Olympic officials shoot down cancellation rumours amid coronavirus outbreak | Stuff.co.nz

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Tokyo Olympic organisers are trying to shoot down rumours that this year’s 2020 Games might be cancelled or postponed because of the spread of a new virus.

Japan has so far reported no deaths from the coronavirus that has killed more than 200 people in China. Japanese organisers have hesitated to say much for several days, but on Friday they addressed the rumours. So did the International Olympic Committee, which also has said little.

Olympic organisers have finally addressed rumours that the Tokyo Games could be cancelled due to the coronavirus.

The Olympics open on July 24, just under six months away.

“We have never discussed cancelling the games,” Tokyo organisers said in a statement to The Associated Press. “Tokyo 2020 will continue to collaborate with the IOC and relevant organisations and will review any countermeasures that may be necessary.”

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* McCaw understands Olympics pressure 

Rumours of a cancellation have spread in Japan with reports that the Swiss-based IOC has met with the World Health Organisation about the outbreak. The WHO has called the virus a global emergency.

“Preparations for Tokyo 2020 continue as planned,” the IOC said in a statement. “It is normal practice for the IOC to collaborate with all the main UN agencies, as necessary, in the lead up to the games and this naturally includes the WHO.”

Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike, speaking earlier in the week to the heads of 62 municipalities, warned about the dangers. Japan has also urged citizens not to travel to China.

“We must firmly tackle the new coronavirus to contain it, or we are going to regret it,” she said.

Rumours have spread online with thousands of comments on Twitter under the hashtag in Japanese “Tokyo Olympic Cancelled”.

The Chinese city of Wuhan, the epicentre of the coronavirus, is pressing ahead with the construction of two purpose-built hospitals.

The IOC has faced challenges like this before, and carries insurance for such possibilities. It has cancelled Olympics during wartime, and faced boycotts in 1980 and 1984. It also held the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City just months after the 9-11 attacks in the United States.

The mosquito-borne Zika virus also cast a shadow over the run-up to the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

The larger problem for the Olympics could come with qualifying events in China and elsewhere being cancelled or postponed. International federations will have to reschedule events and Chinese athletes could present extra challenges and screening.

World Athletics, the governing body of track and field, announced earlier in the week it was postponing the world indoor championships in Nanjing, China, until next year. The event had been scheduled for March 13-15.

Travel, screening and allaying fears are certain to be more complicated if the outbreak continues. The 11,000 athletes expected to compete at the Tokyo Olympics will also face pressure to stay safe.

Sponsors and television networks who have invested billions of dollars will also try to keep the games on track.

Demand for Olympic tickets in Japan is unprecedented, exceeding supply by at least 10 times. Organisers say 7.8 million tickets are being issued for the Olympics.

Organisers say they are spending about US$12.6 billion to put on the games. But a national audit bureau says the costs are twice that much.

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Investors in Oko Oloyun’s Ponzi scheme storm office to demand money after death

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Tens of Lagosians stormed the LASU Road office of late Alhaji Fatai Yusuf, popularly known as Oko Oloyun, to demand the money they invested in his Ponzi scheme.

Oko Oloyun, a popular Lagos-based trado-medical expert, was murdered on Thursday around 4:30pm on the road while travelling to Iseyin, Oyo State. He was reportedly attacked by some hoodlums at Igboora.

Following his demise, people who invested money in his Ponzi scheme, known as “Option C” stormed the Head office of his company to demand how to retrieve their money.

The investors were the more confused as his two offices at Egba Idowu along Igando road in Lagos were shut with no one to provide information.

The investors, however, vowed to take drastic measures if a statement was not issued by the organization as soon as possible.

Just like the day MMM folded up, the investors in “Option C” programme narrated how much they had invested and insisted they could not afford to lose their hard-earned money.

An investor, who identified himself as Tunde explained that Option C is a money-making programme that promised a 10% return in two months.

Tunde, who was trembling while speaking, added that he invested in the scheme in July 2019 and had only received returns once, contrary to the agreement of two months which was stated.

Another investor, a retired teacher, who was clearly in shock, stated that she had invested millions having joined the programme in December 2018. She said she had only received N500,000 from her investment and that she was not sure of her fate with the death of Oko Oloyun.

Clutching her investment documents, she said that she filed to pull out after inconsistency in payment but rescinded her decision when she was told that she could not get her investment back in full.

Mrs. Sulaimon, an investor, said she aborted her trip to travel down from Badagry to Igando when she heard about the assassination of Oko Oloyun.

Another investor, who spoke with teary eyes said Oko Oloyun’s death was a big blow to the Ponzi scheme. He, however, advised his co-investors to allow the family some mourning space before demanding for their money.

Meanwhile, some investors who had visited the house of the late Oko Oloyun in Lagos alleged that they were denied access by the security men, with the statement that “Alhaja said we should not allow anybody to come in, they are all in Ibadan.”

After the outcry, the investors agreed among themselves to visit the house of the deceased in Lagos during the Fidau prayers on the eighth day to demand their returns.

However, a security man at Oko Oloyun’s Egan Idowu office alleged that one of the rooms in the head office was intentionally burnt by unknown men prior to Oko Oloyun’s death.

He said the workers who were on duty had been arrested.

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US will no longer issue Visas to foreigners for birth purpose

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Nigeria News | Laila’s Blog
US will no longer issue Visas to foreigners for birth purpose

The United States Government under Donald Trump administration on on Thursday says it will no longer issue visas to foreigners who want to give birth in the country.

The new United State Visa rules restricts “birth tourism,” in which women travel to the U.S. to give birth so their children can have a coveted U.S. passport. Henceforth, applicants will be denied tourist visas if they are determined by consular officers to be coming to the U.S. primarily to give birth, according to the rules in the Federal Register.

Foreigners who want to gets visas to give birth in the United States will now have to prove that they are traveling to the U.S. because they have a medical need and not just because they want to give birth there and must prove they have the money to pay for it — including transportation and living expenses.

According to a statement released by the office of the press secretary, the rule will be effective from Friday, January 24.

The statement reads;

Beginning January 24, 2020, the State Department will no longer issue temporary visitor (B-1/B-2) visas to aliens seeking to enter the United States for “birth tourism” – the practice of traveling to the United States to secure automatic and permanent American citizenship for their children by giving birth on American soil.  This rule change is necessary to enhance public safety, national security, and the integrity of our immigration system.  The birth tourism industry threatens to overburden valuable hospital resources and is rife with criminal activity, as reflected in Federal prosecutions. Closing this glaring immigration loophole will combat these endemic abuses and ultimately protect the United States from the national security risks created by this practice.  It will also defend American taxpayers from having their hard-earned dollars siphoned away to finance the direct and downstream costs associated with birth tourism.  The integrity of American citizenship must be protected.

This is coming amidst speculation that the US government is planning to place Nigeria and some other countries on ‘travel ban list‘.

Follow us on Facebook – @Lailasnews; Twitter – @LailaIjeoma for updates

US will no longer issue Visas to foreigners for birth purpose
Damilola Ismail

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Coronavirus spreads to more than 800 in China: First death outside epicentre | Stuff.co.nz

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China’s National Health Commission said Friday afternoon (NZ time) the confirmed cases of the new coronavirus had risen to 830 with 25 deaths.

The first death was also confirmed outside the central province of Hubei, where the capital, Wuhan, has been the epicentre of the outbreak.

The health commission in Hebei, a northern province bordering Beijing, said an 80-year-old man died after returning from a two-month stay in Wuhan to see relatives.

The vast majority of cases have been in and around Wuhan or people with connections the city. Other cases have been confirmed in the United States, Japan, Taiwan, South Korea and Thailand. Singapore and Vietnam reported their first cases Thursday, and cases have also been confirmed in the Chinese territories of Hong Kong and Macau.

Many countries are screening travellers from China for symptoms of the virus, which can cause fever, coughing, breathing difficulties and pneumonia.

The World Health Organisation has decided against declaring the outbreak a global emergency, a step that can bring more money and resources to fight a threat but that can also cause trade and travel restrictions and other economic damage, making the decision a politically fraught one.

The decision “should not be taken as a sign that WHO does not think the situation is serious or that we’re not taking it seriously. Nothing could be further from the truth,” WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said. “WHO is following this outbreak every minute of every day.”

The coronaviruses are a family of viruses that originate in animals before making the jump to humans.

Chinese authorities moved to lock down at least three cities with a combined population of more than 18 million in an unprecedented effort to contain the deadly new virus that has sickened hundreds of people and spread to other parts of the world during the busy Lunar New Year travel period.

Chinese officials have not said how long the shutdowns of the cities will last. While sweeping measures are typical of China’s Communist Party-led government, large-scale quarantines are rare around the world, even in deadly epidemics, because of concerns about infringing on people’s liberties. And the effectiveness of such measures is unclear.

“To my knowledge, trying to contain a city of 11 million people is new to science,” said Gauden Galea, the WHO”s representative in China. “It has not been tried before as a public health measure. We cannot at this stage say it will or it will not work.”

GETTY IMAGES
People wear face masks as they wait at Hankou Railway Station in Wuhan

Jonathan Ball, a professor of virology at molecular virology at the University of Nottingham in Britain, said the lockdowns appear to be justified scientifically.

“Until there’s a better understanding of what the situation is, I think it’s not an unreasonable thing to do,” he said. “Anything that limits people’s travels during an outbreak would obviously work.”

But Ball cautioned that any such quarantine should be strictly time-limited. He added: “You have to make sure you communicate effectively about why this is being done. Otherwise you will lose the goodwill of the people.”

GETTY IMAGES
A resident wears a mask to buy vegetables in the market in Wuhan.

During the devastating West Africa Ebola outbreak in 2014, Sierra Leone imposed a national three-day quarantine as health workers went door to door, searching for hidden cases. Burial teams collecting corpses and people taking the sick to Ebola centres were the only ones allowed to move freely. Frustrated residents complained of food shortages.

In China, the illnesses from the newly identified coronavirus first appeared last month in Wuhan, an industrial and transportation hub. Local authorities demanded all residents wear masks in public places and urged civil servants wear them at work.

After the city was closed off Thursday, images showed long lines and empty shelves at supermarkets, as people stocked up. Trucks carrying supplies into the city are not being restricted, although many Chinese recall shortages in the years before the country’s recent economic boom.

Analysts predicted cases will continue to multiply, although the jump in numbers is also attributable in part to increased monitoring.

KEVIN FRAYER/GETTY IMAGES
A Chinese passenger that just arrived on the last bullet train from Wuhan to Beijing is checked for a fever by a health worker at a Beijing railway station.

“Even if (cases) are in the thousands, this would not surprise us,” the WHO’s Galea said, adding, however, that the number of infected is not an indicator of the outbreak’s severity so long as the death rate remains low.

The coronavirus family includes the common cold as well as viruses that cause more serious illnesses, such as the SARS outbreak that spread from China to more than a dozen countries in 2002-03 and killed about 800 people, and Middle Eastern respiratory syndrome, or MERS, which is thought to have originated from camels.

China is keen to avoid repeating mistakes with its handling of SARS. For months, even after the illness had spread around the world, China parked patients in hotels and drove them around in ambulances to conceal the true number of cases and avoid WHO experts. This time, China has been credited with sharing information rapidly, and President Xi Jinping has emphasised that as a priority.

Health authorities are taking extraordinary measures to prevent the spread of the virus, placing those believed infected in plastic tubes and wheeled boxes, with air passed through filters.

The first cases in the Wuhan outbreak were connected to people who worked at or visited a seafood market, now closed for an investigation. Experts suspect that the virus was first transmitted from wild animals but that it may also be mutating. Mutations can make it deadlier or more contagious.

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I Disown You And Your Child Today – Man Reveals His Ex-Wife Has Been Selling His Property To Church Members

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Olayinka
Olayinka

A Nigerian man, Olayinka Odukoya Ajibola has made the enws after he took to social media to publicly disown his his ex-wife and their child.

Accoridng to the said man, this is happening after he uncovered compelling facts that his ex-wife has been stealing and selling his properties to church members.

Read Also: Kemi Olunloyo’s Son Allegedly Disowns Her

In his words;

I BECOME AN ATHEIST AND WILL NEVER MARRY AGAIN…..
I got compelling facts about my ex wife selling my properties to our church members few weeks after running away with my kids and properties….

1) what really do you want? Money? We are not poor
2) You want to enrich your new bf?
3) You want to travel to London…..? I can afford to send OlaBoy to London every month.
4) Here are my decisions….I disown you and your child publicly….today….
5)You shall NEVER bear my name again..you shall never be called where they call Odukoya
6) I wish you well in your life… You are free to break a marriage…. but stealing spouse properties to sell to church members…..it’s the lowest ebb

PLEASE NO STUPID PHONE CALLS…AM SANE…I DIDNT MAKE MISTAKES TYPING..NO ONE SHOULD EVER CALL ME ON THIS”.

He continued;

TO MY CHURCH MEMBERS….WE ARE DIVORCED..WE ARE SEPARATED…WE ARE NEVER GOING TO BE TOGETHER AGAIN IN THIS WORLD
Keep your prayers for your families, we do not need your prayers again..it’s too late for us…..sliding into my inbox to ask questions is sheer hypocrisy…

This has been the most celebrated trending breakup of the past couple of months.. To say you never heard means there is no truth in you…and you are worst than the Sadducees …I want nothing to do with you or your gossips…keep away from me… You alone is enough reason to try Atheism….Stop insulting me with Jesus talk… Keep away from me”.

The post I Disown You And Your Child Today – Man Reveals His Ex-Wife Has Been Selling His Property To Church Members appeared first on Information Nigeria.

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NEPA, PHCN Trend On Twitter As Nigerians React To Nationwide Blackout

#NEPA, #PHCN, #Blackout are currently trending on the micro-blogging site, Twitter, no thanks to the collapse of the national electricity grid, which led to a .

had reported earlier that the DisCos in different statements on Wednesday said the blackout being experienced across the country is as a result of the industrial action by electricity workers.

The National Union of Electricity Employees (NUEE) announced the commencement of a nationwide strike earlier in the day.

In a statement, the Assistant Secretary-General of NUEE, Anthony Sule, had said the union’s decision was made since the federal government failed to dialogue with them to resolve the lingering issues in the sector.

The Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company (IBEDC), Nigeria’s largest power distributor, later issued a statement to announce that the strike had disrupted its services.

“Subsequently, the action has led to a nationwide shut down of electricity installations and has resulted in the disruption of service across our network,” the company said.

However, on Thursday morning, the (NUEE), suspended its strike action, hours after a nationwide blackout in the country due to Electricity Workers’ industrial action.

Moments after the statements were released, Nigerians took to the micro-blogging site, Twitter to air their opinions on the strike action.

Naija News captured some of the reactions below…

Ramaphosa: I can’t go for Peace conference in Egypt when South Africa is facing electricity crisis.

Buhari: “#NEPA on strike”….. I need to travel to Egypt, I can’t miss this journey. #NEPA on strike. pic.twitter.com/Rhv7Vxfh0m

— Emmanuel Idoko (@Emmy_myles) December 12, 2019

Someone cannot play with BUHARI oo, ordinary Major general that they call him, baba off light everywhere 🤣🤣🤣

RT if you also don’t have light in your area#NEPA #ASUU #Buhari #dababy #blackout pic.twitter.com/MzewujQKVc

— ISEEAM G29 productions💥 (@iseeamg29) December 12, 2019

Wished Asuu, nepa and co will do so #NEPA #ASUU pic.twitter.com/4nyb3R1pgF

— EL G333🌿 (@Abdoulmumeen_g) December 12, 2019

Someone said Mbah’s head(reflection of the sun) can generate 415v for a whole community… just get the OMbah app and connect🤣🤣 #NEPA #blackout pic.twitter.com/VOinvUETVy

— OMO EDO THICKER BODY👑👑 (@therealosaetin) December 12, 2019

I miss those friends in Primary school 😒 that used to say ‘if I give you one dirty slap eh 👋you’ll fly to America’ 😆Pls I’m available now, coman slap me🙏 I want to fly go America 😂😂#NEPA #ASUU #Buhari

— edgar odafe (@edgar_odafe) December 12, 2019

#Blackout also affecting OAU students preparing for tough Examinations #NEPA / #PHCN.. why na😫😫😫😰😰😰😰😰 pic.twitter.com/xJZt4nVZo0

— #Babafaros Farombi Seun (@TheBabafaros) December 12, 2019

Samsung users: #NEPA is on strike😭😭
Infinix users: My ba3 will last 😁

Iphone users:- pic.twitter.com/AhnWrA96dT

— Onuoha nicanor (@Onuoha_nicanor) December 12, 2019

#NEPA is the major cause of unwanted
pregnancy in Nigeria. Everything starts
when she enter the room to charge her
phone.

— 👑BILLIONAIRE ZEDD🇨🇦 (@Official_imo) December 12, 2019

People that didn’t have light in their area for the past 6 months are also complaining about #blackout

Wetin #NEPA no go see untop pole?? pic.twitter.com/SivYlZxHh8

— luwakanty (@KantyBoii) December 12, 2019

Beginning. End of the decade
of a decade#NEPA #PHCN pic.twitter.com/sv8AFiFBiS

— Udo Chukwudubem (@chukz_b) December 12, 2019

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Ondo: PDP tackles Akeredolu over daughters wedding in Mauritius

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…EXCO members went at their personal expenses — Govt

Dayo Johnson, Akure

The opposition Peoples Democratic Party in Ondo state yesterday said the conduct of the wedding of the daughter of governor Rotimi Akeredolu in Mauritius was a vexatious display of insensitivity by the governor towards the difficult challenges currently being faced by citizens of the state.

It alleged that ” almost 100 people attended the wedding in Mauritius adding that ” such a visit is not only needless but irresponsible and shows clearly what the priorities of this government are”.

A statement issued by the state Director of Media and Publicity , Zadok Akintoye in Akure said “Within the last two years, the governor has celebrated weddings of his children across the world from Canada to the United States and now Mauritius at the expense of citizens of this state without any sense of respect to the people he leads.

“How else can one explain the present display of affluence and disdain for the people?

The governor, family members, members of the State Executive Council, wives of traditional rulers, Speaker Bamidele Oloyelogun, Deputy Speaker lroju Ogundeji and other principal officers of the State House of Assembly amongst others aides of the governor and his wife Betty travelled to Mauritius for the wedding.

Akeredolu’s daughter, Dr Teniola was joined in holy wedlock with Engineer Olatunde Mike Oyeyiola at the Long Beach Sun Resort, Mauritius on the 30th of November.

Akintoye said “The recent outcry of citizens of this state against the vexatious display of insensitivity by the Governor of Ondo state, Mr. Rotimi Akeredolu SAN, remains another testament of the lack of empathy by the APC-led government towards the difficult challenges currently being faced by citizens.

“Considering very carefully the deplorable condition of public infrastructure in the state, the high number of students in public universities who have been forced to either suspend or fully abandon their academic pursuits, the inability of this government to provide basic and affordable healthcare.

” One would have expected the governor to show some minimal level of empathy expected of a public servant superintending over a government that has increased taxes and levies paid by citizens and forced many to seek survival through pain.

” lt is on record that this APC-led government, remains the most anti-people government in the history of Ondo state and one that has glorified crony capitalism, nepotism, tribalism and wanton disregard for the welfare of the people.

“We therefore ask this government to face the serious issues of providing good governance rather than turning the administration of  public wealth and resources into an opportunity for grandiose parties and jamboree.

“The indefensible response from the Honorable Commissioner for Information, Mr. Donald Ojogo that only five cabinet members graced the occasion, can at best be seen as a  deliberate attempt misinform the citizens.

” Its on record that members of the Cabinet, the Speaker and Members of the state House of Assembly, Aides and Assistants of this Governor, numbering almost 100 attended the wedding in Mauritius.

“For a government that has not been able to mobilize its aides to deal with the deplorable state of public infrastructure in the state, such a visit is not only needless but irresponsible and shows clearly what the priorities of this government are.

ALSO READ: Breaking: Police declare Nnamdi Kanu’s lawyer ‘Ejiofor’ wanted

” We put this government on notice that its’ reckless abandonment of the good of the people will be remembered when this government is replaced by a more people friendly PDP government in 2020.

However, in a swift reaction, the information and Orientation commissioner Donald Ojogo has denied the ” needless insinuations surrounding the wedding ceremony of the daughter of the governor in Mauritius.

Ojogo said that “the baleful narratives deliberately churned out to the public were not in unexpected.

“This is more so that the quality of those who attended the event has the capacity to draw such carousal inspirations that state funds were spent on the travel and other expenditures of those who were at the ceremony.

” lt is perhaps, pertinent to state that the erroneous impression being created by those behind the unsavoury perspectives that the entire members of the State Executive Council attended the event is not just puerile but pernicious.

“For the records, not more than five of the 30-member Cabinet graced the event at their personal expense.

He added that “We therefore plead with sponsors of such unholy narratives to be kind enough to provide evidence of State Government’s funds spent on those who attended the wedding ceremony.

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Collapses: The Venice Biennale and the End of History | Art Practical

Collapses: The Venice Biennale and the End of History

The 2019 Venice Biennale feels like the end of everything: the end of art tourism, the end of vacations, the end of the beach and the climate of pleasure. With bad news about the climate crisis worsening every day, the nationalistic turn of governments from the U.S. to Britain to Italy to India and Brazil, it’s unclear whether the liberal ideology that produces world-scale cultural events like the Biennale can hold much longer, or whether the economic or ecological structures of global tourism can continue to support it. The liberal democratic order of free markets and free will is undermined around the globe by violent nationalism and economic protectionism. The Biennale exhibition, May You Live in Interesting Times, offers little but a hollow scream in opposition. The whole thing feels a bit like buyer’s remorse, a magnum opus from a lapsed believer in Francis Fukuyama’s promise that we’d reached the End of History.1

Arthur Jafa

Joint Italy-EU military vessel with helicopter, Piraeus Port, Greece, August 2019. Photo: Anuradha Vikram

Both the main exhibitions and the various national pavilions feature more women and artists of color this year than any previous. Diversity is manifest with respect to types of work, interests, materials, biographies, and ages of the artists on view. Curator Ralph Rugoff states that “[the artists’] work grows out of a practice of entertaining multiple perspectives: of holding in mind seemingly contradictory notions, and juggling diverse ways of making sense of the world.”2 Diversity and multiplicity appear here to be set up as counternarratives to universalism, the ideology that has historically governed the international contemporary art discourse. But is this in fact the case? Fukuyama says, “The spectacular abundance of advanced liberal economies and the infinitely diverse consumer culture made possible by them seem to both foster and preserve liberalism in the political sphere.” If, as Fukuyama suggests, there are  “fundamental ‘contradictions’ of human life that cannot be resolved in the context of modern liberalism, that would be resolvable by an alternative political-economic structure,”3 diversity is not one of those contradictions. Rather, pluralism reinforces the “common ideological heritage of mankind,”4 while fascism’s resurgence around the globe and the popular embrace of nationalist identity are more of a contradiction in light of the realities of international markets. This is the turn of events that market utopians like Fukuyama failed to anticipate.

Rugoff never comes off as a utopian, given his pervasive air of weary detachment. Rather, the exhibition transmits how it feels to watch the ascent of Donald Trump and the unfolding catastrophe of Brexit from the “all-knowing,” cool remove of the contemporary art insider—omniscient, yet impotent, and unable to divest from toxic habits. George Condo, Sun Yuan and Peng Yu, Christian Marclay, and Arthur Jafa channel an anxiety bordering on panic. Construction, shipping, air travel, commerce, monuments, the body, gender—all once fixed as concepts in the Western imagination, with clearly associated positive values, are now invoked by artists such as Yin Xiuzhen, Nicole Eisenman, Slavs and Tatars, and Martine Gutierrez as hazardous, unstable, and volatile. Nowhere is this instability more evident than in the work of Mari Katayama, a Japanese artist whose self-portraiture tableaus tease the boundary between agency and objectification. These artists, more than the comparably straightforward representation advanced by artists like Zanele Muholi, Njideka Akunyili Crosby, or Gauri Gill, capture the zeitgeist of not just the show but the present time. Our historical moment is monumentally catastrophic, and the usual serious response to extremism doesn’t seem to be working. Instead, the images range from abject to absurd.

astronaut

Indios antropófagos: A Butterfly Garden in the (Urban) Jungle. Peru Pavilion, Venice Biennale 2019. Photo: Anuradha Vikram

Especially relevant are the artists who toy with the fetishization of Indigenous bodies and cultures for Western consumption. Within the main exhibition curated by Rugoff, Gutierrez situates her U.S.-born Latinx, trans body within a series of photographic landscapes, Body in Thrall, that challenge touristic notions of indigeneity, cultural authenticity, and romanticized poverty around non-white people. She occupies diverse personas, from a film noir femme fatale to the terrifying Aztec deity Tlazolteotl, “Eater of Filth,” always negotiating the high fashion aesthetics of desire with a subversive decolonial aggression. Similar themes and tactics appear in Indios antropófagos in the Peruvian Pavilion, curated by Gustavo Buntinx, in which historical artifacts from the Spanish colonial era and large mosaic tile works by Christian Bendayán depicting frolicking Indigenous youth come together in a scathing critique of cultural tourism. In the French Pavilion, curated by Martha Kirszenbaum, artist Laure Prouvost references the oceans and the sea life projected to die out by 2048, only 29 years into the future, with a number of glass animals seemingly cast into the sea floor, strewn across a landscape of refuse and discarded technologies.

Back in the real world, there’s no way to excise or sequester the beautiful parts into a future that can outlast the very real catastrophes happening now. The overwhelmingly urgent need for a complete lifestyle change played in my head over the week following my visit to the Biennale, as I recuperated from a difficult personal and professional year on a seven-day Greek Islands cruise with my young children, partner, and parents. Looking over the waters where thousands of migrants have drowned, from the top deck of a massive, yet outdated, luxury vessel, I considered how the looming climate crisis creates a condition of simultaneous enjoyment of the modern world that is all around us, and a mourning for its obvious and inevitable loss. Is this the end of curating? The traditional role of the curator as guardian of the world’s collected treasures seems as irrelevant as the contemporary job of mounting resource-heavy exhibitions for an international crowd of jet-setters. Conceptualism has begun to rot from the head, as when Rugoff controversially chose to include Christoph Büchel’s installation of a salvaged boat that, in 2015, sank in the Mediterranean with more than 800 people aboard. I reflected on this watery tomb, recommissioned as a tourist attraction, while looking out across Piraeus port. In the distance, a military troop (jointly operated by Italy and the European Union) performed exercises atop a warship in a city where anti-immigrant attacks are on the rise. In the seventeenth century, the Venetians gained and lost control of Athens in a rivalry with the Ottomans. Today, it seems the EU’s primary objective in the Mediterranean is to sever thousands of years of interconnection between these three regions. Two years ago, the regenerative promise of art as a universal cultural good was undermined when documenta 14 recreated the financial dynamics of German austerity policies in Athens, Greece afresh. Debts went unpaid, workers uncompensated, all in the name of “fiscal responsibility” that nearly shuttered the sixty-year-old event for good. What better outcome ought we to expect this year from an art event born out of universal nationalism?

Christine Wertheim

Halil Altindere, Space Refugee, 2016. May You Live in Interesting Times, Venice Biennale 2019. Photo: Anuradha Vikram

An explicitly utopian impulse is fugitive in May You Live in Interesting Times, but it manifests in the intersection of art, science, and technology. Margaret and Christine Wertheim’s Crochet Coral Reef raises awareness about preservation of the oceans through a crowdsourcing practice that combines mathematical learning with environmentalism and craft. Tavares Strachan’s meditation on African American astronaut Robert Henry Lawrence, Jr., locates metaphysical discourse about the afterlife within a scientific conversation about space travel—where elsewhere Halil Altindere complicates this view with the tale of Syrian cosmonaut Muhammed Ahmed Faris and his persecution by the state. Ryoji Ikeda bathes us in cleansing white light and describes a massive, thunderous universe of data that takes breathtaking shape before our eyes. Hito Steyerl’s This is the Future is a post-internet pastorale in which computer vision is applied to the Venetian landscape to depict a state of perpetual, dreamlike futurity in which the present persistently refuses to resolve into view. The protagonist of Steyerl’s installation seeks out a garden that she had previously hidden in the future in order to protect it from the ravages of the present.

The song of the Lithuanian Pavilion Sun & Sea (Marina) still rings in my ears:

“When my body dies, I will remain,
In an empty planet without birds, animals and corals.
Yet with the press of a single button,
I will remake this world again”

The finale of Sun & Sea (Marina) details the 3D printing of facsimiles of species in widespread collapse, taking comfort in their simulated resurrection as one would in the cold rays of a dying sun.

Greek Islands

Sun & Sea (Marina), Lithuanian Pavilion, Venice Biennale 2019. Photo: Anuradha Vikram

The gentle tenor of the apocalyptic visions in Sun & Sea (Marina) perfectly encapsulates the feeling of living at the outside edge of the story of the human species on planet Earth, with the knowledge that history as we know it may well be about to end because our species is one of millions undergoing collapse. The emptiness of our endeavors is invoked by Shilpa Gupta, whose wildly swinging metal gate hammers an effigy of national borders into a gallery wall. Otobong Nkanga’s drawings in acrylic on crayon reference the mechanical, industrialized nature of exploitation in the 21st century. Unlike the bees, whose society is organized around abundance, we humans have engineered systems to maximize our suffering. If humankind can truly lay claim to a common ideological heritage, as Fukuyama once argued, we have only ourselves to blame for our impending end.

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WHY I WON’T GET MARRIED OR HAVE CHILDREN – NOLLYWOOD ACTOR-CUM-PRODUCER OLU MICHAELS

Nollywood actor and film maker, Olu Michaels, 48, is one of the movie entrepreneurs who invested so much without getting the desired reward. He has worked with many  big names in the Nigerian movie industry, including Funke Akindele on Jenifa’s Diary for two years. The travel agent-cum-producer, in this no-hold-barred interview with OLAITAN GANIU revealed why he wants to remain single, and even childless, how his multi-million naira investment on movie project went down the drain, among others. Excerpts:

IT seems you’re a jack of all trade. What aspect of entertainment are you venturing into now?

I’m focusing on movie production because I’m looking into changing the narrative where this cartel has been in the industry for a while. I don’t like the idea where each time I switch on my television, there are certain people who do a so-called English movie. Also, as a producer, each time I said I want to produce a movie, I was told: ‘If this or that person are not going to be in the movie, we won’t buy it.’

I have actually produced a movie, gave it to a marketer and they refused it simply because the director is a Yoruba man or he is not part of their caucus. So, why is that? As long as the storyline is good, why do I have to bring your clique into my production? In the next two years, I’m looking into changing the narrative.

What approach are you using in changing this narrative?

Of course, I will keep doing what I know how to do best. Over the years, I’ve worked for many people and my observation is that once you are creative and unique, if you’re in a hole, clients will look for you. So, my approach is, continue producing good movies. If the content is good, the storyline is fantastic and picture quality is perfect, fans will look for you.

Do you partner with digital platforms?

No, this is another problem – getting a link with Netflix, Showmax, iRoko and likes. Hopefully, we would get a link someday because I am so passionate about dominating the Nigerian movie industry. Over six years, with the little money I saved, added with loan – my plan was actor to buy a house with money in Ajah, but the plan changed when I was coming back from France and I met an actress at the airport. I told her my desire to become a popular actor and she was like: ‘I could help you if you really want.’ As we speak, I have invested almost N100million and I’ve not got a penny back, not even a thousand naira.

Why?

It is annoying if I want to go in detail. The first movie I ever made titled, Igbekele, was shot for N2.1million and before I got a marketer to buy it for N600,000. In fact, the marketer was telling me, ‘I am just doing you a favour and to encourage you.’

Since then, about 13 movies I have produced so far are here on my table and the cheapest of them is N2.1 million. Last week I just finished one for N4.7million.

Do you think that is what’s robbing off movie entrepreneurs?

There are so many producers who have been here before me and some of them told me: ‘I give you just one year. You might not have money to feed.’ And, honestly, they are not lying because in less than six months, I have spent N47million and have not got a penny.

Even the N600,000 I said earlier the market bought my movie, he promised to pay in 4-5 months’ time and that will by February 2020. And people buy from us and sell it to online platforms for millions.

Read Also: Nollywood Actress Eniola Ajao opens up: my relationship with movie star Odunlade Adekola

So, what do you think is the way forward?

Well, what I think will help is when a company such as DSTV, Rock (Remi Njoku) open their doors; they only appoint a few people who can go to them. I think marketers might have edge over us as producers.

At a point, I was willing to give my movies to DSTV for free. All they need to do is to make the movie known to people and after a while, people will pay for it. Again, I’m not asking these people to give me money to produce movies. I have all the necessary resources and equipment to perfect movie but at least they should see the content but they will rather take their own people.

And for your movie to be in cinemas in Nigeria is not easy except you are a popular actor or actress.

Despite these challenges, you keep producing, why?

I will keep producing movies, except there is no money. But as long as there is funds, I don’t think I will stop. Honesty, I should get tired because of the house I’m hoping to buy. I don’t have it. Since I don’t have a house to stay, I will keep shooting. I just keep hoping that I won’t get tired one day.

Which project are you currently working on?

We just rounded off a movie last week and we are shooting another three before the year runs out. We are just waiting for the two titans, Omotola and Genevieve – in the Nigerian movie industry. I am currently working on featuring the two together on one of our projects.

For two years, I was part of a crew that worked on the popular comedy series, actress Jenifa’s Diary, created by Funke Akindele. I have produced several movies through my production outfit by the name ‘ibelieve’. The outfit has  produced  movies such as Irin Ajo, Like mother Like son, Crack, The Messenger and Tafa Onimoto among others.

 How are you charging the government to intervene?

The federal government has been doing the little they could but unfortunately, there are some people that are supposed to speak too, especially the veterans, to encourage the younger ones.

 As an actor, what do you look forward to in the script?

Deep storyline. In Nigeria, most scriptwriters narrow a storyline, they write based on one family. One of the best movies I saw recently is a movie titled, ‘King of Boys’. In the movie, there are lots of stories. You might just be seeing only Shola Shobowale but there over seven stories in the movie.

As a professional filmmaker, do you think it’s ideal to produce a movie in two to three days?

Well, it depends on the story. I won’t say it is wrong or right. When I came into the industry that was what was being done. I’ve been in a movie set in Asaba to produce an English movie and at a point, I wanted to run away because that is what I was used to in Yoruba setting, which could take about two to three days. If you go more than three days, they will tell you, it’s a project.

Today, a project is one week and what the English movie refers to as project is years but Yoruba sector, three days, we are through with a movie because of the cost and that is why there is no substance. I’m challenging all that with my movie project.

What would you describe as your best achievement?

So far, each time I get on set, I have been able to touch different lives. I am passionate about empowering and doing charity work. I believe if you are from nowhere, you will understand what it takes when someone begs you for food. Sometimes, I don’t like giving cash but prefer to donate the machine or equipment needed. While I was growing, I had nobody to help me. The worst that can happen to people is being poor without having someone to help.

 Any plans to venture into politics?

Yes, eventually I am hoping to become a governor or senator.

 Are you married?

I’m not married, and I don’t intend to. Truth be told, I’m scared of marriage and I don’t think I will ever get married. Though, I wanted to have kids when I was younger but not now, it is too late. Why I said it’s too late for having children is that I am a workaholic and I don’t  like a situation where I would want to sleep and then a baby starts crying. My parents have been begging me to get married but no.

 What do you look out for in a woman?

I am a jealous man. For example, if I marry an actress and I see her kissing another actor on set, I will never tolerate such. Also, if I marry a beautiful woman, I might never concentrate on my work because I will be on the look to protect her.

 How do you feel being lonely at night?

What I do every time I feel lonely is that I have a car that I bought with all my money. It is a Mercedes-Benz and the interior is wow. I love it. I just drive round town and get home and sleep off.

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JUST IN: LASTMA officer stoned to death in Lagos | P.M. News

person

Oyeshina before his death

By Kazeem Ugbodaga

An officer of the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority, LASTMA, Ola Oyeshina has been stoned to death at Iganmu-Sifax axis of Apapa, Lagos while trying to decongest the area of traffic.

The incident reportedly occurred on Friday around 5.00pm.

According to LASEMA’s General Manager, Olajide Oduyoye, a large stone was thrown at him by some people and that two persons had been arrested in connection with the murder.

Condemning the murder of Oyeshina, the LASTMA boss said the government would not fold its arm and allow its officers to be attacked by hoodlums.

Oduyoye said when the LASTMA officer was stoned, he was immediately rushed to Area “B” police station along with two of the people who attacked him, as ACP Bayo Sulaimon thereafter ordered the detention of the two (2) attackers that were arrested while a letter of medical referral was issued for the victim’s attention at the hospital.

He further revealed that owing to the traumatic experienced, Oyeshina was immediately referred to LUTH from Randle Hospital, Surulere.

The LASTMA General Manager further revealed that it was unfortunate that the agency lost the young promising officer to the cold hand of death in the early hours of Saturday, 30th November, 2019.

He, therefore, assured that the perpetrators of the dastard act who were caught would be prosecuted in court to serve as deterrent to other members of the public who might harbour notion of committing such crime in future.

Oduyoye said that “LASTMA was established to manage and control traffic in order to reduce the people’s travel time on our roads, increase economic growth through increased productivity and ensure the populace’s safety and security.

“A situation where road users will now turn against any government official in order not to answer the consequences of breaking the law, is unacceptable and would not be condoned henceforth”.

Oduyoye emphasised that with the recent inauguration of a committee on war against traffic and environmental offenders, there was no more hiding place for Lagos residents or visitors who go against the law.

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