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Online betting firms gamble on soccer-mad Nigeria

LAGOS: Online sports betting is booming in soccer-mad Nigeria largely thanks to payment systems developed by homegrown technology firms that are starting to make online businesses more viable. For years, mobile payments failed to take off in Nigeria as they have in countries such as Kenya, where Safaricom’s M-Pesa money transfers have fostered a culture of cashless payments. Fear of electronic fraud and slow internet speeds have held Nigerian online consumers back but betting firms says the new, fast digital payment…

After Afghan ceasefire gamble, prospects rise for US-Taliban talks

KABUL/WASHINGTON: Prospects have risen for negotiations between the Taliban and the United States after Afghan President Ashraf Ghani called a ceasefire and allowed militants to roam into cities in a gamble to encourage peace talks. The Taliban, ousted from power in 2001 by US-led troops, insist that any negotiations with what it calls the “puppet” Afghan government on a peace plan can begin only after talks with the United States about withdrawing foreign forces. Analysts and Western diplomats said Ghani’s offer to…