07 Aug

CRUDE REBOUNDS AS OPEC HINTS AT LONGER OIL OUTPUT CUTS

INDUSTRY NEWS

CRUDE REBOUNDS AS OPEC HINTS AT LONGER OIL OUTPUT CUTS

(Culled from www.rigzone.com/news)

(Rigzone news (With assistance from Tsuyoshi Inajima, Sharon Cho and Alex Longley).

 Reported by Jessica Summers from bloomberg.net.

 CRUDE REBOUNDS AS OPEC HINTS AT LONGER OIL OUTPUT CUTS

 

Oil climbed as top crude-exporting countries suggest they may extend output curbs beyond this year, adding momentum to a monthly rebound.

Futures in New York posted a 5.4 percent increase in March, erasing February losses fueled by mounting American stockpiles. Some OPEC producers and allies are considering prolonging efforts to drain a global supply glut up to the middle of next year, Iraqi Oil Minister Jabbar al-Luaibi said at a conference in Baghdad.

“The potential for OPEC to extend their agreement instead of starting to cut it off at the end of the year is a positive development,” said Park City, Utah-based Mark Watkins, who helps oversee $151 billion in assets at U.S. Bank Wealth Management. “It shows OPEC is serious about continuing to have a stable price for oil.”

Crude has rebounded more than 50 percent since June, with the rally regaining steam this month as geopolitical worries heat up. President Donald Trump’s appointment of John Bolton as national security adviser triggered speculation of renewed sanctions against Iran, OPEC’s third-largest producer.

Meanwhile, the rapid increase in American crude production, which has topped 10 million barrels a day each week since early February, has placed a lid on prices that have remained below January’s three-year high of $66.66.

West Texas Intermediate for May delivery gained 56 cents to settle at $64.94 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, with prices posting a third-straight quarterly gain, the longest streak since 2011.

Brent for May settlement, which expires Thursday, added 74 cents to end the session at $70.27 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange. The more-active June contract rose 58 cents to settle at $69.34. The global benchmark traded at a $5.33 premium to WTI. The European bourse, along with Nymex, will be closed for the Good Friday holiday.

At the same energy conference where Iraq’s Al-Luaibi spoke, OPEC Secretary-General Mohammad Barkindo said the group is looking for long-term cooperation with other global producers.

In the U.S., the most recent Energy Information Administration data showed that while crude inventories ticked higher, gasoline supplies shrank. BNP Paribas boosted its 2018 WTI and Brent forecasts amid OPEC’s efforts to balance markets and the geopolitical fallout from tensions between the U.S. and Iran.

“People are focused on the fundamentals of oil and they are very strong right now,” Phil Flynn, senior market analyst at Price Futures Group Inc. in Chicago, said by telephone. “We are seeing very strong demand for oil around the globe. As refiners come out of maintenance, we are going to be in a very tight marketplace.”

Other oil-market news:

The U.S. oil rig count declined by 7 to 797 rigs, the largest drop since November, according to Baker Hughes data released on Friday. Gasoline futures rose 0.3 percent to settle at $2.0179 a gallon. Exxon Mobil Corp. stole the show in Brazil, dominating bidding in the country’s most successful auction to date of promising offshore oil exploration blocks.

07 Aug

Health benefit of eating whole grains

EXTRAS!!!

Health benefit of eating whole grains

Joy Aigbe

 

Health benefit of eating whole grains

 

There is this agreeable saying that health is wealth. But it is disappointing that we most times are more careful when it comes to securing our wealth than we do in securing and protecting our health. One has to be healthy to acquire wealth.  The human body is mainly composed of different kinds of nutrients derived from the classes of foods we all know. To eat healthy, we must eat food comprised of the six classes of food in the right proportion. 

Whole grains are one extremely vital food substance that contains nutrients that are very expedient for us, and it covers most of the nutrients our body need. Grains are important sources of many nutrients, including fiber, vitamin B and minerals which is important for a healthy immune system.

What are Whole Grains?

Whole grains are the grains of cereals such as wheat and maize that have not been processed. Whole grains are a source of carbohydrate, multiple nutrients, and dietary fiber.

 

Here are list of Whole Grains:

Whole wheat, oats, brown rice, barley, corn, quinoa, buckwheat and millet. These provide benefits for a healthy heart.

Let`s look at some health benefit of eating whole gains.

Whole grains contain a lot of fiber:

Fiber is one good reason to eat whole grains. Adults need about 25 to 35 grams of fiber daily, and whole grain contains two types, soluble and insoluble which are both beneficial to our health. Fiber also helps you feel fuller longer, fiber`s health benefit are well known and it can control blood sugar, lower bad cholesterol and reduce colon cancer risk.

 

They help digestion:

Whole grains have other digestive benefit as well. And they help ward off diverticulosis, the condition in which little pouches form in the colon wall causing inflammation, constipation, diarrhea, and pain. Fiber is responsible for much of the benefit, but whole grains also contain lactic acid, which promotes good bacterial in the large intestine.

 

They can help lower cholesterol:

 

Whole grains not only help prevent your body from absorbing bad cholesterol, they may also lower triglycerides, both of which are major contributors to heart disease. People who eat 2-3 serving of whole grains products daily are less likely to have a heart attack or die from heart disease compare with people who eat less than one serving a week.

 

They can help control weight:

 

People who eat a lot of whole grains are more likely to keep their weight in check and less likely to gain weight over time than those who eat refined grains. In one study, women who consumed the most wheat germ, brown rice, dark bread, popcorn, and other whole grains had a 49% lower risk of major weight gain compared with woman who eat doughnuts and white bread.

 

They make you feel full:

 

One way whole grains may help you control your weight is by making you feel fuller than refined grains such as cookies or white bread. Whole grains take longer to digest and have a more satiating effect. This could also help keep your portion under control.

 

They help regulate blood sugar:

One of the main benefit of whole grains is that compared to refined grains, they help keep your blood glucose from spiking, which can reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes, among other things. Women in one study who ate 2-3 servings of whole grains a day had a 30% lower risk of diabetes than women who ate little or no whole grain product. Eating whole grains is a smart choice for people with pre-diabetes or high risk of diabetes.

They lower blood pressure:

The health benefit of whole grains don’t stop with reducing your risk of diabetes. They also lower blood pressure which is one of the risk factor for heart disease. One study found a 19% lower risk of hypertension among men who ate more serving of whole grain, compared to those eat less. Eating whole grains instead of refined grains substantially lowers blood cholesterol, blood pressure, and insulin levels and this would be expected to reduce the risk of heart disease.

They may reduce asthma risk:

Eating whole grains early in life may ward off asthma and other allergic conditions. Children who were introduced to oats as infants were less likely to have asthma or allergic rhinitis by the time they turn five. However, an overall healthy diet with more whole grains, fruits and vegetables and less meat, and refined food may reduce the risk of asthma.

They may help you live longer:

Not only will whole grains help you live better, they may also help you live longer. A study for postmenopausal women found that women who consume more of whole grains had 31% lower risk of dying from causes other than cancer or heart disease, compare with women who had few or no whole grains in their diet. And it works in men too.

With all the benefit of whole grains listed above, it is clear that grains are important sources of many nutrients including B vitamins, vitamin C and minerals which are essential for a variety of bodily functions. These benefits are most pronounced in the context of an overall diet. Although no particular food guarantees total good health, whole grain can to a very large extent help improve our health.

07 Aug

THE ICING ON THE CAKE OF PLANNING

THE ICING ON THE CAKE OF PLANNING

(MAKING YOUR PLAN WORK)

Samuel Akosa

 

Let me begin this discuss by reminding you of the famous Chinese adage that says “The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step”, yes just a step. Therefore putting one’s leg on the lowermost landing of a staircase to ascend a flight of stairs is also a plan. At least a decision process had gone through your mind of the route you want to take and the conveying foot you choose to start as well as the acceleration and speed you chose to use, although this was done at close to zero time, yet it’s still a plan. Nevertheless, I am not here to teach on the subject of planning, I guess you can find that from many courses and bookshops but I like to tell you about the “icing on the cake” you need to have when you plan, that serves to make your plan come alive to give you the desired outcomes.

The story of Alexander the great should elicit some thoughts in our mind about the lesson of strategy that this write up intends to achieve, and hopefully get us to the point where we can adequately move from the point of planning to the point of action.

Imagine the boy Alexander the Great, son of the Barbarian, Philip the conqueror and Unifier of the whole Greek city states, after killing the perpetuators’ of his dads assassination, went on full rampage with his Greek subjects alias soldiers matching down furiously eastward with the sole aim of conquering Persia the then ruler of the world and disturber of the nation of Greece. Reluctantly, his Greek soldiers followed him on his mission at least to conquer their disturbers but day by day they grumbled against this barbaric boy since he wasn’t actually Greek. Nonetheless, after crossing the Mediterranean Sea to Egypt, most of the soldiers longed to go back to their Greek homes and even abandon the boy’s mission. This troubled the young man immensely. So many nights, he had insomnia in trying to devise a strategy on how to achieve his plan of reigniting the passion in their hearts and getting their backing for war, but it always seemed futile. Until one night, he assembled his soldiers in their ranks in front of the Mediterranean Sea with their ships lying behind them on the sea while the soldiers faced him backing the ships. At this point he had a plan to reiterate once again his manifesto and by so doing sway the hearts of the army towards his agenda of conquering Persia, and after this they can go back to their beloved Greece if they still believed not on him. Ironically, as he commenced his persuasive speech he noticed that the soldiers hearts where hardened for return; his plan was not yielding the desired result. He had to act fast, so at that point he developed a strategy to help his plan. Let me pause here for a while to assert that many plans, beautiful as they are, may not yield the desired response, not necessarily because they are not good plans, but maybe because the required ingredient of strategy has not been put in the mix to attain the objective of the plan. In plain terms, the plan may not be strategic.

People may have determined what they want to achieve with utmost clarity, allocated time and resources to the venture, and even have an outline of the required steps they need to take in order to achieve their goal (What you may call “the what”) but still fall short of attaining the result. Strategy goes beyond just having an outline of steps to take, but it also stretches into “the how” to best take those steps, what you can call “The how of the what”.

 

Back to my story…

Alexander then told his general to set the ships ablaze while he went on talking for a very long time so as to ensure the ships where fully wrecked to shambles and ashes. Noticing that the ships were burnt down he then suddenly ended his speech and provided room for the soldiers to make their decision. At this point every single soldier still had their initial decision to go back as his words did little to change their minds, so they all turned back and headed for the sea. On getting to the sea they noticed their ships were already burnt to ashes, then they turned back to the boy King and asked why he did this. His strategic response was simply, “Since you have no ships now and no money; just your weapon, the only way forward is to join me and conquer this Egypt and then you can build your ships to go back”. No wonder, till this day there is still the great city at the sea shore of Egypt called Alexandria named after this strategic lad.

Thus you see, it’s not just having a plan but having a strategy that sweetens the plan, a strategy that differentiates your plan for the purpose of achieving a predefined target. Even Mao Tse-tung in support of the Sun Tzu (the Art of War) agreed with the tactics of strategy in planning in his statement; when the enemy advances, we retreat; when the enemy camps, we harass; when the enemy tires, we attack; when they retreat we pursue. All these axioms can simply be applied as strategies in your plan be it personal, politics or even in business as they could help you in choosing and setting your actions in a plan. No wonder there is even a course called strategic planning to show you the import of being strategic.

As for me, a strategic plan is one that has different sub plans (the plan within the plan) all there to hit the predefined bull’s-eye as you are not the Omniscient. Go back to your previous plans and add two other plans to it and I will see you later at the target.

 

07 Aug

FAMILY UNITY

FAMILY CORNER

FAMILY UNITY

Esther Onuma

 

A time ago, families were run by the father only and he alone runs the business of the home like a headmaster who issues out instructions to his pupil and as such building a huge gap between the father, mother and the children. In most cases, children fear to communicate their challenges, glories and progress to their parent because of the rift that has been created thereby leaving our children to be tutored by their peers who in most cases show them the wrong path to follow. A family needs to be united and this can only be achieved if parents learn to function as a unified team. When parents can’t agree on how to raise their children or run a household, there is little chance that the family environment will be one of harmony and peace.

 For a family to work together to create a happy, healthy home, the following can serve as pointers;

  1. Communication: Regular communication with your spouse and children is vital to a healthy family. Talk to your children about future plans or problems and explain to them why you do certain things they may find unfair. In most cases you may have great plans and aspirations for your children but if not properly communicated to them, they may assume you just don’t like them to be who they want to be and they would find refuge outside the home.
  1. Listen to each other: No matter how little a child may seem, he has his/her own view to every issue and problems of the home. When you are listening, don't think about what response you are going to give. Instead, ask yourself why your spouse or child feels the way he or she does. Listening is one of the most powerful ways you can show you care about the other person. Children, especially, need to know that they are important, and this can be shown through active listening.
  1. Build their spirit: There are so much value derived from an upbeat child who has a positive disposition towards life. Children must be thought the value of quiet times, reflections and introspections, they must be thought to control their appetites and discipline themselves, they must be thought values and principles that will help in shaping them into strong-willed people
  1. Share responsibility: Everyone in the home needs to be responsible for something and have to contribute their own quota to the wellbeing of the family. Task needs to be shared accordingly and each member of the home needs to demonstrate their commitment in carrying out his/her own task. This invariably teach children from a young age the value of responsibility.
  1. Have fun together: At least once a month, go on a family outing. These outings can be inexpensive and simple or you can share a meal together, drinks and share some joke in the home. Having fun together as a family reinforces to your children that teamwork also means playing together. Remember that a family that works together and plays together — stays together.
07 Aug

UNDERSTANDING AND ENHANCING YOUR ABILITY TO CONTROL STRESS

UNDERSTANDING AND ENHANCING YOUR ABILITY TO CONTROL STRESS

Ruth Eze

 

UNDERSTANDING AND ENHANCING YUR ABILITY TO MANAGE STRESS

 

‘’Have you ever found yourself in a situation where your to-do list seems endless, there are mountains of bills to pay, deadlines are fast approaching and you find yourself saying, ‘’Eek! I feel stressed!’’ But what is stress really, how does it affect us, what are the signs and symptoms and how can it be controlled?’’

 

Firstly, let us debunk one myth: Stress is not necessarily a ‘bad’ thing. As a matter of fact ‘stress is not an illness’. It is a state. However, if stress becomes excessive and prolonged, mental and physical illness may develop. There is a difference between pressure and stress.  Stress occurs when pressure becomes excessive.

Many of us are faced with stress everyday but we might not know how to deal with it. It is necessary to know how to handle stress because it can affect our performance and relationships in our workplace and at home. At work, stress can lead to distraction and cause an unfortunate accident. At home, stress can put a strain on family relationship.           

Stress in the broadest sense of the word is a condition or feeling, experienced when a person perceives that demand exceed the personal and social resources the individual is able to mobilize. It is a natural reaction to too much pressure.

In small doses, stress can help you perform under pressure and motivate you to accomplish more. But when you are constantly running in emergency mode, your mind and body pay the price. Due to the fact that stress is primarily a physical response, when stressed, the body think it is under attack - whether its real or imagined - and it automatically switches to a stress response mode called the ‘’fight-or-flight mode. In these stress response mode, the body releases a complex mix of hormones such as adrenaline, cortisol, and norepinephrine. These hormones make us either feel agitated and aggressive (fight mode) towards others which can negatively affect relationships and ruin reputations in unnecessary conditions or run away (flight mode) when we are faced with a stressor which can lead to escalating the stressful situation.

In truth, stress in people must be managed to enable people function optimally and not run the risk of getting themselves harmed as a result of stress.

The first step to managing stress is to identify your stressor; those situations and pressures that cause stress and make you react. Many times we usually think of stressors as being negative, but positive events such as working towards receiving a promotion or getting married etc, can eventually be stressful too. More often than not, what causes stress depends, at least in part, on your perception of it, your attitude towards situations and your acceptance of situations you have no control over. Some common internal and external stressors are;

        EXTERNAL STRESSORS

             INTERNAL STRESSORS

        Financial challenges.

 Negative self talk.

        Not enough time.

 Inability to accept uncertainties.

        Family problems.

 Rigid thinking /lack of flexibility.

        Major life challenges.

 Pessimism

        Relationship difficulties.

 Unrealistic expectation/perfectionism

 

Stress not properly managed can be a major cause of many health challenges and can indeed be linked to a multitude of diseases. The word disease actually is derived from old French then to Middle English and means “Lack of Ease”. In Chiropractic medicine, illnesses are considered to be a result of a misalignment or lack of harmony within the body. Stress can be seen as a major source of dis-ease leading to many ailments. Some ailments caused by stress are;

  • Depression and anxiety
  • Pain of any kind
  • Digestive problems
  • Sleep problems
  • Heart disease
  • Weight problems
  • Thinking and memory problems etc

 Signs and Symptoms of Stress   

You need to be sensitive to the early warning signs and symptoms that suggest a stress overload is starting to push you over a hump.  Such signals also differ for each of us and can be so subtle that they are often ignored until it is too late. Most frequently, others are aware that you may be headed for trouble before you are.  These symptoms could be cognitive, emotional, physical or behavioural.

 

  • Poor judgment.
  • Constant worry.
  • Anxiety and agitation.
  • Inability to concentrate.
  • Loneliness, isolation, depression or general unhappiness.
  • Moodiness, irritability and anger.
  • Nervous habit (e.g nail biting, pacing)
  • Eating or sleeping more or less.
  • Using alcohol, cigarettes or drugs to relax.
  • Chest pain, rapid heart rate.
  • Loss of sex drive.
  • Aches and pains.

There are proven ways that our ability to control stress can be enhanced, some of which are;

  • Regular exercise can lift your mood.
  • Build strong and more satisfying connections with family, friends and colleagues.
  • Engaging one or more of your senses (sight, sound, taste, smell, touch)
  • Learn how to relax.
  • Eat a healthy diet.
  • Get your rest and improve your sleep.

 

 

07 Aug

SELF-IMPROVEMENT AT WORK

SELF-IMPROVEMENT AT WORK

Adeolu Emmanuel Ajala

 

SELF IMPROVEMENT AT WORK

 

Self-improvement at work place is very vital for professional development and personal fulfilment, it is a self-conscious act which can only be achieved through deliberate actions and not stumbled upon by accident. It is not a destination, it is a continuous process.

The first process to self-improvement at work place is having a Vision and mission. Vision is basically a picture of the future. With a well-defined vision, an employee or company is on the verge of improvement. For an employee, the employee might have to align his professional vision with that of the company’s in order to avoid discrepancies or contradictions in visions. Your vision must be SMART. That is your vision has to be simple, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-bound.

With a clear vision, a roadmap can be set on how to realize the vision. The roadmap must consist of Milestones and must be attainable within a selected period of time. Milestones are simply missions in chunks. These chunks must be organized according to scale of preference of importance. The aforementioned can be applied to personal life or/and one’s daily work life.

Immediately a vision is known and a roadmap is prepared, the next step to self-improvement is Action. Proactive action to ensuring that the vision is fulfilled. One of the most important keys to proactive action is Focus. Utter focus on your vision for self-improvement helps you to avoid distractions. It helps you know what is productive and what is not.  Any activity that does not align to you achieving your milestone is a distraction, no matter how important the activity might seem. Also, to remain focus, you have to imbibe the culture of completing projects one after the other, rather than mumbling every project up at the same time which often leads to incomplete and poorly executed projects. With focus on executing projects one after the other, you will achieve more and quality will also not be compromised.

Another important step to self-improvement at work place is, having shoulder(s) to stand on; having mentor(s). You should ensure that you have at least a mentor who has valuable knowledge and experience on the path you wish to tread. A mentor helps you avoid unnecessary mistakes and help fast-track your journey to success.

Another indispensable step to self-improvement at work place is learning. Constant learning is the breathe of improvement. Therefore, always make a conscious effort to read at least an article or something resourceful about your professional destination every day. Deliberately engage in research.

Note however that knowledge alone is not power, the application of the knowledge you have acquired is the real power. As a result, ensure you apply whatever knowledge you might have gotten while reading or researching at your work place and in your daily living.

In addition, nothing beats feedbacks on your progress towards the attainment of self-improvement. It is important to perpetually take time to Review Your Progress in alignment to your vision to self-improvement. The best way to review yourself is to be accountable, either to yourself or to someone else. Be sincere while reviewing yourself and make sure you get genuine feedbacks from your colleagues, bosses, team members and anyone who you think will be of importance to the pursuit of your goal.

Furthermore, note that self-improvement is impossible without motivation and compensation. Always take some time to compensate yourself whenever you attained the various milestones you have set. No matter how little, compensate yourself. A little rest, a small gift, a short vacation etc. will do. The compensation, besides achieving the milestone itself, should serve as motivation towards continuing your journey to self-improvement.

Self-improvement at work place is key for productivity and fulfilment for both employees and employers. Hence, employees should endeavor to always strive towards self-improvement at their various work places. Employees who engage in self-improvement will definitely attain the peak of their professional lives.