General news

12 international players available in new NBA draft



Twelve international players, led by prospective top-10 pick Sekou Doumbouya of Guinea, remained in the National Basketball Association (NBA) draft at the final deadline to withdraw on Tuesday.

Doumbouya, an 18-year-old power forward who plays for Limoges in France, is rated the ninth-best draft prospect by both sports broadcast channels ESPN and CBS.

The NBA released the names of 47 international players who withdrew from the draft Tuesday.

Also, two U.S. college players pulled out of the draft, North Carolina State junior Sacha Killeya-Jones and TCU sophomore Kouat Noi.

May 29 was the deadline for U.S. college players to withdraw from the draft while retaining NCAA eligibility.

Two other international players who are potential first-round selections also remain in the draft.

ESPN and CBS have Goga Bitadze, a Georgian national who plays in Montenegro, as the 17th-ranked prospect.

ESPN has Luka Samanic, a Croatian who plays in Slovenia, listed as the 28th-rated prospect.

The NBA draft is scheduled for June 20 at Barclays Centre in New York.

The full list of international players who are early-entry candidates for the 2019 NBA Draft, with height and birth year, as supplied by the league:

Goga Bitadze, Buducnost (Montenegro), 7-0, 1999

Yago Dos Santos, Paulistano (Brazil), 5-10, 1999

Sekou Doumbouya, Limoges (France), 6-8, 2000

Matas Jogela, Dzukija (Lithuania), 6-6, 1998

Marcos Louzada Silva, Franca (Brazil), 6-5, 1999

William McDowell-White, Baunach (Germany), 6-5, 1998

Adam Mokoka, Mega Bemax (Serbia), 6-5, 1998

Joshua Obiesie, Wurzburg (Germany), 6-6, 2000

David Okeke, Fiat Torino (Italy), 6-8, 1998

Luka Samanic, Olimpija (Slovenia), 6-10, 2000

Deividas Sirvydis, Rytas (Lithuania), 6-7, 2000

Yovel Zoosman, Maccabi Tel Aviv (Israel), 6-7, 1998


(Edited by Olawale Alabi)


More reactions trail removal of NBA stamp, seal



Reactions have continued to trail the removal of Nigerian Bar Association stamp and seal as a requirement on court processes, with some lawyers on Wednesday saying it was beyond attorney-general of the federation’s powers.

The Lagos-based lawyers said that the removal by the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Mr Abubakar Malami (SAN), could fuel activities of fake lawyers.

They spoke in interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria in Lagos.

NAN reports that the AGF amended the Rules of Professional Conduct (RPC) for Legal Practitioners, 2007, removing the requirement for the stamp and seal on court processes.

Nigerians have been reacting to the development, with some saying that the removal has weakened the powers of Nigeria Bar Association (NBA).

NAN also reports that sale of the stamp and seal was one of the major sources of NBA’s revenue.

With the amendment of the RPC, the use of the stamp is no longer necessary.

Mr Ademola Owolabi, a Lagos-based lawyer, said that removing the use of stamp and seal on court processes would make it easier for fake lawyers to operate in courts.

He said that RPC was aimed at eliminating activities of fake lawyers, among other things.

He noted that a former AGF had in 2007 amended the RPC and brought about the use of NBA stamp and seal on court processes which was geared toward eliminating activities of fake lawyers in courts.

Owolabi said the amendment then was widely accepted.

“Stamp and seal is not a destination, it is a journey toward identifying lawyers.

“It makes it easier to detect fake lawyers.

“When a lawyer files a process in court, the stamp and seal will be used to check at the Supreme Court if the lawyer is genuine.

“The use of stamp and seal of NBA is a very important aspect of the legal practice which should not be removed,” Owolabi advised.

Another lawyer, Mr Chibuikem Opara, said the AGF had no legal powers to solely amend the rule.

“The clear reading of the Legal Practitioners Act shows that the making and reviewing of the Rules of Professional Conduct is the function of the General Council of the Bar.

“The AGF heads the council, but that does not make him the council.

“The act cannot be performed by the AGF unilaterally.

“Is the amendment not retrogressive in nature,” Opara asked.

However, a former Chairman of NBA, Ikorodu Branch in Lagos State, Mr Bayo Akinlade, said that lawyers would not suffer from removal of NBA stamp and seal.

“We were called to the bar and not NBA.

“Some people have sought to distort history to keep lawyers under their control.

“Let’s face the real issues and think outside the box,” he told NAN.

The former chairman said that NBA was not about the sections that were deleted.

“It is our lack of foresight that makes us worry over irrelevant provisions such as the ones purportedly removed.

“We need to rebrand ourselves as lawyers. The RPC, as it is, cannot work for the times we are in.

“Lawyers must restructure and reorganise,” Akinlande advised.

Edited By: Remi Koleoso/Ijeoma Popoola
Source: NAN
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Southern Kaduna crisis: MURIC urges FG to deploy security task force



The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC), an NGO, has called for the deployment of joint security task force to stop the incessant killings in Southern Kaduna.

The Director of the group, Prof. Ishaq Akintola, gave the advice on Monday in a statement.

Akintola said, the measures will go along way in curtailing the ethno-religious killings and other forms of criminality been perpetuated in the area.

The group however condemned the recent killings of some youths in Zangon Kataf, which according to him violated the peace agreement initiated by the Agwa Atyap, Sir Dominic Yahaya between the Atyap and Hausa/Fulani.

MURIC strongly condemns these killings and attacks on law-abiding Muslims. We call for stronger presence of security agents.

 ”It is high time soldiers are drafted to Southern Kaduna to enforce law and order. 

”We advocate long term military presence until the inhabitants of Southern Kaduna learn how to peacefully coexist” he said.

He said, the group was formed to promote peace and dialogue.

”As an organization whose motto is ‘Dialogue, No Violence’, we frown at violence in all its ramifications.

” We are fully committed to a peaceful approach to the Southern Kaduna crisis, we therefore call on both parties to sheath their swords” he said.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that vice President Yemi Osinbajo, on Aug. 28,  assured that the Federal Government will not sweep the major issues underlying the conflict in Southern Kaduna under the carpet so as to effectively deal with the situation.

Osinbajo stated this during the virtual Nigeria Bar Association, NBA, Annual General Conference.

The Vice President identified the major issues to include, ‘ensuring justice, fixing economic marginalization and the prosecution of persons responsible for these killings, this is to ensure that the impunity doesn’t worsen.”

On the way out, he stated: “I have been involved since 2001, through the work of the Macedonian initiative, an NGO that focused on providing relief materials to displaced per

”There have been judicial commissions and all sorts, but the problem remains. So, there is the need to address the underlying issues.

The fact is that we must prosecute persons responsible for these killings. ‘The mindless, callous killings in Southern Kaduna are heartbreaking. And again, we must condole those who have lost loved ones and those injured or who have suffered loss of property. These tragedies are unacceptable and they are avoidable.”

NAN also reports that the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) deployed additional special forces to southern Kaduna, to boost the ongoing fight against bandits and suspected ethnic militia who have been terrorising residents of the area.

The Air Officer Commanding, NAF Training Command, Air Marshal Musa Mukhtar, asked the team of security operatives, numbering 32 and trained in all aspects of counter-insurgency operations, to crush the bandits.

The deployment of additional troops comes as the military steps up operation to combat the rising cases of attacks by bandits and suspected ethnic militia in the area.

Also, on Aug. 14, the military deployed Special Operations Forces to curb the recent attacks and isolated killings in the southern part of Kaduna State.

The Coordinator, Defence Media Operations, Defence Headquarters, Maj.-Gen. John Enenche, said that troops of Operation Safe Haven (OPSH) had continued to intensify efforts aimed at securing lives and property in the area.

He said: “Particularly, Special Operations Forces have been deployed to the Joint Operations Area covering the various flash points.

”This move is expected to achieve the desired result with the provision of credible and actionable intelligence specifically from primary sources..

Edited By: Sadiya Hamza
Source: NAN
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Rockets’ player kicked out of NBA “bubble” for having guest in room



Rockets’ swingman Danuel House is the first player ejected from the “bubble” put in place by the National Basketball Association (NBA), organisers of the basketball league competition in the United States

“House had a guest in his hotel room over multiple hours on Sept. 8 who was not authorised to be on campus,” the league said in a statement.

House is leaving the bubble and not coming back.

House had sat out the Rockets’ last two losses to the Lakers this week while the league investigated him and teammate Tyson Chandler, who was later cleared.

The guest was a woman who worked in the bubble as a coronavirus tester, according to multiple reports.

Players are not supposed to have any guests, even teammates, in their bubble hotel rooms.

The NBA busted House based on “door data,” presumably meaning House’s door opening and closing.

The woman, who like the rest of the virus testers does not live on campus, entered the Rockets’ hotel on Monday night and left hours later.

The Rockets, who are the only team staying in their hotel, trail the Lakers 3-1 in the West semi-finals.

Edited By: Olawale Alabi)
Source: NAN
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Players frustrated to be in ”bubble within a bubble” after positive COVID-19 test




New York, Sept. 1, 2020 A number of competitors at the United States Open have expressed their frustration, after they were moved into a so-called “bubble within a bubble”.

This was after they had been in contact with Frenchman Benoit Paire, who tested positive for COVID-19.

Tournament organisers quietly removed Paire from the draw on Sunday, with the Frenchman later confirming on social media that he had tested positive for COVID-19.

French players Adrian Mannarino, Kristina Mladenovic and Edouard Roger-Vasselin were subsequently placed under an “enhanced protocol plan”.

This is for “players who might have been potentially exposed” to the virus, and allowing them to continue competing in the tournament instead of withdrawing.

However, this has meant they have been barred from using any on-site player facilities.

Mannarino, who defeated Italy’s Lorenzo Sonego 6-1 6-4 2-6 6-3 on Monday, said the ATP had contacted him on Saturday night to say he needed to stay in his room.

He said he was informed that a player had tested positive for COVID-19.

On Sunday evening, he was told he would be allowed to compete but under a stricter protocol.

“I’m wondering at the moment if I might have the virus or not,” Mannarino told reporters. “I’ve been tested every day since we had the news and I’m going to be tested every day.”

He said the experience had caused him sleepless nights and left him mentally exhausted.

Mannarino added that he was relieved his close friend Paire was not experiencing any symptoms.

“We’re not 100 per cent (sure) that (Paire) got the virus here. But that’s a big probability because he’s been here for a while now, he’d tested negative many times,” Mannarino said.

Mannarino said they had played cards together during their time on site and estimated Paire had contact with “probably half of the draw”.

The incident echoes challenges leagues across North America have faced bringing sports back in the COVID-19 era, amid an outbreak that has killed more than 180,000 people in the United States

A spokesperson for the USTA told Reuters it built the “enhanced protocol plan” in consultation with the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

While the USTA declined to comment on the identity of the player who tested positive, the spokesman said contact tracing had begun to “determine all of the player’s movements and interactions.”

Mladenovic complained that she now felt like she was stuck inside a “bubble within a bubble”.

Those who had been in contact with Paire are being tested for COVID-19 every day rather than every four days.

The Frenchwoman, who beat American Hailey Baptiste 7-5 6-2, said the enhanced protocols made it “very tough” to compete.

“I’m allowed to play my match, literally allowed to do nothing else. I don’t know how we’ll keep going,” she said.

“It’s mentally very tough, I still have to find a way and discuss with the USTA and organise things in order for me to be at least competitive and have equipment to keep working.”

She said she has tested negative twice since the news broke and had not spent much time with Paire prior to his positive COVID-19 test.

“Just the fact that I spent 30 minutes with him being part of that big table of people and of course we had masks on,” she said. “It’s pretty tough for me to accept that.”

Mannarino, however, pointed out that the standards set in place at the hardcourt major did not constitute a bubble at all.

He noted that accredited personnel go in and out of the grounds regularly.

What is obtainable is unlike what happens at the NBA “bubble” at Walt Disney World, where players, coaches and members of the media live on site.

Tennis players at the Open have the option of living in private housing outside of the tournament hotels.

“Here at the United States Open, we’re not in a bubble. We’re in a safe environment —- which is different,” Mannarino said.


Edited By: Olawale Alabi) (NAN)

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