Monthly Archives: November 2016

West Ham's Sakho out for six weeks with thigh injury

REUTERS: West Ham United striker Diafra Sakho is set for a six-week spell on the sidelines after injuring his thigh in Sunday’s 1-1 Premier League draw at Manchester United.

The Senegal international, a key player for West Ham in the last two seasons, has just returned to fitness after being out since the start of the season with a back injury and scored early in Sunday’s draw before going off in the second half.

“A scan on Tuesday revealed that the injury will keep him out of contention for up to six weeks,” the London club said on its website (www.whufc.com).

The 26-year-old Sakho will join winger Gokhan Tore and defenders Sam Byram, Arthur Masuaku and Reece Oxford on the treatment table at West Ham.

The Hammers will be at Old Trafford again on Wednesday to face United in the League Cup quarter-finals before taking on Arsenal at home in the Premier League this weekend.

(Reporting by Shravanth Vijayakumar in Bengaluru; editing by Ken Ferris)

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Spanish police arrest two Moroccans suspected of Islamist State links

MADRID: Two Moroccan men suspected of having links to Islamic State have been arrested in Spain and police say one of them played an important role in spreading propaganda for the militant group, the Interior Ministry said on Wednesday.

The man – described as a “dangerous solitary actor” living in the outskirts of the capital Madrid – had been radicalised through Internet websites aimed at encouraging individuals to attack civil populations, the ministry said.

Investigators found he had closely followed websites dedicated to Islamist militant suicide attacks and Islamic State activity over a long period of time and had used a number of different online profiles, it said in a statement.

The man was a “key element” of Islamic State’s decentralised propaganda machine to recruit others to join the group, it said.

The second man, arrested in an operation in the city of Irun close to the French border, had tried to join Islamic State fighters by going to Turkey where he was captured by police and sent back to Spain, where he was arrested, the ministry said.

Spanish police have arrested 170 suspected Islamist militants since the security alert level was raised to one notch below the highest in 2015 following terrorist attacks in Paris.

(Reporting by Paul Day; Editing by Angus Berwick and Louise Ireland)

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Tanzanian ex-PM loses farm, accused by government of leaving land 'idle'

DAR ES SALAAM (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Tanzanian President John Magufuli has revoked ownership of a large farm belonging to former prime minister Frederick Sumaye, because he left it ‘idle’, a local government official said.

The move comes just months after the east African nation embarked on a national campaign to seize land left undeveloped by investors and return it to poor farmers.

The Tanzanian government has become increasingly concerned about land speculation by investors and the conflict it creates with local residents.

Kinondoni District Commissioner Ali Hapi said the title deed for the disputed 13 hectares (33 acres) of farmland on the outskirts of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania’s commercial capital, was revoked on Oct. 28.

The Ministry of Lands, Housing and Human Settlements Development had given Sumaye a 90 day deadline to develop the disputed plot of land or face losing it, he said.

Speaking at a public rally in the port city’s Mabwepande area, Hapi said Sumaye had been notified of the decision and is now banned from the land.

“Security forces will be deployed to ensure that no activities are carried out in this area pending legal formalities to transfer the ownership to the respective municipal authorities,” Hapi said.

However Sumaye, who was prime minister between 1995 and 2005 and defected to the opposition in last year’s election, said the decision to revoke his title deed was politically motivated.

“If they thought dispossessing me of this farmland would force me to re-join the ruling party, let them forget it. I will not go back,” he told reporters in Dar es Salaam.

LAND REFORMS

Since his election last year, President Magufuli has taken steps to monitor and improve government control over the country’s land sector in an effort to tackle inefficiencies and corruption.

In May, the government revoked ownership of more than 1,800 hectares (4,400 acres) of land in the eastern city of Morogoro to redistribute it to local people in a bid to resolve recurring conflicts between farmers and cattle herders.

Hapi said the disputed area will soon be surveyed and plots of land distributed to local residents who met the criteria to own plots of land.

“A better land use plan will be drawn up by our experts and all residents who, in one way or another, had been involved in this dispute will be allocated with plots of land,” he said.

Local residents welcomed the government move, saying their families would be better protected.

“We were living in fear due to the constant eviction threats, sometimes in the middle of the night” said Abdallah Mohammed, a resident of Mabwepande.

(Reporting by Kizito Makoye, Editing by Paola Totaro; Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women’s rights, trafficking, property rights and climate change. Visit news.trust.org)

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UK asks sporting bodies to do more to protect children from abuse

LONDON: The British government said on Tuesday it was asking all national sporting governing bodies to increase their efforts to protect children, following allegations of young boys being sexually abused at professional soccer clubs.

English soccer’s governing body said on Sunday it had appointed an independent lawyer to oversee an internal investigation after former soccer players told British media they were sexually abused as children at English clubs.

Police are also investigating mounting accusations of paedophile activity in youth teams, which victims say has gone unreported for decades.

The government set out its response to the allegations, saying it could not comment directly on police investigations, but that those involved in youth sport had a duty of care to children and must speak out if they suspected abuse.

“The Minister for Sport will write to all national governing bodies to ask them to redouble their effort in protecting children that play their sports,” Karen Bradley, Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, told parliament.

Bradley also said she had convened a meeting with the English Football Association and police to discuss the issue.

(Reporting by William James; editing by Stephen Addison)

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Ohio campus attacker identified as Somali student

COLUMBUS: A university student, reportedly of Somali descent, rammed his car Monday (Nov 28) into a crowd of people at Ohio State University and attacked them with a butcher knife, injuring 11 before police fatally shot him.

Identifying the assailant as Abdul Razak Ali Artan, officials in the northern US state said he appeared to have acted alone in what was being investigated as a possible terror attack.

But officials said they so far had no indication of a motive, and Ohio State president Michael Drake cautioned against jumping to conclusions when asked about a possible connection to the Somali community.

“We all know when things like this happen that there’s a tendency sometimes for people to put people together and create other kinds of theories,” he told a news conference.

“We don’t know anything that would link this to any community. We certainly don’t have any evidence that would say that’s the case,” Drake added.

The whole incident lasted just a few minutes — from the car careening into the crowd until the suspect was shot dead — but triggered a tense lockdown on the university’s main campus in Columbus, with panicked students hiding in bathrooms before the scene was declared secure.

Officials said 11 people were being treated at local hospitals for stabbing wounds and injuries from the motor vehicle, but none of their injuries were life threatening.

Columbus police chief Kim Jacobs said earlier in the day they were considering the “possibility” that it was terrorism related.

US media reported that Artan was of Somali descent, but officials did not confirm that. They did not release his exact age, saying only that they believed he was born in 1998.

An OSU student named of the same name was profiled in the August issue of student newspaper The Lantern, for an article in which he spoke of the lack of Muslim prayer rooms on campus.

Artan, who was identified as a third-year transfer student studying logistics management, told the paper he was uncomfortable with praying on campus.

“If people look at me, a Muslim praying, I don’t know what they’re going to think, what’s going to happen,” he said.

The rampage comes two months after a Somali immigrant stabbed 10 people at a mall in Minnesota, before he was fatally shot by an off-duty police officer.

The Minnesota assailant, 20-year-old Dahir Ahmed Adan, was described as “radicalized” and the Islamic State group claimed the attack as the work of an IS “soldier.”

A TENSE LOCKDOWN

Monday’s attack unfolded just before 10:00 am (1500 GMT), when police were alerted that a car had struck pedestrians on campus, and that the driver had jumped out wielding a large knife.

“We could tell that the suspect was in the car by himself,” said Craig Stone, chief of police at the university, describing a review of surveillance camera footage of his grey sedan.

A fire alarm, which investigators believed to be unrelated, had caused students and staff to evacuate a building prior to the attack.

“(The attacker) exited the vehicle, and used a butcher knife to start cutting pedestrians,” Stone said.

“Our officer was on scene in less than a minute and he ended the situation in less than a minute. He engaged the suspect, and he eliminated the threat,” he added.

After the suspect was shot dead by the responding officer, identified as 28-year-old Alan Harujko, university officials sent out a campus-wide alert to initiate a lockdown due to a possible active shooting incident.

SWAT teams fanned out across the facility and an FBI team was also on the scene, searching buildings for any additional suspects.

SCREAMS AND RUNNING

It took nearly two hours before officials lifted the lockdown, and shocked students and staff began streaming out of buildings. The university canceled classes for the rest of the day.

“I was right there,” student Joseph Noll told Columbus television station WBNS. “I just heard some screams, and I saw people running.”

Student Cydney Ireland told ABC she was walking out of class when she also heard screams.

“Everybody was running in any direction they possibly could, students were running out of the classroom building,” she said from her hiding spot in a locked bathroom.

Ohio State has roughly 60,000 students on the main campus in Columbus, which sprawls across more than 1,900 acres.

A number of vigils and gatherings were planned, as university officials offered student and staff counseling.

“Days such as these test our spirit,” university president Michael Drake said in a note to students and staff, “But together we remain unified in the face of adversity.”

“I encourage anyone in our community in need of assistance to utilize the university’s resources,” he said.

Classes are scheduled to resume Tuesday. 

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Hamilton wins plaudits as Mercedes ponder punishment

ABU DHABI: For all the headlines screaming ‘anarchy’, Lewis Hamilton’s public act of defiance against Mercedes in Formula One’s title-deciding Abu Dhabi Grand Prix could ultimately make racing even more exciting in 2017.

While Mercedes boss Toto Wolff refused to rule out punishment after Hamilton did everything he could to scupper team mate Nico Rosberg’s championship chances in Sunday’s showdown, he recognised he was in two minds about what to do.

The Austrian said he would sleep on the controversy but he also wondered whether there might be a case for giving the drivers more freedom to race rather than seeking to control them.

That, after a 21-round season in which Mercedes were more dominant than ever with 19 wins and 20 poles and won both titles for the third year in a row, could prove a more popular outcome.

While some condemned Hamilton’s strategy in slowing the race, in a failed bid to help others catch and pass Rosberg who needed to finish on the podium to become champion, others applauded him for transforming what could have been a processional one-two into a tense spectacle.

“Well done to @LewisHamilton for a relentless pursuit of the title, keeping us on the edge of our flaming pants right up to the last lap,” declared 1996 world champion Damon Hill on Twitter.

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner, who rarely misses a chance to undermine Wolff, said he would have expected nothing less and accused Mercedes of being ‘naive’ in asking Hamilton to speed up, instructions the driver ignored.

BOTH SIDES

“I think Lewis was trying to back us up and I probably would have done the same,” agreed Horner’s Dutch driver Max Verstappen. “You have to try these things to win a championship.”

Rosberg, championship secured, could also see both sides of the argument.

“It’s really easy to understand the team’s side. But at the same time of course you can understand Lewis because this is the world championship,” he said.

From outside Formula One, former England soccer striker Gary Lineker added his support: “Don’t get @LewisHamilton criticism. Why wouldn’t he give himself the best chance to succeed?”, he asked on Twitter.

“Attempting to win is the very essence of sport. All leading sports persons ignore advice from the sidelines on occasions. To be the best you have to think you know best.”

From Hamilton’s perspective he had merely done what he had to do.

“I don’t feel I did anything unfair. We’re fighting for a championship, I was in the lead, I control the pace. That’s the rules,” said the winner of 10 races this season.

(Editing by Tony Jimenez)

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Turkey targets foster families in post-coup crackdown – official

ANKARA: Turkish authorities are investigating foster families for suspected ties to a failed coup and may remove children from homes if their guardians are found to be supporters of the putsch, a government official said on Monday.

The government has so far detained or dismissed 125,000 people over alleged links to the network of Fethullah Gulen, a U.S.-based Muslim cleric accused by Ankara of orchestrating the July 15 coup. Gulen, who lives in self-imposed exile in the state of Pennsylvania, has denied involvement in the putsch and condemned it.

The scope of the crackdown has alarmed human rights groups and Turkey’s Western allies who fear President Tayyip Erdogan is using the coup as a pretext to curtail dissent. The government says its investigations are necessary to stamp out the influence of Gulen’s network, which it refers to as the “Gulenist Terror Organisation”, or “FETO”.

“It would not be right for a child to remain with a (foster) family if links to FETO are confirmed as a result of the examinations,” the official from the Ministry of Family and Social Policy told Reuters.

The official, who declined to be identified, said the investigations had been going on since August 23.

“This is a slow process in which detailed examinations are being carried out. So it is out of the question for children to be suddenly ripped away from their families,” the official said, adding that the psychological health of the children was being closely monitored.

INVESTIGATION

Around 5,000 foster families and some related institutions are being investigated, the pro-government Yeni Safak newspaper reported. The government has also cut off cooperation with four childcare-related NGOs as part of its investigation, the newspaper said.

Last week European lawmakers voted for a temporary halt to EU membership talks with Turkey, citing Ankara’s “disproportionate” reaction to the coup over the past four months.

Luxembourg’s foreign minister said this month that Turkey’s handling of dismissed civil servants reminded him of methods used by the Nazis and that eventually the EU would have to respond with sanctions.

Such comments have infuriated Ankara, which has criticised Europe for a lack of solidarity following the coup. Erdogan last week warned the EU that Turkey could unleash a new wave of migrants on Europe if relations deteriorated further.

(Writing by Tuvan Gumrukcu; Editing by David Dolan and Gareth Jones)

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Celtic claim 100th trophy with commanding League Cup win

REUTERS: Celtic secured the 100th major trophy of their distinguished history with a 3-0 victory over Aberdeen in the Scottish League Cup final on Sunday as they brushed off the disappointment of their midweek Champions League exit.

Tom Rogic and James Forrest scored before halftime and Moussa Dembele converted a second-half penalty to complete the commanding triumph over the side who have been Celtic’s biggest challengers in Scotland over the last two seasons.

The victory at Hampden Park helped ease Celtic’s dismay at having been eased out of Europe for another season by Barcelona four days earlier as they extended their domestic pre-eminence with a 10th straight victory this season.

“It is a winning club,” manager Brendan Rodgers said of the Glasgow team’s tonne of trophies, the most illustrious of which was their famous European Cup triumph of 1966-67 pulled off by the revered ‘Lisbon Lions’.

“That is what the history of this great club has been based upon. So it marks a milestone, that century of trophies over the course of history.”

(Reporting by Ian Chadband; editing by Ken Ferris)

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Fillon wins French conservative ticket for presidential race – partial results

PARIS: Former prime minister Francois Fillon won the conservative ticket for next year’s presidential election in France by a wide margin, beating ex-premier Alain Juppe, partial results of a primaries’ vote showed on Sunday.

Fillon won 69.5 percent of the votes based on 2,121 polling stations out of a total 10,228, the election’s organisers said.

Organisers of the Republicains party and its centre-right allies have warned ahead of the vote that partial results may not be representative of final results, with votes in rural areas being counted first.

(Reporting by Michel Rose and Ingrid Melander)

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South Africa 250 all out, Australia chase 127 for victory

ADELAIDE: Australia dismissed South Africa for 250 before tea on the fourth day of the day-night third and final test on Sunday, leaving the hosts requiring 127 runs in their second innings for a consolation victory.

South Africa had resumed on 194 for six but lost Quinton de Kock in the third over of the day before the new ball accounted for Vernon Philander, Kagiso Rabada and opener Stephen Cook, who made 104.

Left-arm paceman Mitchell Starc took two of the last four wickets to finish with figures of 4-80.

Australia made 383 in reply to South Africa’s first innings 259-9 declared. The tourists won the first two tests in Perth and Hobart to be assured of a third successive test series triumph in Australia.

(Reporting by Nick Mulvenney; Editing by John O’Brien)

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