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West Ham overpower dismal Manchester United



/2020 English Premier League (EPL).

It was a bad day for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side, as they ended the game without an established striker after Marcus Rashford came off injured.

Ukrainian forward Andriy Yarmolenko put West Ham ahead at the end of a drab first half with a confident first-time finish into the bottom corner.

Aaron Cresswell sealed victory with an outstanding free-kick in the 84th minute.

The visitors were missing Paul Pogba, Anthony Martial and Luke Shaw through injury and lost teenage striker Mason Greenwood to illness.

They thus looked sluggish throughout the game and lacked spark and creativity.

Manchester United created no chances of note before the interval but Juan Mata missed a glorious opportunity early in the second half.

This was when he missed the target from close range, while Harry Maguire was later thwarted by West Ham goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianksi.

Their slim hopes of getting back into the game were rocked when Rashford came off with a suspected muscle injury.

This left winger Daniel James to operate as a lone striker for the final half an hour.

West Ham now have 11 points after six games, the same as third-placed Leicester City, while Manchester United are eighth on eight points.(Reuters/)

(Edited by Olawale Alabi)


Roundup: Libya’s UN-backed gov’t takes over western Libya, advances to control Sirte




The spokesman of the UN-backed Libyan government on Saturday announced launching an offensive to take over the city of Sirte, some 450 km east of the capital Tripoli, from the eastern-based army after it withdrew from western Libya.

The spokesman said the UN-backed government’s forces launched five airstrikes on the eastern-based army in Sirte that destroyed military vehicles of the eastern-based army.

Mohamed Gonono on Friday announced taking over all of western Libya after controlling Tarhuna city, the last stronghold of the rival eastern-based army in western Libya that is located some 90 km southeast of the capital Tripoli, following withdrawal of the rival eastern-based army.

The spokesman of the eastern-based army of Libya, Ahmad al-Mismari, on Friday said the eastern-based army had withdrawn from western Libya due to “international pressure.”

Munther Al-Zawi, a military commander of the UN-backed government’s forces, said that Tarhuna was the biggest threat to the UN-backed government in western Libya, which the eastern-based used as a major hub for military operations.

“Currently, we are chasing the remnants of the militias of Haftar (commander of eastern-based army) fleeing southeast of Tripoli. We will not allow any of his forces to remain in western Libya. Now, things have changed and we will not allow threats from eastern Libya, where Haftar’s is based and launches attacks,” Al-Zawi told Xinhua.

“We do not have any problems with our people in the east, unlike the godfather of chaos Haftar, who caused the loss of thousands of Libyan lives in a losing war only because of his greed for power at any cost,” he added.

Libyan parliament member, Mustafa Abu-Shagour, confirmed that the UN-backed government had defeated an “international coalition” that supported the eastern-based army.

“The 14-month epic fight of Tripoli ended with victory of the defenders of the country over the international coalition that brought mercenaries from all over the world to support Haftar, who wanted to destroy Tripoli and destroy the hope of the Libyans for a state. The Libyan freemen presented convoys of martyrs to repel this brutal aggression on their capital,” Abu-Shagour said in a statement.

The eastern-based army launched a military campaign in April 2019, attempting to take over Tripoli from the UN-backed government.

The fighting killed and injured hundreds of civilians and forced more than 150,000 others to flee their homes.


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India’s Western Coalfields opens three new coal mines




Coal India subsidiary Western Coalfields Limited on Saturday opened three new coal mines.

The mines were opened in Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh.

According to India’s federal ministry of coal, these mines will have combined annual production capacity of 2.9 million tonnes (MT).

The company will generate direct employment for 647 people with these projects.

WCL has to produce 75 MT of coal by financial year 2023-24. Opening of these mines will certainly add in the efforts of the company reaching this milestone and also help Coal India achieve 1 billion tonnes (BT) coal production target by financial year 2023-24,” federal minister of Coal Pralhad Joshi said.

According to officials, the three mines are Adasa Mine, an underground to open cast mine, in Nagpur Area of Maharashtra, Sharda underground Mine in Kanhan Area (Maharashtra) and Dhankasa underground mine in Pench Area of Madhya Pradesh.

“The annual coal production capacity of Adasa mine is 1.5 MT whereas Sharda and Dhankasa mines are having annual coal production capacities of 0.4 MT and 1 MT respectively,” the ministry said.

Joshi said the opening of these three mines is a part of WCL‘s future plan to start 20 new projects by financial year 2023-24 including 14 in Maharashtra and six in Madhya Pradesh.


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PLO warns of Israel’s steps towards annexing parts of West Bank




Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) on Saturday warned Israel against taking steps towards the practical annexation of West Bank lands.

The PLO‘s department of defending lands and resisting Israeli settlement unveiled in a report that extremist groups of Israeli settlers joined a chamber of operations that prepares for the annexation plan of West Bank lands on the ground.

“These groups are recruiting activists and held a series of sessions and workshops discussing what are the next steps,” said the report, adding that these groups held field tours to see how the annexation plan will be implemented.

The Israeli government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu plans to annex more than 30 percent of the West Bank territories, including the Jordan Valley, while imposing Israeli sovereignty on several Israeli settlements.

The PLO report said that the Israeli army forces escalated its measures in the Jordan Valley area, including destructing water infrastructure, confiscating equipment and destroying farmers’ properties.

The report also said that the Israeli army forces demolished several houses that belong to Bedouins and handed written demolition notifications to several home owners in the area.

The Israeli annexation plan is scheduled to be implemented next month, according to Israeli officials.


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2030 Agenda: NSE boss urges West Africa to embrace green bond finance



The Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) on Friday urged West African countries to shift and scale up green bond finance and investment to meet the ambitious goals of 2030 agenda and Paris Agreement.

Mr Oscar Onyema, NSE Chief Executive Officer, stated this at the inaugural edition of the webinar series on the Sustainable Capital Markets for West Africa.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the webinar series was organised by the Exchange in collaboration with the Milken Institute.

NAN also reports that the webinar was themed: ‘Sustainable Capital Markets for West Africa: Fundamentals of Developing Green Bond Markets.’

It will be recalled that the 2030 Agenda applies to all countries of the world.

It was approved by the UN member states after a transparent and inclusive process. Its centerpiece comprises 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), to be implemented by 2030.


Onyema noted that West Africa needs to significantly shift and scale up green finance and investment to meet the ambitious goals of the 2030 Agenda and the Paris Agreement.

He explained that large-scale private sector engagement and investment in the region would be needed to drive its transition to low-carbon and climate-resilient economies.

Sub-Saharan Africa is the least responsible for global climate change, contributing about four per cent of annual global greenhouse gas emissions, but one of the most vulnerable to the risk posed by climate change.

“In its situation analysis of Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC), ECOWAS stated that a record number of five out of the 10 countries in the world, deemed most threatened by climate change are West African states.

“This is because, major sources of livelihood of the majority of people in the region, namely agriculture and forestry, are dependent on the climate.

“The relationship between climate change, food production, food prices and extreme weather conditions collectively threaten food security.

“This makes the region susceptible to frequent food crises and famines which are triggered by pest infestation, droughts, floods, economic downturns and conflicts,” he said.

According to Onyema, sustainable capital markets, a relatively nascent market segment within the region’s financial market landscape will be a major driver for the transition towards low-carbon and climate-resilient development.

“By deploying innovative sustainable finance solutions and facilitating an enabling environment, West Africa can position itself to mobilise hundreds of billions of dollars for investment in sectors such as renewable energy and energy efficiency,” he said.

He stressed on the need for collaborations and capacity building to help accelerate the pace for West Africa to formulate an effective policy framework and develop a market for sustainable finance.

Also speaking, Ms Patience Oniha, said the DMO in Nigeria was responsible for borrowing either from the capital market or money market.

Oniha said DMO partnered with the Ministry of Finance to float first Green Bond in line with the Paris Agreement signed by the Federal Government.

She added that the government floated the Green Bond because of its keen interest in developing the domestic market and diversification of infrastructural base.

The DMO boss, who disclosed that the government would scale up the amount of green bonds, said cost of transaction and time to market should be reviewed to encourage more participants.

Ms Justine Leigh-Bell, Director of Market Development, Climate Bonds Initiative, called for simplicity in developing policies for green bonds.

Leigh-Bell noted that West Africa should benchmark its green bond inline with global market principles to achieve the desired result.

Edited By: Kamal Tayo Oropo/Wale Ojetimi (NAN)

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UN-backed gov’t announces takeover of rival army’s last stronghold in western Libya




The UN-backed Libyan government’s forces on Friday announced the takeover of Tarhuna city, the last stronghold of the rival east-based army in western Libya.

“Our brave forces took control over the entire city of Tarhuna, and taught forces of Haftar (east-based army’s commander) a lesson they will never forget,” said Mohamed Gonono, spokesman of the government forces, in a statement.

The government forces have sent a team to “search the city for any secret prisons or mass graves in order to uncover the fate of dozens of Libyans kidnapped or missing” during the fighting against the east-based army, Gonono added.

Tarhuna is located some 90 km southeast of the capital Tripoli.

Gonono on Thursday announced takeover of all Tripoli by expelling the east-based army from the capital city.

For more than a year, the east-based army has been leading a military campaign trying to take over Tripoli and topple the UN-backed government.

Amid repeated international calls for cease-fire, hundreds of civilians were killed and injured in the fighting while more than 150,000 others fled their homes.


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Japanese key index of business conditions drops to lowest on record in April




The Japanese government on Friday maintained its assessment that the economy in April had “worsened,” with its index of business conditions dropping to the lowest level since record keeping began.

According to the Cabinet Office, the coincident index of business conditions for the recording month dropped 7.3 points from March to 81.5 against the 2015 base of 100.

The decline marked the sharpest drop since comparable data became available in January 1985, the government’s figures showed.

The figure retreated for a third straight month, the office’s data showed, and came on the heels of a 4.9-percent decline logged in March.

Using terminology to describe its lowest evaluation of the assessment of the economy for the ninth consecutive month, the Cabinet Office maintained that the world‘s third-largest economy is “worsening.”

The index in the reporting period was adversely affected by a sharp fall in shipments of durable consumer goods, these includes goods such as cars and motorbikes, a government official explained.

The official said slumping demand for steel products also weighed heavily on the index in the recording period.

“I believe manufacturers lagged in procuring parts to be used for their products as supply chains were disrupted due to the pandemic, and factories were forced to suspend their operations, which caused the negative effects,” the official was quoted as saying.

The leading index of business conditions, which forecasts the nation’s economic situation in the coming months, also marked a record decline for the second straight month, the Cabinet Office said.

It tumbled 8.9 points to 76.2 in the reporting month, the office said.


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Iran urges lifting of Western sanctions on Syria




Iran’s Foreign Ministry on Friday called for lifting Western sanctions on Syria, according to the ministry’s website.

The Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi slammed the renewal of European sanctions on Syria and recent introduction of new financial bans against the country as “unlawful and inhuman.”

“Most of sanctions’ negative consequences and harms will be borne by the ordinary people and citizens of Syria,” he said.

“Iran expresses solidarity with the resilient nation and government of Syria and calls for the lifting of all anti-human sanctions against Damascus so that the Syrians can meet their basic needs and repair the damage caused by Western-backed terrorist attacks against the country’s infrastructure,” said Mousavi.


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Libya’s GNA forces establish control over Tarhuna in country’s West – Spokesman



Forces of Libya’s Government of National Accord (GNA) have regained control over the strategic town of Tarhuna, from the rival Libyan National Army (LNA), GNA military spokesman Mohammed Qanunu announced on Friday.

The Libyan National Army is being led by Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar


forces extend its control over the entire city of Tarhuna,” Qanunu wrote on Facebook, adding that the GNA taught the LNA “a lesson that it would never forget.”

Tarhuna, which is southeast of the capital of Tripoli, was one of Haftar’s major strongholds in western Libya.

On Thursday, the GNA said that it had retaken complete control over the capital’s administrative borders.

Prior to this move, the spokesman declared that the GNA had driven the LNA army out of the airport and other areas south of the capital.

Following these developments, the LNA said late on Thursday that it had redeployed its forces outside Tripoli to step up the resumed ceasefire talks of the 5 + 5 Joint Military commission.

However, Haftar’s army warned that “if the GNA forces violate the ceasefire, the LNA will resume fighting and withdraw from the negotiations.”

GNA head Fayez Sarraj, in turn, said the same day that the GNA did not intend to hold talks with Haftar.

On Thursday, Sarraj paid a one-day official visit to Turkey’s Ankara and negotiated with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Ergodan.

Ankara has given its support to the GNA during the ongoing conflict with Haftar’s army.

Turkish troops and military equipment were shipped to Libya after the GNA made an official request for military assistance at the end of 2019.

Edited By: Emmanuel Yashim (NAN)

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Air Chief commends personnel over activities in North West



The Chief of Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, has commended personnel of the Nigerian Air Force for fighting side by side with Nigerian Army in “Operation Harbin Hadari” to clear bandits in Katsina and the entire North West geo-political zone.

Abubakar made the commendation while accessing the performance of officers and men of the NAF on Thursday to clear bandits in Katsina.

“I am impressed with my officers and men deployed to Katsina who are fighting side by side with the Nigeria Army to ensure that bandits do not have any breathing space in Katsina and the entire North West geo-political zone.

“I am also happy to announce that we have succeeded in killing 300 bandits in Katsina state.

“Í am also happy to say that we are getting the support of the state government and the traditional institutions in our operations,” he said.

The Air Chief called for vital information from members of the public to enable the air officers and men to wipe out the criminals disturbing the people.

“This is very necessary, we need intelligence information in our operations.

“Fighting insecurity is not the responsibility of only one person, it is a collective responsibility,” he added.

Edited By: Abiodun Esan/Donald Ugwu (NAN)

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