Spurs Boss Mourinho Expecting ‘Bad News’ On Kane Injury

Tottenham Hotspur’s Portuguese head coach Jose Mourinho takes a team training session at Tottenham Hotspur’s Enfield Training Centre, in north London on November 25, 2019, ahead of their UEFA Champions League Group B football match against Olympiakos.
Daniel LEAL-OLIVAS / AFP

 

Jose Mourinho said on Friday he was expecting “bad news” on Harry Kane’s hamstring injury after the England captain limped out of the 1-0 defeat at Southampton on New Year’s Day.

The Tottenham boss said the full extent of the problem would soon become apparent.

Kane pulled up as he slotted home Christian Eriksen’s free-kick 15 minutes from time on Wednesday but was flagged offside.

“I don’t know yet, I think maybe later today we have news,” Mourinho said. “But if you ask me just my feeling, good news or bad news, I am more bad news than good news, what the player felt, Harry Kane leaving a match the way he did.

“He didn’t think twice, didn’t take him two seconds to realise the severity of the situation.”

Spurs, who are sixth in the Premier League, face Championship side Middlesbrough in the FA Cup third round on Sunday.

Nigerians Usher In 2020 With Prayers, Fireworks

 

Nigerians have joined the rest of the world to usher in the new year 2020.

In most parts of the country, many Christians visited various churches where services were held since Tuesday night to herald the New Year.

While the religious citizens were engaged in prayers and thanksgiving services, some Nigerians visited centres and parks where official countdown concerts took place.

The year 2020 first berthed in New Zealand, Australia, Hong Kong, and some other countries before Nigeria.

 

In Nigeria, just as the clock struck 12 am on Wednesday, signaling the beginning of a new year, citizens took to the streets in jubilation across the country.

At some of the centres of attraction in Lagos, fireworks lit up the skies, displaying bright and colourful sceneries.

Although President Muhammadu Buhari is expected to address the nation today, the Senate President, Ahmed Lawan; Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, and some state governors among other leaders wished the people a Happy New Year.


In his message, the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, said the year 2020 would usher in robust peace and economic growth for the benefit of all Nigerians.

Lawan congratulated Nigerians on witnessing the end of 2019 and the beginning of the year 2020 and hailed the resilience of the citizens in their commitment to the unity and prosperity of the country, as well as for the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.

National Assembly Is Ready To Work For Nigerians – Lawan
A file photo of the Senate President, Ahmed Lawan. Photo: [email protected]

 

 

“I have no doubt in my mind that with the timely passage of the budget, restoration of the January to December financial year and other amendments recently made to our laws by the ninth National Assembly, the economy will enjoy significant growth in the new year,” Lawan said.

 

Mr Gbajabiamila, on his part, felicitated with Nigerians for witnessing the end of the year 2019 and marking the beginning of the New Year, 2020.

The Speaker, who noted that 2019 was remarkable in Nigeria’s history, said he believes 2020 would be better for the citizens.

He added that God has been faithful to Nigerians in the outgoing year and called for more unity of purpose among the citizens.

A file photo of Mr Femi Gbajabiamila.

 

 

The lawmaker said, “It’s just like yesterday that we ushered in the year 2019, and in a matter of hours, we will usher another year, 2020. In all, we should thank our Creator for seeing us through the outgoing year and allowing us to see the New Year.

“This New Year, let’s unite more against our challenges. Let’s be our brother’s keepers as always. Our resolve to remain together as a people should be unshakeable.

“We cannot relent in our prayers for continuous peaceful coexistence among us. Let this 2020 be a year of more prospects for the citizens.”

“As an optimist, I have a strong belief that the year 2020 will be better for the country in all ramifications. Let’s not despair. Let’s keep hope alive, and God Almighty will see us through.

“At this moment of celebrations, I join millions of Nigerians to wish my compatriots a prosperous New Year,” Gbajabiamila added.

Similarly, former Vice President and presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, said the coming of the New Year 2020 is symbolic in many ways.

He said, “First, it heralds a brand new decade. Secondly, and probably more important, is that this New Year will require us all to stay together more than ever before to take on, head front, the common enemy of insecurity that challenge our everyday lives as Nigerians.

“I do not share the sentiment when some people claim that the outgone 2019 was a successful year for Nigerians. Such sentiments is reductionist and does the harm of making us have a false sense of victory.

“The bitter truth is that Nigeria is still in the throes of economic instability, with more people losing jobs and the attendant outcome of more children being out of school and more families having hard time in accessing basic needs of life.”

A file photo of former Vice President Atiku Abubakar. Photo: Channels TV/ Sodiq Adelakun.

 

“In this New Year, however, I will rather ask that Nigerians stand together with renewed vigour and determination to battle the hydra-headed demon of insecurity that has plagued us in the past decade.

“We must challenge the inadequacies that made us become the global headquarters of extreme poverty; much as we must work hard and fast enough to eliminate the scourge of out-of-school children in the country. These are the challenges that this new decade has thrown at us and we cannot afford to slumber and submit to defeat,” Atiku added.

I Will Be Standing Down In 2023, Buhari Tells Nigerians In New Year Message

 

President Muhammadu Buhari has assured Nigerians that he will leave office in 2023.

The President said he is determined to help strengthen the electoral process both in Nigeria and across the region.

He stated this in his New Year letter to Nigerians, which was released by the Presidency on Wednesday, January 1, 2020.

“I will be standing down in 2023 and will not be available in any future elections. But I am determined to help strengthen the electoral process both in Nigeria and across the region, where several ECOWAS members go to the polls this year,” the President.

In his letter titled, ‘A Letter from the President at New Year’, President Buhari stated his primary concern is the security of the nation and the safety of its citizens.

Below is the full statement signed by President Buhari.

A LETTER FROM THE PRESIDENT AT NEW YEAR

My Dear Compatriots,

NIGERIA’S DECADE

Today marks a new decade. It is a time of hope, optimism and fresh possibilities. We look forward as a nation to the 2020s as the opportunity to build on the foundations we have laid together on security, diversification of our economy and taking on the curse of corruption. These are the pledges on which I have been twice elected President and remain the framework for a stable, sustainable and more prosperous future.

Elections are the cornerstone of our democracy. I salute the commitment of the millions who voted in peace last February and of those leaders who contested for office vigorously but fairly, submitting to the authority of the electorate, the Independent National Electoral Commission and judicial process.

I understand very well the frustrations our system has in the past triggered. I will be standing down in 2023 and will not be available in any future elections. But I am determined to help strengthen the electoral process both in Nigeria and across the region, where several ECOWAS members go to the polls this year.

As Commander-in-Chief, my primary concern is the security of the nation and the safety of our citizens. When I assumed office in May 2015 my first task was to rally our neighbours so that we could confront Boko Haram on a coordinated regional basis. Chaos is not a neighbour any of us hope for.

We have been fighting on several fronts: violent extremists, cultists and organised criminal networks. It has not been easy. But as we are winning the war, we also look to the challenge of winning the peace, the reconstruction of lives, communities and markets. The North East Development Commission will work with local and international stakeholders to help create a new beginning for the North East.

The Federal Government will continue to work with State Governors, neighbouring states and our international partners to tackle the root causes of violent extremism and the networks that help finance and organise terror. Our security forces will receive the best training and modern weaponry, and in turn will be held to the highest standards of professionalism, and respect for human rights. We will use all the human and emerging technological resources available to tackle kidnapping, banditry and armed robbery.

The new Ministry of Police Affairs increased recruitment of officers and the security reforms being introduced will build on what we are already delivering. We will work tirelessly at home and with our allies in support of our policies to protect the security of life and property. Our actions at all times will be governed by the rule of law. At the same time, we shall look always to engage with all well-meaning leaders and citizens of goodwill to promote dialogue, partnership and understanding.

We need a democratic government that can guarantee peace and security to realise the full potential of our ingenious, entrepreneurial and hard-working people. Our policies are designed to promote genuine, balanced growth that delivers jobs and rewards industry.

Our new Economic Advisory Council brings together respected and independent thinkers to advise me on a strategy that champions inclusive and balanced growth, and above all fight poverty and safeguard national economic interests.

As we have sat down to celebrate with friends and family over this holiday season, for the first time in a generation our food plates have not all been filled with imports of products we know can easily be produced here at home.

The revolution in agriculture is already a reality in all corners of the country. New agreements with Morocco, Russia and others will help us access on attractive terms the inputs we need to accelerate the transformation in farming that is taking place.

A good example of commitment to this inclusive growth is the signing of the African Continental Free Trade Area and the creation of the National Action Committee to oversee its implementation and ensure the necessary safeguards are in place to allow us to fully capitalise on regional and continental markets.

The joint land border security exercise currently taking place is meant to safeguard Nigeria’s economy and security. No one can doubt that we have been good neighbours and good citizens. We have been the helpers and shock-absorbers of the sub-region but we cannot allow our well-planned economic regeneration plans to be sabotaged. As soon as we are satisfied that the safeguards are adequate, normal cross-border movements will be resumed.

Already, we are making key infrastructure investments to enhance our ease of doing business. On transportation, we are making significant progress on key roads such as the Second Niger Bridge, Lagos – Ibadan Expressway and the Abuja – Kano highway. 2020 will also see tangible progress on the Lagos to Kano Rail line. Through Executive Order 007, we are also using alternative funding programmes in collaboration with private sector partners to fix strategic roads such as the Apapa-Oworonshoki Express way. Abuja and Port Harcourt have new international airport terminals, as will Kano and Lagos in 2020. When completed, all these projects will positively impact business operations in the country. These projects are not small and do not come without some temporary disruption; we are doing now what should have been done a long time ago. I thank you for your patience and look forward to the dividends that we and future generations will long enjoy.

Power has been a problem for a generation. We know we need to pick up the pace of progress. We have solutions to help separate parts of the value chain to work better together. In the past few months, we have engaged extensively with stakeholders to develop a series of comprehensive solutions to improve the reliability and availability of electricity across the country. These solutions include ensuring fiscal sustainability for the sector, increasing both government and private sector investments in the power transmission and distribution segments, improving payment transparency through the deployment of smart meters and ensuring regulatory actions maximise service delivery.

We have in place a new deal with Siemens, supported by the German government after German Chancellor Angela Merkel visited us in Abuja, to invest in new capacity for generation, transmission and distribution. These projects will be under close scrutiny and transparency – there will be no more extravagant claims that end only in waste, theft and mismanagement.

The next 12 months will witness the gradual implementation of these actions, after which Nigerians can expect to see significant improvement in electricity service supply reliability and delivery. Separately, we have plans to increase domestic gas consumption. In the first quarter of 2020, we will commence work on the AKK gas pipeline, OB3 Gas pipeline and the expansion of the Escravos – Lagos Pipeline.

While we look to create new opportunities in agriculture, manufacturing and other long neglected sectors, in 2020 we will also realise increased value from oil and gas, delivering a more competitive, attractive and profitable industry, operating on commercial principles and free from political interference. Just last week, we were able to approve a fair framework for the USD10 billion expansion of Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas, which will increase exports by 35 percent, restore our position as a world leader in the sector and create thousands of jobs. The Amendment of the Deep Offshore Act in October signalled our intention to create a modern, forward-looking industry in Nigeria. I am confident that in 2020 we will be able to present a radical programme of reform for oil and gas that will excite investors, improve governance and strengthen protections for host communities and the environment.

We can expect the pace of change in technology only to accelerate in the decade ahead. Coupled with our young and vibrant population, this offers huge opportunities if we are able to harness the most productive trends and tame some of the wilder elements. This is a delicate balance with which many countries are struggling. We are seeking an informed and mature debate that reflects our rights and responsibilities as citizens in shaping the boundaries of how best to allow technology to benefit Nigeria.

During my Democracy Day speech on June 12, 2019, I promised to lay the enduring foundations for taking a hundred million Nigerians out of mass poverty over the next 10 years. Today I restate that commitment. We shall continue reforms in education, health care and water sanitation. I have met international partners such as GAVI, the vaccine alliance, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation who support our social welfare programmes. I will continue to work with State and Local Governments to make sure that these partnerships deliver as they should. Workers will have a living wage and pensioners will be looked after. We are steadily clearing pensions and benefits arrears neglected for so long.
The new Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development will consolidate and build on the social intervention schemes and will enhance the checks and balances necessary for this set of programmes to succeed for the long term.

I am able to report that the journey has already begun with the passage and signing into law of the 2020 Appropriation Act. As the new decade dawns, we are ready to hit the ground running. Let me pay tribute to the Ninth National Assembly who worked uncommonly long hours to make sure that the 2020 budget scrutiny is both thorough and timely. The close harmony between the Executive and Legislature is a sharp contrast to what we have experienced in the recent past, when the Senate kept the previous budget for 7 months without good reason just to score cheap political points thereby disrupting the budgetary processes and overall economic development plans.

Our policies are working and the results will continue to show themselves more clearly by the day. Nigeria is the most tremendous, can-do market, offering extraordinary opportunities and returns. Investors can look forward with confidence not only to an increasing momentum of change but also to specific incentives, including our new visa-on-arrival policy.

They can also be certain of our unshakeable commitment to tackle corruption. As we create an environment that allows initiative, enterprise and hard work to thrive, it is more important than ever to call out those who find the rule of law an inconvenience, or independent regulation an irritation. We are doing our part here in Nigeria. We will continue to press our partners abroad to help with the supply side of corruption and have received some encouragement. We expect more funds stolen in the past to be returned to us and they will be ploughed back into development with all due transparency.

This is a joint initiative. Where our policies have worked best, it has been because of the support of ordinary Nigerians in their millions, numbers that even the most powerful of special interests cannot defy. I thank you for your support. Transition by its very nature carries with it change and some uncertainty along the way. I encourage you to be tolerant, law abiding and peace loving. This is a new year and the beginning of a new decade – the Nigerian Decade of prosperity and promise for Nigeria and for Africa.

To recapitulate, some of the projects Nigerians should expect to come upstream from 2020 include:

47 road projects scheduled for completion in 2020/21, including roads leading to ports;
Major bridges including substantial work on the Second Niger Bridge;
Completion of 13 housing estates under the National Housing Project Plan;
Lagos, Kano, Maiduguri and Enugu international airports to be commissioned in 2020;
Launching of an agricultural rural mechanisation scheme that will cover 700 local governments over a period of three years;
Launching of the Livestock Development Project Grazing Model in Gombe State where 200,000 hectares of land has been identified;
Training of 50,000 workers to complement the country’s 7,000 extension workers;
Commissioning of the Lagos – Ibadan and Itakpe – Warri rail lines in the first quarter;
Commencement of the Ibadan – Abuja and Kano – Kaduna rail lines also in the first quarter;
Further liberalisation of the power sector to allow businesses to generate and sell power;
Commencement of the construction of the Mambilla Power project by the first half of 2020; and
Commencement of the construction of the AKK gas pipeline, OB3 gas pipeline and the expansion of the Escravos – Lagos pipeline in the first quarter of 2020.

Thank you very much!

PHOTOS: Australia Celebrates 2020 With Fireworks

New Year’s Eve fireworks erupt over Sydney’s iconic Harbour Bridge and Opera House (L) during the fireworks show on January 1, 2020. PETER PARKS / AFP

 

Smoke-choked Sydney ushered in the New Year with a huge fireworks display, kicking off celebrations for billions around the world and ringing in the new decade.

Australia’s largest city usually puts on a dazzling display of pyrotechnics over the glittering harbour, but this year’s celebrations were overshadowed by calls to cancel the fireworks as devastating bushfires rage across the country.

Toxic smoke haze has shrouded Sydney for weeks and a petition to cancel the event out of respect for fire victims attracted more than 280,000 signatures.

Fireworks displays were scrapped in Australia’s capital, Canberra, and Sydney’s western suburbs due to elevated fire danger and extreme weather conditions.

Critics wanted Sydney to use the Aus$6.5 million ($4.5 million) spent on the display to fight bushfires ringing the city, but officials say the event is worth Aus$130 million to the economy and cancelling it would not help those impacted by the fires.

See pictures below:

Celebration, Fireworks As Australia Cruises Into New Year

New Year’s Eve fireworks erupt over Sydney’s iconic Harbour Bridge and Opera House (L) during the fireworks show on January 1, 2020. PETER PARKS / AFP

 

 

Smoke-choked Sydney ushered in the New Year with a huge fireworks display, kicking off celebrations for billions around the world and ringing in the new decade.

Australia’s largest city usually puts on a dazzling display of pyrotechnics over the glittering harbour, but this year’s celebrations were overshadowed by calls to cancel the fireworks as devastating bushfires rage across the country.

Toxic smoke haze has shrouded Sydney for weeks and a petition to cancel the event out of respect for fire victims attracted more than 280,000 signatures.

Fireworks displays were scrapped in Australia’s capital, Canberra, and Sydney’s western suburbs due to elevated fire danger and extreme weather conditions.

Critics wanted Sydney to use the Aus$6.5 million ($4.5 million) spent on the display to fight bushfires ringing the city, but officials say the event is worth Aus$130 million to the economy and cancelling it would not help those impacted by the fires.

“We have committed to harnessing the enormous power of the event to raise more money for drought- and fire-affected communities,” Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore said.

More than 100,000 fireworks lit up the skyline for the hundreds of thousands of spectators thronging the city centre.

Crowds were warned to take care as strong winds gusted in the harbour, forcing the cancellation of a boat display that would have blasted water into the sky.

Celebrations amid upheaval 

As the clock ticks past midnight, major cities in Asia, Europe, Africa and the Americas will embrace the celebrations, but in many places the festivities will be marked by turmoil and political upheaval.

After more than six months of near-daily demonstrations, Hong Kong ushered in 2020 with a series of pro-democracy rallies planned for New Year’s Eve.

Protesters formed human chains that stretched across busy shopping streets and through residential neighbourhoods.

As the clock struck midnight in North Korea, a large crowd gathered for a concert in the centre of Pyongyang cheered as the clock struck midnight, with fireworks bursting in the sky above a neon-lit stage hosting a tightly-choreographed dance performance.

Across the border, South Koreans flocked to bell-ringing ceremonies — a traditional ritual marking the start of the new year — with thousands watching the ritual in central Seoul alongside performances by Korean pop stars.

In Paris, 250,000 to 300,000 people usually gather on the Champs-Elysees to welcome the New Year, but turnout could suffer amid a gruelling transport strike that has spelt weeks of misery for commuters.

Midnight in London will be marked by the chimes of Big Ben, which has been silent during a long restoration, as traditional fireworks are set off over the Thames for the last new year before Brexit.

It follows a year of political wrangling that led to the resignation of Prime Minister Theresa May and culminated in Conservative Prime Minister Boris Johnson pledging to leave the European Union on January 31.

In Moscow, President Vladimir Putin is set to deliver his annual New Year address, 20 years after he was elevated to the presidency by Boris Yeltsin’s shock resignation in his 1999 end-of-year speech.

Russia will celebrate the new decade over several time zones, with Muscovites flocking to the centre of the capital for fireworks over the Kremlin.

 Looking to 2020 

As partygoers embrace the festivities, attention will turn to 2020 and whether it will be as tumultuous as the previous year, which saw an explosion of demonstrations as people demanded an overhaul of entrenched political systems and action on climate change.

The protests in Hong Kong, sparked by a now-abandoned bill to allow extraditions to the authoritarian mainland, have since morphed into a popular revolt against Beijing’s control.

The city’s biggest crisis since the former British colony’s return to Chinese rule in 1997 appears set to spill over in 2020, with protesters already preparing the year’s protest schedule and the government showing no sign of backing down.

Anti-government protests also swept Latin America, North Africa and the Middle East in 2019, including mass demonstrations that brought down leaders in Lebanon, Algeria, Sudan and Bolivia.

Climate change sparked rallies worldwide calling for action, initiated by Swedish teen activist Greta Thunberg, as temperatures soared above records, Iceland lost its first glacier to climate change, and Venice was swamped by flooding not seen in decades.

US President Donald Trump again dominated headlines in 2019, culminating in his historic impeachment by the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives on two counts of abuse of office and obstruction of Congress.

The Republican-controlled Senate is unlikely to convict Trump in a trial expected to begin in January but the controversy over claims he pressured Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden, a rival in his 2020 re-election bid, will linger until the November poll.

AFP

#NewYear2019: PDP Assures Nigerians of Brighter Future

 

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Presidential Campaign Organization (PPCO) has urged Nigerians to step into 2019 with unwavering optimism, faith and hope of a new era of peace, national cohesion and economic prosperity under a new President, Atiku Abubakar, that will be elected on February 16, 2019.

The PPCO congratulated Nigerians for their resilience in “surviving the almost four years of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration which has not been all positive for the nation.

The party called on Nigerians to avert negative projections by voting the opposition in the coming polls.

READ ALSO: There Is Hope For Nigeria, Jonathan Says In New Year Message

According to the PDP, “2019, as an election year, offers our citizens their much-desired opportunity to end the trajectory of economic hardship, hunger and starvation, strange diseases, untimely deaths, collapsed infrastructure, humongous unemployment figures, wanton killings and all the evils that have bedeviled our nation in almost four years”.

“Our citizens have made immeasurable sacrifices to keep the nation going in the face of very harsh policies, lies and fake promises of the Buhari administration. They now eagerly long for a breath of fresh air under Atiku as their next President”.

The PDP argued that if voted in as President, “Atiku will usher in a new era of a transparent and responsive government with the template for wealth creation, job opportunities and revitalization of our productive sector through tax cuts and direct empowerment of our hard-working entrepreneurs in a manner that increases our national productivity, reduce costs of goods and services, increase exports and shore up the value of our naira.”

 

Nigerians Usher In New Year With Prayers And Fireworks

Nigerians have joined the rest of the world in ushering in the year 2019.

Earlier, Sydney and Hong Kong put on stunning fireworks displays in a spectacular welcome to the New Year, among the first in a wave of celebrations for billions around the world.

Australia’s largest city organised its biggest-ever fireworks display, using a record amount of pyrotechnics as well as new effects.

Colours lit up the city’s skyline for 12 minutes and dazzled the more than 1.5 million spectators who packed the harbour front and parks.

 

New Year’s Eve fireworks erupt over Sydney’s iconic Harbour Bridge and Opera House during the fireworks show on January 1, 2019.
PETER PARKS / AFP

An earlier thunderstorm did not dampen the spirits of revelers who camped out at vantage points, some since the morning.

To mark the international year of indigenous languages in 2019, the harbour also hosted a ceremony celebrating Aboriginal heritage that included animations projected onto the bridge’s pylons.

In Hong Kong, hundreds of thousands of revelers packed the streets on both sides of the city’s Victoria Harbour for a spectacular 10-minute firework show.

Some $1.8 million worth of pyrotechnics bathed the city’s skyscrapers in a dizzying array of colours accompanied by a score that included Auld Lang Syne sung in Cantonese, Mandarin and English.

Fireworks explode over Victoria Harbour during New Year celebrations in Hong Kong on January 1, 2019.
ANTHONY WALLACE / AFP

In Nigeria, many Christians took to their various churches where night vigils held to herald the new year.

While some Nigerians took to the churches, there were others at city centres and parks where official countdown concerts took place.

The One Lagos Fiesta was one of the events put together to usher in the new year, with various artists and performers thrilling revelers who thronged to the venue of the fiesta put together by the Lagos state government.

And when the clock struck 12am signaling the berth of a new day, Nigerians across the country especially in Lagos, took to the streets in jubilation. At certain centres around Nigeria’s economic hub, major firework displays lit up the skies as each-one bad the other “Happy New Year”.

President Urge Nigerians To Vote Without Fear

President Muhammadu Buhari has in his New Year Message reminded Nigerians that there are new opportunities to be explored in 2019.

Buhari who reminded Nigerians of the polls in 2019, told the people that the election is not a do or die affair, hence, they must not approach the process with fear.

The President made the call in a New Year Message sent out on Monday, December 31.

According to the President, 2019 is a very significant year in the nation’s history and as such Nigerians must brace up for the new moral grounds to be broken.

Man Guns Down Six Family Members Including Kids At New Year Party

File photo

 

A man who felt slighted by his in-laws shot dead six family members including his two young children at a New Year’s Eve party before turning the gun on himself, the police said Tuesday.

The mass shooting took place 10 minutes after midnight as Thai man Sucheep Sornsung joined his wife’s family to ring in the New Year in the southern province of Chumphon.

Sucheep was “heavily” drunk when he pulled out his pistol at the table in the beauty parlour where the party was being hosted in Phato district, police said.

“All of the victims were his family members including his nine-year-old son and six-year-old daughter,” Lieutenant Colonel Larp Kampapan of Phato police told AFP.

“They were shot either in the head or the torso… he was angry that as the son-in-law he was not being made welcome by his wife’s family.”

The gunman then turned the weapon on himself.

The other four victims were two men and two women aged between 47 and 71.

Thailand has high rates of gun ownership and petty personal disputes, romantic and business rivalries are often resolved with bullets.

AFP

2019 Election Is Not A Do Or Die Affair, Have No Fear – Buhari

 

President Muhammadu Buhari has told Nigerians that the 2019 election is not a do or die affair, hence they must not approach the polls with fear. 

The President made the call in a New Year Message sent out on Monday, December 31.

According to the President, 2019 is a very significant year in the nation’s history and as such Nigerians must brace up for the new moral grounds to be broken.

Below is the full mesage by President Muhammdau Buhari.

“Dear compatriots,

It is my utmost pleasure to rejoice with all Nigerians as we enter the year 2019, which will be a very significant one for our country.

At the turn of every year, we often use the opportunity to look back at the past and forward to the future. To review the outgoing year, its high and low points, successes and failures, and be fully thankful to God.

We Nigerians are a religious people, and we believe that God reigns and rules in the affairs of men. A time like this offers precious opportunity for thanksgiving, stock taking and reflection on goals and targets set for the receding year, and how much was accomplished. The ones not done can then be rolled over into a new year.

The dawn of a New Year is also a time to look forward. To consider new prospects, unfold our plans, and prepare for landmark dates and events.

2019 will be an election year for us. In about two months, the polls are due, and we will elect leaders into various offices, at national and state levels.

As I welcome you into 2019, I also reiterate my many promises and declarations that the general elections will be free, fair and credible.

Elections need not be do or die affair, and we should not approach that eventuality in a democracy with trepidation and mortal fear. Happily, a large number of presidential candidates have committed to peace, and peace we shall have.

Those who continue to trumpet falsehood and negativity are on their own, fighting a losing battle. The greater number of Nigerians are trusting and believing that we shall deliver on our promises for a level playing field at the polls, and that is what we shall do.

Nigerians desire peace, security, prosperity, inclusiveness and infrastructural development, a nation they can be proud of, a country that can hold its own among the nations.

READ ALSO: We Can End Terrorism In 2019, Atiku Tells Nigerians

That is the journey we have embarked on since we came onboard in 2015, and we are not distracted as we move on. We are resolved to build a country in which the resources are utilized for the benefit of the largest number, and not appropriated by a privileged few in their never-ending quest to satisfy their greed. We are on this mission together, and I assure you of a firm commitment to the ideals of a safe, secure, fair, just and prosperous country.

We have had our challenges: security, economic, political, social. But we are resolved to combat and overcome them all.

I appreciate your support and collaboration in previous years, and look forward to same in 2019, and beyond, as I hope you will renew the mandate you overwhelmingly gave us in 2015, for another term.

We are motivated by nothing other than service to motherland, and service without selfishness or personal interest.

I can assure you all that we are making steady and sustainable progress in all areas of national life. Those who are unbiased can see and appreciate the progress the country has made since 2015.

A New Year provides an opportunity for renewal of commitment, and I invite you to rededicate yourselves to the vision of a Nigeria that works for all.

We are moving from potentials to actualization, and it’s a task to be accomplished by us all; man, woman, young, old, military, civilian, all Nigerians.
Please come along, as we journey to the land of our dreams. Happy 2019.

Thank you and God Bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria

PDP Asks Buhari Not To Make ‘Fake Promises’ In New Year Message

PDP Asks Buhari Not To Make 'Fake Promises' In New Year Message

 

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has asked President Muhammadu Buhari not to address Nigerians on New Year’s day.

According to a statement by the PDP Presidential Campaign Organisation (PPCO), President Buhari should not bother with any New Year Message as he has nothing to offer Nigerians.

“PPCO insists the message will be a rehash of fake promises which had been foisted on Nigerians since December 2015,” it said in a statement on Sunday by its Director of Media and Publicity, Mr Kola Ologbondiyan.

“The PPCO says President Buhari has already admitted failure in governance, that he has no solutions and as such will only dwell on fictitious claims and cosmetic patriotism, in an effort to sway Nigerians and divert their attention from his failures and insensitivity to their problems.”

The party said it considered the New Year message as “a ritual” that must be must fulfiled and advised the President to use the occasion to provide answers to some allegations of corruptions against some purported members of his family.

“No New Year message would be more apt than Mr President explaining how his family members came about the sum of N1.032 trillion for this scandalous acquisition,” the PDP alleged.

It also asked the President to use his New Year message to respond to other allegations of certificate forgery, looting, and diversion of repatriated funds.

While the government has since denied the allegations, the opposition party challenged the President to use the occasion to provide answers for the allegations of false performance claims in his 2019 budget speech.

The PDP alleged, “President Buhari must not continue to play the saint when his administration has skeletons in its cupboard.”

“He must provide answers to Nigerians. If not, he should not bother sending any New Year message as the nation has moved beyond mere rhetoric, blame game and false promises, which have been the hallmarks of his administration.”

Paris: New Year’s Eve Bash To Hold Despite ‘Yellow Vest Protest’

Yellow vest member Vincent installs a sign on the roundabout (rond point) next to a tent where people can write their demands (in French “Cahier de doleances”) in Cagnes sur Mer,
VALERY HACHE / AFP

New Year’s Eve celebrations on the Champs-Elysees in Paris will go ahead despite plans for another “yellow vest” anti-government protest on the famed avenue, city officials said on Thursday.

Tens of thousands of tourists and locals traditionally ring in the new year on the wide shopping boulevard, which ends with the Arc de Triomphe monument.

The Champs-Elysees has since last month been the epicenter of repeated violent protests against President Emmanuel Macron’s government, with the Arc de Triomphe ransacked on December 1.

While the numbers turning out at protests across the country have dwindled dramatically, some “yellow vests” have called online for a New Year’s Eve protest on the Champs-Elysees.

On Facebook 7,400 people are listed as planning to attend what it calls a “festive and non-violent event”.

Paris officials said they would continue as planned with preparations for a fireworks display and sound and light show on the Champs-Elysees under the theme “fraternity”.

The avenue is a regular gathering point for national celebrations such as Bastille Day, the Tour de France and France’s victory this summer in the football World Cup.

But on recent Saturdays, it has been the scene of violent clashes between riot police and “yellow vest” protesters who accuse Macron of favoring the rich with his policies.

The movement sprang up online in October and spiraled into the worst crisis of Macron’s presidency, with tens of thousands blocking roads and protesting across France.

Macron sought to defuse the crisis in mid-December by announcing a 10 billion euro ($11.4 billion) package of measures to help pensioners and low-paid workers.

Since then the “yellow vests” have been split between moderates willing to engage in dialogue with the government and others intent on remaining at the barricades.

Phone Ban Rings In New French School Year

French president Emmanuel Macron sits next to a pupil in a classroom during a visit in a secondary school in Laval, western France, on September 3, 2018, at the start of the school year in France (known as “rentree des classes” in French). LUDOVIC MARIN / POOL / AFP

 

Texting under the table should be a thing of the past after French children returned to class Monday following a nationwide ban on mobile phones in schools.

The new rule, a campaign pledge of President Emmanuel Macron, was brought in under a law passed in July which for primary and junior schools also banishes tablets and smartwatches.

High schools, which teach students aged 15 to 18, can introduce partial or total bans on electronic devices as they reopen after the summer break, though this will not be obligatory.

Proponents say the law, which has prompted vigorous debate, will reduce distraction in the classroom, combat bullying, and encourage children to be more physically active during recess.

“I think it’s a good thing,” Marie-Caroline Madeleine, 41, told AFP after dropping her daughter off for the first day of middle school in Paris.

“It’s a good signal that says ‘school is for studying’, it’s not about being on your phone,” she added. “It’s hard with adolescents, you can’t control what they see and that’s one of the things that worries me as a parent.”

Nearly 90 percent of French 12- to 17-year-olds have a mobile phone, and supporters hope the ban will limit the spread of violent and pornographic content among children.

Education Minister Jean-Michel Blanquer has hailed the legislation as “a law for the 21st century” that would improve discipline among France’s 12 million pupils.

“Being open to technologies of the future doesn’t mean we have to accept all their uses,” he said in June, as the bill was going through parliament.

 PR ‘stunt’ 

But critics dismiss the measure as a public relations exercise, and predicted it will be difficult to apply.

The government has left schools to decide how to implement the new rules, recommending that they store students’ phones in lockers during the day — but some schools don’t have them.

Research shows that in French schools that have already banned phones, many pupils admit to breaking the rules.

Schools all over the world have struggled to adapt to the rise of pocket-sized devices as parents grow increasingly anxious about the amount of time their children spend glued to the screen.

In 2015 New York Mayor Bill de Blasio lifted a ban on phones in his city’s schools on security grounds, saying parents should be allowed to stay in touch with their children.

Macron, a 40-year-old centrist, pledged widespread reforms when he was elected, and education has been no exception.

Along with the mobile phone ban, he has halved primary school class sizes in disadvantaged areas to 12 in a bid to narrow a massive gap in outcomes between children from poor families and those from wealthy ones.

On the other end of the age spectrum, a shake-up of the higher education system to make university access more selective prompted a wave of student sit-ins this year.

AFP