MP3 » Ckay – Kiss Me Like You Miss Me

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CKay comes through with yet another new song titled “Kiss Me Like You Miss Me”

Year: 2021 (January)

Song: Kiss Me Like You Miss Me

Artist: Ckay

Album: N/A.

Feat: N/A.

Prod: Ckay.

Ckay is a producer/artiste signed under Chocolate City Music, Chocolate city is one of the biggest Talent incubator in Nigeria. And, Ckay has released a lot of songs under the imprint including his extended Play project titled “Ckay the first”.
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#NobleSong

Gov’t reopens third mainland bridge.

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The bridge, which is going through series of repairs, was partially shut on July 24, 2020 for another round of rehabilitation works.

The Federal Controller of Works, Lagos, Mr Olukayode Popoola, on Sunday, said that the total shutdown of the Third Mainland Bridge would be lifted at midnight of Jan. 31, 24 hours ahead of schedule.

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Popoola told NoRM‘s known Media on the telephone that the contractor was able to complete the repair works on the bridge on Saturday, hence the lifting of the total closure at midnight.

“The casting of the expansion joints was completed on Saturday. Therefore, the Third Mainland Bridge will be opened by 12 midnight of Jan. 31.

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“Motorists can start plying the bridge as from 12 midnight,” he said.

While thanking road users for their understanding, Popoola said that the reopening had been communicated to the Lagos State government and all relevant agencies to ensure seamless traffic on the highway.

Recall with NoRM that Popoola had, on Jan. 27, announced a three-day total shutdown of the bridge from the midnight of Friday to midnight of Monday, Feb. 1 to allow for replacement of three expansion joints.

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The repair, expected to last six months, was extended by one month due to the #EndSARS protests in Lagos, thus extending the completion date from January to February.

The construction was initially divided into two phases of three months on each carriageway, starting with the Oworonsoki-bound carriageway whose completion dragged to four months.

Traffic was partially diverted on a stretch of 3.5 kilometres where construction is ongoing between Adeniji Adeniji ramp and Ebute-Meta, while different time belts were allotted for traffic diversions on the bridge.

The 11.8-kilometre bridge is the longest of the three bridges connecting Lagos Island to the Mainland.

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The bridge starts from Oworonshoki, which is linked to the Apapa-Oshodi expressway and the Lagos-Ibadan expressway and ends at the Adeniji Adele interchange on Lagos Island.

Constructed in 1990, the bridge was adjudged the longest in Africa until 1996 when the Oct. 6 Bridge in Cairo, Egypt, was completed.

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#Newsworthy

Barcelona to sue El Mundo over claim Messi’s contract worth €555m.

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Barcelona will take legal action against the Spanish newspaper El Mundo after it published details on Sunday of Lionel Messi’s current contract, which it says is worth up to 555 million euros ($674 million) over four years.

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Barca responded by also insisting they were not responsible for the leak, although the club did not deny the details of the report.

El Mundo say the deal signed by Messi in 2017 is the “largest in the history of sport” and called it the “colossal contract that ruins Barcelona”.

The 33-year-old could end up collecting a maximum of 555,237,619 euros before it expires on June 30 this year, if all conditions were met.

With six months left of the deal to run, “the player has already earned 511,290,052 euros, almost 92 per cent of the possible total”, the report claims.

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The leak comes as Barcelona are wrestling with a dire financial situation, worsened by the pandemic, and with Messi’s future still up in the air, given the striker can leave the club for free this summer.

“In view of the information published today in the newspaper El Mundo, in relation to the professional contract signed between FC Barcelona and the player Lionel Messi, the club regrets its publication given that it is a private document governed by the principle of confidentiality between the parties,” said Barcelona in a statement.

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– ‘Absolute support’ –

“FC Barcelona categorically denies any responsibility for the publication of this document, and will take appropriate legal action against the newspaper El Mundo, for any damage that may be caused as a result of this publication.

Sky-high price: Lionel Messi’s salary is in the spotlight J. Bassa AFP/File

“FC Barcelona expresses its absolute support for Lionel Messi, especially in the face of any attempt to discredit his image, and to damage his relationship with the club where he has worked to become the best player in the world and in football history.”

According to the report, Messi earned 115 million euros just for signing the contract in 2017 and among his potential bonuses is a 3,548,644-euro reward for winning the Champions League and 2,365,766 euros for winning La Liga, El Mundo claims.

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His club contract dwarfs those of the other top earners in global sport.

Patrick Mahomes, the Kansas City Chiefs quarterback, last year signed the biggest contract in North American sport, worth a minimum of 450 million dollars, but it is 10 years long.

Cristiano Ronaldo’s contract with Juventus is worth a reported 30 million euros a year, but bonuses may have taken it up to 70 million euros last season. Ronaldo also earns more from endorsements than Messi.

Messi is set to decide in the coming months whether he wants to stay at Barcelona or leave the club he joined as a 13-year-old and where he has become arguably the greatest player of all time.

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Frustrated with Barca’s decline in recent years, the Argentinian also feels unfairly blamed for worsening performances on the pitch.

Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain are the favourites to sign Messi if he chooses to leave.

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#NobleSport

Top Manchester police on Rashford’s racial grill.

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These hateful words have no place anywhere in our society whether online or otherwise.

Greater Manchester Police have confirmed they have launched an investigation after several Manchester United players were targeted by racist abuse on social media in recent days.

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Defender Axel Tuanzebe and striker Anthony Martial both found themselves facing a flurry of horrific abuse in the aftermath of the 2-1 defeat at the hands of Sheffield United, and Marcus Rashford became the latest to be targeted after the 0-0 draw with Arsenal.

Tuanzebe was viciously targeted after the Sheffield United loss | Visionhaus/Getty Images

“We are aware of a number of Manchester United football players suffering abuse on social media accounts between Wednesday 27 January and Saturday 30 January 2021,” a statement from GMP read on Twitter.

“Nobody should be subject to such abuse and it is deeply upsetting not only to those who suffer it, but to all those who come across this awful language too.

“A number of these comments have been reported to us and we are liaising with those involved to procide support and we will be investigating these crimes thoroughly.”

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Rashford described the abuse directed towards him as ‘humanity and social media at its worst’, warning those responsible that his pride towards the colour of his skin would never be broken by some so-called fans online.

Marcus Rashford was target by racist abuse online | Michael Regan/Getty Images

On the abuse directed towards Rashford, a spokesperson for Facebook told the BBC: “There is no place for racism on Instagram and we are committed to removing it when we find it.

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#NobleSport

Liverpool’s shocking interest for Preston’s Ben Davies

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Liverpool would likely be able to land him for a minimal fee too, with only six months remaining on his contract and Preston in no real position to stand their ground.

Liverpool are being linked with a shock move for Preston North End centre back Ben Davies, who is also being tracked by Scottish giants Celtic.

The 25-year-old’s contract expires at the end of the season, meaning the January transfer window is Preston’s last opportunity to receive a sum of money for the defender, as he could leave for nothing on June 30.

According to NoRM‘s known Media, Premier League giants Liverpool have made an enquiry for the defender as they look to bolster their central defensive options for the remainder of the campaign.

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Jurgen Klopp and co will consider themselves favourites to land Davies, especially as this deal could convince the Reds to send youngster Sepp van den Berg on loan to Deepdale in order to sweeten the bargain.

Davies is being chased by both Celtic and Liverpool | Lewis Storey/Getty Images

Although Davies is not experienced at the highest level, he is capable of playing at centre back or slotting in at left back if needed, providing Klopp with even more reason to take a gamble on the Preston star.

Klopp is hoping to strengthen his defence
This news will come as a huge blow to Preston and Celtic. For the Lilywhites, they are resigned to losing their star centre back, as interest from the Reds would prove too good to turn down for the Championship man.

It’ll be equally as disheartening for Celtic, who had hoped to land Davies in a bid to cover their own defensive woes.

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The Hoops signed Shane Duffy from Brighton in the summer, but he has not prevented them from shipping goals and slipping to 23 points behind leaders Rangers.

Davies is being linked with a move to Liverpool | Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Celtic have been pushing to complete a deal before the transfer window shuts on Monday night, either to sign him immediately or arrange a move for the start of next season.

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#NobleSport

Leicester ‘left with a choice’s after Leeds defeat.

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The second also had his fingerprints all over it with Youri Tielemans gobbling up the rebound from his diving header.

Back in November, Leicester City put in one of their best performances of the season, thrashing Leeds United 4-1 at Elland Road.

The return fixture on Sunday was an altogether different affair, with Marcelo Bielsa’s side enacting their revenge with a deserved 3-1 victory.

So, what was the difference between the two encounters? Three words: Jamie Richard Vardy.

Planning for life without one of the club’s greatest ever players has been the spectre at the feast for some time for Leicester.

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Their contrasting fortunes against Leeds this season, with and without him in the side, saw the issue rear its ugly head again on Sunday.

In November’s contest, Vardy was directly involved in three of his side’s four goals. For Harvey Barnes’ opener he showed trademark composure to round Illan Meslier, before squaring it for his teammate to roll home.

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A hat-trick of goal contributions was then completed when he finished nicely after an unorthodox but brilliant pass from Cengiz Under.

This talismanic display was typical of Vardy over the past three seasons. During this time he has managed 52 goals and plenty more assists besides, as well as playing a key role in instigating his team’s press.

Despite some optimistic takes and an encouraging if slightly blunt attacking display against Everton, the impact of his absence was as significant as might be expected at the King Power Stadium on Sunday.

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What made Leicester so effective against Leeds back in the autumn was Vardy’s ability to exploit the vast swathes of space left by Marcelo Bielsa’s charges, and on several occasions during Sunday’s game the Foxes’ counterattacks were screaming for some similarly intelligent runs in behind. However, Ayoze Perez, who has been drafted in to replace him in the last two games, is not naturally inclined to do this.

Instead with false nine Perez leading the line, the Foxes got plenty of Vardy-esque enthusiasm in the press but positionally, the players could not be more different. Instead of stretching things by sitting on the shoulder of the last defender, the Spaniard dropped off. This would have been fine if either Barnes and Marc Albrighton compensated by surging behind the Leeds back line. Unfortunately, none of them did, with both more comfortable running at defences with the ball at their feet.

James Maddison’s recent, increased appetite for goal also waned somewhat against the Whites, with his late surges into the box not coming anywhere near frequently enough.

The defeat to Leeds’ was the only the tenth Premier League game that Vardy has missed over the past three seasons. During this period, Leicester have won on just three occasions with two of those coming against poor West Ham and Newcastle teams last campaign. Damningly, without Vardy, Leicester have failed to beat newly-promoted Norwich, Fulham and now Leeds in the last two terms.

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Of course, his absence was not the sole reason for them floundering against the Whites. The loss should more likely be viewed as yet another reminder of just how tough life after Vardy could be for Leicester.

It also again suggested that Leicester’s current stand-ins are not of the necessary quality to replace him. This summer is going to be an important one for Leicester. Finding Vardy’s successor – or at least a capable understudy – seems like a task that cannot be put off any longer.

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#NobleSport

COVID-19: Brussels Police to block antilockdown paraders

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Police evacuated one square in front of the main railway station, where some of the protesters were football supporters from Belgian clubs.

Police in the Belgian capital said Sunday they have detained scores of people in a bid to prevent two banned demonstrations against measures to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

“We are above 200 arrested at the moment,” mainly around the rail stations in Brussels, a police spokesman said around midday.

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Dozens of people, responding to calls on social media for protests against measures to check the coronavirus, also began gathering at the Atomium, a landmark building in Brussels.

“We remind you that there is no authorisation to come and demonstrate this Sunday,” the Brussels police said in a Tweet.

BRUSSELS: Police in the Belgian capital said Sunday they have detained scores of people. Photo/BRECORDER

“Those people who still intend to demonstrate in Brussels today will be approached, dissuaded from staying and if necessary” detained, it said.

Belgium has registered one of the highest death rates in the world during the coronavirus pandemic, but restrictions closing bars and restaurants since October along with a nighttime curfew have brought infection and hospital cases down in the past two months.

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The country last week banned non-essential trips in and out of the country until March 1.

Belgium’s neighbour the Netherlands was rocked by anti-curfew riots last week.

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#Newsworthy

Voice of Nigeria DG laud Buhari’s internal democracy promotion

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The VON boss praised the President for upholding the internal democracy and hence, bidding goodbye to imposition of candidates in APC.

Noble Reporters Media gathers that the Nationwide APC Membership Revalidation would kick-off simultaneously on Tuesday nationwide.

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He said: “One salutes President Buhari for promoting the doctrine of internal democracy, hence bidding goodbye to imposition of candidates in the APC during primary elections.

“I am glad that the President gave life oxygen to Section 7 (viii) of the APC constitution, which states interalia, ‘To promote and uphold the practice of internal democracy at all levels of the party’s organisation.

“Taking cognizance of upholding this core tenet of democracy and repositioning our great party, the President proclaimed that, `No more crowning from Abuja downward. Let the people know this and appreciate it that they are in charge of their constituencies and they are in charge of the party.

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“Without any incentive, they must come out and defend the party at any level so that we, you and the party will feel secure and comfortable because the old-time of putting hands in the pocket is over because the money is no longer available’’.

Okechukwu further said that Buhari, as the foremost leader of APC, has undoubtedly raised the Red-Flag to ubiquitous ‘Food is Ready Politicians (FRPs)’ in Abuja, and surreptitiously reap offices meant for hardworking party members.

According to him, to avoid the huge loss inflicted on our great party by the crass imposition of candidates in the 2018 primary elections, we must avoid the Red-Flag of undue endorsement of candidates.

The VON D-G said: “For the avoidance of doubt, if not for crass imposition of candidates in our party in 2018, the stocks of our sister political party, the PDP, could have crashed badly.

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“Imposition in APC elevated the fortunes of PDP, that today, they can afford to bandy fake news, make noise, fail to pay the bailout funds and subvert eloquent policies of the President like the Social Investment Programmes, and Executive Order 10’’.

Okechukwu called on APC leadership at all levels to strictly adhere to the President’s Red-Flag proclamation that the party style and structure should no longer operate from Abuja downwards but from the ward level upwards.

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#Newsworthy

Over 4,000 Pro-Navalny protesters held as police intercept protest.

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Russian authorities issued several warnings against participating in the unauthorised rallies and threatened criminal charges against protesters.

Police detained more than 4,400 people across Russia and blocked off the centre of Moscow on Sunday in a massive clampdown on protests demanding the release of jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny.

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Thousands of protesters defied government warnings to rally from Vladivostok to Saint Petersburg in a second weekend of mass demonstrations over the arrest of President Vladimir Putin’s most prominent opponent.

Navalny was detained at a Moscow airport in mid-January after flying back to Russia from Germany where he was recovering from an August poisoning he blames on the Kremlin.

The 44-year-old anti-corruption campaigner is being held in a Moscow detention centre and faces years of potential jail time in several different criminal cases, despite calls from Western governments for his release.

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In moves not seen in years in Moscow, authorities locked down the centre of the capital Sunday, with hundreds of police lining the streets, central Metro stations closed and the movements of pedestrians restricted.

Protesters who had hoped to gather outside the headquarters of the FSB security service were instead scattered to various parts of the city as organisers made last-minute changes in locations.

AFP journalists saw dozens of protesters detained and taken into police vans.

US condemns ‘harsh tactics’

Several thousand were seen marching throughout the city centre, but it was unclear amid the chaos how many people took part in the demonstration.

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Independent monitor OVD-Info said at least 4,407 people had been detained across the country, after reporting more than 4,000 detentions during similar protests on January 23.

It said at least 1,365 were detained in Moscow and 962 in Saint Petersburg, as well as 82 journalists across the country.

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US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Twitter condemned “the persistent use of harsh tactics against peaceful protesters and journalists by Russian authorities for a second week straight.”

The Russian foreign ministry hit back, accusing the United States of “gross interference” in its affairs and of using “online platforms controlled by Washington” to promote the protests.

Protesters chanted “Freedom!” and “Putin is a thief!” as they marched through Moscow, braving bitter cold and snow.

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Several hundred protesters eventually gathered outside the Matrosskaya Tishina prison where Navalny is being held. Dozens were detained outside the complex.

“It’s almost embarrassing that the state is so afraid of us,” 31-year-old protester Elisaveta Dementieva told AFP at the Moscow demonstration.

Golden toilet brushes

Many protesters carried gold-painted toilet brushes in reference to a video released by Navalny’s team alleging that Putin had been gifted a $1.35 billion property on the Black Sea coast, which among other luxurious goods featured toilet brushes costing 700 euros ($840) apiece.

As night fell in Moscow protesters began to head home, with some wondering whether the demonstration would have any impact.

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“It’s true we are asking ourselves if these protests will really do any good,” said Nadia, a 21-year-old student. “It will take more for Navalny to be freed. And even more for Russia to be free.”

Several thousand people demonstrated in the second city of Saint Petersburg, despite police closing off the main thoroughfare Nevsky Prospekt and shutting Metro stations, an AFP journalist reported.

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Police were seen roughly detaining several protesters, including one young man who was left with a bloodied head.

Earlier, protesters had rallied in cities including the Pacific port of Vladivostok, where dozens escaped the police on the frozen waters of the Amur Bay and danced in a circle.

Several thousand were also reported to have protested in the Siberian city of Novosibirsk despite temperatures dropping to -20 degrees Celsius (-4 degrees Fahrenheit).

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Navalny’s wife detained

The head of Russia’s Human Rights Council, Valery Fadeyev, called Sunday’s events a “provocation” and said they have “nothing to do with protecting rights”, news agency TASS reported.

Navalny is due in court several times next week, including on Tuesday on charges of violating the terms of a 2014 suspended sentence.

His team has called for supporters to gather outside the courtroom.

Navalny’s wife Yulia posted a picture of her family on Instagram on Sunday, urging supporters to make their voices heard.

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“If we remain silent, then tomorrow they will come for any one of us,” she wrote.

Navalny’s team said Yulia was detained by police shortly after she announced her arrival at Sunday’s rally on social media.

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#Newsworthy

NUJ declare 3-days mourning over Asher’s death

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The Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) has declared three days of national mourning over the death of Mrs Victoria Asher, Chairman of the union in Benue.

The NUJ National President, Mr Chris Isiguzo, made the declaration in a statement signed by the Assistant National Secretary, Mr Midat Joseph, on Saturday in Abuja.

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Isiguzo said the National Secretariat of the union received with sadness, the news of sudden death of its chairman in Benue, Asher, who died on Saturday morning at the Federal Medical Centre, Makurdi, from child birth complications.

“To this end, we have declared three days national mourning, starting from Monday, Feb. 1 in honour of the deceased.

“The State Councils are advised to suspend all activities within the period in honour of Asher.

“The late chairman will be remembered for her dedication, hard work and unwavering commitment to the journalism profession.

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“While mourning the passing of our dear colleague, we pray for God to comfort her family, the media community as well as the Benue council,” Isiguzo said.

Recall with Noble Reporters Media that Asher, who worked with the state-owned radio station, became the NUJ chairperson, Benue council in December, 2018 following the death of David Ukuma, who held the post for two months before he died.

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#Newsworthy

Abubakar heads to Chile as Dodo emerges Buhari’s new ADC.

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Customarily, the ADC attends to the personal needs of the president and other matters regarding his functions as head of state and commander-in-chief of the armed forces.

President Muhammadu Buhari has accepted the nomination of Lt. Col. Yusuf Dodo as his Aide-De-Camp (ADC).

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Noble Reporters Media learnt that the appointment of Dodo followed the nomination of Buhari’s out-going ADC, Col. Mohammed Abubakar to attend a five-month course in Santiago, Chile from March 8 to July 30.

The course is a prerequisite for Abubakar’s next promotion to the rank of brigadier-general, expected to be carried out in the last quarter of this year.

Abubakar will by the end of February be the longest serving ADC to a civilian president, having served in that position for almost six years.

He is also the second longest serving ADC in the history of the Nigerian armed forces after late Col. Walbe, who served Gen. Yakubu Gowon for nine years.

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NoRM learnt that the 48-year-old ADC, who has served in various army units and formations within and outside Nigeria at different capacities recommended his successor by nominating three seasoned and trustworthy army officers to Buhari.

The president picked Dodo, an Academy Adjutant of Nigerian Defence Academy.

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Dodo is to under-study Abubakar for three weeks to learn the ropes of his new assignment, a presidential source told NoRM‘s known correspondent.

The office of ADC to the president statutorily provides security and protects the president and his family in conjunction with other security agencies.

Officers, who are nominated to be ADC to the president must be loyal, have high morale standard, impeccable character and have courage and be knowledgeable.

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The presidency source described Abubakar as a tested and experienced commander, instructor, security manager and a talented investigator.

The new ADC was born on March 28, 1973 at Wusasa in Zaria.

”His father is from Kano State and his mother is from Edo State. He has an impressive educational background,” the source added.

Abubakar attended the Nigerian Military School, Zaria from 1985 to 1990, where he developed early leadership skills.

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The new ADC, a fellow of the Nigerian Army Resource Centre, is married to Hajiya Fatima Musa Daura. He is blessed with children.

The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, when contacted confirmed the appointment of the new ADC.

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#Newsworthy

COVID-19: Emmanuel Macron says ‘non’ to lockdown.

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French President Emmanuel Macron has gambled by not imposing a third national lockdown to contain Covid-19 — against expectations and the advice of his most senior scientific advisers.

The 43-year-old leader opted to tighten existing restrictions on travel and shopping at a cabinet meeting on Friday after a week in which his government appeared to be preparing the public for new stay-at-home orders.

The move keeps France on a different path to its biggest neighbours Britain and Germany at a time when the more contagious UK variant of the disease is spreading rapidly across Europe.

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“Everything suggests that a new wave could occur because of the variant, but perhaps we can avoid it thanks to the measures that we decided early and that the French people are respecting,” Health Minister Olivier Veran told the Journal du Dimanche (JDD) newspaper on Sunday.

He said that, unlike in other countries, the number of new coronavirus cases had barely increased last week, while other indicators — such as traces of the virus detected in waste water — were also reassuring.

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The French government put in place a strict night-time curfew after a second lockdown ended in December, while deaths of around 250 a day are currently less than a quarter of the number in Britain or Germany.

Macron was reported to have been concerned about the impact of another lockdown on a country struggling with the mental health consequences of nearly a year of restrictions, as well as a deep recession.

“Even when the path is narrow, you need to take it,” the JDD reported Macron as telling ministers at the meeting on Friday.

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“When you’re French, you have everything you need to succeed providing you dare to try.”

Images of anti-lockdown riots in the Netherlands last week are also said to have weighed on his thinking.

But by going against the instincts of health minister Veran and others on his coronavirus scientific council, Macron is taking personal responsibility for a decision with potential to backfire.

“Why Macron Said No” read the front-page headline of the JDD, making it clear who should be credited — or blamed — in the future.

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Election campaign – Many experts, citing studies since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, argue that early lockdowns are the most effective because they tend to be shorter and reduce the overall economic damage.

“The situation is serious, but we think that we have the means to beat what’s going to happen. It’s worth a try,” an unnamed presidential adviser told Le Monde newspaper.

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Another made clear to the same newspaper that another lockdown had not been ruled out, meaning a change in approach was possible.

“If, in the coming days, we witness an incredible increase in the epidemic, then we’ll act,” the adviser said.

At stake, however, is the government’s credibility and the clarity of its messaging, just 15 months from a presidential election in which Macron is expected to face off against resurgent far-right leader, Marine Le Pen.

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As he bids for a second term, the French leader’s record on managing the coronavirus crisis — including the lockdowns, economic support packages and the vaccination campaign — will come under fierce scrutiny.

A poll published Sunday in the JDD showed only 36 percent had confidence in the government’s handling, while 64 percent did not.

Using an expression first used during the tumultuous inter-war years of France’s Third Republic, Le Pen has accused the government of acting “like a dead dog floating along in the water”.

“We have the feeling of being knocked around without ever anticipating, without ever looking ahead, without ever taking the decisions that allow us to avoid, when it’s possible, lockdown number 1, number 2 or number 3,” she said last week.

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But in arguing against lockdowns, it may be that both Macron and Le Pen are out of step with public opinion.

A poll Sunday in the JDD, showed that 60 percent would be in favour of a lockdown, but most want schools and non-essential shops to stay open.

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#Newsworthy

Gov’t frowns at TI corruption rating of Nigeria.

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Also the launch of the Nigerian Port Process Manual (NPPM) was ultimately aimed at sustaining Nigeria’s improvement in the Ease of Doing business.

The Federal Government says Nigeria’s low rating in the 2020 Transparency International Corruption Perception Index (TI-CPI) do not truly reflect the great strides by the country in its fight against corruption.

This is contained in a statement issued in Abuja on Sunday by the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed.

The minister said Nigeria’s anti-corruption agenda which had placed great emphasis on corruption prevention measures and the building of integrity systems remained on course.

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He said the implementation of the various reforms, especially in the Ease of Doing Business was expected to yield positive outcomes in the country’s corruption perception and other relevant assessments in the next 12 to 24 months.

”For instance, following the release of the 2019 TI-Corruption Perception Index, the government initiated reforms to improve on Nigeria’s Ease of Doing Business indices.

“This is because we found that up to 40 per cent of the country’s corruption perception survey indices relates to business processes and general public service delivery processes.

“Government’s swift action has led to major reforms in the processes at our ports and business process points,” he said.

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Mohammed said in addition to placing more emphasis on corruption prevention measures and building of integrity systems, high profile corruption cases were currently under investigation and prosecution.

He said the emphasis on preventive mechanisms was in response to various local and international reviews and evaluation that Nigeria had gone through, including those from the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC) and even from the TI-CPI.

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”In response to these evaluations, a number of significant policies have been instituted to enhance transparency and accountability and prevent corruption.

“Even in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, a number of key transparency and accountability policies were developed and are currently being implemented,” the minister said.

He listed such policies to include the launch by the ICPC, of the National Ethics Policy which addressed integrity issues on all sectors of the polity.

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He said the policy was directly linked to a key pillar of the National Anti-Corruption Strategy (NACS) which was Ethical Reorientation; efforts by the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) to energise the Code of Conduct for Public Officers (CCPO).

”While we expect the results from these reforms to speak for us in due course, we are also taking measures to improve our data collection and retrieval on these issues to reduce the current under-reporting of our ongoing corruption reduction measures,” he said.

He said having analysed the 2020 TI-CPI rating for Nigeria, the Federal Government was interrogating a number of issues and discrepancies that had been observed in the rating processes.

“These included some data sources in which Nigeria’s scores have remained flat over the past 10 years, reflecting no improvement, decline or fluctuation.

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”This is very improbable given the nature of behaviour of variables which are normally influenced by a variety of factors (which is the
reason they are called ‘variables’).

“In this case, the corruption scores would have been affected by changes in the size and structure of the public sector over the past 10 years.

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“Changes in policies and personnel and systems over the period including, for instance, process automation, etc.

“There is therefore, the need to verify that there is no transposition of figures from year to year due to absence of current data,” the minister said

The minister added that different assessments on the same indicators (for instance corruption in the bureaucracy) by different rating institutions had generated different scores and different rankings across the ranking agencies.

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”There is the need to understand why these variations occur and consequently the robustness of the methodology and validity of data,” Mohammed said.

He added that there were missing assessments for Nigeria in the data entries where the country had performed well in previous CPI calculations, like the African Development Bank Country Policy and Institutional Assessment.

”There is the need to understand why scores for this assessment have not been recorded for Nigeria for the past two years.

“This has had the effect of reducing Nigeria’s cumulative score and ranking relative to countries with those scores included in their CPI for both years,” he said.

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In the recent TI CPI released on Friday, Nigeria scored 25/100 which was one point less than its 26 points in the previous year.

It said Nigeria was now 149 out of 180 countries, a record that was three steps lower than its rank of 146 in 2019.

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#Newsworthy

Family of Daniel Pearl to query Pakistan murder acquittals

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Lawyers for Pearl’s family have argued that Sheikh played a crucial role in organising the abduction and detention of the journalist before ordering his captors to kill him.

The family of American journalist Daniel Pearl will challenge an order by Pakistan’s top court to release a British-born militant acquitted of masterminding his kidnapping and brutal murder in 2002.

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The Supreme Court on Thursday upheld the acquittal of Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh and three other men last year, triggering outrage from the United States.

Pearl was the South Asia bureau chief for The Wall Street Journal when he was abducted and beheaded by jihadists in Karachi in January 2002 while researching a story about Islamist militants.

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“The Pearl family intends to file a review petition against the illegal and unjust majority decision,” parents Ruth and Judea Pearl said in a statement that was tweeted by the murdered journalist’s friend and former Wall Street Journal colleague Asra Nomani.

They join both the federal government and Sindh provincial government of which the city of Karachi is the capital in launching a plea for the latest verdict to be reviewed.

Defence lawyers, however, say he was a scapegoat and sentenced on insufficient evidence.

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“It is beyond belief that Ahmad Omar Sheikh — who after 18 years of lies, had finally admitted in a handwritten letter to the court his role in the kidnapping for ransom of Daniel Pearl — has been given a clean slate and let loose once again upon the world to continue his international terrorist activities,” Pearl’s family said in the statement.

The four men — who have been detained under the emergency orders of Sindh government since their acquittal last year — still have multiple court challenges linked to their case.

Sheikh, a British-born jihadist who once studied at the London School of Economics and had been involved in previous kidnappings of foreigners, was arrested days after Pearl’s abduction.

He was later sentenced to death.

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US President Joe Biden’s administration was “outraged by the Pakistani Supreme Court’s decision”, White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters last week.

The new US Secretary of State, Antony J. Blinken, on Friday spoke with Pakistan’s foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, pressing his “concern about the potential release of these prisoners”, a spokesman for the US Department of State said.

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#Newsworthy

Dapo Abiodun inaugurates N20,000 cash grant for 3,500 Ogun women

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Faruq said that the ministry was also working tirelessly to address some of the socio-economic problems that bedevilled all parts of the country.

The Federal Government on Saturday inaugurated its N20,000 cash grant each for 3,500 rural women drawn from the 20 local government areas (LGAs) of Ogun.

The Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Hajiya Sadiya Faruq, performed the ceremony at the Obas Complex in Abeokuta.

Faruq, represented by the Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Bashir Alkali, said the grant was designed “to give a lifting hand to some of the poorest and most vulnerable citizens”.

She said that President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration had paid priority attention to the welfare of the poor and vulnerable since its inception, in spite of its revenue challenges.

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The minister said: “Poverty reduction has become a major objective of governments all over the world.

“This informed the president’s decision to initiate the National Social Investment Programme (NSIP) as a strategy for poverty reduction and enhancement of social inclusion.

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“The NSIP is adjudged as the largest social protection programme in Africa with over one billion dollars earmarked annually to cause positive change in the lives of the poorest and most vulnerable.

“Since its introduction in 2016, the social investment programme has impacted positively on the lives of the poor and vulnerable in Nigeria.

“It is on record that so far, over 12 million households have benefitted from NSIP interventions.

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“This includes the payment of a monthly Conditional Cash Transfer of N5,000 to one million indigent Nigerians to protect them against economic shocks and lift them out of poverty.

“No fewer than 1.1 million micro and small business owners accessed loans to boost productivity, increase income and reduce poverty under the Government Enterprise Enhancement Programme (GEEP).

“The N-Power programme provided temporary income-generating opportunities for 500,000 unemployed youths.

“Also, about 8.6 million primary 1-3 pupils in public schools are currently receiving one meal per day under the National Home-Grown School Feeding Programme.

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“It is in view of this, that Buhari graciously approved the expansion of the programme to touch more lives and lift more Nigerians above the poverty line.

“With the creation of this ministry in 2019, these programmes have been restructured and revamped to respond to the peculiarities of different parts of the country.

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“This is to ensure that the right beneficiaries are targeted and to enhance impact on the beneficiaries,” she said.

According to her, the grant for rural women was introduced in 2020 to sustain the social inclusion agenda of the president.

“It is consistent with the president’s national vision of lifting 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in 10 years,” she said.

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The minister said that no fewer than 125,000 rural women across the 36 states of the country and the Federal Capital Territory would benefit from the “one-off” grant.

She advised the beneficiaries to commit the money into any small business venture they deemed fit to improve their living standards.

Faruq expressed optimism that the grant would increase the income and productive assets of the beneficiaries.

“I am optimistic that with the support and cooperation of the Ogun government and other stakeholders, we will remain on track to improving the livelihood of the ordinary Nigerian,” she said.

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Mrs Abike Adebayo, a beneficiary from Odeda LGA, commended the federal government for the gesture.

Adebayo said the grant would go a long way in enhancing her poultry business.

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#Newsworthy

Only AbdulRazaq is best for Kwara – Saheed Popoola

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He added that it was disgraceful that a body headed by Gov. Sani Bello of Niger had to be constituted to resolve the ongoing crisis in Kwara.

A member of the Kwara House of Assembly, Saheed Popoola, says only Gov. AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq can resolve the crisis in the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state.

Popoola spoke to NoRM‘s known Media on Sunday in Ilorin while reacting to the crisis rocking the party in the state.

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The lawmaker representing Balogun/Ojomu Constituency in the House of Assembly said he was present at the Abuja meeting convened recently by the National Secretariat of the APC to resolve the crisis.

“I was invited by the National Secretariat of the party.

” Specifically, the Secretary wrote to Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the Minister of Information and Culture, as an individual and he wrote to Bashir Bolarinwa, the Caretaker Chairman, to come in company with 10 other people.

“He then wrote to the governor to come with 11 other people making 12; Alhaji Lai Mohammed was with us making 12.

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“ I can say it categorically that the problem we have is the governor, our governor is supposed to be a leader of the party, but he is not really taking up that responsibility.

“I believe as a leader, he should bring everybody on board, he should be fair and just to everybody, but he is not doing that.

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“Immediately we won the election, the governor formed AA, AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq forum, and these people are now overriding the party’s structure and machinery.

“Who will allow that? We suffered for this party, up till now we are suffering for the party, so we would not allow anybody to just take over and rubbish our efforts.

“Those people the governor thought are sympathising with him as members of the AA group want to lord themselves over every other person within the party and that is where the problem is.

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” This is the genesis of the problem,” Popoola said.

He, however, said the governor could still resolve the crisis in the party by embracing constitutionalism and due process.

” Everything that we are talking about on the crisis still stops at the table of the governor; if he wants it to be settled, it will be settled immediately.

“If the governor doesn’t want it to be settled, there is nobody on earth that will settle it.

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“If I am to meet the governor today, I will tell him the same thing, I will say, my governor, you are the problem of the party,” Popoola said.

“ Gov. Bello told us that he has his own problems, it is a disgrace to us that it is the governor of Niger that is calling us together.

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“If I were the governor, on that day, I will rise up and say, Mr Governor of Niger, Secretary of the party, I thank all of you, I think at this point, we will go back home and settle our matter.

“Who knows what will happen in 2023? It is only God that knows, but I know that it is the governor that can resolve this crisis.

“He has the knife and the yam,” he said.

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Popoola also said there was no affirmation of Abdullahi Samari to replace Bolarinwa as caretaker chairman of the party in the state.

“The Niger state governor said categorically that any letter given to Samari must have been done in error because the body set up had not reported back to the National Working Committee of the party.

“What he really meant was that we should reverse back to the status quo,” he said.

But when contacted, the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Rafiu Ajakaye, declined comments on the allegations against AbdulRazaq, saying he would not comment on political issues.

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The spokesman of the party in the state, Tajudeen Folaranmi, also told a correspondent on phone that he was busy at a forum and would respond in a message later.

He, however, had yet to respond as at the time of going to press.

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#Newsworthy

COVID-19: South Africa orders 20 million Pfizer vaccines.

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A first shipment of AstraZeneca/Oxford jabs produced in India is due to arrive on Monday, with injections expected to start two weeks later.

South Africa has secured 20 million doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech coronavirus vaccine, the health minister told a Sunday newspaper.

Africa’s worst virus-hit country has yet to begin vaccinating its population against Covid-19, stirring criticism over slow procurement and lack of strategy.

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Health Minister Zweli Mkhize told The Sunday Times that 20 million additional vaccines had been ordered from US drugmaker Pfizer.

“These vaccines are secured and awaiting manufacturers to submit final agreements with details of delivery dates and exact amounts,” said Mkhize.

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The health ministry did not respond to several AFP requests for comment.

The new Pfizer order will complement 12 million vaccine doses from the WHO-backed Covax facility, nine million Johnson & Johnson shots and 1.5 million AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccines — pushing the total supply secured so far to over 40 million.

South Africa aims to vaccinate 67 percent of the population, or 40 million people, by the end of the year.

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Some vaccines will be provided by Covax and the African Union, while others will be directly purchased from suppliers.

“We are reasonably comfortable that what we have paid for, signed for and are negotiating for will cover the numbers that we are looking to vaccinate,” Mkhize assured.

The minister added that storage of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, which needs to be kept at -70 degrees Celsius, would not be an issue.

“We have some capacity, mostly in academic institutions. There are now companies coming forward with storage and transit solutions,” he said.

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South Africa’s coronavirus outbreak has been accelerated by a new variant thought to be more contagious than earlier forms and relatively more resistant to existing vaccines.

To date the country has recorded more than 1.4 million infections and almost 45,000 deaths.

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#Newsworthy

Marcus Rashford faces Racial Abuse on Social Media

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Manchester United star Marcus Rashford has become the latest high-profile footballer to be subjected to racist abuse on social media.

It comes after United condemned similar abuse directed towards Anthony Martial and Axel Tuanzebe, while Rashford’s England teammate Reece James was sent vile racist messages on Instagram – all of which came over the course of the past week.

Rashford wrote on Twitter:

“Humanity and social media at its worst. Yes I’m a black man and I live every day proud that I am.

“No-one, or no one comment, is going to make me feel any different. So sorry if you were looking for a strong reaction, you’re just simply not going to get it here.

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“I’m not sharing screenshots. It would be irresponsible to do so and as you can imagine there’s nothing original in them.

“I have beautiful children of all colours following me and they don’t need to read it. Beautiful colours that should only be celebrated.”

Rashford’s story strengthens calls for tighter moderation on social media platforms in order to prevent the sort of anonymity that enables individuals to freely spout hatred without fear of consequence beyond a suspension or ban.

The Premier League continues to stand against racism, with clubs taking a knee ahead of every match in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement. But more than six months since those shows of support began, we are still seeing players subjected to racist abuse on a far too regular basis.

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James called for change after revealing the extent of the abuse he received, while Premier League chief Richard Masters has asked social media companies to take more responsibility for the hatred shared on their platforms.

He said: “We are in regular dialogue with social media companies, challenging them to do more against discriminatory abuse on their platforms. We want to see swifter removal of offensive messages and improved identification and banning of offenders.”

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#NobleSport

Ole Gunnar provides update on Brandon Williams’ Manchester United future.

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The defender gained some vital match fitness in that win, and he’ll be hoping to have proven his worth to Solskjaer’s first team in the process.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has confirmed that defender Brandon Williams will not leave Manchester United on loan in the January transfer window, despite Newcastle United and Southampton previously expressing an interest in the 20-year-old.

The left-back looked set to leave Old Trafford this winter in order to gain some much-needed experience at the top level, and a deal was believed to be close with the Magpies.

But after Man Utd’s 0-0 draw with Arsenal on Saturday, Solskjaer stated that Williams ‘will stay’ at the club, while announcing that no other players will be heading out of the exit door in the winter window.

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“Brandon [Williams] will stay,” Solskjaer confirmed.

“He played Under-23s against Liverpool today, he needed match fitness. I don’t have any other players that we think will be going. It’s a relentless season and we go again on Tuesday.”

Williams was part of Man Utd’s crushing victory over Liverpool Under-23s on Saturday, when they romped to a 6-3 win, with new signing Amad Diallo scoring a brace – including a cheeky panenka penalty.

Williams fell out of the side towards the end of the 2019/20 campaign, and then dropped even further down the pecking order when Alex Telles joined in the summer from Porto.

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Now behind both Telles and Luke Shaw in the race for the starting left-back spot, it appeared that a move to another Premier League club would be his only option to earn some regular playing time, but the Norwegian boss has closed the door on that possibility.

It appears he is wary of injuries leaving them short of quality alternatives across the pitch, so Williams must wait patiently for his chance to arrive, and grab it with both hands if it does.

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#NobleSport

Thomas Tuchel admits Chelsea contract length uncertainty

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Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel has confessed he had to talk himself into accepting the Blues’ offer of an 18-month contract.

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The former Paris Saint-Germain boss was earmarked as a preferred replacement for Frank Lampard, who was sacked after leading Chelsea on a run of four wins in 11 games in all competitions, and he was flown in to take charge in the 0-0 draw with Wolves last time out.

During negotiations with Tuchel, reports on the length of his contract varied wildly. Some said four-and-a-half years, but those who said 18 months were eventually proven correct, and Tuchel confessed that he was taken aback by the proposal initially.

“I want to be very honest with you, at first it was a concern, I was a little like ‘oh, why 18 months?’” Tuchel confessed (via Goal). “And after one minute I thought ‘what does it change?’

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“What does it change? If they give me four-and-a-half years, they [could] sack me anyway. If they are not happy with me, they will sack me anyway. And if they gave me four-and-a-half years they would put in a clause that when they sack me, they’ll pay me.

“So where can I be sure that I’ll be there for four-and-a-half years? You cannot. That is the truth at this level. What is the role right now of the coaches? Are we in charge of the whole team and the transfers as well, or not, are we totally free in everything we do or not? Are we only responsible for bad results or also good results? What is this role and where do we find ourselves in that?”

Recently, Chelsea have made a habit of offering their managers short-term contract, with Roman Abramovich seemingly growing tired of shelling out enormous compensation fees to part ways with his staff.

While the Russian’s ruthless, trigger-happy approach to managers has left many concerned in the past, Tuchel insisted that he is not focused on the risks of such a perilous position.

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“I decided not to worry too much, be brave enough to take on this adventure, because it was absolutely clear that I want to do it and I don’t want to miss the chance,” the German added.

“It’s also my character to believe more in the chances than the risks. There is absolutely, for me personally, nothing to be afraid of. I’m very grateful to do this job at this level and I don’t want to waste my time thinking about risks.”

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#NobleSport

Lionel Messi eye-catching Barcelona contract ‘revealed’

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News of Messi’s contract comes just days after the club revealed their 2019/20 financial report, which showed Barcelona are facing gross debts of £1bn.

Barcelona star Lionel Messi’s current contract will see him earn £492m by the time it expires next summer, making it the biggest deal in the history of sports.

Messi became the highest-paid footballer in the world when he penned the four-year deal with Barça back in November 2017, with club officials more than happy to pay up to prevent him from walking away for free in 2018.

Rumours in the infamous Football Leaks drama in 2018 shed some light on just how much Messi would earn from that contract, but El Mundo now claim to have a copy of the paperwork which reveals the true extent of Messi’s earnings.

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It’s stated that Messi is guaranteed to take home £122m each season, but that’s not even the craziest part. There was a £102m bonus handed to the Argentine simply for signing the contract, on top of a £69m loyalty bonus he gets every season for staying at the club.

The deal also includes bonuses like more than £520,000 for winning FIFA’s The Best award, something he did in 2015 when it was known as World Player of the Year, and £3.1m if Barcelona reach the Champions League final.

With a total value of £492m, Messi’s contract is now understood to be the biggest in the history of sports, beating the £402m ten-year deal inked by Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes and boxer Canelo Alvarez’s £292m five-fight deal with DAZN.

It’s prompted claims that Messi has ‘ruined’ Barcelona – something El Mundo go along with in their headline – but presidential candidate Victor Font has hit back at the idea that Messi has run the club into the ground.

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“Leo Messi has earned every euro paid to him by Barca,” Font wrote on Twitter. “He has not ruined us. On the contrary. He is the best player in history and we want him to stay with us forever more.”

Instead, others have pointed to the combined £384.5m which was spent to sign Philippe Coutinho, Ousmane Dembele and Antoine Griezmann, none of whom have really justified their lofty price tags at Camp Nou.

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#NobleSport

Mikel Arteta gives update on Aubameyang return.

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Aubameyang’s absence was particularly felt in the stalemate with the Red Devils, and Arsenal will be hoping that he is able to rejoin the playing squad ahead of Tuesday’s trip to Wolverhampton Wanderers.

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta has confessed he is unsure when Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will return to action, with the striker now in self-isolation after leaving the country last week.

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The 31-year-old travelled to Southampton with the Gunners on 23 January for their FA Cup tie, but he left the squad to be with his sick mother, meaning he has had to miss their last three matches.

Arsenal were able to beat Southampton in the league on Tuesday and held Manchester United to a draw on Saturday without Aubameyang, but Arteta is obviously keen to have his star striker back at his disposal.

And speaking about Aubameyang’s possible return, the Spanish coach admitted he is unsure when the forward will be allowed to return to Premier League action, as he is now serving a period in self isolation after leaving the country.

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“We have to follow the rules and the protocols right now and the protocols say he cannot be involved at the moment,” Arteta told the Evening Standard after the goalless draw with United.

“He had a family issue he had to attend to and these are the consequences to that.”

But Arteta stated he ‘doesn’t know’ of any expected return date for the Gunners’ captain, and ensured that the club will ‘follow the rules and the protocols’ over his period in quarantine.

“I don’t know. We are working with the Premier League and government about it. He’s been looking after his family and now he’s in quarantine.

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“We have to respect that and the doctor is managing the situation currently.”

The Gunners face Wolves in midweek before travelling to take to on Aston Villa on Saturday.

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#NobleSport

NYSC coordinator task youths on good use of Social Media

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Mr Kehinde Aremu, Coordinator of National Youths Service Corps(NYSC), in Anambra has called on youths to use their access to the internet for positive purposes
and maximise the advantages of Information and Communication Technology.

Aremu gave the advice at the Digital Skills sensitisation programme for the 2020 Batch B Stream 2 Corps members at the Mbaukwu/Umuawulu Permanent Orientation camp in Awka South Local Government Area of Anambra on Saturday.

He said that it was worrisome that many youths were using the internet for fraudulent purposes and that most of them have had the law of the country to contend with.

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“It is worrisome how youths use the internet and social media for fraudulent purposes, the present generation has more access to the internet than at any other time.

“I call on you to take advantage of the vast opportunities available in ICT to provide solution and make money on the web, that is what the ‘Digital Skills’ is all about,” he said.

Aremu warned corps members against embarking on avoidable travel especially long distance journeys.

He said that there had been observed proliferation of made up medical reports which were targeted at facilitating their travel out of the state.

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He told them that Anambra was safe and peaceful while urging them not seek relocation unless there was genuine health reason to do so.

“You are advised to stay back and offer diligent service to the fatherland, the governor is aware you are here and has provided adequate security in the 21 local government areas of the state,” he said.

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#Newsworthy