Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Benin to invest in one of West Africa’s last wildlife havens

Benin to invest in one of West Africa’s last wildlife havens 

Benin on Wednesday announced a 10-year plan to rehabilitate Pendjari National Park, one of the last viable wildlife reserves in west Africa.

Like other west African countries, Benin is struggling to preserve its natural ecosystems in the face of rapid population growth, poaching and resource extraction, including mining and logging.

Pendjari — in Benin’s far northwest on the border with Burkina Faso — is one of only a handful of parks in the region that still boasts elephants, lions, buffalo, cheetah and antelope. The goal is to double the park’s wildlife populations within a decade, Benin’s government said in a statement.

“The action plan for the park aims to develop responsible tourism and to ensure the economic and social development of the region,” it said. One of the first priorities of the plan, a $26-million (23-million-euro) partnership between Benin and conservation non-governmental organisation African Parks, is to secure Pendjari’s borders and protect the wildlife from poachers.

A special brigade including 10 officers and 90 guards will be set up, tasked with patrolling a 190-kilometre (120-mile) perimeter fence and 150 kilometres of roads.

The plan will also see scientific monitoring of key species and the development of the region’s tourism industry, the government said. Wildlife watching constitutes 80 per cent of trips to Africa, where visits by international tourists generate $36 billion, according to an October 2015 report published by the African Development Bank Group.

But most of that money goes to South Africa and Kenya, countries that have promoted a thriving wildlife tourism industry.

Years of mismanagement in west Africa have left the region’s parks in desperate need of investment and visitors.

Wenger signs new two-year contract with Arsenal

Wenger signs new two-year contract with Arsenal 





















Arsene Wenger has ended speculation over his future by signing a two-year contract extension with Arsenal, the Premier League club announced on Wednesday.

Arsenal manager, Arsene Wenger Wenger had sparked by fears he might end his 21-year reign by delaying his decision over whether he would accept Arsenal’s offer of a new deal until the end of the season.

But after winning the FA Cup for a record seventh time on Saturday, the 67-year-old Frenchman hinted he would stay and the decision has now been made official following meetings with the Gunners’ board earlier this week.

“I love this club and I am looking forward to the future with optimism and excitement. We are looking at what we do well and how we can be stronger everywhere,” Wenger told Arsenal’s website.

I caught my husband making love in our bedroom, woman tells court

I caught my husband making love in our bedroom, woman tells court 






















A 40-year-old trader, Mrs Folake Alimi, on Wednesday told an Igando Customary Court in Lagos that she caught her husband making love to a girl on their matrimonial bed.

The woman said this while responding to a divorce suit filed by her husband whom she accused of cheating on her. “I came home unannounced and I caught my husband making love to a girl; he jumped up when he noticed my presence.

“I also saw him with a woman in a hotel near our house when I went to buy food. “He begged me not to expose him because of his position in the church and I kept it a secret,” she said. The respondent said her husband was always jealous and had often accused her of dating every man he saw her with.

“My husband stopped me from working claiming men are dating me,” she said. The mother of four said that what used to cause their frequent fights was his penchant for buying things for the children of his first wife and ignoring her own.

She begged the court not to grant her husband’s wish for the dissolution of the marriage, claiming that she was still in love with him. Her husband, Joseph, had approached the court seeking to end his 11-year-old marriage over his wife’s alleged infidelity.

“My wife is cheating on me, she receives calls from men at odd hours,” he said. The petitioner accused his wife of going out and returning at will.

“My wife abandoned me and the children for one year for an unknown destination; she came back and left for another seven months.

“She was always going to parties and spending days before coming back,” the estranged husband said. The 47-year-old businessman said that his wife’s son from another father, in company with a gang, attacked him in his church with cutlass, rods and other dangerous weapons.

“My step-son that I trained came to my church with his gang in order to beat me up because I beat his mother,” he said. He urged the court to terminate the marriage, saying he was no longer in love with his wife. The President of the court, Mr Adegboyega Omilola, adjourned the case till June 28 for further hearing.

Police hunt for perpetrators of violence at Oshodi LG primaries

Police hunt for perpetrators of violence at Oshodi LG primaries

The Police say they are on the hunt for perpetrators of the violence at Shogunle during the All Progressives Congress’ (APC) primaries for councillors in Oshodi, Lagos State.

The fracas which occurred on May 29 led to the death of the Chairman of the Motorcycle Riders Union in Lagos State, Mr Rasak Bello popularly known as Hamburger.

Police spokesperson, ASP Olarinde Famous-Cole, said normalcy had since returned to the place and that investigation was on to arrest the perpetrators.

“Normalcy has returned to the place, no more violence, the place is now calm. We are working with those that have useful information on what led to the violence.

“Definitely, there will be eye witnesses; it is just that most of them don’t want to come out as they belong to same party.

“The police have commenced investigation to hunt down the perpetrators of the violence as the command will continue to maintain law and order in the state. “One life was however lost while another person was injured”, Famous – Cole said. NAN learnt that Hamburger had gone to observe the primaries at the venue for Ladipo Sogunle ward when he was attacked.

After the winner was declared, some hoodlums invaded the venue in a bus filled with guns and broken bottles.

They shot sporadically and went straight to where Hamburger and his friends were staying and shot into their midst.. NAN learnt that many other persons were injured following the violence which marred primaries at Ilupeju, Mushin, and Ogudu among other places.
Life returns to Imo after IPOB’s site-at-home directive 




















The Director-General, Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMet), Prof. Sani Mashi, says the agency is prepared to partner ABIMET, an Austrian based meteorological services provider, to improve weather forecast services in Nigeria.

 Mashi disclosed this when the company’s team led by its Executive Assistant, Mr Christoph Neudhart, visited him in Abuja.

ADVERTISING inRead invented by Teads He said that NiMet was currently faced with a number of challenges, ranging from capacity deficit to inadequacy of density of network stations.

He said that NiMet currently had only 54 weather stations across the country to service the huge population and land mass, which he said were in inadequate.

According to NiMet boss, Nigeria is supposed to have not less than 9,000 weather stations but we currently have only 54 because of technical and capacity challenges.

“ABUMET is a leading provider of precise meteorological services and severe weather warning globally and we are ready to partner them especially in the area of technical support and capacity building. “We can leverage on their experience to raise the capacity of our personnel so as to be able to make good use of weather information to address weather challenges in the country.

“Like I have always said, we are very much in deficit in terms of the requirement of the density of network station because we need thousands of them but we have less than a hundred now.

“There is need to provide thousands of them and then the challenges of providing them are enormous.

“Parts of the challenges are technical and this is related to capacity and ABIMET can help us in tackling some of these challenges.

“NiMet is currently in partnership with other international agencies like the UK Met Office in the area of capacity building but ABIMET may have other areas we can benefit from,” he said. Mashi said that the agency had achieved a milestone in its forecast services over the years, adding that the recent downscaling of Seasonal Rainfall Prediction (SRP) for states was as another feat.

He said that Katsina State being the first to buy into the initiative had acknowledged the efficiency and accuracy of NiMet’s SRP.

He said that the state government has produced its report for 2016 with 100 per cent accuracy. The leader of the team, Christoph Neudhart, said they were in NiMet to seek collaboration on how to broaden and enhance its capacity to provide more precise meteorological services.

Neudhart said that ABIMET, which is based in Vienna, Austria, had entered into partnership with many organisations and international agencies to help provide useful meteorological data.

He said that the company was in agreement with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), on agriculture and other areas.

Among the areas highlighted by Neudhart was what he called, “Weather cockpit” which includes rain rader and lighting detection as well as risk assessment and calculation. “Actually, we want to collaborate because what we strongly believe is that you need to be the one who is on the ground to know what is happening in the climate services.

“What we want to do is to engage in a partnership in areas where we can discuss the possibilities of addressing what they are currently facing challenges or they want to improve. “Also, how we can help them to increase their capacity to provide this alert system that can help complement their services and also increase the market for their services,’’ he said.

NiMet to partner Austrian Meteorological Coy on forecast services

NiMet to partner Austrian Meteorological Coy on forecast services




































The Director-General, Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMet), Prof. Sani Mashi, says the agency is prepared to partner ABIMET, an Austrian based meteorological services provider, to improve weather forecast services in Nigeria.

 Mashi disclosed this when the company’s team led by its Executive Assistant, Mr Christoph Neudhart, visited him in Abuja.

ADVERTISING inRead invented by Teads He said that NiMet was currently faced with a number of challenges, ranging from capacity deficit to inadequacy of density of network stations.

He said that NiMet currently had only 54 weather stations across the country to service the huge population and land mass, which he said were in inadequate.

According to NiMet boss, Nigeria is supposed to have not less than 9,000 weather stations but we currently have only 54 because of technical and capacity challenges.

“ABUMET is a leading provider of precise meteorological services and severe weather warning globally and we are ready to partner them especially in the area of technical support and capacity building. “We can leverage on their experience to raise the capacity of our personnel so as to be able to make good use of weather information to address weather challenges in the country.

“Like I have always said, we are very much in deficit in terms of the requirement of the density of network station because we need thousands of them but we have less than a hundred now.

“There is need to provide thousands of them and then the challenges of providing them are enormous.

“Parts of the challenges are technical and this is related to capacity and ABIMET can help us in tackling some of these challenges.

“NiMet is currently in partnership with other international agencies like the UK Met Office in the area of capacity building but ABIMET may have other areas we can benefit from,” he said. Mashi said that the agency had achieved a milestone in its forecast services over the years, adding that the recent downscaling of Seasonal Rainfall Prediction (SRP) for states was as another feat.

He said that Katsina State being the first to buy into the initiative had acknowledged the efficiency and accuracy of NiMet’s SRP.

He said that the state government has produced its report for 2016 with 100 per cent accuracy. The leader of the team, Christoph Neudhart, said they were in NiMet to seek collaboration on how to broaden and enhance its capacity to provide more precise meteorological services.

Neudhart said that ABIMET, which is based in Vienna, Austria, had entered into partnership with many organisations and international agencies to help provide useful meteorological data.

He said that the company was in agreement with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), on agriculture and other areas.

Among the areas highlighted by Neudhart was what he called, “Weather cockpit” which includes rain rader and lighting detection as well as risk assessment and calculation. “Actually, we want to collaborate because what we strongly believe is that you need to be the one who is on the ground to know what is happening in the climate services.

“What we want to do is to engage in a partnership in areas where we can discuss the possibilities of addressing what they are currently facing challenges or they want to improve. “Also, how we can help them to increase their capacity to provide this alert system that can help complement their services and also increase the market for their services,’’ he said.

Yudala cautions smartphone users on free public Wi-Fi

Yudala cautions smartphone users on free public Wi-Fi 

Yudala, an e-commerce company has cautioned smartphone users on the use of free public Wi-Fi, due to the risk of information hacking. Yudala’s Head of Corporate Communications, Gideon Ayogu gave the warning in a statement on Wednesday in Lagos.

Ayogu said that the free connections were accessible in public locations such as parks, banks, hotels, restaurants, among others.

He said that the benefits of free Wi-Fi access, such as the ease of connectivity and opportunity to conserve cellular data made it a common occurrence for most users to seek out these free connections.

“Findings by the Research and Development Unit of Yudala shows that caution must however be exercised when accessing sensitive personal information.

“Caution must be exercised when carrying out online shopping or mobile banking activities over a free public Wi-Fi connection, as this could predispose one to grave losses from hackers. “Armed with routers, remote spying software and other tools of their nefarious trade, these hackers, whose increasing level of sophistication is a source of global alarm, are capable of setting up fake hot spots.

“These fake hot spots trap users into thinking they are connecting to the Wi-Fi of a hotel they are staying in, while in actuality, they have fallen prey,” he said. Ayogu said that one of the tips from Yudala’s Research and Development Unit to help keep Wi-Fi users to be protected was for them to always remember that they were vulnerable on public Wi-Fi. He said that such knowledge was essential as it would keep users o be wary when using public Wi-Fi networks.

He however noted that data connection rates were still high, hence people would always make use of public networks. Ayogu said that with data connection rates still comparatively pricey in Nigeria, Wi-Fi hotspots were often a source of joy for most smart phone and device users in need of some free web browsing or social media time.

According to him, due to their often unsecured connections, chances are that the Wi-Fi hot spot you have so gleefully connected to is also occupied by a potential hacker. “Phone users should disable automatic connection to Wi-Fi networks as most smart phones are capable of automatically connecting to available Wi-Fi networks, a development that may expose you to lurking hackers.

“While this feature is often disabled by default, you can do yourself a world of good by double-checking to make sure your device’s setting is on manual connection to Wi-Fi hot spots. “This way, you are protected from unwittingly connecting to a rogue network which may compromise your privacy and other sensitive information,” he said. Ayogu said that users should endeavour to verify the network’s name before connecting.

He said that research showed that most hackers label their fake hot spots with generic names that might fool their preys into thinking they were on the right network.

According to him, a public institution such as the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), may not have its public Wi-Fi network named “Free NCC Wi-Fi.” “Same goes for that hotel you may be staying in or the fast food outlet on the street corner.

“Obvious generic names such as these can be a well-sprung trap by a hacker to snare unsuspecting users.

“If you are not certain of that generic name being the official Wi-Fi network you are about to access, you will do yourself a world of good by asking,” he said. Ayogu said that Wi-Fi users should stick to Hyper Text Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS), websites to avoid exposing themselves to the risks of being hacked over a public Wi-Fi network.

He said that while regular websites transfer contents in plain text, websites that use HTTPS encrypt activity, thus offering an extra layer of security. “In order to be sure you are on an HTTPS website, simply look for a padlock in the address bar or check the URL for “https://…” “In addition, you can download and use software such as `HTTPS Everywhere’ to protect your data.

“HTTPS Everywhere is a Firefox, Chrome and Opera extension that encrypts your communications with many major websites, making your browsing more secure,” Ayogu said. He said that there was the need to turn off file sharing when using a Personal Computer (PC). According to him, users should keep all financial transactions off public Wi-Fi and this applies to mobile banking, online shopping or any other activity that involves exposing sensitive personal or financial information.

“Every public Wi-Fi network should be regarded as a major security risk, as you may be sharing these connections with an eagle-eyed hacker. “Where the transactions cannot wait until you get to a secure network, it is best you rely on your cellular data for these purposes,” he said.

Okorocha sacks cabinet, 27 LG transition committees

Okorocha sacks cabinet, 27 LG transition committees 


















Gov. Rochas Okorocha of Imo on Tuesday sacked the state executive council and 27 local government transition committees with immediate effect.

A statement by the Principal Secretary to the governor, Mr Pascal Obi, in Owerri directed all former members of the executive to hand over to permanent secretaries or the most senior director in their ministries.

Obi quoted the governor as appreciating the invaluable contributions of the affected appointees to the success recorded by his rescue mission administration and wishes them well in their future endeavours.

According to him, the secretary to the government, the chief of staff, chairmen and members of statutory commissions such as ISEC, Civil Service Commission, local government service commission are not affected. “Also not affected in the cabinet shake off are the state universal basic education board, the judicial service commission, and the House of Assembly Service Commission.

“The governor also dissolved the 27 transition committees (TC) of the 27 local government areas in the state. “The Transition Committee (TC) chairmen are advised to hand over to the directors of administration and general services of their respective council areas.

“The governor appreciates the contributions of the TC chairmen to the success of the rescue mission and wishes them well in their future endeavours,” Obi said in the statement.

British PM May could lose majority in June 8 election: YouGov projection

British PM May could lose majority in June 8 election: YouGov projection




















Prime Minister Theresa May could lose control of parliament in Britain’s June 8 election, according to a projection by polling company YouGov.

In stark contrast to opinion polls that have until the past week shown May on course for a big win in the snap election she called, the YouGov model suggested May would lose 20 seats and her 17-seat working majority in the 650-seat British parliament. The YouGov constituency projection, based on 50,000 interviews over the course of a week, showed May would win 310 seats, down from the 331 seats won by her predecessor David Cameron in 2015.

The opposition Labour Party could win 257 seats, up from 232 seats in 2015, YouGov said.

Smaller parties, including the Scottish National Party and Northern Irish parties, could win 83 seats, The Times newspaper quoted YouGov as predicting.

If the YouGov model turns out to be accurate, May would be well short of the 326 seats needed to form a government in June, when formal Brexit negotiations are due to begin.

May called the snap election in a bid to strengthen her hand in negotiations on Britain’s exit from the European Union, to win more time to deal with the impact of the divorce and to strengthen her grip on the Conservative Party.

If she does not beat the 12-seat majority Cameron won in 2015, her electoral gamble will have failed and her authority could be undermined just as she tries to deliver what she has told voters will be a successful Brexit.

When May stunned politicians on April 18 with her call for a snap election, opinion polls suggested she could emulate Margaret Thatcher’s 1983 majority of 144 seats or even threaten Tony Blair’s 1997 Labour majority of 179 seats. Polls had shown May’s rating slipping over the past month and they fell sharply after she set out plans on May 18 to make some elderly people pay a greater share of their care costs, a proposal dubbed the “dementia tax” by opponents.

A total of seven polls carried out since the May 22 Manchester suicide attack have shown May’s lead over the Labour Party narrowing, with some suggesting she might not win the landslide predicted just a month ago.

The polls painted a complicated picture of public opinion, with voting intentions being influenced by both the deadly Manchester attack and May’s unpopular social care proposals. In contrast to YouGov’s model, other projections suggested May would win soundly. The Electoral Calculus website, which predicts the results based on polls and electoral geography, said May would win 371 seats and Labour 205 seats.

Betting markets give a more than 80-per cent probability of May winning an overall majority, though betting markets were wrong ahead of the unexpected Brexit result in the June 23 referendum. The Times said YouGov acknowledged that its predictions were controversial and allowed for a wide margin of error. YouGov Chief Executive Stephan Shakespeare told The Times that the model had been tested during the run-up to the EU referendum last year and that it had consistently put the Leave campaign in the lead.

The YouGov research allowed for big variations in the outcome of the election, ranging from as high as 345 seats for the Conservatives, 15 more than their current number, to as low as 274, The Times said. The model allowed YouGov to assess the intention of every type of voter, from where they live to how they voted on Brexit, their age and social background, in order to weight the results.

Shakespeare said the figures could change dramatically before June 8. “The data suggests that there is churn on all fronts, with the Conservatives, Labour and the Liberal Democrats likely to both lose and gain seats,” he was quoted as saying

BBC: Driver killed, four journalists injured in Kabul attack

BBC: Driver killed, four journalists injured in Kabul attack 

Brussels – One BBC employee has been killed and four journalists injured in the bomb attack in Kabul, the broadcaster confirmed.

“It is with great sadness that the BBC can confirm the death of BBC Afghan driver Mohammed Nazir following the vehicle bomb in Kabul earlier today, as he was driving journalist colleagues to the office,” Francesca Unsworth, the BBC World Service Director, said in a statement.

Kabul car bombing: one of the injured being carried to hospital “Four BBC journalists were also injured and were treated in hospital.

Their injuries are not thought to be life threatening,” Unsworth said. “Mohammed Nazir worked as a driver for the BBC Afghan service for more than four years and was a popular colleague. He was in his late thirties and he leaves a young family,” she added.

“This is a devastating loss to the BBC and to Mohammed Nazir’s friends and family. We are doing all we can to support them and the rest of the team in Kabul.”

A tanker truck bombing in central Kabul killed at least 64 civilians on Wednesday, the Afghan Interior Ministry said, as officials fear the death toll could rise further.

The ministry said three hundred and twenty others were wounded and 50 vehicles destroyed.

Wahidullah Majroh, a spokesman for the Public Health Ministry, said however that 80 people were dead and 350 others wounded.

Little is left of the vehicle, either a water or human waste taker, that was used for the bombing, said Najib Danish, a spokesman for the Interior Ministry. Fifty vehicles were also destroyed in the blast in the Afghan capital’s central Zanbaq Square, according to the ministry.

Zanbaq Square is near many government buildings and foreign embassies, including the presidential palace, the chief executive office, the German embassy and the Indian embassy, among others. The German Embassy was severely damaged in the blast, as pictures from the location show.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani condemned, “the cowardly attack in the holy month of Ramadan targeting innocent civilians in their daily life.”

Afghan Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah wrote on Twitter that he strongly condemned “the terrorist attack in Kabul” and said he stands “in solidarity with the victim families.” Neighbouring Pakistan condemned the attack in a statement from the Foreign Ministry.

“We firmly stand with our Afghan brothers in this hour of grief and anguish,” it said. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack yet.

The Taliban has denied involvement. Emergency, an Italian NGO that operates a hospital near the site of the blast, wrote on Twitter that the explosion “was so big our hospital got damaged,” but said their “staff is well and working to treat the wounded arriving from the blast.”

“By God’s grace, Indian Embassy staff are safe in the massive Kabul blast,” Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj wrote on Twitter.

The U.S. Embassy in Kabul, located near the blast site, advised its citizens to avoid travelling in the area and cancelled its appointments for the day.(dpa/NAN)

President Buhari will bequeath better future to Nigerian Youths – Adesina

President Buhari will bequeath better future to Nigerian Youths – Adesina 

Presidential spokesman Femi Adesina has called for the support of all Nigerians for President Muhammadu Buhari to bequeath a better future to the Nigerian youths.

Adesina made this call in a statement issued by Mr Attah Esa, Deputy Director (Information), Office of the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, on Tuesday in Abuja. Esa said the presidential aide stated this after receiving a Golden Leadership Award from the National Youths Advocacy for Good Governance Initiative.

Adesina maintained that President Buhari had remained in politics because of his desire to see a new Nigeria emerge for the upcoming generation.

‘‘One of the reasons President Buhari repeatedly contested for the position of the President of Nigeria was to see the country properly take care of young people.

‘‘He strongly believes there should be a better country for the future generation. ‘‘Tell your colleagues to team up with a government that envisages a better future for this country because Nigerians deserve a better future and that is what the President is aspiring to bequeath,’’ he said. While presenting the award, the National Coordinator of the Youth Group, Mr Alabi Abiodun, commended Adesina for his exemplary role and service to the nation.

Police uncover illegal firearms factory in Benue

Police uncover illegal firearms factory in Benue 



















MAKURDI—Benue State Police Command has uncovered an illegal firearms factory at Tse-Tyungu, Kyado District of Ukum Local Government Area; arrested three suspects, with several finished and unfinished firearms recovered.

Parading the suspects and the recovered items shortly after flagging off the Show of Strength campaign, which comprise members of security agencies in the state, Benue state Police Commissioner, Bashir Makama, said the discovery was made following a tip-off.

He said the prime suspect in the business, now at large, had been into the manufacturing of the weapons for long, which were being sold to buyers in the state and other parts of the country.

Explaining the circumstances that led to the discovery, the Commissioner said: “Following the arrest of one Felix at Assasi in North Bank area of Makurdi town on May 24, based on reliable information, the suspect confessed to being a distributor and had sold a locally-made Beretta pistol to one Bishop in Abuja for N40,000.

The suspected firearms manufacturers, their tools and recovered arms Arrested suspects “During our investigation, the suspect led operatives to the arms factory at Tse-Tyungu, Kyado District, where several types of guns were being manufactured.

“Two suspects, 25-year-old Tyowa and 18-year-old Aondoyavenga, were arrested at the plant. Items and exhibits recovered from the factory include one carbon cylinder, one gas cylinder, one Sumec generating set, one Dane gun, one fabricated Beretta pistol, one filing machine, one drilling machine, two saws, one tool box, one jute bag containing tools and a motorcycle.”

Makama explained that the command was still investigating the matter, stressing that the police was on the trail of the alleged prime suspect, who reportedly absconded on sighting the Police.

Tuesday, 30 May 2017

French Open Day Three LIVE!

French Open Day Three LIVE!

Andy Murray, Johanna Konta and Kyle Edmund are all looking to book their place in the second round of the French Open.

FRENCH OPEN FIRST ROUND
Konta v Hsieh
Murray v Kuznetsov
Edmund v Elias
Wawrinka, Nishikori, Halep in action

FIRST SET

Just 24 minutes on the board as Konta serves an ace down the middle to win the first set 6-1.

CRUISE CONTROL?

A deep ball from Konta, followed up with a forehand winner into the corner to bring up 15-40. Another forehand ripped cross court and Konta leads 5-1. This could be over quite quickly at this rate.

DEL POTRO LEADS 

Del Potro has also made a bright start as he leads Pella 3-0. Kyrgios is level at 2-2 with Kohlschreiber and Shvedova is up 3-2 with a break against fifth seed Svitolina on Suzanne Lenglen.

Svitolina is second favourite on the women's side behind Halep, who plays Cepelova last on Chatrier.
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HSIEH HOLDS

Hsieh on the board as she holds for 1-3. Konta still very much on top, though, and hitting the ball much harder.

ANDERSON EXCITED

Big-serving Kevin Anderson faces Malek Jaziri today...

KONTA BREAKS

The early signs are very positive for Konta. She holds to love to start and then breaks next game to lead 2-0. Hsieh looks like she is going to find this tough going.
DEL POTRO'S RETURN

There a few more spectators on Court 6 as Del Potro starts his first French Open campaign in five years against fellow Argentine Pella.

Injuries have kept Del Potro out of the tournament since 2012 when he reached the quarter-finals. He has had shoulder and back concerns recently, but is pleased to be back in action in Paris.
"I’m very happy to return after five years," he said. "I’m going to play this tournament again which is really nice and very important. I hope to be in good condition."
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PLAY UNDERWAY

Warm-ups done, the sun is shining and we are ready to go on day three at Roland Garros. As usual - although it still surprises me - there are more than a few empty seats on Chatrier as Konta serves first.

'EMBRACE THE STRUGGLE'

It's not just Konta who has been struggling on clay...

Murray has just five wins under his belt since February and faces a potentially tricky first-round match against Kuznetsov, who arrives in Paris on the back of a run to the semi-finals of the Geneva Open.
"The last few months have not been good, obviously," says Murray. "I haven't played well. I had a few issues, as well. I need to accept that I'm struggling and then find a way to get through it.

"I will get through it, I'm sure of that. When that happens, I don't know. Hopefully it happens in a few days. If it doesn't, maybe it happens during the grass.

"But the only way to get through it is to work your way through it, keep working on your game, try and understand what's not been going right.

"Although it's very frustrating, you have to try to enjoy this part of what we do as well because the struggles are part of what make the good times so enjoyable. I need to enjoy my struggle a little bit just now and that will help me get through it quicker, I believe."

KONTA TO BREAK DUCK?

Konta is seeded seventh for the tournament but has only won two matches in three clay court tournaments this season.

She has also never made it past the first round at the French Open, but is hoping to break her duck against Hsieh, who has not won a match on clay this year.

"I'm looking to apply myself the best I can," says Konta. "I'm looking to stay here for as long as possible.
"I think as long as I feel that I keep growing and I keep improving within the matches that I play, that's what's most important to me right now."
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ORDER OF PLAY
 
First stop, the order of play. It's Konta who kicks things off on Philippe Chatrier as she bids to win her first ever main-draw match at Roland Garros. She faces world No 109 Hsieh Su-Wei.
Zverev and Verdasco are second on Chatrier as they resume their match at one-set all after being called off last night.
Then it's Murray against Kuznetsov while Edmund is third up on Court 14 against Elias.
Also in action today are Wawrinka, Nishikori, Halep, Svitolina, Del Potro and Kyrgios.
GOOD MORNING

Take a large helping of Brits, sprinkle with some more star power and throw in Gael Monfils v Dustin Brown and you've got yourself a pretty tasty day three at Roland Garros.
Stay tuned for all the build-up right here before play gets underway at 10am....
 FRENCH OPEN FIRST ROUND

Konta v Hsieh
Murray v Kuznetsov
Edmund v Elias

Wawrinka, Nishikori, Halep in action

Who should Manchester United sign in this summer's transfer window?

Who should Manchester United sign in this summer's transfer window?


Jose Mourinho is looking to build a squad capable of winning the Champions League
Jose Mourinho is looking to build a squad capable of winning the Champions League
Manchester United will look to bolster their squad this summer, but who should they recruit?
Manchester United finished the Premier League campaign in sixth place under Jose Mourinho, but did win the Europa League, which means United will be playing Champions League football next season.

With the added pressure of competing in Europe's most prestigious club competition, United will be looking to strengthen their squad in the summer. Jose Mourinho has confirmed to Sky Sports News HQ he has handed over responsibility for summer transfers to Manchester United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward.
United have been strongly linked to a number of attacking players, including Antoine Griezmann, Gareth Bale and James Rodriguez.

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ICC Champions Trophy: Questions for England ahead of tournament

ICC Champions Trophy: Questions for England ahead of tournament

Should Roy or Bairstow open? Will Stokes be fit? Can England win?


Should Jonny Bairstow open the batting for England at the Champions Trophy?
Should Jonny Bairstow open the batting for England at the Champions Trophy?
England head into the Champions Trophy with an ODI series win over No 1 side in the world South Africa, though they did fluff their lines in defeat at Lord's.

So ahead of the tournament's start on Thursday, with the hosts facing Bangladesh at The Oval - live on Sky Sports 2 from 10am - what are the key questions still facing England?

England vs Bangladesh

How do they fit Jonny Bairstow into the side? Should they stick with the out-of-sorts Jason Roy? What's the latest on Ben Stokes' knee injury? And can England win the tournament? We asked Sky Sports' Nasser Hussain and Sir Ian Botham…

Should Roy keep his place?

Nasser Hussain: Roy has got three low scores in this series, and if you look at his last eight or so innings, he has only got one fifty. He is out of nick.

But the thing I'd say is, we've been here before on the eve of a major tournament and we make a big change - it just strikes a little bit of panic.

England do go hard at the top of the order, that's why we have to give Roy a little bit of leeway. He has to face some fantastic opening bowlers, two new white balls, and his job is to go hard. So occasionally he will be out of nick, occasionally he will have spells like this.
Highlights of the third ODI between England and South Africa at Lord's
Highlights of the third ODI between England and South Africa at Lord's
It's a little bit of a lesson to Roy - I've watched him over the last couple of years, and he is a man with an incredible amount of ability, but I sometimes think he gives it away. He gets to 30-odd and he gets a little arrogant - that swagger we so often like - and gets out. When he gets in, he needs to kick on and get big 100s, 150s - remember this spell of low scores when people were talking about leaving you out, and just be a bit more ruthless.

Could Bairstow come in as opener?

Ian Botham: He's a very good player, Bairstow. If you looked at England's openers and Bairstow - who would you pick purely as the best player at the moment? You'd probably go with Jonny on current form.
He opens in white-ball cricket for Yorkshire, he has scored big runs, but there's a difference in the type of attacks he'd face at the Champions Trophy, so that's why I wouldn't change it. These are the guys that have done it, that have got us here - we've scored more runs than anyone else since the 2015 World Cup, so why change it?

Nasser: What I took from Trevor Bayliss' interview after the defeat at Lord's is that they're going to have to think about it - but not as a criticism of Roy, but because Bairstow is a serious cricketer and he keeps showing us how good he is.
England coach Trevor Bayliss speaks after the third ODI defeat to South Africa at Lord's
England coach Trevor Bayliss speaks after the third ODI defeat to South Africa at Lord's
But you'd be going into a world tournament with an opener who has never done it before in international cricket. Roy goes to his home ground on Thursday, you say to him you've got a couple of games, but if you don't do it, we've got a very good replacement ready to take your place.

There is another option, in perhaps Moeen Ali moving up to open, and Bairstow batting in the position he normally does for England. But then you're disrupting two positions.

What's going on with Stokes?

Botham: He is the genuine allrounder. He is good enough to be in the side for his bowling and batting. Also, don't forget his fielding - he brings a lot to the party, possibly the best England fielder.

He is having a problem with this knee injury, but you talk to him about it and he doesn't understand why it is aggravating him like this. He is tough, a hard competitor, so I expect to see him out there playing on Thursday.

He'll manage the problem and get round it, I'm sure of that. It can't be a ridiculously serious injury, as he does everything else but bowl with it.
Ben Stokes has struggled with a knee injury that prevented him bowling for large parts of the South Africa series
Ben Stokes has struggled with a knee injury that prevented him bowling for large parts of the South Africa series
Nasser: He does everything like a maniac. He is a maniac full stop to be honest. I'd be surprised if in any of those Champions Trophy games he bowls his full quota of 10 overs though.

When he first came into the England side, they played him as a bowler who batted at No 8. But Paul Collingwood was saying, 'this is ridiculous, you've got to get him up the order'.

Colly's words are ringing true at the moment - I see him as a batsman who will bowl six, seven, eight overs - a bit at the death - and then Moeen Ali fills the rest of those overs. He is well capable, fitness-wise, of doing that.

Can England win the tournament?

Botham: England are in a very healthy position. I can see them winning it, yes. They'll be up for the fight - that's what I like about this team, they're aggressive.

There are three or four other sides who will also be up there, knocking on the door - never write Australia off, New Zealand have proven that they're a very good white-ball team and there's India with great players like Virat Kohli.

It's a wide open tournament, probably the most wide open one in a long time - any of the eight sides could win it if everything falls into place for them. You have to have a little bit of luck, but I can see England winning it.
Michael Atherton speaks with captains AB de Villiers and Eoin Morgan following the third ODI between England and South Africa
Michael Atherton speaks with captains AB de Villiers and Eoin Morgan following the third ODI between England and South Africa
Nasser: The key man for England is Eoin Morgan, his captaincy has gone through the roof and he is batting really well at the moment.

That's a lesson for Roy, as eight games ago everyone was going on about Morgan and should he be in the side? Look at the way he is playing now.


Having said that, he has had two poor world tournaments - at the 2015 World Cup he had a highest score of about 40, and at the 2016 World T20, he had a highest score of about 25. The captain is now at the right age now to have a good world global tournament. It will be a massive bonus if he can do that.

Lewis Hamilton vows 'the war is not over' in Sebastian Vettel title fight

Lewis Hamilton vows 'the war is not over' in Sebastian Vettel title fight

Vettel leads Hamilton by 25 points in title race after Monaco win; Silver Arrows boss Toto Wolff admits Merc are now 'underdogs'


Lewis Hamilton has insisted "the war is not over" in his battle with Sebastian Vettel for the F1 Drivers' Championship.

Vettel's victory in the Monaco GP on Sunday extended his lead over Hamilton in the championship race to 25 points - the equivalent of a race victory.

Three-time world champion Hamilton suffered a woeful weekend in Monte Carlo, being knocked out of Qualifying in Q2 and starting 13th on the grid, before complaining that his car was "all over the place" in the race as he finished seventh.

But Hamilton remains adamant he can still win this year's championship despite Mercedes boss Toto Wolff admitting his team are now "the underdogs" against Ferrari.
"The war is not over. It's a marathon not a sprint," Hamilton told Sky Sports News HQ.
"We can take it on the chin and move forward. The car was still a real handful and not where it should be. A lot of analysis will go into it over the next two weeks."

Wolff conceded to Sky F1 that Mercedes had "to get on top of things" ahead of F1 arriving in Montreal for the Canadian GP next week.

"Our car was not quick enough this weekend. We were caught off guard on Thursday afternoon and could never recover," he said.

"The tyres were not in the window and then they were in the window, then not in the window. Even in the race we had the same patterns and at one stage Lewis was suddenly really fast. We have a lot to understand.

"I think we have a very quick car capable of winning races and championships but she is a difficult lady."
Speaking later, Wolff added: "We have a fast car but she doesn't like the tyres. We need to understand why that is because Ferrari are able to put their car on the floor and it goes from the beginning until the end.

"I like the notion of underdog because the underdog is obviously the one people want to see win. As a matter of fact, I think we have been that since the beginning of the season. We have been dropping in and out of the tyre window. We never had two drivers or two cars over the whole course of a weekend within that window.

"We have seen an exceptional performance of Valtteri in Sochi which we were not able to replicate on Lewis' car, we have seen an exceptional performance of Lewis in Barcelona and that inconsistency has been following us through the season.

"On the opposite side, Ferrari put the car on the track in Barcelona and were quick from the get go, so yes, we are the underdog, yes we need to catch up. This is the reality of it at the moment.

"We're not seeking excuses because others are able to extract the performance of the tyres and we don't. You have seen how Red Bull have been far out of the window, one-and-a-half seconds off the pace and then back in the race performing well. It's a problem that appears to hit everybody, but not Ferrari. All credit to them, they have put a solid car on the track and they are able to cope with the tyres."
But Sky F1's Martin Brundle believes the championship is now Vettel's to lose and Mercedes need a major update to challenge the Ferrari.

Brundle described the Mercedes car as a "wild horse" on Saturday as both Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas battled to keep it out of the barriers and says the Brackley-based outfit need to find a fix quickly.
Ted Kravitz gives his verdict on the Monaco Grand Prix after Sebastian Vettel led home a Ferrari 1-2
Ted Kravitz gives his verdict on the Monaco Grand Prix after Sebastian Vettel led home a Ferrari 1-2
"They've got to find something on the Mercedes," Brundle said. "They need an update that really straightens that car up.

"I think this is Vettel's championship to lose now."
While Mercedes and Ferrari have now shared three victories each in the opening six races, the reigning world champions have found their 2017 car more difficult to set-up than its dominant title-winning predecessors.

"Whatever tools they throw at it, Mercedes don't really understand it at the moment whereas Ferrari can," Sky F1's Paul di Resta added.

"They can predict what's going to happen, are very versatile with the tyre pressures and ultimately at the front."

A quick look back at all the best action from the 2017 Monaco GP
A quick look back at all the best action from the 2017 Monaco GP                            

Ernesto Valverde is safe choice as Barcelona manager, says Guillem Balague

Ernesto Valverde is safe choice as Barcelona manager, says Guillem Balague



Ernesto Valverde has been appointed Barcelona manager
Ernesto Valverde has been appointed Barcelona manager
Appointing Ernesto Valverde as manager was the safe choice for Barcelona, says Sky Sports' Guillem Balague.

The 53-year-old former Barcelona player will replace Luis Enrique, who announced earlier this year that he would be stepping down at the end of the season.

Valverde, who had been in charge of Athletic Bilbao for the last four seasons, has signed a two-year deal, and Balague says that although he may not have the experience of playing with Barcelona's essence, he will add layers to the current side.
Valverde had been in charge of Athletic Bilbao for the last four seasons
Valverde had been in charge of Athletic Bilbao for the last four seasons
Balague told Sky Sports News: "Valverde is the safe choice for Barcelona. They've gone for a manager who can manage what they have, and what they have at the moment is a very powerful front three, a midfield that needs to be recycled if you like, and some players that are reaching 30 or older, and a defence that needs the whole team to work together.

"With that, they asked: who has got experience? Who has won in different places? He can maximise the potential of what he has, but he is not a typical Barcelona coach.

"They have not gone with a coach who can take them to the essence of Barcelona, but more a coach who can make them win.
Luis Enrique has left Barcelona after three season in charge
Luis Enrique has left Barcelona after three season in charge
"Barcelona are going through a transition, this is not a Pep Guardiola team anymore, Luis Enrique has added new things, and I think Valverde will add more new things, new layers to Barcelona.

"If you look at what he's done as a manager, it's not your typical Barcelona coach, it's not all about possession or pressuring high all of the time.

"He sometimes uses two holding midfielders, he sometimes allows the team to defend very deep, so he's going to have to remember what he learned from Johan Cruyff, apply the lessons of Luis Enrique and also adapt."
Balague says keeping Lionel Messi happy will be key for Valverde
Balague says keeping Lionel Messi happy will be key for Valverde
Barcelona have made their managerial choice early in the summer, and now have a full window to add to the team ahead of the 2017/18 season.

Balague says that while there are several areas they need to invest in, he predicts the club will not spend vast amounts in the summer, and says the key is keeping Lionel Messi happy in a competitive team.
"It will always be about dominating games, and it's all about making Messi happy with a very competitive team.


"It's very important what they're going to bring in, they're not going to spend a lot of money, because they don't have it, but they need full-backs, midfielders, perhaps a centre back, and the rest is more or less there."

David Wagner: Huddersfield players have become 'legends' after securing promotion

David Wagner: Huddersfield players have become 'legends' after securing promotion


David Wagner said his Huddersfield players have become "legends" after they won promotion to the Premier League.

A 4-3 shoot-out victory in the Sky Bet Championship play-off final followed a nervy goalless 120 minutes at Wembley on Monday, meaning the Terriers will return to the top flight of English football for the first time since 1972.

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"Everybody knows that last time this club was in the [top division] was 45 years ago," he said. "It's a big, big achievement and I'm so proud of my players, and I'm happy for the whole town and everyone who helped Huddersfield take these steps forward - including the chairman, who backed nearly all of my ideas!

"I said to the players before the play-offs that you are heroes after what they've done this season. But in football you can go from hero to zero in only a week, but now they've become legends.

"Everyone will remind this group what they've done with such a small budget, and they deserve it. We've had so many setbacks and problems without the the biggest squad, but we trusted and believed in ourselves and came through in the end."
Huddersfield head coach David Wagner speaks to the Sky Sports panel after he guided the Terriers to the Premier League at Wembley
Huddersfield head coach David Wagner speaks to the Sky Sports panel after he guided the Terriers to the Premier League at Wembley
Wagner became the first ever foreign boss to win the second-tier play-offs in England, and said he was delighted to prove that experience is not the be all and end all in football.

"I'm so happy we've proven that experience is not everything," he said. "I've always been confronted with questions of my experience in English football, the league, no winter break and the play-offs.
"Experience is important, but if you have passion, desires and ideas you can match it. We've shown it's possible and brought this fairy tale to a happy ending."

It was Christopher Schindler who slotted the final penalty for Huddersfield to seal their route back to the top flight, and Wagner revealed what he told his players before the shoot-out to inspire them to victory.
Highlights of the Championship play-off final between Huddersfield and Reading
Highlights of the Championship play-off final between Huddersfield and Reading
"We've had experience of penalties from the semi-finals and they're the tightest thing in football. But we've had two and won two and I think based on the 120 minutes we deserved to win as we had the bigger chances," he said.

"Reading are so strong in possession that it made no sense to press high and chase them as you'd just waste your energy. We said we wanted to sit deeper and play on the transition to the counter and I think it worked well.


"I then said to the players before the shoot-out: 'It's the easiest thing for you to put the ball into the net from 12 yards. We've worked for 10 months and now you have the chance to get to the Premier League by putting the ball in the net from 12 yards. It's an easy challenge.'"

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