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Infantino calls for patience on fans returning to games



FIFA president Gianni Infantino is not expecting a quick return to stadiums for football fans even as the coronavirus crisis eases.

“Let’s not forget that there needs always to be a place for fans,” the head of the sport’s world governing body said in a video message to FIFA’s 211 member-nations.

“Football without spectators is clearly not the same, but we need to be patient when considering the right time to bring fans back to the stadiums.

“We will continue to work tirelessly, but also discreetly and respectfully, to move beyond these temporary measures, and to ensure that fans are welcomed back in a safe and responsible way.”

The German Bundesliga has returned behind closed doors with leagues in Italy, Spain and England soon following suit.

Limited numbers of fans have already started returning to matches in Hungary.

Infantino said FIFA would host a number of online discussions with national federations and stakeholders “to shape a better football for the future.”

The international calendar and the number of matches played by top players will be on the agenda.

And Infantino also said he had heard “interesting proposals’’ on finance and governance from “salary caps to transfer fee caps or other taxation mechanisms’’ and the creation of emergency funds.

Edited By: Olawale Alabi (NAN)

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Becker does not rule out returning to coaching



German tennis great Boris Becker, who previously worked with reigning world number one Novak Djokovic, has not ruled out a return to coaching.

During his stint with the six-times Grand Slam champion, Djokovic won six Grand Slam titles.

After they parted ways, Becker was named by the German tennis federation as head of men’s tennis, a position he holds today.

“I won’t rule out the possibility of becoming a coach again,” the 52-year-old told Eurosport Germany’s Vocal Athletes podcast.

“In the current situation, it’s not possible because I’m responsible for the men’s Team Germany.

“But nothing is eternal. If there are players who interest me, who allow me to coach and want to be open with me, then that’s something I could definitely consider.

“The problem is that it is very time-consuming. As a coach of Novak Djokovic, I spent 25 to 30 weeks with him.

“I have a family and I have other professional projects that I need to manage. But I don’t want to rule it out completely.”

The former world number one said he had an honest conversation with Djokovic before taking up the coaching role between the end of 2013 and 2016.

The discussion took place just after Djokovic had lost the world number one ranking to British player Andy Murray.

“My promise to him was that I had to tell him open and honestly the truth,” Becker said, adding he told the Serb, who remains a close friend: `The reason why you might not be so good anymore is because you felt too good as number one, you didn’t improve.

`The other players like (Rafael) Nadal and (Roger) Federer have adjusted their game. I don’t like your positioning on the court, I don’t like your serve at all.’

“We had a long conversation. He had already won many Grand Slam titles and was an absolute superstar. But he wasn’t satisfied with himself and he sought for more.”

Edited By: Olawale Alabi (NAN)

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Sterling Bank ‘Doubble.Ng’ offers investors 100% returns – Official



Sterling Bank Plc says it’s offering a safe option for investments in its Doubble.Ng product to discerning investors seeking double-digit investment income.

The bank said Doubble.Ng also offered safety to investors in this period of heightened market volatility and unpredictable macro-economic environment.

Doubble.Ng is an investment product denominated in Naira and Dollar with short and long-term options.

Mr Adekunle Feyisitan, the Product Manager, Sterling Bank, Doubble.Ng, said this in a statement on Thursday in Lagos.

Feyisitan said the product was designed to address the concerns of individuals who were looking to accumulate savings and regular investment income over a specific timeline to plan for future business.

According to him, the benefits of the product include guaranteed income stream and growth for a fixed period of time, safety from market volatility and ability to access loan facilities.

With Doubble.Ng, a customer can choose to invest either a lump sum in one contribution or in smaller monthly contributions.

“This could be for the duration of 12 to 120 months with all pay-outs remitted either monthly or as a lump sum once target is achieved to named beneficiaries.

“It empowers individuals to plan towards future consistent cash outflows such as payment for children’s further education, mortgages or funds for business start-up.

Doubble.Ng is actually the perfect investment vehicle for those planning to transition from paid employment to owner-businesses and need to plan the cash flow in the business growth years,” he said.

Feyisitan added that Doubble.Ng target option allowed the beneficiary to set target saving and interest income in Naira or Dollar over a specified period.

He said additional voluntary contributions could be made into the investment account, apart from the regular contributions based on the initial set date because an investor was at liberty to take up multiple plans.

Feyisitan who assured customers of efficient and prompt service delivery urged them to embrace the product.

He urged those in active employment and entrepreneurs to take advantage of the high-income growth product to maximise returns on investment at this volatile and uncertain time.

Feyisitan noted that the product offered four variants to discerning investors, including three, five and 10 year plans and short-term target investments.

“The novel product, which provides fixed rates of return for a fixed period of time, can be conveniently accessed via the OneBank mobile app or Doubble.Ng website from anywhere in the world by investors,” he said.

Edited By: Bola Akingbehin/Salif Atojoko (NAN)

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NiDCOM, Lebanese embassy collaborate to return stranded Nigerians



The Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM) will collaborate with the Lebanese Embassy in Nigeria to return the remaining 10 stranded Nigerians back home.

Mrs Abike Dabiri-Erewa, NIDCOM Chairman, made the disclosure on Thursday during a visit to the Ambassador of Lebanon in Nigeria, Mr Houssam Diab, in Abuja.

She said that 69 Nigerians were returned successfully on May 25 with the help of the embassy and the Lebanese community in Nigeria who paid for their tickets and quarantine.

“First is that the evacuation of the Nigerians stranded in Lebanon was paid for by the Lebanese embassy and also the quarantine was paid by them so we thank them for that.

Also 10 Nigerians were left behind and the ambassador had explained that nine had cases of theft and one had case of murder and they are undergoing judicial process.

“But he had assured us that whatever the allegation against them they will speed up the process to finish the judicial intervention and they will return,’’ she said.

Dabiri-Erewa explained that the two bodies are also working on the area of maltreatment of some Nigerians working in Lebanon.

“I am so glad with the major decision taken by Lebanese government which is to stop visas for workers until we have proper agencies that will be documented with the Ministry of Labour.

“So that if you are going to work you will work with proper terms and conditions. So we are now talking about how to manage migration which will be done legally.

“Interested persons can work in Lebanon legally without the fear of being maltreated,’’ she said.

Speaking earlier, Diab said that the evacuation of 69 stranded Nigerians citizens was successful with the help of Lebanese community in Nigeria who paid for their tickets and quarantine.

He also added that the collaboration of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Nigerian Embassy in Lebanon also made the process smooth for the returnees.

“We were able to bring back 69 Nigerians citizens stranded in Lebanon two weeks ago. I have to stress that the Lebanese community has always gone out of its way to give back to their second country Nigeria and to the Nigerians that have adopted them as their own, and this is one of many palliative measures we have taken lately,’’ he said.

He explained that the government of Lebanon had stopped all domestic staffs work visas to discourage maltreatment of Nigerians by agencies and employers.

“Our government has stopped all domestic visas to help discourage helpers being abused and maltreated by their agencies and employers.

“So we want to work closely to get an agreement with the Ministry of Labour for a legal and systematic way to make domestic staff to come into Lebanon legally without the fear of inhuman treatment.

Edited By: Ismail Abdulaziz (NAN)

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Boko Haram: Drivers offer free rides to returning residents of Auno



As residents of Auno town in Konduga Local Government Area of Borno, troop back home following assurance of adequate security by Gov. Babagana Zulum, commercial drivers plying Maiduguri-Damaturu road, are giving them free ride.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that residents of Auno which is few kilometres from Maiduguri, deserted the town in February following an insurgents attack that led to many deaths and destruction of properties.

A driver, Bukar Gwange, said that the gesture was part of the drivers  support to the returnees as they wish to see the once bubbling town bounce back to life.

“Auno is a place we use to get passengers and loads to and fro Maiduguri. When the sad incident happened in February, we were sad as it affected many of our colleagues and passengers.

“Now that the residents are returning home, we feel the best we can do is to give them free ride,”Gwange said.

Another driver, Ali Mohammed, told NAN that they always picked the returnees at Njimtilo area, in the outskirt of Maiduguri.

He said that after dropping the returnees in Auno, the driver used the opportunity to pick passengers who are going back to Maiduguri from Ngamdu and Beneshiek

“That way, we get little money to ease the hardship caused by the lockdown due to the existing ban on inter state travels,” Mohammed said.

Dauda Mustafa, another commercial driver, said the free ride was a blessing in disguise as security personnel along the road also appreciated the gesture and no longer  subject them to tedious screenings and delays.

Meanwhile, Gov. Zulum had already directed that an operational outreach office where he would be working from time-to-time, be set up for him in Auno,  so as to boost the people’s confidence.

The governor has also established zonal office of the state Rapid Response Squad, made up of police, hunters, vigilante and Civilian Joint Task Force in Auno.

According to the Commander of the squad, CSP Abioye Babalola, the team would not only ensure security in Auno and its environs, but also be on constant patrol and respond to distress calls along the busy Maiduguri-Damaru road.

Edited By: Bola Akingbehin/Maharazu Ahmed (NAN)

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Oil barrel prices unlikely to return to $60 until 2022 – Equatorial Guinea’s minister



Oil prices are unlikely to return to the pre-crisis level of $60 per barrel until 2022, yet the market has adjusted to the oil price of $30 per barrel, Equatorial Guinea’s minister of mines and hydrocarbons, Gabriel M. Obiang, has said.

Obiang made this known in an interview with Sputnik on Wednesday.


don’t see oil going back to the pre-pandemic prices and $60 until 2022.

“There is a lot of cheap oil in the world. It’s going take time for the inventory to go down.

“People expecting oil to go to the $40 and $50, they are being very optimistic.

“I think that it’s more logical to be conservative and comfortable around $30 area, $30 to $39, $40,” Obiang said.

Although the price of $30

per barrel is not very comfortable and the producers would prefer a higher figure, it at least brings some stability and allows the budget to be managed, the minister noted.

The oil prices plummeted earlier this year against the background of the COVID-19 pandemic, the lockdown measures,and the economic slowdown.

In April, the prices of the West Texas Intermediate even went negative.

However, the energy market is starting to show the signs of recovery after the OPEC+ group and some G20 nations decided to slash their oil output in an effort to stabilise the prices.

Edited By: Emmanuel Yashim (NAN)

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Students return to schools in France




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A student works at Eucalyptus technical high school in Nice, southern France, on June 2, 2020. Students are returning to schools in France during the second phase of de-confinement in the country. (Photo by Serge Haouzi/Xinhua)

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New Zealand reveals details for relaxed COVID-19 rules as country returning to normal




Restrictions on businesses will be removed under COVID-19 Alert Level 1, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern explained the details on Wednesday as New Zealanders are seeing their lives returning to normal.

New Zealand reported no new case of COVID-19 for 12 consecutive days on Wednesday.

The decision to move down to Alert Level 1 will be made on June 8, Ardern said, adding it was possible that New Zealand could move down to Alert Level 1 by June 10.

Strict border controls will still remain, Ardern said, adding restrictions on hospitality businesses, gatherings and community sport will be lifted.

She said it is not necessary to consider physical distancing measures under Alert Level 1, but the government still encourages contact tracing efforts.

Ardern stressed coughing etiquette because risks remain as New Zealand heads into winter with more asymptomatic transmission.

New Zealand‘s combined total of confirmed and probable cases stayed at 1,504, Director General of Health Ashley Bloomfield told a press conference on Wednesday.

The total number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 remains at 1,154, which is the number reported to the World Health Organization, Bloomfield said.

The number of people who have recovered from COVID-19 is unchanged at 1,481, he said, adding the situation was “hugely satisfying.”

The number of COVID-19 related deaths in New Zealand remained at 22, with no additional deaths, he said, adding there is no one in New Zealand receiving hospital-level care for COVID-19.

The NZ COVID Tracer app has now recorded 487,000 registrations, according to the health ministry.


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CR -SIEC issues certificate of return to elected chairmen, counsellors in C/River




The Cross River State Independent Electoral Commission (CR-SIEC) on Tuesday issued Certificate of Return to winners of last Saturday’s Chairmanship and Counsellorship elections in 18 Local Government Councils.

Chairman of the commission, Dr Mike Ushie, while issuing the certificate in Calabar , urged them to carry everybody along, irrespective of political affiliation.

“Once you are sworn-in, you must see yourself as chairman of everybody in your local government. You are chairman of the entire council, no longer for party ‘A’ or party ‘B’ “he said.

He further urged the chairmen to always key into the programmed of the State Government in order to ensure rapid development of the state.

He congratulated them over their victory at the polls, adding that it was a result of hard work and trust by their people.

One of the councillors- elect, Miss Grace Unah, expressed happiness and promised to be a good representative.

Unah was elected on the platform of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) for Igede ward, Yala Local Government Area.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the PDP won all the Chairmanship and  Councilor  positions in the 18 local council elections.

Edited By: Bola Akingbehin (NAN)

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