New generative AI-powered Zoom IQ features are now available to Zoom users via free trials

Zoom IQ meeting summary and chat compose features allow users to quickly summarize Zoom Meetings without recording and draft content in Zoom Team Chat

SAN JOSE, Calif., June 05, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Today Zoom Video Communications, Inc. (NASDAQ: ZM) launched key features of Zoom IQ, a smart companion that empowers collaboration and unlocks people’s potential through generative AI. Now available through free trials for customers in select plans,1 the Zoom Meeting summary and Zoom Team Chat compose features will help teams improve productivity, balance workday priorities, and collaborate more effectively.

“With the introduction of these new capabilities in Zoom IQ, an incredible generative AI assistant, teams can further enhance their productivity for everyday tasks, freeing up more time for creative work and expanding collaboration,” said Smita Hashim, chief product officer at Zoom. “There is no one-size-fits-all approach to large language models, and with Zoom’s federated approach to AI, we are able to bring powerful capabilities to our customers and users through Zoom’s own models as well as our partners’ models.”

Zoom’s federated approach to AI leverages its own proprietary large language AI models, those from leading AI companies — such as OpenAI and Anthropic — and select customers’ own models. With this flexibility to incorporate multiple types of models, Zoom’s goal is to provide the most value for its customers’ diverse needs.

The first set of Zoom IQ capabilities is now generally available to Zoom customers in select plans as free trials:

  • Meeting summary: Zoom Meeting hosts can now create a summary powered by Zoom’s own large language models and share it via Zoom Team Chat and email without recording the conversation. Hosts receive automated summaries and can share them with attendees and those who didn’t attend to improve team collaboration and speed up productivity.
  • Chat compose: Zoom Team Chat users can now use the generative AI-powered compose feature, which leverages OpenAI’s technology, to draft messages based on the context of a Team Chat thread in addition to changing message tone and length as well as rephrasing responses to customize text recommendations.

Zoom is committed to empowering customers with the tools they need to control their data. In order to use these features, customers will need to go to the Zoom admin console and opt into the free trials for each feature. As part of the opt-in, customers will also select data-sharing options with Zoom. Account admins may change this data-sharing selection at any time. Customer data will not be used to train third-party models. More information can be found here.

To further help its customers and users, Zoom will continue to enhance its products with Zoom IQ capabilities. The next set of generative AI-powered features, scheduled to be released soon, will allow users to draft email content, summarize Team Chat threads, organize ideas, and draft whiteboard content:

  • Email compose: Harnessing the power of generative AI, users will get email draft suggestions in response to the conversational context from prior Zoom Meetings, Zoom Phone calls, and email threads. Initially available in Zoom IQ for Sales, sales professionals will be able to quickly follow up with customers based on the context of their last conversation. Email compose will be generally available in the coming weeks.
  • Zoom Team Chat thread summaries: Ever step away from the computer only to come back to a flurry of Team Chat messages? Available in the coming months, Team Chat thread summaries will allow users to catch up with the click of a button.
  • Meeting queries: Joining a Zoom Meeting late can be both disruptive and confusing for the latecomer, but not anymore. Meeting queries will allow users to catch up quickly without disrupting the meeting flow by discreetly submitting a query via the in-meeting chat and receiving a generative AI-created summary of what they missed. The meeting queries feature is expected to be generally available in the coming months.
  • Whiteboard draft: Who hasn’t experienced the “cold start” problem? A slow start to a brainstorming session can put a damper on idea generation, but with whiteboard draft, teams will be able to get a set of initial ideas, simply using text prompts. The whiteboard draft feature is expected to be generally available in the coming months.
  • Whiteboard synthesize: Brainstorming sessions typically end with a lot of ideas that need to be organized in order to execute. The whiteboard synthesize feature automatically organizes ideas into categories, so teams can get to work faster. This feature is expected to be generally available in the coming months.

About Zoom
Zoom is an all-in-one intelligent collaboration platform that makes connecting easier, more immersive, and more dynamic for businesses and individuals. Zoom technology puts people at the center, enabling meaningful connections, facilitating modern collaboration, and driving human innovation through solutions like team chat, phone, meetings, omnichannel cloud contact center, smart recordings, whiteboard, and more, in one offering. Founded in 2011, Zoom is publicly traded (NASDAQ:ZM) and headquartered in San Jose, California. Get more info at

Zoom Public Relations
Lacretia Taylor

Meeting summary and chat compose with Zoom IQ are currently available in English only to Zoom One packages (Enterprise Plus, Enterprise, Business Plus, Business, Pro) and select Zoom legacy bundles (Enterprise Named Host, Enterprise Active Host, Zoom Meetings Enterprise, Zoom Meetings Business, Zoom Meetings Pro) as free trials for a limited time. Select verticals and geos may be excluded.

Free trial features may be discontinued or modified at any time and may be subject to usage limits, regional or license restrictions, and other terms and conditions.

GlobeNewswire Distribution ID 8852345

NRx Pharmaceuticals, Lotus Pharmaceuticals and Alvogen Inc. Announce Collaboration to Develop and Commercialize NRX-101

  • NRx Pharmaceuticals, Lotus Pharmaceuticals, and Alvogen to collaborate on the further development and commercialization of NRX-101 for suicidal treatment-resistant bipolar depression (S-TRBD) for global markets
  • Lotus Pharmaceuticals will acquire worldwide rights for NRX-101 for S-TRBD and will be responsible for commercialization of NRX-101 in markets outside the US through Lotus’s direct presence in certain Asian markets or through their export division, which currently has partnerships in numerous markets, including in Europe, Japan, China, Australia and Latin America
  • Alvogen, through its CNS focused Almatica® division, will be responsible for U.S. commercialization of NRX-101
  • NRx will be eligible to receive up to $330 million in milestone payments tied to development progress and sales targets as well as tiered double-digit escalating to the mid-teens royalty payments contingent upon certain sales thresholds in the U.S. and a fixed royalty payment for markets outside the U.S.
  • Agreement includes a right of first negotiation for new indications outside of the field of bipolar depression with suicidality for NRX-101 and/or potential new products containing D-cycloserine in combination with an antidepressant / antipsychotic

RADNOR, Pa. and MORRISTOWN, N.J. and TAIPEI, Taiwan, June 05, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Lotus Pharmaceuticals (1795:TT; “Lotus”), a multinational pharmaceutical company, Alvogen, a privately owned U.S. based pharmaceuticals company, and NRx Pharmaceuticals Inc. (Nasdaq: NRXP) (“NRx Pharmaceuticals or NRx”), a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company, today announced a global collaboration agreement covering the development and commercialization of NRX-101 for suicidal treatment-resistant bipolar depression (S-TRBD) for global markets.

Under the terms of the agreement, relating to NRX-101 for the U.S. market, NRx is entitled to receive an initial payment of $10 million upon achieving both a successful read-out from the ongoing Phase 2b/3 clinical trial in S-TRB and completion of a Type B meeting with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). NRx would receive an additional payment of $5 million upon receipt of FDA approval for NRX-101 as well as bonus milestone payments of increasing amounts up to $330 million based on reaching certain net sales targets. In addition to success-based payments, NRx is eligible to receive a royalty on net sales between 12% and 16% contingent on certain sales thresholds for the U.S. market and other success-based payments for markets outside of the U.S.

Lotus will acquire worldwide rights for NRX-101 for treatment of S-TRBD and will be responsible for commercialization of NRX-101 in markets outside of the U.S. through their direct commercial presence in certain Asian markets or through Lotus’s export division where the company currently markets an extensive portfolio of products through top-tier partners. Lotus will partner with Alvogen, a longstanding partner for Lotus in the U.S., to commercialize NRX-101 for treatment of S-TRBD in the U.S. market through Alvogen’s Almatica label. Almatica is the CNS-focused division of Alvogen that currently markets six branded products. Alvogen and Lotus have committed to fund the next registrational study in suicidal treatment-resistant bipolar depression to support approval of NRX-101 contingent upon successful results of the ongoing Phase 2b/3 clinical trial and completion of a Type B meeting with the FDA. Lotus and Alvogen will have a right of first negotiation for new indications outside of the field of bipolar depression with suicidality for NRX-101 and/or potential new products containing D-cycloserine in combination with an antidepressant / antipsychotic.

Stephan Willard, J.D., Chief Executive Officer of NRx, commented, “This collaboration can accelerate the delivery of NRX-101 to patients grappling with suicidal bipolar depression who desperately need better treatment alternatives. With our current resources we believe we can fund our operations until the expected Phase 2b/3 trial data. This global partnership significantly minimizes the need for future capital raises for NRX-101 development and commercialization. Alvogen and Lotus, with their CNS expertise and global operational capabilities, are ideal partners for this and possibly other NRx programs.”

Lisa Graver, Chief Executive Officer of Alvogen, commented, “A medication that improves depression in bipolar patients with elevated risk of suicide would represent a significant improvement in treatment, and we view the Phase 2 STABIL-B data of NRX-101 as promising to that effect. This agreement is congruent with our strategy of developing branded CNS products with clear differentiation and patient benefit while leveraging our proven commercialization capabilities under our Almatica brand. NRX-101 provides an excellent addition to our growing CNS pipeline.”

Petar Vazharov, Chief Executive Officer of Lotus, commented, “This is an exciting transaction for Lotus. Over much of the last decade, Lotus has been able to transition itself from a domestic generics Taiwanese company into a global pharma company that exports its intellectual property all over the world through either our direct presence across Asia or through our export business that includes the U.S., Japan, China, Latin America and Europe. The addition of NRX-101 to our pipeline is completely in-line with our strategic objective to drive heightened innovation that addresses significant unmet medical needs.”

An estimated seven million people are living with bipolar depression in the U.S. alone1. The risk of suicide within the group is very high, with data indicating that 50% or more of these patients will attempt suicide in their lifetime2. There are currently no medications specifically approved for people with bipolar depression and elevated levels of suicidality. NRX-101 is the first investigational medication to be specifically studied in this vulnerable patient population. Proof-of-concept data from the Phase 2 STABIL clinical trial, in which patients with bipolar depression and acute suicidality were randomized to NRX-101 or lurasidone after stabilization with one infusion of ketamine, showed a statistically significant benefit of NRX-101 vs lurasidone. Based on these data, the U.S. FDA granted Breakthrough Therapy Designation (BTD) and a Special Protocol Assessment (SPA) for NRX-101 in bipolar depression with acute suicidality.

NRx Pharma recently announced that it has upgraded and expanded its ongoing Phase 2 randomized, controlled clinical trial in bipolar depression with sub-acute suicidality to a registrational Phase 2b/3 clinical trial.   Results from the ongoing Phase 2b/3 clinical trial are expected by year-end 2023. NRx will be hosting a conference call to discuss in greater detail the impact of the transaction.

About NRX-101

Up to 50% of individuals with bipolar disorder attempt suicide over their lifetime, and estimates indicate that up to 20% may succumb to suicide3. The only FDA-approved treatment for patients with treatment-resistant suicidal bipolar depression remains electroconvulsive therapy.

Conventional antidepressants can increase the risk of suicide in certain patients; hence their labels contain a warning to that effect. NRX-101 is a patented, oral, fixed dose combination of D-cycloserine and lurasidone, neither of which has shown addiction potential in preclinical models. Based on the results of a Phase 2 proof-of-concept study, NRX-101 received Breakthrough Therapy Designation from the FDA for the treatment of severe bipolar depression in patients with Acute Suicidal Ideation & Behavior (ASIB) after initial stabilization with ketamine or other effective therapy.

NRX-101 is one of the first oral antidepressants currently in late-stage clinical studies targeting the NMDA-receptor in the brain, which represents potentially a key new mechanism to treat depression with and without suicidality, as well as PTSD and other indications. To date, NRX-101 is the only oral NMDA investigational medicine focused on bipolar depression in patients with acute and sub-acute suicidality.

About NRx Pharmaceuticals

NRx Pharmaceuticals is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company developing therapeutics for the treatment of central nervous system disorders, specifically bipolar depression with suicidality and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The company’s lead program NRX-101, an oral, fixed-dose combination of D-cycloserine and lurasidone, targets the brain’s N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor and is being investigated in a Phase 2b/3 clinical trial for Suicidal Treatment-Resistant Bipolar Depression, which includes patients with both acute and sub-acute suicidality, an indication for which the only approved treatment is electroshock therapy. The company’s prior Phase 2 STABIL-B clinical trial evaluating NRX-101 in patients with Severe Bipolar Depression with Acute Suicidal Ideation & Behavior (ASIB) demonstrated a substantial improvement over available therapy in reducing depression and suicidality compared to placebo when patients were treated with NRX-101 after a single dose of ketamine. Based on the findings from the STABIL-B trial, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted a Special Protocol Agreement and Breakthrough Therapy Designation for NRX-101 in patients with Severe Bipolar Depression with ASIB.

About Alvogen and Almatica

Alvogen is a privately held pharmaceutical company focused on developing, manufacturing and selling generic and branded products for the US market. The company has a diverse portfolio and pipeline that includes both branded and generic products across various administration forms. The Alvogen-family of companies includes Alvogen US (Generics), Almatica (Brands) and Almaject (Injectables).

Almatica Pharma LLC is a wholly owned subsidiary of Alvogen, Inc. and is a U.S. pharmaceutical company focused on the development, acquisition and commercialization of branded pharmaceutical products. Its current product portfolio covers a range of therapeutic areas, but promotional focus is on central nervous system disorders and conditions.

About Lotus

Founded in 1966, Lotus (1795: TT) is an international pharmaceutical company with global presence, focused on commercializing novel and generic pharmaceuticals, offering patients better, safe and more accessible medicines. The Company has a recognized best-in-class R&D and manufacturing platform in Asia and has established partnerships in nearly every global market including the U.S., Europe, Japan, China, and Brazil. Lotus runs over 100 strategically selected pharmaceutical projects in development and registrations across Asia and the US, with over 250 commercial products. The Company invests in diversified best portfolio consisting of high-barrier oncology, complex generics as well as 505(b)2 and NCE via internal R&D investment and licensing-in partnership, and also strengthens its portfolio competitiveness by adding biosimilar products with support from strategic partners. Its industry-leading infrastructure certified by most of the advanced regulatory authorities around the world, including US FDA, EU EMA, Japan PMDA, China FDA, and Brazil ANVISA.

1Merikangas, K., et al.(2007). Lifetime and 12-Month Prevalence of Bipolar Spectrum Disorder in the National Comorbidity Survey Replication. Arch Gen Psychiatry, 64:543-552

2Pallaskorpi, et al. Incidence and Predictors of suicide attempts in bipolar I and II disorder: A 5-year follow-up study, Bipolar Disorders, 2016

3Psychiatric Times; Suicide Attempts and Completions in Patients with Bipolar Disorder

NRX Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements

This announcement of NRx Pharmaceuticals, Inc. includes “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the “safe harbor” provisions of the U.S. Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, which may include, but are not limited to, statements regarding our financial outlook, product development, business prospects, and market and industry trends and conditions, as well as the Company’s strategies, plans, objectives, and goals. These forward-looking statements are based on current beliefs, expectations, estimates, forecasts, and projections of, as well as assumptions made by, and information currently available to, the Company’s management.

The Company assumes no obligation to revise any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise. Accordingly, you should not place reliance on any forward-looking statement, and all forward-looking statements are herein qualified by reference to the cautionary statements set forth above.

Lotus Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements

Except for historical information contained herein, the matters set forth in this document are forward looking statements that are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially. These forward-looking statements are not based on historical facts but rather on management’s expectations regarding future growth, results of operations, performance, future capital and other expenditures, competitive advantages, business prospects and opportunities. Statements in this presentation about our future plans and intentions, results, level of activities, performance, goals or achievements or other future events constitute forward looking statements. Wherever possible, words such as “anticipate”, “believe”, “expect”, “may”, “could”, “will”, “potential”, “intend”, “estimate”, “should”, “plan”, “predict”, or the negative or other variations of statements reflect management’s current beliefs and assumptions and are based on the information currently available to our management. Investors are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which are made as of the date of this document and we assume no obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements.

Lotus Contacts:

Susan Liao, Head of Investor Relations
+886 2 2700 5908

NRX Contacts:

Matthew Duffy
Chief Business Officer

Suzanne Messere
Investor Relations

Alvogen Contacts:

Andrea Sweet

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VERSES, DENTONS US and SPATIAL WEB FOUNDATION To Release Industry Report Titled “A Path to Global AI Governance”

Figure 1

The Road to Autonomy – Executive Summary

VANCOUVER, British Columbia, June 05, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — VERSES AI Inc.  (CBOE CANADA:VERS) (OTCQX:VRSSF) (“VERSES” or the “Company”), a cognitive computing company specializing in the next generation of artificial intelligence (“AI”), announces the release on June 8, 2023 of an AI industry report titled “THE ROAD TO AUTONOMY: A Path To Global AI Governance”.

The report combines the legislative expertise from Dentons, the world’s largest multinational law firm, and the AI acumen of VERSES with the guidance on technical standards from the Spatial Web Foundation to provide an in-depth analysis of the legal and key legislative trends from across the world on the state of AI regulation and recommendations for a path forward for government regulation of AI.

The report aspires to pioneer a fresh approach for legal practitioners, government regulators, and lawmakers, to keep pace with the rapid technological advancements and to guide their adaptation. The critical aspect of the report is to promote the adoption of standards for what VERSES considers “law as code.” The objective is to encode laws and legal principles into an understandable, machine-readable language that will facilitate the comprehension and autonomous compliance of AI systems with legal frameworks and social norms.

The report analyzes the unprecedented challenges presented by the emergence of AI and autonomous software, devices, and vehicles addressing fundamental questions like, “How can governments regulate AI systems that are on a path to regulating themselves? How can humans stay in the loop to ensure AI alignment with human values, principles, and laws, while guaranteeing fair and equitable services for all individuals and communities? And, how do we encode and enforce AI laws directly in AI systems themselves?”

The report critically examines the transformative power of rapidly evolving technologies such as AI systems and their impending impact on legal, regulatory, and government sectors and accentuates the crucial need for developing and adopting standards that foster the understanding, governance, and interoperability of AI and autonomous systems. The report underscores the role of these technical standards in shaping dynamic and effective laws to regulate, oversee, and contemporize AI activities.

The goal of the report is to provide governments, regulators, and legislators with a pragmatic framework that not only informs but also provides a roadmap for policymaking, legislation, and compliance efforts in the field of AI. This is relevant to the flourishing autonomous vehicle industry, while also serving as a fundamental guide for all future AI-driven systems. Emphasizing the urgency of a globally unified, forward-thinking approach to AI governance, the report signals the vital need for standards development and deployment as the world navigates the pathway to Autonomous Intelligent Systems (“AIS”).

Significantly, the report points to the instrumental role of sociotechnical standards, as demonstrated by the work of the Institute of Electrical And Electronics Engineers IEEE P2874 Working Group. This initiative from the world’s largest association of technical professionals, underscores the importance of aligning AIS with human values and reducing the risk of harmful behavior.

The report also highlights the European Commission’s Flying Forward 2020 (“FF2020”) project for successfully implementing these standards. Led by VERSES and running on its KOSM platform, the FF2020 project featured autonomous AI-powered drones executing various tasks, such as medical supply delivery, building security inspection, and large crowd monitoring, all while adhering to local laws. The project exemplifies how the seamless integration of standards for AI with Urban Air Mobility and current legal and regulatory frameworks could improve the implementation of AI-powered services at city scale and beyond.

The report envisions the application of these standards to a host of sectors, including healthcare, education, finance, supply chain and more, paving the way for a smarter world with AI seamlessly operating behind the scenes.

AI is advancing at an unprecedented pace, raising concerns about the direction of its future trajectory. As AI evolves towards autonomous systems, the need for regulation becomes critical. We must address the challenge of regulating self-regulating AI to ensure alignment with human values and prevent potential risks. By implementing global technical standards and establishing an international AI regulatory framework, we can harness the immense benefits of AI while safeguarding against its potential perils,” stated VERSES CEO, Gabriel René.

We are thrilled to collaborate with VERSES, as the challenge of regulating machines raises the question of how to strike a balance between control and freedom for entities incapable of comprehending laws or guiding principles. The current pace of the legal system hinders effective regulation and allows unchecked development of rapidly evolving technologies like AI. A new socio-technological standards-based approach seems to be a very pragmatic and appealing way forward,” said Peter Stockberger, Partner at Dentons US.

In summary, the report calls for a safe, effective, and inclusive journey down the “Road to Autonomy,” ensuring that future AI systems are not just technically advanced but also aligned with the best interests of humanity, both now and in the future. With AI influencing every sector, this insightful report offers pragmatic recommendations for a more secure, innovative, and integrated AI-driven future. The full report will be available on the VERSES, DENTONS, and websites on or around June 8, 2023, with the executive summary already available for preview.


VERSES is a cognitive computing company specializing in next-generation AI. Modeled after natural systems and the design principles of the human brain and the human experience, VERSES flagship offering, GIA™, is an Intelligent Assistant for everyone powered by KOSMOS™, a network operating system enabling distributed intelligence.  Built on open standards, KOSM transforms disparate data into knowledge models that foster trustworthy collaboration between humans, machines, and AI, across digital and physical domains. Imagine a smarter world that elevates human potential through innovations inspired by nature. Learn more at VERSESLinkedIn, and Twitter.

About Dentons 
Dentons is designed to be different. As the world’s largest global law firm with 21,000 professionals in over 200 locations in more than 80 countries, Denton’s can help you grow, protect, operate and finance your business. Denton’s polycentric and purpose-driven approach, together with their commitment to inclusion, diversity, equity and ESG, ensures they challenge the status quo to stay focused on what matters most to you.

About the Spatial Web Foundation 
The Spatial Web Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to the development and ethical use of technology, specifically in the creation and implementation of the Spatial Web protocol. The foundation’s core initiatives include developing open standards and protocols, promoting interoperability, and educating the public and policymakers. The foundation supports transparency and accountability in the development and use of technology, promotes responsible innovation, engages in dialogue and collaboration with various stakeholders, and adopts a proactive approach to addressing emerging ethical challenges. Ultimately, the Spatial Web Foundation seeks to create a more inclusive, accessible, and equitable internet that empowers individuals and communities to connect, create, and thrive.

On Behalf of the Company 

Gabriel René
VERSES Technologies Inc.
Co-Founder & CEO

Media and Investor Relations Inquiries 

Leo Karabelas
Focus Communications

The NEO has not reviewed or approved this press release for the adequacy or accuracy of its contents.

A photo accompanying this announcement is available at

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FCT, 21 states declare for Olympic Day Run on June 24

Twenty-two states of the Federation have declared intention to stage the 2023 Olympic Day Run as part of activities to promote the Olympic values of excellence.

A statement issued by Tony Nezianya, the Public Relation Officer of the Nigeria Olympic Committee (NOC), listed other Olympic values to include friendship and respect as enunciated by the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

“The event has been scheduled to run through one of the NOC Commissions, The Sports–For –All,” he said.

Nezianya listed the 22 states of the federation that have entered to stage this year’s Olympic Day Run to include Anambra, Edo, Bayelsa, Kebbi, Yobe, Kwara, Ondo and Gombe.

Others are Sokoto, Ogun, Osun, FCT, Jigawa, Taraba, Delta, Oyo, Sokoto, Kano, Imo, Nasarawa, Kogi and Borno.

According to Tony Nezianya, the event will be celebrated nationwide in the participating states with the slogan, “Let’s Move”.

“The aim is to encourage people to be physically active for at least 30 minutes a day, corresponding to the minimum time recommended by the World Health Organisation for good health.

“Olympic Day has always been celebrated by our NOC with fanfare nationwide, even though the scope was limited a few years back during the outbreak of COVID-19 Pandemic.

“This year will not be an exception as many states are already preparing to organise the programme in their various States.”

Nezianya also quoted the NOC Secretary-General, Babatunde Popoola, as saying that the remaining 15 states were being expected to declare their interest, as NOC President, Habu Gumel and other dignitaries would flag-off the event.

The NOC encouraged corporate and philanthropic individuals to donate financially or support us with their products given the mileage it would give to the company.

Source: News Agency of Nigeria

Centre urges mining companies to respect agreements signed with host communities

Centre for Transparency Advocacy (CTA), a civil society group has called on mining companies and operators to keep to agreements signed with host communities.

The group’s Programme Manager, Mr McDonald Ekemezie made the call at a town hall meeting held at Mpape, Bwari Area Council of the FCT.

The town hall meeting had “Community step-down training on negotiation and understanding of Community Development Agreements (CDAs)’’ as its theme.

According to Ekemezie, CDA is a major element in natural resource governance, especially when it involves communities.

He said the meeting aimed to step down what CDAs meant to mining host communities.

“It is stepping down of knowledge of CTAs to communities for them to build their capacities to be able to negotiate beneficial community agreements.

“This is the second year of the implementation of the project.

“ Funded by McArthur Foundation an international NGO through Resource Centre for Human Rights and Civic Education, it promotes the rights of original inhabitants of the FCT,’’ he added.

Ekemezie noted that agreements were often signed by a few people in host communities, whereas a larger majority of such communities had no knowledge of the signatories and did not even have access to the agreements.

“When agreements are signed, the mining companies, often times do not actually implement what is agreed upon,’’ he said.

Ekemezie added that most mining companies signed agreements and carried out operations that were not understood by host community members, leaving the communities devastated.

“The essence now is to get communities involved in signing CDAs that are beneficial to them.

“For instance, they need to know the process; they need to own the process; they need to be part of it; they need to be represented enough.

“The needs of the community need to be accommodated in whatever agreement is being signed and there has to be timeframe and they have to monitor implementation,’’ he stressed.

Ekemezie explained that the project was being implemented at Mpape and Kubwa (Bwari Area Council) and at Karshi and parts of Garki (Abuja Municipal Area Council).

He said the communities were selected through a baseline study which showed that a lot of mining activities were carried out in those areas.

A Youth Leader in Mpape, Mr Joshua Kato appreciated CTA for the training and promised to step down knowledge gained to members of his community.

Kato decried challenges faced by his community which included lack of potable water and absence of standard schools.

Source: News Agency of Nigeria

Why journalists, Nigerians need to leverage on data protection ecosystem – NDPB

The Nigeria Data Protection Bureau (NDPB) says Nigerians need to leverage on opportunities that abound in the data protection ecosystem.

The National Commissioner of NDPB, Dr Vincent Olatunji said this at the one-day capacity building on Data Protection and Privacy for members of the Nigeria Information Technology Reporters Association (NITRA) on Sunday in Abuja.

The training was part of the bureau’s stakeholders’ engagement to create awareness and ensure that they understood data protection.

Olatunji said there was a huge gap that existed in the data protection ecosystem that had the capacity to provide wealth and millions of jobs for Nigerians and promote the digital economy.

“Across the globe, people are losing jobs, while others are gaining jobs in the digital economy sector.

“To be part of people gaining jobs, we need to re-skill, learn digital skills because technology is changing, a new world is emerging with the Internet of Things, Big Data, 3D Printing and more.

“In Nigeria, we have about 500,000 data controllers and processors, and according to law, each of these data controllers are meant to have a Data Protection Officer (DPO) that ensures data protection compliance by the controller.

“In Nigeria presently, we are barely 10,000 certified DPOs and that number does not commensurate with the number of data controllers in the country,’’ he said.

Olatunji said that the gap was huge, adding that Nigerians could develop themselves with skills to qualify as a DPO.

According to him, the data protection sector is an open field that anyone can venture into as long as they can read and write.

He said:“In the past two years, the data protection ecosystem have created over 9,000 jobs, it is an ecosystem that can create direct and many indirect jobs.’’

Olatunji added that in ensuring compliance level of data controllers, there had been positive results.

He added that from the time of its establishment, the bureau had interrogated seven major organisations, fined them and ensured they followed the steps of data protection compliance.

Mrs Leena Abba, Lead, Strategy, Partnerships and Communications of NDPB, explained that Data Privacy meant information autonomy.

Abba said that data protection was important to reduce incidences of crime, ensure personal security, enhance customer retention in terms of business engagement, among many reasons.

Mr Bamigboye Babatunde, Lead,Legal,Enforcement and Regulations gave the `PARAMETERS for data protection and privacy as:

”Principles, Accountability, Rights, Auditing, Management of Records, Ethics, Technicality and organisation, Education, Remediation and Sovereignty.”

Oluchi OKorafor and Nanqwat Dariem, some participants at the training said the capacity building had helped them to understand the data protection sector and how to report it better.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that no fewer than 40 IT Reporters participated in the training.

Source: News Agency of Nigeria

Group, Mission partner to boost economic growth in Africa

The Africa Business ventures and Investment group (ABVIG) in partnership with the Nigerian Embassy in Washington DC, USA has underscored the need for partnership among African countries to boost economic growth in the continent.

This is contained in a statement by Mr Moses Owharo, Executive-Director of ABVIG, against backdrop of the forthcoming Africa Infrastructure, Climate Change and Investment Summit (AICIS) , scheduled to hold between Sept. 5 and Sept 8, in the U.S.

Owharo, also Chairman, Planning and Organising Committee of AICIS, said the group, collaborating with the embassy and relevant stakeholders, had held series of meeting to prepare and ensure success of the forthcoming event.

According to him, the purpose of the meeting with the Embassy ahead of the planned AICIS + Exhibition scheduled to hold in Washington DC, is to strategise and finalise arrangement.

“It is incredible to partner the embassy, as well as other diplomatic missions, present and former African Heads of State, the United Nations, African Union, private sectors, and civil society, to boost economic growth in Africa.

“This is mostly needed as Nigeria is currently going through the effect of the removal of the fuel subsidy.

“Even though this may be temporary measure in the right direction, the Africa region needs a permanent solution that will power homes, production and foster better quality of life as effect of climate is at the center of these technologies.

“This AICIS will provide professional platform for more collaboration between renowned experts in BioMassTechnology with investors, businesses, policymakers to promote better and economic development in Africa.”

He quoted Dr Uzoma Emenike, Nigerian Ambassador to the United States in Washington DC, represented by Amb. Mobilaji Sogundero, Deputy Head of Mission, saying that the AICIS is apt in terms of tackling economic challenges.

“African organisations and governments need to deepen collaboration through Public Private Partnership with each other and connect with the West to ensure sustainable economic development in the continent of Africa.”

He also quoted the AICIS Coordinator, Lulieta Zhilla, as saying that the event would feature plenary, and executive workshop-breakout sessions, dinner and award of certificates..

“It will bring together more than 1,500 participants, investors, investment companies and multilateral organisations, including more than 100 exhibitors, and stakeholders from all sectors.

” They will discuss and address key issues affecting Africa’s development and growth.”

The chairman also quoted Franca Ukpaiama, Finance and Admin. Director of AICIS, saying in spite of the recent decentralization of the Nigerian Electrical Energy supply, there could not be better means to tackle such challenge than through partnership.

“To create awareness in our region about alternatives in power generation from technocrats that are equipped to help provide the most needed and reliable power supply strategy driven by our local materials, at a cheaper and affordable cost.”

Source: News Agency of Nigeria

15th Maritime Security and Transnational Organised Crime Course ends

The Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre (KAIPTC) at the weekend ended the 15th Maritime Security and Transnational Organized Crime (MSTOC) Course with a call on participants to apply the knowledge gained to their work.

The two-week course had 33 participants from various security services as well as civilians from both state and non-state actors in the maritime sector from 13 Gulf of Guinea countries.

Air Commodore George Arko-Dadzie, the Deputy Commandant of the KAIPTC, said in a closing remark that application of the acquired knowledge, and making the same available to their colleagues would contribute to the aim of the course, which was to strengthen professional networks among regional, sub-regional, and national maritime security forces as well as civilian personnel.

Air Commodore Arko-Dadzie said the course created the opportunity for participants to exchange knowledge, views, experiences, and expertise among themselves and the facilitators, adding that he has the strongest conviction that they found the course applicable to the present situation of the subregion.

He indicated that participants had appraised themselves on emerging maritime security and transnational organized crimes and strengthened existing collaborations, coordination, cooperation, and information sharing among them to safeguard the maritime industry.

‘Obviously your knowledge has been enhanced and you are abreast with the ECOWAS Maritime Security Architecture for maritime crime and the current regime pertaining to maritime security; the way forward is to strengthen the networks created, consult with each other, and share the knowledge, and complement each other’s efforts in the future,’ he added.

The KAIPTC Deputy Commandant expressed appreciation to the German Government for its support in terms of the development, retooling, and financing of the course to achieve its intended aim.

Mrs Laudia Anyorkor Sawer, an Editor at the Ghana News Agency, giving the valedictorian speech, commended the KAIPTC and the German Government for giving them the opportunity to participate in the course, which was an eye-opener on maritime security and transnational organized crimes in the Gulf of Guinea.

Mrs Sawer said the lectures, group discussions, presentations, and field trips were well structured to give participants the right education on MSTOC, adding that they received education on technical terminologies used in the sector, the relevance of the maritime zones, and the difference between armed robbery at sea and piracy.

‘The course has set the stage for us to be conscious of the socio-economic importance of the Gulf of Guinea and the maritime space in general, the threats within the space, the geopolitics and interests within the industry, and the need for intra-state and interstate efforts to ensure safety and security within the space,’ she added.

She added that it was enlightening to note that transnational organized crimes at sea were the creation of human insecurity situations on land; therefore, when such insecurity issues receive attention, the maritime environment will be more secure.

‘The relationship between unfulfilled wants, the opportunity for crime, and the benefits of crime to perpetuate crime across borders is a wakeup call to all of us in the fight against transnational organized crime,’ she stated.

As part of the course, participants toured the Tema Port and went on a short sea trip on board the Ghana Navy Ship (GNS Chemle).

Participants also paid a visit to the Vessel Traffic Management Information System (VTMIS) located at the Ghana Maritime Authority (GMA), which is used to electronically survey and monitor Ghana’s coastline, including the Exclusive Economic Zone, and the ECOWAS Multinational Coordination Centre (EMCC) Zone F at the Christiansburg Castle, Osu.

Source: Ghana News Agency