Tokyo Olympics: Ogunbanwon Wins Heat 1 Of Women’s 100m Freestyle

photo of Abiola Ogunbanwon representing Nigeria at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics

 

Nigerian Swimming representative, Abiola Ogunbanwon made history at the Tokyo Olympics by winning the heat 1 of Women’s 100m Freestyle.

Ogunbanwon bested the rest of the field in 59.74 seconds with Antunovic Andela of Montenegro coming in second in a time of 1:00.01 minutes.

The 17-year-old became the first Nigerian woman ever to finish this event in less than one minute.

She also surpassed Ngozi Monu’s record of 1:15 m achieved at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney.

 

 

Despite the historic feat, her winning time fell short of the best 16 times required to progress into the semi-final.

Ogunbanwon came on the scene representing Nigeria at the 2019 World Aquatics Championships held in Gwangju, South Korea.

She also competed in the women’s 100 metre freestyle and women’s 200 metre freestyle events. In both events, she failed to advance to the semi-finals.

 

Amazon Quarterly Profit Jumps But Shares Slide

(FILES) In this file photo taken on November 27, 2019 an Amazon sign is pictured at the Amazon Fulfilment Centre in Peterborough, east England. (Photo by DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS / AFP)

 

Amazon said Thursday second-quarter profit jumped 48 percent from a year ago to $7.8 billion, but shares in the tech and e-commerce giant fell on a disappointing revenue number.

Total revenues increased 27 percent to $113.1 billion, below most Wall Street forecasts, sparking a slide of some six percent in after-hours trading.

Andy Jassy, who took over as chief executive earlier this month from Jeff Bezos, said Amazon remained focused on delivering goods and services for consumers during the pandemic.

“Over the past 18 months, our consumer business has been called on to deliver an unprecedented number of items, including PPE, food, and other products that helped communities around the world cope with the difficult circumstances of the pandemic,” Jassy said.

He added that Amazon’s cloud computing division AWS “has helped so many businesses and governments maintain business continuity… as more companies bring forward plans to transform their businesses and move to the cloud.”

The Amazon results capped a series of earnings from major tech firms highlighting surging profits and revenues as digital lifestyles and work-from-home trends continue even with the end of most pandemic lockdowns.

Tech rivals Facebook, Apple, Microsoft and Google parent Alphabet all reported higher revenues and profits even as they faced heightened scrutiny from antitrust regulators for their growing dominance of key economic sectors.

Amazon has faced criticism over its workplace policies but has argued that it pays above-average wages and invested billions for employee safety.

A growing number of consumers turned to Amazon during the pandemic for delivery of goods and services including groceries, and its cloud computing division also grew to help businesses and consumers stay connected.

Amazon has also been expanding its streaming television and artificial intelligence operations.

Bezos stepped away earlier this month from day-to-day operations at Amazon some 27 years after he founded the company, choosing to devote more time to other projects including his Blue Origin company that launched him briefly into space earlier this month.

Originally an online bookseller, Amazon has grown into one of the world’s most valuable companies with operations in dozens of countries and a market value of some $1.8 trillion and 1.3 million employees.

Amazon’s revenues for the quarter were some $2 billion below the average analyst forecast and come despite a two-day event known as Prime Day aimed at spurring sales and drawing more consumers into its Prime subscription plan.

AFP

Maltese State Responsible For Journalist’s Assassination

 In this file photo taken on October 19, 2017 Flowers and tributes lay at the foot of the Great Siege monument in Valletta, which has been turned into a temporary shrine for Maltese journalist and blogger Daphne Caruana Galizia (picture) who was killed by a car bomb outside her home three days before. Matthew Mirabelli / AFP
In this file photo taken on October 19, 2017 Flowers and tributes lay at the foot of the Great Siege monument in Valletta, which has been turned into a temporary shrine for Maltese journalist and blogger Daphne Caruana Galizia (picture) who was killed by a car bomb outside her home three days before. Matthew Mirabelli / AFP

 

Malta should take responsibility for the 2017 murder of investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia as it created “an atmosphere of impunity” that risked her life, a public inquiry concluded.

The October 2017 car-bomb killing of Caruana Galizia, who exposed cronyism and sleaze within Malta’s political and business elite, sparked international outrage and protests that forced the resignation of former prime minister Joseph Muscat.

A panel of three judges wrote in a 437-page report that although they had not found proof of government involvement, Muscat and his entire former cabinet should be held responsable.

“The state should shoulder responsibility for the assassination,” read the report, which took nearly two years to compile, according to Maltese news media on Thursday.

“It created an atmosphere of impunity, generated from the highest echelons of the administration… the tentacles of which then spread to other institutions, such as the police and regulatory authorities, leading to a collapse in the rule of law”, it read, according to the Times of Malta.

Caruana Galizia, 53, has been described as a “one-woman WikiLeaks”.

The blogger was known for investigating high-level corruption and contributed to the 2016 Panama Papers data leak.

Her family said the panel’s findings confirmed their belief “that her assassination was a direct result of the collapse of the rule of law and the impunity that the State provided to the corrupt network she was reporting on”.

“We hope that its findings will lead to the restoration of the rule of law in Malta, effective protection for journalists, and an end to the impunity that the corrupt officials Daphne investigated continue to enjoy,” they said.

Political price

The panel found the state shirked its duty to protect Caruana Galizia and subjected her to personal attacks and verbal abuse from politicians.

The atmosphere created a “favourable climate” for her assassination, and there was “convincing evidence” that her killers knew they would be protected “persons in the highest state positions”.

Muscat stepped down in January 2020 after widespread anger and mass protests over his perceived efforts to protect friends and allies from the investigation.

The ongoing criminal investigation has thus far charged three men over the murder, with one of them sentenced in February to 15 years in prison.

In March, Muscat’s former chief of staff, Keith Schembri, was charged with crimes including corruption, fraud and money laundering.

He claims innocence.

In a lengthy statement on Facebook in reaction to the inquiry’s report, Muscat said the swift arrest of the alleged hitmen following Caruana Galizia’s murder “disproves any impression of impunity” they may have had.

He added that prior governments had acted with impunity before his term of office.

“Despite the very serious reservations on the shortcomings of the Inquiry, I accept the said conclusions as I have always done in the past out of respect for the Institutions,” he said.

He said he had “paid the ultimate political price”.

A series of recommendations by the panel include measures to increase transparency and break the cozy relationship between business and politics, as well as better protection of journalists.

AFP

Egypt Sentences 24 Muslim Brotherhood Members To Death

A file photo of the Egyptian national flag.
A file photo of the Egyptian national flag.

 

An Egyptian court on Thursday sentenced 24 Muslim Brotherhood members to death for the killing of police officers in two separate cases, a judicial source said.

The Damanhour Criminal Court, north of the capital Cairo, convicted the group of several crimes, including the alleged bombing of a bus transporting police officers in the coastal Beheira governorate in 2015.

The attack killed three policemen and wounded scores of others.

The other case, also comprised of Brotherhood members and tried by the same court, was over the killing of a policeman in 2014.

Eight of the 24 accused were tried in absentia.

Capital punishment for civilian convicts in Egypt, the Arab world’s most populous country, is carried out by hanging.

The verdicts can be appealed, the source added.

Egypt outlawed the Islamist group in 2013 following the military ouster of former president Mohamed Morsi.

Since leading the military takeover and becoming president, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has cracked down on the Muslim Brotherhood, with thousands of its supporters jailed.

The Muslim Brotherhood, founded in Egypt in 1928, calls for Islam to be at the heart of public life.

It established itself as the main opposition movement in Egypt despite decades of repression, and has inspired spinoff movements and political parties across the Muslim world.

But it remains banned in several countries including Egypt for its alleged links to terrorism.

Earlier this year, Amnesty International slammed Egypt’s “significant spike” in recorded executions, which saw a more than threefold rise to 107 last year, from 32 in 2019.

Gunmen Attack Finance Ministry In Nasarawa, Cart Away Millions

A file photo of a man carrying a gun.

 

Gunmen on Thursday carted away an undisclosed amount of money from the Nasarawa State Ministry of Finance, budget and planning.

The gunmen were said to have trailed two staff from the bank to the Ministry in Lafia and seized the money at gunmen point after shooting sporadically in the air.

The State Commissioner of Finance, Haruna Ogbole, said the money was worth millions, but did not disclose the exact amount.

Ogbole added that the incident was being investigated.

Meanwhile, the cashier is undergoing treatment after sustaining bullet wounds.

US Court Issues Arrest Warrant For Abba Kyari

A photo combination of a deputy commissioner of police, Abba Kyari and alleged fraudster, Ramon Abbas, aka, Hushpuppi.
A photo combination of a deputy commissioner of police, Abba Kyari and alleged fraudster, Ramon Abbas, aka, Hushpuppi.

 

A US court has issued an arrest warrant for a Deputy Commissioner of Police, Abba Kyari over his links to alleged fraudster, Ramon Abbas, popularly known as Hushpuppi.

The arrest warrant was issued by a U.S magistrate judge, Otis Wright, a spokesperson in the United States Attorney’s Office confirmed to Channels Television.

According to documents unsealed this week in the US, Mr Kyari had arrested and jailed one Chibuzo Vincent, at the behest of Hushpuppi.

Mr Kyari also allegedly sent Hushpuppi bank account details into which Hushpuppi could deposit payment for Vincent’s arrest and imprisonment.

Mr Kyari, in a Facebook post on Thursday, denied the allegations.

Alleged dispute

On Wednesday, the US Department of Justice announced that Hushpuppi had been involved “in an elaborate scheme to steal more than $1.1 million from a businessperson attempting to finance the construction of a school for children in Qatar.”

Six persons were indicted in the investigation.

In laundering the proceeds of the Qatar operation, a dispute broke out among members of the conspiracy, courts documents said.

The dispute allegedly prompted Vincent, one of the members, to contact the victim and inform them of the scam operation.

After this contact, Hushpuppi allegedly arranged to have Vincent jailed in Nigeria by Mr Kyari, a top police officer in Nigeria.

Mr Kyari was also alleged to have provided third-party bank accounts to receive payment for the illegal arrest.

Kyari’s defence

In his defence on Thursday, Mr Kyari said Vincent had been arrested only because Hushpuppi claimed that he (Vincent) had seriously threatened to attack his family in Nigeria.

He said Vincent was eventually released on bail after no actual threats were discovered.

“Nobody demanded a kobo from Abbas Hushpuppi,” Mr Kyari said.

“Our focus was to save people’s lives that were purported to have been threatened,” Kyari said.”

Mr Kyari also said Hushpuppi once sent N300,000 to his (Kyari) tailor after the alleged fraudster had admired some of his outfits on social media.

The clothes “were brought to our office and he sent somebody to collect them in our office,” Mr Kyari said.

 

See the indictment document from the United States District Court for the Central District of California below:

 

 

Insecurity, Unemployment Has Never Been This Bad In Nigeria – Atiku

Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar spoke to reporters in Rivers State on July 29, 2021.
Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar spoke to reporters in Rivers State on July 29, 2021.

 

Former Vice President and PDP presidential candidate in the 2019 elections, Atiku Abubakar, has lamented the state of the nation under the leadership of the All Progressives Congress.

According to him, insecurity and unemployment have never been “this bad” in Nigeria.

He made the comment while speaking to journalists at the Rivers State Government House in Port Harcourt.

“I have never seen it (insecurity) this bad,” he said. “I am 70 years plus, I have never seen it this bad in terms of security challenges, in terms of economy, in terms of unemployment. This is the worst.”

On Wednesday, Atiku had met with Governor Nyesom Wike.

A statement signed by Wike’s spokesperson, Kelvin Ebiri, said Atiku had travelled to Rivers state to discuss PDP affairs.

“Well, I came here to reconcile with the governor on party affairs and how we can ensure that there is unity and stability in the party,” Atiku said.

“So, that we can take over government in 2023. I believe that Nigerians can’t wait for 2023 to come, so that PDP will return.”

Atiku said the PDP “will come up with our policies” and “present them to Nigerians when the time comes.”

“We have done that before,” he added. “Under PDP, we recorded the highest economic growth, the best foreign reserves, we reduced unemployment. You know that we can do it.”

Juventus First Team Under Quarantine After COVID-19 Case

J by Tiziana FABI / AFP)

 

Juventus’ first team has been put in quarantine after Tunisian midfielder Hamza Rafia tested positive, the Turin club said in a statement Thursday.

During health checks, “it appeared that the player Hamza Rafia was positive for Covid-19,” read the statement from Juventus.

“This procedure will allow for all individuals who test negative to perform regular training and game activities, but will not allow for contact with those outside the group,” it said.

The 22-year-old Tunisian-French midfielder, a former member of the youth team, was called up to the first team of Juventus last year.

-AFP

Tokyo Olympics: AFN Admits ‘Lapses’ After Disqualification Of 10 Athletes

File Photo Of AFN

 

The Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) on Thursday admitted “lapses” on its part over the disqualification of 10 athletes from Tokyo Olympics for not complying with out-of-competition drug testing requirements.

The Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) had announced the disqualification of the Nigerian athletes on Wednesday.

The AFN, which has been plagued by power tussle for several years, said they would take responsibility for the lapses that led to the disqualification.

“The AFN bears responsibility for any lapses that may have occurred during the process and reassures Nigerians that our performances (at Tokyo Olympics) will not be negatively impacted,” it said in a statement.

“All our athletes resident in Nigeria and who qualified for the Olympic Games completed the three mandatory tests,” it said.

“Most of our top athletes resident in the USA also completed their tests,” the AFN said.

“However, a few athletes in the American collegiate system were tested, but those tests were deemed not to have complied with WADA (world anti-doping agency) sample collection and analysis standards.”

The AFN said it had appointed a top official to head its medical and anti-doping commission.

Star sprinter Blessing Okagbare, who will compete in the 100m and 200m in Tokyo, was critical of the country’s sports officials.

“The sport system in Nigeria is so flawed and we athletes are always at the receiving end of the damages,” she said.

“They were busy fighting over power, exercising their pride over Puma contract/kits forgetting their major responsibility – the athletes.

“It’s sad that this cycle keeps repeating itself and some people will come out to say I am arrogant for speaking my truth. It’s my career,” she added.

UPDATED: Ugandan Weightlifter To Face Fraud Charge Over Olympics Disappearance

 

A young Ugandan weightlifter who disappeared in Japan after failing to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics was charged Wednesday with conspiracy to defraud, his lawyer said.

A young Ugandan weightlifter who disappeared in Japan after failing to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics was charged Wednesday with conspiracy to defraud, his lawyer said.

Julius Ssekitoleko vanished from an Olympic training camp after learning he did not meet standards to compete in the Games, making headlines around the world as Japanese officials scrambled to locate him.

The 20-year-old was found several days later and flown home to Uganda where government officials said he would undergo counselling.

But he was swiftly taken into police custody, and on Wednesday he was charged with “conspiracy to defraud” before being released on a police bond, his lawyer Anthony Wameli told AFP.

“He is happy that he has been freed after spending five days in detention which is an infringement on his rights,” he added.

A spokesman for Uganda’s criminal investigations department said Ssekitoleko may have conspired with a government official to be included on the team for Japan “well aware that he did not meet the qualifications”.

“Investigations will confirm the depth of the conspiracy to defraud the government as he had been paid allowances at the time of his disappearance,” the spokesman, Charles Twine, told AFP.

‘Sympathy not harsh treatment’

Ssekitoleko’s family had issued appeals for his release, saying his rights were being violated.

“This is an innocent young man. He didn’t want to hurt anyone. Why is he being treated like a criminal?” asked his mother Juliet Nalwadda, speaking to AFP earlier Wednesday.

Uganda’s weightlifting federation said Ssekitoleko came from a poor family and had been training hard for his first Olympics.

After he went missing, a note was found in Ssekitoleko’s hotel room in which he said he wanted to work in Japan and asked that his belongings be sent to his family in Uganda.

The Union of Uganda Sports Federations and Associations had also condemned Ssekitoleko’s detention.

“He deserves sympathy, not harsh treatment” the head of the union, Moses Muhangi, told AFP.

Ssekitoleko’s plight has stirred mixed reactions in Uganda. The government was forced to apologise to Japan over the incident that Uganda’s state minister for foreign affairs labelled “unacceptable conduct and treachery”.

But others have been more sympathetic toward the young athlete whose dreams were dashed.

“Ssekitoleko is not a criminal, he is a victim of an economy that works for the few (in the) privileged class,” Ugandan legislator Betty Nambooze said Wednesday.

vanished from an Olympic training camp after learning he did not meet standards to compete in the Games, making headlines around the world as Japanese officials scrambled to locate him.

The 20-year-old was found several days later and flown home to Uganda where government officials said he would undergo counselling.

But he was swiftly taken into police custody, and on Wednesday he was charged with “conspiracy to defraud” before being released on a police bond, his lawyer Anthony Wameli told AFP.

“He is happy that he has been freed after spending five days in detention which is an infringement on his rights,” he added.

A spokesman for Uganda’s criminal investigations department, said Ssekitoleko may have conspired with a government official to be included on the team for Japan “well aware that he did not meet the qualifications”.

“Investigations will confirm the depth of the conspiracy to defraud the government as he had been paid allowances at the time of his disappearance,” the spokesman, Charles Twine, told AFP.

– ‘Sympathy not harsh treatment’ –

Ssekitoleko’s family had issued appeals for his release, saying his rights were being violated.

“This is an innocent young man. He didn’t want to hurt anyone. Why is he being treated like a criminal?” asked his mother Juliet Nalwadda, speaking to AFP earlier Wednesday.

Uganda’s weightlifting federation said Ssekitoleko came from a poor family and had been training hard for his first Olympics.

After he went missing, a note was found in Ssekitoleko’s hotel room in which he said he wanted to work in Japan and asked that his belongings be sent to his family in Uganda.

The Union of Uganda Sports Federations and Associations had also condemned Ssekitoleko’s detention.

“He deserves sympathy, not harsh treatment” the head of the union, Moses Muhangi, told AFP.

Ssekitoleko’s plight has stirred mixed reactions in Uganda. The government was forced to apologise to Japan over the incident that Uganda’s state minister for foreign affairs labelled “unacceptable conduct and treachery”.

But others have been more sympathetic toward the young athlete whose dreams were dashed.

“Ssekitoleko is not a criminal, he is a victim of an economy that works for the few (in the) privileged class,” Ugandan legislator Betty Nambooze said Wednesday.

Turkey Arrests American Behind Coup Messaging App

 

 

A Turkish-born American linked to a messaging app used by organisers of a failed coup in 2016 has arrived in Istanbul and turned himself in to the police, state media reported Wednesday.

David Keynes, also known in Turkey as Alpaslan Demir, holds the copyright to ByLock, an encrypted messaging app that has been banned in Turkey and across parts of the Middle East.

The Turkish government believes the app was used by organisers of a failed coup in 2016 that claimed the lives of some 250 people and was followed by a sweeping political crackdown and mass arrests.

The Anadolu state news agency said Keynes arrived in Istanbul on June 9 and turned himself in to the police under a “repentance law” that grants more lenient treatment to people who confess to crimes.

It was not clear why state media reported Keynes’s arrest more than a month after his arrival in Turkey or why he had decided to turn himself in.

Anadolu said he was put in pre-trial detention and charged with terror-related offences that could see him jailed for up to 15 years.

Ankara blames the coup attempt on Fethullah Gulen, a US-based Muslim preacher who was an ally-turned-opponent of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

The Turkish leader responded to the failed putsch by ordering a comprehensive crackdown that officials say saw more than 321,000 people detained.

Most have been released, but the scale of the detentions has had a chilling effect on Turkish politics, leading to the detention of Erdogan’s political opponents and the shutdown of independent media.

The courts have handed down life sentences to 3,000 people, according to Anadolu, while 4,890 defendants have been convicted over links to the coup bid.

-AFP

Ugandan Weightlifter Detained By Police After Going Missing In Japan

 

Ugandan police said Wednesday they were interrogating a weightlifter who disappeared in Japan after failing to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics, as his family appealed for his release from custody.

Julius Ssekitoleko, 20, vanished from an Olympic training camp after learning he did not meet standards to compete in the Games, making headlines around the world as Japanese officials scrambled to locate him.

He was found and flown home to Uganda where government officials said he would undergo counselling.

But he was taken into police custody, said family members who have petitioned the courts for his release.

“It is heartbreaking to see my son sharing a cell with criminals when he is innocent,” the athlete’s mother, Juliet Nalwadda, told AFP Wednesday.

“His rights are being violated by police detaining him indefinitely. I appeal to the government, and sportsmen and women, to secure his release. This is an innocent young man. He didn’t want to hurt anyone. Why is he being treated like a criminal?”

A spokesman for Uganda’s criminal investigations department said Ssekitoleko was being held for interrogation over suspected “fraud”.

“We have been informed Ssekitoleko in the first place did not qualify to be on the team. So how did he get there, who could have been behind his movement, this is what the police are trying to establish,” the spokesman, Charles Twine, told AFP.

“If there is evidence of fraud or an illegal act, Ssekitoleko will be taken to court and charged in line with the offence committed. If there is no evidence, he will be set free.”

Uganda’s weightlifting federation said Ssekitoleko came from a poor family and had been training very hard for his first Olympics.

After he went missing, a note was found in Ssekitoleko’s hotel room in which he said he wanted to work in Japan and asked that his belongings be sent to his family in Uganda.

The Union of Uganda Sports Federations and Associations condemned Ssekitoleko’s ongoing detention and called for his immediate release so he could be reunited with his family.

“He deserves sympathy, not harsh treatment” the head of the union, Moses Muhangi, told AFP.

Ssekitoleko’s plight has stirred mixed reactions in Uganda. The government was forced to apologise to Japan over the incident that Uganda’s state minister for foreign affairs labelled “unacceptable conduct and treachery”.

But others have been more sympathetic toward the young athlete whose dreams were dashed.

“Ssekitoleko is not a criminal, he is a victim of an economy that works for the few (in the) privileged class,” Ugandan legislator Betty Nambooze said Wednesday.

-AFP