Wolves Hold United After Pogba’s Penalty Woe

Manchester United’s French midfielder Paul Pogba (C) attempts to control the ball during the English Premier League football match between Wolverhampton Wanderers and Manchester United at the Molineux stadium in Wolverhampton, central England on August 19, 2019.
Paul ELLIS / AFP

 

Manchester United were forced to settle for a 1-1 draw against Wolves after Paul Pogba’s penalty was saved by Rui Patricio at Molineux on Monday.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side took the lead through Anthony Martial’s second Premier League goal of the season in the first half.

Ruben Neves hit a brilliant equaliser for Wolves after the interval before France star Pogba was denied by Patricio.

It was a curious decision for Pogba to take the spot-kick as Marcus Rashford had scored a penalty in last weekend’s 4-0 victory over Chelsea and also memorably netted the Champions League last-16 winner from the spot against Paris Saint Germain last term.

Pogba has now missed four Premier League penalties since the start of last season.

United would have gone top of the table with a win, but instead, they were left to reflect on an inconsistent performance that underlined why Solskjaer still has a lot of work to do to turn his team into title contenders.

While there were moments of promise in attack and defence, United didn’t take their chances and crumbled too easily when they came under pressure in their second game of the season.

At an average of 24 years and 173 days, Solskjaer had picked United’s youngest Premier League starting line-up since the final day of the 2016-17 campaign.

Daniel James made his maiden start for United after the close-season signing from Swansea scored his first goal as a substitute against Chelsea.

There was no place in the matchday squad for Chile forward Alexis Sanchez, who has been linked with Inter Milan.

Solskjaer has described James as United’s ‘x-factor’, but the 21-year-old didn’t win any friends when he was booked for diving in a failed attempt to win a free-kick from referee Jon Moss.

United threatened for the first time when another of their young guns Rashford spun past Ryan Bennett on the left side of the Wolves area and crossed towards Martial, who did not make enough contact as the ball flashed past him.

It was a warning Wolves failed to heed as United took the lead with an incisive raid in the 27th minute.

 Revitalised Wolves 

Breaking inside from left, Luke Shaw found Jesse Lingard who moved the ball onto Rashford.

Rashford slipped a perfectly-weighted pass to Martial in the Wolves area and the French forward blasted a superb strike into the roof of the net without breaking stride.

Solskjaer had called for Martial to be more clinical and, his message received loud and clear, the Norwegian clapped approvingly on the touchline.

Martial’s goal took him to 50 for United in all competitions since his move from Monaco in 2015.

Martial should have doubled United’s lead on the stroke of half-time when he pounced on Bennett’s misplaced pass and eased past Willy Boly, only to tread on the ball when he seemed certain to score.

Well marshalled by Harry Maguire, United denied Wolves a single shot on target in the first half.

But Wolves were revitalised after the interval by the introduction of the speedy Adama Traore.

Suddenly, Maguire and company did not look so solid and Raul Jimenez glanced a free-kick against the far post with United keeper David De Gea rooted.

Wolves’ pressure paid off in the 55th minute when a short corner was worked to Neves on the edge of the area and the Portugal midfielder curled a sublime strike into the top corner.

Neves’s eye-catching effort survived a VAR review for offside in the build-up and he celebrated his 10th goal from outside the area since joining Wolves.

United had a golden chance to reclaim the lead when Martial found Pogba in the Wolves area and the France midfielder was clipped by Conor Coady.

Pogba and Rashford appeared to discuss who should take the spot-kick.

Whoever made the final call, it proved a bad move as Pogba’s powerful drive was superbly pushed away by Patricio.

AFP

US Policeman Fired Over Death Of Black Man

 

A US police offer was sacked Monday for putting a black man in a banned chokehold just before he died five years ago in a case that fueled nationwide protests.

New York Police Commissioner James O’Neill fired Daniel Pantaleo with immediate effect over the death of 43-year-old Eric Garner during an arrest in July 2014.

The incident sparked “Black Lives Matter” protests calling for police to be held accountable for the deaths of unarmed African-Americans in custody or facing arrest.

Garner’s last words — “I can’t breathe,” which he repeated 11 times to Pantaleo — became a rallying cry for the demonstrators.

O’Neill’s decision to dismiss Pantaleo came after NYPD Deputy Commissioner and departmental administrative judge Rosemarie Maldonado recommended earlier this month that he be fired.

“It is clear that Daniel Pantaleo can no longer serve as a New York City police officer,” O’Neill said, adding that it had been a “difficult decision.”

He said police officers had one of the hardest jobs in the world and that some would be “angry” with him, but he was absolutely sure he had made the right call.

“Make no mistake about it, this was a tragedy for the Garner family. I fully understand that. Mr Garner was somebody’s son, somebody’s dad. Everybody in the NYPD understands that” he told reporters.

Pantaleo was suspended pending the decision by O’Neill, who had the final say on the officer’s future.

Four officers attempted to arrest Garner, 43, on suspicion of illegally selling cigarettes on a sidewalk in Staten Island on July 17, 2014.

In a video recorded by a bystander that went viral, Pantaleo can be seen putting his arm tightly around Garner’s neck and driving the much larger suspect into the pavement before releasing him.

 ‘Semblance of justice’ 

Meanwhile, another officer pressed Garner’s head to the pavement.

Garner, who resisted arrest but was unarmed, appeared to lose consciousness, and the father-of-six was taken to a hospital where he was pronounced dead.

A New York state grand jury decided in December 2014 that there was insufficient evidence to support homicide charges against Pantaleo, amid claims that Garner suffered from a heart condition and asthma that could have caused his death.

The victim’s family appealed to the US Department of Justice to consider whether federal criminal or civil rights charges could be brought against one or more of the officers in the case.

Last month the Justice Department determined that Pantaleo would not face federal charges, a decision that Garner’s family slammed as an “insult.”

“I thank Commissioner O’Neill for doing the right thing. You finally made the decision that should have been made five years ago,” Garner’s daughter Emerald Garner said Monday.

African-American rights leader Al Sharpton said he and the family were “relieved but not celebratory,” adding that they would continue to fight for criminal charges.

Mayor Bill de Blasio, a candidate for the 2020 Democratic nomination said justice “had been done.”

But police union leader Patrick Lynch accused O’Neill of choosing “politics and his own self-interest ahead of the police officers he claims to lead.”

AFP

US Federal Prisons Chief Replaced After Epstein Suicide

The wealthy US financier Jeffrey Epstein, indicted on charges he trafficked underage girls for sex, committed suicide in prison, US news media reported on August 10, 2019. / AFP

 

US Attorney General Bill Barr announced the replacement of the head of federal prisons Monday in the wake of the shock jail-cell suicide of as he faced child sex trafficking charges.

Barr said he was appointing Kathleen Hawk Sawyer as director of the Federal Bureau of Prisons, replacing Hugh Hurwitz who served as acting director for the past 15 months.

Hawk Sawyer, a veteran prison psychologist, has served as the director of the bureau before: she was appointed to the position in 1992 by Barr, who was attorney general at the time, and held the job until 2003.

Her appointment comes nine days after Epstein, a financier who circulated in powerful political circles, killed himself in the New York Metropolitan Correctional Center while he was supposedly under close monitoring following an earlier suicide attempt.

Epstein, 66, had been charged with sex trafficking of minors, a case that grew out of reports that he had been treated extremely lightly when he was arrested in Florida in 2006 for sex acts with underage girls.

In that case, he ultimately pleaded guilty to a state charge of soliciting prostitution with a minor and was sentenced to 18 months in jail — most of which was spent outside the prison on a work-release program.

His suicide on August 10 sparked outrage that he was again escaping justice, and his friendships over the years with influential people such as President Donald Trump and former president Bill Clinton fueled numerous conspiracy theories.

But a New York coroner ruled that Epstein hung himself in his cell.

Citing “serious irregularities,” Barr quickly reassigned the warden of the New York prison and two guards were placed on leave.

It was the second high-profile prison death in the federal system in one year.

In October 2018, notorious Boston gangster James “Whitey” Bulger was beaten to death at a prison in West Virginia, one day after he was transferred to the high-security facility to serve the remainder of his life sentence.

Dozen Soldiers Killed In Burkina Faso Terrorist Attack

Burkina Faso on the map.

 

More than a dozen soldiers were killed on Monday during a “major attack” by “terrorist armed groups” in northern Burkina Faso, the country’s army said.

“The military detachment of the Koutougou department in Soum province was the target of an attack,” said a statement from the armed forces general staff. “A provisional report states that more than a dozen soldiers were killed, and several were wounded.”

AFP

Dani Alves Scores Winning Goal On Sao Paulo Debut

Sao Paulo’s player Dani Alves (L) celebrates after scoring against Ceara during their Brazilian Championship at Morumbi stadium in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on August 18, 2019.
NELSON ALMEIDA / AFP

 

Brazil veteran Dani Alves scored the winning goal on his debut for Sao Paulo on Sunday, weeks after signing a three-year deal with the club. 

Alves, 36, found the back of the net in the 40th minute to score the only goal of the game against Ceara.

Alves and Spanish international Juanfran, 34, are the stars for Sao Paulo, who snapped up both players after their contracts with European clubs expired.

Alves’ return to Brazil after 17 years playing for top clubs in Europe has had a big impact on his home country.

The right-back played for Sevilla before going on to play for Barcelona, Juventus and PSG, collecting nine national league titles along the way — six in Spain, one in Italy and two in France.

He has collected 40 trophies in all with club and country including three Champions League titles with Barcelona and two UEFA Cups with Sevilla

He has also won two Copa Americas with Brazil, most recently in July when he was named player of the tournament as he captained them to victory over Peru in the final at the Maracana in Rio de Janeiro.

Juanfran arrived in Sao Paulo after an extensive career in Spain where he played for Real Madrid, Espanyol, Osasuna and Atletico Madrid.

AFP

Gabon Insists President ‘Firmly In Control’ After Stroke

Gabon’s President, Ali Bongo/AFP

 

Gabon’s presidency said Monday that a recent speech showed leader Ali Bongo was “firmly in control” of the country after he suffered a stroke 10 months ago that fuelled speculation about his ability to rule.

The opposition has claimed that President Bongo is unfit to lead after the stroke in October, and his every move is now scrutinised for signs of his state of health.

On Friday, the 60-year-old made his first public appearance outside the presidential palace since returning home in March after falling ill.

“The president is at the wheel, he is in command,” presidency spokesman Ike Ngouoni said at a press conference in the capital Libreville.

“The president works not only to prove he is in control, everyone can notice, everyone can see that today he is on the job every day.”

“Everyone could see the president has regained his oratorical fluency,” Ngouoni said of Bongo’s televised speech on Friday night.

However, Bongo has yet to face the media since his stroke.

“When the president deems it is useful and an appropriate time, he will find the best way to address the press,” said Ngouoni.

Bongo used a long cane to walk as he attended a military parade on Saturday to mark Gabon’s 1960 independence from France.

Speculation about his capacity to rule the small, oil-rich central African country surged after he suffered the stroke while in Saudi Arabia.

He was flown to Morocco for treatment, returning briefly in January and then in March. During his extended absence, the army quashed a briefly attempted coup.

Bongo succeeded his father Omar Bongo, who became head of state in 1967 and died on June 2009, leaving a legacy of corruption allegations.

AFP

Albino Teenager Found Dismembered In Burundi

 

A 15-year-old albino boy has been found dismembered in Burundi a week after going missing, the first such killing in the country in three years, a local albino group said Sunday.

Albinos, who have white skin and yellow hair as a result of a genetic disorder that causes the absence of pigmentation, are killed regularly in some African countries for their body parts, which are used in witchcraft rituals.

The teenager was found dead late Saturday in the northwest of the country along the Rusizi river separating Burundi from DR Congo, not far from his home village.

“The young albino was killed atrociously… His murderers cut his right leg off at the knee, his right arm and his tongue,” said Kassim Kazungu, the head of the local association Albinos Without Borders.

More than 20 albinos have been killed in Burundi since 2008, with the last case in 2016 when a five-year-old girl was found dismembered after being taken from her home.

Kazungu said a four-year-old albino boy had been missing since October 2018 from the village of Cendajuri near the Tanzanian border, but that he had “no hope” of finding him alive.

Some experts believe the demand for albino body parts in Tanzania — where such attacks are the most prevalent — has fuelled such killings in border areas.

AFP

Messi, Ibrahimovic Nominated For FIFA Goal Of The Year

 

Lionel Messi and Zlatan Ibrahimovic are the star names on the 10-player short-list announced on Monday by FIFA for its Puskas award for goal of the year.

They are joined by three women and five men, with goals scored between July 16, 2018 and July 19, 2019.

There are nominees from the Bundesliga, Spanish Liga and women’s World Cup and one, a jaw-dropping shot by Billie Simpson of Cliftonville Ladies, from a Northern Ireland women’s league game played on what appears to be a public pitch in front of no spectators.

Messi, who has yet to win the award, earned the seventh nomination with a delicate chip for Barcelona against Betis in Seville. Ibrahimovic netted with a balletic volley for LA Galaxy in Toronto in Major League Soccer.

The award, which was established in 2009, is named after the legendary Hungary, Spain and Real Madrid striker Ferenc Puskas.

Fans can vote until September 1 on the 10 candidates nominated by FIFA. The governing body of world football will then choose between the top three vote-getters.

The two other women candidates are Ajara Nchout for a dribble and shot for Cameroon against New Zealand in the World Cup and Amy Rodriguez of Utah for a dribble and long-range shot in the US National Women’s Soccer League.

The remaining five choices are: Brazilian Matheus Cunha, of RB Leipzig, for a spin and chip against Leverkusen in the Bundesliga, Italian veteran Fabio Quagliarella for a back-heeled volley for Sampdoria against his former club Napoli, Colombian Juan Fernando Quintero for a free-kick for River Plate against Argentine rivals Racing, Andros Townsend of Crystal Palace for a volley against Manchester City and Daniel Zsori for an overhead kick for Debrecen in the Hungarian league.

Last year the Puskas award was won by Mohamed Salah of Liverpool. Ibrahimovic won in 2013. Cristiano Ronaldo and Neymar have also won.

The winner will be announced at the FIFA Football Awards in Milan on September 23.

AFP

Three Killed As Police Open Fire On Protesters In DR Congo

 

Two people and a child were killed in a town in eastern DR Congo on Monday when police opened fire at a protest over poor security, a local official told AFP.

“There was a demonstration in which three people have just died — a young man of about 25 who was shot in the abdomen and died in the hospital, a Pygmy who was shot and died immediately, and another child who was shot and also died,” said Donat Kibwana, chief administrator for the Beni region.

The incident happened in Oicha, a town about 30 kilometres (18 miles) north of the city of Beni.

Beni is the capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo’s North Kivu province, where murder, extortion and other crimes are rampant.

The region, which is also struggling with an epidemic of Ebola, is in the grip of militias who have killed hundreds of people over the last five years.

The Oicha protest came a day after an attack attributed to a Ugandan Muslim militia called the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) in which two people were killed.

Noella Katongerwaki, a representative of grassroots groups in the Beni region, said: “The police dispersed the protesters with live rounds and teargas.

“Right now, the toll is three dead, including a Pygmy woman.”

Another activist, Janvier Kasairio, said ordinary life in Oicha on Monday had “stopped”.

“We call on the army to do its job. We don’t understand why our army can’t provide security for us against the ADF.”

 ‘Unacceptable’ 

The police said some protesters at Monday’s rally had been carrying weapons.

“We saw young people suddenly appear on the street, others barricaded the main road, we dispersed them but some were armed,” said Beni police chief Umbi Azalendanya.

“Two are already under arrest for possession of a firearm,” he told AFP.

Provincial deputy Jean-Paul Ngahangondi said the police should have supervised the protesters instead of killing them.

“We cannot kill citizens because they protest, it is unacceptable,” he said.

“We demand investigations so that the killer police officers are judged.”

The home of a police officer accused of shooting the young man was set fire by angry residents.

Protesters at a rally further south in the city of Butembo set fire to tyres and blocked off a road, but police dispersed them without any damage caused, witnesses told AFP.

Eastern DR Congo has been riven by insecurity for 25 years.

Just last week a report by Human Rights Watch and the Congo Research Group said that more than 130 armed groups in the country’s North and South Kivu provinces killed 1,900 civilians and abducted 3,300 over the last two years.

AFP

Seven-Year-Old Boy Killed In DR Congo’s Ebola Surge

 

A child has died from Ebola in DR Congo’s South Kivu, health authorities said Monday, the second person to succumb to the virus since the epidemic spread to the eastern province.

The announcement last week of the first confirmed cases in South Kivu revived concerns that the highly contagious disease could cross the porous borders of the central African country, where it has claimed more than 1,900 lives since August last year.

“A seven-year-old child died yesterday (Sunday) of Ebola” in South Kivu’s Mwenga region, said Claude Bahizire, communication officer of South Kivu’s provincial health division.

The first death in South Kivu was a woman in her twenties who evaded movement controls to travel from the North Kivu town of Beni, the epicentre of the outbreak, to South Kivu’s capital Bukavu and then Mwenga.

She died on Wednesday, and her seven-month-old son has been diagnosed with the virus and is receiving treatment.

Bahizire said that “two other suspected cases, two women, have been detected and admitted to Bukavu’s transit centre”.

The two women “were in contact with the woman who died last week while she was staying in Bukavu on the way to Mwenga,” he added.

The outbreak of the haemorrhagic virus began in North Kivu on August 1, 2018 and spread to Ituri province.

According to the latest numbers published on Sunday, 1,934 people have since died, while 862 have been cured.

The latest outbreak is the second-deadliest on record after more than 11,000 people were killed in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia between 2014-2016.

Also on Monday, World Health Organization (WHO) chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus called on the nine countries that share a border with DR Congo to show solidarity to stop the spread of Ebola.

“We now have an Ebola vaccine that is more than 97 per cent effective and treatments that are more than 90 per cent effective if used early enough,” he said in Republic of Congo capital Brazzaville.

AFP

Balotelli Happy To Be Home In Brescia

Vieira Asks Balotelli To Decide On Future At Nice
A file photo of Mario Balotelli

 

Mario Balotelli said on Monday he had “thought of nothing else” after receiving an offer from Brescia, the club in the city where he grew up.

“I chose Brescia because when their offer came in, I didn’t think about anything else,” the much-travelled striker said at his presentation press conference. “Here, I have everything I need, because it’s the team of my city.”

Balotelli was born in Palermo but grew up in Brescia, in northern Italy, where he owns an apartment.

The club were promoted to Serie A this year, after being relegated in 2011.

“I have spent more years abroad than in Italy,” said Balotelli who was without a club after his brief contract with Marseille ran out at the end of last season. “My mother cried when she heard that I was coming back to Brescia, she was very happy.”

“And my father dreamed of seeing me play at home.”

“I have no fear. The objective is to make this team progress, by giving the team what I can give it. I think you’re the one who’s most afraid,” the striker also said.

The 29-year-old has won 36 caps for Italy but only one since 2014. He said hopes to be called up again.

“Absolutely, yes,” he said, adding that Italy coach Roberto Mancini had sent him a message of congratulations.

Balotelli has been the victim of racism from fans in Italy.

“I hope from my heart to find a different league and not experience new episodes of racism,” he said.

Balotelli, who has to complete a four-game suspension for a red card while playing for  Marseille, cannot make his debut until the fifth round of Serie A on September 25 when Brescia host champions Juventus.

Balotelli made his debut in local team Lumezzane in Serie C as a 16-year-old, before moving to Serie A giants Inter Milan in 2007. He later had two spells at AC Milan and also played for Manchester City, Liverpool and Nice.

Sky Sports Italia reported Balotelli has signed a three-year deal worth three million euros ($3.3 million) for the first year, plus a further three million if the club remains in Serie A.

In the following two years he will receive six million euros per season if Brescia remain in Serie A, Sky reported.

AFP

Mugabe’s Ex-VP Flees Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Probe

Mugabe

Zimbabwe’s former vice president on Monday fled from anti-corruption questioning after he was summoned over alleged criminal abuse of office, officials said.

Phelekezela Mphoko, 79, who served under long-time ruler Robert Mugabe, was due at the police in Bulawayo, the country’s second city, to record a statement on the allegations.

But he drove off as soon as officials from the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) approached his car.

“We had agreed to meet at the police post at the magistrate’s court to record a warned-and- cautioned statement and have his fingerprints taken but when our officials approached his car, he drove away at high speed,” ZACC spokesman John Makamure told AFP.

“He is now a fugitive from justice,” the spokesman said, facing accusations of ordering the release from police custody of a chief executive officer and a non-executive director of the state-run roads authority.

Mphoko was, along with current president Emmerson Mnangagwa, one of two vice presidents at the time of the ouster by the military of Mugabe in November 2017.

He left the country as the coup unfolded but later returned.

An attempt to arrest him by ZACC last week was blocked by his family.

ZACC tweeted Friday that it was “sad” that Mphoko had “refused to collaborate with the enforcement officers and unfortunate that he and those around him believe that they are above the law”.

Lawyer Zibusiso Ncube told AFP that they had an agreement with ZACC that on Monday he would sign a statement at the police “but when we got there they said they (the police) had instructions to detain him”.

“He drove away and is at home.”

The lawyer said the ex-vice president was prepared to appear in court to answer the charges, but “Mphoko claims he heard from impeccable sources that if he is detained, he will be injected with a poisonous substance”.

He is the second high ranking member of the ruling Zanu-PF party under probe by the recently reconstituted ZACC.

Prisca Mupfumira, who was fired as tourism minister earlier this month, became in July the first high profile official to be arrested and detained for alleged graft. She is still in remand prison after being denied bail.

AFP