Showmax Launches New Service, Brings Live Sports And Movies To Your Mobile Phone

 

Showmax Launches New Service, Brings Live Sports And Movies To Your Mobile Phone

315

The Shomax Pro streaming service: viewing a live programme via a handheld device.

Showmax, your video streaming platform, turns five, in a little over a month from now, with new innovations, to boot, including bringing live sports to your handheld devices.

From July 7, 2020 the upfront video streaming platform, rolls out a new subscription plan, the Shomax Pro, across the entire sub-Saharan Africa. But the service would come in stages beginning with Nigeria and Kenya.

In addition to the already existing Showmax entertainment service of music channels, news and live sport streaming from Supersport, the Showmax Pro would feature all English Premier League, Serie A, La Liga, as well as all PSL games, with a wide range of live sport events, including IAAF Athletics, professional boxing and the world’s biggest marathon races.

The sport beta test has been running on Showmax since June last year and this debut comes as an end result of this year-long effort.

The Cape Town, South Africa-based Showmax is an African video on demand service with years of experience, operating on the African continent. It originally launched in August,2015.

Niclas Ekdahl, CEO, Connected Video division, MultiChoice.

Recounting the video streaming platform’s history and what sets it apart, Niclas Ekdahl, CEO of the Connected Video division of MultiChoice, said:

“Showmax is an African video on demand service with many years’ experience operating on this continent. We’re local-first, which means listening to our customers and delivering African stories told in familiar voices as well as the best that Hollywood has to offer.”

He went on, “Our local-first strategy is an advantage because it allows us to tailor our content, apps, packages and partnerships, specifically to what’s most important in Africa.”

In June 2019, Showmax began testing sport live-streaming, and the new Showmax Pro service is based on the results of this.

Ekdahl spoke about sport streaming: “The live sport test we ran on Showmax in conjunction with SuperSport has been well received, so that’s forming an integral part of our new Showmax Pro service.”

Another key development for African markets has been adapting the service for the data connectivity constraints on the continent and focusing on the most-used viewing devices.

Watching football and sport stream with mobile phone.

In November last year, Showmax launched a mobile-only service for smartphones and tablets, featuring all of the Showmax content but at half the cost of the standard Showmax service and consuming less data. This service has also proven popular, so in addition to the standard version of Showmax Pro there will also be a mobile-only version at half the price.

Said Ekdahl, of the role of a mobile-only option, “What else have we learned about operating an internet video service in Africa? Mobile usage is mainstream, so having a one-size-fits-all big screen service may not be the best solution here. With the mobile-only version of Showmax Pro, anyone with a smartphone in sub-Saharan Africa will be able to get the best African content, the best of Hollywood, and all of the best sporting action. This is something no other service is doing and we think it’s a game changer.”

The new bundle rolled out yesterday with Nigeria and Kenya, while additional countries would join the list in the weeks to follow. The entire process is expected to be completed within six to eight weeks, with a coverage spanning the entire sub-Saharan Africa.

The following table gives details of the new Showmax Pro service in Nigeria and Kenya.

Showmax Showmax Pro
Showmax Showmax Mobile Showmax Pro Showmax Pro Mobile
Kenya KSh 760 KSh 380 KSh 2100 KSh 1050
Nigeria NGN 2900 NGN 1450 NGN 6300 NGN 3200

 

 

 

JUST IN: Former External Affairs Minister, Gambari, May Be Buhari’s Next Chief Of Staff

425

Prof. Ibrahim Gambari

A former Minister of External Affairs, Professor Ibrahim Gambari, may be the next Chief of Staff to President Muhammadu Buhari.

Although the Presidency has yet to formally confirm this, there are strong indications that the announcement will be made at the Federal Executive Council meeting on Wednesday, May 13, 2020.

Professor Gambari served as the Minister for External Affairs between 1984 and 1985.

He held several leadership positions at the national and international levels, and has built extensive contacts with governments, as well as public and private institutions, especially in Africa.

The 75-year-old diplomat was also the Chairman of the United Nations Special Committee Against Apartheid (1990-1994).

He later served as Under-Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Department of Political Affairs between 2005 and 2007.

If appointed on Wednesday, Professor Gambari will succeed the former Chief of Staff to the President, Abba Kyari, who died of coronavirus (COVID-19) complications.

According to the Presidency, Kyari who was President Buhari’s chief of staff since 2015 died on April 17 at the age of 67.

He was said to have been infected with COVID-19 almost two weeks after he returned from a trip to Germany during which he met with officials of Siemens on Nigeria’s electricity expansion programme.

On March 29, the late Chief of Staff confirmed in a statement that he had tested positive for the disease, putting an end to the controversy surrounding his health status.

He was laid to rest on April 18, a day after the Presidency announced his death.

Courtesy: ChannelsTV

 

Music Legend Millicent ‘My Boy Lollipop’ Small Dies

507

Millicent ‘My Boy Lollipop’ Small

This year, 2020, has claimed yet another music legend, in the person of Jamaica’s legendary ska ambassador, singer, Millicent Small. Millie died on May 5, 2020, aged 72, after suffering a stroke.

The star was most famous for her hit single My Boy Lollipop, which reached number two in both the US and the UK in 1964.

It remains one of the biggest-selling ska songs of all time, with more than seven million sales.
Island Records founder Chris Blackwell announced her death and remembered her as “a sweet person… really special”.
“She was such a sweet person, really a sweet person. Very funny, great sense of humour. She was really special,” said Blackwell.
It was Blackwell who brought Small to London in 1963 and produced her version of My Boy Lollipop, showcasing her childlike, high-pitched vocals.
“I would say she’s the person who took ska international because it was her first hit record,” he told the Jamaica Observer .
Ska was one of the genres of music that the island of Jamaica gave to the world and was a major influence on the island’s now globally embraced reggae music and the Rastafarian-Nyabinghi culture. Indeed, Reggae icon, Robert Nesta Marley, popularly known as Bob Marley, started out his music career with sounds that bore distinct influences of ska.
At the age of 12, Millicent Small won a talent contest at the Palladium Theatre in Montego Bay; and by her teens, she was recording for Sir Coxone Dodd’s Studio One label in Kingston.
There, she teamed up with reggae singer Roy Panton and they became one of the island’s most prolific duos, scoring a major hit with We’ll Meet.
Blackwell took an interest in the singer after releasing some of those records in the UK on his fledgling record label, Island, and brought her to London in 1963.
Released in February 1964, My Boy Lollipop, made Millie an international star and helped popularise ska music around the world.

Ms. Millicent Small

In 2011, Jamaica’s Governor-General made Small a Commander in the Order of Distinction for her contribution to the Jamaican music industry.
The singer is survived by her daughter, Jaelee, who is also a musician based in London.
Adapted from the BBC.
 

BREAKING: Abba Kyari, Buhari’s Chief Of Staff Dies Of Covid-19

361

Late Abba Kyari.

The Presidency on Saturday morning announced the passage of the Chief of Staff to the President, Mallam Abba Kyari.

Mr. Femi Adesina, Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, confirmed this development in a statement in Abuja.

“The deceased had tested positive to the ravaging Covid-19 and had been receiving treatment. But he died on Friday, April 17, 2020.

“May God accept his soul.

“Funeral arrangements will be announced shortly.” the statement said. (NAN).

(Courtesy, The News Express); photo courtesy, thenigerianews.com.ng.

 

HEARTRENDING!

370

At this critical and dangerous juncture in world history, whilst most of us are hunkered down in the comfort of our homes, to protect ourselves and family from a menacing, invisible enemy, this husband and wife, both medical doctors, are out in the frontline, in the fight against the deadly Covid-19 virus.

Here, decked out in their protective gear, the couple can only say parting words of affection to each other in the best way they can manage, through the protective walls between them, before going into battle with an enemy that has already claimed 149,884 lives, worldwide, as at the time of writing this.

The Covid-19 virus is a vicious and insidious adversary and no one knows this fact better than these two. As in all wars, neither of them is cocksure that they would return to each again, safe and sound, at the end of it all. But their instincts to save lives, drive them to the very brink of death, itself.

We therefore urge one and all to spare a thought and a prayer for this heroic couple, as well as for all the very brave healthcare workers, flung and scattered all across the globe, who are actually humanity’s first line of defense in this tough war.

Photo: Courtesy: thequint.com

 

Rivers Government Warns Against Harvesting Dead Fish On Bonny Coast

294

Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State. (Courtesy.today.ng)

The Rivers State Government has cautioned fishing communities against eating or selling dead fishes found floating along Bonny and Andoni shores in the state.

Mr. Igbiks Tamuno, the state’s Commissioner for Environment said this in Port Harcourt during an emergency meeting with King Dick Isotu, the traditional ruler of a fishing settlement located in Andoni Local Government Area in Port Harcourt on Thursday. He said that the fishes may constitute danger if consumed since the cause of their death was yet to be ascertained. The commissioner promised that the Ministry would carry out full scale investigation to unravel the actual cause of death of the fishes.

“People should avoid the temptation of consuming/selling these fishes in the interest of human health,” he said. Isotu had during the meeting, pleaded with government to quickly unravel the cause of death of the fishes to save the fishing ecosystem. “As a critical stakeholder, I’m in the ministry to intimate the Commissioner about our fears. “The massive death of fishes along the rivers of Finima in Bonny and Oyorokoto in Andoni LGA calls for urgent concern,” he said.

Thousands of dead fishes off the coast of Finima/Bonny.

Thousands of dead fishes, mostly of the ‘Croaker’ species, had been washing up the coastline, along the Bonny, Finima axis and other coastal towns of the Gulf of Guinea and the cause of their death is yet to be ascertained.

(Story, courtesy dailytimes.ng)

 

 

The 10 Worst Pandemics In Human History

382

1918 Flu Posters (Courtesy, pinterest.com).

Throughout recorded history, dating back to Biblical times, the world has known several pandemics, but 10 of them stand out as the worst of them all.

There are divergent views as to what a pandemic is, in the first instance, but all views converge at the point that the word describes the widespread occurrence of disease “in excess of what might normally be expected in a geographical region”.

All through history, outbreaks of diseases across international borders, have been appropriately described as pandemics. These include the bubonic plague, small pox and influenza, with smallpox having so far killed between 300 – 500 million people in its 12,000 year history.

Coronavirus (Courtesy, nature.com)

COVID19 The Current Scourge (2019 – ?)

The world is presently grappling with a strain of the Corona Virus Disease, named the Covid-19, (a short form of ‘Coronavirus Disease of 2019’). This new disease, a novelty, so to speak, was first seen in the Wuhan region of China, in December 2019, where it first began appearing in human beings.

Due to its newness, this virus spreads with an incredible speed between people, due to the fact that, as of today, nobody in the world has any immunity against it because, prior to 2019, no one had Covid-19. Within months, what was hitherto seen as an epidemic in China, soon spread, worldwide. In March, 2020, the WHO declared Covid-19 a pandemic. By the end of the same month, half a million infections had been recorded, with 30,000 deaths. The figures are spiraling by the day. As of the time of filing this report today, April 8, 2020, 1,062,030 people had caught the disease, worldwide. Out of this figure, 83,644 deaths, (representing 5.75%) have occurred, while 309,825 cases (21.29%) have recovered.

In a bid to curb its spread, the outbreak of Covid-19 has led to the biggest lockdown in all of human history and the outcome and future effects of this massive confinement of humans, on the global economy and culture, among other things, are yet to be determined. Offices, banks, schools, airports and most businesses (except for essential services like healthcare and food delivery) remain shut. Airports, all over, are closed to traffic and buses and trains are scarcely running.

However, while surviving this present scourge is humanity’s immediate priority, there are a great deal of lessons to be learnt from past pandemics.

HIV Virus (Courtesy aidsinfo.nih.gov)

HIV/AIDS Pandemic (At its Peak, 2005 – 2012)

Caused by the Human Immune Deficiency Virus (HIV), the AIDS pandemic, being a sexually transmitted disease, has been one of history’s most troubling outbreaks, its main victims being majorly the young, dynamic and the normally healthy — the drivers of the global economy and productive human activity. The virus was first identified in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 1976. Since 1981, it has killed more than 36 million people, worldwide. Between 31 and 35 million people live with HIV, a vast majority of those victims being in Sub-Saharan Africa, where 5% of the population, roughly 21 million people, are infected. However, due to awareness and new treatments, HIV has become more manageable and between 2005 and 2012, the annual global deaths resulting from the virus have dropped from 2.2 million to 1.6 million.

Flu Pandemic (1968)

First reported in Hong Kong on July 13, 1968, this category 2 Flu pandemic of the H3N2 strain of Influenza A virus, is a genetic offshoot of the H2N2 subtype, sometimes called the “the Hong Kong Flu”. Within 17 days, it spread from Hong Kong to Singapore and Vietnam. By the third month, it had spread to The Philippines, India, Australia, Europe and the United States. It claimed more than a million lives, worldwide, but decimated the population of Hong Kong by approximately 15% of its population at the time, having killed 500,000 of its residents.

Asian Flu (1956 – 1958)

Again caused by influenza, the Asian Flu pandemic was of the Influenza A H2N2 subtype that originated from the Chinese province of Guizhou. Within its two-year period of havoc, it had swept through Singapore to Hong Kong and the United States. The World Health Organisation (WHO) places its final death toll at 2 million, with 69,800 of the dead in the United States alone.

The Spanish Flu pandemic (Courtesy, greenvillesun.com).

Flu Pandemic (1918 – 1920)

The Flu Pandemic which broke out between 1918 and 1920, (exactly a century ago) was caused by influenza. It swept through the globe like a wild hurricane, knocking down a whopping 500 million people in its wake (over a third of the world’s population) and extinguishing the lives of between 20 – 50 million individuals. The mortality rate of this pandemic was estimated to be between 10% to 20%, with up to 25 million deaths in the first 25 weeks alone. The vicious 1918 pandemic was unique. While the previous flu outbreaks claimed only the vulnerable — juveniles, the elderly, the already weak and sick — this very pandemic went for the strong, healthy, young adults and the hardy, leaving the hitherto vulnerable populations.

Sixth Cholera Pandemic (1910 – 1911)

This Sixth Cholera Pandemic originated in India, where it killed over 800,000 people before spreading to the Middle East, North Africa, Eastern Europe and Russia. It was the source of the last cholera outbreak in America (1910 – 1911) before that country’s health authorities finally wiped out the disease in their country, losing only 11 people before containing the disease.

Flu Pandemic (1889 -1890)

The ‘Asiatic Flu’ or ‘Russian Flu’, as it was originally called, this plague was caused by influenza. It was thought to be of the Influenza A virus subtype H2N2, but recent discoveries have found the cause to be the Influenza A virus subtype H3N8. It was a global affliction and the first epidemic in the era of bacteriology and quite a lot was learned from it. Within the year of its outbreak, it claimed over a million people.

The Third Cholera Pandemic (1852 – 1860)

Originating from India and spreading from the Ganges River Delta, it rifled its way through Asia, Europe, North America and Africa, dragging to their graves, over a million people. The Third Cholera Pandemic is considered the most deadly of the seven cholera outbreaks of the 19th century. In Great Britain alone, the disease claimed 23,000 lives in 1854, its worst year.

Learn from history; don’t panic (Courtesy, ancient-origins.net).

The Black Death (1346 – 1353)

This Bubonic plague, as well, ravaged three continents in its wake, sweeping through Europe, Africa, and Asia, with an estimated death toll of between 75 and 200 million people. It is thought that this plague most likely jumped continents by way of the fleas that lived aboard the merchant ships.

Plague of Justinian (541 – 542)

This was caused by the Bubonic Plague and claimed 25 million lives. In its year-long reign of terror, this pandemic wiped out, perhaps, half the population of the entire Europe, afflicting the Byzantine Empire and the Mediterranean port cities, devastating the city of Constantinople, where, at the height of the outbreak, up to 5,000 people died every day, finally claiming some 40 per cent of the city’s population.

The Antonine Plague (165 AD)

Of unknown causes, this pandemic, also known as the Plague of Galen, affected Asia Minor, Greece, Egypt and Italy. Thought to have been Smallpox or Measles, the unknown disease was brought back to Rome, from Mesopotamia, by returning soldiers. In the end, its death toll rose to 5 million and decimated the Roman army.

LATEST COVID-19 STATISTICS WORLDWIDE, 08/04/2020:

Active – 1,062,030

Deaths – 83,644 (5.75%)

Recoveries – 309,825 (21.29%)

For latest Covid-19 details:  https://www.covidvisualizer.com/

 

 

Seismologists Say The Earth Is Standing Still For Coronavirus, COVID-19

511

The earth, photographed from the International Space Station (ISS).

The current global trend is the stuff of which a bestselling Science Fiction novel is made. But this is, indeed, science fact.

It is unprecedented in the entire history of the earth, in fact, totally unimaginable that a day would come when the entire planet would stand still and locked down – from Europe, to the Americas; from Africa to Asia; Australia, to Japan, Oceania and beyond. All over the place, commercial and social activities have been ground to a screeching halt, all of a sudden.

Flights are grounded. Fewer trains and buses are running. Rush hour is gone. The world – particularly in cities – is looking drastically different during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

According to seismologists, that drastic reduction in human hustle and bustle is causing the Earth to move substantially less. The planet is ‘standing still’.

Thomas Lecocq, a geologist and seismologist at the Royal Observatory in Belgium, noticed that the country’s capital Brussels is experiencing a 30 to 50 percent reduction in ambient seismic noise since the lockdowns began, as CNN reports.

That means data collected by seismologists is becoming more accurate, capable of detecting even the smallest tremors – despite the fact that many of the scientific instruments in use today are near city centers.

“You’ll get a signal with less noise on top, allowing you to squeeze a little more information out of those events,” Andy Frassetto, a seismologist at the Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology in Washington DC told Nature.

Researchers in Los Angeles and in West London, UK noticed a similar trend.

But seismologists collecting data from remote stations far away from human civilisation might not see a change at all, according to Nature.

Regardless, a significant drop in seismic noise also shows that we’re at least doing one thing right during the current pandemic: staying in the safety of our own homes as we wait for the virus to run its course.

The coronavirus COVID-19.

In the interim, as the global community tackles the COVID-19 headlong scientists, in a race against time, are working to determine where the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus has come from.

All the answers are not known yet and this includes whether it came from an animal reservoir. However, a new analysis has definitively put to rest the conspiracies that claim the disease was man-made, cultured in some laboratory.

There are some possibilities of interest regarding the origin of this currently devastating virus, one scenario, suggesting that it may have been circulating harmlessly in humans for quite a while, before becoming the troubling pandemic that has now brought the world to a standstill.

“It is possible that a progenitor of SARS-CoV-2 jumped into humans, acquiring [new genomic features] through adaptation during undetected human-to-human transmission,” a team from the US, UK and Australia writes in their study.

Illustration of humanity’s relentless fight against the COVID-19 virus by Nigerian artist/animator, Adeboye Adegbenro.

Story adapted with files from, ‘Science Alert’. 

Photos: ISS, courtesy, NASA; coronavirus COVID-19, courtesy,nature.com; illustration, courtesy, adeboyeadegbenro.org.

 

Last Survivor Of Transatlantic Slave Trade Discovered

716

Matilda McCrear lived until 1940 – the last survivor of the transatlantic slave trade

The transatlantic slave trade might seem like something from a distant and barbaric era – but a historian has found evidence its last survivor was alive in living memory.

Hannah Durkin, at Newcastle University, had previously identified the last surviving slave captured in Africa in the 19th Century and brought to United States as a woman called Redoshi Smith, who died in 1937.

But she has now discovered that another former slave, Matilda McCrear, had lived three years later.

Matilda died in Selma, Alabama, in January 1940, at the age 83 – and her rebellious life story was the last living link with slaves abducted from Africa.

Johnny Crear, a witness to 1960s civil rights protests, did not know about his grandmother’s life story

Her 83-year-old grandson, Johnny Crear, had no idea about his grandmother’s historic story.

In the 1960s, he had witnessed violence against civil rights marchers in Selma, where protesters had been addressed by Dr Martin Luther King.

On discovering his grandmother had been enslaved, he told BBC News: “I had a lot of mixed emotions.

“I thought if she hadn’t undergone what had happened, I wouldn’t be here.

“But that was followed by anger.”

  • London university calls for £100m slavery reparation fund
  • US university helps slavery descendants 
  • UK university benefited from slavery profits

A 19th Century map shows the “Slave Coast” of West Africa

Matilda had been captured by slave traders in West Africa at the age of two, arriving in Alabama in 1860 on board one of the last transatlantic slave ships.

With her mother Grace, and sister Sallie, Matilda had been bought by a wealthy plantation owner called Memorable Creagh.

Dr Durkin says there must have been a dreadful sense of separation, loss and disorientation for these families. Matilda’s mother had lost the father of her children and two other sons left behind in Africa.

And in the US she had been powerless to stop two daughters being taken from her, sold to another owner and never seen again.

Slave ships continued to bring captives from West Africa to the United States until about 1860

Matilda, Grace, and Sallie tried to escape the plantation soon after they arrived but they were recaptured.

The abolition of slavery, in 1865, brought emancipation but Matilda’s family still worked the land, trapped in poverty as share-croppers. It seems Grace did not ever learn much English.

“But Matilda’s story is particularly remarkable because she resisted what was expected of a black woman in the US South in the years after emancipation,” Dr Durkin says.

“She didn’t get married.

“Instead, she had a decades-long common-law marriage with a white German-born man, with whom she had 14 children.”

Martin Luther King at a civil rights protest in Selma, in 1965

It also seems likely that her partner was Jewish, says Dr Durkin.

The couple’s relationship was “astonishing” for its era, she says, crossing boundaries of race, class, religion and social expectation.

And Matilda changed her surname from Creagh, the slave owner’s, to McCrear.

She was remarkably strong willed, Dr Durkin says.

“Even though she left West Africa when she was a toddler, she appears throughout her life to have worn her hair in a traditional Yoruba style, a style presumably taught to her by her mother,” says Dr Durkin, whose research is published in the journal, Slavery and Abolition.

She also carried the facial markings from a traditional rite in Africa.

A stand-off between police and civil rights marchers in Alabama, in 1965

In her 70s, Matilda set out on another journey, travelling for 15 miles on dirt roads to a county courthouse to make a claim for compensation for her enslavement.

By then, she was one of a small number of surviving slaves from Africa who seem to have made contact with each other.

There was a settlement near Mobile, Alabama, of descendants of slaves from the same ship as Matilda, where the West African language of Yoruba was spoken.

In the Deep South in the 1930s, this bid for compensation, brought by a poor, black, female, former slave, had little chance of a sympathetic hearing and her claim was dismissed.

But such a provocative idea, reparation for slavery, attracted local press attention and the interviews helped to fill in some details of her life.

Commemorations marked the 55th anniversary of the civil rights marches in Selma

When she died, with the still raw history of slavery remaining a difficult and dangerous topic, there were no obituaries – and no recognition.

“There was a lot of stigma attached to having been a slave,” Dr Durkin says.

“The shame was placed on the people who were enslaved, rather than the slavers.”

Selma this month, during the vote for the Democratic Party presidential nomination

“I was born in the same house where she died,” said her grandson, Mr Crear.

And although his family knew Matilda was originally from Africa, nothing much was spoken about her life.

“This fills in a lot of the holes that we have about her,” he says of Dr Durkin’s research.

But the cruelty Matilda faced is no surprise to him.

“From the day the first African was brought to this continent as a slave, we’ve had to fight for freedom,” he says.

He grew up in an era of racial segregation – and his parents put a huge emphasis on education as the way to escape poverty and the “key to changing the world”.

But the lack of knowledge about his grandmother reflects how much of the history of slavery still lies below the surface.

“It doesn’t surprise me that she was so rebellious,” Mr Crear says.

The civil rights march from Selma to Montgomery was re-enacted this month

In the civil rights protests, they were singing songs with roots in the years of slavery, he says, tapping into the same “continuous struggle and fight” and pursuing the same the goals of “real freedom and equality” as his independent-minded grandmother.

“It’s refreshing to know she had the kind of spirit that’s uplifting,” he says.

But it is still sobering to think how the glamour of 1940s Hollywood overlapped so directly with the lives of women and children brought in chains from Africa.

Story: Courtesy, BBC (Sean Coughlan)

Photos: Courtesy,BBC & Getty Images. Except: King & marchers, William Lovelace; commemorations, EPA; Selma this month & Civil Rights march, Reuters.