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India affirms advancement, test-fires intercontinental ballistic missile

By Balogun Alabi,

The Indian Defense Ministry said that it has successfully test-fired its Agni-V long-range intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), adding that the nuclear weapon was its most advanced missile.

It was learnt that the ICBM was fired on Thursday morning off the coast of the eastern state of Odisha, which was said to be a major boost to the country’s defense capabilities

According to the ministry, the country currently has no fewer than 120 to 130 nuclear warheads in its arsenal, which indicates its advancement.

India disclosed that the missile had been tested for more than five times since 2012, and that the launch drew the ire of India’s two most important geostrategic adversaries: Pakistan and China.

While commenting on the development on Thursday, the ministry explained that relations between Beijing and New Delhi deteriorated significantly in 2017, after a border dispute in the Himalayan region of Doklam occurred between both countries.

Also, the launch was said to have came during one of India’s flagship geopolitical conferences, themed, the Raisina Dialogue 2018.

The ministry said that the test took place during a panel titled: “Nuclear Unpredictability: Managing the Global Nuclear Framework.”

However, an associate professor of political science in the country, said that the timing of the launch was very interesting.

Ferrari announces Daniil Kyvat as new driver

By Emmanuel Onminyi with Agency report,

Russia’s former Red Bull driver, Daniil Kvyat, will remain involved in Formula One after being named as Ferrari’s development driver ahead of the 2018 season.

Kvyat who has 72 Grands Prix to his name but just one podium finish, took Red Bull to a third-place in China, 2016. But the Russian driver was dropped back to the sister team, Toro Rosso, one race later, and was replaced by Max Verstappen.

He was also handed another mid-season blow in 2017, when Red Bull announced they would be dropping him altogether after nearly five seasons with the two F1 teams.

He briefly returned, finishing 10th at the US Grand Prix when Pierre Gasly was absent, but did not do enough to secure a drive for 2018.

However, Toro Rosso boss, Franz Tost, insisted the 23-year-old “deserves to be in F1”, and the Russian is closing in on a return to racing at the highest level.

Ferrari confirmed today, January 10, on Twitter, that Kvyat has signed as a “development driver”.

“Time for good news today,” Kvyat wrote on Twitter, after joining Charles Leclerc and Antonio Giovinazzi as Ferrari’s F1 reserve drivers.

But Leclerc has a full-time seat with Sauber for 2018 while Giovinazzi is the team’s third driver, implying that Kvyat will occupy Ferrari’s third driver role, news that may not delight Sebastian Vettel.

Kvyat crashed into Vettel during the 2016 Russian Grand Prix, and the German labelled him “the torpedo” in the aftermath.

U.S. Open champion, Stephens, crashes out in Sydney

By Emmanuel Onminyi with Agency report,

U.S Open champion Sloane Stephens’ preparations for the Australian Open hit the rocks on Monday, January 8, when she was bundled out of the first round of Sydney International by Italy’s Camila Giorgi.

Stephens, who has not played since the Fed Cup final in November, looked rusty against the hard-hitting Giorgi and made 35 unforced errors as she lost 6-3 6-0 to the 26-year-old in an hour.

The world number 13 has not won a match since beating Madison Keys in the final of the Flushing Meadows in September 2017.

She lost both singles encounters in the Fed Cup against Belarus, lost twice in the WTA Elite Trophy event in Wuhai and suffered first-round losses in two tournaments in China.

“I trained in Italy, my home, and felt so very good. I did six weeks of preparation. It was great. Very good,” said Giorgi, who missed the end last season with an elbow injury.

“I made a few errors at the start but then I played my game and it was good after that.”

Giorgi will next meet two-time Wimbledon champion, Petra Kvitova, who secured her passage after 2017 Australian Open semi-finalist, Mirjana Lucic-Baroni, retired following a first set 6-1 loss.

Meanwhile, Germany’s 2016 Melbourne Park title winner, Angelique Kerber, also progressed to the next round, saving two match points to beat Lucie Safarova 6-7(3) 7-6 (8) 6-2.

Kerber’s victory sends her into a second round clash with multiple grand slam champion, Venus Williams.

However, Slovakia’s Dominika Cibulkova, also reached the last 16 with a swift 6-3 6-1 demolition of eighth seeded Latvian, Anastasija Sevastova.

In the mean time, Sydney’s weather continued to wreak havoc as extreme heat was replaced by storms with hail, lightning and rain all halting the Kerber-Safarova clash.

The Australian Open, the opening grand slam of the year, runs from January 15 to 28, 2018.

Scolari to lead Australia to 2018 World Cup

By Emmanuel Onminyi,

Ahead of the 2018 World Cup in Russia, former Brazil’s World Cup winning coach, Felipe Scolari, has announced that Australia have approached him to lead them to the tournament, and he has accepted the job.

Scolari, who recently ended a two-and-a-half year stint with Chinese club, Guangzhou Evergrande, said the Socceroos had spoken with his agent about him replacing Ange Postecoglou, who resigned in November.

Australia qualified for Russia after beating Honduras in an intercontinental playoff and have been drawn in Group C alongside France, Peru and Denmark. Postecoglou quit the Socceroos a week after securing Australia’s spot at the mundial.

Having led Brazil to World Cup glory in 2002, Scolari suffered a heartbreaking 7-1 home defeat by Germany in the 2014 tournament; their first home loss since 1975, and Scolari described as the “worst day of my life”.

The tactician’s reign as Brazil’s coach came to an end days later after the Selecaos were handed a 3-0 defeat by the Netherlands in their third place match.

The former Chelsea handler stated that he does not just want to take a team to the World Cup, but beyond the tournament, as he intends to lead a team with an organized project for one or two years.

 

Ighalo sure of spot in World Cup team

By Emmanuel Onminyi,

Changchun Yatai of China striker, Odion Jude Ighalo says he is sure of being part of Nigeria’s squad to next year’s World Cup, and debunked speculation that playing in the Chinese Super League could hamper his chances of being part of the Super Eagles’ list to the Mundial.

Ighalo insists that his presence in China is not in any way hampering his relevance in the team, as he believes the technical adviser, Gernot Rohr, is very understanding and always has his players at heart.

As he seeks a spot on the final list, Ighalo said playing with the Eagles in the World Cup is his motivation , not lining his pocket for any monetary reward.

Ighalo claimed he is ready and looking forward to playing a leading role for the team at Russia 2018, and any financial reward that comes his way would be an extra gain for him and his teammates.

He said, “Most of us in the team have not gone to the World Cup, so there is no amount of money that can get me motivated.”

“Playing in the World Cup is my motivation because I have only been to the Under 20 World Cup. It will be a great honour for me to represent over 170 million Nigerians in Russia.”

Chinese city to host 2020 World indoor Championship

By Emmanuel Onminyi,

Following three technically high level presentations made by all three candidates biding to host the event, the Chinese city of Nanjing was awarded the hosting right of the 2020 International Association of Athletics Federations, IAAF, World Indoor Championships.

Delegations from the three candidate cities made their presentations for the award of the hosting right, after the drawing of lots involving Nanjing (China), Belgrade (Serbia) and Torun (Poland).

Athletes of the past and present played a central role in the presentations. They included China’s reigning world shot-put champion, Gong Lijiao, Serbia’s reigning European outdoor and indoor long jump gold medalist, Ivana Spanovic, and Poland’s 2002 European Indoor 400m champion, Marek Plawgo.

Nanjing, a city of more than 8 million, staged the 2014 Olympic Youth Games and will build a stadium specifically for the world indoor championships in the Nanjing Youth Olympic Sports Park. It will offer a permanent legacy as an athletics training centre after the championships.

Trump faults Varsity basketball players’ comment after securing release

By Newsdesk with agency report

The last may not have been heard of the shoplifting incident which involved three University of California Los Angeles, UCLA, basketball players in the Hangzhou, China, after United States President, Donald Trump, said that he should have left them in jail.

It would be recalled that the three players namely LiAngelo Ball, Jalen Hill and Cody Riley, were in the UCLA team due to play Georgia Tech at the Pac-12 China Game. However, they were caught stealing from a shop which the players confessed to have committed as they apologized for their actions.

The players, whose release were facilitated by the president during his visit to Asia, upon their release, thank the the President for intervening in their case.

Expressing his displeasure over the act committed by the players, Trump in a statement posted on one of his social media, lamented that he regretted intervening in securing their release.

Trumps outburst was sparked by one of the players’ father,  LaVar Ball, who claimed that the President did not go to China to seek the release of the boys, but for other reasons.

But LaVar Ball, father of LA Lakers’s star, Lonzo Ball, was heavily criticized by Trump’s social media director, Dan Scavino, stressing that LaVar’s son would have been in China for a longer period if not for the timely intervention of the President.

Meanwhile, all three players have since been suspended indefinitely from the team.

 

China agrees to buy $5bn U.S. soybeans 

By Abolaji Adebayo

Following the trade accords between U.S. and China, the Chinese government has shown intention to purchase additional 12 million tonnes of soybeans worth $5billion from the U.S. in the 2017/18 marketing year.

The non-binding agreements, disclosed by the U.S. Soybean Export Council (USSEC) in a statement, were among a series of trade accords announced during the visit of U.S. President Donald Trump to Beijing.

China is the world’s top soybean buyer and the U.S. its second supplier after Brazil.

In the first agreement, signed on November 8, the China Chamber of Commerce of Foodstuffs and Native Produce said it intended to purchase eight million tonnes of U.S. soybeans worth 3.4 billion dollars.

A second agreement was signed on Thursday between grains trader ADM, and China’s COFCO for intent to purchase four million tonnes of soybeans worth 1.6 billion dollars, said the USSEC.

The two deals followed a pledge by Chinese importers to buy 12.53 million tonnes of U.S. soybeans during a visit to the U.S. in July.

China’s agriculture ministry revised up its forecast for soybean imports in the 2017/18 crop year on Thursday to 95.97 million tonnes from a previous forecast of 94.5 million tonnes.

Germany cautions U.S. against imposing sanction on Iran

By Newsdesk

The German government has cautioned United State on persistent threat to terminate nuclear deal with Iran, stressing that, terminating or imposing sanction could further result in the middle east country developing nuclear weapons.

According to the country, if such action is embarked upon, it could also raise the danger of war close to Europe which spell doom for the continent.

Germany’s Foreign Minister, Sigmar Gabriel, who cautioned U.S on Saturday, said that U.S president, Donald Trump, had sent a difficult and dangerous signal when dealing with the North Korea nuclear crisis.

It would be recalled that Trump had yesterday refused to formally certify that Tehran was complying with the 2015 accord even though international inspectors said it is, even as he warned that the agreement could be terminated.

Trump has also given the U.S. Congress 60 days to decide whether to reinstate economic sanctions on Iran that was lifted in 2016.

 

He warned: “My big concern is that what is happening in Iran or with Iran from the U.S. perspective will not remain an Iranian issue but many others in the world will consider whether they themselves should acquire nuclear weapons too given that such agreements are being destroyed. And then our children and grandchildren will grow up in a very dangerous world.”

The minister warned that if the deal is terminated or U.S reimposed sanctions on Iran, it would give the country hardliners, who are against negotiations with the West, the upper hand.

“Then they might revert to developing nuclear weapons and Israel would not tolerate that and then we will be back where we were 10, 12 years ago with the danger of war relatively close to Europe,’’ Gabriel said.

The minister urged the U.S government not to endanger the security of its allies and its own people for domestic policy reasons.

After signing the deal, former president, Barack Obama, described it as key to stopping Iran from building a nuclear bomb, the deal was also signed by China, France, Russia, Britain, Germany and the European Union.

European allies have warned of a split with Washington over the nuclear agreement and said that putting it in limbo undermines U.S. credibility abroad.

EFCC arrests Bureau de Change operator over alleged $2.4m scam

By NewsDesk

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has arrested one Rabiu Yusuf, a Bureau de Change operator, who allegedly duped a Chinese National to a tune of $2.4million.

It was gathered that the suspect allegedly collected the sum of N2.8million from the complainant, one Xing Hui Yao, for purchase of dollar equivalent, which amount to $13,6million.

According to Head, Media & Publicity, EFCC, Wilson Uwujaren, who confirmed the arrest, the complainant further alleged that the suspect paid her only $11.2million and fraudulently diverted the sum of $2.4million to his personal use.

Uwujaren stated that the suspect has already volunteered statement, while Investigation continues.