Thursday, 28 May 2020

THE rise in new cases of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) as well as deaths in Kano, Nasarawa and Zamfara are heightening anxiety among residents of Abuja and the three states.

FCT’s COVID- cases rose to 266 Saturday from 178 on Friday. It is third to Lagos, the epicentre of the contagion, which had 1,068 cases as of Sunday morning..

Nasarawa State, which shares border with the FCT, lost a member of its House of Assembly at the weekend, a development that led to his colleagues and their families proceeding on a 14-day isolation.

Also, Kano, which is reeling under mass deaths, lost another academic, Prof. Isa Hashim,while Zamfara also lost the Emir of Kaura-Namoda, Mohammed Asha, on Sunday.

The Nasarawa lawmaker and the emir are believed to have died of COVID-19 complications. The cause of the former university teacher is unknown.

Amid the fears in the three states and the FCT, every discharged Coronavirus patient in Lagos has been advised to stay at home or isolate for 14 days.

In the FCT, some residents told The Nation that they are living in fear due to the spread of the pandemic on a daily basis.

“This pandemic is becoming more scary with the raise in the new cases. We need to be very careful now and obey government and medical rules especially as the lockdown is being eased from today,” said one of the residents.

FCT Minister, Muhammad Bello, however enjoined them to comply strictly with the guidelines on easing of the lockdown as that was the only way to ensure that the pandemic is contained.

At the same time, he warned that “anybody who, for any reason, flouts the directives of government and is arrested, the full wrath of the law will fall on him or her.”

The Minister stated that security agencies would deploy additional personnel and resources to all the FCT entry points to ensure that the enforcement of the guidelines.

A statement by Bello’s Chief Press Secretary, Anthony Ogunleye, explained that ”offices in the FCT are open for specific categories of staff on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays within a specific time range of 8am and 2pm.”

In Lafia, Governor Abdullahi Sule ordered the shutdown of the Nasarawa State House of Assembly following the sudden death of a member , Adamu Sulieman, from COVID-19 complications.

He also directed the other lawmakers, their families and staff members of the House to quarantine immediately.

Sulieman was said to have taken ill last Thursday and his blood sample was taken and sent to the Federal Medical Centre in Keffi.

He died in the early hours of Friday and was buried immediately according to lslamic rites. His result which was returned on Sunday by the National Centre for Disease Control(NCDC) positive .

Majority of the 23-member Assembly, friends and other associates of Suleiman attended the burial

Governor Sule also disclosed that the state had recorded nine confirmed cases of the pandemic with one death. He added that 11 of persons that had contact with the index case tested negative for the virus.

Sule said his government had evacuated about 788 Almajiris back to their home states as part of its efforts to prevent the spread of the disease.

The governor was physically present at the Government Science School, Lafia to bid the Almajiris farewell in air conditioned buses to Plateau, Gombe, Kaduna, Taraba and Jigawa states

Zamfara State Publicity Secretary for the Control and Prevention of COVID-19, Alhaji Mustafa Jafaru Kaura, said that Emir Asha died on Sunday while in isolation at the Yariman Bakura Specialist Hospital.

He explained that Asha’s blood sample was sent to Abuja for COVID-19 test but that he died before the result could be out.

He said the remains of the Emir were still in the hospital waiting for burial by officials of the NCDC.

Hashim, a former university teacher, was until his death yesterday senior Counsellor in Kano Emirate Council and the Jarman Kano. He was 86.

A family source, Ibrahim Aliyu the heath of the traditional title holder started deteriorating following the deaths of some of his childhood friends in quick succession in the Emirate.

Hashim, a Professor of Political Science, was a senior lecturer with Bayero University Kano (BUK) for many years before his retirement.

Published in News & Stories

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has said that President Muhammadu Buhari should withdraw his remark in his new year message to the effect that he will be “standing down” in 2023.

According to the PDP, the President and his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), would have no other option than to exit office at the end of this tenure.

In a statement on Wednesday by the spokesman for the PDP, Kola Ologbondiyan, the party described President Buhari’s new year message as completely uninspiring, tasteless, repetitive, vacuous, and that it not galvanise any form of hope for a despairing nation like Nigeria.

“The PDP holds that Mr. President should have the courage to issue a fresh new year message to show remorse for the corruption, incompetence and misrule of his administration as well as admonish his disintegrating APC against its crass insincerity, violence and divisive machinations that have brought so much pain, anguish and despondency to our nation.

“Indeed, President Buhari should stop presenting a picture as if he has the option to continue in office beyond 2023.

“The PDP holds, in total submission to the letter and spirit of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), that it is not an issue of ‘standing down’ or not being ‘available’ for future election, but a decided and inevitable position as contained in the constitution that he must quit office after two terms, which will end in 2023.

“Mr. President, therefore, does not have any other choice before the law. Whether President Buhari likes it or not, he and his APC will exit the arena at the end of this tenure. History is replete with lessons from those who sought to stretch our nation beyond her limits.

“Moreover, President Buhari and his extinguishing APC ought to have known by now that Nigerians have moved ahead and cannot wait to see them go.

“The citizens are no longer swayed by empty promises and false performance indices as replete in Mr. President’s new year message”, the PDP said.

The party called on the President to end what it described as “showboating” by issuing a fresh new year message to demonstrate a commitment to electoral reforms by returning the 8th Assembly Electoral Act amendment bill, which he refused to sign, to the present National Assembly without any further delay.

It also called on the President to waste no time in signing the bill into law after it might have been retooled to meet current exigencies and passed by the current National Assembly.

The President was also called upon to order the immediate prosecution of his party leaders who allegedly perpetrated violence in the 2019 general election.

Specifically, the main opposition party charged the President to ensure the arrest and prosecution of persons involved in the killings that characterised the governorship elections in Ekiti, Osun, Bayelsa and Kogi States, where APC used thugs and security agents allegedly unleashed mayhem and killed innocent persons who came out to perform their civic responsibility at the polls.

“Mr. President should apologise for the violation of human rights, attacks on institutions of democracy, disobedience to court orders and constitutional violations under his administration as well as order an immediate investigation and prosecution of all those who played roles in these ugly episodes.

“Furthermore, the PDP charges President Buhari to use the opportunity of a fresh New Year Message to apologise for his administration’s failure to secure the nation and for plunging our country into a biting economic recession occasioned by the incompetence, corruption and unbridled treasury looting in his government which led to the degrading of our nation from one of the world’s fastest growing economies to world’s poverty capital with an excruciating unemployment rate, decayed infrastructure and accumulated $83 billion debt.

“Such course of humility in showing remorse, seeking help and getting competent hands to manage our economy and security system should be the legacy which Mr. President is expected to pursue without which history cannot be kind to his administration and his APC”, the party stated.

Published in Politics

After defeating numerous beauty queens, at Eko Hotels & Suites, on November 30, to clinch the 43rd Miss Nigeria crown, Beauty Etsanyi Tukura speaks on the good, the bad and the ugly of emerging Miss Nigeria and how she deals with men who make unwanted advances towards her.

The beauty queen says in an exclusive interview, with The Sun that she never hesitate to say no and stand by it…

“I thank God for one thing about me, and that is the fact that I don’t hesitate to say no and stand by it. If I don’t want something, I’ll say it respectfully and politely. I always tell them, ‘thank you very much for the admiration but I humbly decline’. She revealed.

And when asked to describe her ideal man, and the potentials he must possess, she replied…

“I like men in suits. I like my man to look astonishing and gorgeous. His complexion and height is not an issue for me, what matters to me is his personality. If he is responsible and decent, it’s fine by me. I don’t like men that sag their pants and wear bold chains around their necks. The basic potentials I desire from my ideal man would be: attentiveness – he must give me maximum attention. I want a man who understands other people’s feelings and respects people, because how he treats people is really who he is. I’m very conscious about that because that is a representation of who he really is. And finally, I want a man who is God fearing.”

Read full interview

How do you feel emerging the new Miss Nigeria?

It’s an obvious fact. I mean, after the rigorous processes in camp, and at the end of the whole struggle, I emerged winner. It’s a dream come true and I am super excited for the fact that I had contested for this crown three good times, and now I made it. The excitement is out of this world!

How did your journey to the crown begin?

It’s been a question of the good, the bad and the ugly. Nothing good comes easy.. I went to camp prepared with so much optimism, enthusiasm and positive expectations. And while I was in camp, a lot of things happened, other contestants tried to upset me; I met disappointments, different things tried to throw me off balance. But I thank God for the grace to remain determined on achieving the real goal which was winning the crown. So, yes, the process was the good, the bad and the ugly. But I enjoyed every moment in camp and I’m grateful.

What would be your first project as Queen?

That would be to join and support the ‘Risen Girl’ summit. The Miss Nigeria pageant already has an office that comes with responsibilities; so most of my projects would be in line with the agenda of that office so I don’t deviate from the ready made agenda. It’s a legacy that we are trying to build and it’s expected of us to maintain that legacy. There are various projects to focus on; there are health, sexual abuse, environmental sensitization, empowerment and so on. But one project dear to my heart is impacting human development. I am really passionate about learning; so I want to see how I can get scholarship for at least one girl-child, sponsor her to any level of her education before the end of my reign. I attended good schools, I intend to further by obtaining my Master’s degree, have a PHD, and so, I would love to see another girl live-out her dreams through my education sponsorship scheme.

As a law graduate, what spurred you into participating in the Miss Nigeria pageant?

I happen to be someone who has love for fashion and beauty. More importantly, I love to do professional things. So, my profession as a lawyer is interesting for me because it gives me an area of almost everything. You know, there’s law in virtually everything we do. So, I felt like it was a perfect course for me since it gave me knowledge about everything in life. My interest in beauty and fashion is just a natural phenomenon.

Okay, what happens to your career since you are now a beauty queen?

I haven’t gone to law school yet, and I haven’t done my NYSC yet. So, there’s still a long way for me to go after my reign. Your personality illustrates beauty and brainsv, so tell us who is the man that has been there for you all this while?

There’s no man in my life. I am very much single but not searching for now. It’s work, work and work for me until the end of my tenure as a beauty queen.

How would you describe your ideal man, and mention three potentials you will like him to possess?

I like men in suits. I like my man to look astonishing and gorgeous. His complexion and height is not an issue for me, what matters to me is his personality. If he is responsible and decent, it’s fine by me. I don’t like men that sag their pants and wear bold chains around their necks. The basic potentials I desire from my ideal man would be: attentiveness – he must give me maximum attention. I want a man who understands other people’s feelings and respects people, because how he treats people is really who he is. I’m very conscious about that because that is a representation of who he really is. And finally, I want a man who is God fearing.

As a beautiful lady, how do you handle advances from the opposite sex?

I thank God for one thing about me, and that is the fact that I don’t hesitate to say no and stand by it. If I don’t want something, I’ll say it respectfully and politely. I always tell them, ‘thank you very much for the admiration but I humbly decline’.

Published in Headliners
Sunday, 15 December 2019 16:30

Miss Jamaica crowned Miss World 2019

Toni-Ann Singh has won the 69th Miss World beauty pageant.

It's the first time in history that black women hold the titles for Miss USA, Miss Teen USA, Miss America, Miss Universe and Miss World.

The 23-year-old student was born in St Thomas, Jamaica, and plans to study medicine and become a doctor.

She tweeted on Saturday: "Please know that you are worthy and capable of achieving your dreams... you have a PURPOSE." To that little girl in St. Thomas, Jamaica and all the girls around the world - please believe in yourself. Please know that you are worthy and capable of achieving your dreams. This crown is not mine but yours. You have a PURPOSE.

Toni-Ann impressed judges at the event in ExCel London after singing Whitney Houston's I Have Nothing, and answering a variety of questions.

She said: "This feels like a dream, I'm so grateful."

"Whatever it is you see in me, thank you. I'm ready to get to work."

She beat 111 other contestants representing different countries, to be the fourth Jamaican winner of the title since the competition began.

When asked by judge Piers Morgan if she would consider a singing career, she said: "If the door is open I'll walk through it."

Toni-Ann receiving her crown.Image copyrightGETTY IMAGES
Image captionToni-Ann was crowned by the Previous Miss World, Vanessa Ponce de Leon

The runners up included Ophély Mézino from France and Suman Rao from India.

One moment that caught people's attention online was Miss Nigeria's reaction to Toni-Ann's win.

Nyekachi Douglas, who placed fifth, jumped and screamed with Joy when the winner was announced.

Published in Headliners

Who instigated the attack on Governor Godwin Obaseki and Oba Rilwan Akiolu of Lagos in Iyamho, Edo state on Saturday when they came to visit former governor Adams Oshiomhole in his country home?

The jury is out to determine the culprit as Oshiomhole and the Deputy Governor of Edo State, Philip Shaibu traded blames.

Oshiomhole in a statement blamed Shaibu, alleging that the hoodlums who carried out the attack were the same thugs who invaded the university community on the orders of the Deputy Governor of the state, Philip Shaibu.

But Shaibu has promptly denied the accusation, with his spokesman providing an alibi: the deputy governor was in the convoy attacked by the hoodlums, asking rhetorically, whether he would have organised his own attack.

“The Governor, his deputy, Oba of Lagos and their entourage were at the gate of the National Chairman of our great party, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole to pay him the usual homage since they were in his domain.

Mr Philip Shaibu, Edo Deputy Governor.

“Surprisingly, the large crowd that gathered at the gate brutally attacked the convoy, destroying three cars in the process.

“The convoy had to quickly turn and came back to the varsity campus. So, how did the Deputy Governor cause it, could he have arranged his own attack?

“In fact, they were there on the invitation of the Comrade himself.”The Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki has condemned the attack on him, the Oba of Lagos, Oba Rilwan Akiolu, Chancellor of the Edo University, Iyahmo, Dr. Aderemi Makanjuola and other guests at the residence of former Governor of the State and National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Comrade Adams Oshiomhole.

But Oshiomhole in heaping the blame on Shaibu said tension in the community started last Friday when Shaibu imported thugs into the community with a view to intimidate political opponents.

Oshiomhole’s Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Simon Ebegbulem said Oshiomhole left the convocation lecture on Saturday through the back to avoid being attacked by the thugs who laid siege at the entrance gate of the university.

Oshiomhole said he and other guests were already in the hall when at about 11:30am, the deputy governor stormed the University with over 200 Okada riders and thugs.

“Security operatives accosted them at the gate and refused them entrance. The thugs started threatening the security operatives who insisted the deputy governor can enter the venue but they will not allow the thugs to gain access.

“Following their threats the security operatives tear gassed the thugs and the deputy governor. The thugs were dispersed while the deputy governor joined other dignitaries at the venue. This created tension already in the small community.

“However, after the event, Comrade Oshiomhole invited the Oba of Lagos, the Chancellor and others for lunch at his country home which is right opposite the university. Consequently, he left instruction at the gate that he was expecting these respected leaders.

“So when the visitors came, the governor drove in a bus with other officials but following the incident that occurred earlier where thugs sponsored by the deputy governor invaded the university, Iyamho youths barricaded the gate of the national chairman with a view to protecting him against any harm.

“Unfortunately, these youths sighted Andrew Momodu, Osaigbovo Iyoha in the bus which conveyed the governor to Oshiomhole’s residence. They decided to stop them from entering the compound because these were the same people who led the thugs that attacked Oshiomhole’s residence in Benin City penultimate week.

“While this confusion was on, the thugs brought by the deputy governor started destroying the vehicles belonging to Oshiomhole’s kinsmen. I want to state clearly that the vehicles destroyed were not in the convoy of the governor. The thugs targeted the vehicles belonging to Oshiomhole’s relations and friend and destroyed them. Thank God for the intervention of soldiers and other security operatives who came to restore peace.

“This would not have happened if not for the thugs who invaded the community loyal to the deputy governor.

Governor Obaseki, who has been fighting a political war of survival with Oshiomhole deplored the attack.

He said it was shameful it took place at the residence of the National Chairman of the ruling party in the state and at the national level.

“It is very unfortunate that we can’t feel safe in the house of our National Chairman. I am not sure that if I visit the Chairman of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) that they will attack me the way they did in the house of the APC National Chairman.”

“It is unfortunate that things have degenerated to this extent. But we will continue to sue for peace. We cannot afford to lose the gains of the last three years. We will continue to pursue peace,” he added.

Oshiomhole, meanwhile has apologised to Oba Akiolu and the new chancellor of Edo State University, Makanjuola for the embarrassment.

Published in Headliners

The centre-back was left dumbfounded by the decision, which led to a late equaliser

Chris Smalling has admitted that he was left in “disbelief” by the decision to award a handball against him in the closing stages of Roma‘s Europa League 1-1 draw with Borussia Monchengladbach.

The centre-back, currently in his first season with the Serie A club, was penalised for an incident in injury-time in the box by referee Willie Collum.

Lars Stindl tucked away the spot-kick to cancel out Nicolo Zaniolo’s first half effort in the 95th minute at Stadio Olimpico, leaving Paulo Fonseca’s side with only a slim lead at the top of Group J.

However, replays have shown that Smalling was struck in the face with the ball rather than his hand or arm, leading to widespread furore with VAR not being used in the competition until the final.

The Manchester United loanee and one-time England man took to social media after the match to vent his frustrations following the bizarre decision and crucial officiating mistake.

“[I’m in] disbelief that this decision went against us,” he wrote, along with a clip of the incident. “We deserved the [three] points, so disappointed.”

Published in News & Stories

US Federal prosecutors said an Atlanta, Georgia-based Nigerian, Olufolajimi Abegunde has been sentenced to more than six years in prison for his role in an internet fraud scheme that stole an estimated $15m through computer and wire fraud.

The U.S. attorney’s office in Memphis, Tennessee, said on Thursday that the 32-year-old Abegunde was sentenced Tuesday for wire fraud, the second Nigerian to be sentenced in less than a week. Last week in Missouri, another Nigeria, Segun Prosper Otaru was also jailed for cyber fraud.

After his arrest last year, Abegunde lied to Nigerian officials that his arrest was based on mistaken identity and asked for help to get him out of the FBI jaws.

But court documents showed otherwise.

Prosecutors said the Atlanta resident and several other people created fake business emails and profiles on dating websites to trick victims into sending money to bogus bank accounts. Funds were laundered and wired to destinations in Nigeria, Ghana and some other West African countries.

The scams caused about $15 million in losses for victims.

Abegunde’s role was that he helped launder money through a compromised business email of a land title company located in Bellingham, Washington, and a real estate company in Memphis, Tennessee.

The case against Abegunde by US Department of Justice:
A citizen of Nigeria residing in Atlanta, Georgia, was sentenced to 78 months in prison yesterday for his role in an international cyber fraud scheme, announced Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney D. Michael Dunavant of the Western District of Tennessee.

Olufolajimi Abegunde, 32, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Sheryl L. Lipman of the Western District of Tennessee who also ordered Abegunde to pay $57,911.62 in restitution to the victims of his offense. Abegunde and Javier Luis Ramos-Alonso, 29, were convicted in March after a seven-day trial in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Tennessee. Ramos-Alonso previously received a 31-month sentence for his role in the scheme.

Abegunde and Ramos-Alonso participated in a criminal organization in which members “spoofed” emails and created fake profiles on dating websites in order to fool victims into sending money to bogus bank accounts under the control of members of the conspiracy. The proceeds would be laundered and subsequently wired out of the United States to destinations including West Africa. The organization as a whole is believed to have caused more than $10,000,000 in damage to U.S. citizens and businesses.

The evidence presented at trial showed that Abegunde, who received an MBA from Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas, engaged in black-market currency exchanges over the life of the conspiracy. Purporting to hold himself out as a legitimate businessman, Abegunde claimed association with a business entity that was not yet operational in late 2017, so for his primary source of income he relied on his off-the-book currency exchanges. Through this network, Abegeunde played a key role, along with Ramos-Alonso, in laundering fraud funds from an Oct. 3, 2016, business email compromise (BEC) of a land title company located in Bellingham, Washington. The proceeds of another BEC perpetrated in July 2016 upon a real estate company in Memphis, Tennessee, also moved through parts of the same criminal organization.

Abegunde, who faced numerous account closures from banks in the United States, used a complicated network of third-party bank accounts to disguise his illicit activity. The proof at trial established that Abegunde told people that he could not receive payments into accounts that could be “tracked,” and that he preferred to engage in cash transactions because they were easier to clean and “eliminated the risk.”

In addition to his financial activities, Abegunde also engaged in a conspiracy to commit marriage fraud. Abegunde was married during his studies at Texas A&M, but divorced his wife in 2016 to marry a U.S. service member through whom he could obtain immigration and health care benefits and also open new bank accounts. He continued to live with his first wife in Atlanta while his U.S. service member wife was deployed to South Korea. While incarcerated and awaiting trial in the Western District of Tennessee, Abegunde continued his conspiratorial activities, trying to convince his fake spouse, who has since filed for divorce, to refuse to testify against him. Abegunde also engaged in witness tampering by sending a self-written Motion to Dismiss bearing his former attorney’s name and professional attestation. The evidence at trial established that Abegunde drafted and sent the motion, which his attorney expressly did not authorize, to his faux spouse in an effort to deceive her into not testifying against him.

Five other individuals have pleaded guilty to being involved in the scheme. Additionally, several foreign nationals are awaiting extradition to the United States to face trial. Others are still at large.

Accomplices of Abegunde:

Alexander Duimont
Andrew “Andy” Jackson
Ayodeji Olumide Ojo
Babatunde Martins
Benard Okorhi
Brianna Lee
Brianna Morrison
Carolina Nkomo
Christian Hinds
Dana Brady
Daniel Elya
Daniel Roberts
Dennis Miah
Dr. Dennis Brown
James Dean
James “Jim” Roy
James Yorke
Javier Luis Ramos Alonso
Joey Hammond
Jon Bunyan
Marc Richards
Maxwell Peter
Olufolajimi (FJ) Abegunde
Peter Maxwell
Rob Phantom
Sandra Lin
Sherry Jupiter Martinez
Sual Derrell
Sumaila Hardi Wumpini
Tammy Dollan
Tammy Henry
Victor Daniel Fortune Okorhi

Published in Business and Economy

He faces “between five and 99 years in prison.”

Rapper Tay-K has been found guilty of murder following a 2016 home invasion that left a 21-year-old man dead.

The 19-year-old rapper, who is known for his viral hit ‘The Race’, was found guilty of murder and robbery by a jury earlier today (July 19), according to an NBC Dallas-Fort Worth affiliate.

At the start of the trial, Tay-K, whose real name is Taymor Travon McIntyre, pleaded guilty to two counts of aggravated robbery by threats, but pleaded not guilty to capital murder and to a separate count of aggravated robbery. He was acccused of participating in an unsuccessful home invasion robbery in July 2016 that left 21-year-old Ethan Walker dead.

According to NBC‘s report, he was not found guilty of capital murder, “which would have carried a mandatory 40-year sentence.” He now faces “between five and 99 years in prison.”

It is reported that Tay-K, who was 16 at the time, entered Ethan Walker’s Mansfield, Texas, home with six others individuals. A second man, Zachary Beloate, was shot during the home invasion but survived. Latharian Merritt, the man accused of shooting Walker, was sentenced to life in prison last year. Sean Robinson, who was accused of shooting Beloate, pled guilty to murder in November last year and was sentenced to 40 years in prison.

Tay-K’s lawyers argued that the rapper “only participated in the robbery, was not armed, and had no idea that people would be shot,” according to the Star Telegram.

Tay-K was apprehended after the robbery, placed on house arrest, and ordered to wear an ankle monitor.

On March 26, 2017, he tweeted: “fuck dis house arrest shit fuck 12 they gn hav 2 catch me on hood.” A few months later, on June 30, he released the music video for ‘The Race’, which he recorded while avoiding the authorities. The United States Marshals Service apprehended Tay-K that night in Elizabeth, New Jersey.

Tay-K is facing a second capital murder charge in Bexar County, Texas, where officials allege that, while he was on the run, the rapper shot and killed a 23-year-old photographer named Mark Anthony Saldivar.

He is also facing a lawsuit from Owney “Skip” Pepe and his wife Barbara, who claim that Tay-K robbed and assaulted Skip on May 25, 2017 while the 65-year-old man was walking in Arlington’s Cravens Park. The suit reportedly states, “McIntyre then savagely beat the defenseless 65-year-old, leaving him unconscious with multiple broken bones and [a] brain bleed,” and that “McIntyre dragged Mr. Pepe’s body off the trail and left him for dead in the woods.”

Published in Arts & Culture

US President Donald Trump has disclosed that he is trying to help free rapper A$AP Rocky, who has been held in police custody in Sweden for weeks, following persuasions from his first lady, Melania and celebrities including Kanye West and Kim Kardashian West.

The President made this known is a post he shared on his Instagram page on Friday.

Rocky, a platinum-selling, Grammy-nominated artist whose real name is Rakim Mayers, has been behind bars since early this month as Swedish police investigate a fight he was allegedly involved in Stockholm before appearing at a music festival.

It was not clear who else was involved, but videos published on social media appear to show a person being violently thrown onto the ground by Rocky. A defense lawyer has said it was self-defense.

The case has earned the attention of a slew of celebrities, including recording artist and producer Sean “Diddy” Combs; singer Justin Bieber; singer Shawn Mendes; actress Jada Pinkett Smith; Kardashian West’s mother, reality star Kris Jenner; singer Nicki Minaj; and rapper Post Malone, as well as Kardashian West, who has worked with the Trump administration on criminal justice reform issues.

Rep. Adriano Espaillat, D-N.Y., has also been pushing for the rapper’s release and has been in contact with the State Department and the U.S. Embassy in Sweden.

Kim Kardashian West also confirmed that she and Kanye West lobbied President Donald Trump in an effort to free A$AP Rocky, who is being held in Sweden for two weeks.

Kardashian West thanked Trump, Pompeo and Kushner via Twitter, along with “everyone involved with the efforts to Free ASAP Rocky & his two friends.”

“Your commitment to justice reform is so appreciated,” she wrote Thursday.

Rocky’s lawyer, Slobodan Jovicic, told The Associated Press that his client was aware of the president’s comments and “is very thankful for everyone who has reached out to show their support.”

“It means a lot to him, but we are focused on the case that we have in front of us,” he added.

Trump did not mention Kardashian West or Kushner to reporters in the Oval Office on Friday and said it was his wife who had originally brought the case to his attention.

“She was telling me about, ‘Can you help A$AP Rocky?’” said Trump, who said he’d also heard from others.

“Many, many members of the African American community have called me, friends of mine, and said, ‘Could you help?’ So I personally don’t know A$AP Rocky, but I can tell you that he has tremendous support from the African American community in this country,” he said.

“We’ll be talking to them,” Trump said, referring to Swedish officials. “We’ve already started.”

“We’re working with the State Department, and we hope to get him home soon,” added first lady Melania Trump.

Ohio pastor Darrell Scott, a black longtime Trump supporter who has worked with the administration on urban justice issues, said he was among those who raised the issue with Trump last Friday night after Rocky’s management reached out for assistance.

“We know that this is a high priority for the president and the State Department, at the instruction of the president,” said Kareem Lanier, co-chair of the Urban Revitalization Coalition who credited the White House with ensuring Rocky A$AP was moved to better holding conditions.

Both Lanier and Scott rejected the idea that Trump was calling attention to the issue to distract from criticism of his attacks against four Democratic congresswomen of color, noting the administration had been working on the issue before the latest brouhaha.

They applauded Trump for shining attention on the issue.

“Any time President Trump gets involved in anything, it brings a level of attention” to an issue that cannot be matched by those who “don’t have that cache or reach,” Lanier said.

Stockholm’s District Court decided Friday that Rocky would remain in custody another week to allow police to complete their investigation. They have until July 25.

Jovicic, Rocky’s attorney, said he felt the decision was “unjust,” but remains confident in his case.

Published in News & Stories

Everton are interested in signing the Brazilian midfielder Reinier this summer.

The 17-year-old is very highly rated by Flamengo and the Toffees are looking to bring him in.

According to a report from Globoesporte, the Premier League club’s representatives have already met with the Brazilian club’s directors Marcos Braz and Bruno Spindel.

The two directors have travelled to England for talks.

The report claims that Everton are prepared to submit a €40m (£35m) offer for the player.

Reinier is highly rated in Brazil and he is tipped to be the next big thing out of South America. It seems that the Merseyside outfit are looking to sign him up before the top clubs start to take notice of him.

It will be interesting to see if the Premier League club manage to get the deal over the line.

Reinier is likely to join up with Everton’s youth side if the transfer goes through. He is not ready to make his mark on the first team just yet.

Ever since Marcel Brands has come in, Everton have tried to sign talented young players and Reinier fits that profile. Their interest in the Brazilian is certainly understandable.

Published in News & Stories
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