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    Russian athlete fails doping test

    A second Russian athlete has tested positive for a performance-enhancing drug at the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics.

    The new development is a major blow for the nations hopes of regaining its Olympic status and drawing a line under years of doping scandals.

    Bobsledder Nadezhda Sergeeva tested positive for a heart drug on Feb. 18, the Russian bobsleigh federation said in a statement on Friday. The result came five days after a previous doping test returned a negative result for her. On Feb. 13, her sample was clean. The teams medical staff did not prescribe the drug to the athlete, the federation said in a post on its official Facebook page.

    The Bobsleigh Federation of Russia and the athlete herself understand the extent of their responsibility and understand how what has happened can have an impact on the fate of the whole team.

    Earlier this week, Russian curling medallist Alexander Krushelnitsky agreed to hand back his mixed-team bronze medal after testing positive for meldonium, which can aid in endurance. At that point, there were still Russian hopes that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) would go ahead and lift its suspension of Russias Olympic committee.

    The development would have allowed them to march with the Russian flag at Sundays closing ceremony. That prospect is now severely complicated by the second positive test of a Russian athlete.

    Russia now accounts for two out of four positive tests during the Games. The IOC did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The news came a few hours after hundreds of Russian fans roared in celebration when teenage figure skater Alina Zagitova delivered their teams first gold medal.

    Source: (Reuters/NAN)

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    Lalong appoints 19 commissioners

    Barely two weeks after he dissolved the state executive council, Gov. Simon Lalong of Plateau has sent 19 names to the House of Assembly for confirmation as commissioners.

    Among those nominated is Mr Dan Majang, Special Adviser to the governor on media and publicity. Others are Bulus Bot, Ezekiel Daju, Anna Izam, Sylvester Wallangko, Pam Bot-Mang, Hosea Finangwai and Usman Idi. Also nominated are Dakur Eli, Victor Lapang, Elizabeth Wapmuk and Regina Somela. Ahmed Nazif, Abdullahi Abbas, Dayyabu Garga, Tamakat Wali, David Wuyep, Festus Fuanter and Hitler Dadi, who were among those dropped, were re-nominated.

    According to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) it would be recalled that Lalong had earlier forwarded three nominees who were screened and cleared on Feb. 14. Speaker Peter Azi, who read the names during plenary on Wednesday in Jos, said that the governors communication was in accordance with section 195 of the 1999 constitution as amended. The lawmakers have agreed to screen the nominees on Feb. 27.

    Source: (NAN)

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    Fayose face-to-face with Buhari

    Opposition Governor Ayo Fayose of Ekiti state, a pathological critic of President Muhammadu Buhari, met face-to-face and in a warm handshake with the president at the villa on Thursday.

    Fayose was at the Villa to attend the Council of State meeting.

    Others in attendance are former President Olusegun Obasanjo, who recently criticised Buharis administration and advised the President against seeking a second term. Foremer military leader Yakubu Gowon was also at the villa for the meeting along with retired General Abdusalam Abubakar, another military head of state.

    President Buhari summoned a meeting of the Council of State to deliberate on key national issues. The meeting, which started at 11 a.m, is being attended by three former presidents, Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, four former Chief Justices of Nigeria, Senate President Bukola Saraki and state governors.

    The four former Chief Justices of Nigeria attending the meeting are Justice Muhammad Uwais, Idris Kutigi, Mariam Alooma and Justice Alfa Belgore. The meeting would consider the appointment of National Commissioners for the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), among other issues.

    The meeting observed a minute silence in memory of late former Chief Justice Dahiru Mustapher, who died recently.

    Source: NAN

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    Ex-military leaders attend Council of State meeting

    Three former military heads of state on Thursday attended the Council of State meeting at the presidential Villa in Abuja. They included former President Olusegun Obasanjo, Abdulsalami Abubakar, and Yakubu Gowon.

    President Muhammadu Buhari summoned the to deliberate on key national issues. The meeting, which started at 11 a.m, is being attended by three former presidents, Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, four former Chief Justices of Nigeria, Senate President Bukola Saraki and state governors.

    The four former Chief Justices of Nigeria attending the meeting are Justice Muhammad Uwais, Idris Kutigi, Mariam Alooma and Justice Alfa Belgore. The meeting would consider the appointment of National Commissioners for the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), among other issues.

    The meeting also observed a minute silence in memory of late former Chief Justice Dahiru Mustapher, who died recently.

    Source: NAN

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    APC investigates Kaduna State crisis

    Barely 48 hours after the factional office of All Progressives Congress (APC) in Kaduna was demolished, a three-member committee has been raised to on the internal crisis. The committee would identify the remote and immediate causes of the crisis in its Kaduna state chapter. According to a statement issued by Malam Bolaji Abudullahi, the APC National Publicity Secretary, the decision to probe the crisis was taken at an executive session of the partys National Working Committee (NWC).

    The unfolding situation in Kaduna State is deeply regrettable and request all parties in the disagreement to maintain utmost decorum and give opportunity for true reconciliation, he said. The building housing the secretariat of a faction of the APC in Kaduna state, was recently demolished by the state government. The demolished building which is said to belong to Senator Sulaiman Hunkuyi is located at 11B Sambo road.

    The Kaduna Geographic Information Services (KADGIS) in a statement explained that the building was demolished for flagrant violation of the land use and non-payment of ground rent since 2010. The incident happened two weeks after Asiwaju Bola Tinubu was appointed by President Muhammadu Buhari to lead the APC consultation, reconciliation and confidence-building team.

    Tinubus assignment, among others, is to forge cohesion within the APC ahead of the 2019 general election. It involves resolving disagreements among party members and leaders. It also involves reconciling political office holders in some APC-controlled states and addressing crises in the party`s chapters in Kano, Kogi, Kaduna, Bauchi, Cross River and other states.

    The Kaduna state chapter of the APC had been factionalised and had been in crisis for close to two years. According to Senator Shehu Sani, who represents Kaduna central in the Senate, Gov. Nasir El-Rufai of the state has pocketed the party.

    Sani alleged that El-Rufia was exploiting his proximity to the President to impose his will and unleash terror on APC members in the state. Right now, the party is already divided in Kaduna and it is for the national secretariat to note this and we have said it in clear terms, Sani said.

    The three member committee is led by the APC Deputy National Chairman (South), Mr Segun Oni. The committee would identify the disagreement and the circumstances that led to the demolition of Hunkuyis building and it is to report back to the NWC within a week. Other members of the committee are the APC National Auditor, Mr George Moghalu and its National Woman Leader, Hajia Rahmatu Alliyu.

    The party also re-affirmed that Alhaji Haddy Ametuo remained the partys chairman in Kogi until its appropriate organ decided otherwise in accordance with its constitution.

    Source: (NAN)

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    U.S. to open embassy in Jerusalem in May

    The United States of America says plans are on to open its embassy in Jerusalem in May, the State Department has revealed. This will coincide with the 70th anniversary of the Palestinian Nakba (Catastrophe) and the creation of the state of Israel in Palestine.

    We are excited about taking this historic step, and look forward with anticipation to the May opening, The embassy will be gradually expanded in existing consular facilities in the Arnona neighbourhood, while the search for a permanent site has already begun for a longer-term undertaking. said State Department Spokeswoman Heather Nauert.

    Nauert added that the interim embassy will have office space for the ambassador and a small staff. An annex on the Arnona compound will be opened by the end of next year. Trump administration officials said that Congress had been notified of the impending move. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson signed off on the security plan for the new embassy on Thursday.

    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised the US decision. It will turn Israels 70th Independence Day into a much greater celebration, he crowed. According to Saeb Erekat, the Palestinian Authoritys chief negotiator, though, the US move shows a determination to violate international law, destroy the two-state solution and provoke the feelings of the Palestinian people as well as of all Arabs, Muslims and Christians around the globe.

    Izzat Al-Reshiq of the Hamas Political Bureau said that this move needs an urgent and strong Palestinian, Arab and Islamic response.

    He called upon the PLO and Arab and Islamic states which recognise Israel to withdraw their recognition immediately.

    Source: NAN

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    Winter Olympics: Swiss couple cycle 17,000km to watch son
    A year and 17,000 kilometers later, a Swiss couple arrived in Pyeongchang this week to watch their son compete in the Winter Olympics. The father and step-mother of Swiss freestyle skier Mischa Gasser left their home in Olten, 70 kms west of Zurich, in February last year to cycle across the world. They arrived in Pyeongchang on Tuesday after journey that took them through 20 countries.

    The distance they covered is like going from Lagos to Abuja 22 times as the distance between the two Nigerian states is put at 755km. To arrive here and see my son waiting for us. We were really touched. I had no words, Guido Huwiler, 55, told Reuters Television.

    Huwiler, who sported a long bushy beard, and Rita Ruttimann, 57, said cycling every day was difficult. Their toughest challenge was travelling the Pamir Highway which can reach more that 4,000 metres in height as it crosses several countries in Central Asia.

    We were really tired afterward. We were finished and had to recover for two to three weeks, he said. When they reached the Chinese border, Huwiler said he was refused a visa because of his beard. He refused to cut it but they are hoping to travel through China later in the journey.

    In South Korea, the couple camped outdoors in sub-zero temperatures en route to Pyeongchangs Phoenix Park, the venue for Gassers freestyle skiing event. Huwiler said his 26-year-old son had dreamed of competing in the Olympics since he was four or five years old.

    I think its most important that he lives his dream and I just wish to be close to him when he gets this moment, Huwiler said. After cheering on Gasser, the cyclists will continue through South Korea before flying to Japan. From there they plan to return to Switzerland to get visas for China, Russia and Mongolia before resuming their adventure. We are crazy!, Huwiler said with a laugh. Additional reporting by Hyun Oh, editing by Darren Schuettler and Ed Osmond

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    FGs committee on farmers, herders clashes visits Zamfara
    The National Economic Council Committee on Farmers and Herdsmen clashes on Saturday visited Zamfara on a fact-finding mission over security challenges in the state. The committee was led by its Chairman, Gov. Dave Umahi of Ebonyi.

    Speaking during the courtesy visit at government house Gusau, the Umahi said we are in Zamfara today for fact finding over the recent security challenges faced by the state. He said Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, constituted the committee on behalf of the Federal Government. Umahi said the committee is expected to interact with the government and major stakeholders in the state. According to him, the aim is to find solutions to the security problems in the state and country at large.

    The committee since inception have been working hand in hand with the governors forum to address security challenges in the country. We have earlier visited Benue, Nasarawa,Taraba and Adamawa and we have recorded great successes during the visits. We are in Zamfara today and from what we have seen we are expecting good outcome from the people of the state. I am using this opportunity to call on Nigerians irrespective of our differences to continue to cooperate with the Federal Government under the leadership of President Muhammad Buhari to improve security of the country, he said.

    Responding, Gov. Abdulaziz Yari who described the visit as timely, commended the Federal Government for establishing the committee. Yari said the state government would support and cooperate with the committee to end security challenges in the state and country at large. The committee also met with the major security stakehokders in the state.

    Source: NAN

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    NANTV E!News for Feb. 24, 2018
    Emmanuella made the announcement on her Instagram page thanking Disney Studio for the opportunity. Senate President, Bukola Saraki, in a tweet described Emmanuella as an inspiration to young Nigerians and invited her to the upper Legislative Chamber.

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    TUC to governors: Resign if you cant pay workers
    Chinyere Bassey/Lagos The Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC) on Saturday advised state governors who could not address workers problems to resign. The TUC President, Mr Bobboi Kaigama, said in Lagos that workers could no longer vouch for state governments that non-payment of salaries was as a result of lack of funds. He said that the non-payment could be due to corruption.

    Kaigama made the TUCs views known while addressing journalists after the unions National Executive Council (NEC) meeting. He said that it was only the Lagos State Government that had been regularly paying workers salaries and allowances.All the other states have one issue or the other in terms of salaries or benefits of their workers. You will discover that it is 13 months arrears of gratuities or pensions that have not been paid. In some cases, it is the contributory pension deductions that have not been remitted or promotions arrears and death benefits not been paid, he said.

    He advocated a return to regional government, saying that state governments were failing in their responsibilities. The trust we have in state government has eroded. If it is for the purposes of payment of salaries and infrastructure development such as provision of health facilities, roads, rail transportation and others, we are better off with regional government, Kaigama said.

    The union leader noted that President Muhammadu Buhari had approved bailout funds and budget support funding to enable states to settle workers salaries, to no avail. Kaigama said that accountability in Nigeria was weak, and called for the strengthening of anti-graft agencies. On national minimum wage, Kaigama said that state governments should be determined to pay the wage when approved.

    He also called on the Federal Government to declare a state of emergency in the power sector due to its deteriorating condition. No nation can develop without power, he said.The labour leader urged the government to arrest and prosecute killers of innocent Nigerians in the guise of herdsmen and militia in different parts of the country.

    Source: (NAN)

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