Author: Agency Report

Saudi Arabia has released construction magnate Bakr bin Laden, more than three years after his detention in a purge of the kingdom’s elite that upended his vast business empire, sources told AFP. The former chairman of the Bin Laden Group, Saudi Arabia’s biggest construction company, was reunited last week with his family in the Red Sea city of Jeddah after being freed from an undisclosed detention site, two people close to his family said. It was unclear whether the release of Bakr, a tycoon in his 70s once seen as a major powerbroker, was provisional as his movements are still…

Continue

Italy has for the first time appointed a woman, career diplomat Elisabetta Belloni, to head the country’s secret service, Prime Minister Mario Draghi announced Wednesday. Belloni, who has already been the first woman to hold key foreign ministry posts, will now lead Italy’s Security Intelligence Department (DIS), reporting directly to the cabinet, said the statement. The DIS’s brief includes handling intelligence and security matters at home and abroad as well as counter-espionage and cybersecurity. Belloni came to public prominence when she led the foreign ministry’s crisis unit between 2004 and 2008, taking responsibility for operations involving Italians injured or killed…

Continue

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control reported one more death in the past 24 hours, bringing the total number of deaths from the disease in Nigeria to 2,066. The centre also reported 44 new cases of the virus, bringing the total number of infections in the country to 165,559. The NCDC made the disclosure on its official Twitter handle late on Wednesday. The News Agency of Nigeria health correspondent reports that Nigeria has tested 1,977,479 people since the virus hit Africa’s most populous nation on Feb. 27 last year. NCDC announced that the new cases were reported in four states,…

Continue

Arsenal dented Chelsea’s bid to finish in the Premier League’s top four as Emile Smith Rowe punished Jorginho’s blunder to seal a 1-0 win on Wednesday. Midfielder Jorginho was guilty of a woefully misplaced back-pass that ended with Gunners youngster Smith Rowe slotting home early in the first half at Stamford Bridge. Thomas Tuchel’s home side were bereft of quality in the final third as they succumbed to only a third defeat in their 26 matches in all competitions. The Blues remain in fourth place, but their bid to qualify for next season’s Champions League via a top four finish…

Continue

Three persons including an infant on Wednesday died in a gas explosion that occurred in Abeokuta, Ogun State. The News Agency of Nigeria gathered that the incident occurred around 3pm at Oke-Egunya, along NTA Road in Abeokuta South Local Government Area. According to an eyewitness account, the incident occurred when a technician was topping up the gas of a faulty refrigerator at a residence in the area. “In the process of topping up gas into the refrigerator, there was an attraction of fire from someone cooking with firewood and there came an explosion,” an eyewitness said. Confirming the incident, the…

Continue

Sierra Leone’s government will move to abolish the death penalty in the West African state, deputy justice minister Umaru Napoleon Koroma said on Wednesday. No execution has taken place in the country since 1998, and death penalties are often commuted. Sierra Leone, which is still recovering after decades of civil war, has frequently come under fire from rights groups for keeping capital punishment on the books. “Once the legislation goes to parliament and gets approved, that ends the story of the death penalty,” Koroma told AFP. He added that the cabinet of President Julius Maada Bio had decided to push…

Continue

The Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria has urged Nigerians to embrace dialogue in resolving differences, to ensure sustainable peace in the country. The South-East Zonal Chairman of MACBAN, Alhaji Gidado Sidikki made the call in a Sallah message on Wednesday in Enugu. Siddiki said that the security challenges in parts of the country had necessitated dialogue among Nigerians. He appealed to agitators and separatist groups in parts of the country to embrace peace and refrain from malicious attacks on fellow citizens and state infrastructure. “We implore Nigerians to continue with their known perseverance and tolerance and pray that…

Continue

Japan’s Naomi Osaka crashed out of the Italian Open on Wednesday after a 7-6 (7/2), 6-2 second round defeat to American Jessica Pegula in the clay-court warm-up ahead of Roland Garros. The four-time Grand Slam winner, seeded second in the Italian capital, had received a first-round bye, but was unable to find her way back into the match after losing the first-set tie-break to her 31st-ranked opponent. Osaka was playing just her third tournament since winning the Australian Open in February and also exited in the second round in Madrid earlier this month. Osaka, the reigning US Open champion, has…

Continue

The Southern Senators’ Forum has commended steps taken by state governors from the region to stem the rise in insecurity. The forum disclosed this on Wednesday in a statement jointly signed by its Chairman, Secretary-General and Publicity Secretary, Senators Opeyemi Bamidele (APC-Ekiti), Matthew Uroghide (PDP-Edo) and Chukwuka Utazi (PDP-Enugu). The forum lauded the governors for outrightly taking a firm position on burning national issues, including banning the open grazing of cattle. The senators said that such a unanimous policy would check those hiding under cattle grazing to unleash the terror of kidnapping and killing on the residents of the region.…

Continue

Dua Lipa won the coveted British Album of the Year prize at the Brit Awards on Tuesday, in a ceremony that saw female artists dominate the mixed categories. Around 4,000 guests streamed into London’s O2 Arena for the biggest night in British pop music, as the ceremony welcomed guests for the first time in two years as part of the government’s pilot scheme easing coronavirus restrictions. The Brit Awards have been criticised in the past for nominations seen as skewing heavily male, but this year almost all of the main prizes went to female artists. Little Mix won best British…

Continue

Lionel Messi scored a brilliant volley but Barcelona’s title hopes could be over, with a 3-3 draw away at Levante on Tuesday giving Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid the chance to pull away at the top of La Liga.  Another slip could prove decisive given Atletico will move four points clear of Barca with two games left if they can win away at Real Sociedad on Wednesday. Real Madrid will edge two points ahead of Ronald Koeman’s side if they win away on Thursday at Granada.  There are certainly no guarantees in what has been a frenetic and thrilling title…

Continue

Sporting Lisbon were crowned champions of Portugal for the first in almost two decades on Tuesday. A 1-0 win over Boavista at their Jose Alvalade Stadium clinched Sporting’s 19th title with the last coming back in 2002. Paulinho’s 36th minute goal put ‘the Lions’ out of reach of outgoing champions Porto at a game played behind closed doors due to the coronavirus pandemic. The Lisbon side’s celebrations were delayed 24 hours after Porto kept their chances alive, at least for 24 hours, with a 5-1 rout of lowly Farense on Monday. They took the title in style, with an eight…

Continue

Pep Guardiola saluted “relentless” Manchester City on Tuesday after they clinched the “hardest” of his three Premier League titles. Guardiola’s side were crowned English champions for the third time in four seasons thanks to Manchester United’s 2-1 defeat against Leicester. City have claimed the trophy with three games to spare, capping a remarkable surge to the silverware in the second half of the season. Guardiola endured the worst start to his managerial career as City won only five of their first 12 league games this term. They were hit by injuries to club record goalscorer Sergio Aguero and influential midfielder…

Continue

The all-British heavyweight showdown between Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury is set to take place on one of the first two Saturdays in August in Saudi Arabia, according to promoter Eddie Hearn. The bout between the two fighters, who hold all four major world titles in the division, has been on the cusp of being finalised for a number of weeks but there has still been no official announcement from either party. Fury’s co-promoter Bob Arum recently said a fight in July or August was “dead in the water” but Hearn, who promotes Joshua, believes they are close to securing…

Continue

At least nine people including eight pupils were killed on Tuesday after two unidentified attackers opened fire at a high school in the central Russian city of Kazan, news agencies reported. “Eight schoolchildren and a teacher were killed,” a source told the Interfax news agency. Ten more people were injured, said state news agency TASS. Spokespersons for police and the emergencies ministry refused to comment. News agencies reported that two unidentified people had carried out the shooting and one, a 17-year-old, had been detained. Images broadcast on state television from the scene showed dozens of people outside the school building…

Continue