Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Congratulations! You just won the visa lottery

Dear XYZ,

"You are one of the 50,000 winners selected by the computer random draw from the 12.1 million entries registered in the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program. The Diversity Immigrant Visa program is a United States congressionally-mandated lottery program for receiving a United States Permanent Resident Card. It is also known as the Green Card Lottery."
Maybe you or someone you know has received such an email declaring you winner in the Diversity Visa (DV) Lottery program of the U.S. government. For those who are interested in living in the U.S. this is exciting news indeed, especially if they had applied. Interestingly however, sometimes the 'winner' may not even have applied for the DV lottery.Anyway you read on and the next thing is
"Although the Diversity Visa participation was free, the law and regulations require to every diversity visa winner to pay a visa processing fee of $879. The Diversity Visa (Green Card) is guaranteed upon receiving the payment. The per person fee for each Diversity Visa is $879, payable in U.S. dollars or equivalent of your local currency. This $879 fee is the only fee a winner needs to pay throughout the entire relocation process."

It’s fun to read!

"If fun is what you're after or you're looking for laughter, Read a book! (Read, read! Read, read a book)" So goes a children's song by American musicians Marcy Marxer and Cathy Fink.
There is no doubt that reading can be lots of fun. Not only fun but it opens up new worlds, new experiences and offers exciting adventures. I still remember the first novel I read from the African writers series titled The African Child by Camara Laye. I can't remember how many times I read that book. The story was just so fascinating to me. Before then were the Lady Bird series of Cinderella, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Jack and the Beanstalk, Beauty and the Beast, etc followed by Enid Blyton's famous Five, made popular of course by the TV series. All these inculcated a love for reading that has remained.
However for a lot of children today reading is an exercise primarily done as part of school work or to pass exams. In this age of video games, satellite TV and the internet, children are more familiar with Ben Ten than they are with say Eze Goes to School.
At the summer reading program for children ages 5 to 12 years organized by the American Corner Abuja some children said they'd never read any other books apart from their school books.

All about the U.S.-Nigeria Bi-national Commission

Recently a journalist asked me about the U.S.-Nigeria Bi-national Commission. He wanted to know how long it had existed and why it was set-up. Well, I thought if a journalist knows very little about this important part of the U.S.-Nigeria relationship how much more would the general public So I’ve put together some basic facts about the Bi-national Commission.

The U.S.-Nigeria Bi-national Commission was inaugurated on April 6, 2010 by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the former Secretary to the Government of the Federation Yayale Ahmed in Washington, DC It’s a strategic dialogue designed to expand mutual cooperation across a broad range of shared interests.  It’s also a collaborative forum to build partnerships for tangible and measurable progress on issues critical to the U.S. and Nigeria.  In the words of Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Johnnie Carson "we expect that the United States and Nigeria will engage in serious, high level talks on issues of mutual interest."
Now what are those issues of mutual interest?