Sowore’s Rearrest: DSS Desecrated Court, Their Leader Apologised, Falana Insists

 

Counsel to Mr. Omoyele Sowore and human rights lawyer, Femi Falana (SAN) has insisted that the DSS is guilty of desecrating the court despite the denial by the service.

The secret police had invaded the Federal High Court in Abuja on Friday to rearrest Omoyele Sowore, convener of the #RevolutionNow movement,  barely 24 hours after he was released on the order of the court.

The DSS however, denied infiltrating the court, stating that the Service did not attempt arresting Sowore inside the court, alleging that his supporters only “stage-managed the drama” to bring the service to disrepute.

Debunking the claim by the DSS, Mr. Falana said not only did the DSS officials invade the court premises, causing the court to hurriedly end its activities, their leader also apologised to the judge.

According to Mr. Falana the presiding judge, Ijeoma Ojukwu had summoned the head of the DSS team in her chambers and asked him to justify the invasion of the court after which he reportedly offered an apology before he was asked to withdraw his men from the courtroom.

READ ALSO: DSS Does Not Necessarily Need Permission Of The President To Arrest Sowore – Presidency

Below is a full statement from Mr Falana regarding the matter.

SSS APOLOGISED FOR INVASION OF COURT!

Our attention has been drawn to the self contradictory press release of the SSS in which an unsuccessful attempt was made to absolve itself of responsibility for the armed invasion of the Federal High Court, Abuja Judicial Division, in general, and the desecration of Court No 7 of Hon. Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu in particular as well as the illegal rearrest of Omoyele Sowore.

First, pretending to forget that the abominable desecration of the Federal High Court was covered live by domestic and international media outfits and journlists, some of whom were also direct victims of the gangsterism, barbarism and brutalisation displayed by officers of the Service on the 6th day of December 2019, the Service has conducted “eye witness” accounts of what transpired with the aim of showing that officers of the Service were not involved in the rearrest of Sowore.

Second, the Service argues on the one hand that the arrest of Sowore was “stage managed” by his supporters in order to give the Service a bad name whilst also admitting at the same time that officers of the Service arrested Sowore outside the Court. Having declared that the Service arrested Sowore “outside the court”, despite the “stage managing” argument, what the Nigerian people want to see happen is the immediate release of Sowore, pending his trial as ordered by the court.

INDUBITABLE FACTS CONFIRMING DESECRATION OF COURT AND RE-ARREST BY THE SERVICE

However, the following facts underscore our insistence that the Service was solely responsible for the desecration of the hallowed chambers of the court:

By the advantage of information technology, the whole world has placed responsibility for the gangsteric desecration of the court on the SSS. The SSS cannot extricate itself from the abominable acts of 6th December, 2019.

When I informed the court that fresh charges were being filed against our clients and that they could be re-arrested, the prosecution denied any such plan.

As soon as the case was adjourned the SSS pounced on Sowore and caused a disruption of the proceedings of the court. Having taken over the court room vi et armis Justice Ojukwu hurriedly rose and asked the Registrar to adjourn all other cases. After the learned trial judge had risen for the day she summoned the heads of the prosecution and defence teams to her chambers.

When the lead prosecutor, Dr. Liman Hassan SAN denied knowledge of the invasion of her court she directed him to invite the head of the sss team in the court. When challenged to justify the invasion of the court the officer could not. He apologised to Justice Ojukwu on behalf of the sss. The judge then directed the officer to withdraw the sss operatives from the court room. The directive was complied with as the operatives withdrew from the court room but rushed out to join their colleagues who had taken over the entire court house.

Notwithstanding that the sss could not produce any warrant of arrest for Sowore the defence team decided that I should accompany him to the sss headquarters in view of his physical brutalisation inside the court room and the open threat to his life. I did and ensured that he was driven in my car to the sss headquarters where I handed him over to the officers on duty. Thereafter, I requested for a meeting with the head of the sss but I was informed that he was not in the office.

Though, ordinarily, officers of the Service do not wear any uniform, on the 6th day of December, some of them were in mufti, many were not only armed but also masked while others disguised in lawyer’s black and white suit. Regardless of the form of appearance, the officers of the Service inside Court No. 7 were identifiable by their roles and acts of seizing Sowore and pinning him down. It is an utter poor reasoning to say that Sowore’s supporters were also those bent on injuring him in order to arrest him. The argument of the Service in this respect is as unfortunate and pitiable as the earlier argument of the Service in respect of the Late Chief Gani Fawehinmi who was once accused of wanting to set ablaze his own house.

If Sowore’s supporters subjected him to such brutalisation in the presence of sss operatives why were they not arrested for contravening the provisions of the Anti Torture Act, 2017? Or were the SSS operatives expecting the supporters of a defendant wanted by the State to kill him in their presence?

Before submitting himself for arrest Sowore had rightly demanded for a warrant of arrest and detention order but the sss operatives were unable to produce either.

ON RATIONALISATION OF RE-ARREST OF SOWORE BY THE SERVICE

In rationalizing the re-arrest of Sowore, which is denied in the same Press statement, the Serivce alleged that Sowore held metings with some people. Assuming without conceding that Sowore held meetings with some people in Transcorp Hotel as alleged by the sss, why did the Prosecution not inform the trial court that the defendant had breached his bail condition?

ON THE CLAIM OF THE SERVICE THAT IT IS LAW-ABIDING

The sss says it is a law abiding institution. But why did it refuse to comply with the order of Justice Taiwo to release Sowore? Why did the sss threaten to report the judge to the NJC for granting bail to Sowore?
Why did the sss subject the order of Justice Ojukwu for the release of Sowore to its own approval by asking the sureties already verified by the judge to report themselves to the sss? Why the SSS wait for the 24-hour ultimatum issued by the trial judge before releasing Sowore and Bakare,?

Incidentally, the current prosecutor, Dr. Liman Hassan SAN was the counsel to the defendant in the case of FRN v Air Commodore Mohammed. In that case the order of Justice Nnamdi Dimgba for the release of the defendant on bail was flouted by the SSS. As if that was not enough, the sss invaded the home of the judge on 8th October 2016 when the houses of judges accused of corruption were raided. Even though I have never appeared before Justice Dimgba I have always known him as a judge of impecable integrity. So, I challenged the sss for painting an incorruptible judge with the brush of shame. It was after my intervention that the NJC gave the judge a clean bill of health.

Thereafter, the judge was compelled to withdraw from the case. The SSS thought that it had won but it was a phyrric victory. Thus, Justice John Tsoho (current Chief Judge of the federal high court) to whom the case was re assigned reiterated the orders of Justice Dimgba and proceeded to rule that trial would not commence in the case until the defendant was released from custody. It was at that stage that the sss complied with the order of the federal high court.

Conclusion

In the light of the foregoing we reiterate our demand for the release of not only Sowore in obedience to court orders, pending the verdict of the court in their trial. We equally call for the release of all other political detainees, and criminal sispects who have been admitted to bail pending trial by competent courts.

Finally, it is common knowledge that this country was ruled by military dictators for about three decades. On no occassion did security operatives invade court premises to arrest political activists inside a court room. Therefore, the bizzaire harassment of courts cannot be tolerated under a democratically government that claims to operated under the rule of law.

Ruiz Rues Three-Month Party As Joshua Avenges Loss

 

 

Andy Ruiz blamed three months of partying for his one-sided world heavyweight championship defeat to Anthony Joshua on Saturday, admitting he had failed to train seriously for his first title defense.

The 30-year-old Mexican-American stunned the world in June when he floored Joshua four times on the way to a sensational upset victory in their first fight at Madison Square Garden.

Ruiz had drawn gasps of disbelief on Friday when the weigh-in revealed he had ballooned to 283 pounds (128.4 kilograms), fully 15 pounds heavier than his fighting weight six months ago.

Ruiz’s poor conditioning was ruthlessly exposed by Joshua on Saturday, who nimbly outboxed the chubby champion.

“Three months of partying and celebrating affected me, what can I say?” Ruiz told reporters after the fight.

Asked what he’d do differently if granted a rematch with Joshua, Ruiz replied: “Listen to my coach. Listen to my dad. And take it more seriously.”

Ruiz, who was granted a ritzy homecoming parade in his Californian hometown of Imperial following his win in June, said he had started his training camp for the rematch too late.

Trainer Manny Robles had wanted Ruiz back in the gym in July. Ruiz only started his camp in September.

“I’m OK, I’m just a little disappointed,” Ruiz said. “I should have listened to them. I tried to do the training on my own. I should have listened to them more. There’s no excuses…the partying and all that stuff got the best of me.”

Robles meanwhile refused to point the finger at Ruiz.

“You’ve got to be with your fighter 100 percent,” he said. “I’m not the first coach where situations happen in camp. I have to apologise to him because this is a team effort and when you don’t win it hurts. It always hurts.”

Ruiz, however, was able to take encouragement from the fight, insisting he would be a different proposition in a third encounter.

“For being out of shape I did pretty good, I took all his shots,” he said. “I got him a few times … If we’d have gone toe to toe … For the trilogy I know I’m going to be a lot better.

“Being overweight, I wasn’t fluid enough, I wasn’t moving the way I wanted to move. I think if I’m lighter I’m going to let my hands go and be a completely different fighter.”

‘Son-aldo!’: Mourinho Salutes South Korean’s Wonder-Goal

 

 

Jose Mourinho hailed Son Heung-min’s wonder-strike in Tottenham’s 5-0 thrashing of Burnley as the best goal he has seen since an equally stunning effort from Brazilian legend Ronaldo.

On the day he was presented with the AFC Asian International Player of the Year award by compatriot Park Ji-sung, Son underlined his place among the game’s elite with arguably the greatest goal of his glittering career.

With Spurs already rampant after early goals from Harry Kane and Lucas Moura, Son stole the show before half-time in north London when he ran from deep inside his own half past a host of Burnley defenders and capped the astonishing burst with an ice-cool finish.

Son’s 77 goals in Spurs colours since his 2015 move from Bayer Leverkusen have featured some memorable moments but none have been quite as dazzling as this one.

The 27-year-old winger’s 10th goal of the season ranks among the best ever scored by a Tottenham player, alongside Ricky Villa’s 1981 FA Cup final gem and Gareth Bale’s Champions League classic against Inter Milan in 2010.

Fans on social media compared the goal to classics from Lionel Messi and George Weah, but Tottenham boss Mourinho recalled a sublime solo strike from Ronaldo during his time as a Barcelona assistant.

“Before this goal my son calls him Son-aldo and today he was Son-aldo!” Mourinho said.

“This was an amazing goal. I know that he is going to reach the face of the keeper, his control is unstoppable. The keeper is good, but he managed to put it in.

“The only thing that compares was when I was at Barcelona with Bobby Robson. Ronaldo Nazario, Compostela against Barcelona, 1996.

“Ronaldo got the ball near the halfway line and scored a similar goal, an amazing goal.”

After working with Son for just a few weeks since replacing Mauricio Pochettino, Mourinho has already developed an extra appreciation for a player he had always admired from afar.

“From the outside I had the feeling about him. I remember speaking with Sir Alex (Ferguson) about Park Ji-sung. It is a cultural thing. They like to learn, they are very humble,” Mourinho said.

“I met his parents. I understand where it comes from. The kid is fantastic. I am so happy.”

Unselfish Son

Always modest and unselfish, Son claimed he had wanted to pass rather than go on his epic run.

“When I got the ball and tried to pass it to Dele (Alli) but I couldn’t find him so I just kept going. I am happy to score this goal,” Son told a television interview while Mourinho shouted “give him the man of the match” in the background.

Tottenham captain Kane benefitted from Son’s excellence as the first of his two goals came from the South Korean’s assist.

And Kane was quick to pay tribute to Son’s headline-grabbing performance.

“Sonny stole the show today. An unbelievable goal, a great counter attack,” he said.

“All he wants to do is work hard and play for the team. He has great quality and works hard for the team.”

Tottenham’s biggest Premier League win of the season was a welcome tonic for Mourinho after his 100 percent start came to an end at his former club Manchester United in midweek.

“The performance was important, happiness for the fans, happiness for the team, a clean-sheet. I am really happy,” said Mourinho, whose side are up to fifth place.

Burnley manager Sean Dyche was less keen to join the praise for Son, preferring to blame his players for not fouling the winger before he got close to the penalty area.

“It’s at source we didn’t deal with it. Once he gets running, it’s time for a technical foul. We are not good at that and didn’t do it,” Dyche said.

“Of course from his point of view it is a fantastic goal.”

Finland Picks Youngest-Ever Prime Minister

Credit: @MarinSanna/Twitter

 

 

Finland’s Social Democrats elected a 34-year-old former transport minister to the post of Prime minister on Sunday, making her the youngest head of government in the country’s history.

Sanna Marin narrowly won Sunday’s vote to replace outgoing leader Antti Rinne, who resigned on Tuesday after losing the confidence of the coalition partner Centre Party over his handling of a postal strike.

“We have a lot of work to do to rebuild trust,” Marin told reporters on Sunday night while deflecting questions about her age.

“I have never thought about my age or gender, I think of the reasons I got into politics and those things for which we have won the trust of the electorate.”

At 34, Marin also becomes one of the world’s youngest state leaders, ahead of Ukraine’s prime minister Oleksiy Honcharuk, who is currently 35.

Former PM Antti Rinne had headed Finland’s centre-left five-party coalition since June, and Marin’s appointment is unlikely to lead to significant policy changes by the Social Democrat-led administration.

“We have a shared government programme which we have committed to,” Marin said.

The SDP won April’s legislative elections on promises to end years of economic belt-tightening introduced by the Centre Party to lift Finland out of a recession.

Rinne stepped down after several weeks of political crisis over a plan to cut wages for 700 postal workers.

Finland’s postal service withdrew the reform plans in November after widespread strikes, but questions emerged over whether or not Rinne had previously endorsed the cutbacks, leading to the Centre Party declaring it had lost its trust in the prime minister last Monday.

Parliament is expected to formally swear in the new prime minister on Tuesday.

Ten-Man Celtic Prolong Rangers’ Wait For Silverware

File photo used solely to illustrate the story. 

 

Celtic denied Steven Gerrard a first trophy as Rangers manager by holding out for the final half-hour with 10 men to win the Scottish League Cup final 1-0 at Hampden on Sunday.

Christopher Jullien scored the only goal to secure Celtic’s 10th straight domestic trophy, but Neil Lennon’s men had goalkeeper Fraser Forster to thank for a string of saves, including from Alfredo Morelos’ second-half penalty.

Celtic right-back Jeremie Frimpong was sent-off for bringing down Morelos for the penalty.

Rangers had enjoyed by far the better of the play and the chances even when Celtic had their full compliment, but could not find a way past the inspired Forster and did not make the extra man count in the closing stages.

Defeat extends Rangers’ long wait since 2011 to win a major trophy.

However, Gerrard will wonder what might have been on a day he admitted was the biggest of his managerial career to date.

A torrential downpour made playing football on the ground difficult, but what little there was came from Rangers, who could have been out of sight by half-time if not for Forster.

The giant former England international needed all of his reach to claw out Ryan Jack’s long range effort as it flew towards the far corner.

Morelos has scored 25 goals this season but the Colombian has now not scored in 10 appearances against Celtic and only Forster kept that run going.

The Colombian’s first effort was only palmed across his own goal by the Celtic stopper, but he was bailed out by Jonny Hayes clearing before Joe Aribo could tap the loose ball home.

Forster then parried another fierce Morelos effort from a narrow angle before spreading himself to make the best stop of the lot before the break from his next effort.

However, Rangers were not disheartened despite half-time coming without the deadlock being broken.

Morelos and Forster’s personal battle recommenced as the striker’s downward header was flicked one-handed to safety by the on-loan Southampton goalkeeper.

Celtic were shorn of star striker Odsonne Edouard from the start due to a niggling injury, but the French under-21 international was summoned from the bench on the hour mark.

With his first involvement, Edouard won the free-kick from which Celtic went in front in controversial fashion.

Jullien did brilliantly to turn in Ryan Christie’s free-kick, but the French defender should have been flagged for offside.

Rangers were handed a lifeline moments after going behind as Frimpong hauled down Morelos inside the box and was sent off for making no attempt to play the ball as he conceded a penalty.

Once again Forster would not be beaten though as he got down to his right to save Morelos’s spot-kick and Rangers rarely threatened thereafter.

Indeed the 10 men even had the best chance to score again when Edouard put Mikey Johnston clean through on goal only for the substitute to slice his shot horribly wide.

Rising Rap Artist Juice WRLD Dies At 21

In this file photo taken on September 21, 2019 Juice Wrld performs onstage during the 2019 iHeartRadio Music Festival and Daytime Stage at the Las Vegas Festival Grounds in Las Vegas, Nevada. BRYAN STEFFY / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / AFP

 

 

Chicago-born rapper Juice WRLD, one of a wave of young artists who made a name on streaming platforms before breaking out as chart-toppers and social media celebrities, died on Sunday at the age of 21, according to local authorities.

A spokeswoman from the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office in Illinois told AFP that it had been notified of the rapper born Jarad Higgins’ death. An autopsy had not yet been carried out.

Police confirmed to AFP that a 21-year-old man had suffered a medical emergency at Midway International Airport after getting off a private jet.

Celebrity news outlet TMZ reported that Higgins had suffered a seizure.

Juice WRLD’s breakout single “Lucid Dreams,” rose to Number 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 2018, with his follow-up album “Death Race for Love” debuting in first place on the Billboard 200 the following year.

The rapper was of a generation known as the “SoundCloud rappers” — a subgenre that takes its name from the streaming platform where its artists find fame.

The crop of rappers in recent years has become a disruptive movement in hip hop, combining a lo-fi underground sound with raw, often emotionally laden lyrics leading some to dub them “emo rappers.”

These musicians whose careers are built on internet stardom often rap about popping drugs, notably Xanax, an anti-anxiety medication.

Along with prescription medication the subculture’s aesthetic includes face tattoos and neon-dyed hair.

‘I have a lot going for me’

The scene has launched careers and sales figures but the lives of its figures are often volatile: XXXTentacion was murdered in 2018, while Tekashi69, seeking leniency on serious racketeering and weapons charges, this year was a star government witness at the trial of alleged former gang associates.

And in 2017 the SoundCloud rapper Lil Peep died at age 21 of what was declared an accidental overdose of fentanyl and Xanax.

Speaking to The New York Times in 2018, Juice WRLD said that he used Xanax heavily as a teenager but was aiming to curb his drug use.

“I have a lot going for me, I recognize it’s a lot of big things, a lot of big looks. I want to be there, and you don’t have to overdose to not be there,” he told the Times.

Music and industry insiders took to social media to pay tribute to the rapper upon learning of his shock death.

“Wow, I can not believe this. Rip my brother juice world,” tweeted fellow rapper Lil Yachty.

“rip juice,” tweeted breakout star Lil Nas X.

“so sad how often this is happening lately to young talented rising artists.”

Two Dead, Eight Injured In Ondo Road Crash

 

 

A fatal road crash has claimed the lives of two commuters in Elegbeka village, along the Owo/Benin expressway, ten kilometres from Ifon, the headquarters of Ose local government area of Ondo state.

Channels Television gathered that the crash which occurred around noon involved an Iveco mini tanker with registration number ekp392xa and a Toyota Previa vehicle adk2732w.

According to the head of operations, Ondo state sector command of the federal road safety corps, Olusegun Ogungbemide, the auto crash was caused by overspeeding and driving under the influence of alcohol.

READ ALSO: PHOTOS: PDP Woman Leader Who Was Set Ablaze In Kogi Buried Amid Tears

He revealed that out of the 13 persons involved in the crash, two died while 8 sustained injuries.

The FRSC boss noted that the dead and injured victims have been taken to the federal medical centre in Owo; while their goods have been handed over to officers at the Nigeria police, Ipele, Owo division.

Ogungbemide implored all motoring public to be more conscious of the dangers in reckless driving, especially at this yuletide season, urging commuters to speak out when drivers get reckless.

ICPC Arraigns Two For N4.7billion Fraud In Benue

ICPC Partners OAGF, BPP To Prevent Corruption In MDAs

 

 

Two officials of the Benue State Government, Mr. Stephen Amase, Principal Private Secretary to the Governor of Benue State, Samuel Ortom and Mr. Manger T Emmanuel, a former Commissioner of Works and presently, Special Adviser, Ministry of Energy, Science and Technology, Benue State have been arraigned by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) before the Benue State High Court sitting in Makurdi, Benue State and presided over by Justice S.O Itodo.

The duo were arraigned for conferring unfair advantage upon themselves and for holding indirect private interest in a contract valued at N4,766,858,449.63(Four billion seven hundred and sixty-six million eight hundred and fifty-eight thousand four hundred and forty-nine naira, sixty-three kobo) only, an offence which contravenes Sections 12 and 19 of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000.

READ ALSO: Mama ‘Boko Haram’ Held Over 66m Fraud

The prosecution counsel for ICPC, Mr. G. O Iwuagwu informed the Judge that sometime in March 2016, the first accused person, Mr. Stephen Amase while being a public servant as the Principal Private Secretary to the Governor of Benue State, conferred unfair advantage upon himself by using his position to secure the award of a contract to Tongyi New International Construction Limited for the sum of N4,766,858,445.63, from the government he is serving, thereby committing an offence contrary to and punishable under section 19 of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000.

Iwuagwu also told the Judge that the second accused person, Mr. Manger T.Emmanuel conspired with the Principal Private Secretary by using his position to award a contract to an unqualified company Tongyi New International Construction Limited for the sum of N4,766,858,445.63, in a deliberate act of misleading the State Tenders Board and State Executive Council in the award of the contract, thereby committing an offence contrary to and punishable under section 19 of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000.

The counts were read and the accused persons pleaded not guilty, the defence counsel, Mr. C. A. K. Asheka, SAN made application for their bail, which was not opposed by the prosecution counsel.

Justice Itodo granted them bail in the sum of N10,000,000 with one surety each of not less than grade level 16 and serving with the Benue State Government. The sureties are to deposit evidence of ownership of landed property within Makurdi metropolis.

The case was adjourned to 5th, 6th and 7th of February, 2020 for further hearing.

APC Clears All Chairmanship Seats In Ekiti Council Poll, PDP Calls For Cancellation

 

 

The All progressives congress APC has cleared all the 16 chairmanship seats in Saturday’s Local Government election in Ekiti State.

Returning officers across the sixteen local governments presented the results today at the head office of the State Independent Electoral Commission.

The election, peaceful to a large extent however recorded violence in ward 8, unit 2, Ikere Ekiti where the process was disrupted by thugs who attacked a building while scattering and mutilating ballot papers.

READ ALSO: PHOTOS: PDP Woman Leader Who Was Set Ablaze In Kogi Buried Amid Tears

A violent clash reported at another voting point in the town led to the death of a young man.

Reacting, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) has kicked against the result, describing the election as one compromised by the party in power.

The opposition party called for the cancellation of the poll and prosecution of everyone culpable in the killing recorded.

Trump Warns N-Korea Has ‘Everything’ To lose Through Hostile Acts

US President Donald Trump addresses the Israeli American Council National Summit 2019 at the Diplomat Beach Resort in Hollywood, Florida on December 7, 2019. Mandel NGAN / AFP

 

 

President Donald Trump warned Sunday that North Korea’s Kim Jong Un had “everything” to lose through hostility towards the United States after Pyongyang said it had carried out a major new weapons test.

“Kim Jong Un is too smart and has far too much to lose, everything actually, if he acts in a hostile way,” Trump tweeted in response to the unspecified test at the Sohae space launch center.

The announcement of Saturday’s test came just hours after Trump said he would be “surprised” by any hostile action from the North, emphasizing his “very good relationship” with Kim.

Trump and Kim engaged in months of mutual insults and threats of devastation in 2017, sending tensions soaring before a diplomatic rapprochement the following year.

The pair have met three times since June 2018 but with little progress towards denuclearization. Pyongyang has set Washington a December 31 deadline to make new concessions to kickstart stalled talks.

“North Korea, under the leadership of Kim Jong Un, has tremendous economic potential, but it must denuclearize as promised,” Trump tweeted. “NATO, China, Russia, Japan, and the entire world is unified on this issue!”

Writing that Kim had “signed a strong Denuclearization Agreement” at their June 2018 summit in Singapore,” Trump warned: “He does not want to void his special relationship with the President of the United States or interfere with the U.S. Presidential Election in November.”

A spokesman for North Korea’s Academy of the National Defense Science said Saturday’s “very important test” would have an “important effect” on changing the “strategic position” of North Korea, in a statement carried by the official KCNA news agency.

The statement did not provide further details on the test.

A senior US administration official earlier said Washington had seen reports of a test and was “coordinating closely with allies and partners.”

Trump indicated that military action was still possible when he was asked about Pyongyang on the sidelines of a NATO summit in Britain this week.

North Korea fired back that if the United States used military force it would take “prompt corresponding actions at any level.”

UN diplomats fear that North Korea will resume long-range nuclear or ballistic tests if no progress is made soon in talks with the United States.

Sohae, on North Korea’s northwest coast, is ostensibly a facility designed for putting satellites into orbit.

But Pyongyang has carried out several rocket launches there that were condemned by the US and others as disguised long-range ballistic missile tests.

Following the Singapore summit, Trump said Kim had agreed to destroy “a major missile engine testing site” without naming the facility.

Kim then agreed to shutter the Sohae site during a summit last year with South Korean President Moon Jae-in in Pyongyang as part of trust-building measures.

Vardy, Iheanacho Fire Title-Chasing Leicester To Club Record Win

 

 

Leicester closed the gap on Premier League leaders, Liverpool, as Jamie Vardy extended his red-hot streak with a brace in Sunday’s record-breaking 4-1 rout of Aston Villa.

Brendan Rodgers’ second-placed side moved within eight points of Liverpool thanks to goals from Vardy, Kelechi Iheanacho and Jonny Evans at Villa Park.

Jack Grealish had reduced the deficit to 2-1 late in the first half, but Leicester cruised to an eighth consecutive top-flight victory, setting a new club record that smashed the previous best from the 1962-63 season.

Vardy has now scored in eight consecutive Premier League appearances and is the competition’s top-scorer with 16 goals this term.

The 32-year-old striker’s blistering run has given him a chance of equalling his sequence of scoring in 11 successive matches during Leicester’s 2016 title-winning campaign.

Leicester’s surge up the table, after 12 wins from their last 14 league games, has made them unexpected title contenders again and leaves them in position to qualify for the Champions League.

Jurgen Klopp’s men remain heavy title favourites and the acid test of Leicester’s credentials will come with successive fixtures against Manchester City and Liverpool over Christmas.

There was a minute’s applause before kick-off to a show of respect to former manager Ron Saunders, who guided Villa to the First Division title in 1981 and died on Saturday aged 87.

Once the emotional tributes were paid, Villa should have taken the lead when Matt Targett’s low cross picked out Anwar El Ghazi, but he fired against the bar from close-range.

Vardy maintained his superb form to put Leicester ahead in the 21st minute.

Latching onto a fine pass from Iheanacho and, with the injured Tyrone Mings unable to sprint back, Vardy had space to round Heaton before stumbling over the ball.

Quickly recovering his footing, the striker glided past Ezri Konsa to slot home from inside the six-yard box.

After bagging the winner against Everton last Sunday, Nigerian forward Iheanacho struck again in the 41st minute.

Teed up by a sweeping Leicester move, James Maddison surged into the Villa area and delivered a fine cross that Iheanacho turned in from close-range.

Grealish gave Dean Smith’s side a lifeline in first half stoppage-time when Villa’s captain shot past Kasper Schmeichel after Leicester failed to clear.

But Evans restored Leicester’s two-goal advantage in the 49th minute when the defender met Maddison’s corner with a towering header for his first goal since February.

Vardy put the result beyond doubt in the 75th minute as he raced clear of the Villa defence to drill past Heaton.

Newcastle hit back

Newcastle fought back to make it two consecutive wins with a 2-1 success against Southampton.

Danny Ings gave Southampton a 52nd minute lead at St James’ Park, the striker running onto Jack Stephens’ long pass to notch his fifth goal in his last five appearances.

But Newcastle were level in the 68th minute when Jonjo Shelvey headed in substitute Andy Carroll’s cross, giving the midfielder three goals in his last three games.

And Federico Fernandez won it with three minutes left when he tapped in after Sean Longstaff’s long-range effort was fumbled by Saints keeper Alex McCarthy.

Newcastle are up to 10th place, while Southampton sit third bottom.

Sheffield United came from behind to win 2-1 at second bottom Norwich.

Norwich took the lead in the 27th minute through captain Alexander Tettey’s powerful finish for his first Premier League goal since 2016.

Enda Stevens equalised for United in the 49th minute with a header from George Baldock’s cross.

And Baldock went from provider to scorer three minutes later when he twisted into space before blasting home.

Chris Wilder’s eighth placed team thought they had been reduced to 10 men in the 74th minute.

But Chris Basham escaped with a booking after initially being shown the red card for his foul on Kenny McLean before a VAR review.

‘Valley Of Souls’ Triumphs At Marrakesh Film Festival

British actress Tilda Swinton (R) stands as Colombian director Nicola Rincon Gille holds his trophy of the ” Etoile d’Or ” during the closing ceremony of the 18th edition of the Marrakech International Film Festival on December 7, 2019, in Marrakech. FADEL SENNA / AFP

 

 

Colombian director Nicolas Rincon Gille’s “Valley of Souls”, the story of a father’s solitary search for the bodies of his murdered sons, won top prize Saturday at the Marrakesh film festival.

It follows the journey of Jose, who comes home from a night of fishing to discover that paramilitaries have killed his two sons and dumped their bodies in the river.

So he sets off in a canoe to try to find their bodies and give them a proper burial.

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Marrakesh’s 18th annual festival was attended by top cinema stars such as Harvey Keitel, Marion Cotillard, Tilda Swinton and Robert Redford, who received a lifetime achievement award.

Toby Wallace won Best Actor for his role in the Australian comedy “Babyteeth”, directed by Shannon Murphy.

Nichola Burley and Roxanne Scrimshaw shared the Best Actress prize for British comedy “Lynn + Lucy”, directed by Fyzal Boulifa.

Tunisia’s Ala Eddine Slim was named Best Director for “Tlamess”, a drama about a soldier who deserts the army after his mother’s death.