Sunday, 22 October 2017

Wenger delighted to see Ozil and Sanchez on fire for Gunners

LIVERPOOL, England, Oct 22 (Reuters) - After a week in which Arsenal's alleged softness and lack of fortitude were the focus of many debates, the Gunners offered a reminder on Sunday that when fit and functioning as planned they remain a team which can produce genuine quality.

Despite going a goal down, Arsenal ran out 5-2 winners against Everton at Goodison Park in the Premier League, helped by the dismissal of the home side's only defensive midfielder, Idrissa Gueye, but also inspired by an impressive attacking trio.

For the first time, Wenger was able to field German international Mesut Ozil, Chilean forward Alexis Sanchez and French striker Alexandre Lacazette together and the manager must hope he gets the chance to repeat that selection.

"I wish -- but I feel the whole team played well," said Wenger.

"We were tested mentally when we were 1-0 down after a very good start in the game. We couldn´t finish, their keeper kept them in the game and suddenly we were 1-0 down.

"It was a mental test but we kept going, we kept our focus and slowly the quality of our movement, the quality of our passing gave Everton problems. After that, with the offensive strength we have, of course that made the difference," he said.

Wenger did not shy away from praising the individuals who had been key, with some high praise for Sanchez.

"He was on fire. I believe that he comes back from injury and has worked very hard, Ozil as well. The two of them were sharp physically, very mobile and if you have their individual quality, that makes them dangerous against any defender.

Ozil glided across the midfield, eluding Everton with his clever positioning and deft touch.

"He was superb," said Wenger, "Agile, quick, intelligent. Always at the service of the team with the quality of his passing and when he is at that level, he is an exceptional football player.

"I told him after the game that a fit Ozil is completely different. If you're not 100 percent at your best, no matter how good you are, you are at a handicap," he added.

"The difference is that he has worked extremely hard physically. When he's in that shape physically, nobody can question his class or the quality of his game," he said.

The win was Arsenal's first away from the Emirates Stadium this season and Wenger said they had finally got their just rewards despite conceding early.

"I was (concerned) because recently we've been punished for every mistake we make away from home. But I knew there was a long time to go.

"Our away performances this season have not been rewarded," he said.

Einstein's theory of happy living emerges in Tokyo note

A note that Albert Einstein gave to a courier in Tokyo, briefly describing his theory on happy living, has surfaced after 95 years and is up for auction in Jerusalem.

The year was 1922, and the German-born physicist, most famous for his theory of relativity, was on a lecture tour in Japan.

He had recently been informed that he was to receive the Nobel Prize for physics, and his fame outside of scientific circles was growing.

A Japanese courier arrived at the Imperial Hotel in Tokyo to deliver Einstein a message. The courier either refused to accept a tip, in line with local practice, or Einstein had no small change available.

Either way, Einstein didn't want the messenger to leave empty-handed, so he wrote him two notes by hand in German, according to the seller, a relative of the messenger.

"Maybe if you're lucky those notes will become much more valuable than just a regular tip," Einstein told the messenger, according to the seller, a resident of the German city of Hamburg who wished to remain anonymous.

One note, on the stationary of the Imperial Hotel Tokyo, says that "a quiet and modest life brings more joy than a pursuit of success bound with constant unrest."

The other, on a blank piece of paper, simply reads: "where there's a will, there's a way."

It is impossible to determine if the notes were a reflection of Einstein's own musings on his growing fame, said Roni Grosz, the archivist in charge of the world's largest Einstein collection, at Jerusalem's Hebrew University.

While the notes, previously unknown to researchers, hold no scientific value, they may shed light on the private thoughts of the great physicist whose name has become synonymous with genius, according to Grosz.

"What we're doing here is painting the portrait of Einstein -- the man, the scientist, his effect on the world -- through his writings," said Grosz.

"This is a stone in the mosaic."

The two notes will go on sale on Tuesday at the Winner's auction house in Jerusalem, alongside other items including two letters Einstein wrote in later years.



AFP

Spain hopes Catalans disregard instruction from regional leaders-minister

LONDON, Oct 22 (Reuters) - Spanish Foreign Minister Alfonso Dastis said on Sunday he hoped that people in Catalonia would disregard any instruction from the regional leadership if Spain moves to suspend the region's autonomy.

"All the government is trying to do, and reluctantly, is to reinstate the legal order, to restore the constitution but also the Catalan rules and proceed from there," he told the BBC's Andrew Marr Show.

"We are going to establish the authorities who are going to rule the day-to-day affairs of Catalonia according to the Catalan laws and norms ... I hope everyone will disregard whatever instructions they will be planning to give because they will not have the legal authority to do that."

Israeli police arrest 15 over campaign to stop Jew-Arab dating

Israeli police have arrested 15 suspected Jewish extremists following an undercover investigation into a group accused of tracking down and threatening Arab men dating Jewish women, authorities said Sunday.

Israeli radio said that among those taken in for questioning was Benzi Gopstein, a prominent leader of the extreme-right group Lehava, but police would not confirm or deny the reports.

Arrests and searches for evidence were carried out simultaneously at addresses in Jerusalem, northern and southern Israel and in Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank, police said.

"Fifteen suspects known to the police as active in the Lehava organisation were arrested or detained for questioning during the night as part of a police investigation on suspicion that they acted to locate and threaten (Arab) minority members with connections to Jewish young women or girls," a police statement said.

Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld told AFP that the suspects were being interrogated and it was not yet clear whether any would be charged.

Lehava opposes inter-marriage. In August 2014, its activists staged a rally where racist slogans, including "Death to Arabs!", were shouted at the wedding near Tel Aviv of a Muslim man and Jewish woman.

Arabs account for some 17.5 percent of Israel's eight million population, and are descendants of Palestinians who remained on their land following the creation of Israel in 1948.

In April, six Israelis, including two soldiers, were arrested for racist attacks against Arabs with knives and other weapons and charged with "terrorist" offences.

Police said they were influenced by a Lehava video.

Gopstein was also questioned by police in 2015 after he condoned torching churches in Israel, in accordance with a mediaeval Jewish commandment to destroy places of idol-worship.

The police statement said that the latest arrests were the result of an undercover investigation.

"It uncovered organised and pre-meditated activity believed to have been carried out by the suspects, known members of Lehava," it said.

AFP

Bomb kills former Afghan warlord, bodyguard

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) - An Afghan official says a bomb has killed a former warlord and his bodyguard, and wounded eight other people.

Khalil Aseir, spokesman for the chief of police in the northern Takhar province, says the blast early Sunday targeted Nazuk Mir, a militant commander during the struggle to drive out Soviet troops in the 1980s. The bomb went off at a restaurant where he was having breakfast.

No one immediately claimed the attack.

A wave of attacks, mainly targeting Afghan security forces, has killed more than 200 people over the past week.


Pakistani security forces kill eight militants in Karachi

Pakistani paramilitary troops have killed eight militants from a group which tried to assassinate an opposition politician in Karachi, officials said Sunday.

The Pakistan Rangers staged a joint raid with counter-terrorism officers in the Raees Goth neighbourhood overnight after intelligence information about the presence of militants there, the Rangers' spokesman for Sindh province, Major Qambar Raza, told AFP.

"After an intense exchange of fire five terrorists were killed on the spot, while three others who were captured wounded later died in hospital," he said.

He said two militants whose identity has been established belonged to a newly formed group called Ansar-ul-Sharia which was involved in the attempt to assassinate opposition politician Khawaja Izharul Hassan from the Muttahida Qaumi Movement in September.

Hassan was unhurt but the group killed a 10-year-old boy and a guard and wounded four others in the shootout last month.

Ansar-ul-Sharia chief Sheharyar-ud Din -- also known as Abdullah Hashmi -- was among those killed in the overnight raid, Raza said, describing him as the mastermind of the assassination bid.

A senior police official confirmed the raid and details.

Karachi, Pakistan's largest city with more than 14 million inhabitants and a major business and industrial hub, is rife with political, sectarian and ethnic militancy.

A crackdown in the city by security forces in recent years has brought a lull in violence, but scattered attacks still take place.

AFP

Saturday, 21 October 2017

United's unbeaten run ends at Huddersfield, City go further clear

LONDON, Oct 21 (Reuters) - Huddersfield Town stunned Manchester United 2-1 at the John Smith's Stadium on Saturday, a defeat that ended the visitors unbeaten start to the Premier League season and dropped them five points behind leaders Manchester City who beat Burnley 3-0.

Huddersfield's victory in driving wind and rain was their first over United since 1952 and all the more unexpected after a run of one goal in six league games.

But the top-tier newcomers fully deserved their first league win since mid-August after hitting United twice in the first half and withstanding everything the visitors - and the appalling weather - threw at them.

Former Manchester City midfielder Aaron Mooy and Laurent Depoitre scored within 33 minutes, with United's afternoon made worse by an injury to Phil Jones.

Jose Mourinho responded by bringing on Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Marcus Rashford for Juan Mata and Anthony Martial at halftime and Rashford scored his seventh goal of the season to set up a rousing finish in what was the sides' first league meeting since 1972.

Mourinho blamed defensive mistakes for the defeat.

"A bad team deserved to be punished," he said.

By Manchester City's recent free-scoring standards, their 3-0 victory over Burnley was modest, with the match turning on a controversial first-half penalty when Bernardo Silva went down theatrically in the area.

TV replays showed minimal contact from Burnley keeper Nick Pope and the Portuguese may find himself in trouble with the three-member FA review panel which looks at simulation and last Friday issued its first retrospective ban on a player for diving.

Burnley manager Sean Dyche said: "I had to watch it four times to see contact. But if I contact my kid in the garden I would be amazed if he got that high off the floor. It is amazing how high these players go."

Sergio Aguero converted the penalty to equal Eric Brooke's all-time scoring record for the club with his 177th goal. Nicolas Otamendi and Leroy Sane made the scoreline more comfortable as City registered a club-record 11th straight win in all competitions.

Elsewhere, Chelsea made up ground on third-placed Tottenham Hotspur, who play Liverpool on Sunday, by beating Watford 4-2 in the day's early kickoff at Stamford Bridge.

The game was closer than the scoreline suggests, with Marco Silva's impressive side coming from behind to lead at Stamford Bridge before two goals from Michy Batshuayi and another from Cesar Azpilicueta ended the argument.

Pressure will be growing on Stoke City manager Mark Hughes after a disappointing 2-1 home defeat by Bournemouth which left them into the relegation zone.

Hughes had hoped the return of Ryan Shawcross would strengthen his defence after last week's 7-2 demolition by Manchester City, but Shawcross gave away a penalty, which Junior Stanislas converted and Andrew Surman also found the net.

Mame Biram Diouf narrowed the gap but the goal was not enough to prevent Bournemouth recording their first away league win of the season.

A Federico Fernandez own goal and a second-half strike by Shinji Okazaki gave Leicester City caretaker manager Michael Appleton a much-needed 2-1 win at Swansea City in his first game in charge, lifting the Foxes out of the relegation zone.

But there was no escape for Crystal Palace, whose 1-0 defeat at Newcastle left them rooted to the bottom spot. Mikel Merino scored Newcastle's 85th-minute winner.

Southampton also left it late to beat West Bromwich Albion 1-0 in the day's evening kickoff but the wait was worth it with substitute Sofiane Boufal beating five men before slotting the ball past Ben Foster for what was Southampton's third league win of the season.


1,272 fail Nigerian Law School exam

The Nigerian Law School on Saturday released the summary of the final examination results conducted in August.

Mr Chinedu Ukekwe, Head of Information and Protocol of the Nigerian Law School, said 1,272 candidates failed out of a total of 5, 891 that participated in the examinations.

According to him, 29 students made First Class, 211 Second Class Upper, 1, 046 Second Class Lower.

He said 2, 999 got a Pass, while 334 came out with conditional Pass.

In all, 4, 285 candidates were successful and will be called to the Nigerian Bar.

A further breakdown of the results showed 72.7 per cent passed, while those with conditional Pass represented 5. 7 per cent.

The candidates who failed represented 21.6 per cent, NAN reports.

Ukekwe in the statement revealed that the ‘Call to the Bar’ ceremony for the successful candidates will hold on Nov. 28 and 29 in Abuja.

FG takes ownership of funds held in bank accounts not linked to BVNs

The Abuja Division of the Federal High Court has granted a request by Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, for a temporary forfeiture of all funds held in bank accounts not linked to BVNs — and whose ownership could not be absolutely identified.

Also to be seized by the Nigerian government are funds held in bank accounts without sufficient know-your-customer credentials, court documents seen by PREMIUM TIMES said.

Industry experts expressed strong reservations about a lack of specific legal framework for the unprecedented forfeitures and potential coercion of banks by the federal authorities in separate interviews with PREMIUM TIMES Saturday.

No estimates were immediately available, but it is widely held that billions of naira remained trapped in the unlinked bank accounts since 2015 when the Central Bank of Nigeria ordered commercial banks to stop attending to new enrollees.

The order followed an originating motion of notice filed by Mr. Malami on behalf of the Nigerian government on September 28.

Nnamdi Dimgba, the Federal High Court judge who presided over the ex-parte motion, granted all the nine reliefs sought by Mr. Malami —himself represented by a lawyer, Usman Dakas— on October 17.

The court ordered all the 19 deposit money banks, DMBs, operating in the country to release to Nigerian government names of accounts not yet connected to BVN; account numbers; their outstanding balances; domiciling locations; and domiciliary accounts without BVN and where they are domiciled.

Nigeria deposit money banks that were listed as respondents in the ex-parte suit are: Access Bank, Citi Bank, Diamond Bank, Ecobank, Fidelity Bank, First Bank and First City Monument Bank.

Others are: Guarantee Trust Bank, Heritage Bank, Keystone Bank, Skye Bank, Stanbic IBTC Bank, Standard Chartered Bank, Sterling Bank, Union Bank and United Bank for Africa.

The remaining three are: Unity, Bank Wema Bank and Zenith Bank.

The court also ordered all of them to disclose any investments made with funds and to withhold authorisation for any outward inflow of funds from the accounts. All the details are to be submitted to Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System, NIBSS, and the CBN for authentication.

The banks were also directed to publish all bank accounts not linked to BVN in national newspapers with a 14-day notice for individuals with interest in such accounts to come forward and justify why their funds should not be forfeited to the Nigerian government.

Mr. Dimgba also ordered the CBN, which was joined as 20th respondent alongside the 19 DMBs, to appoint an official who will examine all the details submitted to the apex bank for compliance.

The government argued the matter under Section 3 of the Money Laundering Act, 2011.

The section said banks must “ensure that documents, data or information collected under the customer due diligence process is kept up-to-date and relevant by undertaking reviews of existing records, particularly for higher risk categories of customers or business relationships.”

The BVN is a unique identification number that can be verified and used to transact business across all the banking platforms in Nigeria.

The CBN imposed the policy to capture customers’ data for financial transactions and check fraud in the banking system.

Registration for BVNs commenced on February 14, 2014, across the country. The CBN said over 20.8 million customers enrolled 40 million bank accounts before the October 31, 2015, final deadline for customers residing within the country.

The CBN extended the deadline for Nigerians in the diaspora to December 2016 to sign up for the BVN system. But hundreds of thousands home and abroad are still believed to be left behind.

“Illogical, hasty‘

A financial analyst who spoke with PREMIUM TIMES about the court order rebuked the Nigerian government for attempting to shore up its revenues by forcibly seizing funds owned by private individuals.

“There’s no basis for this desperate move by the federal government because customers who owned the funds met the required criteria at the time they set up their bank accounts,” said Ugodre Obi-Chukwu, a Lagos-based financial analyst. “This is an attempt to use federal might to coerce banks into submitting funds that belong to customers for its own use.”

The Nigerian government had fallen on hard times since 2014 when dwindling price of crude oil began to take its toll on the country’s revenues.

The Buhari administration, which assumed office in May 2015, has made concerted pushes to source funding to finance a bloated federal civil service and new capital projects, including borrowing from local and international markets.

The government also said it would rely on recovered loot to finance its budget this year.

While Mr. Obi-Chukwu recognised financial challenges confronting the administration, he maintained that no policy must be implemented by fiat in a democratic system.

“The Money Laundering Act they used to sway the judge is clearly not sufficient to confiscate personal funds,” he said. “There’s no law that allows for this specific action taken by the government as it stands.”

He advised the federal government to allow people to withdraw their funds from the bank accounts if they’re not willing to link them to BVN, especially since they weren’t identified as proceeds of crime.

Lawyers weigh in

Two legal practitioners interviewed by PREMIUM TIMES Saturday held slightly disparate views on the matter.

Liborous Oshoma, who runs a law firm in Lagos, condemned the order as “far-reaching and despotic” in nature.

“You can’t just drag banks to court and ask them to submit all funds in bank accounts which they’re holding in trust for private individuals,” Mr. Oshoma said.

“The funds are mostly personal deposits. In law, orders are supposed to be specific, directed and enforceable against individuals or institutions,” Mr. Oshoma said. “But we cannot see how the government assumed it could sue banks to enforce orders against individuals who have not been accused of any criminal offences.”

Mr. Oshoma said the Buhari administration did not fathom the possibilities of Nigerians who are serving long prison sentences abroad and may not be in tune with developments in the outside world.

“The despotic tendency of wanting to take what does not belong to them made them forget that people might be in conditions where they cannot come and claim their funds for the next 20 years or more,” Mr. Oshoma said.

“If the government is really desperate to get people’s money because they cannot be found, it should find sensible means of going about it and not resort to steps that are not in consonance with democracy,” he added.

Although he questioned the legal premise of the federal government’s attempt to seize the funds, Inibehe Effiong, also a Lagos-based lawyer, told PREMIUM TIMES the overarching goal of the move was understandable.

“The BVN is a policy of the federal government which is aimed at mitigating financial crimes in the system,” Mr. Effiong said. “The policy was backed by certain financial regulations which make it appropriate for the government to ask for a general freezing order of accounts whose owners cannot be ascertained.”

“But what I cannot understand is the legal structure upon which the policy is standing,” Mr. Effiong said.

Mr. Effiong said authorities should have sought details of bank accounts first, then examine them individually and isolate ones with suspicious traits.

“The government should have stopped at requesting for details of all the bank accounts. but not go as far as getting a blanket approval to withhold all funds.

“If they all the accounts based on their merits, they can sort out the ones with criminal traces and seek their forfeiture,” Mr. Effiong said.

The Latest: Munich police arrest suspect, say motive unknown

Police spokesman Marcus da Gloria Martins said the man was arrested about three hours after Saturday morning's incident in an area near downtown Munich. He says the man's appearance was in line with a description witnesses gave of the knife attacker.

Da Gloria Martins says the assailant attacked six people at different locations in the area but only four of them were wounded. He says there were no serious injuries.
There's also no information yet on a possible motive.

___
10:15 a.m.

Police say a man with a knife has lightly wounded four people in Munich. Officers are looking for the assailant.

Munich police called on people in the Rosenheimer Platz area, located close to the German city's downtown, to stay inside after the incident on Saturday morning.
The perpetrator fled the scene. Police said he appeared to be about 40 years old and had a black bicycle, gray trousers, a green jacket and a backpack.

The police department said on Twitter that officers are looking for the assailant "with all available police forces."

It said the motive for the attack was not immediately clear.
None of the injuries were considered life-threatening.


AP

Friday, 20 October 2017

TSTV should come clean on its operations – Nigerians tell NBC

Some concerned Nigerians have asked the Nigeria Broadcasting Commission, NBC, to compel the management of new pay-television, TSTV, to come clean on its business plan for the country.

Ever since the TSTV announced its arrival and November 1 take-off date, there has been controversies surrounding its operations, despite earlier excitement about the arrival of the company.

It could be re-called that TSTV’s launch was grand, raising a lot of expectations.

However, the first major controversy came calling as FOX Network Group (FNG), owners of the FOX television channels, was reported to have denied that it has any agreement with the new pay-television service provider, TSTV, to carry its channels in Nigeria.

The position of FNG was made known in a statement signed by Jeremy Griesel of Jeremy Griesel Communications on behalf of FOX Network Group Africa, TSTV’s advertisement of FOX channels on its platform is inappropriate.

“Despite advertised claims regarding FOX channels, FOX does not have any agreement with TSTV regarding distribution of channels, but remains confident that TSTV will normalise the situation prior to the launch of its service to ensure the consistency between platform content claims and subscriber expectation,” FOX had said.

Following these developments, some concerned Nigerians have asked the company to come clean on its plan for the masses.

One of the concerned Nigerians stated that: “The new pay-television provider has been forced to move the commencement of its commercial operations to November 1, a whole month after it promised to roll out. Sales of its hardware also appear to have been suspended. This calls for question.

“These developments have no doubt left Nigerians in a doubt on whether the TSTV was indeed prepared to provide the needed competition in the Nigerian market.

“In a September 25 post on TSTV’s Facebook page, the company, responding to a question said it will broadcast the English Premier League, Spanish La Liga and UEFA Champions League. But when asked about the frequency and the percentage of league games to be shown, no response was issued.

“A writer on the TStv Facebook page had called the attention of others to the fact redistribution of sport content is jurisdictional. beIN Max, one of the range of channels being offered airs foreign league matches in the Middle East and North Africa to Arabic-speaking audiences. The company pretended not to see it.

“As it stands, it appear that TSTV is trying to get in its excuses early in anticipation of failure to meet the stratospheric expectations it has created. It looks like a victim of its own success at failure.

Similarly, another Nigerian, Festus Igeniwari, said: “I maintain that the PayTV industry in Nigeria is a level-playing field for everyone serious and capable enough to offer Nigerians the best value for money in world-class content.

“First of all, it is important Nigerians realize that – as a rule – you don’t start off a marathon by sprinting; and when a claim sounds too good to be true, it usually is.

“So, we are calling on the Nigeria Broadcasting Commission, to as a matter of urgency, tell Nigerians what they need to know as far as the TSTV if concerned. Let Nigerians know exactly what they have come to offer.

“There is a lot of confusion and we should not wait until things get too late before the right thing is done. “

daily post

Buhari Administration Recalls Wanted Ex-Pension Boss Sacked For Alleged Corruption

President Muhammadu Buhari's administration has secretly reinstated fugitive former Chairman of the Presidential Task Team on Pension Reforms, Abdulrasheed Maina, into the civil service.

Multiple sources confirmed to that Mr. Maina, who is wanted by the Anti-Graft Agency, EFCC, was secretly recalled and promoted to the position of director in charge of Human Resources in the Ministry of Interior.

Before his appointment to chair the pension task force, Mr. Maina was an assistant director in the ministry.

The news of the reinstatement first filtered through a congratulatory message for Mr. Maina by a group called League of Civil Society Organizations which commended the federal government for the reinstatement.

Mr. Maina was in 2013 dismissed by the Federal Civil Service Commission following a recommendation by the Office of the Head of Service.

A retired director in the Office of the Head of Service familiar with the matter said recalling Mr. Maina was an affront on the rule of law.

“He should not have been reinstated. Doesn’t Mr. Maina have a case in court? The rules provide for action to be taken only after the courts have dispensed of the case fully,” he said.

Trouble started in 2012 when Mr. Maina was accused of leading a massive pension fraud scheme amounting to more than N100 billion. Mr. Maina was drafted by the Goodluck Jonathan administration in 2010 to sanitize a corrupt pension system.

Based on the allegation of corruption, Mr. Maina was invited by the Senate Joint Committee on Public Service and Establishment and State and Local Government Administration.

The Senate after completion of its investigation issued a Warrant of Arrest against Mr. Maina.

Ignoring the panel, Mr. Maina went ahead to sue the Senate and the then Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Abubakar, and thereafter went into hiding after being declared wanted by the police.

Consequent upon this, Mr. Maina was dismissed by the Head of Service for allegedly absconding from duty and attempting to evade arrest and charged to court.

He was on July 21, 2015, charged by the EFCC alongside Stephen Oronsaye and two others before a Federal High Court on a 24-count charge bordering on procurement fraud and obtaining by false pretense.

While Mr. Oronsaye and the two other accused were in court and pleaded not guilty to the charge, Mr. Maina was at large.

Mr. Maina is said to have spent these past years in the United Arab Emirates, from where he kept lobbying to win the pleasures of the Buhari administration.

Since absconding, nothing was heard of Mr. Maina until shortly after the emergence of President Muhammadu Buhari in 2015 when members of his defunct Presidential Task Team on Pension Reforms offered to work with the then incoming administration.

The team, which addressed a press conference in Abuja, said its work would be easier under Mr. Buhari, known for his anti-corruption stand.

A member of the team, Ngozika Ihuoma, said one of the achievements of President Jonathan was the creation of the pension task reform body in June 2010 under the leadership of Mr. Maina.

Two years after, it appears the prayer of the team has been answered by the current administration.

Mr. Maina’s reinstatement was shrouded in secrecy and was handled “at the highest level” according to an informed source.

The reinstatement was not announced by the presidency or any federal government agency.

Earlier this year, Mr. Maina’s campaign posters surfaced on the social media, touting him as a gubernatorial aspirant for Borno State, without indicating political party platform.

A source knowledgeable about the deal that brought the controversial civil servant back, said Mr. Maina pulled the strings through the duo of the Justice and Interior ministers, who are described as Mr. Maina’s acquaintances.

Mr. Maina is said to have used many emissaries to the two ministers, while he was ensconced in his hiding place in Dubai.

Interior Minister, Abdulrahman Dambazau, did not answer repeated calls to his phone seeking to clarify the information.

The spokesperson of Abubakar Malami, the Minister of Justice, Salihu Othman, however, said he was unaware of his boss’s role in the deal.

However, a top official of the EFCC said Mr. Maina is still wanted by the commission in relation to the pension scam for which he was arraigned in absentia.

“We are still looking for him. He is a wanted man. He ought to be arraigned with Oronsaye and the rest but he disappeared,” said the official, who pleaded anonymity.

He said the commission will immediately revisit the case as it continues to search for the embattled civil servant.

President Buhari’s Spokesperson, Femi Adesina, said he was unaware of Mr. Maina’s reinstatement.

Premium Times

Average price for petrol drops, kerosene increases – NBS

The average price paid by consumers for Premium Motor Spirit, petrol, dropped by 1.2 per cent year-on-year, the Nigeria Bureau of Statistics, NBS, has said

According to a report on the NBS website, the bureau also listed states with the highest and lowest average price of petrol in comparison with the approved government price of N145.

“The average price paid by consumers for PMS decreased by 1.2 per cent year-on-year and increased by 0.1 per cent month-on-month to N144.5 in September 2017 from N144.4 in August 2017.

“States with the highest average price of PMS were Yobe N149.7, Bayelsa N147.1 and Taraba N146.1, while states with the lowest average price of petrol were Abuja N142, Osun N142.8 and Ondo N142.9,” the NBS said.

On Dual Purpose Kerosene (DPK), the Bureau said the “average price per litre paid by consumers for kerosene increased by 17.28 per cent month-on-month.

“It decreased by -8.38 per cent year-on-year to N264.48 in September, 2017 from N225.52 in August, 2017.

“States with the highest average price per litre of kerosene were Plateau N316.67, Yobe N294.44 and Kaduna N294.12.

“States with the lowest average price per litre of kerosene were Abia N240.56, Edo N240.00 and Ekiti N233.33,” the NBS said.

(NAN)

Mourinho has no idea when Pogba will be fit

LONDON, Oct 20 (Reuters) - Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho said he has "no idea" when record signing Paul Pogba will be fit again after the French midfielder suffered a hamstring injury in a Champions League tie against Basel early in September.

The 24-year-old, who cost 89 million pounds ($117.17 million) last year -- a world record at the time -- played only a handful of games this season before being sidelined.

"Paul is not here, I don't know when he comes back, when he's available, I've no idea," Mourinho told a news conference ahead of Saturday's visit to Huddersfield Town.

He hopes Zlatan Ibrahimovic will return by the end of the year, however, and had better news of Marcus Rashford, who is fit despite coming off during the midweek Champions League win over Benfica with a knee injury.

United will be looking to make history by keeping an eighth clean sheet in the opening nine league games of the season.

No other team has achieved that in the top division of English football.

Mourinho was criticised for a defensive approach in last weekend's dull goalless draw at Liverpool. Stoke City are the only side to score, in a 2-2 draw, against Mourinho's team in eight Premier League games.

Earlier in the season United appeared to be recapturing the adventurous style historically associated with the club.

They won 4-0 four times against lowly opposition but have since been outscored by neighbours Manchester City, who now lead them by two points at the top of the table.

The game at Huddersfield is the first meeting between the clubs since 1972 and the Yorkshire side have not won one since 20 years before that, in March 1952.

After a good start, Huddersfield have not won a Premier League game for two months, but Mourinho insisted that his team will know what to expect from a newly promoted club.

"We are silly if we don´t know what is waiting for us," he said.

"Everybody knows the Premier League and knows what it means to play against newly promoted teams.

"Every team in the Premier League is good and thinks they can win every match against every opponent.

"The players will be buzzing and the supporters will be happy to have a big club playing in their stadium."



Thursday, 19 October 2017

11 children die of whooping cough in Kano

The Kiru Local Government Council of Kano State says about 11 children have died of whooping cough at Kankwana village.

This is contained in a statement issued by the Information Officer of the local government council, Malam Rabiu Khalil.
Khalil said about 40 other children affected by the same disease were receiving medical attention.

Malam Hassan Adamu, the council’s Health Officer, who also confirmed the incidence to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), however assured of government’s effort to contain the outbreak.

Malam Yakubu Sani, a representative of the World Health Organisation (WHO) in the area, attributed the outbreak to poor routine immunisation and inadequate health mobilisation activities.

The District Head of the area, Alhaji Hamza Bayero, however, urged government to provide emergency medical care to residents to prevent further spread of the disease.

NAN recalls that about six children had lost their lives to measles in Dashi community of the same local government area in the past two months.

NAN

Europa League: Everton lose to Lyon, Giroud lifts Arsenal

BARCELONA, Oct 19 (Reuters) - Everton's miserable run Europa League run continued as they lost 2-1 at home to Olympique Lyonnais on Thursday and remained bottom of their group as Arsenal beat 10-man Red Star Belgrade 1-0 thanks to an acrobatic late goal by Olivier Giroud.

Everton badly needed a win against Lyon after taking one point from their previous two games but they went behind in the sixth minute to a penalty by Nabil Fekir.

Ashley Williams headed them level in the 69th after being fortunate to only be yellow-carded for igniting a mass brawl when he shoved visiting goalkeeper Anthony Lopes.

Everton nearly went ahead when a Gilfi Sigurdsson free kick came off the far post but former Chelsea forward Bertrand Traore struck to restore Lyon's lead, leaving Ronald Koeman's side at the foot of Group E with one point from three games.

Serie A side Atalanta lead the group on seven points after beating Apollon Limassol.

Arsenal were given a fright in Belgrade when Richmond Boaqye hit the woodwork but they took advantage of Milan Rodic getting sent off in the 81st minute as Giroud leapt to scoop a cushioned header from Theo Walcott into the top corner, completing a sweeping move through the middle.

Arsenal top Group H with a maximum nine points from three games after returning to winning ways following their 2-1 defeat by Watford in the Premier League.

BATE Borisov are second after beating Bundesliga side FC Koln, who have lost all three games in their first European campaign in 20 years.

Zenit St Petersburg, FCSB and Lazio are the only other teams to have won all three of their group games as seven-times European champions AC Milan lost their 100 percent record after a goalless home draw with AEK Athens.

Mario Balotelli opened the scoring for Nice against Lazio but the Serie A side quickly turned the game on its head to win 3-1, with Felipe Caicedo levelling soon after Balotelli's opener and Serb Sergej Milinkovic-Savic striking twice after halftime.

Real Sociedad hammered FK Vardar 6-0 to set a competition record for the biggest away win with the help of four goals from Brazilian forward Willian Jose, while fellow Liga side Athletic Bilbao were left on the brink of elimination as they drew 2-2 at Swedish side Ostersund.

A late goal from veteran striker Aritz Aduriz prevented a second consecutive defeat for the 2012 finalists, who are third in Group J on two points, four behind second-placed Zorya and five behind leaders Ostersund.

FC Copenhagen's game at Czech side Fastav Zlin was suspended in the 70th minute due to fog, but play resumed soon afterwards and the match ended 1-1.



Give me Brexit deal I can 'defend' at home, May tells EU

Brussels (AFP) - British Prime Minister Theresa May urged European leaders on Thursday to allow negotiations to move forward on a Brexit deal she could "defend" to voters and her divided party.

Addressing a summit dinner in Brussels, the night before the other 27 leaders decide whether to advance the talks, May said "the clear and urgent imperative must be that the dynamic you create enables us to move forward together".

"There is increasingly a sense that we must work together to get to an outcome we can stand behind and defend to our people," she said, according to her office.

She said her speech last month in Florence, where she called for a two-year transition period and made concessions on Britain's financial settlement and EU citizens' rights, had "taken us forward" and created a "new spirit".

EU leaders have indicated they expect to decide on Friday -- at a meeting without May -- that there has not been enough progress made on the divorce issues to move onto the future trading relationship and a transition.

But May is seeking recognition of the progress made so far and agreement of "ambitious plans" that could see talks on the post-Brexit ties begin in December.

With business leaders warning of damaging uncertainty ahead of Brexit in 2019, and her Conservative party divided, May is under intense pressure to make headway.

Four former Conservative ministers urged her on Thursday to walk away without a deal if the EU continues to refuse to move the talks forward.

"It is a reality that the prime minister is working against a difficult political backdrop," a British official said.

He said she emphasised to EU leaders the importance of securing a deal that "the British people see is in the best interest of Britain. And similarly on the EU side".

May told the dinner that she made her Florence speech because she "recognised the difficulty the process was in".

"I took stock, listened to what the people in the UK were saying and what my friends and partners in Europe were saying," she said.

Brussels says there must be "sufficient progress" on Britain's financial settlement, the rights of European citizens living in Britain after Brexit, and the Irish border issue, to move talks onto trade.

Russia's Putin says defeat of terror in Syria imminent

MOSCOW, Oct 19 (Reuters) - Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday he had all grounds to believe that Moscow, along with Damascus, would soon defeat terrorists in Syria.

He said that the Syrian peace process was developing in a positive way, though there were still problems. He said there was a proposal to hold a Congress of Syrian peoples, bringing together representatives of all ethnic groups in Syria.

The Latest: Russia to retaliate if US restricts Russia media

MOSCOW (AP) - The Latest on President Vladimir Putin at a foreign policy forum (all times local):

7:05 p.m.

Russian President Vladimir Putin is warning that Moscow would retaliate immediately if Washington restricts the operations of Russian news outlets in the United States.

Putin said Thursday at the Valdai forum of foreign policy experts in Sochi that Russia will

"momentarily respond quid pro quo" if Washington imposes restrictions on the Russian state-funded RT television network and Sputnik news agency.

RT has said it faces a U.S. demand to register as a foreign agent and provide detailed personal data for its staff. It says the request amounts to an attempt to push it out of the U.S. media market.

U.S. intelligence agencies say that Russia interfered in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Russia denies the charge.

___
7 p.m.

Russian President Vladimir Putin says that a global ban on nuclear weapons can be achieved in the future.

Putin said Thursday at the Valdai forum for international policy experts that total nuclear disarmament is a possibility that Russia would welcome. He said Russia would "want it and will be striving to achieve that."

Putin noted that new precision weapons now under development could be just as devastating as nuclear weapons. He said Russia is also working on such weapons.

The comments contrast with earlier statements by Putin and other Russian leaders, who have underlined that a global ban on nuclear weapons is unrealistic.

___
6:45 p.m.

President Vladimir Putin says Russia will adhere to a landmark Cold War-era arms control treaty for as long as the U.S. sticks to it.

At the Valdai forum of international policy experts in Sochi, Putin said Russia has stuck to its obligations under the 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty and will continue to do so. U.S. officials have accused Russia of developing missiles in violation of the treaty, a charge Russia has denied.

Putin said the 1987 accord was tilted in the U.S.'s favor, effectively amounting to "unilateral disarmament," as it failed to ban missiles carried by navy ships and aircraft that the U.S. had and the Soviet Union didn't.

He said Russia has since developed such cruise missiles for its navy and air force.

___
6 p.m.

Russia's President Vladimir Putin has warned against driving North Korea into a corner.

While condemning Pyongyang's nuclear ambitions, Putin said the standoff should be settled through dialogue, without "cornering North Korea, threatening to use force or going down to outright boorishness and swearing."

Speaking Thursday to international policy experts at the Valdai forum in Sochi, Putin criticized the U.S. and its allies for missing a chance to build a safer and more stable world after the Cold War.

The Russian leader also noted that the U.S. has been slow to dismantle its chemical weapons arsenals in line with an international treaty, while Russia last month wrapped up the destruction of its chemical weapons stockpiles.

Washington 'trying to squeeze Russian gas out of Europe': Putin

SOCHI, Russia, Oct 19 (Reuters) - President Vladimir Putin accused the United States on Thursday of trying to squeeze Russia out of European energy markets, saying the latest round of U.S. sanctions was designed to force Europe to buy U.S. liquefied natural gas instead.

Speaking at a policy forum in southern Russia, Putin launched a withering critique of U.S. foreign policy stretching back to the 1990s, accusing Washington of repeatedly betraying Moscow's national interests and of flouting nuclear and chemical weapons treaties it had signed up to.

He avoided direct criticism of U.S. President Donald Trump however, while saving his harshest criticism for a new package of U.S. sanctions that Trump grudgingly signed into law in August after Congress approved them.

"The recent sanctions package adopted by the U.S. Congress was openly designed to push Russia out of European energy markets and to force Europe to switch to more expensive liquefied natural gas from the United States, even though the volumes there are not yet sufficient," said Putin.

The Kremlin said at the time that it was worried that the sanctions could hurt major investment projects with European partners such as Nord Stream 2, a project to build a pipeline carrying Russian gas across the Baltic.

Much of the rest of Putin's speech was devoted to describing how he believed the United States had betrayed Russia in the 1990s by not reciprocating to what he called the unprecedented access Moscow gave it to Russia's secret nuclear facilities.

Putin revived accusations that the United States had tried to stir up separatism in southern Russia and complained about the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq and NATO's 1999 bombing of Yugoslavia.

The Russian leader also lashed out at Europe and the West over Spain's Catalonia, saying that "some foreign colleagues" were guilty of double standards.

They had decided it was fine for Kosovo to declare its independence from Serbia in 2008, said Putin, but that the situation in Catalonia, Iraq's Kurdistan, and in Crimea, which Russian annexed from Ukraine in 2014, should be treated differently.

"Why did it (Europe) have to unthinkingly, out of political competition and a desire to please the big brother in Washington, unreservedly support the breakaway of Kosovo provoking similar processes in other regions of Europe and the world?" Putin asked.

At a question-and-answer session after his speech, Putin accused the United States of upsetting the strategic nuclear balance by modernising its arsenal of weapons.

He said that Russia would develop new weapons systems, if it was forced to in response to U.S. moves. He also said that if the United States pulls out of the intermediate-range nuclear forces treaty, Russia's response would be instant and symmetrical.

Nigeria, Turkey agree to strengthen security cooperation to counter terrorism

President Muhammadu Buhari and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan have agreed, after talks, on Thursday in Ankara to strengthen cooperation between the security agencies of both countries to counter terrorism.

Speaking at a joint press conference after a tete-a-tete with his host, President Buhari said he was ‘‘very pleased’’ that the defence ministers of both countries held extensive discussions on developing new strategies for counter-terrorism.

‘‘We are very pleased with the progress of the meeting so far and we are going to wait for the details of meetings between the two countries.

‘‘We will as a result of the meeting between the ministers and officials of both countries strengthen rapidly whatever their recommendations are,’’ the President said.

Commenting on the degradation of Boko Haram in Nigeria, President Buhari said the improved security situation in the North East was an eloquent testimony to the efforts of his administration in combating terrorism since he came into office in May 2015

‘‘We were very surprised and disturbed by the claim made by Boko Haram on what they have been getting from ISIS.

‘‘We know we will be able to contain them and we have proven that we can do it.

‘‘We are very pleased that Turkey is in a position to assist us and has been strengthening our educational and health institutions,’’ President Buhari said.

The President said the two leaders also discussed the prospects of increasing their bilateral trade, which has exceeded 779 million USD in the first eight months of 2017.

‘‘There are a lot of potentialities in terms of investments and a lot is being done in the educational and health sectors in Nigeria.

‘‘These will be strengthened and I assure you that Nigeria is prepared to accept Turkish business people to come and explore more of Nigeria’s potentialities,’’ the Nigerian leader said.

In his remarks, Erdogan said Nigeria had great potentials and remains “a global actor in terms of economy, demographics and its peacekeeping records.”

He indicated that Turkey was interested in investing in Nigeria’s electricity, refineries and gas sectors, adding that increasing the flights between Turkey and Nigeria would further improve commercial and people-to-people relationships.

On the fight against terrorism, the Turkish leader said: ‘‘there is no difference between Boko Haram, Fethullah Terrorist Organisation or Daesh (ISIS), which have all killed, inflicted pain and hardship on innocent people.

‘‘All of these organisations are hordes of murderers that feed on the innocent people, and in the fight against terrorism, we will stand with our Nigerian friends, and we are ready to share our experience and provide all kinds of support.

‘‘We also expect the same cooperation from Nigeria in fighting against Fethullah that murdered 250 Turkish citizens last year,’’ he said.

Dangote Cement still interested in South Africa's PPC - CEO

LAGOS, Oct 19 (Reuters) - Nigeria's Dangote Cement is still interested in acquiring South African rival PPC and would do a deal at the right price, its outgoing chief executive officer Onne van der Weijde said on Thursday.

Weijde said PPC was a "good fit" for Dangote Cement, which is majority owned by Africa's richest man, Aliko Dangote.

Dangote Cement made an approach to PPC last month, but later withdrew, saying it did not want to get into a lengthy process with an uncertain outcome.

Ebola-like Marburg virus kills two in Uganda: official

Two people have died from the Marburg virus in eastern Uganda, in the country's first outbreak of the deadly Ebola-like pathogen in three years, the health ministry said Thursday.

"Blood samples were taken from two people who have since died and were found positive for Marburg", Uganda's health ministry permanent secretary, Dr. Diana Atwine told AFP.

She said a team of experts had been sent to Kween district, near the Kenyan border, to contain the virus.

"At moment we don't know if there are other people apart from the dead who have contracted the disease because the health experts are still investigating in addition to sensitising the population about the dangers of Marburg and we call for public vigilance," she added.

One individual was a male hunter who died on September 25. His 50-year-old sister died on October 11.

"The second victim had taken care of her brother during his sickness and burial preparation rituals when we suspect she contracted the disease," Health Minister Ruth Achieng said.

The two are the first recorded cases of Marburg in Kween district.

According to the Uganda Virus Research Institute, the first known case of Marburg in the country was in the western district of Kamwenge in 2007.

A 2012 outbreak killed 10 people and in 2014 one man died.

The Marburg virus is one of the most deadly known pathogens. Like Ebola, it is a haemorrhagic fever -- it causes severe bleeding, fever, vomiting and diarrhoea. It has a 21-day incubation period.

Like Ebola, the Marburg virus is also transmitted via contact with bodily fluids and fatality rates range from 25 to 80 percent.

The name of the disease comes from the city of Marburg in central Germany, where the virus was first identified in 1967 among workers who had been exposed to infected African green monkeys at a research lab.

AFP

Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Kachikwu, Baru meet with Osinbajo behind closed doors

The Minister of State for Petroleum, Ibe Kachikwu, and the Group Managing Director, GMD, of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, Maikanti Baru, on Wednesday held a closed door meeting with Vice President Yemi Osinbajo in his office at the presidential Villa, Abuja.

Mr. Kachikwu, who briefed State House correspondents after the meeting said it was held to discuss issues in the upstream sector of the oil and gas industry.

He said the meeting was necessitated by some information brought about by an International oil company, AGIP, regarding its operations in “Okpai, in terms of Zabazaba field, and in terms of the cash call exit which they are doing with the NNPC.”

He said the meeting briefed Mr. Osinbajo on areas the company needed assistance from some government officials to fast track their operations of the field.

The minister also said the meeting discussed “a few completion items on NNPC” with regards to cash call, as well as “the opening up of the escrow accounts and that type of stuff which they need to fasten up on.”

“But we are far gone on that, instalmental payments are already going on, I think NNPC is undertaking by October or early next month to complete that whole process. So it is going on very well,” he said.

On whether Nigerians should expect a drop in the price of petrol before Christmas period, Mr. Kachikwu said, “I will like the GDM who does the commercial aspect to comment on that, I will need his position before I can even comment on that.”

The minister did not disclose if the meeting discussed the content of his controversial letter to President Muhammadu Buhari in which he accused Mr. Baru of violating due process in award of contracts and insubordination.

The letter generated much controversy among Nigerians with the presidency eventually saying the monetary value of $25 billion Mr. Kachikwu referenced in his letter as the sum of the controversial contracts was fabricated.

Premium Times

Messi joins 100-goal club in Europe in Barca stroll

BARCELONA, Oct 18 (Reuters) - Lionel Messi scored his 100th goal in European competition as Barcelona moved close to qualifying for the Champions League knockout stages by outclassing Olympiakos 3-1 on Wednesday despite playing the entire second half with 10 men.

Gerard Pique was sent off two minutes before halftime for two bookings, one for tugging an opponent's shirt and the other for slapping the ball into the net, but Barca were barely threatened by a hapless Olympiakos side who are badly under-performing in their Greek title defence.

The Athens club, who won three league titles and two domestic Cups under current Barca coach Ernesto Valverde, are fifth in the standings in the Greek top flight and have lost all their games in the Champions League.

Barca took the lead in the 18th minute on a rainswept evening at a sparsely attended Nou Camp when visiting defender Dimitrios Nikolaou turned Gerard Deulofeu's cross into his own net.

It was the fifth own goal Barca have benefited from this season in all competitions.
Messi struck his landmark goal in Europe from a free kick in the 61st minute to double Barca's lead. It was his 97th goal in the Champions League, while his other three strikes in Europe came in the UEFA Super Cup.

The Argentine then carved his way through the hapless visiting defence moments later to tee up France left back Lucas Digne to score his first goal in the Champions League for Barca.

Greek defender Nikolaou put the ball in the net for the second time in the game by heading home from a corner at the other end to give Olympiakos a scantly-deserved consolation goal in the 89th minute.

Barca top Champions League Group D with nine points after winning their first three games and are six ahead of Juventus. A win at Olympiakos in two weeks will seal their place in the last 16.

"We are feeling very good in the league and Champions League and we have to keep going like this," Barca's Sergi Roberto told reporters after his side recorded a 10th victory in 11 games.


"We are frustrated to have conceded a goal although by then the game was almost over." 

Richest American of 2017 revealed

Microsoft co-founder, Bill Gates topped the list for a 24th consecutive year on a net worth of $89 billion with Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, worth $81.5 billion at number two.

Forbes magazine reported on Tuesday that President Donald Trump’s fortune slid by $600 million to $3.1 billion, according to a list of 400 billionaires.

But Trump, the first US president to come solely from the private sector, is ranked 248 – sharing the spot with 27-year-old Snap co-founder and CEO Evan Spiegel, the youngest person on the list.

Forbes attributed Trump’s decline to a weakening New York retail and office real estate market, and new information about his assets. The Manhattan tycoon ranked 156 in 2016, the year he was elected to the White House.

Forbes said those on its 36th annual list of the 400 wealthiest Americans have a record-breaking, combined total net worth of $2.7 trillion, up from $2.4 trillion in 2016. Entrance to the exclusive club cost a record-breaking $2 billion.

There were 22 newcomers, including Netflix co-founder and CEO Reed Hastings. Twenty-six people dropped off from last year, including US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross.

There were only 50 women on the list. Alice Walton, the daughter of Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton, was the highest ranked at 13. Unlike her brothers, she has focused on curating art rather than working for Wal-Mart.

The biggest gainer in dollar terms was Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, chalking up a $15.5 billion increase in net worth to retain his number four ranking at $71 billion. The full list can be found at www.forbes.com/forbes-400/.

Wenger’s letter to his ‘girlfriend’ revealed

A devoted fan of Arsenal, Margaret Welby, who “adores manager Arsene Wenger to such an extent she calls herself his ‘girlfriend, has received a card from the Frenchman on her 103rd birthday.

Margaret even has a photograph of Wenger on her bedroom wall, right alongside portraits of her beloved family members.

And she has now received a memorable gift from the 67-year-old Wenger on her special day.

“On behalf of all the player and staff, may I take this opportunity to send our congratulations and good wishes on the occasion of your 103rd birthday!

“We understand that you are a loyal Arsenal supporter for which we are very grateful.

“We do hope that you will enjoy this special day and wish you all the very best for the future from everyone here at Arsenal Football Club,” Wenger wrote.

Daily Post

Wike meets Real Madrid president over Academy | Photos

Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, met with Florentino Pérez, Real Madrid President on Tuesday to finalise the setting up of Real Madrid Affiliated Football Academy in Rivers State.

The meeting held at the Real Madrid Foundation office at the Santiago Bernabéu with both parties concluding discussions on the areas of partnership.

Recall that the Governor on Monday met with football star, Cristiano Ronaldo and Sergio Ramos.

The governor also met with the leadership of Real Madrid Foundation as part of the partnership to establish a Real Madrid Affiliated Football Academy in the state.




Daily Post

Crocodile Smile 2: Army arrest over 40 suspects in Lagos, Ogun

The Nigerian Army on Tuesday said it had arrested over 40 suspects for various offences within Lagos and Ogun states after the launch of ‘Exercise CROCODILE SMILE 2 ‘ by the Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai.

The army made this known through a statement by the 81 Division spokesperson, Lt.-Col. Olaolu Daudu in Lagos.

According to him, so far, the troops have being carrying out routine activities associated with the exercise seamlessly along with other sisters services, security and para military agencies.

“Some suspected criminals have been arrested; drug peddlers, cultists, car snatchers and other criminal elements have been denied freedom of action through patrols, raids, road blocks and checkpoints.

“On Oct. 4, based on credible information on activities of pipeline vandals at Ronik Hotel Agbule Egba area of Lagos state, troops of 149 Battalion, 81 Division Nigerian Army were immediately dispatched for a Cordon and search Operation.

“The troops arrested the suspected pipeline vandals and items found within the hotel premises include 16 loaded kegs of premium motor spirit (PMS), 5 cars and 2 tankers loaded with PMS,” he said.

He said the suspects have been interrogated, profiled and handed over to NSCDC.

“In a related development, on Oct. 11, troops of 174 Battalion, 81 Division Nigerian Army while on a stop and search operation arrested a car robber who snatched a Toyota Venza with reg no. FST 762 CV along Ikorodu – Sagamu road.

“The suspect who was fleeing with the stolen vehicle rammed into other vehicles and pedestrians in a bid to escape and was arrested by troops.

“The suspect and the recovered vehicle have been handed over to Owutu Divisional police Headquarters,” he said.

He also said that five drug peddlers were apprehended with gallons of unidentified chemical substances and Indian hemp on Oct. 14 by troops of Sector 5, 243 Battalion at Agbara area of Lagos State in conjunction with men of National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA).

“Arrested suspects and items have been handed over to the NDLEA for further investigation.

“Similarly, raid and clearance operations were carried out on Oct. 14, by troops of 65 Battalion Sector 1 of Exercise CROCODILE SMILE 2 at Ajah general area.

“Nine suspects were arrested with bags containing Indian hemp.

“Two of the suspects were alleged to have snatched a female purse containing Samsung Galaxy and Itel phones, Bible, house keys and N1,200 which were also recovered,” he said.

The spokesman also said another raid operation was carried out by troops of 9 Brigade Garrison Sector 4 at Ipodo, Ikeja general area where five suspects were arrested.

“Five suspected fraudsters were arrested and items recovered include 4 generators, 4 laptops, scanning machine, colour printer, 3 stabilizers, 10 ups, 3 car chargers and 16 handsets stand.

“The suspects and exhibits have been handed over to Lagos State Special Task force, Oshodi.

“On Oct. 15, the Commander Sector 3 of Exercise CROCODILE SMILE 2 handed over 36 suspects arrested by troops of the Sector during a raid operation at criminal hideouts and notorious drug dens in Ikorodu general area.

“The handover was carried out at Odogunyan barracks in Ikorodu, while the suspects were received by the Area Commander, Nigeria Police Ijede in Ikorodu,” he said.

Daudu also disclosed that four suspected cult members were arrested around Badagry area on Oct. 15.

“At about 11.59 pm, gunmen suspected to be cultists attacked Rolex Hotel in Ajara area of Badagry.

“Following a distress call to troops of 243 Battalion Sector 5 on Exercise CROCODILE SMILE 2 on activities of suspected cultists, troops responded immediately and arrested 4 suspected cultists.

“Also a follow up of suspected cultists attack, two suspects were arrested in connection with previous attacks at Rolex Hotel.

“The arrested suspects were detained and preliminary investigation is in progress while suspects would be handed over to relevant security agencies for further investigation and prosecution,” he said.

The spokesperson reassured the public that the Division is poised to maintain peace and security in the entire Lagos and Ogun States.

Daudu enjoined members of the public to cooperate with security agencies by remaining law abiding and giving credible information to the nearest security check point.

According to him, members of the public can also call 193 and the various telephone numbers that were earlier released. (NAN)

Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo leads Forbes top 20 richest sportsmen [See full list]

Popular American business magazine, Forbes has released the top 20 richest sportsmen in the world for 2017 with Real Madrid superstar, Cristiano Ronaldo leading the chart.

Ronaldo earned £70m in the last year, making him the highest paid European sports personality.

The 32-year-old missed out on the number one spot in celebrity rating by just £1m, being beaten into second place by Harry Potter author, JK Rowling in the top spot.

The figures, an estimate by Forbes, are calculated before taxes and management fees are taken into account.

Ronaldo’s earnings are largely made up of his Real Madrid contract and endorsement deals.

The highest paid English sports personality is Formula One racing driver, Lewis Hamilton – in 11th place on the list of European celebrities, earning £32m in the last year.

Half of the top 20 is made up of sports stars – with Wales and Real Madrid winger, Gareth Bale putting in an impressive display in 18th place, earning £25.5m.

Daily Post

Buhari presides over FEC, leaves for Turkey

President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday presided over the meeting of Federal Executive Council (FEC) at the presidential villa, Abuja.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the meeting which started at about 10 a.m., was attended by the Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, acting Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Habiba Lawal, and cabinet ministers.

The president was scheduled to leave Abuja for Turkey immediately after the council’s meeting.

A statement by the president’s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, on Tuesday, said Mr. Buhari would participate in the ninth D-8 Summit in Istanbul, Turkey, on Oct. 20.

Mr. Adesina said prior to the summit, Mr. Buhari, at the invitation of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey, would be on working visit to Ankara, the Turkish capital.

He said the president would during the visit have a private discussion with his Turkish counterpart, while delegations from both countries would hold discussions in various fields including defence cooperation, security, educational and migration issues.

According to the presidential aide, the Nigerian leader will also visit the Grand National Assembly of the Republic of Turkey in Ankara, where he will meet with the Turkish Speaker, Ismail Kahraman.

Mr. Adesina said Mr. Buhari would also use the occasion to bolster warm and growing ties across broad range of areas of cooperation with leaders of the D8-member countries.

The D8-member countries include Bangladesh, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Malaysia, Pakistan and Turkey. (NAN)

Hillary Clinton says U.S. threats of war with N.Korea "dangerous, short-sighted"

SEOUL, Oct 18 (Reuters) - Former U.S. presidential candidate Hillary Clinton said on Wednesday that "cavalier" threats to start war on the Korean peninsula were "dangerous and short-sighted", urging the United States to get all parties to the negotiating table.

Clinton also called on China to take a "more outfront role" in enforcing sanctions against North Korea aimed at curbing its missile and nuclear development.

"There is no need for us to be bellicose and aggressive (over North Korea)," Clinton told the World Knowledge Forum in the South Korean capital of Seoul, stressing the need for more pressure on North Korea and diplomacy to bring Pyongyang to talks.

Tension between Pyongyang and Washington has soared following a series of weapons tests by North Korea and a string of increasingly bellicose exchanges between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

"Picking fights with Kim Jong Un puts a smile on his face," Clinton said, without mentioning Trump by name.

Clinton also indirectly referred to Trump's social media comments on North Korea, saying, "The insults on Twitter have benefited North Korea, I don't think they've benefited the United States".

The war of words has seen Trump call the North Korean leader "little rocket man" on a suicide mission, and vow to destroy the country if it threatens the United States or its allies. In turn, the North called Trump "mentally deranged" and a "mad dog".

Talks between the adversaries have long been urged by China in particular, but Washington and its ally Japan have been reluctant while Pyongyang continues to pursue a goal of developing a nuclear-tipped missile to hit the United States.

On Tuesday, Deputy Secretary of State John J. Sullivan said the United States did not rule out the eventual possibility of direct talks with North Korea.

The situation on the Korean peninsula was now touch-and-go point "and a nuclear war may break out any moment", North Korea's Deputy U.N. Ambassador Kim In Ryong had told a U.N. General Assembly committee on Monday.

In Seoul, the vice foreign minister said on Wednesday South Korea was considering levying its own sanctions on the North, although no decision has been made yet.

CHINA PRESSURE

Clinton, a former U.S. secretary of state, said Washington's allies have increasingly been expressing concern over the reliability of the United States, advising Washington to avoid becoming distracted with North Korean threats and be "as forcefully patient" as possible.

Regarding China's role in reining in North Korea, Clinton said Beijing would be better off trying to "tighten and absolutely enforce sanctions" against North Korea.

North Korea's relationship with its main ally and trading partner China have been strained by its rapid pursuit of weapons programmes, with many of Pyongyang's recent tests coinciding with major Chinese events.

There had been fears that North Korea would conduct another test to coincide with the start of China's five-yearly party congress on Wednesday. Instead, Pyongyang sent Beijing a congratulatory message.

The central committee of the North's ruling Workers' Party of Korea said China had made "great progress in accomplishing the cause of building socialism with Chinese characteristics" under the guidance of the Communist Party of China.

"We are greatly pleased over this," the party central committee said in the message carried by the official KCNA news agency, adding that it "sincerely wished" the China congress "satisfactory success".

Chinese President Xi Jinping did not mention North Korea in his more than three-hour-long address at the opening of a key Communist Party Congress.

CAN'T HAVE IT BOTH WAYS

Clinton said retaliatory actions by China over the deployment of a U.S. anti-missile system in South Korea, which targeting the latter's firms doing business in China, would be unnecessary had Beijing done a better job reining in the North.

China says the powerful radar of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defence (THAAD) system could be used to pierce its territory, and has taken aim at South Korea's businesses. South Korea and the United States have repeatedly told China that THAAD aims only to defend against North Korea's missile threats.

"The Chinese can't have it both ways," Clinton said. "They can't do less than they could to tighten economic pressures on North Korea and same time discount the real threat South Korea and its citizens face."



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