Apple Music Changes Policy After Taylor Swift Stand

swiftIn reaction to a statement by Taylor Swift saying she was refusing to allow the company to stream her album 1989, Apple Music has reversed its payment policy.

In an open letter to Apple, Swift said she was withholding the record as she was unhappy with the three-month free trial offered to subscribers.

On Twitter, Apple’s Senior Vice President of Internet Software and Services, Eddy Cue, said Apple Music will pay artist for streaming, even during customer’s free trial period.

Swift had said the plan was “unfair”, arguing Apple had the money to cover the cost.

”I find it to be shocking, disappointing, and completely unlike this historically progressive and generous company,” the 25-year-old said, describing Apple as one of her “best partners in selling music”.

”Three months is a long time to go unpaid, and it is unfair to ask anyone to work for nothing.

”We don’t ask you for free iPhones. Please don’t ask us to provide you with our music for no compensation.”

Apple Music launches on 30 June. It will cost $9.99 (£6.30) per month in the US for one person or $14.99 for families.

After hearing news of the company’s decision on Sunday night, Swift tweeted:SWIFT

Meanwhile, Mr Cue said he did not know if the ‘Shake It Off’ singer would now make her album available on Apple Music, but he praised her for taking a stand.

“When I woke up this morning and I saw Taylor’s note that she had written, it really solidified that we needed to make a change,” he said.

Germany Releases Al Jazeera Journalist, Ahmed Mansour

mansourAl Jazeera has announced the release of its reporters, Ahmed Mansour, held at the Berlin airport in Germany has been released.

Ahmed Mansour, who works for the network’s Arabic-language service, was detained on Saturday as he tried to board a flight from Berlin to Qatar.

It is reported that a court in Cairo, Egypt’s capital, sentenced him to 15 years in prison in absentia last year on torture charges.

Earlier, the German government had said that it could veto an extradition decision from the court.

Foreign Ministry Spokesman, Martin Schaefer, told a news conference that Germany has repeatedly questioned the rule of law in Egypt.

“Against this background, you will surely understand that there are doubts in the Mansour case.

“I don’t think one can say this loudly enough: Of course, nobody will be extradited from Germany who risks being sentenced to death abroad”, he said.

According to Al Jazeera, Saad Djebbar, one of Mansour’s lawyer, said that while his client was ‘very happy’ about the court’s decision, he was also ‘very sad’ that the Al Jazeera Journalist was detained in the first place.

Another lawyer, Patrick Teubner, said that with the court decision, Mansour could now leave Germany.

Dozens of supporters of Mansour had protested in front of the Berlin court building where he was held.

Mr Mansour, along with two Muslim Brotherhood members and an Islamic preacher, were accused of taking part in the torture of a lawyer in Cairo’s Tahrir Square in 2011, during protests against then President Hosni Mubarak.

Buhari Moves To Aso Rock

Buahri_officePresident Muhammadu Buhari has moved into the Presidential Villa in Abuja,  three weeks after he was sworn-in.

The President and his Vice, Prof Yemi Osinbajo have been staying and operating from the Defence House in Abuja.

President Buhari was on Sunday afternoon reported to have visited the Presidential Villa, apparently to spend a few minutes with his wife.

A Presidency Official said: ”The President was here this afternoon (Sunday). He arrived at about 2pm and spent about 30 minutes before he left. He later returned in the evening. At last, the President has moved in”.

At the moment, there is no detail of Osinbajo’s movement into the Presidential Villa.

According to the President’s Media Aide, the renovation which was being carried out since the former President, Goodluck Jonathan, moved out, is the reason he delayed moving into his official residence.

The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, confirmed this to Channels Television via phone.

Meanwhile, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, said: ”As far as the President is concerned, the place (his official residence) is not ready yet. Workers are cleaning and refurbishing the place. Once the exercise is completed, the President will move in”.

Taliban Attack On Afghan Parliament Ends

talibanPolice have reported that the six Taliban gunmen who attacked the Afghan parliament on Monday have been killed, nearly two hours after lawmakers were forced to flee by a large explosion and gunfire.

Attackers detonated a huge car bomb outside the gates, stormed the compound, then entered a building next to the chamber.

Police evacuated the premises while trying to fight the gunmen off.

According to a top media house, the Taliban said that they carried out the attack to coincide with a vote to endorse a new Defence Minister.

The Spokesman for the Interior Ministry, Sediq Seddiqi, said that the gunmen had attempted to storm the parliament building itself after the gates were breached by the suicide bomb.

They were fought-off and entered a building under construction next to parliament. MPs were showered with broken glass, and the Chamber filled with smoke as the fighting went on.

It took nearly one hour before all the firing stopped.

At least 18 people are reported to have been wounded, as Mr Seddiqi said no MP had been injured.

Greece Debt Crisis: EU Leaders Gather For Critical Summit

greeceEuropean leaders are gathering for an emergency summit in Brussels that could break the deadlock around the debt crisis facing Greece.

On Sunday, the Greek Prime Minister, Alexis Tsipras, set out new proposals to try and prevent a default on a €1.6bn (£1.1bn) International Monetary Fund (IMF) loan.

The proposals, according to an European official, held plenty of promise.

Greece risks crashing out of the single currency and possibly the European Union (EU) if it fails to repay the loan by the end of June

Talks have been in deadlock for five months. The European Commission, the IMF and the European Central Bank (ECB) are not willing to unlock the final €7.2bn tranche of bailout funds until Greece agrees to economic reforms.

The three creditors must agree to the deal offered by Greece, to ensure Monday’s talks have a clear focus.

Further findings revealed that if deposit withdrawals continue at the current pace, Greek banks will soon exhaust eligible assets they can pledge to the Bank of Greece for cash under the Emergency Liquidity Assistance (ELA) scheme.

Before then, the ECB could turn off the ELA drip feed because it is forbidden to allow the Bank of Greece to lend to insolvent banks.

NBCC Tasks Buhari On New Cabinet

buhariAs President Buhari settles into his official residence, the Aso Rock, one group looking forward to the much needed change is the Nigeria-British Chamber of Commerce (NBCC).

At a meeting with the Nigerian High Commissioner in London, the group said that economic diversification through trade and industry is what President Buhari’s team should be thinking about.

They expressed high hopes that when the new cabinet emerges, along with the administration’s roadmap, reviving industry and commerce would top the agenda.

Since assumption of office, President Buhari has not made any major appointment, but on May 31 named Mr Femi Adesina his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity and Garba Shehu his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity.

The President also approved the appointment of Lawal Abdullahi Kazaure as the State Chief of Protocol (SCOP).

President Muhammadu Buhari has insisted on a thorough process for the emergence of new ministers and he will not be rushed into making decisions for the mere sake of it.

However, in an attempt to end the rise in insurgency that creates unrest in the northern part of the country, the President has been involved in series of meeting with neighboring countries and attending various summits.

Nigeria, Africa’s largest economy has struggled with the limitations of a single primary commodity – oil, for economic sustenance.

SERAP Drags Government To ILO Over Unpaid Workers’ Salaries

SERAPThe thorny issue of unpaid workers continues to make the headlines with the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) dragging state governments and the Federal Government to the International Labour Organisation (ILO).

The organisation said that the complaint was brought pursuant to Articles 26-34 of the ILO Constitution.

SERAP is asking the ILO to establish without delay, a commission of inquiry to examine the systematic and non-observance of Convention No 29 on forced labour and other international standards on the right of workers to timely payment of salaries.

SERAP’s Complaint

”SERAP is seriously concerned that several state governments and the Federal Government of Nigeria are failing and/or refusing to pay workers’ salaries and pensioners’ entitlements, amounting to billions of dollars in arrears. The state governments that have failed and/or refused to pay workers’ salaries and pensioners’ entitlements include: Osun, Rivers, Oyo, Ekiti, Kwara, Kogi, Ondo, Plateau, Benue, and Bauchi states.

SERAP argues; ”The failure and/or refusal of state governments and Federal Government to pay workers’ salaries and allowances and pensioners’ entitlements is a clear violation of the right to work recognized by various ILO instruments and Article 6 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, to which Nigeria is a state party. The right to work is essential for realizing other human rights and forms an inseparable and inherent part of human dignity.

”The Failure of states to pay workers’ salaries is tantamount to penalising them, and as the International Labour Organization has ruled, menace penalty amounts to forced labour and economic exploitation. This is because the workers have not offered themselves to work without pay.”

They also said: ”The failure to pay workers’ salaries amount to a fundamental breach of the obligation to ensure the absence of forced labour and economic exploitation, and guarantee workers’ remuneration so as to provide an income allowing workers to support themselves and their families. The right to work contributes to the survival of the individual and to that of his/her family, and to his/her development and recognition within the community. Therefore, by failing to pay workers’ salaries, the state governments in Nigeria have violated the right of the workers to live in dignity.

”There is absolutely no justification why state governments or the Federal Government in Nigeria should not pay workers’ salaries. In fact, international law provides that workers’ salaries must be paid even in times of severe resource constraints, as disadvantaged and marginalized individuals and groups must be protected by the adoption of targeted programmes to ensure that they live in dignity.

“The failure of the state governments and the Federal Government in Nigeria to pay workers’ salaries is as a result mismanagement of resources and corruption which under the Covenant amount to ‘deliberate retrogression’ in the protection of the right to work.

”While ordinary Nigerian workers and pensioners are routinely denied their salaries and entitlements, senior government officials continue to receive their salaries and live lavishly. This also clearly amounts to discrimination against workers on the grounds of national or social origin, or civil, political, social or other status, as it has the effect of impairing or nullifying exercise of the right to work on a basis of equality.

”The failure to pay workers’ salaries also violates Nigeria’s obligations to respect, protect and fulfil the right to work, including requiring state governments and Federal Government in Nigeria to refrain from interfering directly or indirectly with the enjoyment of that right and to adopt appropriate economic and budgetary measures to ensure timely payment of workers’ salaries and pensioners’ entitlements.

”The failure of state governments and Federal Government in Nigeria to pay workers’ salaries show that they are unwilling to use the maximum of their available resources through insufficient expenditure or misallocation of public funds, for the realization of the right to work in violation of their obligations under Article 6.

”The country’s justice system has proven highly inadequate to enforce the right of workers to timely remuneration and freedom from economic exploitation. The state governments and Federal Government of Nigeria have taken no effective measures to address the salary crisis in the country, and have in fact significantly downplayed it.”

SERAP also said that the right to work is essential for realizing other human rights and forms an inseparable and inherent part of human dignity.

Buhari Condoles With Chad, Borno Over Twin Bomb Attacks

buhariPresident Muhammadu Buhari has extended his condolences to the President and people of the Republic of Chad following the twin suicide bombings which took place in the country’s capital on Monday, killing 23 people and leaving over 100 injured.

According to a statement released by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, President Buhari also condoled the people and government of Borno State over the loss of over 60 lives from the explosion triggered by abandoned explosives in Monguno town.

”Chad has been on the front-line of the regional fight against the Boko Haram terrorists.

”They have stood by us through the worst and most difficult times of the challenges we have faced with terrorism. You also have our support during this difficult time,” President Buhari said.

The President also added that it was sad and pitiful that the terrorists had extended their brutal cowardice to the neighbouring country, expressing hope that it was only a matter of time before the insurgents would be flushed out and dealt with.

He assured the people of Borno State of his administration’s commitment  to degrade the insurgency which had necessitated the relocation of the command centre of the Nigerian military to Maiduguri.

“Crushing Boko Haram will remain a priority of my government,” Buhari added.

The Chadian Police blamed the attack on Boko Haram militants.