Nigeria Pitch Awards: Ahmed Musa, Francisca Ordega emerge top winners


The award ceremony held after the International Friendly between the Super Eagles of Nigeria and the Warriors of Zimbabwe.

Source: Nigeria Pitch Awards: Ahmed Musa, Francisca Ordega emerge top winners

Insecurity In Nigeria: Yoruba Council of Elders Ask Buhari To Sack security chiefs


June 9, 2019 Josiah Oluwole

The Yoruba Council of Elders (YCE) South West Nigeria has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to fire the heads of Nigeria’s security agencies and overhaul the security structure to stem the rising tide of insecurity in the country.

It cited the endemic threats of kidnapping, killings and insurgency across the country as the reason for the call.

The YCE is at the forefront of the call for the total restructuring of the country and the adoption of federalism as a panacea for the political and economic ailments of the country.

The secretary of the council, Kunle Olajide, who spoke in Ado-Ekiti on Sunday, said except the Chief of Defence Staff, Gabriel Olonisakin, the Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Buratai, and others were sacked, the country would continue to witness criminality.

He also called on the president to restructure the country in line with the advocacy for true federalism, saying the lopsidedness in the country’s structure was causing poverty among citizens, thereby leading to an upsurge in crimes.

Mr Olajide advised President Buhari to treat the alarm raised by Afenifere that the southwest region has been taken over by killer herdsmen and other criminal gangs, with the utmost attention.

He said Nigerians were helpless due to a geometric increase in the level of poverty and economic depression being witnessed and noted that the populace should not expect less crime rate under this harsh condition.

“The present service chiefs started with President Buhari four years ago; still, they have not been able to reduce insurgency in the North and kidnapping in the south,” he said.

“My opinion is that they have run out of ideas and they should be sacked. They are fatigued already and have nothing to offer.

“The best for President Buhari is to bring in fresh hands to manage our security architecture to prevent these killings.

“I don’t share the view of Fulanisation or Islamisation agenda, but Nigeria has become the capital city of poverty worldwide displacing India, so we should expect crime to soar.

“In Nigeria, the poverty level is high in the north, because the area is troubled. But these herdsmen and other bandits are moving down south and they see the southwest as a fertile land where they can make millions through kidnapping and ritual killings.

“So, the threat is real and what I expect the Federal government to do is to put security on red alert and be proactive.

“The six governors in the region should mobilise the traditional rulers, the youth groups and other interested bodies to work with the military, police and NSCDC through a Joint Task Force and allied means and comb all the suspected forests to dislodge these criminals from their hideouts.”

The YCE secretary further called on the president to implement the recommendations of the several committees set up to look into the calls for restructuring and state police.

“I want to applaud the president for coming out boldly to align himself with the fact that the country needs true federalism and this will help in solving some of these inevitable challenges lopsided structures had caused in our system,” Mr Olajide added.

Writing to Write


amankumar000

I want to write about what hurts because I think it will

Stop me from hurting. If I put these words on
A page then they will be easier to digest.
Poetry isn’t curative by creation, it is
Just confession. Still, these remedial
Lines are what I turn to when I am holding
Too much in my hands. Right now, I feel
Like I am overflowing onto the ground below me.
For the first time,
I don’t want to write about what hurts. I want
To keep it inside of me and let it burn me. I want
To carry it in my palms for as long as I can.
I should write
About how we’ve said goodbye so
Many times that it turned into a threat, a weapon
We made with our tongues.
I should write
About how I lied and got away with it,
How you got caught…

View original post 163 more words

A Business Blog Should Be 20% Of Your Marketing Strategy


StrategyDriven

StrategyDriven Online Marketing and Website Development Article | A Business Blog Should Be 20% Of Your Marketing Strategy | Business Blog


 

If you aren’t interesting as a business you’re not an entity that is going to hold the attention of the masses. They want businesses and business leaders that speak to them, share ideas they feel passionate about too and also, just be fun to be around and interact with. Businesses have got to stop being so rigid and focuses on their corporate images. But how do you do this day in and day out? What is the outlet which can give you this space? Your own business website of course. Your business blog is where your personality has to shine through. In the content you must be able to explain your ideas well but also use it as a platform to build links, create new followers and be able to spread your word around the search engines that people use. Just how big a proportion do blogs take up when it comes to marketing?

Make the news before the news

Social media is like a forest sometimes. It’s so full of content, videos, links and viral adverts that you can be intimidated. However, know that the media companies of the world are dying to hear about you. To become viral you don’t need their own platforms and say so. Your business can make the news before the news even knows. This is why business blogs are so powerful. You can release exclusive information on your blog and watch the media report on it in a heartbeat. But you give your customers and interested potential consumers vital information about an update, a patch, a new product a totally new and improved service etc. The blog is therefore used as a news website for customers to come visit and read what you have to say. It’s a phenomenal tool to communicate with the world in this way.

Almost a quarter

Perhaps the best reason for a business blog to exist is that it’s almost one quarter of the SEO world for businesses. Content and a blog for a business amounts to around 19% of the overall SEO duties and marketing strategy aspects. That is huge. It’s about 1/5 of your overall SEO management requirements. The other aspects are link building, Google plus, social media, on page and off page links, keywords, Google AdWords, YouTube etc. A blog is worth so much to a business because it’s the space where all other marketing aspects can exist together. You can add a YouTube video to your blog, create off page links whereby you use evidence by another media or well respect news company to back up your claims.

Active and fresh

A business that doesn’t publish blogs can seem kind of dormant. Unless someone is actually following your business on social media, they won’t be seeing you anywhere else other than the search engine results page. Your blog can appear in the search results with great SEO techniques employed so you cover that base as well.

Content isn’t just about getting material out there, it’s about sharing your personality as a business with the consumer. It’s also a great way to make news before the news reports on you.

Putting the squeeze on glaucoma (Long piece for the good of humanity)


By Chris Woolston 06.04.2019

The eye disease causes millions to go blind. New treatments aimed at protecting nerve cells — or generating new ones — may slow or even stop the damage.

When Sylvia Groth steps through the doors of the Vanderbilt Eye Institute in Nashville, Tennessee, she knows she has a tough day ahead. Before she goes home, she’ll very likely have at least one hard talk with a person whose sight has been ravaged by glaucoma. “When I make a diagnosis of advanced glaucoma, I do it with a heavy heart,” she says. “It’s such an empty feeling to not be able to do anything.”

An incurable eye disease that kills vital nerve cells at the back of the retina, glaucoma is a leading cause of irreversible blindness in the world. More than 70 million people have it, and 3 million of them already are blind. Nothing can be done to restore vision once it’s lost, and even the best treatments can’t always slow disease progression. But researchers foresee a time when they can offer therapies to protect nerve cells in the eye and perhaps even restore lost sight.

Close-up front view photograph of an eye of someone with glaucoma, the lens appears cloudy.

“We’re making advances with every different type of treatment,” says ophthalmologist Leonard Levin of McGill University in Montreal.

Researchers have long understood the basics of the most common form of glaucoma, called open-angle glaucoma. The eye is nourished by a clear fluid called the aqueous humor that keeps the eyeball inflated, plump and healthy. But just like a tire, the eye can become overinflated. If the aqueous humor can’t drain properly, pressure inside the eye grows too high and can crush cells within the optic nerve — the sensory cable that carries images from the retina to the optical centers of the brain.

Many people with glaucoma develop high pressure when fluid builds in the eye. This fluid can push the eye’s lens forward and may make the cornea waterlogged and cloudy.

CREDIT: CHRIS BARRY / VISUALS UNLIMITED, INC.

Pressure probably hurts nerve cells in other ways too, says ophthalmologist Harry Quigley of Johns Hopkins University. While glaucoma causes tell-tale damage to the optic nerve — including an indentation or “cupping” in the main optic nerve — other, less obvious types of damage likely vary from one patient to another.

People with open-angle glaucoma may have no symptoms early on, even as nerve cells die. Yet as it progresses, glaucoma slowly erodes peripheral vision, blurring the edges of any scene. Over time, people may develop “tunnel vision” as if they were looking through a thin tube or straw. If enough optic nerve cells die, sight is lost completely. (A less common form of glaucoma can have immediate, dramatic symptoms, including eye pain, blurriness, headaches and vomiting).

The oft-seen relationship between glaucoma and eye pressure has long set the basic approach to therapy. Eye drops and surgeries that lower pressure can slow or prevent damage. A handful of new drops have recently been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration, giving patients and clinicians their first new options for medication in 20 years. One of them, Rhopressa, improves outflow of aqueous humor from drainage tissue at the base of the cornea and is an especially important advance, Quigley says, because it needs to be used only once a day. “This is something that patients of mine are trying,” he says. “It’s for people who are losing their vision but don’t want to try surgery.”

But the drug also carries potentially strong side effects, including bloody eyes and blurred vision, making it a poor choice as a first treatment, adds Quigley, who reviewed the glaucoma treatment landscape in the 2016 Annual Review of Vision Science.

Diagram shows four stages of glaucoma’s progression, depicted as dark pixels in a gray scale visual field and as blurred dark spots in a simulation of what the patient sees.

As glaucoma progresses, the edges of the visual field blur. Visual defects, represented as dark pixels (left) and in simulations of what a person sees (right), increase as the disease advances.

And reducing pressure isn’t a cure-all. For reasons that aren’t completely clear, damage to the optic nerve can develop in people with normal or even low eye pressure. Studies have found that nearly 30 percent of patients who receive pressure-relieving treatment for glaucoma go blind in one eye and nearly 10 percent become legally blind.

“High pressure is the only modifiable risk factor for glaucoma that we’ve been able to identify,” Groth says. Pressure is “a good answer and it fits certain patients. But it is not really the whole answer.”

This growing recognition of glaucoma’s complexities has inspired researchers to rethink their approach. Instead of merely lowering pressure inside the eye, they’re looking to bolster and shield the nerve cells themselves — a tactic called neuroprotection. This could potentially prevent glaucoma and preserve sight no matter how much pressure builds in an eye.

“There has been a resurgence of interest in neuroprotection,” says Levin, coauthor of an overview of the state of research on this approach in the 2017 Annual Review of Vision Science.

To succeed, scientists will have to shift focus to the nerve cells involved with vision, he says. “In the old days, the goal was just to keep the cells alive.” Now, researchers recognize that cells must not only survive but function as well.

Among a number of candidate treatments are neurotrophic factors, small molecules the body uses to nurture growing nerve cells. Eye drops containing recombinant human nerve growth factor (or rhNGF) — a genetically altered version of a naturally occurring growth factor — already have been approved by the FDA for treatment of neurotrophic keratitis, a disease that affects the cornea of the eye. A small, ongoing, 60-patient randomized trial is now testing rhNGF in glaucoma patients. The results aren’t yet in, but in theory, rhNGF could help block a signal that tells an optic nerve cell it’s time to die, saving the cell and keeping it functioning.

While much work must be done before these molecules reach patients, Groth, who was involved in the trial, is excited by the approach. “We know that they have activating roles on certain cells,” she says.

Schematic diagram shows what goes wrong in glaucoma. A normal eye is contrasted with an eye with glaucoma in which fluid doesn’t drain properly because of a blockage in the trabecular meshwork.

The most common form of glaucoma, called open-angle glaucoma, can result when pressure inside the eye builds because of too much aqueous humor, a fluid that nourishes the eye. The eye may make too much aqueous humor or it may not drain properly via tissue called the trabecular meshwork.

CREDIT: IMAGE COURTESY OF MAYO CLINIC

Animal studies of other protective molecules have also shown promise. Quigley and colleagues found that injections of tozasertib — a compound that inhibits an enzyme involved in cell death — could protect the optic nerves of rats with glaucoma, research he reported in 2013 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Quigley’s trying to get pharmaceutical companies to start clinical trials of the drug but says the process so far has been slow and frustrating.

At this time, Levin says, there are no large-scale advanced clinical trials of any potential neuroprotective drugs for glaucoma, which means that therapies will be several years off. Still, with so many candidate compounds and so much at stake, he predicts that major clinical trials could begin within the next one to three years.

New vision

Protecting the optic nerve against damage would be a huge accomplishment. But finding a way to restore sight that has been lost would really change the game. Humans and most other animals don’t regrow optic nerve cells once they’re damaged, but the genes involved in building those cells remain. If those genes could somehow be switched back on — perhaps with a nudge from injected stem cells, one idea goes — new functioning cells might grow and sight could return.

So far, researchers have taken only the first steps toward that dream. It’s possible to grow human optic nerve cells in the lab using genetically engineered stem cells, a team at Johns Hopkins recently reported in the journal Stem Cells Translational Medicine. But, Quigley says, that’s a long way from actually getting those cells to transfer visual signals to a human brain.

For the foreseeable future, that means surgeries and eye drops will likely remain the standards for treatment. Those drops can make a huge difference for people with early-stage glaucoma, but they need to use them properly and many don’t. In fact, patient non-compliance is thought to be the main reason eye-drop treatments fail to slow glaucoma, a team reported in Pharmaceutical Research in 2019. A separate study involving nearly 14,000 patients prescribed eye drops for glaucoma found that over the course of a year, only about 10 percent used the drops without significant lapses.

The optic nerve carries information from the eye’s retina to the brain via nerve fibers that exit the back of the eye through the optic disc. Normally, the center of this optic disc is relatively small (left), but in an eye with glaucoma, damage to the optic nerve head manifests as tell-tale “cupping” of the disc (right).

Because early-stage glaucoma often doesn’t cause symptoms that interfere with day-to-day life, Quigley says he has a hard time persuading patients that they should put up with the redness, irritation and cost that can come with eye drops. “If you give them a treatment that has any side effects at all, they aren’t going to abide by that,” he says.

Driving home the importance of early detection and treatment is a big part of Groth’s job. “There has to be a lot of education to let patients know what the stakes are,” she says. “I tell my patients that drops are incredibly important.”

And yet all too often, that goal isn’t met, and some patients lose sight that might have been saved. Despite these disappointments, Groth looks to a future that is clearer and brighter for everyone. “The adage has been that glaucoma is an irreversible, blinding condition,” she says. “I’d like to hope that, within my career, I might be privileged to give a different story to my patients.”

Holy Father Speaks of Holy Spirit and Harmony


© Vatican Media

June 09, 2019 16:28 Jim FairFrancis

The apostles had seen the risen Lord. Still, they were filled with fear and uncertainty — until Pentecost. Then, as Pope Francis explained, the Holy Spirit came and changed everything.

The Holy Father’s insights came in his homily on June 9, 2019 – the Feast of Pentecost – during Mass for the huge crowd of the faithful in St. Peter’s Square.

“Pentecost arrived, for the disciples, after fifty days of uncertainty,” the Pope said. “True, Jesus had risen. Overjoyed, they had seen him, listened to his words and even shared a meal with him.

“Yet they had not overcome their doubts and fears: they met behind closed doors (cf. Jn 20:19.26), uncertain about the future and not ready to proclaim the risen Lord. Then the Holy Spirit comes and their worries disappear. Now the apostles show themselves fearless, even before those sent to arrest them. Previously, they had been worried about saving their lives; now they are unafraid of dying.”

The Pope admitted that the Holy Spirit didn’t make things easier for the disciples. They still faced all manner of persecution and danger. But he brought them something vital: harmony.

” The Spirit brought into the lives of the disciples a harmony that had been lacking, his own harmony, for he is harmony,”  Francis explained. “Harmony within human beings. Deep down, in their hearts, the disciples needed to be changed. Their story teaches us that even seeing the Risen Lord is not enough unless we welcome him into our hearts.”

The Holy Father warned that in today’s “frenzied pace of life” it is easy to lose harmony.  People are pulled in many directions, become exhausted, look for “the quick fix” and even resort to drugs. In such circumstances, people need the Holy Spirit.

“Without the Spirit, our Christian life unravels, lacking the love that brings everything together,” Francis said. “Without the Spirit, Jesus remains a personage from the past; with the Spirit, he is a person alive in our own time. Without the Spirit, Scripture is a dead letter; with the Spirit, it is a word of life. A Christianity without the Spirit is joyless moralism; with the Spirit, it is life.

“The Holy Spirit does not bring only harmony within us but also among us.”

Pentecost: Abundant Life, Overflowing Love


Jun 8, 2019 by Pat Marrin

“He breathed on them and said to them, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit’ ” (John 20:23).

Pentecost marks the liturgical harvest of what was planted on Passover 50 days ago. The seed that falls to the ground and dies now bursts into life and multiplies its grain one hundredfold. The death of Jesus was the seed of the New Creation, and he now breathes abundant life into his followers, the church.

Pentecost is when the densely packed mystery of his life, death and resurrection unfolds into the world, reclaiming it for God, restoring the divine image as the basis for all human dignity. “As it was in the beginning, now and forever,” Christ reveals us to ourselves, freeing us from sin and death to claim our divine destiny.

We need consider only a few of the themes overflowing from this solemnity to glimpse the whole pattern.

Diversity is how creation grows. To define, divide and distinguish the world into competing parts, favoring some, rejecting others, is to limit the dream, destroy the fullness of community, impoverish our shared potential. The song needs the breath of every living thing, every voice and every tongue to reveal the harmony of God’s will uniting heaven and earth, the symphony within our shared DNA.

Reconciliation is the power to heal divisions. “Receive the Holy Spirit; whose sins you forgive are forgiven.” Mercy is the mission of the church, not judgment or righteousness. God is honored only by unconditional love, a welcoming Table, wounded healers and servant leaders who go the margins to find the lost and bring home the outcast.

The Spirit always exceeds our predictions and plans, our goals and objectives and our need for institutional order and control.  The Spirit is pure surprise, revealing to little ones what is hidden from the wise and clever. The Spirit comes and goes freely in the wind of human encounter, the grace of the moment, the dangerous memory and the risky response to the immediate need. Jesus is always here and now, but on the move to there and then, a verb or a metaphor, not a noun or a fact, a poem not a program.  

We do not celebrate Pentecost; it seizes us and challenges us to expand our lives, to set aside our fears and let out hearts overflow with love.

Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in us the fire of your love. Send forth your Spirit and we shall be created, and you shall renew the face of the earth.