Christmas message: PFN tasks govt to redouble efforts on insecurity (Punch)
The Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria has called on the three tiers of government in the country to redouble its efforts to curb insecurity.
The PFN president, Bishop Wale Oke, who said this in a Christmas message on Friday also called on the government to also address the economic crisis which it said was causing hardship for Nigerians.
Oke also called on Nigerians not to be dampened by whatever harrowing experience they might be going through presently.
He said the birth of Jesus Christ which is being celebrated around the world, represents hope and joy for mankind. Read more
At Christmas: Our pain, trauma will soon be history — Buhari (Guardian)
As Nigeria joins the rest of the world to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ today, President Muhammadu Buhari has declared that there is a silver lining in the horizon for Nigerians despite the machinations of those he described as “wicked ones” who conspire to inflict pain and trauma on citizens.
In his Christmas message to Christians, Buhari expressed the need for citizens to rise up with one voice and jointly confront the menace of instability bedevilling the nation.
“It is a special period that brings peoples of the world together with one purpose; to celebrate togetherness, joy, peace, and above all, to share love with one another through exchange of goodwill and gifts.
“For the second Christmas running, the world will not be able to celebrate as we used to in years past.
“The COVID-19 pandemic, with its attendant debilitating impact, has remained with mankind, mutating and leaving in its wake devastating consequences on the economy, social interaction, and curtailing certain freedoms. Read more
Christmas: Buhari, Lawan, Gbajabiamila, govs, Atiku, others call for peace (Punch)
President Muhammadu Buhari, has urged Nigerians to embrace vaccination which he said is the best scientifically known fortification against the pandemic.
This is according to a statement by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, titled, ‘President Buhari’s 2021 Christmas message’.
Buhari, who made the call on Friday in his Christmas message, also lamented that for the second time in a row, the country would not be able to celebrate the season as “we used to in years past.”
He equally urged those who had taken the two doses to take the booster as advised by the Presidential Steering Committee.
He said; “I rejoice with Christians in Nigeria as they join fellow believers all over the world to celebrate this season. Read more
Lagos Assembly approves Sanwo-Olu’s N18Bn loan request (Guardian)
The Lagos State House of Assembly has approved a request by Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu for a loan of N18, 225, 336, 103. 89 from the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget, and National Planning.
In a statement yesterday signed by Eromosele Ebhomele, the Chief Press Secretary to the Speaker of the House, Mudashiru Obasa, it was disclosed that the loan is meant to ensure speedy completion of projects like the Lekki-Epe Expressway.
It noted that the approval was granted at a sitting presided over by the Speaker, Obasa, after a report on the loan request was laid and presented by the chairman of the House Committee on Finance, Hon. Rotimi Olowo.
Giving further information on the report, Hon. Olowo told his colleagues that the loan facility comes with an interest rate of five percent in the first two years and nine percent in subsequent years, with a two-year moratorium.
Many of the lawmakers, who contributed to the debate supported that the facility be approved, as it would further help the state sustain its mega-city status. Read more
OAU, CARTA Trains 17 Doctoral Students on Research Methodology (Independent)
No fewer than 17 doctoral students have been trained in research methodology under the aegis of the Intervention towards Strengthening Research Training (ItSTRETO) fellowship by the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife, in partnership with the Consortium of Advanced Research Training in Africa (CARTA).
The programme included four Joint Seminar Series where leading experts in various aspects of research methodology were invited to train and mentor the 17 doctoral fellows.
The fellows comprised doctoral students from Science, Health Sciences, Arts, Education and Social Science faculties in the foremost university. Supervisors of the 17 doctoral fellows and the Board of the Postgraduate College were involved in the fellowship through four Supervisors’ Academic Retreats and four Steering Committee Meetings respectively.
Professor Eyitope Ogunbodede, Vice Chancellor, OAU while speaking during the graduation and awards ceremony of the ItSTRETO three- year training programme made possible by a grant from CARTA, appreciated CARTA for their investment into doctoral research in OAU, especially the ItSTRETO programme. Read more
Sanwo-Olu orders free BRT ride on Christmas, New Year (Nation)
Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu has approved free rides on Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) corridors on Christmas and New Year days.
Free bus commuter services would be offered to Lagosians on the Ikorodu to TBS, Oshodi to Abule Egba and Lagos Badagry Expressway BRT corridors on both days.
A statement by the Managing Director of the Lagos Metropolitan Area Transport Authority (LAMATA), Mrs. Abimbola Akinajo, said the free commuter bus services were in the spirit of joy, love and peace which the season of Christmas signifies.
She said: “Mr. Governor is convinced that the best way to end the year and begin a new one is with hope, having faced many hardships during 2021. Read more
Police arrest 55-year-old ritualist with human head in Ondo (ThisDay)
Men of the Ondo State Police Command have arrested 55-year-old money ritualist, Mr. Tunde Olaiwola, with fresh human head in Ondo.
He was paraded alongside eight others suspects arrested for various criminal offences ranging from murder, kidnapping and cultism.
While parading the suspects at the command headquarters in Akure yesterday, the state’s new Commissioner of Police, Mr. Oyeyemi Oyediran, said the cleric was apprehended at Ajagbale Area of Oka, Ondo town.
Oyediran said: “On December 23, 2021, at about 0920hrs, the Police received information that a self-acclaimed cleric named Mr. Tunde Olayiwola, a suspected ritualist was about to receive a consignment suspected to be a Human head. A fresh human head was found in his custody.” Read more
Romantic soldier, corper met three years before NYSC camp – Family (Punch)
The family of a youth corper simply identified as Remi, who proposed to a female soldier, Private Sofiyat Akinlabi, at the National Youth Service Corps Orientation Camp in Yikpata, Kwara State, has said that the duo started their friendship three years ago in Abeokuta, Ogun State.
According to the family member, Remi and Akinlabi’s friendship started in Abeokuta over three years ago before the latter joined the military.
The Nigerian Army had detained Akinlabi on December 14, 2021, when viral video clips showed her accepting the marriage proposal of Remi at the camp in Yikpata, Kwara State.
The lovebirds had shared a hug and kiss to the delight of other corpers at the Mammy market.
The Director of Army Public Relations, Brigadier General Onyema Nwachukwu, told our correspondent that Akinlabi’s action amounted to taking advantage of her trainee, noting that the public would have been outraged and accused the Army of coercion had a male soldier proposed to a female corper during NYSC parade. Read more
Startimes Unveils ‘Breaking-In’ Reality Show for Job Seekers (Leadership)
Digital television provider, Startimes Nigeria, has launched a novel reality television show, titled ‘Breaking in’ to aid Nigerian job seekers to connect to their dream jobs and employers of labour.
The show according to the Pay TV, is their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), project to the nation, aimed at giving job satisfaction as participants of the show will secure their dream jobs during the show.
Speaking as the official unveiling of the reality show in Lagos, the Startimes Content Director, Vicky Liu, said that the show was developed as a Startimes original content, which has been successfully ran in China. She said the show is aimed at giving qualified job seekers mostly youths, the opportunity to defend their qualification and get their dream jobs. She added that the show will also afford the job seekers to meet with in top company executives, captains of industries and stakeholders in the labour market.
Mr Alex Jian, Chief Executives Officer (CEO), Startimes Nigeria, said the vision behind the reality show is not only to provide jobs for Nigerian youths, but also to create more job opportunities for the youths through communication, information and entertainment, which is appealing to young minds and the young at heart. “This kind of unique show will enable youths to find jobs, the way we did it in China. Companies and partners will enjoy corporate and product exposure, while the audience will be entertained. Theresa Ereme, an executive of Opay company, one of the major partners of Startimes “Breaking – in” reality show, said, apart from the good remuneration for the winners of the show, her company will also pay the first one month transportation fee of the winners to their new jobs, among other benefits. Read more
Kate wows fans with surprise piano performance at Christmas carol service (Metro)
The Duchess of Cambridge has delighted fans with a beautiful piano performance at her Christmas carol concert.
Kate, who has played the piano since she was a young girl and took comfort in it during the Covid lockdowns, joined singer Tom Walker for a performance of his song ‘For Those Who Can’t Be Here’.
The pair got together for top-secret rehearsals in a recording studio ahead of the concert, Royal Carols: Together At Christmas, which was broadcast tonight.
Kate hosted the event as a thank you to the people who have supported their communities during the pandemic. Read more
Ed Sheeran and Elton John’s Merry Christmas claims Ireland’s 2021 Christmas Number 1 (OfficialCharts)
Ed Sheeran and Elton John’s Merry Christmas claims this year’s Christmas Number 1 on the Official Irish Singles Chart.
The festive jingle climbs from 3 to 1 on this week’s Christmas Chart, seeing off competition from a flurry of festive classics in this week’s Top 10 – including Last Christmas by Wham! At 3, Mariah Carey’s All I Want for Christmas Is You at 4, and The Pogues’ Fairytale Of New York at 5.
Merry Christmas earns Ed his ninth Number 1 single in Ireland (and third in 2021 alone), and Elton his fourth – his first in 24 years, since Candle In The Wind 97/Something About The Way You Look Tonight in 1997.
A rework of Merry Christmas by YouTubers LadBaby (aka Mark and Roxanne Hoyle) – titled Sausage Rolls For Everyone – claims this week’s highest new entry at Number 41. Money raised from the single goes to foodbank charity The Trussell Trust. Read more
The Wanted’s Tom Parker thrilled to be back with band 1 year after brain tumour diagnosis (Metro)
The Wanted singer Tom Parker is ‘happy to be back’ with his fellow bandmates and admits it is unusual to be in his position a year on from his cancer diagnosis.
The 33-year-old singer revealed in October 2020 that he had been diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumour, but last month he announced that the results of a scan showed it was now ‘stable’ and ‘under control’ after receiving treatment.
The boy band has recently reunited after a seven-year break and referenced Tom’s health situation as one of their motivations to regroup.
The Wanted joined the pre-recorded Christmas Day special of Good Morning Britain to discuss their return and to perform an acapella number. Read more
‘Savannah’ will not show in Tamale as promoters withdraw their support (JoyOnline)
Venus Films Production’s movie, Savannah, will not be premiered in Tamale in the Northern Region as previously scheduled.
The movie which has faced severe backlash from the Dagbani people for misrepresenting them and their culture to the world was scheduled to premiere at the Picorna Gardens in Tamale on December 25.
The promoters of the movie stated that they are no longer interested in promoting and airing the movie in Tamale following the concerns raised about it.
The group of promoters including OBL Studios, one Mr Nashiru, King Faisal, and Abdul Rashid disclosed this to the Dagbon Forum on Thursday, December 23. Read more
Capri Hollywood Film Festival navigates omicron variant while expanding festivities (Variety)
For its upcoming 26th edition the Capri Hollywood Intl. Film Festival, dedicated to launching Oscar hopefuls and establishing a creative and business bridgehead between Hollywood and Italy’s film and showbiz communities, is countering the Omicron variant by expanding its venues beyond the “blue island” off the coast of Naples.
For sanitary safety reasons, the small picturesque town of Sorrento, overlooking the bay of Naples, will become the main hub where guests, most of whom this year will be flying from Europe for the Dec. 26-Jan. 2 shindig, will congregate.
Expected international attendees include directors Michael Radford and Terry Gilliam, who are fest regulars, coming from the U.K. Also from the Blighty, actor Sadie Frost making the trek to promote British director Kirsty Bell’s COVID-19 debut feature lockdown drama “A Bird Flew In,” having its international premiere. Bell will be receiving the fest’s European Breakout Director of the Year award.
Italian premieres include apocalyptic Christmas movie “Silent Night,” starring Keira Knightley; Tim Sutton’s moody Western “The Last Son,” with Heather Graham and Sam Worthington; and New York-based Turkish director Mustafa Ozgun’s drama “COVID19 — Ground Zero,” produced by Donald Kushner. Read more
US to lift travel ban on 8 Southern African Countries (VOA)
The US will lift travel restrictions to eight southern African countries on New Year’s Eve, the White House announced Friday.
The restrictions, imposed last month, were meant to blunt the spread of the COVID omicron variant.
The Nov. 29 ban barred nearly all non-U.S. citizens who had recently been in South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Mozambique and Malawi.
White House spokesman Kevin Munoz said on Twitter that the decision was recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Munoz said the temporary travel bans bought scientists necessary time to study the new virus variant and conclude that the current vaccinations are effective in blunting its impact. Read more
‘Holiday miracle’: Shocking video shows TSA officer leap into action to save baby who stopped breathing (Independent)
A newly-hired TSA officer leapt over a conveyer belt at Newark Liberty International Airport to save a baby boy from choking to death, the agency says.
Cecilia Morales heard the two month old’s mother screaming for help after she picked him up from a carrier seat to pass through a security checkpoint and realised he wasn’t breathing.
JUST IN: @TSA officer, a former EMT, hailed as a hero after she jumped over a checkpoint conveyor belt to perform Heimlich on an infant who stopped breathing at @EWRairport checkpoint, saving the baby’s life. #TSAHolidayMiracle. The news release: https://t.co/J1yuT05ysw pic.twitter.com/3NfRD7lvPh
— Lisa Farbstein, TSA Spokesperson (@TSA_Northeast) December 23, 2021
As the young mother sought help from other travellers, Ms Morales began shouting instructions at her from behind the conveyer belt, the TSA said in a statement. Read more
Okoye advised to make early return from AFCON (Sun)
Sparta Rotterdam coach Henk Fraser has suggested that Super Eagles shot-stopper Maduka Okoye should make an early return from the Africa Cup of Nations.
The Watford bound goalkeeper is one of the key players at the Sparta Stadion. However, his brilliance has not been complemented by his teammates as The Castle Lords currently sit 17th in the Eredivisie.
Sparta Rotterdam have won just two of their last thirteen Eredivisie games, and they currently risk relegation, as they are three points away from safety.
Due to this reason, Fraser wants his star player to return to the Netherlands, even if it would mean that Okoye leaves the Super Eagles camp before the end of their AFCON campaign. Read more
Gianluigi Buffon aims dig at Cristiano Ronaldo over his time at Juventus (Metro)
Gianluigi Buffon has suggested Cristiano Ronaldo’s arrival at Juventus hurt the side in terms of team spirit and cohesion and even cost them their chance of winning the Champions League.
Ronaldo arrived at Juve in 2018, the same summer that Buffon left the club for Paris Saint-Germain before returning a year later and spending two seasons alongside the Portuguese forward.
Buffon says that watching on from Paris he could see that something had changed since his departure and he couldn’t work out why Juve were not more of a force in the Champions League.
On his return to Turin he came to the conclusion that it was the addition to the squad of Ronaldo, and despite getting on with the prolific forward, the Manchester United and Real Madrid legend disrupted things at Juve. Read more
Sadio Mane and Edouard Mendy both called-up to Senegal’s Africa Cup of Nations squad (EveningStandard)
Sadio Mane and Edouard Mendy have both been picked in a strong Senegal squad for the Africa Cup of Nations.
Senegal are one of the favourites for the tournament, which gets underway in Cameroon on January 9 and runs through until the final on February 6.
Mane, the reigning African Footballer of the Year, will be key to Senegal’s hopes of winning a first continental title after they were runners-up at the last edition in Egypt in mid-2019.
Coach Aliou Cisse has selected a 27-man squad for the tournament, including Kalidou Koulibaly and Watford’s Ismaila Sarr, who are both doubts with injury. Read more
Rodgers confident Leicester will avoid Liverpool hangover against Man City (France24)
Leicester City manager Brendan Rodgers believes his side will recover quickly from their agonising penalty shoot-out exit from the League Cup when they face Premier League leaders Manchester City on Sunday.
The Foxes twice conceded a two-goal lead in their midweek League Cup quarter-final against Liverpool — including an equaliser deep into added time — before losing on spot-kicks.
Adding to the pain of defeat, Leicester defenders Caglar Soyuncu and Ricardo Pereira were forced off while star striker Jamie Vardy played the last 20 minutes with a tight hamstring.
None of which augurs well for Leicester’s fixture against Premier League leaders City, even though the Foxes have won with two of their last four meetings against Pep Guardiola’s side. Read more
Qhubeka-NextHash ends sponsorship search and exits WorldTour (CyclingWeekly)
Qhubeka-NextHash has announced that it will end its WorldTour operation, having failed to secure long-term funding.
The team, which partnered with the Qhubeka Charity, had its UCI license refused earlier this month. It will continue to maintain its Continental team, but the final decision leaves several riders searching for 2022 contracts.
The African outfit aimed to provide a “hugely progressive step in cycling,” supporting not only the charity – which improves the lives of impoverished people via donated bikes – but also orchestrating talent progression. Milestone achievements included seeing Nic Dlamini become the first Black South African to ride in the Tour de France, with Daniel Teklehaimanot being the first African to pull on the polka dot jersey.
The team also played home to riders such as Steve Cummings, Mark Cavendish and Victor Campenaerts. Read more
‘I would see Novak Djokovic at No. 1’, says ATP legend (TennisWorld)
2021 was a special year for Novak Djokovic, allowing him to close the gap that separated him from Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal in the all-time Grand Slam standings. The number 1 in the world won the first three majors of the season, before reaching the final also at the US Open.
Stuck in tension and physically exhausted, the Serbian had to surrender to a flawless Daniil Medvedev at Arthur Ashe Stadium. The 34-year-old from Belgrade returned to the field a couple of months later in Paris-Bercy, where he posted the 37th Masters 1000 of his career.
In addition, Nole ended the season at ATP number 1 for the seventh time ever (knocking out his idol Pete Sampras). The booty of Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal is decidedly thinner, both limited by a series of physical problems.
The Swiss played just 13 official matches in 2021, while the Spaniard took part in just seven official tournaments (winning two trophies). Speaking at Eurosport, Boris Becker addressed the issue of the GOAT and beyond. Read more
Jake Paul ‘cannot get away with lying anymore’ regarding boxing career claims American media personality Stephen A. Smith (DailyMail)
American media personality Stephen A. Smith has claimed Jake Paul cannot ‘get away with lying’ in regards to his boxing career.
Paul extended his professional record to 5-0 after knocking out Tyron Woodley last weekend in the sixth round of the bout in Florida.
YouTube star Paul had been due to face Tommy Fury only for him to pull out of the fight due to illness and injury.
Smith though claims that Paul’s list of victories are nothing to be impressed about in his career to date. Read more