Team Nigeria depart for Special Olympics World Summer Games

 

Nigeria’s contingent to the Special Olympics World Summer Games has departed Lagos for the multi-sport event which is scheduled to start on March 14 in Abu Dhabi and end on March 21.

The team which is made up of 60 athletes and 18 coaches will compete in 8 Olympic-type sports; Athletics, Badminton, Basketball, Football, Table-tennis, Volleyball, Swimming and Cycling. They will also be accompanied by caregivers and medical personnel.

Abu Dhabi 2019 will be Nigeria’s 5th appearance at the world summer games after featuring at the Ireland, China, Greece and USA events.

More than 7,000 athletes from 170 countries will compete in 24 summer sports, along with 2,500 coaches and 20,000 volunteers.

This will be the first Special Olympics World Games to be hosted the Middle East/North Africa region.

The 2019 World Games will kick off with a star-studded Opening Ceremony in the iconic Zayed Sports City Stadium in the heart of Abu Dhabi which the largest sports venue in the Persian Gulf.

In addition to sports, the 2019 World Games will also feature non-sports activities and programs, including Unified Sports experiences, free Healthy Athletes screenings, Global Youth Leadership Summit, and the Law Enforcement Torch Run.

Serena Williams To Return To Tennis In Abu Dhabi Exhibition

Former world number one Serena Williams will make her much-anticipated competitive return with an exhibition match on the final day of the Mubadala exhibition event on December 30, tournament organisers announced Sunday.

The 36-year-old, who has won an Open-era record 23 Grand Slam singles titles, will take on reigning French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko.

Williams won the Australian Open 11 months ago but has not played since because of pregnancy and the birth of her first child, Alexis Olympia, in September. She has since fallen to 22 in the WTA rankings.

The American, who has never played the 20-year-old Ostapenko, will face the Latvian in the tournament’s first ever women’s match.

“I am delighted to be returning to the court in Abu Dhabi for the first time since the birth of my daughter,” she said in a statement on the tournament’s website.

“The Mubadala World Tennis Championship has long marked the beginning of the men’s global tennis season and I am excited and honoured to be making my comeback as part of the first women to participate in the event.”

Williams can equal Margaret Court’s all-time record of 24 Grand Slam titles at Melbourne Park next month.

The six-strong men’s field in Abu Dhabi features former world number one Novak Djokovic, who will also be making his comeback.

The Serb has not played competitively since his quarter-final loss at Wimbledon in July because of an elbow injury.

The exhibition tournament, which starts December 28, had earlier lost a couple of star attractions, including multiple Grand Slam champions Rafael Nadal and Stan Wawrinka.

AFP

Nadal Pulls Out Of Season Opener In Abu Dhabi

World number one Rafael Nadal has withdrawn from his planned season opener at an exhibition event in Abu Dhabi due to lingering fitness concerns just three weeks ahead of the Australian Open.

Nadal, 31, was forced to pull out of the 2017 season-ending ATP Masters last month due to a knee injury after an exhausting season in which he won the French and US Opens.

“It was a tough 2017 and I need to take my calendar in a different way in order to be ready,” Nadal told the Mubadala World Tennis Championships website.

“For this reason, I have sadly announced to the organisers and now to you fans that I won’t play this time in Abu Dhabi.”

Spanish sports daily AS reported that Nadal had to halt his planned training schedule in his native Mallorca this week to seek medical attention in Barcelona due to the niggling knee injury.

Nadal still plans on going for a 17th Grand Slam of his career in Melbourne next month.

The Spaniard will be replaced by compatriot Roberto Bautista Agut for the six-man event over three days from December 28-30.

AFP

Abu Dhabi Authorities ‘Acquired’ $450m Da Vinci – Museum

Christie’s employees take bids for Leonardo da Vinci’s “Salvator Mundi” at Christie’s New York November 15, 2017. TIMOTHY A. CLARY / AFP

The Louvre Abu Dhabi said Friday that local Emirati authorities had “acquired” a $450-million painting by Renaissance master Leonardo Da Vinci, as reports swirled about the original source of funding.

“Louvre Abu Dhabi is looking forward to displaying the Salvator Mundi by Leonardo Da Vinci. The work was acquired by the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi,” the museum said in tweets in both English and Arabic.

The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman — currently on an anti-corruption drive at home — put up the funds for the staggering purchase.

The young crown prince, often referred to by his initials MBS, used an intermediary to buy the much-sought-after painting of Christ, the paper reported, citing US intelligence and other unnamed sources.

The latest tweets by the museum, which had already announced the Da Vinci was “coming” to Abu Dhabi, did not explicitly contradict that report.

The landmark acquisition comes shortly after the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia announced the formation of a new military and economic committee, separate from the Gulf Cooperation Council.

In recent years, Qatar has been the biggest player in the Gulf art world, but in June, Saudi Arabia and some of its allies broke off diplomatic and trade relations with Doha, which they accuse of supporting extremist movements.

“Salvator Mundi” — dated to around 1500 — is the last known Da Vinci in the hands of a private collector. It was long believed to be a copy but was finally authenticated about a dozen years ago.

AFP

Real Madrid Eye Third Club World Cup Title

GABRIEL BOUYS / AFP

Defending champions Real Madrid will play the winner of a play-off between the Asian champions and Auckland City/Al Jazira in the semi-final of the FIFA Club World Cup in Abu Dhabi, it was announced Monday.

Emirati champions Al Jazira and OFC Champions League winners Auckland City face each other in the opening game, the winners then play in the second round with Mexico’s Pachuca and the CAF and AFC champions.

Real Madrid, seeking a record-equalling third title, and the Copa Libertadores champions will join the competition from the semi-final stage of the seven-club competition that runs from December 6-16.

AFP

Don’t Place Profits Above Security Needs, Buhari Warns Telecom Companies

muhammadu buhariPresident Muhammadu Buhari has urged telecommunication companies operating in Nigeria not to place their desire for huge profits above the security needs of the country.

In a statement by the President’s spokesperson, the President said that telecommunication companies operating in Nigeria must adhere to the rules and guidelines of the Nigerian Communications Commission in this regard.

He made the statement, remarking that the registration of all mobile phone users without exception would help the security agencies to pre-empt terrorist attacks.

“Deadly Blows”

President Buhari was speaking at an interactive forum with members of the Nigerian Community in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday.

He stressed that the war against terrorism could only be won with collective effort and a commitment by all stakeholders to work in unison to halt the scourge.

President Buhari further assured the gathering that his administration would deal decisively with the seeming resurgence of oil theft, pipeline vandalism and insecurity in the Niger Delta.

Declaring that the Nigerian Armed Forces had already dealt “deadly blows” on Boko Haram, the President said that the activities of oil thieves and vandals would soon be brought to an end.

“The oil thieves and abductors are a less problematic target. We will re-organise and deal with them”, he said.

President Buhari assured Nigerians at the interactive session that his administration’s war against corruption would continue to be vigorously pursued.

The President pledged that more persons, who have abused the public trust, would be exposed and brought to justice soon.

He emphasised his administration’s commitment to re-establishing former standards of accountability and probity in the management of public funds which were jettisoned under past administrations.

The President appealed for more patience and understanding from Nigerians, as his administration takes steps to safeguard the economy from the shock of falling oil prices.

“In the face of our new economic reality of dwindling oil prices, there are a number of things we can really do without, to preserve our economy.

“We must develop the capacity to feed ourselves and we should be spending our resources on real development projects, not luxuries,” he stressed.

Nigeria Signs Agreement With UAE On Recovery Of Stolen Funds

muhammadu buhari and kemi adeosun in UAENigeria and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have signed six agreements to enhance bilateral relations between them.

The signing of the agreements on trade, finance and judicial matters was witnessed by President Muhammadu Buhari and the Crown Prince of the United Arab Emirates, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday.

Muhammadu-Buhari-and-Sheikh-Mohammed-Bin-Zayed-Al-Nahyan
Obaid Attayar, President Muhammadu Buhari, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan and Mrs Kemi Adeosun at the signing of the agreement

Nigeria’s Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun and the UAE Minister of State for Financial Affairs, Obaid Attayar, signed the Avoidance of Double Taxation Agreement, while the Minister of Trade and Investment, Mr Okechukwu Enelamah signed the Agreement on Trade Promotion and Protection with the UAE Minister of State for Financial Affairs.

The Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami and his counterpart in the United Arab Emirates, Sultan Bin Saeed Albadi signed the Judicial Agreements on Extradition, Transfer of Sentenced Persons, and Mutual Legal Assistance on Criminal and Commercial Matters, which includes the recovery and repatriation of stolen wealth.

At a reception after the signing of the agreements, President Buhari reiterated his commitment to fighting corruption and restoring Nigeria’s dignity in the comity of nations.

The President also urged all Islamic countries to support the fight against terrorism in Nigeria and described the atrocities of Boko Haram as un-Islamic and against the teachings of the Holy Prophet.

In his remarks, Crown Prince Zayed Al Nahyan said that the relationship between Nigeria and the UAE would be strengthened by President Buhari’s visit and the signing of the agreements.

We Have Driven Boko Haram Into Fall-Back Positions – Buhari

BuhariNigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari, says Nigeria has made very significant progress towards ending Boko Haram insurgency in the northeast since his assumption of office on May 29, 2015.

The President made the statement in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), during a meeting with the Secretary-General of the United Nations (UN), Mr Ban Ki-moon, on the sidelines of the World Future Energy Summit.

Buhari said that in collaboration with the Multinational Joint Task Force, the Nigerian Armed Forces have driven the terrorist group from Nigerian territory into “fall-back positions”.

“They are currently not holding any territory today as we speak, ” President Buhari told the UN Secretary-General.

According to a statement from the Media Adviser to the President, Femi Adesina, President Buhari also told Ban Ki-moon that Nigeria would persistently pursue global action to reverse the drying up of Lake Chad and save the lives of those who depend on it for survival.

“With all due respect to our neighbours, Nigeria has been worst hit by the drying up of the Lake Chad and we are hoping that the global community will support the process of halting the drying up of the lake.”

In response, Mr Ban Ki-moon commended the President for his courage in fighting terrorism and corruption.

The Secretary-General said that Nigeria had made amazing progress against terrorism since President Buhari assumed office, while the President’s war against corruption had also boosted global confidence in the Nigerian economy.

He urged President Buhari to integrate the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals into Nigeria’s economic and environmental vision.

Buhari Urges Greater Global Cooperation Against Climate Change

Climate ChangePresident Muhammadu Buhari has called for greater global cooperation against the devastating effects of climate change to avert disaster for the human race in the 21st century.

Addressing the opening of the 2016 World Future Energy Summit on Monday in Abu Dhabi, President Buhari reaffirmed Nigeria’s readiness to work with the United Arab Emirates and the rest of the world in a collective effort to mitigate the effects of climate change.

“Africa is already suffering from the consequences of climate change, which includes recurrent drought and floods. In Nigeria, the drastic drying up of the Lake Chad to just about 10% of its original size, has negatively impacted on the livelihood of millions of people and contributed in making the region a hot bed of insurgency.

“Desert encroachment in Niger (Republic), our northern neighbour and in far northern Nigeria, at the rate of several hundred meters per annum, has impacted on the existence of man, animal and vegetation, threatening to alter the whole ecological balance of the sub-region.

“In the middle and southern part of Nigeria, land erosion threatens farming, forestry, town and village peripheries and in some areas major highways. Constant and abrupt alteration between floods and droughts prove that climate change is real and therefore a global approach and cooperation to combat its effects are vital, if the human race is not to face disaster in the 21st century,” he told participants at the summit.

Noting that the summit was taking place soon after the United Nations Conference on Climate Change held in Paris late last year, the President praised the United Arab Emirates for consistently supporting international action on climate change.

“We see Abu Dhabi as a dependable partner in the collective effort to manage climate risks, including the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030. Thank you Abu Dhabi, for consistently continuing to support international action in this sphere.

“We appreciate your immense contributions worth hundreds of millions of dollars in energy aid to developing countries,” he said.

President Buhari is expected back in the country on Tuesday, January 19, 2016.

Solar Impulse-2 Plane To Fly Around The World

solarA solar-powered plane aircraft called solar impulse-2  took off from the Emirates, heading east to Muscat in Oman in what is planned to be a world tour.

Over the next five months, solar impulse-2 would skip from continent to continent, crossing both the Pacific and Atlantic oceans in the process.

The plan is stop off at various locations around the globe, to rest and to carry out maintenance, and also to spread a campaigning message about clean technologies.

Monday’s leg to Oman would cover about 400km and take an estimated 12 hours.

The project has already set a number of world records for solar-powered flight, including making a high-profile transit of the us in 2013.

The round-the-world venture is altogether more dramatic and daunting and had required the

construction of an even bigger plane than the prototype, solar impulse-1.
It’s a deep-breath moment in the history of technology as Solar Impulse soars to the skies.

The price of solar electric panels fell 70% in recent years and costs are expected to halve again this decade.

Deutsche Bank forecasts that, based on current fossil fuel prices, solar would produce power as cheaply as gas in two thirds of the world before 2020.

In the UK, the solar industry thinks it could compete with wind within 18 months and with gas in the near future while in the USA, solar jobs already outnumber coal jobs.

The solar revolution was sparked by government subsidies, which attracted venture capitalists to fund innovation and created a huge market that Chinese manufacturers are battling to exploit.

The solar boom is a huge help in the battle against climate change, but scientists warn it’s not nearly enough. And we must find ways of storing that mighty but capricious power, and making it work with the grid.

Danagogo Wants Super Eagles To Be Competitive

DanagogoNigeria’s Sports Minister and Chairman, National Sports Commission, Dr. Tammy Danagogo has charged the Nigeria Football Federation and coaching crew of the senior national team to make the Super Eagles competitive and ensure that only the best players represent the country at all times.

The minister who was pleased with the recent two-legged friendly matches for the home-based team against Cote d’ Ivoire and Yemen in Abu Dhabi and in Dubai, urged the NFF to organise more quality friendlies for the the players to stay busy.

According to a statement from the commission, Dr. Danagogo advised that with regular friendly matches for the Team B Eagles, the coaches would be able to beef up the first team for crucial matches with new players discovered as the Eagles prepare for the 2017 Africa Nations Cup qualifiers scheduled to begin after the on-going 2015 edition in Equatorial Guinea.

“If the Team B gets regular friendly matches, the coaches will have a pool of players to select from to beef up the main team.

“They have to make the team competitive so that only the best will represent the country at all times,” he said.

He called on Nigerians to continue to support the Super Eagles despite their failure to qualify for this year’s edition of the Nations Cup, adding that he was sure the NFF and the players have realised the mistakes of the past and will ensure they are corrected.

World Tennis Championship: Djokovic Beats Tsonga

Serbia’s Novak Djokovic will face David Ferrer of Spain in Saturday’s (December 28) final of the World Tennis Championship in Abu Dhabi.

The Serbian defeated Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France 7-6, 6-3 in the second semi-final on Friday.

Third-ranked Ferrer had earlier beaten world number one and Spanish compatriot, Rafael Nadal.

Tsonga used his power to good effect throughout Friday’s match, but world number two, Djokovic varied his shots and pace and never seemed to be working flat out.

The Serbian was watched by new head coach, Boris Becker, who seemed unsurprised by the result.