American songbook — universal in the way they touch people all over the world, transcending genre and generation.

“He was a beautiful man with a stunning sense of humor and a gift for truth.”

Withers, who overcame a childhood stutter, was born the last of six children in the coal mining town of Slab Fork, West Virginia.

After his parents divorced when he was 3, Withers was raised by his mother’s family in nearby Beckley.

He joined the Navy at 17 and spent nine years in the service as an aircraft mechanic installing toilets.

After his discharge, he moved to Los Angeles, worked at an aircraft parts factory, bought a guitar at a pawn shop and recorded demos of his tunes in hopes of landing a recording contract.

In 1971, signed to Sussex Records, he put out his first album, “Just As I Am,” with the legendary Booker T. Jones at the helm.

It had the hits “Grandma’s Hands” and “Ain’t No Sunshine,” which was inspired by the Jack Lemmon film “Days of Wine and Roses.” He was photographed on the cover, smiling and holding his lunch pail.

“Ain’t No Sunshine” was originally released as the B-side of his debut single, “Harlem.” But radio DJs flipped the disc and the song climbed to No. 3 on the Billboard charts and spent a total of 16 weeks in the top 40.

Withers went on to generate more hits a year later with the inspirational “Lean on Me,” the menacing “Who Is He (and What Is He to You)” and the slinky “Use Me” on his second album, “Still Bill.”

Later would come the striking “ Lovely Day,” co-written with Skip Scarborough and featuring Withers holding the word “day” for almost 19 seconds, and “Just the Two Of Us,” co-written with Ralph MacDonald and William Salter. His “Live at Carnegie Hall” in 1973 made Rolling Stone’s 50 Greatest Live Albums of All Time.

“The hardest thing in songwriting is to be simple and yet profound. And Bill seemed to understand, intrinsically and instinctively, how to do that,” Sting said in “Still Bill,” a 2010 documentary of Withers.

But Withers’ career stalled when Sussex Records went bankrupt and he was scooped up by Columbia Records.

He no longer had complete control over his music and chafed when it was suggested he do an Elvis cover. His new executives found Withers difficult.

None of his Columbia albums reached the Top 40 except for 1977’s “Menagerie,” which produced “Lovely Day.” (His hit duet with Grover Washington Jr. “Just the Two of Us” was on Washington’s label). Withers’ last album was 1985′s “Watching You Watching Me.”

Though his songs often dealt with relationships, Withers also wrote ones with social commentary, including “Better Off Dead” about an alcoholic’s suicide, and “I Can’t Write Left-Handed,” about an injured Vietnam War veteran.

He was awarded Grammys as a songwriter for “Ain’t No Sunshine” in 1971 and for “Just the Two Of Us” in 1981. In 1987, Bill received his ninth Grammy nomination and third Grammy as a songwriter for the re-recording of the 1972 hit “ Lean on Me” by Club Nouveau.

He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2015 by Stevie Wonder.

Withers thanked his wife as well as the R&B pioneers who helped his career like Ray Jackson, Al Bell and Booker T. Jones.

He also got in a few jabs at the record industry, saying A&R stood for “antagonistic and redundant.” Withers also was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2005.

His music has been covered by such artists as Barbra Streisand, Michael Jackson, Aretha Franklin, Tom Jones, Linda Ronstadt, Paul McCartney, Sting, Johnny Mathis, Aaron Neville, Al Jarreau, Mick Jagger, Nancy Wilson, Diana Ross. His music has been sampled for BlackStreet’s “No Diggity,” Will Smith’s version of “ Just the Two Of Us, ” Black Eyed Peas’ “Bridging the Gap” and Twista’s “Sunshine.”

The song “Lean on Me” was the title theme of a 1989 movie starring Morgan Freeman.

His songs are often used on the big screen, including “The Hangover,” “28 Days,” “American Beauty,” “Jerry Maguire,” “Crooklyn,” “Flight,” “Beauty Shop,” “The Secret Life of Pets” and “Flight.”

“I’m not a virtuoso, but I was able to write songs that people could identify with. I don’t think I’ve done bad for a guy from Slab Fork, West Virginia,” Withers told Rolling Stone in 2015.

He is survived by his wife, Marcia, and children, Todd and Kori.

Edited By: Emmanuel Okara/Wale Ojetimi
(NAN)

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Singer Yemi Alade tasks govt on stimulus package amid COVID-19

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Ace Nigerian  Afro pop  singer, Yemi Alade on Friday urged government to provide stimulus package for citizens  to ease the economic challenges they face amid the stay-at-home order in the fight against the Coronavirus(COVID-19) pandemic.

The “Mama Africa” crooner  took to her Twitter  account to  make the call following different steps being taken by government at all levels to curtail the spread of the COVID-19 , including prohibition of social gatherings.

She wrote: Mr President and the Senate what is the economy stimulus PACKAGE for the citizens of this country, as you say all should stay at home?

“#COVID19 The Nigerian Government can budget N150 billion for 500 legislators,but don’t have any package for it citizens sitting at home.

“How can our leaders only care about what they can get for their  pockets and families.

“Even if Nigeria is a business venture, what happens to the people who are the engine room of this business? Since 1960.

“Many nations have provided some stimulus packages for their citizens as palliatives to anticipated  harsh economic  realities resulting from the  restriction of movement and travels amid the COVID-19 scare.

“In Africa, the President of Kenya has reportedly announced that he is  taking an 80 per cent salary cut, alongside  his Vice , as contributions to fund the fight against Coronavirus in the country,” she wrote.

Edited By: Emmanuel Nwoye/Ekemini Ladejobi
(NAN)

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