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Opinion: It is dangerous to block citizen’s access in COVID-19 pandemic

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Paradigm Initiative has urged the government of Ghana and Nigeria not to block the telephone lines or access of citizens to emergency services in this critical time. A statement released by Ghana’s Ministry of Communications alleged that over 99% of calls made to the emergency line provided for COVID-19 response were prank calls and that the government will henceforth block prank callers.

Unfortunately, the Nigerian government may be considering the same measures and more, having alleged that it is facing similar challenges. In a time as this, Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and Telecommunication companies (Telcos) have a huge responsibility to make their services available to aid information flow from and to the authorities, especially as there is a natural tendency for citizens to panic and seek answers to many questions they will have.
The worst response to imagine in the middle of this global pandemic, however, is denying access to users as a measure against irrelevant calls to COVID-19 emergency call centers. At this critical time, access might just be the thin line between life and death for many citizens. The government should expand its capacity to receive multiple calls and come up with innovative strategies instead of clamping down on citizens. This is not the best of times and it is not just important that rights are respected but the government must not introduce measures that complicate an already complicated situation. Nigeria and Ghana like many other countries in the world have acknowledged the challenges with the capacity to test broadly.  Therefore if the two countries must compare notes, it should be about increasing the capacity to test, isolate and treat confirmed cases, encourage social distancing, introduce welfare measures and ensure citizens are protected.
It is statistically impossible that 99% of calls to the emergency line are prank calls as alleged by Ghana’s Ministry of Communication. It is very easy to infer that panic calls, curious calls and calls from those who may not be symptomatic but have genuine fears are being categorized as prank calls. A prank call by definition is made to make a joke or play a trick. We do not agree with Ghana’s Ministry of Education that up to 99% of callers to the emergency centers are doing so just to play a trick or make a joke and even if it is so, it is a reflection of the panic and fear that makes people want to know if the number that is supposed to save their lives is working. It is important not to use the excuse of fake news around COVID-19 to clamp down on loud dissenting voices as that will be a major mistake at a time when we all need to work together on combatting misinformation, including encouraging those working to get life-saving information to citizens who need them.
We endorse interventions and support being offered by the private sector and volunteers to ensure that the government is not overwhelmed. We, however, strongly advise the government to avoid emotional reactions that may deny citizens, access to health care and essential services at a time when movements are being restricted. We also call on citizens not to panic but follow guidelines provided by the official Disease Control institutions in their respective countries and the World Health Organisation as we all seek to protect ourselves and our loved ones from being victims in this trying time.
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Netflix says “Squid Game” is its biggest series launch of all time. (more…)

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Tyga accused of domestic violence by ex-girlfriend Camaryn Swanson

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Nardo Wick recruits Lil Durk, 21 Savage & G Herbo for “Who Want Smoke??”

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Nardo Wick has just dropped the highly-anticipated new version of his smash-hit “Who Want Smoke??” featuring Lil Durk, 21 Savage, & G Herbo. The track includes a show-stopping verse from Durk, displaying the depths of his fiery and confrontational style, a noteworthy inclusion from 21 Savage reminiscent of his earliest days on the mic, and G Herbo delivering the thrilling and seasoned bars he’s renowned for. The song not only capitalizes on the virality of “Who Want Smoke?”, but also serves as a masterclass in collaborating from some of the most prominent artists in the game. Each verse builds on the next, with the superstar additions sticking to theme that Nardo laid out on the original “Who Want Smoke?”, signaling the unwavering faith that Durk, 21, and Herb have in the 19-year old Jacksonville emcee. This collaboration comes on the heels of Durk & Lil Babybringing Nardo to perform the viral record at their tour stop in Orlando, receiving an electrifying response from the Floridan crowd. Though the original song has already amassed a whopping 60 million streams and counting, these carefully curated contributions only further solidify “Who Want Smoke??” as one of the biggest records of the year.

“This next chapter of my career is to give every project I work on my full attention. If I want to be proud of all the videos I work on, then I must never rush the process. I want it to be a great viewing experience every time. The goal is to create timeless quality art that inspires and motivates me, and hopefully it can inspire and motivate those beyond me as well. I view the “Who Want Smoke??” video as the opening page of this new chapter.”
Cole Bennett

Nardo Wick bursted onto the scene in mid-2020 with a string of releases, including “Lolli”, “Slide”, and “Came Up.” Music gave the shy teen an outlet to channel his angst and was accompanied by a fast-following. Though he’s soft-spoken off the mic, when Nardo enters the booth, the raps he produces are dynamic and haunting––a reflection of Jacksonville’s turbulent hip-hop scene. In 2021, Wick transitioned from making buzzing records to inescapable anthems. “Who Want Smoke?” became a widespread hit, achieving over 60 million streams as well as placements on Rap Caviar and Hip Hop Hits. The song reflected a menacing teen with a no-nonsense approach to life and music balancing between being captivating and fearsome. “Who Want Smoke?” is a frequent soundtrack to viral content on social media, with the most recent inclusion being Florida A&M’s marching band, the Marching 100, doing a live-rendition of the hit song during the halftime show for their game against Alabama State University. Hit-producer Cardo Got Wings laced Nardo for a last-minute request to appear on February’s Judas And The Black Messiah: The Inspired Album. That album topped the charts upon release, putting Nardo Wick alongside the biggest stars of Hip-Hop and R&B. Wick followed this with the Nick Mira-produced “Pull Up” in July. In August, Nardo released “I Be Chillin”, an exciting addition to his growing discography. Throughout the run, the budding rapper has received praise from Passion of the Weiss, Lyrical Lemonade, and DJ Booth, who included him in a recent “10 Rappers You Should Know Right Now” list. Recently COMPLEXnamed Nardo among their list of “Best Jacksonville Rappers.”

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James Bond star Daniel Craig gets Hollywood Walk of Fame star

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Daniel Craig has capped the launch week of his final James Bond movie by becoming the 2,704th celebrity to be honoured with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in California. (more…)

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