Queen writes letter to Gareth Southgate praising England team’s ‘spirit and pride’

The Labour leader, Sir Keir Starmer, also wished the team success and commended the players for being “role models”.

The Queen’s praise for the team’s conduct will serve as a ringing endorsement of Mr Southgate’s managerial style. He has encouraged players to do “positive things” which could “help to change or influence society”.

It culminated last week with the team pledging to make a “significant” donation to the NHS from their prize money if they win.

Despite some criticism, his team has taken the knee before Euro matches in a show of opposition to racism.

Mr Southgate used his final press conference to urge fans to be “respectful of the opposition”, warning how booing during the Italian national anthem could backfire by actually “motivating” Italian players.

He also said that it was “fantastic” to get letters from the Queen and Mr Johnson “and that recognition that [we have] all gone about this in the right way. [There have] been opportunities to make history every time we’ve played, it seems.”

Southgate added: “We’re in a final and we’re here to win… Everything is important, how we have represented people, and we are pleased that legacy has been there, but now we want to go and bring the trophy home for everybody.”

The wife of England captain, Harry Kane, has also written to her husband saying she cries when she considers how “proud you’re making us all and what you’re doing for the country.”

Kate Kane, 28, published a letter which reveals she “used to laugh” when he boasted as a youngster that one day he would become England captain. GMnewshub


It’s blackmail, students never swore to oath of secrecy – Premiere Academy

The management of the Premiere Academy in Lugbe area of Abuja, on Sunday, faulted the claims by the Coalition of Gender Based Violence Responders that its students had sworn to an oath of secrecy on many issues, including the death of a 14-year-old SS1 student, Keren-Happuch Akpagher.

The institution also picked holes in the allegation that it was one of the schools engaged in sexual harassment, which culminated in Keren-Happuch’s death.

The acting Principal of the school, Chris Akinsowon, was responding to allegations by the leader of the coalition, Lemmy Ughegbe, during a press conference held in Abuja on Thursday and attended by Keren-Happuch’s mother, Vivien Akpagher.

Ughegbe had alleged that a preliminary report of the autopsy conducted on the deceased by the doctor appointed by the police, Dr Desmond Okonkwo of the Maitama General Hospital, revealed that she was raped.

The activist had challenged the school management to a media dialogue to discuss the alleged rape and death of Keren-Happuch and other cases of sexual molestation, which he claimed the organisation had the records of and which the school was allegedly covering up instead of handing paedophiles over to the police.

But Akinsowon said in the event that any form of sexual assault happened to the deceased in the school and leading to her death, the management would join hands with all relevant security agencies to prosecute such a person in line with the laws of the land.

He maintained that the autopsy result had yet to come out, stressing that it was part of the investigation the school insisted must be done, adding that Premiere Academy was earnestly awaiting the result.

“The autopsy result is not out yet. It is a part of the investigation process the school insists must be allowed to take its course. We earnestly await the result and plead that nothing should be said to pre-empt whatever the outcome may be,” he stated.

Speaking about the staff member of the school, who was allegedly sent on an indefinite suspension and later dismissed, Akinsowon said it was “based on careless talk with a student as part of our commitment to making the school safe for our students and earning the confidence of our parents.”

He described reports that the students had sworn to an oath of secrecy as very disturbing, stating, “How can secondary students take an oath of secrecy? This is nothing but blackmail and an attempt to divert the minds of the public from the truth.” Punch


What Depay said after scoring his first Barcelona goal

New Barcelona signing, Memphis Depay, has reacted after scoring his first goal for the club on Saturday evening at the Estati Johan Cruyff.

Depay, who was officially unveiled on Thursday, thanked his teammates after scoring his first goal for the club, adding that he felt amazing playing for the Catalan club.

The Netherlands international scored his first Barcelona goal in their 3-1 win against Girona in a pre-season friendly tie on Saturday evening.

Depay came on as a substitute and scored the final goal from the penalty spot.

“It feels amazing to play in this shirt,” Depay told Barcelona ‘s official media channels.

“It was tough, the first minutes in the match, but I really enjoyed it. The teammates helped me.”

He added, “I hope to bring a lot of creativity. I always try to find the spaces between the lines of defense, in addition to goals and assists.

“Starting here is good, but I am sure it will be incredible at the Camp Nou. I will try to transmit my energy to the team. It is an impressive feeling to be with the fans.” Dailypost 


BBNaija: I’m married with a kid – Tega

Big Brother Naija housemate, Tega has revealed she is married.

The 29-year-old disclosed this during the introductory session with the other housemates on Sunday night at the garden.

According to her, She is married with a 4-year-old son.

“My marriage will be four years in August. My husband proposed to me on a football pitch.

“I also have a 4-year-old son.”

Twenty-two housemates will compete for the duration of 72 days for the prize money worth N90m. Dailypost 


Vatican discloses property portfolio as historic trial threatens to expose London secrets

A once-powerful Catholic cardinal and nine others stand trial at the Vatican this week in an embezzlement scandal that allegedly saw charity funds used in a ruinous London property venture.

Ex-cardinal Angelo Becciu, who served as the equivalent of a papal chief of staff for Pope Francis before being fired last year, has been charged with crimes including embezzlement and abuse of office.

It is the first time a cardinal has been indicted by Vatican criminal prosecutors and Becciu, 73, will be the headliner of a trial set to last months.

The defendants face jail time or stiff fines if found guilty.

The alleged graft will have enraged Francis, 84, who has vowed all-out war on corruption and has increased oversight of the Vatican’s finances, dogged for decades by scandal.

Tuesday’s hearing is expected to be purely technical and the trial, held in a makeshift courtroom in the Vatican Museums, may be adjourned to after the summer break.

It was not clear whether Becciu, stripped of his red biretta, will be present.

It follows a two-year probe into how the Secretariat of State — the key department in the Vatican’s central administration — managed its vast asset portfolio and, in particular, who knew what about a disastrous €350m ($415m) London investment.

‘Substantial losses’ 

Two London-based Italian financiers were involved in buying the 17,000-sq metre building — a former Harrods warehouse in Chelsea intended for conversion into luxury apartments.

Gianluigi Torzi and Raffaele Mincione are charged with embezzlement, fraud and money laundering.

The building’s purchase at an inflated price meant “substantial losses for the Vatican, and dipped into resources intended for the Holy Father’s personal charitable work”, the Holy See said before the trial.

The first part of the purchase happened while Becciu was No. 2 at the Secretariat of State, and in charge of the purse strings.

Between 2013 and 2014, the Secretariat of State borrowed over $200m, mainly from Credit Suisse, to invest in Mincione’s Luxembourg fund. Half went to buying part of the London property.

The rest was for stock market investments, but Mincione used it for high-risk ventures. The Holy See, which had no control over where the money went, tried to pull out in 2018.

Taking control

Torzi was brought in and tasked with brokering the purchase of the rest of the building and cutting ties with Mincione — but he instead allegedly joined forces with him.

He arranged for the Holy See to give Mincione £40m (€48m; $55m) for the shares in the part of the London building it did not already own.

But Torzi then allegedly inserted a clause into the paperwork which gave himself control of the property. He is accused of demanding 15 million euros to relinquish control.

Mincione and Torzi were helped, prosecutors claim, by Enrico Crasso, a former Vatican investment manager, and employee Fabrizio Tirabassi, both of whom face a series of charges including fraud.

Embarrassingly for Francis, among those standing trial are two men previously tasked with regulating Holy See finances, including the former head of its financial regulator, Swiss lawyer Rene Bruelhart.

‘The Cardinal’s lady’

Becciu has been charged with embezzlement and abuse of office over the purchase of the London property.

He has also been charged in relation to donations totalling over €800,000 he is accused of making to a charity run by his brother.

Becciu is also linked to defendant Cecilia Marogna — dubbed “the Cardinal’s lady” by the Italian press — accused of pocketing money earmarked for freeing captive priests and nuns abroad.

Prosecutors claim the top hierarchy in the Vatican — including pope ally Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Becciu’s boss — were in favour of the London venture, without realising what was going on.

Becciu, who has denied any wrongdoing, says he is the victim of a plot.

The Vatican published for the first time Saturday its annual budget for a key department managing property and investments, just days before the start of a high-profile trial over a London investment.

The 2020 budget showed that the Administration of the Patrimony of the Holy See (APSA) owns 4,051 properties in Italy and some 1,120 properties in London, Paris, Geneva and Lausanne.

One of those, a former Harrods warehouse in London intended for conversion into luxury apartments, is at the heart of a trial opening in the Vatican next week over alleged embezzlement of charity money.

The purchase by the Vatican’s Secretariat of State nearly a decade ago led to huge losses. Pope Francis handed control of the Secretariat’s investments to APSA last year after the case came to light.

Juan Antonio Guerrero, head of the Vatican’s Secretariat for the Economy, said the tiny city state was making unprecedented efforts to be open about its finances as part of Francis’s war on corruption.

“We come from a culture of secrecy, but we have learned that in economic matters, transparency protects us more than secrecy,” he said as the budget was released.

The trial is expected to look into whether the London scandal could be traced to corruption in the top rungs of the hierarchy, or too few checks on those performing the complex financial transactions.

Guerrero said measures had since been put in place that would make it “very difficult for what happened to happen again”.

The budget showed 14 percent of Vatican properties administered by APSA are rented at market rates, with the money going to fund Vatican work and to charity.

The remaining 86 percent — largely rented at below-market rates — are used by Vatican offices or provides housing for Catholic cardinals and current and retired Vatican employees.



COVID-19 third wave : NCDC records 69 deaths

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has said that it has recorded 69 deaths from the COVID-19 pandemic in 11 weeks.

The health agency, which made this known via its verified website on Monday, added that the country’s active cases now stand at 4,180, with the majority of the infected people in stable condition.

According to the NCDC, 216 new cases of the infection have been reported as of July 25.

It stated that the country did not record any COVID-19 related death on Sunday and the total fatalities so far stood at 2,132.

The health agency further revealed that of the 216 new cases, 108 were reported in Lagos and 96 in Akwa Ibom.

“One patient was discharged on Sunday after recovering from the virus.

“Out of a total of 171,111 positive infections confirmed in the country, 164,789 patients have been discharged.

“Also, the total number of COVID-19 deaths from May 1 to July 25 is 69,” the NCDC said. Dailypost 


Africa: Policeman Shoots Student For Not Wearing Mask In DR Congo

A Democratic Republic of Congo policeman has shot a student who was not wearing a mask while filming on the streets of the capital, witnesses said on Sunday.

“Our friend Honore Shama, a student in the faculty of arts at the University of Kinshasa, was filming a video as part of his acting practical work requirement,” Patient Odia, a friend who was present at the confrontation, told AFP.

“A policeman told him to wear a mask during the filming.”

“Despite his (Shama’s) explanations and after having showed him a mask, the policeman, who was expecting to be offered money, became infuriated, accused him of resisting and shot him at point-blank range.”

Other witnesses told a similar story to the popular Top Congo radio as well as several online news sites.

The policeman responsible has fled and the city’s police are searching for him, the head of Kinshasa police, General Sylvano Kasongo, told AFP.

“Police have detained two police officers, present during the incident provoked by their irresponsible colleague… as well as the head” of a local police station, he said.

“The search continues to find the fugitive policeman,” Kasongo said.

Wearing a mask is obligatory in DR Congo, with transgressors fined 10,000 Congolese frances (five dollars, four euros).

In Kinshasa, police are regularly accused of harassment and of pocketing the mask fines they collect.

DR Congo has registered 47,786 Covid-19 cases and 1,021 deaths since the start of the pandemic.

Vaccinations have been halted in the country since July 10, because the AstraZeneca vaccines in stock passed their expiration date.



Tunisia: President Kais suspends parliament, dismisses prime minister

Tunisian President Kais Saied announced Sunday the suspension of the country’s parliament and the dismissal of Prime Minister Hichem Mechichi following a day of protests against the ruling party.

Car horns sounded after Saied made the announcement following an emergency meeting at his palace.

Earlier, thousands of Tunisians had marched in several cities protesting about government failures in the North African nation and crippling coronavirus rates.

In the capital Tunis, hundreds of protesters had gathered in front of parliament, shouting slogans against the Islamist-inspired ruling Ennahdha party and premier Mechichi, with the crowd call for the “dissolution of parliament”.

Tunisia has been overwhelmed by Covid-19 cases, including more than 18,000 people who have died in a country of around 12 million.

Protests were also reported in the towns of Gafsa, Kairouan, Monastir, Sousse and Tozeur.

“The constitution does not allow for the dissolution of parliament, but it does allow for its work to be suspended,” the president said, citing Article 80 which permits such a measure in case of “imminent danger”.

Saied said he would take over executive power “with the help” of a government headed by a new chief appointed by the president himself.

He also said that the immunity would be lifted for parliamentary deputies.

Despite a decade passing since the 2011 revolution which overthrew dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, Tunisia remains prone to chronic political turmoil that has stymied efforts to revive crumbling public services.

The country’s fractious political class has been unable to form lasting, effective governments.

Since Saied was elected president in 2019, he has been locked in a showdown with Mechichi and parliament speaker Rached Ghannouchi.

Their rivalry has blocked ministerial appointments and diverted resources away from tackling Tunisia’s many economic and social problems.



BBNaija: My first boyfriend died in 2019 – Angel

Big Brother Naija, BBNaija housemate, Angel has revealed she was depressed at some point in life before the reality show.

Angel said this on Sunday night while giving a brief introduction about herself to fellow housemates.

According to her, she got depressed after her first boyfriend died in 2019.

She, however, did not disclose what led to his death.

The 21-year-old said: “My ever first boyfriend died in 2019 and it took a toll on my mental health. I started self harming .

“My quest in Finding a place in the world is one of the reasons I ended up here.

“His death got me and I was depressed for sometime but I thank God I’m here.

“Coming to Big Brother made me realize my life is not stick and gave me hope.”

She, however, added that she is single now and ready to be in a relationship. Dailypost 



As Muslims across the world mark Eid-el Kabir, Governor Abubakar Sani Bello has harped on peace and unity amongst Nigerians. 

Governor Sani Bello disclosed this after observing two Rakat eid pray along with other Muslims faithful at the Minna Eid Ground. 

He called on Nigerians to pray fervently for peace and especially for the security agencies so that they restore normalcy to the country. 

According to him, most parts of Nigeria is being bedevilled and remained optimistic that Almighty Allah will bring peace back to the Nation. 

The governor congratulated Muslim Ummah and Nigerians for observing a peaceful celebration, praying that Allah rewards all accordingly. 

Earlier, former head of state, Gen Abdulsalami A. Abubakar while congratulating Muslims on the occasion pray to Allah to touch the minds of bandits and kidnappers to desist from their ungodly acts. 

Gen Abubakar prayed for peace and tranquillity in the country. 

Other personalities that were are the Eid Prayer included the state Deputy Governor, Alh Ahmed Muhammad Ketso, Secretary to the State Governor, Ahmed Ibrahim Matane, former state governor,  Mu'azu Babangida Aliyu, Emir of Minna, Alh. (Dr.) Umar Farouq Bahago, some members of the state executive council members, top government functionaries among others.
Chief Imam of Minna Central Mosque, Mallam Ibrahim Isah Fari led the Eid prayers and thereafter preached the sermon. 

In the spirit of the celebration, Governor Sani Bello in the company of Gen Abdusalami and others paid a Sallahvisitt to the former head of state, Gen Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida at his Hiltop Residence. 

Mary Noel-Berje, 
Chief Press Secretary to 
the Niger State Governor

Mike Adenuga: The man, his role in Africa’s telecommunications industry

With ownership of the third largest telecommunications business in Nigeria boasting about 55million subscribers (according to Forbes), Mike Adenuga sealed his place in the sands of time and forever revolutionised operations in the Nigerian telecommunications space.

Globacom received its first license in 1999. Later revoked, the company was re-issued another license in 2003 after a government auction. Globacom introduced the per-second billing in voice calls at a time when many called it impossible and that has today become the model for all telecoms industry players in Nigeria.

The telecoms giant also launched services into Benin Republic in 2008 and has continued its spread across West Africa (into Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire), with more licences currently being prospected in other West African countries. In 2015, Mike Adenuga made a takeover bid to purchase Ivorian mobile telecom’s operator Comium Côte d’Ivoire for $600 million.

Nigeria’s second-richest man, Mike Adenuga built his fortune in oil and telecoms. Today, Globacom Limited or Glo as it is fondly called operates as a telecommunications service provider, offering international and voice calling, SMS, high-speed internet, ADSL for homes, and fixed landline services, as well as other telecoms solutions. Globacom, as of the time of writing this article, serves customers in the United Kingdom, Nigeria, Benin Republic and Ghana. Nairametrics


Nigerian: Troops kill more Boko Haram fighters, arrest scores of informants

Troops of Operation Hadin Kai have killed three Boko Haram terrorists and arrested many of their fighters, informants and logistics suppliers in recent battles in the North East theatre of operation.

The Director, Army Public Relations, Brig.-General Onyema Nwachukwu, disclosed this in a statement in Abuja on Monday.

Nwachukwu explained that the troops of 151 Task Force Battalion eliminated the terrorists in an ambush operation on their crossing point along Banki Junction – Miyanti road, while others escaped with gunshot wounds.

“The troops also recovered 27 rounds of 7.62 mm (Special) ammunition, three AK 47 rifle magazines and a black fragmental Jacket from the suspects. They are currently undergoing preliminary investigations.”

Nwachukwu further reported that troops of 7 Division Garrison in conjunction with Civilian Joint Task Force have on July 17, tracked and arrested Boko Haram informants and logistics suppliers at Lawanti and Gongolun Communities of Jere Local Government Area of Borno.

The Army spokesperson said the suspects had confessed to having been working as informants for the terrorists, whom they provide with information on troops’ movements, locations, deployments, strength, the calibre of weapons and other activities.

He said they also admitted to have supplied the terrorists with basic logistics for their daily survival, ranging from Petroleum Oil and Lubricant (POL), drugs, mosquito nets, kolanuts, recharge cards and foodstuff. Dailypost


ATM Cameras Reveal How 3 Nigerians Stole N580 Million COVID-19 Unemployment Benefits In U.S

Three Nigerians have been caught by the security cameras of Automated Teller Machines in the United States of America for engaging in more than $1.4 million (about N580 million) jobless benefits of the states of Arizona, California, North Carolina, and Maryland.

A California court by US prosecutors accused the trio – Quazeem Owolabi Adeyinka, 20; Ayodeji Jonathan Sangode, 22; and Olamide Yusuf Bakare for filing unemployment remunerations more than 200 times from the four states.

Nigeria Abroad reports that the three were caught in connection with pandemic unemployment benefits fraud as they used two addresses in Hyattsville, Maryland.

Agents have established that Adeyinka and Sangode are currently the residents of one of the addresses, which has been another place of illegal activity including unemployment fraud for much of 2020 and 2021. Bakare, in a separate case in 2019, had appealed guilty to identity fraud.

The 26-page prosecution file seen by Nigeria Abroad says the Nigerians also applied for fraudulent unemployment entitlements in the states of Hawaii, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Texas, Washington, and West Virginia.

However, unlike the other four states, these states do not necessarily use Bank of America (BofA) to disperse their Unemployment Insurance (UI) funds and thus their benefit payouts would not be reflected in the BofA records submitted to the investigation.

BofA records show that 175 prepaid cards worth more than $1.4 million total—$158,000 of which came from Maryland—were sent to the suspects’ addresses.

The funds were depleted through purchases, transfers, and ATM cash withdrawals conducted in California, Florida, and Maryland, according to prosecutors. ATM withdrawals alone amounted to over $989,000.

According to BofA’s footage, Sangode’s Hyundai (MD license plate 3DS7400) was surveilled at a BofA drive-through ATM located at 3413 Kenilworth Ave, Hyattsville, Maryland. The driver of the vehicle resembles Sangode based on a comparison using his MD driver’s license photo, the indictment says.

BofA records also revealed that, on or about July 19, 2020, an individual appearing to be Adeyinka based on a comparison with his driver’s license photo, withdrew $1,000 cash using BofA-EDD debit card ending in 2312 in the name of K.K. at the Landover Hills Bank of America ATM located at 7515 Annapolis Road, Hyattsville, Maryland.

More BofA records show that, on or around July 5, 2020, an individual appearing to be Bakare based on his driver’s license photo withdrew cash using the 7990 BofA-EDD debit card at a BofA ATM located at 10200 Lake Arbor Way, Mitchellville, Maryland.

There were sequences of other such withdrawals at different dates involving different volumes, in which all three individuals were identified.

Angie Barnett, president of the Better Business Bureau of Greater Maryland, said some sources estimate this type of fraud has gone up 3,000% since the coronavirus pandemic, and catching and prosecuting these criminals is tough.

"The bad people are capitalizing on the grief and the fragility of our society. We're emotional, we're fragile and our financial care and concern, and scammers take advantage of that," Barnett said. Saharareporters 


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