Day: June 27, 2017


Serena Williams’ Wimbledon plans changed the moment she found out that she was expecting her first child. The mum-to-be, who stripped down for the August issue of Vanity Fair, recalled to the publication the shock of learning that she was pregnant prior to the Australian Open back in January. After feeling physically different, the tennis champion took a pregnancy kit at the suggestion of one of her friends, reasoning, “I’ll take it just because (a) to prove you wrong and (b) because it’s fun, whatever. It’s like a joke. Why not?”


Upon seeing the results, Venus William’s sister admitted she “did a double take.” “My heart dropped. Like literally it dropped,” the professional athlete admitted. “Oh my God, this can’t be—I’ve got to play a tournament — How am I going to play the Australian Open? I had planned on winning Wimbledon this year.” Despite the results of the one test, Serena was not convinced and sent her friend to purchase five more, all of which proved to be positive.

Once she realized that she was indeed pregnant, the 35-year-old called her fiancé, Alexis Ohanian, and told him he needed to come to Australia. The Reddit co-founder, who popped the question last December, jumped on a plane from San Fransisco thinking the reason was a health-related. When he arrived, Serena did not say a word but rather handed her husband-to-be the bag filled with six positive pregnancy tests — leaving him just as shocked.



Google suffered a major regulatory blow on Tuesday after European antitrust officials fined the search giant 2.4 billion euros, or $2.7 billion, for unfairly favoring some of its own search services over those of rivals.

The hefty fine marks the latest chapter in a lengthy standoff between Europe and Google, which also faces two separate charges under the region’s competition rules related to Android, its popular mobile software, and to some of its advertising products. Google denies the accusations.

By levying the fine — the biggest ever in this type of antitrust case — Margrethe Vestager, Europe’s antitrust chief, has laid down a marker as arguably the Western world’s most aggressive regulator of digital services from the likes of Google and Facebook.

Ms. Vestager has already demanded that Apple repay $14.5 billion in back taxes in Ireland, opened an ongoing investigation into Amazon’s tax practices in Europe and raised concerns about Facebook’s alleged dominance over people’s digital data. The companies deny any wrongdoing.

Such focus on Silicon Valley firms has prompted accusations from some in the United States that Europe is unfairly targeting American companies. The region’s officials vigorously deny these claims.


But with the record antitrust fine against Google — larger than the previous high of €1.06 billion against Intel in 2009 — European officials have gone significantly further than their American counterparts in determining what is, and is not, allowed to take place on the web.

“What Google has done is illegal under E.U. antitrust rules,” said Ms. Vestager in a statement on Tuesday. “It denied other companies the chance to compete on the merits and to innovate. And most importantly, it denied European consumers a genuine choice of services and the full benefits of innovation.”

Google has repeatedly denied that it has breached Europe’s tough competition rules, saying that its digital services have helped the region’s digital economy to grow and are used by hundreds of millions of Europeans each day. It also adds that there remains significant online competition in Europe, including from the likes of Amazon and eBay.

Google is likely to consider an appeal.

The antitrust ruling on Tuesday related to Google’s online shopping service, which the European Commission, the executive arm of the European Union, said received preferential treatment compared to those of rivals in specialized search results.

Analysts say these so-called vertical search products — that also include those for restaurant and business reviews — represent a fast-growing percentage of Google’s annual revenues.

While the fine is likely to garner much of the attention, focus will quickly shift to the changes that Google will now be forced to make to comply with Europe’s antitrust decision.


Under European rules, the search giant — and not the regulator — must come up with proposals to guarantee that it treats competitors fairly when people make online search queries. The authorities can demand that Google make further changes if they are not satisfied with the initial proposals.

Analysts and many of Google’s competitors have called for an independent monitor to oversee the company’s digital services in Europe, which may potentially extend to tough oversight of its search algorithms, some of Google’s most important intellectual property. The search giant is likely to fiercely oppose such a remedy.

Google has other options, including the removal of some of its specialized search services from Europe, as well as returning them to how they operated before Europe’s investigation began almost a decade ago.

Whatever the outcome, analysts expect a protracted legal battle that will continue for several years as both Google and its rivals fight to define how the search giant can offer its services to Europeans and those farther afield.

“The changes could have ramifications beyond Google Shopping, and might even impact Google’s operations in the U.S.,” a number of American companies that have filed antitrust complaints against Google said in a public letter ahead of the ruling on Tuesday. The signatories included Oracle, News Corporation and Yelp.


NIGER Delta Revolutionary Crusaders, NDRC, a militant group in the Niger Delta region, yesterday, warned it would resist with the last drop of its members’ blood, further oil exploration and exploitation in the Niger Delta if the North executes its alleged agenda of sabotaging the acting President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo, to thwart the demand for restructuring of the country and fiscal federalism.


A statement by the militant group’s spokesperson, WOI Izon-Ebi, said: “For those with this sinister motive, because they feel President Muhammadu Buhari is debilitated, we advise them to keep the money to fund their junta government because NDRC will resist with their last blood the use of the oil from the Niger Delta to fund their greed and perfidy.”

Underscoring its readiness to stop the flow of oil from the region, the group said: “We call on all oil workers in the Niger Delta to vacate all oil facilities for their own safety. We also call on the operators of the Bonga Oil Field, LNG, NNPC, Port Harcourt Refinery and Warri Refinery to stop all forms of operation because our strike and defence team will be coming to hoist our flag of freedom as a people in all our critical infrastructures and assets of the Niger Deltans.

“We reiterate in strong terms the need for the restructuring of the country and enthronement of fiscal federalism before October 1, 2017. “For the avoidance of doubt, let it be known that the NDRC and other agitators are aware of the plan by a section of the country to carry out a coup to truncate the leadership of Acting President Osinbajo as Mr. President, Muhammadu Buhari, is currently incapacitated.

There will be no exploration or exploitation in the Niger Delta if a coup occurs before the October 1, 2017 date. “NDRC and the amalgamation of all freedom fighters with the 21st century youths of the Niger Delta from the South-South region of the country stand in solidarity with the people of the South –East. “We will  no longer accept the born to rule mentality of an ethnic group, which exploits others for the benefits of a few and reiterate that fiscal federalism with power devolved to the regions as the only panacea for peace in the country.

“The NDRC and the people of the Niger Delta can no longer tolerate vituperations of people like Ango Abdullahi and Junaid Mohammed, who are beating the drums of hatred and war.

“Our advice to the government and so -called owners of Nigeria is that there is no slave/master relationship in the Nigerian federation and there is no recorded Nigerian history whereby Usman Dan Fodio conquered the people of the Niger Delta and as such made the Niger Delta become inferior to the people of the caliphate.“

“The NDRC states categorically that societies are built on justice and equity and as such, come September 31, 2017, we will prove that this is the 21st century and that the renaissance of the Niger Delta has begun.  If our fathers in their benevolence, love and sacrifice are seen as cowards, we, the Niger Delta youths of this 21st century are not cowards and we can prove it.”

The group called on all Ijaws and Niger Deltans scattered across Nigeria and West Africa “to immediately come back to their fatherland,” saying: “ It has been made known openly by one Alhaji Usman Bagagi of the Northern Elders and Leaders Forum that the North owns the oil and the Niger Delta region because of their landmass and population. “It is also known by all in Nigeria and the world that the northerners under the guise of Arewa youths had asked all Igbos living in the Northern part of the country to vacate the northern region in three months. “We call on all oil workers in the Niger Delta to vacate all oil facilities for their own safety.

We also call on the operators of the Bonga oil field, LNG, NNPC, Port Harcourt Refinery and the Warri Refinery to stop all forms of operation because our strike and defence team would be coming to hoist our flag of freedom as a people in all our critical infrastructures and assets of the Niger Deltans.”