Merkel warns US, Britain no longer reliable partners

German Chancellor Angela Merkel / AFP PHOTO / TOBIAS SCHWARZ

Europe "must take its fate into its own hands" faced with a western alliance divided by Brexit and Donald Trump's presidency, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Sunday.

"The times in which we could completely depend on others are on the way out. I've experienced that in the last few days," Merkel told a crowd at an election rally in Munich, southern Germany.

"We Europeans truly have to take our fate into our own hands," she added.

While Germany and Europe would strive to remain on good terms with America and Britain, "we have to fight for our own destiny," Merkel went on.

Special emphasis was needed on warm relations between Berlin and newly-elected French President Emmanuel Macron, she said.

The chancellor had just returned from a G7 summit which wound up Saturday without a deal between the US and the other six major advanced nations on upholding the 2015 Paris climate accords.

Merkel on Saturday labelled the result of the "six against one" discussion "very difficult, not to say very unsatisfactory".

The US president tweeted that he would reveal whether or not the US would stick to the global emissions deal — which he pledged to jettison on the campaign trail — only next week.

On a previous leg of his first trip abroad as president, Trump had repeated past criticism of NATO allies for failing to meet the defensive alliance's military spending commitment of 2.0 percent of GDP.

Trump also reportedly described German trade practices as "bad, very bad," in Brussels talks last week, complaining that Europe's largest economy sells too many cars to the US.

Sunday's event saw Merkel renew bonds with the Christian Social Union (CSU), Bavarian sister party to her own centre-right Christian Democratic Union (CDU), ahead of a parliamentary vote in September.

Polls show the chancellor, in power since 2005, on course to be re-elected for a fourth term.

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Chelsea Fans Blast Moses Over FA Cup Final Dive, Red Card

By James Agberebi:

Numerous Chelsea fans have expressed their disappointment with Nigeria international Victor Moses following his sending off for a dive in the Blues’ 2-1 FA Cup final loss to Arsenal at Wembley Stadium on Saturday, reports.

With Chelsea 1-0 down following Alexis Sanchez’s opener five minutes into the first half, Moses was sent off for a second yellow card in the 68th minute for going down inside the box without any contact from Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.

Chelsea equalised in the 76th minute through Diego Costa before Aaron Ramsey scored the winner three minutes later to land Arsenal their third FA Cup trophy in the last four seasons and a record 13th overall.

Reacting to Moses’ sending off, some of the fans took to their Twitter handles to vent their anger towards the 2016/2017 Premier League winner.

Roy Richmond @sherburn berated Moses for his actions after he was sent off.

“Moses threw away his black armband when he got sent off, the man is a disgrace and should be fined by Chelsea, hope he gets reprimanded,” Richmond wrote.

Raymond Nolan @raynolan1976 lamented Moses’ attempt to con the officials.

He wrote: “Victor moses threw himself on the ground, bad, sportsmanship. Threw his armband away in tunnell.
Total disgrace.”

El Patron @BelgianMaestro questioned Antonio Conte’s decision to play Moses.

He wrote: “It’s a disgrace that Moses has been in the team all season, a player not good enough for West Ham and Stoke starting for a top 4 team.”

Conte the Blue Alien @richiekay11 wrote: “I’m so much disappointed in this Chelsea team today.We lost and didn’t even try .Victor Moses didn’t do himself any good today. Terrible game.”

And on his part, Janique @janiqueisunique stated: “Terrible performance from us. Didn’t look up for it. And Moses chose the worst day to have his worst game of the season. C’est la vie.”

The post Chelsea Fans Blast Moses Over FA Cup Final Dive, Red Card appeared first on Complete Sports Nigeria.

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Nigeria’s greatness lies in its human capital, not oil

Oby Ezekwesili

A former Minister of Education, Dr Oby Ezekwesili, says Nigeria’s greatness will emerge through human capital development programmes for youths and not oil or solid minerals.

Ezekwesili said this in Abuja at “ SHIFT,’’ an annual youth programme of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG).

The SHIFT initiative uses unconventional ways such as dancing, singing, comedy, innovation and empowerment that youths could relate with to become Christians.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the programme, which attracted youths from the FCT, Plateau, Niger as well as Kaduna and Nasarawa States, had as theme “ Creativity Unleashed.’’

She said such programmes would give youths a platform to showcase their hidden talents that needed to be unleashed and unlocked.

The former minister , however, advocated that youths should be supported through public policy, right instructions and investment in education, health and other social services.

According to her, supporting youths will enable them to acquire skills needed for self reliance.

“The more we emphasise education, talents, diligence, values, the more we have youths that can face competition with the rest of the world.

“ Youths are the present leaders of the country; if we don’t prepare them to become people who are able to actualise their utmost potentials, what happens will affect them,’’ she said.

The National Youth Minister of RCCG, Pastor Precious Akingbade, urged youths to discover, develop and deploy their creativity to profitable ventures.

Akingbade advised them not to wait for the Federal Government to provide jobs for them when they could enroll in skills acquisition programmes.

“God in His wisdom has embedded into every man greatness; it is just for that individual to discover it, develop it and deploy it.

“In the process of deployment, opportunities would come and such an individual does not really need to wait for government jobs which are not just there.

“We have millions of young people who are just roaming around the streets today looking for white collar jobs but there are few individuals that I know that this programme has produced.

“They are doing well in the entertainment industry, in creative arts and they are making a lot of money and fulfilling their destiny in life,’’ he said.

The Regional Youth Pastor, Pastor Akin Meseko, , described `SHIFT’ as one of the largest gathering of youths in Nigeria and which had the blessings of the General Overseer of the RCCG Worldwide, Pastor Enoch Adeboye.

Meseko said that there were a lot of things God had deposited inside every man that was waiting to be discovered and unleashed.

He, however, called on youths all over the country to join others in discovering their talents and skills to improve their lots.

NAN reports that the youths at the occasion showcased different talents such as singing, dancing, drama and public speaking.

Original Article

Kerber first top seed to lose Roland Garros opener

Germany's Angelique Kerber reacts during her qualification round match against Russia's Ekaterina Makarova at the Roland Garros 2017 French Tennis Open on May 28, 2017 in Paris.Lionel BONAVENTURE / AFP

Germany's Angelique Kerber became the first top seed in French Open history to lose in the opening round when she was knocked out by Russia's Ekaterina Makarova 6-2, 6-2 on Sunday.

Before this year, the earliest exits suffered by a top seed were in the second round — Justine Henin in 2004 and Serena Williams in 2014.

Makarova goes on to face either Lesia Tsurenko or Kateryna Kozlova, both of the Ukraine.

"It's unbelievable to win and to do it on my first appearance on Philippe Chatrier court as a singles player after nine years of coming to Paris," said Makarova, a former semi-finalist at the Australian and US Opens.

"At the end of the match, it was really tough as I knew she wouldn't give it to me — I had to win it."

It was the second successive first round exit at Roland Garros for world number one Kerber, the reigning US Open champion.

Last year, she fell to unseeded Kiki Bertens of the Netherlands.

It also continued a miserable spell for the German 29-year-old on clay this year.

She lost her opener in Stuttgart where she was the defending champion, suffered a thigh injury in the third round in Madrid and lost first time out in Rome.

On Sunday, she fell a double break down to trail 5-1 to her Russian opponent who she was facing for the 12th time.

Makarova, now ranked 40 after reaching a career high of eight, was a double break ahead again for 3-0 in the second set.

Four successive breaks of serve followed before Makarova saved seven break points in the crucial eighth game to cause the upset.

Original Article

Spanish record climber tops Everest twice in a week: team

On Monday last week Jornet claimed a new speed record for an ascent without fixed ropes or supplemental oxygen when he summited the north face of Everest in 26 hours from base camp.

Spanish mountaineer Kilian Jornet has reached the summit of Mount Everest for the second time in a week, his team said Sunday.

Jornet scaled Everest's north face, starting from a camp at 6,500 metres on the Tibet side of the mountain, in 17 hours late on Saturday, said a statement from the team.

"I’m so happy to have made the summit again! Today I felt good, although it was really windy so it was hard to move fast," he said in the statement.

"I think summiting Everest twice in one week without oxygen opens up a new realm of possibilities in alpinism and I’m really happy to have done it."

On Monday last week Jornet claimed a new speed record for an ascent without fixed ropes or supplemental oxygen when he summited the north face of Everest in 26 hours from base camp.

The 29-year-old had hoped to set a record for the fastest round trip — from base camp to the summit and back again — but was hit by stomach problems on his descent and stopped at a higher camp to recover.

AFP could not independently verify his claim. Climbs are usually only confirmed by the authorities once the mountaineer returns with proof such as summit photos and GPS data.

The China Tibet Mountaineering Association, which validates all Everest summits on the north side of the mountain, said it has yet to confirm Jornet's feat.

Climbing without using fixed ropes or oxygen is known as alpine-style mountaineering and is seen as a faster and lighter form of the sport.

Jornet has previously set speed records on Mont Blanc, the Matterhorn, Denali, Aconcagua and Kilimanjaro.

The Guinness World Records holder for the fastest ascent of Everest's north face is Italian climber Hans Kammerlander, who reached the summit in just 16 hours and 45 minutes in 1996 from the advanced base camp.

Hundreds of climbers have summited the 8,848-metre peak during the short spring climbing season which ends with the arrival of the monsoon in early June.

The first ascents of the season came unusually late in May — delayed by high winds, fresh snowfall and extreme low temperatures.

Six climbers have perished on the mountain this year, including legendary Swiss climber Ueli Steck who fell from a ridge during an acclimatization climb in late April.

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Hitman film and AIDS drama tipped to win at Cannes

Spanish director and President of the Feature Film Jury Pedro Almodovar delivers a speech on stage on May 17, 2017 during the opening ceremony of the 70th edition of the Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, southern France. Alberto PIZZOLI / AFP

The Cannes film festival ends Sunday with a movie about a hammer-wielding hitman, a moving story of AIDS activists and a parable of Putin's Russia among the favourites to lift its top prize, the Palme d'Or.

After 12 days of screenings and starry celebrations of the festival's 70th anniversary — which were somewhat muted by the Manchester bombing — it is now up to the nine-member celebrity jury led by Spanish director Pedro Almodovar to decide which movie will triumph.

Rarely has the race looked so open, with many critics complaining there was no standout film to get behind among the 19 in the official competition.

That shifted Saturday when the final film, Lynne Ramsay's "You Were Never Really Here", had many reaching for superlatives.

Two critics told the Scottish director at a post-screening news conference that her film about a traumatised hitman who saves a young girl from a prostitution ring was a "masterpiece".

Its star Joaquin Phoenix was also being talked of as a contender for best actor.

If Ramsay were to win she would be only the second woman director ever to take home the Palme d'Or.

New Zealander Jane Campion won for "The Piano" in 1993. But as Hollywood star Salma Hayek pointed out Tuesday in Cannes, Campion "only got half the Palme d'Or, not even a full one", having to share it with Chinese director Chen Kaige for "Farewell My Concubine".

– A woman winner? –

With US star and Cannes jury member Jessica Chastain sporting a Dior "We Should All Be Feminists" T-shirt, and the lack of women directors dominating debate at the festival, a Ramsay win would send a strong signal.

The Glasgow-born director's main competition comes from the stirring French drama about AIDS activists "120 Beats Per Minute" by Robin Campillo, who co-wrote the script for the Palme d'Or-winning "The Class" in 2008.

The picture won four of the festival's subsidiary awards Saturday, including the critics' prize and the Queer Palm for gay-themed cinema.

"Loveless", a harrowing tale of a Russian couple who want rid of their child from "Leviathan" director Andrey Zvyagintsev, is also thought to be in the reckoning.

Nor was the Swedish satire "The Square", which sends up the art world and political correctness, short of admirers.

Overall, however, critics were frustrated by the main race, preferring instead to swoon over films such as "Ava", "The Rider" and "Marlina the Murderer in Four Acts" in the sidebar Directors' Fortnight and Critics' Week sections.

"I don't think it has been a vintage Cannes, certainly in terms of the main competition," Xan Brooks of Britain's The Observer told AFP.

– 'Cautious and conservative' –

"It has felt a little cautious and conservative. It's almost as if the increased security on the doors of the Palais (where the films are shown) has barred some of the more raucous, rude, rowdy contenders that might have otherwise managed to find their way through."

Jonathan Romney, of Screen International and the Independent on Sunday, was equally downbeat. "There were a lot of names to get excited about this year but unfortunately we have been left disappointed.

"Good directors have not come up with their best," he added.

But for Philippe Rouyer, of the French magazine Positif, there were plenty of gems outside the main competition, such as young Russian Kantemir Balagov's debut "Tesnota" (Closeness), which also caught Romney's eye.

The Guardian's Peter Bradshaw was much more sanguine, calling "120 Beats Per Minute" "terrific" and "Loveless" "brilliant and compelling".

"Some professed themselves marginally let down, but I have been hugely enthusiastic about quite a few films," he added.

What was unanimous, however, was the acclaim for 79-year-old veteran Agnes Varda, who got the festival's very best reviews for her out-of-competition documentary with the street artist JR, "Faces Places".

Last year British director Ken Loach won the Palme d'Or for the second time in a decade with his drama "I, Daniel Blake" about the shame of poverty in austerity-hit Europe.

Original Article

Trump prepares for defense of top aide in Russia row

(FILES) This file photo taken on February 13, 2017 shows then National Security Advisor Michael Flynn (L) and Jared Kushner, senior White House adviser, before a joint press conference between Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and US President Donald Trump in the East Room of the White House in Washington, DC. AFP PHOTO / MANDEL NGAN

Donald Trump, just back from his first international trip as US president, geared up to combat concerns Sunday over aides' ties to Russia including explosive reports that his son-in-law sought a secret communications line with Moscow.

The latest furore was stirred up after The Washington Post reported late Friday that Jared Kushner — arguably Trump's closest White House aide, and husband to the president's eldest daughter Ivanka — made a pre-inauguration proposal to the Russian ambassador to set up a secret, bug-proof link with the Kremlin.

Kushner, 36, even suggested using Russian diplomatic facilities in the United States to protect such a channel from monitoring, The Post said, quoting US officials briefed on intelligence reports.

The report, if confirmed, would raise new questions about the Trump team's relationship with the Russians, who US intelligence agencies say tried to sway the November election in Trump's favour.

News reports said the White House, reeling from the explosive developments in the long-running Russia saga, is creating a new rapid-fire communications unit to respond to the controversy, led by Kushner, senior presidential adviser Steve Bannon and White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus.

Though Kushner has appeared "subdued," he does not plan to step aside as Trump's senior adviser or reduce his responsibilities, the New York Times reported, citing unnamed people close to him.

'Naive' or 'Sinister'
After some delay, a senior Trump administration official en route back to Washington briefed reporters for almost 25 minutes, on matters from anti-terror cooperation to the administration's view that the summit had been a smashing success — despite huge differences on climate change.

Trump plans to make an announcement within the week on his climate position, the official said.

But the said official did not address the Kushner reports Saturday.

Trump then returned to Washington Saturday night from his first overseas trip to the Middle East and Europe. Accompanied by first lady Melania, Trump waved to reporters as he made his way into the White House but made no comment.

National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster refused to talk about the allegations. But he said that in general, "We have backchannel communication with a number of countries. What that allows you to do is communicate in a discrete manner."

"I would not be concerned about it," he added.

But a former head of the US National Security Agency harshly condemned Kushner's alleged effort to set up a secret communications line, saying if it is true, it would reveal a dangerous degree of ignorance or naivete.

"What manner of ignorance, chaos, hubris, suspicion, contempt would you have to have to think that doing this with the Russian ambassador was a good or appropriate idea?" Michael Hayden said on CNN.

He said he leant toward "naivete" as an explanation, though he did not find it comforting.

Malcolm Nance, a retired naval officer and expert on terrorism and intelligence, said: "This is now sinister. There is no way this can be explained, from the intelligence perspective."

"That is indicative of espionage activity of an American citizen that is working in league with a hostile government," he told MSNBC.

The Washington Post said Kushner's secret communications proposal was made December 1 or 2 at Trump Tower in New York, according to intercepts of Russian communications that were reviewed by US officials.

Michael Flynn, who was Trump's national security adviser for just 24 days before being fired amid questions about meetings he held with the Russian ambassador, was also present, the newspaper reported.

The Post said the Russian ambassador to the United States, Sergei Kislyak, was surprised by the future White House aide's idea of a secret channel and passed it on to the Kremlin.

The New York Times said the channel was never established.

Trump returned to Washington to face a cascade of other worries related to the Russia probe in the coming days, including expected testimony by fired former FBI director James Comey before a Senate committee.

In another development, The New York Times reported Friday that Oleg Deripaska, a Russian once close to Trump's former campaign manager Paul Manafort, has offered to cooperate with congressional bodies probing alleged Russian election meddling.

Not yet a 'target
Kushner boasts an enormous portfolio of domestic and international responsibilities underscoring his importance as Trump's chief aide-de-camp, despite having no experience in politics before the 2016 White House race.

He is the only person currently in the White House known to be under investigation.

The Post and other media have been careful to note that their sources did not say Kushner was a "target" of the investigation, nor that he was accused of any wrongdoing. Labelling him a "target" would suggest Kushner was a main suspect in the investigation.

But there have been a number of as yet unexplained contacts — during last year's presidential campaign against Democrat Hillary Clinton and afterwards — between other top Trump aides and senior Russian officials, including Flynn, US Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Manafort and others.

The investigation is being led by Robert Mueller, a respected former FBI director who was given broad powers to pursue the case as a special counsel after Trump abruptly fired Comey on May 9.

The Senate and House Intelligence committees also are investigating, but not with an eye to bringing criminal charges.

Former CIA director John Brennan revealed this week that intelligence chiefs had been looking into suspicious contacts between Trump campaign associates and Russian officials since mid-2016.

Trump denies any collusion with Russia, calling the probe "the greatest witchhunt" in American political history.

Original Article

Banky W, Dakolo, Iwobi’s Father Celebrate Arsenal’s FA Cup Triumph; P-Square Congratulates Gunners’ Fans

By Izuchukwu Okosi:

The outpouring of excitement over Arsenal's FA Cup title win on Saturday against Chelsea was not limited to football players and coaches as Nigerian entertainers have also joined in the celebrations, reports.

Musician and producer Bankole Wellington better known as Banky W in the Nigerian Music industry who is an Arsenal fan tweets his feelings about the victory but obviously not in support of manager Arsene Wenger remaining in the saddle.

"Congrats to Arsenal on winning the FA Cup. Now professor Wenger please use sense and ride off into the sunset as a winner. We've had 13 in a row, it's enough na…, " Banky W tweets.

Soul singer, Timi Dakolo ,who shot a television commercial for a popular Nigerian bank at the Emirates in 2015 starring Arsenal players; Theo Walcott, Santi Cazorla and Mikel Arteta writes the following message on his twitter handle:

"Yes we did it…no one thought we would. Good one lads. #Ospina #Sanchez #Per, " Dakolo celebrates.

Female music producer DJ Cuppy, real name; Florence Ifeoluwa Otedola, who is daughter of billionaire and business mogul, Femi Otedola tweets her excitement at the result.

"We did it!!! 100@Arsenal #FACupFinal #WengerIn.#

Father of Super Eagles forward Alex Iwobi, Chuka Iwobi, writes on his Facebook page: "FA Cup winner… too many reasons to thank the Lord."

Meanwhile Peter Okoye, one of the Okoye twin brothers who are widely known by their stage name, P-Square is a Chelsea fan but he shows spirit sportsmanship in his tweet.

"Congratulations to all Arsenal fans. You guys tried. Didn't watch the game cos I was…(airborne). #upChelsea #IrepBlues," Peter Okoye who was in Douala, Cameroon writes on his Twitter page.

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Niger warns against withdrawing girls from school for marriage

The Niger State Government has warned parents against withdrawing female children from school, so as to give them out in marriage.

Hajia Fatima Madugu, Commissioner for Education, gave the warning while speaking with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Saturday in Minna.

“A major challenge we face in Niger is that of parents withdrawing their female children from school for early marriage‎.

“We are not going to tolerate this anymore; we have had enough of that. There is an act specially designed for that purpose and we shall apply it.

“Any person, who attempts to withdraw a child for early marriage, will have to face the wrath of the law,” she said‎.

She said that the Ministry of ‎Education had begun a sensitisation through radio jingles, TV talk shows and other mediums targeted at exposing the dangers of early marriage.

“The girl-child should be allowed to explore her potential; she should be allowed to achieve her dream ‎no matter her religion.

“If the girl-child is withdrawn from school, she would have been cheated and this is not good for the country,” she said.

‎The commissioner cautioned parents against citing poverty as a reason for child abuse, saying that the state was poised to take stern measures against parents involved in that.

“Poverty should not be an excuse for child labour. No one should force a child to to hawk instead of going to school.

“Hawking is a molestation and an abuse of the child involved. In Niger, we will not tolerate that. A task force has been set up to fish out those engaged in that,” he said.

She explained that children forced into the streets t0 hawk were prone to many risks like rape, kidnapping and trafficking. (NAN).

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91st minute own goal gives PSG French Cup

A 91st-minute own goal by Issa Cissokho on Saturday gave Paris St-Germain a dramatic Coupe de France final match victory over Angers.

Unai Emery’s side looked set for extra time but Cissokho, brother of Aston Villa defender Aly, headed a corner into his own net in injury time.

Angers, playing in the final for the first time since 1957, escaped in the first half when Angel di Maria’s deflected cross hit the post.

But Nicolas Pepe then hit the post at the other end for the underdogs.

Emery has been under intense pressure after a disappointing first season at the Parc de Princes, with PSG finishing eight points behind Ligue 1 champions Monaco.

They were also dumped out of the UEFA Champions League in the last 16.

Victory at the Stade de France ensured they will end the season with two trophies, having won 4-1 against Monaco in the French League Cup final in April.

But Emery has still arguably underachieved since replacing Laurent Blanc, who won the domestic title in each of his three seasons in charge.

They found it hard work against a physical Angers.

Their defender Ismael Traore was lucky not to be sent off in the second half for an appalling studs-first lunge into Julian Draxler’s shin.

Di Maria hit a free-kick into the side netting, and Edinson Cavani went close late on.

But Angers looked as if they had held out for an additional half-hour until Cissokho’s moment of misery in the first minute of stoppage time.(NAN)

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