UK’s Top Court Mulls Legal Basis For New Scottish Independence Vote

(FILES) The UK Supreme Court on October 11, 2022 began considering the legality of Scottish moves to hold a new referendum on independence next year without the consent of the government in London. First Minister Nicola Sturgeon’s nationalist government in Edinburgh wants a fresh vote on the question: “Should Scotland be an independent country?” On October 10, 2022, she told her Scottish National Party’s annual conference the hearing would not have been necessary if the UK government in Westminster respected Scottish democracy. (Photo by Andy Buchanan / AFP)



The UK Supreme Court on Tuesday began considering the legality of Scottish moves to hold a new referendum on independence next year without the consent of the government in London.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon’s nationalist government in Edinburgh wants a fresh vote on the question: “Should Scotland be an independent country?”

On Monday, she told her Scottish National Party’s annual conference the hearing would not have been necessary if the UK government in Westminster respected Scottish democracy.

“But Westminster has no such respect. That means this issue was always destined to end up in court sooner or later — better, in my view, that it is sooner,” she said.

“If the court decides in the way we hope it does, on 19th October next year there will be an independence referendum.”

The Supreme Court hearings will see senior lawyers wrangle over the powers of the devolved parliament in Edinburgh versus Westminster.

Opening the proceedings, Lord Advocate Dorothy Bain, Scotland’s top law officer, said the issue of Scottish independence was a “live and significant one in Scottish electoral politics”.

“The question of whether such a poll is within the competence of the Scottish parliament… is an issue that I invite this court to finally resolve,” she said.

The SNP ran in the 2021 Scottish parliamentary elections on a promise to hold a legally valid referendum after the Covid crisis subsided.

It now wants to go ahead but the UK government, which has to give approval under the Scotland Act 1998, has not given permission.

New UK Prime Minister Liz Truss in a television interview this month reiterated her view that the last referendum in 2014 was a once-in-a-generation event.

“I’m very clear there shouldn’t be another referendum before that generation is up,” she added.


Scotland’s First Minister and leader of the Scottish National Party (SNP), Nicola Sturgeon, delivers her speech to delegates at the annual SNP Conference in Aberdeen, Scotland, on October 10, 2022. (Photo by ANDY BUCHANAN / AFP)


– ‘Never give up’ –
Opinion polls now indicate that voters in Scotland are near evenly divided over the question of independence.

The last referendum in 2014 saw 55 percent of Scots vote “no” to breaking away.

But this came before Brexit, which most in Scotland voted against, and the parliamentary election, which saw a majority of pro-independence lawmakers elected for the first time.

The Scottish government wants to be able to create its own legal framework for another vote, arguing that the “right to self-determination is a fundamental and inalienable right”.

But the UK government argues that Scotland cannot act unilaterally in a “reserved” matter concerning the constitutional make-up of the United Kingdom as a whole, where the government in London holds sway.

To get around this, the SNP-led government wants to hold an “advisory referendum” to test support, without immediate change.

The Supreme Court hears cases of the greatest public or constitutional importance affecting the whole population, ruling on points of law.


(FILES) In this file photo taken on May 1, 2021 a pro-independence protester wears a hat covered in badges at a gathering in George Square, Glasgow ahead of the upcoming Scottish Parliament election which is to be held on May 6, 2021. (Photo by Andy Buchanan / AFP)



(FILES) In this file photo taken on May 1, 2021 a pro-independence protester wearing a protective face covering to combat the spread of the coronavirus, joins a gathering in George Square, Glasgow, ahead of the upcoming Scottish Parliament election which is to be held on May 6, 2021.  (Photo by Andy Buchanan / AFP)


Five judges including Supreme Court President Robert Reed, will consider the proposed referendum on Monday and Tuesday.

They will examine the legal validity of a referendum bill proposed by the SNP that sets a referendum date of October 19, 2023, with a ruling at a later date.

“The court is unlikely to rule in favour of the SNP –- but those in favour of the Union should not see this as a defining victory,” wrote Akash Paun of the Institute for Government think-tank.

If thwarted in court, the party plans to make the next general election, due by January 2025 at the latest, a de facto referendum, campaigning on a single issue.

Sturgeon on Monday said a legal defeat would leave the Scottish government “a very simple choice: put our case for independence to the people in an election or give up on Scottish democracy”.

“I will never give up on Scottish democracy,” she added.

COP26: Buhari Participates In Launch Of Global Methane Pledge

President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday joined other World Leaders at the Launch of the Global Methane Pledge on the sidelines of the COP26 in Glasglow.


President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday joined other World Leaders including American President Joe Biden, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau amongst others at the Launch of the Global Methane Pledge hosted by the United States of America.

The event was on the sidelines of COP26 in Glasgow, Scotland.

Earlier, President Buhari had told delegates at the climate conference that the outcome of the conference must result in a quick resolution of all outstanding issues pertaining to the finalisation of the Paris Agreement rule book, adaptation, mitigation, finance, loss and damage.

Read Also: Great Green Wall: Restoring Africa’s Degraded Landscape For Agriculture Is Achievable, Says Buhari

Speaking to the delegates on the second day of the World Leaders Summit, President Buhari said attaining national and global climate change goals will require adequate and sustained technical and financial support to developing countries.

The meeting will focus on how countries will cut emissions by 2030 and limit temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

See photos from the event below.

COP26: Jeff Bezos Hails Nigeria’s Resolve To Restore Degraded Lands

US CEO of Amazon Jeff Bezos waits before a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari, Britain’s Prince of Wales and France’s President as part of the World Leaders’ Summit of the COP26 UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow on November 1, 2021.


American billionaire and founder of Amazon, Jeff Bezos, has hailed President Muhammadu Buhari for his leadership role in restoring degraded lands in the country.

The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, disclosed this in a statement titled ‘In Glasgow, American billionaire, Jeff Bezos, hails President Buhari’s climate change actions.’

Bezos, on Monday, joined President Buhari, President Emmanuel Macron of France, President Mohamed Ould Ghazouani of Mauritanian, and Prince Charles at a COP26 side event themed ‘Accelerating land restoration in Africa, the case of the Great Green Wall (GGW) initiative’.

READ ALSO: COP26: World Leaders In Glasgow For ‘Last, Best Hope’ Climate Summit

“We are fortunate to have President Buhari of Nigeria with us today,” Bezos was quoted as saying in the statement signed by Shehu.

‘‘Nigeria plays a critical role in the restoration movement and has pledged to restore four million hectares of degraded lands. This kind of ambition coming from Africa’s largest economy underscores just how vital this issue is.”

The Bezos Earth Fund has a $10 billion fund to allocate to projects fighting climate change.

(From L) President Buhari, Britain’s Prince Charles, Prince of Wales and France’s President Emmanuel Macron having a conversation prior to a meeting as part of the World Leaders’ Summit of the COP26 UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow on November 1, 2021. ALAIN JOCARD / AFP


According to Shehu, Nigeria is due to assume the leadership of the Conference of Heads of State and the Government of the Pan African Agency of the Great Green Wall.

President Buhari, in his address at the event, appealed to fellow leaders to continue to make concerted efforts at land restoration.

“I am optimistic that Africa’s ambition of restoring over 100 million hectares of degraded landscape for productive agriculture is achievable,” he said.

The President also pledged Nigeria’s commitment to expanding the achievements of the GGW programme in Africa under the leadership of President Mohamed Ould Ghazouani of Mauritania.

“Together, we commit to the transformative process of restoring the African degraded landscape and ultimately the continent’s environment,” he added.

COP26: World Leaders In Glasgow For ‘Last, Best Hope’ Climate Summit


More than 120 world leaders meet in Glasgow on Monday in a “last, best hope” to tackle the climate crisis and avert a looming global disaster.

“It’s one minute to midnight and we need to act now,” British Prime Minister Boris Johnson was due to tell them, according to extracts from his speech.

“If we don’t get serious about climate change today, it will be too late for our children to do so tomorrow.”

Observers had hoped a weekend meeting in Rome of leaders of the G20 nations, which between them emit nearly 80 percent of global carbon emissions, would give a strong impetus to the Glasgow COP26 summit, which was postponed for a year due to the pandemic.

Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson (L) and United Nations (UN) Secretary General Antonio Guterres greet Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari as they arrive to attend the COP26 UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, Scotland on November 1, 2021.  (Photo by Christopher Furlong / POOL / AFP)


The G20 major economies committed on Sunday to the key goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels — the most ambitious target of the landmark 2015 Paris Agreement.

They also agreed to end funding for new unabated coal plants abroad — those whose emissions have not gone through any filtering process — by the end of 2021.

But this did not convince NGOs, the British prime minister, or the United Nations.

“While I welcome the G20’s recommitment to global solutions, I leave Rome with my hopes unfulfilled — but at least they are not buried,” UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said on Twitter.

‘Going To Be Very Difficult’

“We’ve inched forward (at the G20). We’ve put ourselves in a reasonable position for COP in Glasgow but it’s going to be very difficult in the next few days,” Johnson said Sunday, before warning: “If Glasgow fails, then the whole thing fails.”

The Glasgow gathering, which runs until November 12, comes as an accelerating onslaught of extreme weather events across the world underscores the devastating impacts of climate change from 150 years of burning fossil fuels.

Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson (L) and United Nations (UN) Secretary-General Antonio Guterres greet Lesotho’s Prime Minister Moeketsi Majoro as they arrive to attend the COP26 UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, Scotland on November 1, 2021. Alastair Grant / AFP


The current commitments of the signatories of the Paris agreement — if they were followed — would still lead to a “catastrophic” warming of 2.7 Celsius, according to the UN.

COP26 marks the “last, best hope to keep 1.5C in reach”, summit president Alok Sharma said as he opened the meeting on Sunday.

“If we act now and we act together, we can protect our precious planet,” he said.

Climate advocacy groups expressed disappointment at the statement released at the end of the G20 summit.

“These so-called leaders need to do better. They have another shot at this: starting tomorrow,” said Namrata Chowdhary from the NGO

Eyes On India

While China, by far the world’s biggest carbon polluter, has just submitted to the UN its revised climate plan, which repeats a long-standing goal of peaking emissions by 2030, India is now at the centre of expectations.

India has yet to submit a revised “nationally determined contribution” but if Prime Minister Narendra Modi announces new efforts to curb emissions in his speech Monday, it could put more pressure on China and others, said Alden Meyer, a senior associate at climate and energy think tank E3G.

“If he feels confident enough that there’s going to be financing and technology assistance from Europe, the US, Japan and others, he might signal that India is willing to update its NDC,” Meyer said.

Another pressing issue is the failure of rich countries to cough up $100 billion a year starting in 2020 to help developing nations lower emissions and adapt — a pledge first made in 2009.

This goal has been postponed to 2023, exacerbating the crisis of confidence between the North, responsible for global warming, and the South, which is the victim of its effects.

“Climate finance is not charity. It is a question of justice,” stressed Lia Nicholson, on behalf of the Alliance of Small Island States vulnerable to climate change, also denouncing the refusal of large economies to abandon coal.

Delegates listen as United Nations (UN) Secretary-General Antonio Guterres (R) speaks during the opening ceremony of the COP26 UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, Scotland on November 1, 2021. Paul ELLIS / AFP


Forecasts by the UN climate experts panel (IPCC) that the threshold of a 1.5 Celsius increase could be reached 10 years earlier than expected, around 2030, are “terrifying” she said, particularly for those on the front line of the climate crisis who are already suffering the consequences in a world that has heated up by about 1.1 degrees Celsius.

Despite everything, it seems that some are not afraid, or worse, that they are indifferent, she said.

‘Not next year; Now’

Her words are likely to find an echo in the speeches from African and Pacific leaders on Monday and Tuesday.

While the Chinese and Russian presidents are not expected in person, dozens of other heads of state and government from US President Joe Biden to EU leaders and Australia’s Scott Morrison are making the trip to Glasgow.

Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson greets Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari as they arrive to attend the COP26 UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, Scotland on November 1, 2021. (Photo by Christopher Furlong / POOL / AFP)


Their words and actions will be closely scrutinised, in particular by the young activists who travelled to Scotland despite the obstacles due to the pandemic.

“As citizens across the planet, we urge you to face up to the climate emergency,” they said in an open letter from several of them, including Swedish activist Greta Thunberg, who arrived Sunday by train.

“Not next year. Not next month. Now.”

Buhari Arrives In Glasgow For COP26 Climate Change Summit

Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari (R) arrives for the COP26 UN Climate Summit in Glasgow on November 1, 2021. – More than 120 world leaders meet in Glasgow in a “last, best hope” to tackle the climate crisis and avert a looming global disaster. (Photo by PHIL NOBLE / POOL / AFP)


President Muhammadu Buhari has arrived in Glasgow, Scotland ahead of his participation in the 26th Conference of Parties (COP26) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

The President arrived in Glasgow on Sunday night.

He was received by diplomats including the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffery Onyeama, National Security Adviser, Babagana Monguno among others.

The video of his arrival was shared on social media by the Personal Assistant to the President on Broadcast Media, Buhari Sallau.

See the video below…

Meanwhile, the President is scheduled to deliver his national statement at the High-Level Segment for Heads of State and Government at the conference on Tuesday, November 2.

President Buhari’s address is expected to highlight Nigeria’s key priorities and action to tackle climate change as well as progress on the country’s transition to a low carbon economy, consistent with achieving the Paris Climate Agreement.

Investigators Probe Deadly Scottish Train Crash


Investigators were seeking answers Thursday over why a train derailed in northeast Scotland, killing the driver, conductor and a passenger.

The 06:38 am passenger service from Aberdeen to Glasgow came off the tracks on Wednesday morning near the town of Stonehaven, which had been hit by flooding following heavy rain.

Six people were hospitalised with minor injuries and police said the train had fortunately not been busy, with media reports saying just 12 people were on board.

Aberdeen is subject to tighter coronavirus restrictions than the rest of Scotland due to a localised outbreak of COVID-19, with people advised not to travel to the city.

Government ministers were due to visit the site on Thursday and investigators are already picking through the debris, including the ashes of a fire that left four firefighters with minor injuries.

A landslip had been reported close to where the train derailed at 09:43 am (0843 GMT), and Prime Minister Boris Johnson was among those to suggest the weather might have played a part.

“It’s probably a very good idea to look at the effect of substantial rainfall on all our vulnerable infrastructure everywhere,” he told Sky News on Wednesday.

“And as I understand there was about a month’s worth of rainfall in a very short period which undoubtedly aggravated the problem there.”

However, he said it was up to investigators to determine what caused Britain’s first major derailment for 13 years and vowed to “make sure nothing like this happens again”.

Queen Elizabeth II, who is staying in her Scottish home of Balmoral around 50 miles away from Stonehaven, sent her condolences.

Scotland’s Transport Secretary Michael Matheson said he would meet members of the emergency services in Stonehaven, saying they had faced “significant challenges” at the site.

He told BBC Radio Scotland that changing weather patterns posed difficulties across the railways.

“The rail networks are experiencing increasing challenges across different parts of the routes, not just here in Scotland but across the UK, due to what is an increasing number of very intense localised weather events that have a significant impact on the infrastructure,” he said.

Britain’s last major rail derailment was in 2007 in Cumbria, in northwest England, which left one passenger dead and 30 others injured.



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.

Glasgow Blaze Guts One Of World’s Top Art Schools Again

Glasgow Blaze Guts One Of World's Top Art Schools Again
Firefighters work at the scene of a fire at the Glasgow school of art in Glasgow on June 16, 2018. Fire ripped through one of the world’s top art schools early on Saturday as the historic building in the Scottish city of Glasgow was undergoing major restoration work following another blaze four years ago. ANDY BUCHANAN / AFP


Fire devastated one of the world’s top art schools once again on Saturday, destroying four years of restoration work after a previous blaze ripped through the historic Glasgow School of Art.

The famed Mackintosh Building in Scotland’s biggest city has been “extensively damaged”, fire chiefs said.

A restoration project, set to cost between £20 million and £35 million ($26.5 million and $46.5 million; 23 and 40 million euros), had been returning the world-renowned institution to its former glory following a fire in 2014.

But much of that work has been wrecked, firefighters confirmed, after rushing to tackle the inferno which broke out at around 11:20 pm (2220 GMT) on Friday.

No casualties were reported.

“This is a devastating loss for Glasgow,” deputy assistant chief fire officer Peter Heath told a press conference.

He said firefighters who had battled to save the building four years ago were distraught to be back at the scene after it went up in flames again.

“The fire has had a good grip of this building and it’s extensively damaged it, but the emotional attachment — there is a sense of loss not just amongst the firefighters but I am sure the citizens of Glasgow.”

Asked if any of the restoration work had been destroyed, Heath replied: “Given the extent of the fire, that would be a fair comment.”

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said her heart “breaks for Glasgow’s beloved” art school, which is housed in one of Britain’s most cherished buildings.

“It is hard to find words to convey the utter devastation felt here and around the world for the iconic Mackintosh building,” she said.

Local residents were evacuated from their homes with the glow from the blaze visible across the city centre.

The fire affected all floors of the art school and spread to a nearby campus and a nightclub.

Writing on Twitter, Paul Sweeney, a Glasgow MP, said: “It looks like the entire interior space is now fully alight. The best we can probably hope for is structural facade retention and a complete rebuild of the interior.”

Britain’s Scotland Secretary David Mundell said he was at the school only a fortnight ago to see the restoration work.

He said the government “stands ready to help, financially or otherwise”.

– Protected landmark –

The previous blaze was in May 2014, badly damaging the building designed by the architect Charles Rennie Mackintosh.

A Glasgow-born architect and designer, Mackintosh (1868-1928) was a leading exponent of Art Nouveau, whose distinctive lines and lettering remain influential.

He won a competition to design the building in 1897 and it took around 10 years to complete. It is now a landmark in the city with special government-protected status.

The school’s alumni include recent Turner Prize for art winners Simon Starling (2005), Richard Wright (2009) and Martin Boyce (2011).

Others include “Doctor Who” actor Peter Capaldi, Harry Potter and James Bond movie actor Robbie Coltrane, and members from the Scottish rock bands Travis and Franz Ferdinand.

“Can’t believe what’s happening to the art school. Terrible,” said Franz Ferdinand frontman Alex Kapranos.

The 2014 blaze began when a projector ignited gases from expanding foam used in a student project, a fire investigation found.


Dope Ban: Chika Amalaha Is Naive – Weightlifting Federation

george aluoA member of the Nigeria Weightlifting Federation, George Aluo, believes that Nigerian weightlifter, Chika Amalaha, who was banned and stripped of the gold medal she had earlier won at the Commonwealth Games was naive and could not have deliberately taken drugs.

He said that Chika, before the Commonwealth Games, had previously won several gold medals for the country and was also examined by the organizers of the international tournaments where she won. He therefore insisted that with her age and talent she could not have gone out of her way to take drugs.

Speaking as a guest on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, Mr. Aluo explained that Chika took a tablet to enable her keep in her weight category which is 53kg but unfortunately the tablet contained some substance to enhance performance.

He also noted that Chika was tested before she went to Glasgow for the Commonwealth Games and did not test positive.

Mr. Aluo said that the Weightlifting Board had set up a panel to investigate what happened and also get details from Chika, her coaches and the medical team attached to her.

Giving a background, Mr Aluo explained that Chika was discovered in 2013 during the National Weightlifting Championship in Uyo at the age of 15 as a youth athlete.

She was later taken to Malaysia during the Commonwealth Weightlifting Championship and she won three gold medals for the country. He noted that this was “the first time Chika was flying a plane.” She also represented Nigeria at the African Youth Championship in Botswana where she won 3 gold medals.

Mr. Aluo, during the interview, also spoke about other issues concerning Nigerian sports. He criticized the National Sports Commissioner for not recognizing the athletes in the same manner footballers are recognized.

Fuse ODG Beats Nigerian Nominees, Bags MOBO’s Best African Act Award

British musician of Ghanaian descent, Fuse ODG, on Saturday won the coveted Best African Act title at the 2013 MOBO Awards, which held at The Hydrow, Glasgow in Scotland.

Fuse ODG who gained popularity in Nigeria for his dance anthem titled ‘Azonto,’ and his hit track, Antenna, beat other nominees in the category which included Nigerian stars, Wizkid, Tiwa Savage, Ice Prince and Seun Kuti.

Other nominees in the category are Atumpan, Bombino, Liquideep, Mafikizolo, Spoek Mthambo.

Fuse also performed at the award ceremony which had several international stars in attendance. Among them are Tinie Tempah, Craig David, Iggy Azelea, Ashley Banjo.

The ceremony was hosted by Trevor Nelson.

Watch Antenna here:

Messi surpasses Pele’s mark for goals scored in a year

Brazil football Legend Pele’s milestones for goals scored in one calendar year was beaten yeaterday Argentine forward and Barcelona player; Lionel Messi after scoring his 75th and 76th time in 2012 to move within nine of Gerd Mueller’s all-time record as Barcelona won 4-2 at Mallorca in a la liga clash.

Xavi Hernandez was the key to Barcelona’s victory as he unlocked Mallorca’s defence with a free kick in the 28th minute before Messi struck in the 44th. Cristian Tello added a third goal a minute later at Iberostar stadium.

Their opponent were bent on not giving up the game like that as Mallorca came back to level early in the second half but Messi stepped up to score again the 70th to ensure victory.

It would be recalled that the Spanish giants lost surprisingly to Celtic in the Champions League clash during the week and the Mallorca game can be tagged to be a comeback of the sleeping giant.

This is the latest scoring feat for the Argentina forward, one of the leading candidates for the Ballon D’Or.

Messi scored 73 goals in the 2011-12 season for Barcelona, breaking the previous European club record of 67 goals set by Mueller in 1972-73. He also set a Spanish league record of 50 goals last season and broke Cesar Rodriguez’s 57-year milestone of 232 goals to become Barcelona all-time leading scorer.

Joaquin Caparros’ Mallorca tried to follow Celtic’s defensive blueprint from Wednesday’s upset in Glasgow, but the strategy didn’t last even half an hour.

Xavi Hernandez took full advantage of a foul earned by Cesc Fabregas on the edge of the area. The Spain midfielder bent a beautiful free kick over the defensive barrier that turned goalkeeper Dudu Aouate into yet another spectator as it fell into his net.

Also, second-place Atletico Madrid stayed three points behind the pacesetters by easing past visiting Getafe 2-0 thanks to goals by Adrian Lopez and Arda Turan.

Messi converted Barcelona’s 75 per cent of possession into a deserved second goal when the Argentina forward dribbled by several defenders and unleashed a left footed-shot that Aouate let slip through his hands.

Tello then quickly made it 3-0 by curving a strike from outside the area into the far side of the goal.

When it appeared Barcelona would cruise to the comfortable victory, two errors allowed Mallorca to get back into the game.

Mallorca’s Michael Pereira pulled one back in the 55th after Javier Mascherano lost the ball. Two minutes later, Victor Casadesus made it 3-2 from the penalty spot following Sergio Busquets’ handball in the box.


But Messi received a chested pass from Alexis Sanchez and smashed the ball into the top corner to restore Barcelona’s two-goal advantage and crush Mallorca’s hopes.

Messi’s seventh double of the season increased his league-leading tally to 15 goals. He has 20 in all competitions this season.

Pele scored 75 goals for Brazil and Santos in 1958. Mueller had 85 in 1972 for West Germany and Bayern Munich.

With strikers Gonzalo Higuain and Karim Benzema injured, Cristiano Ronaldo scored for Madrid in the 21st after receiving a gash above his left eye in a collision with an opposing player.

Madrid coach Jose Mourinho said that Ronaldo was having trouble with his vision by halftime and had to be substituted. Mourinho sent on an extra defender looking to protect his slim lead with the water-logged pitch encumbering almost every attack.

Madrid, even without its three top scorers, almost scored twice more as Pepe and Sergio Ramos both hit the crossbar.

But Mourinho’s tactic backfired when Levante substitute Angel Rodriguez held off Pepe to control Obafemi Martins’ pass and slot the ball beyond goalkeeper Iker Casillas in the 62nd.

Madrid had another golden opportunity when Jose Callejon was fouled by David Navarro on the edge of the area, only for goalkeeper Gustavo Munua to block Xabi Alonso’s resulting spot kick in the 73rd.

As time ticked down, Mourinho sent on Morata in the 83rd and one minute later the forward met Alonso’s free kick to head it by Munua.

“I was very happy to help the team,” said the 20-year-old Morata. “Two years ago Munua saved a clear goal for me. I have had more chances and I knew that one day the goal would arrive and today was the day.”