Britain’s Prince Harry And Meghan To Give Up Royal Titles

Britain’s Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, (R) and Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex, (L) leave Windsor Castle in Windsor on May 19, 2018 after their wedding to attend an evening reception at Frogmore House. PHOTO: Steve Parsons / POOL / AFP

 

 

Britain’s Prince Harry and his wife Meghan have agreed to give up their royal titles and stop receiving public funds as part of a settlement with the Queen that lets them spend more private time in Canada.

The announcement from Buckingham Palace on Saturday follows more than a week of intense private talks aimed at managing the fallout of the couple’s shock decision to give up front-line royal duties.

The decision means the couple will stop usings the titles “royal highness” as they assume more ordinary lives that will see them spend more time away from both Britain and the royal family.

“Following many months of conversations and more recent discussions, I am pleased that together we have found a constructive and supportive way forward for my grandson and his family,” Queen Elizabeth II said in a statement.

“I recognise the challenges they have experienced as a result of intense scrutiny over the last two years and support their wish for a more independent life.”

Her comments referred to battles with the media that prompted Harry and Meghan — known until now as the Duke and Duchess of Sussex — to sue several newspapers over intrusions into their private lives.

A separate statement attributed to Buckingham Palace said, “the Sussexes will not use their HRH titles as they are no longer working members of the Royal Family”.

HRH stands for Her Royal Highness.

“As agreed in this new arrangement, they understand that they are required to step back from royal duties, including official military appointments. They will no longer receive public funds for royal duties,” the statement said.

The settlement added that the two will also repay £2.4 million ($3.1 million) of taxpayer’s money spent on renovating their Frogmore Cottage home near Windsor Castle.

– ‘Progressive new role’ –

The Palace would not comment on who ends up paying for their security detail in Canada — an issue of intense public debate.

It also failed to mention whether the couple would be allowed to benefit financially from future royalties and franchise fees.

Harry and Meghan are seeking to register the “Sussex Royal” brand as a global trademark for their future enterprises.

The couple are dedicated to environmental causes and are looking to develop their charitable foundation as part of a “progressive new role”.

The queen’s announcement is her second on the royal crisis — dubbed Megxit in honour of Britain’s painful battle over Brexit — since Harry and Meghan’s effective resignation on March 8.

“We have chosen to make a transition this year in starting to carve out a progressive new role within this institution,” the couple said at the time.

“We now plan to balance our time between the United Kingdom and North America.”

Meghan then jetted back to Canada and is now there with their son Archie.

Their announcement caught the royal family by surprise and created a media sensation in both Britain and the wider world.

Their treatment by London’s hard-hitting tabloid press and their personal future — as well as questions about longstanding royal traditions — have turned into daily front-page news.

Media reports said Harry would probably join Meghan and Archie on the west coast of Canada this coming week.

– ‘Abdication’ –

The Queen’s final ruling on her grandson’s future drew immediate comparisons to King Edward VIII’s abdication in 1936.

Edward married the American socialite Wallis Simpson the following year and never returned to Britain.

“Harry is not King (he is sixth in line) but tonight this feels like his and Meghan’s own abdication,” ITV television’s royal editor Chris Ship said on Twitter.

“This isn’t 1936. But it’s still pretty big.”

The BBC’s royal correspondent Nicholas Witchell said Meghan must also decide whether she intends to return and spend time in Britain in order to gain her UK citizenship.

The couple’s future tax status also remains unclear.

“I think they are feeling their way into this as much as anyone else is,” Witchell said.

The couple will now officially be known formally as “Harry, The Duke of Sussex” and “Meghan, The Duchess of Sussex”.

The Palace statement said the new arrangement “will take effect in the Spring of 2020”.

AFP

Sheffield Force Arsenal To Draw At Emirates Stadium

Arsenal's Brazilian striker Gabriel Martinelli (L) shoots but fails to score during the English Premier League football match between Arsenal and Sheffield United at the Emirates Stadium in London on January 18, 2020. DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS / AFP
Arsenal’s Brazilian striker Gabriel Martinelli (L) shoots but fails to score during the English Premier League football match between Arsenal and Sheffield United at the Emirates Stadium in London on January 18, 2020. DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS / AFP

 

Arsenal’s faint hopes of a top-four finish in the Premier League suffered another blow as John Fleck’s late equaliser secured a valuable point for Sheffield United’s own European ambitions in a 1-1 draw at the Emirates.

Gabriel Martinelli had filled the void left by the suspended Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang by opening the scoring for the Gunners on the stroke of half-time.

But Mikel Arteta’s men were devoid of inspiration for most of the match and paid for one moment of poor defending as Fleck drove high past Bernd Leno eight minutes from time.

Arsenal have still lost just once in six games since Arteta took charge, but have won just one of five in the Premier League to remain 10 points off the top four in 10th.

The visitors remain four points ahead of the Gunners and move to within a point of the European places in seventh.

A bright start by the Blades showed why they are surpassing all expectations on their return to the top flight.

However, their lack of a predatory finisher was shown as Lys Mousset twice headed over good chances in the first 10 minutes before Arsenal settled down.

Martinelli has made an impressive impact in his debut season in England and the 18-year-old was Arsenal’s major threat in the absence of Aubameyang.

With the hosts’ first attack, Alexandre Lacazette fed the speedy Nicolas Pepe and the Ivorian’s cross picked out Martinelli, who could only volley across goal and wide.

The Gunners were banking on a much bigger impact from Pepe when they paid Lille a club record £72 million for his services in August, but his confidence is growing with every game and another slick pass teed up Martinelli to fire wide.

Martinelli could not have been handed an easier finish at the third time of asking seconds before half-time as Bukayo Saka’s cross looped kindly into his path to tap home his ninth goal of the season.

“Gabi’s gonna be a superstar,” tweeted an impressed Aubameyang. “Not because of the goal, because of the attitude, energy and mindset.”

Chances were few and far between after the break as Arsenal seemed to be keeping the visitors at bay bar a threat from set-pieces.

Oli McBurnie saw a goalbound header cleared by Granit Xhaka before the Scotland striker headed straight at Leno from another corner.

However, Sheffield United went nearly a year unbeaten away from home prior to visits to Manchester City and Liverpool over the festive period and showed the resilience on the road to claim a point seven minutes from time.

Arsenal did not deal with a deep cross into their box and it dropped to Fleck, who got over the ball to keep his strike on target and saw it fly hight past the helpless Leno.

Chris Wilder’s men could even have taken all three points in the closing stages as McBurnie and Fleck had shots bravely blocked inside the box a minute from time.

 

AFP

Fernandinho Own-Goal Cost City Full Points Against Palace

Manchester City's Brazilian midfielder Fernandinho reacts after he scored an own goal during the English Premier League football match between Manchester City and Crystal Palace at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester, north west England, on January 18, 2020. Oli SCARFF / AFP
Manchester City’s Brazilian midfielder Fernandinho reacts after he scored an own goal during the English Premier League football match between Manchester City and Crystal Palace at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester, north west England, on January 18, 2020. Oli SCARFF / AFP

 

Wilfried Zaha played a key role in a dramatic Crystal Palace equaliser in a 2-2 draw at Manchester City, after two goals in the final eight minutes from Sergio Aguero had appeared to have secured all three points for Pep Guardiola’s side.

The Palace winger was sent racing clear by James McCarthy in the 90th minute and his cross was turned into his own goal by Fernandinho, under pressure from Connor Wickham.

Trailing to Cenk Tosun’s first half goal, City struck back through Aguero who took his tally to 179 Premier League and 251 career goals for the club.

Following a delightful floated cross from Gabriel Jesus after 82 minutes, Aguero slid in ahead of his marker to volley left foot into the open net, with his second goal following five minutes later.

This time it was full-back Benjamin Mendy who set up the striker with a perfect left-wing cross which Aguero met with a downward header into the far corner of the Palace goal from 10 yards.

Palace had broken the deadlock with their first meaningful chance of the game. Tosun heading them in front after 38 minutes.

The goal came from a McCarthy corner and underlined the defensive shortcomings that have seen Guardiola’s team keep just two clean sheets in their last 13 games.

The ball floated to the centre of the area where Gary Cahill rose above John Stones, and headed towards the far post where Tosun had been left unmarked by Bernardo Silva and Ilkay Gundogan gravitating towards the ball.

Tosun, making his first start since joining Palace on loan from Everton, was left with the simple task of steering a header past Ederson.

Inability to kill off

The situation could have worsened considerably for City moments later when Tosun chased a long through ball and easily rounded Ederson who had wandered 30 yards from his goal only for it to be ruled out for a foul on Fernandinho.

Guardiola’s frustrations would have been compounded by the fact his team had enjoyed so much possession and dominated the game without opening the scoring in the first half.

Kevin De Bruyne came closest, from a stunning 25-yard free-kick on 14 minutes, awarded for a trip by James McArthur on Fernandinho.

The Belgian’s execution was fantastic but the ball struck the underside of Vicente Guaita’s cross-bar, bounced onto the goal line and away to safety although the danger was still not over for the visitors.

City kept that attack alive with De Bruyne setting up Aguero for a close-range chance which was well blocked by the Palace keeper.

The Spaniard also made a good save, tipping over a Bernardo strike just before the interval, but a first half shot count of 11-1, in City’s favour, told the story both of the defending champions’ superiority and their inability to kill off the London club.

Guaita opened the second half in similar fashion, blocking well from Bernardo, after an Aguero shot had cannoned into the Portuguese forward’s path, but there was a reminder of the danger posed by Hodgson’s side when Zaha’s chip forward found Tosun and his excellent half-volley needed a fine reflex save from Ederson.

 

AFP

Madrid Go Top Of La Liga After Sevilla Win

Real Madrid's Brazilian midfielder Casemiro (C) vies with Sevilla's French defender Jules Kounde (L) during the Spanish league football match between Real Madrid CF and Sevilla FC at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid on January 18, 2020. GABRIEL BOUYS / AFP
Real Madrid’s Brazilian midfielder Casemiro (C) vies with Sevilla’s French defender Jules Kounde (L) during the Spanish league football match between Real Madrid CF and Sevilla FC at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid on January 18, 2020. GABRIEL BOUYS / AFP

 

Real Madrid climbed above Barcelona to top La Liga on Saturday as Casemiro scored twice in a gritty 2-1 win over Sevilla. 

Casemiro’s double proved the difference amid a three-goal flurry early in the second half, with Luuk de Jong briefly drawing Sevilla level.

Madrid were underwhelming at the Santiago Bernabeu, at times reverting back to the stodgy days of last season when the team struggled for goals under Julen Lopetegui, who is now in charge of Sevilla.

Yet with Eden Hazard, Gareth Bale, Karim Benzema and Sergio Ramos all missing from their starting line-up, this might be the kind of victory that could prove crucial to their hopes of winning the title in May.

Sevilla stay fourth, eight points off the top.

Barca can reclaim first place on Sunday when they face Granada at Camp Nou, where Quique Setien will be overseeing his first game since being appointed early last week.

Setien has said he will not be happy if his team win while playing badly but Zinedine Zidane is likely to be less choosy.

His Madrid side are now 17 games unbeaten, a streak that has included them winning the Spanish Super Cup in Saudi Arabia last weekend. Ramos, who is still recovering from an ankle injury, paraded the club’s latest trophy on the pitch before kick-off.

Benzema came on in the second half after shaking off a dead leg but Bale’s absence was more mysterious. The Welshman missed the trip to Jeddah through illness but had returned to training on Tuesday.

Lopetegui was back at the Santiago Bernabeu for the first time since he was sacked by Madrid last season, 138 days after they appointed him, and his Sevilla side arguably deserved more.

Converting impetus into goals has been their problem all season, and so it proved again.

After an even start, they gradually took charge and as the home crowd grew frustrated, Sevilla grew in confidence too.

De Jong thought he had scored when he was given a suspicious amount of space in the area to head in from a corner and VAR showed his marker Eder Militao had been blocked albeit only by a small, but seemingly deliberate, step from Nemanja Gudelj.

Marcelo was lucky not to concede a penalty for a shirt-pull.

Sevilla were controlling the midfield and denying their opponents routes through to the front three. Yet 12 minutes into the second half, some creative brilliance saw Madrid take the lead.

Sergio Reguilon, bought by Sevilla from Madrid last summer, scuffed his clearance and after Casemiro muscled through on the edge of the area, Jovic found him again with a deft backheel. Casemiro chipped the ball in and pointed at Jovic in celebration.

Sevilla could have wilted but instead they equalised, only to concede again five minutes later.

First, Raphael Varane, Casemiro and Marcelo all missed tackles and after Munir El Haddadi stumbled, De Jong took over, banging the ball into the far, bottom corner.

Yet parity was short-lived as Casemiro nodded in Lucas Vazquez’s cross from a standing start after being given too much space by Jules Kounde.

Toni Kroos might have added a third for Madrid late on after a racing run by Vinicius Junior but Vazquez almost gifted Sevilla an equaliser after a dreadful backpass. Youssef En-Nesyri, signed from Leganes on Friday, flashed wide.

 

AFP

Watford Dent Spurs Champions League Hopes

Watford's English striker Troy Deeney controls the ball during the English Premier League football match between Watford and Tottenham Hotspur at Vicarage Road Stadium in Watford, north of London on January 18, 2020. Adrian DENNIS / AFP
Watford’s English striker Troy Deeney controls the ball during the English Premier League football match between Watford and Tottenham Hotspur at Vicarage Road Stadium in Watford, north of London on January 18, 2020. Adrian DENNIS / AFP

 

Watford held Tottenham to a goalless draw on Saturday to extend their unbeaten run in the Premier League and further damage Spurs’ Champions League ambitions.

When Nigel Pearson took over at Vicarage Road last month Watford looked doomed ro relegation but he has put together a remarkable run of results to lift the club out of the relegation zone.

It is a different story for Jose Mourinho’s Spurs who, without the injured Harry Kane and with uncertainty over the future of Christian Eriksen, could be 11 points off fourth spot by the end of the day.

But Pearson will feel Watford should have wrapped up all three points after his side squandered some golden chances in the second half and captain Troy Deeney saw his penalty saved.

Before kick-off there was a warm tribute from the fans to former manager Graham Taylor, who died three years ago.

It was the visitors who settled first, finding their rhythm from the kick-off, dominating possession and probing for openings on the edge of the Watford box .

But the home side broke dangerously in the second minute, with Gerard Deulofeu shooting wide of Paulo Gazzaniga’s goal.

That was a rare foray forward in the opening stages for Watford, who struggled to get on top of Mourinho’s men.

Son Heung-min looked lively on the left of Tottenham’s attack and had the first shot on target but despite all their posession Watford goalkeeper Ben Foster rarely looked troubled.

Watford threat

The  home side gradually worked their way into the game and started to see much more of the ball.

They had a good chance to test Gazzaniga when Japhet Tanganga was booked after bringing down Ismaila Sarr in a dangerous position just outside the penalty box but Nathaniel Chalobah wasted the opportunity.

Shortly before the half-hour there was a delay of several minutes as referee Michael Oliver was forced to change his communication kit, accompanied by the crowd chanting: “It’s not football any more.”

Foster saved from Son in the 30th minute and was down smartly to keep out a sharp Lucas Moura shot after a delightful through ball from Dele Alli.

Watford flew out of the blocks in the second half and could have been 2-0 up but for some poor finishing.

First Abdoulaye Doucoure scuffed the ball just wide after good work down the right by the dangerous Sarr before Sarr himself failed to connect properly from close range.

Although Watford were now well on top, Spurs continued to look dangerous on the break.

Alli headed over while Son shot after being released through the middle.

The decisive moment appeared to come with about 20 minutes to go when Spurs captain Jan Vertonghen was booked for handling Deulofeu’s shot in the penalty area.

Deeney stepped up and struck his shot firmly but Gazzaniga dived to his right to keep the ball out and the scores level.

Mourinho brought Eriksen off the bench and later introduced new signing Gedson Fernandes but it was Watford who continued to look the more dangerous side.

 

AFP

Scientists Raise Alarm Over China Virus, As Countries Take Measures

edical staff members carry a patient into the Jinyintan hospital, where patients infected by a mysterious SARS-like virus are being treated, in Wuhan in China's central Hubei province on January 18, 2020. STR / AFP
Medical staff members carry a patient into the Jinyintan hospital, where patients infected by a mysterious SARS-like virus are being treated, in Wuhan in China’s central Hubei province on January 18, 2020. STR / AFP

 

The true scale of the outbreak of a mysterious SARS-like virus in China is likely far bigger than officially reported, scientists have warned, as countries ramp up measures to prevent the disease from spreading.

Fears that the virus will spread are growing ahead of the Lunar New Year holiday, when hundreds of millions of Chinese move around the country and many others host or visit extended family members living overseas.

Authorities in China say two people have died and at least 45 have been infected, with the outbreak centred around a seafood market in the central city of Wuhan, a city of 11 million inhabitants that serves as a major transport hub.

READ ALSO: China Records Second Death From SARS-Linked Virus

But a paper published Friday by scientists with the MRC Centre for Global Infectious Disease Analysis at Imperial College in London said the number of cases in the city was likely closer to 1,700.

The researchers said their estimate was largely based on the fact that cases had been reported overseas –- two in Thailand and one in Japan.

The virus — a new strain of coronavirus that humans can contract — has caused alarm because of its connection to SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome), which killed nearly 650 people across mainland China and Hong Kong in 2002-2003.

China has not announced any travel restrictions, but authorities in Hong Kong have already stepped up detection measures, including rigorous temperature checkpoints for inbound travellers from the Chinese mainland.

The US said from Friday it would begin screening flights arriving from Wuhan at San Francisco airport and New York’s JFK — which both receive direct flights — as well as Los Angeles, where many flights connect.

And Thailand said it was already screening passengers arriving in Bangkok, Chiang Mai and Phuket and would soon introduce similar controls in the beach resort of Krabi.

Two deaths

No human-to-human transmission has been confirmed so far, but Wuhan’s health commission has said the possibility “cannot be excluded”.

A World Health Organization doctor said it would not be surprising if there was “some limited human-to-human transmission, especially among families who have close contact with one another”.

Scientists with the MRC Centre for Global Infectious Disease Analysis — which advises bodies including the World Health Organization — said they estimated a “total of 1,723” people in Wuhan would have been infected as of January 12.

“For Wuhan to have exported three cases to other countries would imply there would have to be many more cases than have been reported,” Professor Neil Ferguson, one of the authors of the report, told the BBC.

“I am substantially more concerned than I was a week ago,” he said, while adding that it was “too early to be alarmist”.

“People should be considering the possibility of substantial human-to-human transmission more seriously than they have so far,” he continued, saying it was “unlikely” that animal exposure was the sole source of infection.

Local authorities in Wuhan said a 69-year-old man died on Wednesday, becoming the second fatal case, with the disease-causing pulmonary tuberculosis and damage to multiple organ functions.

After the death was reported, online discussion spread in China over the severity of the Wuhan coronavirus — and how much information the government may be hiding from the public.

Several complained about censorship of online posts, while others made comparisons to 2003, when Beijing drew criticism from the WHO for underreporting the number of SARS cases.

“It’s so strange,” wrote a web user on the social media platform Weibo, citing the overseas cases in Japan and Thailand. “They all have Wuhan pneumonia cases but (in China) we don’t have any infections outside of Wuhan — is that scientific?”

 

AFP

‘Passion, Love’ – Rafael Nadal Shares Success Tips

Spain's Rafael Nadal speaks at a press conference ahead of the Australia Open tennis tournament in Melbourne on January 18, 2020. Manan VATSYAYANA / AFP
Spain’s Rafael Nadal speaks at a press conference ahead of the Australia Open tennis tournament in Melbourne on January 18, 2020.
Manan VATSYAYANA / AFP

 

Rafael Nadal said passion and positivity had helped him reach an unprecedented third decade ranked world number one, after defying the ravages of injury and the critics who said his all-action game was too tough on his body.

Despite a steady stream of foot, knee, back, arm, hand and wrist injury setbacks, the 33-year-old has returned time and again to become the only player to top the rankings in three different decades.

“I can’t say I have been lucky with injuries, because I have not,” the Spaniard said on Saturday, when asked about his longevity in the game.

“But there is no secret, no? There is only about passion, about love for the game, and about being able to stay positive in the tough moments.”

Nadal’s physical, uncompromising approach is often contrasted with his great rival Roger Federer, who appears more effortless on court and — after far fewer injuries — is still going strong at 38.

But the fighting qualities that have taken Nadal to 19 Grand Slam titles on court have often been evident off it, as he was repeatedly able to recover from injury and return to the top.

“It’s true that I went through some tough situations during all my career. But I was able to always, with probably the positive attitude and with the right people around — they were the key — I was able to find a way to keep going, no?” he said.

“It’s difficult for me to imagine because for my style of game, as a lot of people said, my career should be little bit shorter. But here we are. Happy for that.

“Even for me is a big surprise to be where I am at my age.”

 

AFP

France President, Wife Escape Frustrated Protesters

French President Emmanuel Macron delivers a speech during the opening day of the “Made in France“ event at the Elysee Palace in Paris on January 17, 2020. Michel Euler / POOL / AFP
French President Emmanuel Macron delivers a speech during the opening day of the “Made in France“ event at the Elysee Palace in Paris on January 17, 2020. Michel Euler / POOL / AFP

 

French President Emmanuel Macron and his wife were rushed from a Paris theatre late Friday after protesters tried to burst in and disrupt the performance.

Riot police were out in force as dozens of people staged a demonstration outside the theatre where Macron and Brigitte were watching “The Fly”.

About 30 protesters tried to enter the building housing the renowned Bouffes du Nord theatre after some people in the audience tweeted the presence of France’s first couple, presidential staff said.

The pair “were secured” for several minutes and later returned to their seats to finish watching the play, they said.

Police said they prevented the protesters from getting into the theatre in the 10th district of Paris, which lies several kilometres from the president’s Elysee Palace’s residence.

The Macrons, who occasionally slip out to enjoy a dinner or play in the French capital, finally left the theatre under police escort.

“All together, general strike,” protesters shouted during the stand-off with riot police that lasted around an hour.

The demonstration took place on the 44th day of a crippling strike against the Macron government’s proposed pension reforms.

Though it is now easing, the strike has snarled train and metro traffic and caused misery for millions of commuters in Paris especially.

Macron’s staff were defiant after Friday’s events.

“The president will continue to attend plays as he is used to doing. He will watch out to defend creative freedom to ensure it is not undermined by violent political acts,” a Macron aide said.

Making few public appearances for weeks, Macron last mixed with the crowds when he visited the northern city of Amiens in November before his retirement reforms were announced.

The overhaul aims to forge a single pensions system from the country’s 42 separate regimes, which offer early retirement and other benefits to public-sector workers as well as lawyers, physical therapists and even Paris Opera employees.

Critics say it will effectively force millions of people to work longer for a smaller pension.

 

AFP

Four Dead In Somalia Car Bomb

‘The blast was huge’, one witness said

 

Four people were killed in a car bombing in Somalia on Saturday that apparently targeted Turkish engineers working on a road near the capital Mogadishu, police and witnesses said.

The attack was claimed by the Al-Qaeda-linked Islamist militant group Al-Shabaab, which has stepped up its activities in Somalia and neighbouring Kenya in recent weeks.

The bomb struck near the town of Afgoye about 30 kilometres (20 miles) west of the capital, killing four people and wounding several others including several Turkish nationals, said local police officer Abdirahman Adan.

“The blast was huge, it destroyed a container used by the Turkish engineers who work on the Afgoye road construction,” said witness Muhidin Yusuf.

“There were police who were guarding the Turkish engineers and several other people gathering near the checkpoint where the temporary shelter is located,” said another witness Ahmed Said.

“I saw the dead bodies of several (people) and Turkish workers who were wounded in the blast.”

The Islamist group, which has fought for more than a decade to topple the Somali government, has carried out a series of attacks in recent weeks including a massive car bombing in Mogadishu on December 28 that killed 81 people.

And on January 5, the jihadists stormed a military base used by US forces in Kenya’s coastal Lamu region, killing three Americans.

Last week, Al-Shabaab warned that Kenya will “never be safe”, threatening tourists and calling for more attacks on US interests.

Kenya sent troops into Somalia in 2011 as part of an African Union peacekeeping mission fighting against Al-Shabaab, and has seen several brutal retaliation attacks both on its troops in Somalia and civilians in Kenya.

Banditry: Over 1,000 Women, Children Displaced In Niger State


 

Not less than one thousand persons, mostly children and women have been displaced following attacks by bandits on several communities in Shiroro local government area of Niger State.

The recent attacks, which began on January 14, have also left a village head and one other person dead.

According to the locals, the attackers stormed Masuku, Zongoro, Maguga, Magami, and Kwaki and started opening fire in the air.

They also say the attackers abducted some thirty persons.

Channels Television crew visited the IDP camp at Kuta on Saturday, where members of the affected communities are taking shelter at the Dr. Idris Ibrahim Primary School.

At the time of our visit, more people were still arriving the camp.

Some of the displaced women and children at the Niger camp

The Director-General, Niger State Emergency Management Agency, Ahmed Inga who led officials of the agency to take food items and other relief materials to the camp said the state government has put in place a strategy to tackle the challenge, but that it will not disclose such strategy to the public.

Chairman of Shiroro local government council, Shuaibu Suleiman Chukuba, however, raised concern over increasing hunger and poverty in the area due to the activities of bandits.

Channels Television came across two women who were said to have been delivered of a baby boy and girl each.

One of the women, Zarawu gave birth on Friday evening.

‘He Died And Left Office Without Having Mansions,’ Bauchi Remembers Tafawa Balewa

 

Right in the heart of Bauchi City is the tomb of Nigeria’s first and only Prime Minister, late Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa. The magnificent edifice was structurally designed to embody his life’s tales within the context of the nation’s history. His remains lie in a grave surrounded by a colourful wall which represents Nigeria’s multi-ethnicity.

Some of his personal effects – bed, rain boots, television, radio-set, chairs – are on display in the tomb’s museum. 

Recently, for the first time, a memorial lecture and special prayers were held by the Bauchi State Government in Balewa’s honour. 

Balewa was assassinated on January 15, 1966, during Nigeria’s first attempted military coup. The brutal murder precipitated the civil war that transformed the country’s political history. 

The State Government is also sponsoring a legislative bill that seeks to make January 15th a day set aside to honour Balewa. 

Tafawa Balewa was Nigeria's first Prime Minister.
Tafawa Balewa was Nigeria’s first Prime Minister.

 

The State’s Commissioner of Culture and Tourism, Modibbo Mohammed, believes the labour of past heroes like Balewa should be sung eternally.

“He was a complete gentleman,” Mohammed told Channels TV. “He is someone that the whole country is proud of. He is one of those that kept his life in a simple manner. 

“Some of his contemporaries were so flamboyantly advertised but Bauchi, unfortunately, has not been able to do that. But now it has come to stay and we have started. And not because we are copying anybody, but because this is the time that God has ordained it to happen. So it’s a great achievement.”

Danlami Babatanko, who wrote a book about Balewa, said he wanted to revive the late leader’s legacy of hard work, honesty, transparency and patriotism. 

Tafawa Balewa's tomb building in Bauchi
Tafawa Balewa’s tomb building in Bauchi

 

“I believe he symbolised these fine qualities,” Babatanko said. “Especially transparency. He died and left office without having mansions, without having a fleet of cars. And he was hard-working in the sense that he devoted his entire life to the progress of Nigeria. He was also a nationalist, a patriotic citizen, in the sense that I remember very well that his best friend in the country during his lifetime was Dr. Moses Majekodunmi, a Yoruba man from the west.”

Balewa’s Grandson, Abubakar, told Channels TV that it was necessary to celebrate the Prime Minister in death in order to show to the current leaders that they will still be remembered for the legacies even after they are no more. “People can still bring up your records and see whether you have done good or bad,” he said.

Balewa’s eldest son, 75-year-old Yakubu Balewa, said his memories of his father remind him of a man who was humble, kind and taught others to be the same. “He gave us a way of respecting each and everyone,” he said.

 The National Union of Bauchi State Students (NUBASS) also took to the streets to celebrate Balewa. “We march today in honour and in remembrance of our legend,” President of the NUBASS chapter in the state, Adamu Musa, said.

‘I Thought I Didn’t Have The Nicest Clothes’ – Africa’s Most Beautiful Girl

 

Most Beautiful Girl in Nigeria, Nyekachi Douglas at the Miss World 2019 beauty pageant
Most Beautiful Girl in Nigeria, Nyekachi Douglas at the Miss World 2019 beauty pageant

 

Last December, the Most Beautiful Girl in Nigeria, Nyekachi Douglas stole the headlines with her wild celebrations when Miss Jamaica was announced the world’s most beautiful woman at the Miss World 2019 beauty pageant.

Although Douglas, who was the highest-ranked African beauty queen at the contest, didn’t win, she received warm accolades for the manner in which she jubilated with Miss Jamaica, Toni-Ann Singh.

Recently, the Jamaican Consulate in Abuja invited Douglas to congratulate her for placing high at the beauty tournament and, of course, for her bubbling celebrations around the Jamaican queen.

READ ALSO: Miss Nigeria Inspires The Internet After Frenzied Celebrations

“From the moment you graced the stage in London at the Miss World, we thought that you had something special and certainly by the time the competition was over, we had confirmed that,” Jamaica’s High Commissioner to Nigeria, Esmond Reid, said at the Jamaican reception for Douglas.

The top diplomat also announced that Douglas was set to travel to Jamaica in February. 

Ms. Douglas couldn't hide her joy on stage last December.
Ms. Douglas couldn’t hide her joy on stage last December.

 

“We know that an invitation has been extended for you to come to Jamaica in March and all of Jamaica is waiting for you,” he said.

“You are one of us now. And it is no accident that you have the surname Douglas, which is a very recognised name in Jamaica. We look forward to seeing and reading about the things that you will be doing.”

At the reception, Douglas was visibly overcome with emotion, intermittently covering her face with her palms.

“The first time I watched the video (celebrating on the Miss World stage), I was like ‘why did I have to be so excited on stage?’” She said.

“But the more I watched it  . . . we live in a world where people who are trying to run for the same thing and push for the same goal are trying to pull each other down. We don’t realise that we are all trying to do the same thing.

Jamaica's High Commissioner to Nigeria, Esmond Reid, was delighted to receive Ms. Douglas
Jamaica’s High Commissioner to Nigeria, Esmond Reid, was delighted to receive Ms. Douglas

 

“We should be happy that someone has gotten to a place where they can do what you want to do. And as Toni-Ann said, there is enough room for each of the other Queens to still make a difference. The crown is beautiful, but you don’t need the crown to change the things that you can change. And Toni-Ann is an amazing woman, a God-fearing girl, someone that I can say I admire – she has values. So I am not surprised that she has the crown. I called it. So I was like ‘I told you’.”

Later during the reception, Douglas shared the story of how she decided to compete for the Most Beautiful Girl in Nigeria (MBGN) contest which catapulted her to the world stage.

“It was something that I had always wanted to do,” she said.

But at the audition stage, “I had so many reasons to believe I wasn’t going to make it too far. But the push from the people that love me and God gave me the courage to still go there, even though I thought I didn’t have the nicest clothes. 

 

Ms. Douglas said the Miss World beauty pageant is essentially about making an impact on the world.
Ms. Douglas said the Miss World beauty pageant is essentially about making an impact on the world.

 

“Even after the auditions, there were moments I felt I wasn’t going to go anymore because I didn’t want to waste my time. I wanted to come back the next year when I had better clothes. But now I realise you will never feel fully prepared. There is always something more that you can do; and if you keep on waiting, you are never going to do it because there is no such thing as perfect.”

Douglas said being at the Miss World contest has shown her that beauty pageants are not about “how beautiful you are or how slim your waist is, it is more about how do I be an impact on the rest of the world? It’s more about being a voice – not just for yourself but for your country.  It’s a union of national ambassadors. And we are finding ways we can make ourselves better and make our projects better. It is something that will change you completely and make you see life through a different lens.”

Douglas is currently partnering with organisations to rebuild schools in Makoko and equip them with computers.

“I grew up in a place that’s not as privileged,” she said. “It’s very difficult to be ambitious when you are living in that kind of place because you are only seeing one thing and my goal is to expose them to more than what they have.”