Transfer News: Chelsea and Arsenal eye Prem star, Man Utd exit wanted, Liverpool Roma raid



Liverpool news: Kostas Manolas is on the Kop club's radar
Liverpool have added Roma defender Kostas Manolas to their shopping list.
Jurgen Klopp wants at least three new players this summer - and the Greek could be one arrival.
The People claim Manolas is on Liverpool's radar.

I owe nobody apology over my criticism of Buhari’s administration – El-Rufai


Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai has insisted he owes no one apology about the memo he wrote to President Muhammadu Buhari, recommending that some reforms be made.
In the 30-page document, El-Rufai warned Buhari that some of the people around him are selfish and inexperienced. He made reference to the President’s Chief of Staff, Abba Kyari and the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Babachir Lawal.
“The chief of staff is totally clueless about the APC and its internal politics at best as he was neither part of its formation nor a participant in the primaries, campaign, and elections.“The secretary to the government of the federation and the chief of staff do not have experience in public service, lack humility in addition to being insensitive and rude to virtually most of the party leaders, ministers and governors,” he wrote.
“In summary, neither of them has the personality, experience, and the reach to manage your politics nationally or even regionally.”
The letter generated mixed reactions from different quarters, with a well-known critic of the Governor, Senator Shehu Sani,calling on the All Progressives Congress (APC), to punish El-RufaiBut in an interview with Daily Trust, El-Rufai defended his decision to write the memo and denied leaking it to the media.
Asked if the letter had not caused a strain in his relationship with some of the people he mentioned in the memo, he said: “I know Abba Kyari well, he will not disagree with what I wrote there. He knows it to be true and he is not hearing for the first time.”
“Many people have complained about this, so I don’t think it will cause a strain in my relationship with the chief of staff because we have been friends for so many years. But anyone who feels he is upset because of what I have written, so be it.
“First of all, let me say that this is not the first memo that I have written to the president. From the time I began to interact politically with him since 2010, anytime I saw a situation requiring advice or change in direction, I usually went to discuss with him,” he said.
“This is not even the tenth memo I have written to the president. I have probably written more than 20 memos. I did this at various stages – from our days in the Congress for progressive Change (CPC), before the 2011 elections, after the 2011 elections, and during the merger process.“I always said, ‘I will go and reduce it to writing so you can have a document to reflect upon and decide and guide your action.’
“I have always felt that my duty to him as my political leader is to pick up what he doesn’t hear, because as a lower level person, I get to hear more about what is going on. And if I see things going wrong, I have a duty to go to him and say, ‘This is what I’ve heard, the facts I have established and my advice on the way forward.’
“They are all problem-solving memos, they identify the problems, analyse them and propose solutions. So this is the spirit of all my memoranda to the president from 2010 till date.”

You won’t win African Player of the Year without Super Eagles – NFF warns Victor Moses


The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) has told Chelsea wingback, Victor Moses, to be more committed to the national team or miss out on winning the African Footballer of the Year award.
Moses reported to the team’s camp ahead of the friendly against Senegal, but returned to the Premier League club, after claiming he was carrying a knock.
In an interview with The Guardian, NFF President Amaju Pinnick, said: “Moses needs to understand that with his current performance with Chelsea, he stands a chance of becoming the next African player of the year, especially if his club should win the EPL title.It is understood that coach Gernot Rohr was visibly angry with the player , who had previously pulled out of a
“But he needs to play regularly for the national team to make such dream come true. To be honest, Moses is one of the best African players at the moment, but as I said, he needs the Super Eagles.”
Speaking further, Pinnick, who is expected to join the Super Eagles camp in London today, revealed he had a chat with Moses yesterday “and during our conversation, Moses said that he actually wanted to play in the friendly against Senegal but for the injury. He is coming to see me tomorrow (today) when I arrive in London.”
Moses was expected to feature in the second friendly against Burkina Faso, which has now been called off
.

Veteran Nollywood actress, Liz Benson’s Daughter Set To Wed Her Partner, Promise Ugochukwu



Veteran Nollywood actress, Liz Benson’s second daughter, Lilian Etim also known as Chef Leelee is set to walk down the aisle with her partner, Promise Ugochukwu later on this month.

Chef Leelee who recently got engaged and pictured above with her mum, will be tying the knots traditionally on the 31st of March while her white wedding follows a week later, April 8th.

61 bodies found in Mosul district: Iraqi military

Mosul,Iraq - Iraq's military said on Sunday that 61 bodies were recovered from a collapsed building that Islamic State had booby-trapped in west Mosul, but there was no sign the building had been hit by a coalition air strike.
The military statement differed from reports by witnesses and local officials that said as many as 200 bodies had been pulled from the building after a coalition strike last week targeted IS militants and equipment in the Jadida district.

Smoke rises over the city during clashes between Iraqi forces and Islamic State militants, in Mosul. Picture: Khalid al Mousily/Reuters
What happened on March 17 remains unclear and details are difficult to confirm as Iraqi forces battle with Islamic State to recapture the densely populated parts of the western half of Mosul, the militant group's last stronghold in Iraq.
Iraqi forces on Sunday hit militant positions with helicopter strikes, and exchanged heavy gunfire and rockets around al Nuri mosque in west Mosul, where the Islamic State leader declared his caliphate nearly three years ago.
One federal police officer said they had killed a militant in a suicide vest trying to infiltrate their position, and exchanged fire with two other fighters.
At the north edge of Mosul, Iraqi army divisions raided and entered the Badush cement factory, to where militants had retreated, Lt. Col. Ali Jassem of the 9th armoured division said. Army units are clearing villages to the north.
As combat continues, the Jadida incident highlights the complexity of fighting in west Mosul, where militants hide among families, using them as shields and putting at risk as many as half a million people still caught in Islamic State-held areas.
Thousands have already fled Mosul and coalition officials and Iraq's Shi'ite-led government are wary of incidents that could alienate residents of the mainly Sunni city and fuel the kind of sectarian tensions that helped Islamic State's rise.
The U.S.-led coalition backing Iraqi forces on Saturday said it carried out a strike on Islamic State militants and equipment in the area of the reported deaths, and was investigating. It did not give figures for any casualties or details of targets.
The Iraqi military command said witnesses had told troops that the building was booby-trapped and militants had forced residents inside basements to use them as shields. IS militants had also fired on troops from houses, it said.
"A team of military experts from field commanders checked the building where the media reported that the house was completely destroyed. All walls were booby-trapped and there is no hole that indicates an air strike," it said.
"Sixty-one bodies were evacuated," the statement said.
A coalition air strike had hit the area at the time though there was no sign it struck that building, it said.
CONFLICTING ACCOUNTS
The military casualty figure was lower than that given by local officials. A municipal official said on Saturday that 240 bodies had been pulled from the rubble. A local lawmaker and two witnesses say a coalition air strike may have targeted a large truck bomb, triggering a blast that collapsed buildings.
Ghazwan al-Dawoodi, head of the local Nineveh governorate human rights council, said his team had made a field visit and that 173 people were killed after militants forced them into a bunker, and then opened fire on gunships to prompt an airstrike.
Iraqi forces have retaken the east of Mosul and half of the west, across the Tigris River that divides Iraq's second city. Thousands of people are fleeing each day to escape the fighting and increasingly difficult conditions.
Aid groups are scrambling to build more camps to cope with the surge.
The Iraqi Observatory for Human Rights said that since the campaign against western Mosul began on Feb. 19, unconfirmed reports have said nearly 700 civilians have been killed by government and coalition air strikes or Islamic State action.
  1. The militants have used car bombs, snipers and mortar fire to counter the offensive. They have also stationed themselves in homes belonging to Mosul residents, from which they fire at Iraqi troops, often drawing air or artillery strikes that have killed civilians

Rene's mom pregnant, grieving and 'vulnerable'

Cape Town - The mother of murdered Lavender Hill teenager Rene-Tracy Roman is pregnant and neighbours are concerned that the heartbreak of her daughter’s death may affect her health. Rene, 13, was found 11 days after she was reported missing.
Her body, which was wrapped in a carpet, was found on Tuesday in a shed of a neighbour’s house 10 metres away from her home. It was confirmed on Thursday that the body was Rene’s.
Suspect Andrew Plaatjies, 50, appeared in court on Wednesday and will appear again on April 4 at the Wynberg Magistrates Court.
Mom Chrissandre Jacobs and stepdad Mervyn speak to Independent Media during the hunt for Rene-Tracy Roman. File picture: Bertram Malgas/Daily Voice
Lavender Hill Community Policing Forum leader Lucinda Evans, who has been close to the family over the past two weeks, said community leaders are concerned that the emotional stress of Rene's death will have an impact on Chrissandre Jacobs’s pregnancy.
Evans confirmed that Jacobs is in her first trimester. “From many leaders in the area we really want to protect her because she is very vulnerable at this time,” she said.
Rene Tracy Roman, 13, went missing on March 10, 2017. Her body was found this week inside a neighbour's shed. Picture: Supplied
On Saturday, at the opening of the Levana Primary School hall, where Rene was a Grade 6 pupil, a memorial service was held. Although Evans never met Rene, she heard that she was well behaved.
“She was a bit of a loner and only had a few friends, but she was a very obedient child. She wasn’t a child that walked around,” she said.
Evans added that teachers at Levana Primary said Rene was a wonderful child.
She also believes that there is a stigma that when children go missing on the Cape Flats, they are runaways. But, according to Evans, this was not the case with Rene as she always told her mother where she was going.
“We are looking for professionals who will be able to teach us the basics (of) search and rescue, first aid and counselling skills. As a community, we want to be prepared that when something like this happens we know where to start and what to do," she said.
“We would like to set up our own joint operations command points so that we react in the golden hour when a child goes missing.”
Evans said another memorial for Rene is planned for Thursday at Levana Primary, and during the day she plans on having her first meeting for a community search and rescue initiative.

On Zille and the quest to make SA white again

If you thought Helen Zille only wanted to share her mind-blowing experience of Singapore with us, think again, writes Tinyiko Maluleke.

Last week, Helen Zille shared seven tweets offering examples of "valuable aspects of colonial heritage". The angry twitterati swiftly extracted a reluctant apology in her eighth tweet.
While initial attention has been focused on Zille and her bigotry, soon all eyes will turn to DA leader Mmusi Maimane and the disciplinary proceedings instituted against her. Zille is arguably, the single most influential individual in the DA. Having recently neglected to act against Johannesburg mayor, Herman Mashaba, for his xenophobic comments, the DA has not covered itself in glory reining in some of their senior leaders.
Her apology notwithstanding, Zille has since suggested her "cardinal sin" is only of "speaking while white" – a tasteless spoof of the "crime" of "driving while black" in the US and in apartheid South Africa. She also cautioned the DA to not follow the ANC in subscribing to "African racial nationalism" – whatever that means.
Her apology notwithstanding, Helen Zille has since suggested her "cardinal sin" is only of "speaking while white". File picture: Tracey Adams
Jeremy Gordin vouches for Zille being a person of "intelligence, (who has) devoted herself tirelessly, conscientiously and honestly to a particular political "vision". Thomas Johnson insists colonialism "brought collateral benefits". AfriForum’s Kalie Kriel swears Zille merely proposed that "technology and infrastructure development came into the country along with colonialism". For Andrew Donaldson, the "frenzied outrage" is only a "fresh distraction" from "the 'self-made' (Sassa) grants catastrophe". The oxymoronic suggestion that there are "valuable aspects of colonial heritage" is vicious and obnoxious.
How can anyone invite victims of colonialism to consider the "valuable aspects"? To shove the idea down the throats of those who have experienced colonial conquest is cruel. It feels sadistic to require the victims of a crime to find something beneficial to them in the commission of the crime. But to proceed and unilaterally compile a list before demanding concurrence from the victims and then proceed to accuse those who disagree of being dishonest? Modimo!
Imagine our government announcing that the 2017 Heritage Month will be dedicated to the "valuable aspects (our) colonial heritage"? Who and what would we celebrate on such a month?
Shall we commemorate the "contribution" of slavery in the strengthening of the African character? Will we foreground the "positive contributions" of the 1913 Land Act in the "discovery" of new farming methods? We might wish to celebrate the spectacular environmental degradation achieved since the eradication of pre-colonial beliefs that plants, animals, lakes, forests and mountain are living entities, right?
Between Jan van Riebeeck and Cecil John Rhodes, whose "positive aspects" should we highlight more, how and why? Why don’t we just offer a national prize for excellence in the ridiculing of the ideas of the likes of Biko, Fanon, Du Bois, Sobukwe, Rodney, * ’Bitek, Wa Thiongo, Achebe and Anta Diop?
In a courageous column, Peter Bruce cut to the bone and called out the racist nature of the Zille tweets, noting that most white South Africans "remain deeply racist". The persistence of racism and the deplorable resurgence of the romantic idea of colonialism as a benevolent institution must be understood in context. Anthropologist, Vito Laterza, has correctly observed that "white scholars rarely condemn colonial conquest in its totality".
The Trumpian quest to make America great again must be read also as a desperate effort to make America white again. Marine Le Pen’s call for the French to join her in "the most beautiful battle which will give France back to France" speaks of her impossible but populist mission to make it white again. Realising that they are losing the demographic majority, some supremacists are resorting to the vilest forms of xenophobia and racism.
Until now, supremacist and racist ideas have been kept alive in coded metaphors and the assumed superiority of Western liberal ideas and institutions. Not any more. No more beating about the bush. All over the world, white supremacists demand the right to speak blatantly and openly. They hanker after a world that was and wish to stop its breathtaking implosion, by any means necessary.
And you thought Helen Zille only wanted to share her mind-blowing experience of Singapore with us, right? Think again.

Gaza-Israel border shut after Mazen Faqha killing

Hamas closes northern Gaza crossing 'until further notice', as it reflects on Mazen Faqha's killing, blamed on Israel.


Thousands poured into the streets of Gaza for the funeral of Mazen Faqha [Ezz Zanoun/Al Jazeera]

Hamas authorities have shut the Gaza border with Israel after the killing of a senior commander, which Hamas blamed on "Israel and its collaborators".

The rare measure reflected Hamas' shock after the killing of Mazen Faqha , who was found shot dead at the entrance of his Gaza City home late on Friday.

Hamas Interior Ministry spokesman Iyad al-Bozum on Sunday announced  (Arabic) that the Beit Hanoun checkpoint, which faces the Israeli crossing of Erez in the north of the Gaza Strip, would be closed until further notice.

"In light of the humanitarian situation, only the residents of Gaza with humanitarian cases will be allowed to return to Gaza via the Beit Hanoun checkpoint," Bozum said.

Bozum confirmed that Hamas security services were investigating the circumstances of Faqha's killing.

He called on Gaza's citizens and media to be responsible in dealing with the event and not to circulate rumours about the incident.

Mahmoud al-Zahar, a senior Hamas official, told Al Jazeera that Hamas will not announce how it plans to respond to the assassination, but the "blood of our people will not go in vain, especially in a crime this big".

On whether the group plans to respond militarily, al-Zahar said, "This is a security issue that we cannot disclose. But for sure, the Israeli entity will be punished and deterred."

Hamas, the group that rules Gaza, said Faqha was shot four times in the head with a silenced gun. The group said that Israel and its "collaborators" were responsible for the killing.

"No one would benefit from this crime except the Zionist enemy and not to mention, the Zionist enemy announced in all of its media that the leader, Mazen Faqha, is on the top of the wanted list," senior Hamas official Salah al-Bardawil told Al Jazeera.

"The Palestinian resistance has its methods and the capacity to respond," al-Bardawil said.

"The punishment will be of the same nature as the attack. The matter is now in the resistance movement's hands," he added.

Faqha, 38, was a senior Hamas official in the Israeli-occupied West Bank when he was jailed by Israel in 2003 for planning attacks against Israelis.

He was sentenced to nine life terms but was released into the Gaza Strip as one of more than 1,000 Palestinian prisoners that Israel let go in exchange for soldier Gilad Shalit.

Shalit was held in the coastal enclave after being seized in a cross-border raid in 2006.

An Israeli military spokeswoman declined to comment on the assassination in the Hamas-run Palestinian coastal enclave, which has been under Israeli blockade since 2006.

The Islamic Jihad movement said Faqha's assassination marked the beginning of "a new offensive" by Israel against the Palestinian resistance, and that the resistance had the right to respond and defend itself.

Pakistan starts building fence along Afghanistan border

Fencing starts along Pakistan's disputed border with Afghanistan in bid to stop fighters' movement.


The Afghan-Pakistan crossing was closed for months, as Pakistan blamed recent attacks on Afghan fighters [EPA]

Pakistan's military has begun fencing parts of its disputed northwestern border with Afghanistan to curb the movement of Pakistani Taliban fighters it says are based on Afghan soil, according to a statement.

Fencing started in the Pakistani Bajaur and Mohmand districts, which border the eastern Afghan provinces of Nangarhar and Kunar, Pakistan's Army Chief Qamar Javed Bajwa announced on Saturday.

Pakistan shares a mountainous and largely unpatrolled 2,500km-long border with Afghanistan, which the latter disputes. Previous attempts to fence or formally demarcate the border have met with resistance from Kabul.

In June, at least four people were killed when Pakistan and Afghanistan exchanged artillery fire over Pakistan building a formal border control complex at Torkham, the main border crossing between the two countries.

The clash marked a continuing souring of relations between the South Asian neighbours.

Pakistan sealed all border crossings with Afghanistan in mid-February, during a wave of attacks on Pakistani soil that killed at least 130 people.

Those attacks were followed by frequent skirmishes between Pakistani Taliban fighters and Pakistan's military along the border in the Mohmand, Khyber and other districts.

In the latest such violence, on March 17, at least eight people, including two soldiers, were killed in a Pakistani Taliban attack on Pakistani border posts from the Afghan side of the border.

The border closure remained in place for more than a month, leaving thousands of visitors and tons of perishable goods stranded on either side of the border.

On March 20, Pakistan's Prime Minister ordered the reopening of the border for all traffic "on humanitarian grounds".

Addressing troops deployed on the border in Mohmand and Orakzai districts on Saturday, Bajwa said "technical surveillance means are also being deployed along the border besides regular air surveillance", a Pakistani military statement said.

Bajwa said that Pakistan was working with Afghanistan to develop a bilateral border security mechanism.

"A better managed, secure and peaceful border is in mutual interest of both brotherly countries who have given phenomenal sacrifices in war against terrorism," he said.

The Pakistan-Afghanistan border has been at the centre of accusations hurled by both governments against each other.

Pakistan and Afghanistan accuse each other of sheltering elements of the Pakistani and Afghan Taliban respectively.

Both sides deny the charges, although major leaders from both groups have been killed on the others' soil in the past.

Pakistan's military is now building more than 420 "small forts" along the border, and deploying radar sensors to detect cross-border movement, Pakistan's Dawn newspaper on Sunday.

Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny detained in Moscow rally

The coordinated protests called by opposition leader Alexei Navalny are some of the largest in Russia since 2011-12.

Police officers detain Navalny during a rally in central Moscow [Maxim Shemetov/Reuters]

Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny and dozens others have been detained as thousands of people across Russia defied bans on rallies to protest against government corruption.

The demonstrations on Sunday were organised by Navalny, a Kremlin critic and anti-corruption campaigner, who urged people to take to the streets to demand the resignation of Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev.

"Don't try to fight for me," Navalny wrote on Twitter after police in Moscow put him in a minibus, urging people to stay with the rally. "Our issue today is the fight against corruption."
Russian dissident Ildar Dadin freed from jail

Navalny called for the protests after publishing a detailed report this month accusing Medvedev of controlling a property empire through a shadowy network of non-profit organisations.

Medvedev is also accused of amassing a private collection of yachts and vineyards.

The protests, which attracted crowds of hundreds or thousands in most sizeable Russian cities, were the largest coordinated outpourings of dissatisfaction in Russia since mass protests in 2011-2012.

Navalny's website had previously said that more than 80 towns and cities across Russia would hold protests on Sunday and that authorities had not sanctioned the majority of the rallies.

Al Jazeera's Rory Challands, reporting from Moscow, said protests continue in the capital with the size of demonstrators double the estimate of 8,000 provided by the police.

"But the big story going on today are the demonstrations going on across Russia," he said.

"That is rare, that is unsual. I think this suggest that Alexei Navalny's anti-corruption message is really reasonating at the moment in Russia, in a way that a more generalised anti-government messages don't.

"When people feel like the politicians above them are cheating them, that it seems is when Russians get angry, and stand up and do something."
At least 30 opposition demonstrators were reportedly detained in Vladivostok on Sunday [Reuters]

Russian authorities had warned Navalny's supporters on Friday not to attend the rally because the event had not been sanctioned by the city administration.

The Russian constitution allows public gatherings but recent laws have criminalised protests unauthorised by city authorities, who frequently refuse to grant permission for rallies by Kremlin critics.

In the far eastern city of Vladivostok, a Reuters news agency reporter saw the detention of at least 30 protesters at an unsanctioned rally drawing hundreds of young people to a square near the city's railway station.

The detentions started after protesters unfurled banners reading "Corruption steals our future" and "The prime minister should answer".

The protesters then marched to a local police station to demand that police free those who had been detained.

Hundreds also rallied in the city of Yekaterinburg in the industrial Urals region.

Witnesses said at least four people holding banners were detained on the city's Labour Square, where opposition protesters, nationalists and supporters of the pro-Kremlin United Russia party gathered.

Police said 500 to 700 people had gathered on Labour Square but did not confirm that there had been any detentions.

"Corruption affects every person. The fight against corruption can unite all people irrespective of their convictions," 20-year-old student Ivan told Reuters, asking that his last name not be published.

Protesters held unsanctioned rallies in Moscow and St. Petersburg in the afternoon.

Some demonstrators have protested with their faces painted green, a reference to a recent attack on Navalny when an assailant threw a green anti-septic liquid onto his face.

In February, a Russian court found Navalny guilty in a retrial of a 2013 fraud case, which barred him from running for president next year.

Judge Alexei Vtyurin handed down a five-year suspended prison sentence and a fine of about $8,500 to Navalny for embezzling timber worth about $500,000.

Navalny, 40, pledged to appeal against the "politically motivated" ruling and continue with his plans of challenging President Vladimir Putin in the forthcoming presidential elections, even though the Russian law bars anyone convicted of a crime from running for a public office for 10 years.

Happy Family

  Aisha Buhari the wife of Nigerian president with her younger brother and her son are looking bright and beautiful.