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Nigeria's Onome Ebi sits on the pitch during their women's first-round group F soccer match against Brazil at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games
Nigeria’s Onome Ebi sits on the pitch during their women’s first-round group F soccer match against Brazil at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games August 12, 2008. REUTERS/Ceerwan Aziz

May 25, 2019

LAGOS (Reuters) – Defender Onome Ebi was named to play at her fifth women’s World Cup when she was included on Saturday in Nigeria’s squad for next month’s finals in France.

Ebi, 36, first competed at the 2003 women’s World Cup in the U.S. and then at subsequent editions in China, Germany and Canada.

She is the first African to achieve the feat.

Three-time African women’s Footballer of the Year Asisat Oshoala will be the Super Falcons’ key player as they take on Norway in Reims on June 8 and then South Korea and hosts France in Group A.

She featured for Barcelona in the women’s Champions League final defeat to Olympique Lyonnais in Budapest last week.

The Nigerian squad features 15 foreign-based players in a much-changed look since Swedish-born coach Thomas Dennerby took over 18 months ago.

Nigeria have been past the first round only once in seven previous World Cup finals appearances.

Squad:

Goalkeepers: Alaba Jonathan (Bayelsa Queens), Chiamaka Nnadozie, Tochukwu Oluehi (both Rivers Angels)

Defenders: Ngozi Ebere (Arna Bjornar), Onome Ebi (Henan Huisanhang), Faith Michael (Pitea IF), Osinachi Ohale (Vaxjo), Chidinma Okeke (FC Robo)

Midfielders: Halimatu Ayinde (Eskilstuna United), Rita Chikwelu (Kristianstand), Ogonna Chukwudi (Djurgardens), Evelyn Nwabuoku (Rivers Angels), Ngozi Okobi-Okeoghene (Eskilstuna United), Amarachi Okoronkwo (Nasarawa Amazons)

Forwards: Rasheedat Ajibade (Alvadsnes), Chinwendu Ihezuo (Henana Huisanhang), Anam Imo (Malmo FC Rosengard), Uchenna Kanu (Southeastern University), Alice Ogebe (Rivers Angels), Desire Oparanozie (En Avant Guingamp), Francisca Ordega (Shanghai W), Asisat Oshoala (Barcelona), Chinaza Uchendu (Sporting Braga).

(Reporting by Mark Gleeson in Cape Town; Editing by Clare Fallon)

Source: OANN

Ice Hockey World Championships - Semifinals - Russia v Finland
Ice Hockey World Championships – Semifinals – Russia v Finland – Ondrej Nepela Arena, Bratislava, Slovakia – May 25, 2019 Finland’s players celebrate after winning the match. REUTERS/David W Cerny

May 25, 2019

BRATISLAVA (Reuters) – Finland ground out a shock 1-0 win over tournament favorites Russia to reach the world championship final on Saturday after their captain Marko Anttila scored midway through the third period in the Ondrej Nepela Arena.

Sunday’s gold-medal match will pit the Finns, who won their last world title at the same venue in 2011, against either Canada or the Czech Republic, who clash in the other semi-final later on Saturday.

The Russians steamrolled into the last four with eight straight wins and scored 40 goals in the process, but an ironclad Finnish defense stifled them out in a rugged contest.

Both goaltenders, Russia’s Andrei Vasilevski and Finn Kevin Lankinen, pulled off a string of superb saves before Anttila swept home a rebound after Vasilevski parried Henri Jokiharju’s fierce slap-shot.

Although they were on the back foot for long spells against the fast-skating Russians, Finland always looked more likely to score from lightning breaks and nearly did in the second period when Niko Ojamaki hit the post.

The Russians left an empty net in the last 90 seconds to deploy an extra forward but failed to pierce the Finnish armor as the outstanding Lankinen deflected everything the 2014 champions threw at him.

(Writing by Zoran Milosavljevic; Editing by Pritha Sarkar)

Source: OANN

Women's International Friendly - England v Denmark
Soccer Football – Women’s International Friendly – England v Denmark – The Banks’s Stadium, Walsall, Britain – May 25, 2019 England’s Jill Scott celebrates scoring their second goal with Rachel Daly Action Images via Reuters/Ed Sykes

May 25, 2019

(Reuters) – England beat Denmark 2-0 in their penultimate warm-up match before the women’s World Cup, with goals from Nikita Parris and Jill Scott in either half giving the Lionesses the win in Walsall on Saturday.

Phil Neville’s side initially struggled to keep the ball but had the chance to take the lead in the 17th minute when Ellen White was put through on goal on a counter-attack, only to see her effort go wide of the far post.

The hosts were also fortunate late in the half when Signe Bruun bundled the ball into the England net but the goal was disallowed for a handball.

Parris, who recently moved to Champions League winners Olympique Lyon, helped to settle the team’s nerves in first-half stoppage time when she pounced on a poor clearance at the edge of the box and her shot crept past goalkeeper Katrine Abel.

Skipper Scott made it 2-0 with a header from close range in the 59th minute after she made an unmarked run from midfield to get on the end of Beth Mead’s cross.

England play one more warm-up game against New Zealand on June 1 before heading to France for the World Cup where they will begin their campaign in Group D against Scotland on June 9 before taking on Argentina and 2011 champions Japan.

(Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; editing by Clare Fallon)

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FILE PHOTO: Botswana's President Ian Khama returns to his seat after giving a speech during the Botswana-South Africa Bi-National Commission (BNC) in Pretoria
FILE PHOTO: Botswana’s President Ian Khama returns to his seat after giving a speech during the Botswana-South Africa Bi-National Commission (BNC) in Pretoria, South Africa, November 11, 2016. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko/File Photo

May 25, 2019

GABORNE (Reuters) – Former Botswana President Ian Khama quit the ruling party on Saturday as a policy feud with his hand-picked successor deepened, threatening to split the party that has ruled the country since independence in 1966.

Khama handed power to his then-deputy Mokgweetsi Masisi last year after serving as president of the diamond-rich southern African nation for a decade, and he remains an influential figure in the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP).

But Masisi, only the third person from outside the Khama political dynasty to lead Botswana since independence from Britain, has clashed repeatedly with his former ally since he took over.

Their latest disagreement was over Masisi’s decision to lift the suspension on big game hunting imposed by Khama’s government in 2014.

Khama told a gathering on Saturday in the northeastern village of Serowe, where he is paramount chief, he was switching support from the BDP to opposition alliance Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) ahead of an October general election.

“I came here to tell you that I am cutting ties with the BDP as I do not recognize this party anymore. It was a mistake to choose Masisi as my successor. I will now work with the opposition to make sure that the BDP loses power in October,” Khama said.

Khama served the maximum two terms as president before stepping down in a scripted succession that compelled him to hand power to his deputy.

In a 2014 general election, the BDP failed for the first time to score an outright majority as the country struggles to make its ailing economy less reliant on diamond sales.

(Reporting by Brian Benza; Writing by Mfuneko Toyana; Editing by Helen Popper)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: Botswana's President Ian Khama returns to his seat after giving a speech during the Botswana-South Africa Bi-National Commission (BNC) in Pretoria
FILE PHOTO: Botswana’s President Ian Khama returns to his seat after giving a speech during the Botswana-South Africa Bi-National Commission (BNC) in Pretoria, South Africa, November 11, 2016. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko/File Photo

May 25, 2019

GABORNE (Reuters) – Former Botswana President Ian Khama quit the ruling party on Saturday as a policy feud with his hand-picked successor deepened, threatening to split the party that has ruled the country since independence in 1966.

Khama handed power to his then-deputy Mokgweetsi Masisi last year after serving as president of the diamond-rich southern African nation for a decade, and he remains an influential figure in the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP).

But Masisi, only the third person from outside the Khama political dynasty to lead Botswana since independence from Britain, has clashed repeatedly with his former ally since he took over.

Their latest disagreement was over Masisi’s decision to lift the suspension on big game hunting imposed by Khama’s government in 2014.

Khama told a gathering on Saturday in the northeastern village of Serowe, where he is paramount chief, he was switching support from the BDP to opposition alliance Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) ahead of an October general election.

“I came here to tell you that I am cutting ties with the BDP as I do not recognize this party anymore. It was a mistake to choose Masisi as my successor. I will now work with the opposition to make sure that the BDP loses power in October,” Khama said.

Khama served the maximum two terms as president before stepping down in a scripted succession that compelled him to hand power to his deputy.

In a 2014 general election, the BDP failed for the first time to score an outright majority as the country struggles to make its ailing economy less reliant on diamond sales.

(Reporting by Brian Benza; Writing by Mfuneko Toyana; Editing by Helen Popper)

Source: OANN

People walk past a damaged building in the city of Idlib
People walk past a damaged building in the city of Idlib, Syria May 25, 2019. REUTERS/Khalil Ashawi

May 25, 2019

By Suleiman Al-Khalidi

AMMAN (Reuters) – Turkey has equipped an array of mainstream Syrian rebels it backs with fresh supplies of weaponry to help them try to repel a major Russian-backed assault, senior opposition officials and rebel sources said on Saturday.

Russia is backing the Syrian army’s large aerial and ground assault as it seeks to gain control of the last big stretch of rebel-held territory in the northwest of the country.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad launched the assault last month, saying rebels had breached an existing ceasefire, triggering a civilian exodus by bombarding Idlib and adjacent areas. It has been the biggest escalation since last summer between Assad and his enemies in Idlib province and a belt of territory around it.

Ankara stepped up supplies in recent days after failing to persuade Russia in recent meetings of a joint working group that it should end its escalation to avert a major influx of refugees pouring into Turkey, two senior opposition figures said.

In doing so Turkey signaled its readiness to preserve its influence in northwestern Syria, where it has beefed up its troop presence in a dozen military bases that were set up under a de-escalation deal with Russia, a senior rebel commander said.

Turkish officials were not immediately available for comment.

Overnight, a Turkish military convoy arrived in a base in northern Hama near rebel-held Jabal al Zawiya, where Russian and Syrian jets have been pounding for weeks, a rebel and a witness said.

The delivery of dozens of armoured vehicles, Grad rocket launchers, anti-tank guided missiles and so-called TOW missiles, helped roll back some army gains and retake the strategically located town of Kfar Nabouda, one senior opposition figure said.

A spokesman for the Turkey-backed National Liberation Front (NLF), Captain Naji Mustafa, did not confirm or deny any new supplies by Turkey, saying rebels had long had a big arsenal of weapons from anti-tank to armoured vehicles “alongside material and logistical support by our Turkish brothers”.

The retreat from Kfar Nabouda was an upset to a Russian goal of a speedy military campaign to gain another slice of heavily populated Idlib province.

In the last 24 hours, the Syrian army has been sending large troop reinforcements ahead of opening a new front, a source in touch with Syrian army commanders told Reuters.

The Syrian army said on Saturday it continued to intensify its attacks on what it called terrorist hideouts in the northwest.

A Turkey backed-rebel grouping called the National Army which operates in northwestern border areas near Turkey has been allowed to join mainstream rebel factions along the frontlines.

“Large numbers of our fighters have joined with all their weapons to repel the assault,” Major Youssef Hamoud, their spokesman, said.

The rebels’ readiness to put aside differences that once led to bloody internecine fighting has united jihadists and mainstream rebels for the first time in years.

(Reporting by Suleiman Al-Khalidi; Additional reporting by Daren Butler in Istanbul; Editing by Frances Kerry)

Source: OANN

People walk past a damaged building in the city of Idlib
People walk past a damaged building in the city of Idlib, Syria May 25, 2019. REUTERS/Khalil Ashawi

May 25, 2019

By Suleiman Al-Khalidi

AMMAN (Reuters) – Turkey has equipped an array of mainstream Syrian rebels it backs with fresh supplies of weaponry to help them try to repel a major Russian-backed assault, senior opposition officials and rebel sources said on Saturday.

Russia is backing the Syrian army’s large aerial and ground assault as it seeks to gain control of the last big stretch of rebel-held territory in the northwest of the country.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad launched the assault last month, saying rebels had breached an existing ceasefire, triggering a civilian exodus by bombarding Idlib and adjacent areas. It has been the biggest escalation since last summer between Assad and his enemies in Idlib province and a belt of territory around it.

Ankara stepped up supplies in recent days after failing to persuade Russia in recent meetings of a joint working group that it should end its escalation to avert a major influx of refugees pouring into Turkey, two senior opposition figures said.

In doing so Turkey signaled its readiness to preserve its influence in northwestern Syria, where it has beefed up its troop presence in a dozen military bases that were set up under a de-escalation deal with Russia, a senior rebel commander said.

Turkish officials were not immediately available for comment.

Overnight, a Turkish military convoy arrived in a base in northern Hama near rebel-held Jabal al Zawiya, where Russian and Syrian jets have been pounding for weeks, a rebel and a witness said.

The delivery of dozens of armoured vehicles, Grad rocket launchers, anti-tank guided missiles and so-called TOW missiles, helped roll back some army gains and retake the strategically located town of Kfar Nabouda, one senior opposition figure said.

A spokesman for the Turkey-backed National Liberation Front (NLF), Captain Naji Mustafa, did not confirm or deny any new supplies by Turkey, saying rebels had long had a big arsenal of weapons from anti-tank to armoured vehicles “alongside material and logistical support by our Turkish brothers”.

The retreat from Kfar Nabouda was an upset to a Russian goal of a speedy military campaign to gain another slice of heavily populated Idlib province.

In the last 24 hours, the Syrian army has been sending large troop reinforcements ahead of opening a new front, a source in touch with Syrian army commanders told Reuters.

The Syrian army said on Saturday it continued to intensify its attacks on what it called terrorist hideouts in the northwest.

A Turkey backed-rebel grouping called the National Army which operates in northwestern border areas near Turkey has been allowed to join mainstream rebel factions along the frontlines.

“Large numbers of our fighters have joined with all their weapons to repel the assault,” Major Youssef Hamoud, their spokesman, said.

The rebels’ readiness to put aside differences that once led to bloody internecine fighting has united jihadists and mainstream rebels for the first time in years.

(Reporting by Suleiman Al-Khalidi; Additional reporting by Daren Butler in Istanbul; Editing by Frances Kerry)

Source: OANN

A view shows the nuclear-powered icebreaker
A view shows the nuclear-powered icebreaker “Ural” during the float out ceremony at the Baltic Shipyard in St. Petersburg, Russia May 25, 2019. REUTERS/Anton Vaganov

May 25, 2019

ST PETERSBURG, Russia (Reuters) – Russia launched a nuclear-powered icebreaker on Saturday, part of an ambitious program to renew and expand its fleet of the vessels in order to improve its ability to tap the Arctic’s commercial potential.

The ship, dubbed the Ural and which was floated out from a dockyard in St Petersburg, is one of a trio that when completed will be the largest and most powerful icebreakers in the world.

Russia is building new infrastructure and overhauling its ports as, amid warmer climate cycles, it readies for more traffic via what it calls the Northern Sea Route (NSR) which it envisages being navigable year-round.

The Ural is due to be handed over to Russia’s state-owned nuclear energy corporation Rosatom in 2022 after the two other icebreakers in the same series, Arktika (Arctic) and Sibir (Siberia), enter service.

“The Ural together with its sisters are central to our strategic project of opening the NSR to all-year activity,” Alexey Likhachev, Rosatom’s chief executive, was quoted saying.

President Vladimir Putin said in April Russia was stepping up construction of icebreakers with the aim of significantly boosting freight traffic along its Arctic coast.

The drive is part of a push to strengthen Moscow’s hand in the High North as it vies for dominance with traditional rivals Canada, the United States and Norway, as well as newcomer China.

By 2035, Putin said Russia’s Arctic fleet would operate at least 13 heavy-duty icebreakers, nine of which would be powered by nuclear reactors.

The Arctic holds oil and gas reserves equivalent to 412 billion barrels of oil, about 22 percent of the world’s undiscovered oil and gas, the U.S. Geological Survey estimates.

Moscow hopes the route which runs from Murmansk to the Bering Strait near Alaska could take off as it cuts sea transport times from Asia to Europe.

Designed to be crewed by 75 people, the Ural will be able to slice through ice up to around 3 meters thick.

(Reporting by Dmitry Vasilyev; Writing by Andrew Osborn and Polina Devitt; Editing by David Holmes)

Source: OANN

A view shows the nuclear-powered icebreaker
A view shows the nuclear-powered icebreaker “Ural” during the float out ceremony at the Baltic Shipyard in St. Petersburg, Russia May 25, 2019. REUTERS/Anton Vaganov

May 25, 2019

ST PETERSBURG, Russia (Reuters) – Russia launched a nuclear-powered icebreaker on Saturday, part of an ambitious program to renew and expand its fleet of the vessels in order to improve its ability to tap the Arctic’s commercial potential.

The ship, dubbed the Ural and which was floated out from a dockyard in St Petersburg, is one of a trio that when completed will be the largest and most powerful icebreakers in the world.

Russia is building new infrastructure and overhauling its ports as, amid warmer climate cycles, it readies for more traffic via what it calls the Northern Sea Route (NSR) which it envisages being navigable year-round.

The Ural is due to be handed over to Russia’s state-owned nuclear energy corporation Rosatom in 2022 after the two other icebreakers in the same series, Arktika (Arctic) and Sibir (Siberia), enter service.

“The Ural together with its sisters are central to our strategic project of opening the NSR to all-year activity,” Alexey Likhachev, Rosatom’s chief executive, was quoted saying.

President Vladimir Putin said in April Russia was stepping up construction of icebreakers with the aim of significantly boosting freight traffic along its Arctic coast.

The drive is part of a push to strengthen Moscow’s hand in the High North as it vies for dominance with traditional rivals Canada, the United States and Norway, as well as newcomer China.

By 2035, Putin said Russia’s Arctic fleet would operate at least 13 heavy-duty icebreakers, nine of which would be powered by nuclear reactors.

The Arctic holds oil and gas reserves equivalent to 412 billion barrels of oil, about 22 percent of the world’s undiscovered oil and gas, the U.S. Geological Survey estimates.

Moscow hopes the route which runs from Murmansk to the Bering Strait near Alaska could take off as it cuts sea transport times from Asia to Europe.

Designed to be crewed by 75 people, the Ural will be able to slice through ice up to around 3 meters thick.

(Reporting by Dmitry Vasilyev; Writing by Andrew Osborn and Polina Devitt; Editing by David Holmes)

Source: OANN

Formula One F1 - Monaco Grand Prix
Formula One F1 – Monaco Grand Prix – Circuit de Monaco, Monte Carlo, Monaco – May 25, 2019 General view of the car of Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton in the garage during qualifying REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes

May 25, 2019

MONACO (Reuters) – Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton put Mercedes on an emotional pole position for the showcase Monaco Grand Prix on Saturday with team mate Valtteri Bottas alongside on the front row.

The pole, record-extending 85th of the Briton’s stellar career, came with Mercedes mourning the death on Monday of triple world champion Niki Lauda, the team’s non-executive chairman.

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen qualified third and Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel fourth.

A glaring strategy error by Ferrari cost Charles Leclerc the chance to shine at home, with the 21-year-old failing to make it through the first phase and qualifying only 16th after going fastest in final practice.

(Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Pritha Sarkar)

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