Foreign

Navalny’s condition improving, police guard stepped up -Der Spiegel

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Russian opposition politician Alexei Navalny has made further progress in his recovery after what Germany said was poisoning with a Soviet-style Novichok nerve agent, and is able to speak again, Der Spiegel magazine reported on Thursday.


 The Kremlin critic is being treated in Berlin’s Charite hospital after falling ill on a Russian domestic flight last month.

 Germany says Navalny was the victim of an attempt to kill him and has demanded an explanation from Russia.

Moscow has said it has seen no evidence that Navalny, 44, was poisoned.

Der Spiegel magazine said Navalny’s police protection had been stepped up in the expectation that he would be receiving more visitors as his condition improved.

“Der Spiegel and Bellingcat understand that Navalny can speak again and can likely remember details about his collapse,” the magazine wrote, crediting its investigative website partner.

“His statements could be dangerous for people behind the attack.”

There was no immediate comment by the hospital treating Navalny.

A Berlin police spokesman had no comment. Navalny’s spokeswoman, Kira Yarmysh, tweeted that “the story is exaggerated and contains many factual inaccuracies” in apparent reference to the Spiegel piece.

The Navalny affair has driven tensions between Russia and the West to new heights, with some Western governments believing Navalny was poisoned by Russian security services with top-level backing.

United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Wednesday there was a “substantial chance” his poisoning was ordered by senior Russian officials.

Berlin faces calls for a sharper response to the poisoning. Some opposition politicians have called for the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline from Russia to Germany, a Kremlin flagship project, to be cancelled, even as it nears completion.

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte was quoted on Thursday as saying Russian President Vladimir Putin had told him he would set up a committee to investigate Navalny’s case and “was ready to collaborate with the German authorities”.

Edited By: Fatima Sule/Obike Ukoh
Source: NAN

https://nnn.ng/navalnys-condition-improving-police-guard-stepped-up-der-spiegel/

Sport

Pirlo says Suarez unlikely to join Juventus after all

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Juventus are unlikely to sign FC Barcelona and Uruguay forward Luis Suarez afterall, coach Andrea Pirlo said on Saturday as he prepared for the start of the new Serie A season.


Pirlo, who replaced Maurizio Sarri last month in spite of having no senior coaching experience, will make his debut at home to Sampdoria on Sunday.

He said Juventus needed a centre-forward but that there was not enough time for Suarez to obtain an Italian passport.

Juventus have already used up their limit of two non-EU signings following the arrival of Brazilian midfielder Arthur and United States international Weston McKinnie.

They will only be able to add Suarez if he can obtain an EU passport.

“We’re all waiting for a centre-forward. There is still a long way to go in the transfer window. So, we’re calm and happy, we’re not in a hurry,” said Pirlo.

“Suarez is difficult because it takes a long time to get the passport. So, it’s unlikely that it could be him”.

Although Suarez is eligible for Italian naturalisation as his wife is a citizen of the country, the process usually takes several years.

This is a detail overlooked in much of the speculation linking him to the Serie A champions over the last month.

Pirlo said Cristiano Ronaldo and Dejan Kulusevski would share the role against Sampdoria.

“Neither Kulusevski nor Ronaldo will start in the classic centre-forward position. They will try to move according to what the other does,” said Pirlo.

“There will be rotations to allow as many people as possible to arrive in the area.”

The 41-year-old said he was relaxed ahead of the new season where he would be expected, at the minimum, to bring Juventus a tenth successive Serie A title.

“After a month of Juve I have no doubts, but many certainties,” he said. “I have fitted in well, now the pitch will do the talking.”

(
Edited By: Olawale Alabi)
Source: NAN

 

 

https://nnn.ng/pirlo-says-suarez-unlikely-to-join-juventus-after-all/
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Sport

Reed grabs halfway lead, as Tiger misses cut at United States Open

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Former Masters champion Patrick Reed put his sterling short game on display to grab the United States Open halfway lead on Friday.


Tiger Woods finished well outside the cut in windy conditions which humbled many of the game’s top golfers.

Reed only hit five fairways on a tough scoring day at Winged Foot but made a slew of stunning recoveries.

He then needed only 25 putts en route to an even-par 70 that left him at four under on the week and one shot clear of Bryson DeChambeau (68).

“I feel like the game is where it needs to be. I feel good,” said world number 10 Reed. “I just need to tighten a few things up here or there, but the short game is sharp, and when I play around a place like this, that’s what you need.”

Reed, who started the day one shot back of overnight leader Justin Thomas, grabbed the outright lead with a birdie on his final hole, the par-five ninth.

That was where his shot from a greenside bunker settled five feet from the cup.

Unlike the first round when 21 players finished under par in soft conditions, Winged Foot proved a much sterner test on Friday.

DeChambeau, Bubba Watson (69) and Hideki Matsuyama (69) were the only players from a 144-player field to break par.

DeChambeau, who has turned heads this year with his new physique and prodigious length off the tee, went out in the morning wave.

He muscled his way around a scorecard-shredding Winged Foot course like few others can.

The world number nine finished his round with a monstrous eagle at the par-five ninth hole where, after a 380-yard drive, he stuffed a pitching wedge to six feet.

“Confidence is at an all-time high right now, driving it well, iron play is fantastic, wedging is getting better each and every day, and I’m putting it like I know I can,” said DeChambeau, whose best major finish was a share of fourth place at this year’s PGA Championship.

Thomas (73), Spain’s Rafa Cabrera Bello (70) and Harris English (70) were all two shots off the pace heading into the weekend.

This was a tournament that was originally scheduled for mid-June but postponed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Masters champion Woods (77) missed the cut for the eighth time in his last 15 majors after a round during which he made five bogeys and two double-bogeys over a miserable 11-hole run.

“Physically it was frustrating that I didn’t drive the ball as well as I needed to,” said Woods.

“Iron play was pretty much the way it has been. It’s been good, and I finally putted well. But on this golf course it’s imperative that you hit fairways, and I did not do that.”

Phil Mickelson’s latest bid to complete the career Grand Slam of golf’s four majors fell apart as the six-times runner-up carded a 74

He missed the cut after posting one of the worst 36-hole scores of his major career.

Among the others to miss the cut were defending champion Gary Woodland, PGA Championship winner Collin Morikawa, and top-20 players Tyrell Hatton, Tommy Fleetwood, Matthew Fitzpatrick and Justin Rose.

(
Edited By: Olawale Alabi)
Source: NAN

 

https://nnn.ng/reed-grabs-halfway-lead-as-tiger-misses-cut-at-united-states-open/
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Visa Ban: FG says sanctioning electoral offenders disrespectful to Nigeria’s sovereignty

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The  Nigerian government has said it considers it disrespectful to the Sovereignty of the country for any outside country to apply punitive measures such as visas restriction on its citizens.


The Nigerian government made this known in a statement issued by Mr Ferdinand Nwonye, Spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Friday in Abuja.

The News Agency of Nigeria , reports that this comes as a response to the recent announcement of the United States and the United Kingdom to impose visa restrictions on those who undermine electoral processes.

The Nigerian Government said it was committed to providing all necessary logistic, financial and security support to the electoral process.

“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs wishes to state that the Nigerian government has taken note of the concerns of some of our partners, especially the United States and UK governments regarding the elections in Edo and Ondo States.

“They have also expressed their intentions to take punitive measures against those who decide to, in what they termed as, undermine democracy.

“It is important to highlight that the responsibility for the conduct of elections in Nigeria solely resides with the Independent National Electoral Commission and State Independent Electoral Commissions.

“The Federal Government, and especially the President, is committed to providing all necessary logistic, financial and security support to the electoral process.

“The President has continually urged all parties and contestants to peacefully conduct themselves before, during and after the elections, and supported patriotic non-governmental initiatives such as the Abdusalami Abubakar-led Peace Committee.

“Furthermore, it should be noted that there are ample provisions in our laws to sanction violators and perpetrators of electoral violence and fraud.

“It would be considered disrespectful of the sovereignty of Nigeria for any outside authority to sit in judgment over the conduct of our citizens and apply punitive measures such as visa restriction, unilaterally.

“While we appreciate the support and encouragement of our international partners such as the EU, we urge our equally valued partners such as the UK and United States to cooperate with our relevant agencies,” the government said.

The government called on the partners to support security agencies by providing them whatever concrete evidence of observed misconduct to allow our laws and regulations to take their course.

The Nigerian government also expressed solidarity with the government and people of the United States as regards their forthcoming election, which it hoped would be free from interference and violence.

Edited By: Abiemwense Moru/Donald Ugwu
Source: NAN

 

 

https://nnn.ng/visa-ban-fg-says-sanctioning-electoral-offenders-disrespectful-to-nigerias-sovereignty/
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Nigeria, EU envoys meet to resolve access to airspace, travel ban

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The Federal Government and envoys of the European Union (EU) on Friday in Abuja met to resolve the issue of access to airspace following the ban on some airlines by the Nigerian government.


The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the meeting is coming after the Federal Government opened its airspace on September 5.

The Federal government had banned some airlines, which included Lufthansa, Air France and KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Speaking to journalists at the end of the closed door meeting, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, said the meeting was at the instance of the EU envoys.

Onyeama said that the meeting also discussed the issue of access to the European space of passengers coming from Nigeria, stating that the Nigerian side was very keen on knowing what exactly applied to Nigerians.

He further said there was obviously some misinformation which made the situation altogether not very clear.

“We understand that this has created some concerns and tensions, so we are here to listen to each other, diplomatically and politely.

“And in a friendly manner to try and see how we can begin to resolve outstanding issues of concern on either side.

“So, what we have asked the European side, to let us have, is the detailed information on Nigerians that can access European space from Nigeria.

“So, which category of Nigerians can in this present time and with the release and restrictions announced by the EU are affected? Who are the people considered on essential travel?

“And what chances does an average Nigerian have to visit a European country from here?

“So, to give us that information so that every Nigerian will be in a position to know whether they can access the European space irrespective of the fact whether they have a visa or no visa.

“There are a lot of Nigerians who have long-term visas, two-year Schengen visa and so forth and clearly, not all of them are able or have to write now as it stand, to enter Europe. So, we want to have that information,”Onyeama stated.

Onyeama also said that the Nigerian side decided and pointed out that just as the EU reviews its policies every two weeks, the Nigerian Government is also doing same and also look into the policies during PTF meetings.

Ambassador Ketil Karlsen, Head of the EU Delegation to Nigeria, said the availability of flights from Europe to Nigeria was very essential due to the ongoing collaboration between the EU and Nigeria.

Karlsen also said the EU appealed to its partners on the Nigerian side to reconsider the possibility of having again, some of the larger air carriers from Europe, flying with Nigeria.

He added that Nigeria was never picked out, even as he said there was never a ban against flights coming from Nigeria to Europe.

“Nigeria was never picked out, there was never a ban against flights coming from Nigeria to Europe, there was never, as I see it, a retaliation or reciprocity at play here.

“Merely, what Europe has done is exactly the same that Nigeria has done namely, looking at very carefully, what essential groups of people should come in a time of crisis.

“And how can we provide protocols to handle that in terms of testing and isolation, if needed,”Karlsen said.

In his remarks, Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, said Europe is the strongest partner of Nigeria as far as the aviation sector is concerned.

Sirika said that whatever was done was not targeted at the EU and was subject to review.

NAN reports that in attendance from the Nigerian side were the Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire; Minister of State, Health, Senator Olurunnimbe Mamora; the National Coordinator of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19, Dr Sani Aliyu.

The EU delegation included the Ambassadors of Germany, Netherlands, and France.

Edited By: Remi Koleoso/Wale Ojetimi
Source: NAN

https://nnn.ng/nigeria-eu-envoys-meet-to-resolve-access-to-airspace-travel-ban/
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