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Asian stocks higher after Fed accelerates stimulus pullback

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Stocks climbed in Asia on Thursday, tracking Wall Street’s gains, after the Federal Reserve said it would accelerate its pullback of economic stimulus.

The Fed said it would likely raise interest rates three times next year to tackle rising inflation and will shrink its monthly bond purchases at twice the pace it previously announced, in line with ending them altogether in March.

Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 index rose 1.8% to 28,979.60 and the Kospi in South Korea picked up 0.2% to 2,996.04. The Shanghai Composite index added 0.3% to 3,657.85. India and Taiwan rose, while Sydney’s S&P/ASX 200 lost 0.4% to 7,296.10.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng dropped 0.8% to 23,235.98.

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Simmering tensions between Beijing and Washington are casting a shadow, analysts say, after the U.S. House of Representatives passed a resolution to ban imports from China’s Xinjiang region due to concerns about forced labor and other abuses.

Apart from that, the U.S. reportedly is considering sanctions that would prevent companies providing equipment to China’s biggest computer chips maker, SMIC.

The company’s Hong Kong traded shares dropped 3.4% on Thursday. They have declined nearly 22% in the past six months.

“Some concerns on potentially tougher sanctions from the U.S. have kept investors shunning, with China’s SMIC recently under U.S. scrutiny once again, and that may seem to cap gains for China tech sector today,” Yeap Jun Rong of IG said in a commentary.

While the U.S. is hastening its efforts to counter inflation, central banks in Europe are not expected to follow suit, analysts said.

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“ECB doves are not set to budge,” Mizuho Bank said in a market report. “For one, while economic recovery endures, it remains fragile, threatened by the ‘omicron’ variant,” it said.

Germany is in the midst of its worst wave of infections so far. In Asia, South Korea has been struggling to beat back rising caseloads.

Major U.S. stock indexes rose after declining before the release of the Fed’s statement at 2 p.m. Eastern time. They gained momentum toward the end of the day. The S&P 500 rose 1.6% to 4,709.85, nearly recouping all of its losses for the week and ending just below the record high it set last Friday.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 1.1% to 35,927.43 and the tech-heavy Nasdaq composite gained 2.2% to 15,565.58. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks rose 1.6%. Bond yields edged higher.

The U.S. central bank said its monthly bond purchases are no longer needed with unemployment falling and inflation at a near-40-year high. The accelerated timetable puts the Fed on a path to start raising rates as soon as the first half of next year.

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The central bank’s policymakers had been expected to announce a faster pullback in their last meeting of the year.

Businesses have been dealing with supply chain problems and higher costs for months. It has been a key concern for investors as big companies pass those costs off to consumers, who have so far been absorbing higher prices on everything from groceries to clothing and other consumer products.

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Bond investors had a more measured reaction to the Fed announcement. Bond yields edged higher, with the yield on the 10-year Treasury rising to 1.46% from 1.44% late Tuesday.

Retailers and other companies that rely on consumer spending recovered from an early slide. The sector sank after the Commerce Department said s ales rose a modest 0.3% in November, but fell short of economists’ forecasts amid concerns that rising costs could crimp consumer spending.

In other trading Thursday, U.S. crude oil climbed 72 cents to $71.59 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It gained 14 cents to $70.87 per barrel on Wednesday.

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Portable declares self police ambassador days after his arrest

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Controversial musician, Habeeb Okikiola, popularly known as Portable, has declared himself police ambassador a few days after causing a stir while evading arrest by police officers.

Portable made this known in a post on his Instagram page, where he shared photos of himself with his father and other high-ranking officers in the Lagos police headquarters on Tuesday evening.
Portable, his father, and other high-ranking police officers at police headquarters in Lagos State.

The Zazoo crooner regained his freedom the following day after being arrested for incurring a debt on the Mercedes Benz GLE he bought from a car dealer in Lagos.

The singer further went to his social media page to explain what transpired between him and the car dealer, alleging that he had spent more than required on the vehicle because it was faulty.

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Portable, his father, and other high-ranking police officers are at police headquarters in Lagos State.

Meanwhile, reaffirming his relationship with the police, he announced that he is now a police ambassador while adopting the oft-used phrase – ‘Police is your friend’.

He wrote, “ZAzuu Federal Government liability. Ọmọ ijoba Police Ambassador. I do music for a living ….Star don’t beg to shine. Akoi Grace Wey No Dey disgrace.
Portable, his father, and other high-ranking police officers are at police headquarters in Lagos State.

“I no fit run from God that’s all my believing God is over everything after God na government Police is our friends I believe in God my phone and sub any disappointment is a blessing. ZEHNATION many many inspiration.”

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However, netizens have begun to praise the singer for always taking advantage of every opportunity, whether good or bad. Some even call him an influencer who knows his onions in the field.

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A user who identifies as Alao Funmi on Instagram wrote, “This portable GRACE will only be Disgracing his haters. Son of GRACE.”

Another user, Jepptha Ogudu said, “One minute Zazuu de inside Wahala, the next minute, he is dining with kings and queens. Honestly, we have come to accept who he is.”

Toyin Black said, “Clear road for my one and only mentor. Konibaje fun e babami the sky is your limit seh, Akoi Grace.”

“REAL niggas understand. Anytime I fall I come back stronger. I too love GOD. Mercy too much KABIESI ELEDUMARE OBA ARA. SHINE ON OKIKIOLA,” Gbegesi wrote.

DJ Magic Beats said, “Smart musician.”
Portable, his father, and other high-ranking police officers are at police headquarters in Lagos State.

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One Babawale said, “The only person left for Portable to meet now is Tinubu. It is interesting how he throws every problem to opportunity. Give it to him. No one does it better.”

Recall that after spending 24 hours in custody, the “Zazuu” crooner shared a snippet of his new song – “Spiderman” in response to his arrest for defaulting on the payment plan for his car.

Produced by 2tuponthebeat, the song alludes to the singer’s flying power, referencing how he jumped over a gate to evade arrest.

The incident was captured in a video that circulated on Tuesday. The singer, dressed in a white and black stripe shirt, stood alongside eight other people and was seen climbing over a nearby gate before taking to his heels.

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I’m a proud Nigerian, not from Gabon – Zack Orji

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Nollywood actor Zack Orji has denied claims that he stated he is from Gabon, following a podcast video that went viral on Monday.

The video appeared to show the actor revealing that he was born in Gabon, which would make him a citizen of the Central African nation

According to Orji, his father’s job required him to travel extensively to various countries, resulting in Zack’s birth occurring in Gabon.

However, Orji has issued a strong disclaimer, affirming his Nigerian heritage and rejecting the fact that he is from Gabon.

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In a statement sent to Theheute on Tuesday, Orji said, “Not long ago, they said I was dead, and, by God’s grace and mercy, it eventually turned out to be a lie from the pit of hell.

“Now, another lie from the pit of hell has emerged, claiming that I said, “I’m from Gabon, I’m not a Nigerian”.

“I hereby issue a disclaimer dissociating myself from that lie. I am a full-blooded Nigerian, both of my parents are Nigerians.

“I am from Enugu State, the Coal City State. I am proudly Nigerian, and I am equally proud of my Nigerian heritage.

“God almighty will deal with whoever originated that lie as he dims fit.”

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Juju music sensation Dele Taiwo’s star-studded birthday bash in Lagos to hold on Sunday

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The cozy Avalanche Club is set to become the epicenter of a grand celebration this Sunday as renowned Juju musician, Asiwaju Dele Taiwo, affectionately known as Dele Taiwo, commemorates his birthday with a star-studded event dubbed “Asiwaju Dele Taiwo and Friends Live In Lagos.”

This highly anticipated celebration, powered by Otunba Femi Davies of Metronews and Otunba Bestman Nze Jumbo of Team Nigeria for Change, promises to be an unforgettable evening, featuring performances from top Juju musicians such as Queen Ayo Balogun, Hessking, Fuji rave, Alh Wasiu Haruna Ishola son of the Apapa legend, Haruna Ishola. Boye Best is also top on the list of artistes that will thrill the birthday celebration audience.

The event is surely a testament of the profound respect and admiration the Nigerian music community holds for Dele Taiwo, a prominent figure in the industry.

Otunba Bestman, expressing his excitement, shared, “Asiwaju Dele Taiwo is my friend and a force to reckon with in the Nigerian music space. It is our style in Team Nigeria for Change to identify and celebrate such outstanding acts. So, myself and some friends believe it is not too much to celebrate such a person who has made huge impacts on his birthday.”

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The venue for this exclusive birthday celebration, Avalanche Restaurant and Lounge, is strategically chosen for its cozy and pleasurable ambiance.

Owned by Hon. Kehinde Paul Bankole, this upscale venue is located at 5, Bamako Estate, Opposite Omole Phase I, in Lagos.

Hon. Bankole emphasized the special nature of this event, stating, “Gentleman Dele Taiwo’s birthday celebration is a special appearance for me personally and I can assure our guests that the best treatment in terms of hospitality awaits them at Avalanche this Sunday.”

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Guests attending the event can look forward to a glamorous evening starting with a red carpet reception at 4:00 PM, setting the tone for a night filled with music, celebration, and high spirits.

Asiwaju Dele Taiwo’s birthday bash is not just a celebration of his life but also a tribute to his contributions to the Juju music genre, bringing together friends, fans, and fellow musicians in an evening of joy and festivity.

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Media support includes City People magazine, MetroNews, Eko mi Eko e, Freelanews, SocietyGist, Goldmyne, Islanders Events magazine, Dior Events, Dope TV, and many more.

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