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Bottled Water Seller Becomes China’s Richest Man

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The owner of China’s largest bottled water maker has overtaken Alibaba’s Jack Ma to become China’s richest man, the Bloomberg Billionaires Index showed Thursday.

According to Financial Times, Nongfu Spring founder Zhong Shanshan’s net worth has hit $58.7 billion after a massive listing by the bottled water company in Hong Kong, according to Bloomberg estimates that makes him richer than Mr. Ma, whose fortune dipped to $56.7bn after shares in e-commerce group Alibaba fell 0.9 percent in New York on Wednesday.

This makes him $2 billion richer than previous number one, Alibaba founder Jack Ma, the wealth index said.

Zhong’s Nongfu Spring, which claims to be number one in China’s massive bottled water market, is ubiquitous across a country where most people shun tap water for health reasons.

The company raised nearly $1.1 billion in its initial public offering.

Zhong is also the chairman of Beijing Wantai Biological Pharmacy Co. Ltd., a vaccine manufacturer listed on the mainland in April.

It is developing a Covid-19 vaccine nasal spray in conjunction with a prominent university.

Zhong, a 66-year-old former reporter from Zhejiang who state media say was also once a construction worker, is often referred to by Chinese media as a “lone wolf” for his rare public appearances and reluctance to be interviewed.

He founded Nongfu in 1996, just as China’s bottled water market began to take off.

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Low UTME Cut-Off Mark Reason for Laziness Among Northern Youths – El-Rufai

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Northerners have refused to take advantage of the ‘educational benefits’ given to them by the Nigerian government, the governor of Kaduna State, Nasir El- Rufai, has said.

He specifically said the low cut-off marks needed for admission into northern universities via the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) was making northerners ‘lazy’.

Mr El-Rufai spoke during a plenary session on “Rethinking Sub-National Competitiveness” at the ongoing Nigerian Economic Summit.

These were some of the points he raised when he talked about restructuring the nation on Tuesday.

The members of this session were Mr El-Rufai, Azinge Azinge, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria and Justin Lin, a Professor of Economics.

“The northerners are at advantage. The low JAMB cut-off mark is making northern youth lazy rather than encouraging them. Despite the advantage of the education in Nigeria, we have the highest number of children out of school,” he said.

According to the United Nations, the huge number of out-of-school children in northern Nigeria poses an enormous challenge.

“For example, Joint Admissions Matriculation Board (JAMB), gives different cut-off mark for different states and you say you are building a nation, no you are dividing it.

“I am from the north but we have suffered educational disadvantage and the JAMB has given us lower cut-off mark to catch up, have we caught up?

“It is making people lazy,” the governor said.

He also said selecting leaders based on their ‘origin’ will not move any nation forward.

“This has become a big problem for Nigeria. Zoning in political parties cannot solve the economic problems we are facing,” he said. “Selecting the best person to get the job done will benefit everyone.”

“The best we can do is to give everyone equal opportunity.”

Reforms

He also harped on reforming the federal police and judiciary to improve their effectiveness.

“Implement state policing. Some governors have more influence on the police than others; state governors cannot control security actions except there is an order from the IGP. This makes state governors handicapped in serious matters.

“Same is applied to the judiciary system. We are the only country in the world that is running a federal judiciary system. This has exposed the sector to inefficiency. There are decisions for states to take for example, land issues, traditional issues.”

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Court Revokes Marina’s Son’s Bail, Orders His Arrest

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The Federal High Court in Abuja on Tuesday revoked the bail granted Faisal Maina, the son of Abdulrasheed Maina, and ordered his arrest for jumping bail in his trial on money laundering charges.

Justice Okon Abang also ordered that his trial on money laundering charges would proceed in absentia pending when the security agencies would be able to arrest and produce him in court.

The judge also summoned his surety, a member of the House of Representatives, Sani Umar Dangaladima, representing the Kaura-Namoda Federal Constituency of Zamfara State, to appear in court to show cause why he should not forfeit the N60m bail bond which he signed for Faisal.

The order for Faisal’s arrest came barely six days after the same court, on November 18, issued a similar order against his father, Abdulrasheed Maina, a former Chairman of the defunct Pension Reformed Task Team, who is facing separate N2.1bn money laundering charges before the court.

On Monday, Justice Okon Abang, sent Maina’s surety, Senator Ali Ndume, to jail for his inability to produce the fleeing defendant in court.

Earlier on Tuesday, following the judge’s November 18 ruling, Maina’s trial held in his absence with three prosecution witnesses testifying behind him and his legal team.

At the resumed hearing of Faisal’s trial on Tuesday, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission’s prosecution counsel, Mohammed Abubakar, said both the defendant and his surety had not attended court since June 24, 2020.

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FG, S’South Govs, Leaders Set to Meet in Rivers Tuesday

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A delegation from the Federal Government is expected to meet with Governors and leaders of the South-South geo-political zone in Government House, Port Harcourt today (Tuesday).

The Chief of Staff to the President, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari, is expected to lead the presidential delegation.

A Government House source in Port Harcourt, who confirmed the meeting to our correspondent, said Gambari is on his way to Port Harcourt.

The rescheduled meeting is coming on the heels of the botched stakeholders’ forum, which angered the Southern Governor, during which the South-South Governors’ Forum, demanded an apology from the presidency.

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