Trump May Not Visit Korea Demilitarized Zone – White House

US President Donald Trump. SAUL LOEB / AFP

President Donald Trump may not visit the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea when he travels to Asia early next month, the White House said Monday.

Most previous US presidents have visited the eerie sliver of land that separates U.S. and South Korean troops from their North Korean adversaries.

A senior administration official said Trump had been invited by the government in Seoul to visit Camp Humphreys, south of the South Korean capital and away from the DMZ.

“There are certain elements of the schedule that are still being worked out,” said the official, asking not to be named.

“Security is not a concern. The president is most likely going to be visiting Camp Humphreys, it’s going to be very difficult for him to have time to visit both.”

A trip to the DMZ has been something of a presidential rite of passage, a symbol of America’s resolve to face down North Korea.

All recent presidents, except one-term commander-in-chief George H.W. Bush, have visited.

In April, Vice President Mike Pence visited, declaring that standing with US forces in Korea, along with “courageous soldiers from the Republic of Korea is a message of resolve.”

Trump will be in South Korea in early November, as part of a five-nation Asia visit that is set to be dominated by concerns about North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs.

Trump will arrive in Japan on November 5, heading on to South Korea, China, Vietnam and the Philippines.


Foreigners Killed In Mexico Quake From Taiwan, Korea, Spain

People remove debris of a building which collapsed after a quake rattled Mexico City on September 19, 2017. Omar TORRES / AFP

The bodies of eight foreigners have been recovered from the rubble of the quake that struck Mexico City, officials said on Friday.

The remains were those of four Taiwanese women, a Korean man, a Spanish man, a Panamanian woman and an Argentine man, Mexico’s high court said in a statement citing information from the forensic institute.

The statement did not detail when the bodies were recovered, or from where.

They were among nearly 300 people killed by the powerful, 7.1-magnitude earthquake that parts of Mexico City and nearby regions on Tuesday.

In the capital, the quake toppled 39 buildings, mostly in a central area with older construction that is popular with tourists and foreigners living in the city, and also in the south.

The court statement said the bodies of the foreigners were pulled “from the rubble caused by the earthquake on Tuesday.”

It also said that no more bodies had been delivered to the morgue operated by the forensic institute for identification since Thursday.

All but one of the 65 corpses examined by the service have been handed over to next of kin, it said.

The remaining unidentified body was that of a woman pulled from a collapsed building in the chic neighbourhood of Condesa.


North Korea Carries Out Second Failed Missile Launch

Musudan missile, Korea, Failed Missile LaunchReports from the South Korean military say North Korea has conducted another unsuccessful launch of an intermediate-range missile.

This is the second failed test in less than a week.

Earlier,  North Korea unsuccessfully launched a Musudan missile, which had an estimated range of 4,000 km.

It was said to be capable of hitting U.S bases as far away as Guam and while the missile has been tested eight times this year, only one success has been recorded.

Although the U.S has condemned the launch, calling it a “further provocation”, experts however fear it could become operational as early as next year.

The last test of Korea’s capital and largest city Pyongyang, was also denounced by the UN, which has banned it from any use of ballistic or nuclear technology.

Flamingoes in Good Form For World Cup

Nigeria U17 teamThe U17 Women National Team, Flamingoes have shown a rich vein of form as preparations hit new gear for the 5th FIFA U17 Women’s World Cup starting in Jordan on September 30.

Coach Bala Nikyu’s girls displayed ferocious form with three wins in three successive friendly matches in Abuja between Tuesday and Saturday.

On Tuesday, Sure Babes FC of Ilorin were the victims as Captain Rasheedat Ajibade, the team’s top scorer, hit two goals in a 4-0 win at the NFF/FIFA Goal Project pitch, in a match watched by NFF General Secretary, Dr. Mohammed Sanusi, NFF Technical Director, Mr. Bitrus Bewarang and Assistant Director (Technical), Siji Lagunju.

Cynthia Aku and Patricia Innocent got the other goals.

On Thursday, the Flamingoes pipped Confluence Queens of Kogi 1-0 at the same venue, thanks to Cynthia Aku, who slotted in after the Queens’ goaltender failed to deal appropriately with a fierce shot by Captain Ajibade.

Against QFL (Queens Football League) All-Stars on Saturday, the Flamingoes went goal-wire, hitting the opposition 8-1. Ajibade was on song with a hat–trick, while Folashade Ijamilusi and Chidinma Okeke hit a brace each, and Cynthia Aku scored once.

Coach Nikyu said: “These matches have shown us exactly where we are, and we will continue to work on our weak areas. Our target is to ensure that the girls play as a team, have good control of the ball and achieve better coordination on the field.

“We are also working on their confidence level. They need to approach each game with a level of confidence, without under-rating any team. Certainly, we are going to play more friendly matches before the World Cup.”

Nigeria will tackle Brazil, England and 2008 champions Korea DPR in the group stage at the 5th FIFA U17 Women’s World Cup, taking place in Jordan on September 30 to October 21, 2016.

The Flamingoes’ first match is against Brazil on 1st October, Nigeria’s Independence Day.

Nigeria’s Under-23 To Tour South Korea, Siasia Confirms

SiasiaNigeria’s Olympic team are set to depart the country for an invitational tournament in Seoul, Korea, by May 29, according to Coach Samson Siasia.

Coach Siasia has also decided that domestic league players will no longer be released for mid-week games.

He has therefore declared that from Monday, May 9, he would no longer release any player from training camp to play for their clubs during Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) mid–week matches.

“I must confess that it has not been easy for me and my technical crew; a lot of the players we need to work with won’t report to camp as at when due because their club chairmen will always call me to beg that these players stay back to play mid –week games.

“I understand their plight that they need these players to do well in the League, but then we must draw a line between national interest and club interest. I have always built the foundation of my team on the home based players, so it is players I have at my disposal that I will work and plan with,” he said.

The former Super Eagles star disclosed he would soon release the names of foreign-based professionals expected to be part of the preparation.

Siasia had led the team to win the Under-23 Africa Nations Championship to become African Champions for the first time in 2015.

The top two finish also ensured that Nigeria qualified for the 2016 Olympics in Rio.

Quadri Through To German Open Round Of 32

QuadriNigerian Table Tennis star, Aruna Quadri, has qualified for the main draw of the ITTF German Open.

This is coming after Quadri secured a comprehensive victory over Bobocica Mihai in the round of 64.

The world number 48 won all four games against his Italian opponent to advance to the next stage of the competition.

Another Nigerian, Abiodun Bode, is still in contention at the ITTF World Tour super series in Berlin.

He will play Kim Minseok of Korea for a place in the round of 32.

Golden Eaglets Beat Brazil 2-1 In Suwon

golden eagletsNigeria’s U-17 team, the Golden Eaglets, have beaten the Junior Selecao of Brazil 2-1 at the on-going Suwon Continental Cup international youth football tournament in Korea.

Kingsley Michael and Chukwudi Agor scored two first half goals, while David Enogela conceded a second half own goal.

The Brazilians swooped on the Eaglets in the second half and Evander saw his shot ricocheted off the bar in the 54th minute, as goalkeeper Udoh Akpan was at his best to punch away Vitinho’s volley in the 60th minute.

With the victory, the Eaglets shot their way to the top of the 4-nation tournament with four points, following their 1-1 draw on Wednesday against South Korea.

Golden Eaglets Hold Korea To 1-1 Draw In Suwon

golden_eagletsNational Under-17 team, the Golden Eaglets forced host, South Korea to a 1-1 draw at the on-going 2015 Suwon Invitational Tournament.

Lee Sangheon scored the curtain raiser as early as the third minute for the home team, but Funsho Bamgboye, making his debut for Nigeria on the international stage, brought the game into parity in the 26th minute, with a lively volley.

Thereafter, it was a ding-dong affair, as both teams searched for the winner with beautiful style of play.

With the result, Nigeria and Korea are jointly in second position behind Brazil who beat Croatia 2-1 in the tournament’s opening match.

The Eaglets’ second game of the Suwon tournament would be against table leader Brazil, while Croatia will face Korea at the Suwon World Cup stadium.

INEC Accredits 107 Observers To Monitor Polls

inec-4The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says it has accredited 107 domestic and international observers to monitor the general elections slated for March 28 and April 11, 2015.

Among the observers accredited on Tuesday were embassies of 11 foreign nations of the United States of America, Switzerland, Britain, Germany, France, Japan, Canada, Ireland, Australia, Ghana and the Republic of Korea.

The commission also listed 14 international and regional organisations as part of the accredited observers, while the remaining 82 observers are domestic groups.

The international and regional organisations include: National Democratic Institute for International Affairs, Commonwealth Observers Mission, International Republican Institute, Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission, Kenya, Africa Students Association of Ireland, ECOWAS Mission, among others.

Similarly, the 82 domestic observers accredited for the election were: Police Service Commission, Justice Development and Peace Commission (Catholic Caritas Foundation of Nigeria), Centre for Strategic Conflict Management, Election Monitor, Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution, among others.

Going by the plans of the Electoral umpire (INEC), ballot papers for Saturday’s presidential and National Assembly elections are to be moved from the vaults of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on Wednesday.

The Chief Press Secretary to the INEC Chairman, Mr Kayode Idowu said all the non-sensitive materials had already been distributed to the appropriate destinations.

The INEC spokesman emphasised, the ballot papers for the different positions and locations had been customised in such a way that it would be difficult to be faked.

However, this is in line with preparations for the forthcoming general elections slated for March 28 and April 11, 2015.

FIFA Announce December 18 As Final Of Qatar 2022

fifaFIFA has confirmed that the 2022 World Cup final in Qatar will take place on 18 December. A FIFA task force last month recommended that the tournament should be switched from summer to winter.

The decision to hold the final on 18 December means Britain’s traditional Boxing Day club matches on 26 December can still take place.

In another key decision, FIFA has chosen France to host the 2019 women’s World Cup, ahead of South Korea. France will also stage the Under-20 women’s tournament in 2018.

Walter De Gregorio, FIFA’s director of communications, confirmed that the 2022 World Cup would begin in November and finish on 18 December.

“Yes, we are going to play in November and December, he said, the final is going to be played on 18 December. It’s a Sunday and it’s also the national day of Qatar.”

The decision to move the 2022 World Cup from its traditional June and July slot was taken because of health concerns for players.

FIFA also indicated that the 2022 World Cup could be shortened to 28 days, rather than 31 or 32 days.

UEFA, the body that governs European football, had pushed for the final to be as late as 23 December.

However, the option attracted opposition from FIFA members who feared it would cause problems for fans and players getting home in time for Christmas, as well as affecting club football’s festive programme.

Nigerian Players Crash Out Of Singles Event At ITTF World Tour In Kuwait

Nigerian duo of Aruna Quadri and Kazeem Makanjuola have crashed out of the men’s singles event at the ongoing International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) World Tour tagged Kuwait Open.

Makanjuola was the first to say goodbye to the tournament after failing to win a game in his two matches against his French and Portuguese counterparts. The debutant at the ITTF World Tour lost to Frenchman Benjamin Brossier 5-11, 9-11, 8-11, 5-11, and suffered another defeat against Portugal’s Joao Monteiro 10-12, 7-11, 6-11, 7-11

Portugal-based Aruna Quadri started his campaign in group nine with a 13-11, 11-8, 11-8, 11-6 win over Egypt’s Mohamed Elsobky but failed to progress after losing to Russia’s Alexey Liventsov 11-7, 9-11, 11-8, 11-9, 11-7 to exit the singles event.

Winner of the Lagos Table Tennis International Classics, Egypt’s Omar Assar could not advance to the main draw after a narrow loss to Singapore’s Zhaoxu Xin in an encounter that ended 11-9, 5-11, 11-4, 9-11, 7-11, 11-5, 9-11 having recorded a 4-2 win over Korea’s Chan-Hyeok Park in his first group match.

The only African player flying in the men’s singles is Egypt’s Ahmed Saleh, who won his two matches to seal a place in the last 64.

Speaking after his exit, Quadri admitted that he played well but that his opponent was more tactical in his approach to the game.

“Nothing went wrong during the match because I played better than  the first game that I won. I want to say that there was so much difference when compared to my performance in this same tour three years  ago. My opponent did not win an easy point. Before I used to have  difficult in receiving service but this year I was able to overcome  this. I hope to do better at the Qatar Open next week,” Quadri said.

The Nigerian representatives will be hoping for a better outing in the men’s doubles.

Op-Ed: Using Korea Model For Education Can Reposition Nigeria Economically

The barrage of shrill threats by North Korea against South Korea and the United States by its reclusive late leader Kim Jong-il often drew my attention towards the fragile peace on the Korean Peninsula.

As I pondered over these issues in the past year, my perspective changed completely with my participation in the drafting of the youth version of 2012 UNESCO Education for All Global Monitoring Report (UNESCO EFA GMR) – Youth and Skills: Putting Education to Work.

Throughout the course of our work on the report, Korea (South Korea simply referred to as Korea and officially as the Republic of Korea) always came up as an excellent model of national transformation through committed investments in Education.

Prior to the report, I had a keen interest on China’s education and national development strategy especially after watching a video of James Wolfensohn, former president of The World Bank addressing an MBA class at Stanford University.

Three decades after Korea was nearly decimated by the Korean War (1950-1953), Korea reinvented itself by making huge investments in its educational sector which resulted into its transformation.

Korea and Nigeria were at par in terms of development in the 1980’s but over the years, Korea has made giant strides in development to become a developed economy.

Today, Korea is an industrial powerhouse ranked among the fastest growing OCED economies – with an unemployment rate of 3.0% as against OECD average of 8.0% while Nigeria stands at 23.9%. Korea boasts of global companies such as Hyundai Heavy Industries, Hyundai Motors, Samsung Corporation (Electronics, Engineering and Construction), LG Electronics, POSCO, Daewoo Group (Trading, Shipbuilding, Engineering and Construction), KIA Motors, Korea Gas Corporation, SK Group, Hana and Woori Financial Groups. It is noteworthy to mention that Samsung engineering (Samsung Construction and Trading Corporation) is reputed to have built The Burj Khalifa in Dubai, Petronas Twin Towers in Malaysia, Taipei 101 in Taiwan.

Korea also has the highest household broadband penetration in the world – 97.2%. With these endearing tales and promising figures, I looked forward to visiting this tiny island nation lauded as the “Miracle on the Han River.”

In August 2013, I had the privilege of being invited to Korea by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Korea to receive an award as one of the winners of the global essay competition on cyberspace for the Seoul cyberspace conference 2013 and also to serve as a Youth Forum panel discussant.

The event took place at the Graduate School of International Studies at the New Millennium Hall, Yonsei University.

The Youth Forum – panel discussions were strictly academic in style and as such there was no point hosting such an event in a hotel, or an events centre as is often the case in Nigeria. Don’t get me wrong, part of Nigeria’s problems is that everything including education is highly politicised.

In civilized societies, discussions that have a lot to contribute to the growth of the country usually take place in universities including presidential debates that are political. Our universities should function as the birthplace of innovation and creativity where brilliant ideas are nurtured to become realities that drive today’s knowledge economy. It should be the cradle where leaders are and policies that help advance the wellbeing of man formulated. On the contrary, Nigeria remains a basket case in all ramifications specifically in the management of its human resources as suggested by Prof. Ben Nwabueze who posits that Nigerian universities are “a cauldron which continually emits vapours of social unrest and instability” and further describing it as a “fertile ground for social unrest and indiscipline”.

UK. As the old adage which most Nigerians have gotten accustomed to reads, ‘Rome was not built in a day’. But the leaders of today’s ‘Romes’ started from somewhere, made a conscious commitment to build their societies, which has eluded us in Nigeria as our universities have been placed on a perpetual shutdown mode as a result of the protracted industrial action embarked upon by the Academic Staff Union of Universities. A post I once came across on facebook humorously described ASUU strike as an annual festival when universities unceremoniously go on break for an unknown period of time.

I believe no matter what is happening with our educational system and society today, Nigeria will be great again and stands to learn a lot from Korea’s model of economic transformation through investments in education, and as far as I know Koreans are willing to share their experience with any country that is willing and ready to learn. While we continue to urge the Nigerian government to be more responsive to its responsibility, I will continue to study the Korean model to know in which areas of our national development it could be of help in and also looking forward to another visit.

Yes, my visit to Seoul might just have been a fleeting glimpse of the city, but I’m still thrilled and look forward to exploring the city further on future visits.


Submission by Akachukwu Nnaemeka Okafor