President Muhammadu Buhari has congratulated the Golden Eaglets of Nigeria for a fantastic beginning in the group opening match of FIFA World Cup Brazil 2019.
Nigeria Under-17 football team opened Brazil 2019 with a 4-2 win over Hungary, signaling their readiness to win the FIFA Championship for an unprecedented sixth time.
In a message to the team after the spectacular performance on Saturday night, President Buhari praised the boys for the determination to excel which they displayed throughout the match despite the brilliant performance of their opponents.
“It was a wonderful display that I am very proud of. You showed that there is nothing that cannot be achieved with determination and perseverance.
“I have followed your journey leading to your arrival in Brazil for the competition. I have equally noted your determination and confidence throughout your preparations.
“I have no doubt in my mind that you are determined to win the competition for an unparalleled sixth time,” the president said in a statement signed by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu.
Seven South Korean tourists died and 21 others were missing after a sightseeing boat capsized and sank on the Danube in Budapest, Hungarian and South Korean officials said Thursday.
The accident happened near the parliament building in the heart of the Hungarian capital after a collision with a larger river cruise boat during torrential rain at around 09:15 pm (1915 GMT) on Wednesday, according to officials.
A total of 33 South Koreans were on board, Seoul’s foreign ministry said, confirming the seven dead were Korean.
The 26-metre tourist boat, called the “Mermaid,” was also carrying two Hungarian crew members.
“Our services have recorded the death of seven people,” Pal Gyorfi, a spokesman for Hungarian emergency services, said early Thursday morning.
“Seven people have been taken to hospital in a stable condition with hypothermia and shock symptoms,” Gyorfi added.
“A further 21 people are missing,” a Hungarian police spokesman Kristof Gal told AFP.
“Police are searching the river throughout the entire length of the Danube in Hungary south of where the incident took place,” he said.
Local media reported that one of the bodies was found several kilometres south of the collision location, although Gal declined to confirm.
The temperature of the river water is between 10 and 15 degrees, according to local media.
The search for the missing with the help of divers and police shining lights continued through the night, said an AFP photographer at the scene.
A film crew working from a bridge south of the accident site also used reflector lights to help light up the water through the gloom and pouring rain, reported local media.
Heavy rainfall since the beginning of May has led to high water levels and a fast-moving river current, complicating rescue efforts.
The accident happened on a popular part of the Danube river for pleasure trips, from where passengers can view the city and parliament building illuminated at night.
The boat was regularly serviced and had no apparent technical faults, Mihaly Toth, a spokesman for Panorama Deck that owned the vessel, told the Hungarian news agency MTI.
“It was a routine sightseeing trip,” said Toth.
“We know nothing about how it happened, the authorities are investigating, all we know is that it sank quickly,” he said.
An eye-witness told the Index.hu news-site that the Mermaid, which could hold 60 people on board, had been hit from behind by a large cruise boat.
Web camera footage from a hotel rooftop posted on local news-sites appeared to show the bigger boat colliding with the Mermaid.
The wreckage of the Mermaid was found on the riverbed after several hours of searching near the Margaret Bridge, one of the main bridges connecting the two parts of the Hungarian capital, local media said.
Access to the river has been blocked by the authorities, according to public television.
South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in instructed the government to “deploy all available resources” for the rescue, the presidential office said.
Seoul planned to send a team of 18 officials to assist the Hungarian authorities in Budapest, South Korea’s Yonhap news agency reported.
Embassy staff have also been assisting the emergency services in the identification of victims.
The Hungarian interior and health ministers visited the scene to express condolences to the families of the victims.
World Cup finalists Croatia slipped to a 2-1 defeat to Hungary in a Euro 2020 Group E qualifier on Sunday when Mate Patkai notched a 76th minute winner in Budapest.
Croatia had struggled against Azerbaijan in their opening qualifier last Thursday before escaping with a 2-1 win, but they made the perfect start in the Hungarian capital when Ante Rebic put them ahead on 13 minutes.
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban hailed Friday US President Donald Trump’s isolationist speech at the United Nations as marking a welcome end to American interference in other countries’ affairs.
In a robust address to the UN General Assembly, Trump denounced Tuesday a “globalist” view of the world and signaled his commitment to following an “America First” foreign policy.
“In the last few decades the US took on some kind of role of making the world better than in fact was contrary to American interests, that’s what President Trump spoke about,” Orban said on Hungarian public radio.
The leader of the world’s most powerful country had now “declared the end of that policy,” according to the Hungarian premier, one of Trump’s biggest supporters in Europe.
Under previous administrations, the “US thought it knows what is good, moral, just, and how the world should be, but we felt that… it wanted to impose its will on the whole world, for example on Hungary too,” Orban said.
Trump’s approach means the US can now be viewed differently, the prime minister added.
“We don’t have to defend ourselves against it, or its incompetent attempts to wield cultural influence, but rather can now try to build a partnership on the basis of interests.”
The fiercely nationalist Orban was one of the first world leaders to congratulate Trump after his shock election victory in 2016 and has regularly praised the US leader’s immigration and security policies.
Trump is increasingly regarded globally as “a phenomenon, an icon… someone who represents something much more than himself,” he said Friday.
After coming to power in 2010, the maverick Hungarian was often accused by Washington of steering his country away from democratic norms.
Former President Barack Obama and Trump’s defeated election rival Hillary Clinton both warned Hungary against clamping down on the judiciary, press, and civil society organizations.
Orban said Friday that US policy towards Hungary in recent decades had often been “unfavorable”.
“I suffered so much with (Clinton) that I cannot even tell you,” he said.
Hungary said Thursday a European Parliament vote to launch an action that could ultimately strip Budapest of its EU voting rights was “invalid” and vowed to mount a legal challenge.
Adopted by 448 votes for to 197 against and with 48 abstentions, the motion in Strasbourg on Wednesday marked the first time the parliament has initiated steps under Article Seven of the European Union’s treaty. An earlier action against Poland was initiated by the EU executive.
But Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s chief of staff Gergely Gulyas claimed that the motion did not receive enough support as only the votes cast for or against were taken into account.
“Abstentions should have been counted in the vote, but were not, thus the report failed to get the two-thirds majority necessary to carry,” Gulyas told reporters in Budapest after a government meeting.
“Hence the government is taking the necessary measures,…and will decide Monday on concrete legal steps,” said Gulyas.
The “most likely” option is a challenge of the result’s validity at the European Court of Justice, he added.
Other EU governments could halt any further action, however, and Poland has warned it would do so.
“If it comes to the discussion in the Council, we will be against it. We will veto the decision if it comes to the sanctions,” Polish Foreign Minister Jacek Czaputowicz said.
“I think that the EU is trying to exert pressure on countries of our region and we have to demonstrate solidarity in this case,” Czaputowicz added.
When asked about the relevant procedure earlier this week the European Parliament’s legal service said that traditionally abstentions had not counted as votes cast.
A government document seen by AFP Thursday that lays out Budapest’s legal opinion on the issue said that the vote’s result was “a serious and manifest breach of essential procedural rules”.
“Therefore the resolution adopted is deemed to be legally non-existent or void,” it said.
Hungary’s ambassador to the EU has also sent a letter to the parliament’s secretary-general raising the same points.
Wednesday’s vote in Strasbourg was based on a report that voiced concerns about judicial independence and corruption in Hungary, as well as freedom of expression, academic freedom, religious freedom, and the rights of minorities and refugees.
Gulyas said the government firmly denied all of the concerns listed in the report, which was written by Dutch Green MEP Judith Sargentini.
The result triggers the launch of Article Seven, known by some in Brussels as the “nuclear option”, which could remove Hungary’s EU voting rights
Lewis Hamilton strengthened his push for a fifth world title by increasing his championship lead to 24 points on Sunday as he claimed a convincing victory for Mercedes in the Hungarian Grand Prix.
The defending world champion came home 17.123 seconds ahead of title rival and fellow four-time champion Sebastian Vettel of Ferrari after the German had survived a collision with Valtteri Bottas, in the second Mercedes.
That came on lap 65, of the 70, when Vettel finally passed Bottas, the Finn’s right front wing touching his rear left tyre under braking, wrecking Mercedes’ hopes of a one-two finish.
Kimi Raikkonen finished third, his fifth podium finish in a row, in the second Ferrari ahead of Daniel Ricciardo who surged from 12th on the grid to fourth for Red Bull ahead of Bottas, who finished fifth after a late pit stop.
It was Hamilton’s record sixth win in Hungary, his fifth this season and the 67th of his career.
“We came here knowing that the Ferrari would be really quick this weekend,” said Hamilton. “But to come out with these points, we’ll definitely take as a bonus. What a beautiful day and a great crowd – and a great job from the team.”
Hamilton now has 213 points to Vettel’s 189 after the 12th of 21 races this year and before the championship takes a European summer break.
Frenchman Pierre Gasly came home sixth for Toro Rosso ahead of Kevin Magnussen of Haas, Fernando Alonso of McLaren, on his 37th birthday, fellow-Spaniard Carlos Sainz of Toro Rosso and Romain Grosjean in the second Haas.
“P2 is not what we really wanted, but the maximum we could get today,” said Vettel.
The race, preceded by a minute’s silence for former Ferrari boss Sergio Marchionne, began in sweltering conditions with a track temperature of 57 degrees Celsius and air at 34.
After Saturday’s rain-lashed qualifying, the teams had a free choice of tyres, which saw Ferrari split their strategy – Vettel, like Sainz, choosing softs, while Raikkonen and the rest started on ultra-softs.
Verstappen forced out
The Mercedes men made perfect getaways, Hamilton streaking clear and Bottas staying close to resist attacks as Vettel swept inside into third.
Verstappen, who had moved up to fifth, made an early exit, his Renault engine grumbling into retirement on lap six.
After one lap under Virtual Safety Car (VSC) conditions, Hamilton resumed his charge. He was 4.5 seconds clear of Bottas by lap 10 and 5.7 by lap 14 when Raikkonen pitted, followed immediately by Bottas, both switching to softs.
This left Vettel in pursuit of Hamilton, but despite some swift laps, he remained seven seconds adrift of Hamilton before the champion pitted after 25 laps. He rejoined second between the German and Bottas.
In clear air, Vettel pushed to extend his lead to more than 12 seconds by lap 36, with Bottas further adrift and, in turn, ahead of Raikkonen by just 1.2 seconds.
Held by traffic and still on his original worn softs, Vettel began to struggle and his lead tumbled to 9.5sec by lap 39 when he pitted. A slow stop cost him two seconds and he emerged third behind Bottas.
Raikkonen had pitted a lap earlier, falling to fifth behind Ricciardo, who had yet to stop. For Ferrari, it was not an encouraging position given their raw speed advantage in practice. The Australian pitted, finally, after 44 laps, switching to ultras.
By lap 45, Hamilton led Bottas by 10 seconds with Vettel a further three seconds adrift and making little impact, despite fresher tyres.
On lap 51, Stoffel Vandoorne slowed and retired from an encouraging ninth at Turn One. A VSC was deployed. On resumption, Vettel closed to within a second of Bottas, but despite tyres that were 24 laps younger, he was unable to find a pass as Raikkonen closed in.
For Hamilton, it was a dream scenario and, with 10 laps to go, he was 18 seconds clear of the unyielding Bottas, who had both Ferraris bottled up behind him, within a second, until Vettel lunged by with five laps to go.
The Hungarian Government has indicated interest to purchase crude oil and Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) from Nigeria.
The Hungarian Ambassador to Nigeria, Professor Gabor Ternak, disclosed this on Tuesday during a visit to the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Dr. Maikanti Baru, in Abuja.
In a statement signed by the NNPC’s Group General Manager Public Affairs Division, Ndu Ughamadu, Ternak said the decision to import crude oil and LNG from Nigeria was informed by the need to bridge the current supply gap being experienced in Hungary.
This comes at a time when the international crude oil market is getting more competitive.
“Hungary depends on oil importation to serve its energy needs as the country is non-oil producing. We want to diversify our sources of crude oil and LNG import and we are considering purchasing these products from Nigeria,” Ambassador Ternak stated.
He said the Nigerian crude oil would be of great help to Hungarian Refineries involved in large-scale commercial refining.
The Hungarian envoy stated that Nigeria could also leverage on the bilateral relationship with his country by engaging the services of Hungarian firms that specialize in repairs, maintenance, and building of refineries as well as medical services.
He said that Hungarian universities with many years of oil and gas engineering expertise could assist Nigeria in the areas of capacity building of oil workers.
In his remarks, the NNPC GMD, Dr. Maikanti Baru, stated that the Corporation had commenced tendering process for the selection of the 2018 crude oil off-takers, adding that Hungarian companies could utilize the opportunity by participating in the exercise to maximize value from direct purchase, rather than going through a third party.
“If you don’t participate in the tendering process, you would have to buy the products from one of the traders. However, if you participate with companies and refineries that meet our requirements, they could be shortlisted as off-takers,” The GMD averred.
He explained that Hungary could purchase LNG through “spot cargo,” an arrangement in which excess production is given to registered off-takers with the Nigerian Liquefied Natuaral Gas Limited (LNNG).
“Normally, gas business is a long-term business and NLNG is not different, we already have existing 20-year contract that will expire by 2022. Nevertheless, we have what is called “spot cargoes”, when there is excess production, and the current contractors have gotten there share as enshrined in the contract, the excess production will be given to registered off-takers in the system,” Dr. Baru averred.
He said Hungarian companies could submit their profile to NLNG for possible engagement as off-takers of spot-cargoes after meeting the standard requirements.
The NNPC GMD stated that works on the refurbishment of the Corporation’s refineries through original builders of the plants had commenced and that the Hungarian firms with requisite expertise could be considered through subcontracting by the main contractors.
He said that NNPC through its subsidiary institution, the Nigerian Leadership Academy (NLA), would look into possible areas of collaboration with the Hungarian Universities for an in-country capacity building of oil and gas workers.
As part of the Corporation’s diversification plans, Dr. Baru said the NNPC, which has the largest medical facilities in the country from a single entity, was trying to put its 52 clinics across the country into commercial use, starting with its clinic in Abuja.
He said NNPC would collaborate with Hungarian and other reputable companies that have proven capabilities to set-up world-class medical facilities for heart, spinal and brain surgeries as well as physiotherapy and specialized laboratories services that can compete globally and save Nigerians the burden of traveling abroad for treatment.
Three of 42-year-old elephant Sandra’s abstract canvasses, with colored lines flowing across them resembling rivers, fetched about 40,000 forints ($150) each.
A painting depicting Sandra herself, done by a Hungarian painter, sold for 260,000 forints. The money will be offered to an elephant sanctuary in Malaysia.
Sandra paints with her trunk purely for pleasure, according to her owner and trainer Florian Richter, a horse acrobat and circus director.
Sandra, who was already well practised in a circus trick involving a shaving brush, was given a paintbrush and she quickly adapted her skills to the canvas.
Richter said that unlike many elephants in Thailand that are thought to be forced to paint, Sandra does it by herself when she is in the mood.
“I only help her with changing the brushes and putting them into paints but she does the rest by herself more or less. I praise her for saying ‘oh this is really good, or not so good’,” Richter said. “We have been together for 40 years so this is a family connection.”
Sandra arrived as a baby elephant at the circus where Richter grew up, as a seventh-generation member of an acrobat family.
Wales star, Gareth Bale, has sent out a special message to supporters before they face Belgium in their UEFA EURO 2016 quarter-final match on Friday.
He told Uefa.com, “We know it’s a massive game, it’s a quarter final of the European Championships but it’s one we want to go out and enjoy.
“We want everybody to sing and chant, enjoy the occasion and keep an eye on the team and be the 12th man as they have always done.
“We will try as a whole nation to win the game and try to enjoy the experience as a nation. Hopefully we can celebrate after.”
Wales’s manager, Chris Coleman, also acknowledges the uniqueness of the occasion, “We’re not going to talk it down. We’re going to savour this occasion, as we have done all along.
“This is another huge test and it’s another in a line of challenges that we’ve already met. It’s a great position to be in. We’ve got to go and do all the things that have got us in this position in the first place.
“Within the group the pressure is on us to keep performing. We’ve had to win differently [at this tournament].
“Belgium are recognised as one of the best teams in international football and we’ve played them four times in the last two campaigns. But it’s all about us and our preparation. Just because it’s Belgium, there’s been no dramas in our camp.”
Belgium will be without the services of Jan Vertonghen who turned his left ankle at the very end of training and has torn two ankle ligaments.
Manager, Marc Wilmots, nevertheless is not perturbed by the setback.
“We are now in the quarter-finals – the Hungary game is in the past and we need to focus on this game against Wales. I think we have to keep doing what we’ve done well so far. Nobody knows what sort of team will be put out, so I really need everyone to stay on their toes.
“A manager is always scared of his team having an off-day. It can happen. Hungary went well, but now we must remain focused and not take it for granted that we will win easily.
“It will be a tough match, it’s a different opposition this time. They are a team with pace, who play good football and a lot of them play in England.
“They are a side who defend really well and who have real talent on the counterattack. Now the stakes are different, this is no longer a qualification game for points. We are going out there with the semi-finals of the EURO as a prize – that is completely different.”