Sri Lanka Catholics To Televise Sunday Mass Amid Bomb Threat

 

Sri Lanka’s Catholic Church will televise a private Sunday mass after cancelling regular services over fears of a repeat of Easter suicide bombings that killed 257 people, a spokesman said.

Father Edmund Tillakaratne said public masses were suspended for a second week, but a service conducted by Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith will be broadcast on national television.

“It will be like last Sunday when we had a service at Archbishop’s chapel and telecast it live,” Tillakaratne said.

Ranjith, who is also archbishop of Colombo, said Thursday that a “reliable foreign source” had alerted him to possible attacks this weekend, leading him to cancel Sunday services for the second week.

“The information we have from a reliable foreign source is that attackers are planning to hit a very famous church and a Catholic institution,” the Cardinal said in a statement.

Official sources said the Thewatte National Basilica, just outside Colombo, was the suspected target, and the military deployed hundreds of troops to search the area.

“There were no explosives found, but we have stepped up security in the neighbourhood,” a police official said.

The government is going ahead with plans to reopen public schools on Monday, but the Church said Catholic schools will remain shut “until further notice”.

Sri Lankan authorities had advance warnings from Indian intelligence of the impending Easter attacks but police and security forces failed to act, leading to Sri Lanka’s worst single suicide attack against civilians.

There were at least 42 foreigners among the 257 killed while some 480 were also wounded in the attacks targeting three churches and three luxury hotels on April 21.

Armed guards have been stationed outside hotels, churches, Buddhist temples and mosques across the country since the attacks.

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said Friday that some of the conspirators may still be at large.

“Most of those responsible for the Easter attacks have been arrested. Some have been killed,” Wickremesinghe said during a tour of island’s east, where a Christian church was hit.

“We are trying to see if there are any more secret IS cells in the country,” he said. “We will ensure that IS terrorism will be eradicated from our land.”

Sri Lanka bolstered security Friday with fears of attacks against several bridges and flyovers in Colombo as well as police stations.

He hoped normality would return by Monday when public schools reopen after an extended Easter vacation. About 50 children were among those killed.

The attacks were blamed on the local National Thowheeth Jama’ath (NTJ) whose leader was among the suicide bombers. The group had pledged an oath of allegiance to the Islamic State group.

PFA Awards: Hazard, Kante Among Nominees

Courtsey: thesun.co.uk

Eden Hazard and N’golo Kante have been named among the six nominees for the men’s PFA Players’ Player of the year award.

The Chelsea duo are joined by Manchester United Forward, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Tottenham Striker, Harry Kane, Everton’s Romelu Lukaku and Arsenal’s Alexis Sanchez on the full shortlist.

Leicester City winger Riyad Mahrez scooped the prize in 2016, while Hazard won the award during the 2014/15 campaign.

The 44th PFA Awards will be hold in London on Sunday, April 23, 2017.

Nigeria Win World Scrabble Championship In Australia

ScrabbleNigeria made history on Sunday, winning the World Scrabble Championship in Perth, Australia.

In the finals of the best of seven games decided on Sunday, Nigeria’s Wellington Jighere defeated England’s Lewis Mackay 4-0, to emerge the new World Champion.

Team Nigeria had only six senior players at the Championship, after the youth team and officials were denied visa.

The Nigeria Scrabble Federation had expressed beliefs that the achievement in Perth would develop the board game in the nation.

Man Utd, City Play Goalless Draw

manu--cityManchester United and Manchester City, on Sunday, played out a goalless draw in their derby at Old Trafford.

With the result, City returned to the top of the English Premier League, ahead of Arsenal, on goal difference.

United and City played out a dour 0-0 draw at old trafford that was short on entertainment as well as chances with both sides cancelling each other out.

Only ‘Bad Luck’

Manchester United Manager, Louis van Gaal, claimed his side controlled the game against City for 90 minutes, saying only ‘bad luck’ prevented them from claiming all three points.

City boss, Manuel Pellegrini, is however happy with his team’s defensive performance.

Meanwhile, Tottenham’s Harry Kane returned to goal scoring form with a hat-trick, as Spurs came from behind to thrash Bournemouth five goals to one.

Also, Sunderland moved off the bottom of the League table, following a three nil win over north-east rivals and fellow strugglers, Newcastle. Liverpool and Southampton played out a 1-1 draw.

Kano Pillars Stunned In Home Loss To Nasarawa After 12 Years

kano pillarsThe Nigerian Professional Football League (NPFL) defending champions, Kano Pillars have been beaten at home for the first time in 12 years, following a 1-2 defeat in the hands of visiting Nasarawa United at the Sani Abacha Stadium.

Mannir Ubale and Yaro Bature scored the goals for the Lafia-based club.

Sunshine Stars thrashed El-kanemi Warriors 5-nil to boost Coach Kennedy Boboye’s men chance of lifting their first domestic title.

In other games played on Sunday, Sharks FC beat Bayelsa United at home by a lone goal, while Akwa United and Giwa FC settled for a 2-2 draw.

Rangers International and Dolphins of Port Harcout played a 1-1 draw, as Warri Wolves edged out Wikki Tourists 1-nil.

Abia Warriors beat Heartland FC 1-nil, while Kwara United also defeated Shooting Stars by same score line.

Siasia Invites 31 Players To U-23 Training Camp

siasiaHead Coach of the Nigerian national U-23 team, Samson Siasia, has called up 31 players to camp in preparation for next month’s All-Africa Games, in Brazzaville, Congo.

The list, which is made up of mostly players who qualified the Dream Team for the games, has some new faces including Lucky Jimoh, Bright Onyedikachi and Olisah Ndah amongt others.

The invited players are expected to report in Abuja from Wednesday, August 12.

The dream team will face Ghana, Senegal and Egypt in Group B of the men’s football tournament from September 3 to 18.

Recently, Siasia picked 20 players for the crucial African U-23 Championship qualifier against Congo in Pointe-Noire.

 

 

 

Siasia Picks 20 Players For Congo Return Leg Clash

siasiaNigeria’s Under-23 Coach, Samson Siasia, has picked 20 players for Sunday’s crucial African U-23 Championship qualifier against Congo in Pointe-Noire.

While addressing the players after their last practice match at the FIFA/NFF Goal Project in Abuja on Wednesday, Coach Siasia said that all the players are good enough to make the trip, but it was impossible for everyone to be in Congo for the battle.

He assured the players left out to continue to work on their game as they could form part of the team for the All Africa Games.

“For those of you selected, this is a golden opportunity for you to show to Nigerians and the world that your first leg victory was not a flash in the pan, and as such you must fight hard when we get to Pointe Noire and beat the Congolese.”

The team takes a slim 2-1 win to Pointe Noire and must avoid defeat to stand a chance of qualifying for the eight nation CAF Under-23 Championship in Senegal.

The selected players for the task ahead are: Daniel Emmanuel, Atanda Sodiq, Stanley Amuzie, Azubuike Okechukwu, Olusegun Oduduwa, Erhun Obanor, Godwin Saviour, Etebo Oghenekaro, Junior Ajayi, Usman Mohammed, Etor Daniel, Yusuf Mohammed, Chima Akas, Semiu Liadi, Shehu Abdullahi, Kingsley Sokari, Taiwo Awoniyi, Umar Aminu, Austin Oladapo and Sincere Seth.

NFF Charges Super Falcons To Win In Bata

falconsThe Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) President, Amaju Pinnick, has urged the Super Falcons and the national under-23 men’s team to give the country a good representation as both teams leave for crucial games in the race to the 2016 Olympic Games.

Pinnick, who met the Falcons at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport Lagos, on their way to Bata, where they would face their Equatorial Guinean counterparts on Sunday, gave some words of encouragement to the team.

“The whole country is proud of what you have done in the past, winning seven African Women Championship titles out of nine so far, and qualifying for the Olympics in 2000, 2004 and 2008.

“Your superiority on the African continent has never been in doubt. What is left is for us to take that capability to the global stage. The entire nation has faith in you to overcome in Equatorial Guinea and eventually qualify for the Olympics,” he told the players.

The Falcons have a battle on their hands, having only drawn the first leg at home 1-1 against the only other substantial rival they have on the African continent.

“On Sunday, Nigerians expect you to deliver as you have always done. A place in the final round of the qualifying race to the Olympics is certainly within your grasp.”

In his response, Coach Christopher Danjuma gave the assurance that the Falcons would take the Sunday, August 2 match as a battle that must be won.

“The way it is, we have no choice but to fight and fight, because we must score goals. I want to assure Nigerians that my team is up to the task.”

Okotie Urges Nigerians To Love Beyond Ethnic Sentiment

okotieA senior pastor of the Household of God Church and a former presidential candidate of FRESH political party, Rev. Chris Okotie, has urged Nigerians to show love beyond ethnic sentiment.

Rev. Okotie made the statement in an Easter message on Sunday.

He urged Christians and Nigerians of other faith to emulate Jesus Christ, whom he said showed his love for mankind when he died and resurrected for all to be saved.

Christians all over the world celebrate Easter to commemorate the resurrection of Jesus Chris from the dead and the redemption of mankind, as taught by the faith.

Easter is a day observed on the first Sunday after the “Pascal full moon” or the first full moon of spring following the spring equinox, which constantly falls on any Sunday between March 22 and April 25, according to the Gregorian calendar introduced by Pope Gregory in 1582.

Policemen Attack Channels TV, Guardian Newspaper Crew

policemenPolicemen have attacked a joint crew of the media on their way to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) headquarters along Muritala Mohammed Highway, in Calabar.

The joint crew, which comprises a team of Channels Television and Guardian Newspaper was attacked around the Calabar roundabout, by RCC Junction on Sunday evening.

They were said to be on their way to the INEC headquarters in the Cross River State capital, to get an updated information on collation of the election results.

It was also recorded that the men dispensed tear gas into the eyes of a Channels Television stringer on election, Saviour Asuquo, also destroying the camera, as well as other valuable items.

A Guardian reporter, Miss Tina Todo, and the taxi driver were also reportedly manhandled by one of the officers.

Report says that the journalists sought permission from the Policemen on duty before filming the town.

Israel Prepares For Election

israelVoters in Israel are preparing to go to the polls in what is expected to be a tightly-fought election, to elect a leader.

Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, faces a challenge from a Centre-left Alliance that has promised to restore ties with the Palestinians and the international community.

Candidates from both parties spent Monday making one last appeal to voters. Neither side is expected to get more than a quarter of the votes.

While results could be declared soon after the close of polls, a definitive conclusion appears likely to take some time.

A lengthy period of negotiations over the formation of the next coalition government could follow.

No party has ever won an outright majority in Israel’s election, meaning it has always been governed by a coalition.

Much of the focus of the campaign has been on international issues, from Israel’s relationship with the United States to concerns over Iran’s nuclear programme.

But many of the candidates have concentrated on socio-economic problems in Israel, including the high cost of living and slow economic growth.

The future of the city of Jerusalem has been a central election issue.

Mr Netanyahu has consistently accused his centre-left challengers of being willing to relinquish Israel’s claim to Jerusalem as its indivisible capital in peace talks with the Palestinians.

Palestinians seek East Jerusalem – occupied by Israel since the 1967 Middle East war – as the capital of a future Palestinian state.

But Zionist Union party co-leader, Yitzhak Herzog, has accused Mr Netanyahu of “panicking”.

Visiting the Western Wall, one of the holiest sites in Judaism, on Sunday, he pledged to “safeguard Jerusalem and its residents in actions, not just words, more than any other leader”.

AFCON 2015: We Will Win This For Ghana – Ayew

ayewAhead of the Africa Cup of Nations AFCON 2015 final match that is to hold at the Bata Stadium on Sunday, the Ghanaian team are optimistic of the outcome.

Andre Ayew, the Ghanaian forward has vowed that the Ghanaian team will fight to win Sunday’s AFCON final match against Cote d’Ivore for the whole of Ghana.

The Ghanaian forward has shone in this competition, scoring three goals but he insisted it was the result of the confidence he has enjoyed both from his teammates and the coach.

“I have tried to raise my game because I have been given responsibilities both on and off the pitch. It is due to the group and the confidence from the coach,” he said.

He also blamed inexperience for the Black Stars loss at the 2010 AFCON final to Egypt saying that 14 players had been brought from the U20 World Cup and the team was in the final after three months of the tournament where they were attacking, but couldn’t score.

Ayew said, “I remember the red coat my father wore (sitting on the sidelines in the 1992 final). My father is a Ghanaian and so I want to win this cup for all Ghanaians.”

Ghana last won this competition in 1982 with Andre’s father, the legendary Abedi ‘Pele’ Ayew, one of the top stars from that triumph in Libya.

Ten years later, Ayew senior could not play another Africa Cup final after he picked up a second yellow card against Nigeria in the semi-final and Cote d’Ivoire went ahead to beat the Black Stars 11-10 on penalties after a goalless 120 minutes of action. “When you get to the final, you need to do everything to win the trophy,” he said.

Ghanaian Black Stars Captain, Asamoah Gyan, returned to training in Bata on Saturday ahead of the AFCON 2015 final against Ivory Coast.

Gyan did not join his colleagues during the team work out, but trained separately with physical trainer Jamie Lawrence due to his health status.

Gyan must pass a late fitness test to make Avram Grant’s starting line-up for the final against Ivory Coast.

The 29-year-old missed Ghana’s AFCON 2015 semi-final against Equatorial Guinea due to a hip injury he suffered against Guinea last Sunday.

Avram Grant, the black star coach also said that reaching the final of the AFCON tournament is as important to him as reaching the UEFA Champions league final.

“For me, I do not rate any final as the best; it’s a good achievement we have reached with these guys and all Ghanaian should get behind the team,” he said.

The former Chelsea boss took charge of the West African giants three weeks to CAF’s flagship competition, but has managed to reach the final of the competition.