Russian Police Detain Dozens For Umbrella Protest

Russian Police on Saturday, February 8, detained dozens of umbrella-wielding demonstrators protesting after three television providers dropped a station that made its name covering massive street demonstrations against President Vladimir Putin.

The arrests follow reports of the detention of up to 14 gay rights activists on Friday, the day of the opening of Sochi Olympic Games – an event which has drawn international criticism of Russia’s human rights record.

“We want to protect the freedom of media in our country…Now they attack Dozhd. We want at least some remnants of freedom to stay on in our country,” said supporter Arina, standing under an umbrella next to her young son.

Saturday’s demonstrators had gathered near Moscow’s Red Square to protest the “censorship” of Dozhd (TV Rain), an independent-minded television station which has aired aggressive reporting critical of Russian authorities and even-handed broadcasts on Ukraine’s anti-government protests.

“I’m shocked. When they began opening umbrellas police started detaining them. It was like: ‘If you open an umbrella, proceed to the police bus’,” Yekaterina, a Dozhd supporter, said, giving only her first name.

Dozhd, which faced criticism after asking on its website if Leningrad, now St Petersburg, should have been surrendered to Nazi Germany to save lives during a World War II blockade, was dropped by three TV providers in and around Moscow in late January.

The station said the move amounted to “censorship and pressure”, a sentiment echoed by protesters on Saturday.

Policemen frogmarched protesters to vans after they unfurled umbrellas to show their support for TV Rain.

“Those are just people, the viewers of TV Dozhd (Rain). We did not and do not call on anyone to come to picket lines. But we are grateful to them for that support. If I’m not mistaken, that is the third action that has been held in Moscow. This support gives us strength to go on working in a difficult situation,” said Dozhd producer Yegor Maksimov.

Around 40 people were detained in total, Russian newswire Interfax reported, citing a police spokesman.

Taye Taiwo prepares for UCL clash against PSG

Nigeria’s rocky defender plying his trade for Ukrainian club Dynamo Kiev; Taye Taiwo is in top form ahead of  his clubs UEFA champions league clash with French side Paris-Saint Germain on Tuesday evening as he expressed his believe that both clubs will leave nothing out to clinch victory as an assurance to move to the next level of the money-spinning tournament.

Bought by AC Milan but played only four matches in Serie A and four in the Champions League before joining English Premier League side Queens Park Rangers on loan, the defender switched to Dynamo Kiev, making his debut in the Ukraine league on 3 August in the match with Krivyi Rig which Dynamo won 1-0.

He said opening matches of such tournament are always very crucial as it determines how far clubs can go in the competitions so all hands has to be on deck to get favourable results but for him lacing his boot against PSG will be very interesting.

It would be recalled that the Nigerian international was loyal to the French club Marseille seven whole season, the arch rival of PSG, as his career also went all time-high winning the 2010 league title and the French League Cup twice, in 2010 and 2011, scoring 25 goals in 271 matches.




Taiye Taiwo getting comfortable at Dynamo Kiev

Super Eagles rocky defender; Taye Taiwo opened up about his new passion for Ukrainian football as he has adjusted properly and he is fitting well into his new team; Dynamo Kiev.

The defender who is presently on a loan transfer to Dynamo Kiev from AC Milan at the beginning of the Serie A season said despite many stars and players on the club he has already found his feet and it is that one factor that has helped him settle in quickly into the team.

Taiye Taiwo also revealed that the players in the club are under immense pressure to deliver result in every league game.

Taiwo also known as a goal-scoring defender has played five league matches and he is yet to open his goal account.

Nwokorie wins Nigeria’s second gold medal in powerlifting at Paralympics games

Nigeria’s female weight lifter, Ivory Nwokorie, has won the gold medal in the women’s 44kg power lifting at the on-going Paralympic games in London.

Nwokorie celebrating her medal at the third Fazaa International Para-powerlifting Championship in 2010

Nwokorie beat Cigdem Dede from Turkey, who won the silver medal, while Lidiia Soloviova of Ukraine claimed the bronze medal.

Nwokorie, last year won bronze in the 44kg category at the third Fazaa International Para-powerlifting Championship in Dubai, to qualify for the Paralympic Games in London.

Shevchenko announces retirement from football, opts for politics

Former AC Milan and Chelsea striker Andriy Shevchenko has announced his retirement, and said that he plans to pursue a career in politics.

Shevchenko celebrating a goal at during the UEFA Euro 2012

The 35-year-old represented his native Ukraine at Euro 2012 this summer. Announcing his retirement from the international game after the competition, he has ruled out a career in the coaching part of the game opting for politics.

“This will probably shock everyone,” Shevchenko told the official website of his club, Dynamo Kiev.

“My future will no longer be in football. I will give more information but I will be going into politics.

“I hope for your support.”

Shevchenko established himself as one of the top strikers in the world with AC Milan as he helped the club win the 2003 Champions League title and a Serie A crown the following season.

In two stints with the Rossoneri, Shevchenko scored 175 goals in 322 appearances while also spending three seasons in England with Chelsea, where he failed to live up to expectations after a big-money move.

The former European player of the year started his glittering career at Dynamo Kiev and today calls it quits with the game at the same club.

He won five league titles during his time in Ukraine before his move to Italian giants AC Milan.

On the international level, Shevchenko tallied 48 goals in 111 matches to become his country’s all-time leading scorer.



British PM “jokes” over introduction of goal line technology

With debates for the introduction of the goal line technology getting heated, British Prime Minister David Cameron, on Tuesday joked that, he may drop his support for goal line technology.

His remark is coming after the English team benefited from referee’s error in the on-going Euro 2012 group stage match against Ukraine.

England defender, John Terry cleared a ball after it had clearly crossed the goal line but despite the introduction of a fifth official, the error went unnoticed. The goal would have brought the game to 1-1 and probably could have changed the course of the game.

England beat Ukraine 1-0 in Tuesday’s match, qualifying for the quarterfinal knockout stage in the process.

Asked about the game at a news conference at the G20 summit in Mexico, Cameron was happy to offer his warm congratulations, but a little artful when asked if the mistake should lead to the introduction of sensors to confirm goals.

He referred back to the 2006 World Cup match in which England was the team on the wrong end of a bad refereeing decision.

“Goal-line technology?” he pondered.

“I remember thinking it was a thoroughly good idea when Frank Lampard was disappointed in that previous England-Germany game. I’ll have to reflect a little bit further but don’t expect an immediate U-turn,” he joked.

England’s win sets up a quarter final clash with Group C runner up, Italy on June 24.

Blatter succumbs

Meanwhile, Fifa’s president, Sepp Blatter, has confirmed that goal-line technology is ‘no longer an alternative but a necessity’.

He took to the social networking site, Twitter, to voice his opinion on the issue. “After last night’s match #GLT [Goal-line technology] is no longer an alternative but a necessity” he posted.

However, the extra officials appear to have made little difference with many still calling for goal-line technology to be deployed.


Avraam Papadopoulos ruled out of EURO 2012

The central defender for the Greece, Avraam Papadopoulos has been ruled out of the European championship 2012 which started in Thursday with his country playing the opening game with co-host country Poland, a game that ended in a draw.

It was during Friday’s game that Papadopoulos was sown on-field getting medical treatment after being injured in Warsaw stadium and he was helped off the pitch in the 37th minute after what initially appeared to be a harmless challenge from Poland’s Robert Lewandowski in the Group A game.

The team doctor has confirmed that the central defender will be missing the rest of the European Championship after picking up a ligament injury to his left leg and the 27-year-old was due to fly back to Greece later in the day.

The Olympiakos defender played a key role in Greece’s qualifying campaign for Euro 2012 will be solely missed for experienced defensive play, a notable advantage for Greece in the EURO 2012 tournament.

EURO 2012: Jermaine Defoe loses father, flies home

England football squad for the EURO 2012 tournament is one man short as Striker Jermaine Defoe returned home from Poland where the tournament opened today with news of father’s death Jimmy who died overnight.

On hearing the sad news, Jermaine flew back to England and it has been confirmed that the striker could miss England’s opening game against France which will be played on Monday.

Jermain’s father; Jimmy has been battling throat cancer for a while now before he died early hours of today.

The English Football Association released a statement to confirm the return of the Tottenham star saying: “England striker Jermain Defoe has returned home to England this morning following the passing of his father overnight. Jermain will re-join the England Euro squad in due course. There will be no replacement player called in.’

Defoe left England’s hotel ten minutes before the rest of the squad boarded a coach for their first training session in Poland having only arrived in the country on Wednesday evening.

Tottenham Hotspur passed on their condolences to the forward. A statement on their website said: “Jermaine Defoe has returned home from the England squad base in Poland this morning after receiving the sad news of the passing away of his father overnight.”

England players paid their respects to Jermaine, who grew up in Beckton and is currently a supporter of many local charities, at press conferences this afternoon.

EURO 2012: Poland wary of Greek defense

Coach and captain of the Polish national team, Franciszek Smuda and Kuba Blaszczykowski, have both confessed that the defense of the Greek team is a major worry for them ahead of the opening match of the EURO 2012 on Friday.

According to the coach, they believe the Greek’s tactic from back to front is purely defensive in play.

one the co-hosts of the much awaited EURO 2012 tournaments spoke up today on what worries them they clash with Greece as the tournament opens today.#

Coach Smuda, admitted that the ironclad defense of Greece will be a hard nut to crack.

He said this while the team was having their training in Warsaw National Stadium where the first clash of the tournament will hold. He said their strong point is their style of play as it is defensive-minded.

On the part of the captain, Blaszczykowski admitted that the Greeks will introduce a defensive style of play but went further, saying a breach can always be created as his own team can boast players who can achieve that for Poland.

Greece went into the EURO 2012 finals without any defeat against all the teams they clashed during the qualifiers, scoring 14 goals and conceding 5 goals in the process.

It was thought to be a relief by Polish fans after the draw was done and they were not drawn in the group of Germany, the 2008 EURO finalists-Spain.

The performance of the Polish team is however unsure having failed to reach the 2010 World Cup, they have relied on friendly matches for 968 days in preparation for Euro 2012 with the squad with an average age of 25, the pressure is on for the young squad to reach and surpass older squads as they are on paper as the weakest team at the 16-nation European championship, hosted with neighboring Ukraine, and as hosts did not have to come through qualifying.

Smuda reiterated that his basic target is to make it out of Group A, which also includes Russia and the Czech Republic.

EURO 2012: England can’t make it without Rooney – Nani

Portugal winger and Manchester United forward man, Nani opined that England will not go far into the Euro 2012 tournament not talk of making it out of the group stage as Wayne Rooney is not in the line-up of the three lions.

Rooney got himself suspended after the opening two games in Ukraine as he was red-carded in the qualifying clash when England faced Montenegro in October 2011.

A major headache that is for England Manager Roy Hodgson who is looking at either Danny Welbeck or Andy Carroll as possible replacements for the England striker as they prepare to face France  and Sweden on Monday and June 15th respectively.

Rooney teammate at Manchester United expressed his fear that not pitching Wayne Rooney for England will the campaign in EURO 2012 earlier than planned for he is a key player for England that will be missed in the two games and the spate of injuries to key players could mean England will be on an early plane out of Ukraine.

According to the 25 year old Portuguese player, “Rooney is angry about his absence because he knows he’s the man to score goals and he won’t be there working for the team. I sincerely want England to reach the quarter-finals, but it’s not going to be easy”.

He said the likes of Rio Ferdinand, Frank Lampard and Gareth Barry are vulnerable because they are suffering in all departments of the team as these players are so important for the team and their replacements are not at the same level.

However, England captain Steven Gerard claims the lower expectation levels on his side may actually work in their favour this time around.

Will Smith slaps reporter for trying to give him a kiss

At the red carpet of the Russian premiere of the sci-fi trilogy MIB 3; Ukrainian TV presenter Vitalii Sediuk got what he never bargained for when he tried to mouth kiss actor Will Smith going straight for the actor’s lips outside the movie theatre on Friday night.

Smith was quick to retaliate and swivelled away from Sediuk before lightly slapping him with the back of his left hand, clearly unimpressed by the show of affection.

Sediuk, a reporter from the Ukrainian television channel 1+1, has had his fair share of brushes with fame outside his native country when he made headlines at the Venice Film Festival last September. At said event, he presented a bouquet of clearly unappreciated purple hydrangeas to Madonna, calling her “my princess.”

“He’s lucky I didn’t sucker punch him,” Smith said to the crowd of journalists and fans after having a pass made at him, although it is not clear whether the reporter intended to aim for his cheek as Smith swivelled to avoid him.

Fed Cup Semis:Italy beat Ukraine 3-2

The Fed Cup World Group semi-finals was from the the start to finish a tensed game between Italy and Ukraine as Italy finally emerge the winner with a 3-2 final score in Biella yesterday.

Fed Cup Semis:Italy beat Ukraine 3-2

In the first reverse singles rubber, former French Open champion Francesca Schiavone battled past Kateryna Bondarenko 6-7(6) 7-5 6-4 in two hours 50 minutes to give Italy a 2-1 lead.

Italy’s Sara Errani retired with a right knee problem when trailing Lesia Tsurenko 6-1 3-0 in the second reverse singles to give Ukraine a crucial second point and keep them in the hunt for a semi-final spot.

But Flavia Pennetta and Roberta Vinci defeated Olga Savchuk and Lesia Tsurenko 7-5 0-6 6-1 in the decisive doubles to secure the victory and put Italy into the semi-finals.