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Under 17


Sensational Nigeria rounded off their Group F campaign with a 5-0 hammering of Iraq at the Rashid Stadium in Dubai, a result which is good enough to see them finish top of the section and book a Round of 16 date with Iran at the FIFA U-17 World Cup in UAE.

Four goals in the first half set the tempo for the contest which was never really going to end well for the Iraqis, who now head for home after three straight defeats. Mexico and Sweden also go through from the section as second and third-place finishers respectively.

Nigeria hadn’t lost a group-stage game at a U-17 World Cup since way back in 1993, and they weren’t in the mood to start today. Chidiebere Nwakali hit the woodwork after only two minutes, and it was a hint of things to come as the Africans roared into incredible form. Seconds later, they were in the lead when Musa Yahaya was fouled in the area and namesake Musa Muhammed converted form the spot.

The scorer turned provider a minute later, his cross picking out Nwakali who had loads of time and acres of space to put the ball away from close range. The Iraqis were stunned, but they managed a shot in the 13th minute. Captain Mohammed Salam’s free-kick was saved well by Dele Alampasu. The effort was a false dawn, however, and Nigeria were 3-0 up five minutes later. Kelechi Iheanacho, the Golden Eaglets’ danger-man, laid on a fine pass for Taiwo Awoniyi, but it broke loose and fell to the feet of Musa Yahaya who made no mistake.

Iraq’s coach Muwafaq Adlool, knowing his side needed a win to have any hope of moving on, made a change, bringing on Yasir Ammar for Mustafa Mohammed. The substitution sparked a positive spell for his side, but the next goal came at the other end with the Nigerians in irresistible mood. Yahaya took advantage of a rather grand error by the keeper Hayder Mohammed, and poked home with ease from six yards out just before the half.

There wasn’t much action in the second half, with the Nigerians taking their foot off the accelerator and Iraq looking defeated and out of ideas. On the stroke of full-time, however, Nigeria scored a fifth when substitute Chigozi Obasi hit home from 20 yards to take his side’s goals-for tally in the group stages to 14, just one less than Brazil.

Group F has proven one of the strongest here at the UAE finals and it’s only just that three of its combatants – three-time champions Nigeria, Sweden and defending champions Mexico –should go through. Iraq, playing in their first junior finals, can hold their heads high as they

Alex Salmond says it is time to vote for independence


Alex Salmond says it is time to vote for independence Salmond: “If not us – then who? If not now – then when? Friends – we are Scotland’s independence generation. And our time is now” SNP leader Alex Salmond told his party’s conference that it was Scotland’s time to be independent. During his speech to delegates gathered in Perth, he also announced that the detailed case for independence would be published on 26 November. The long-waited white paper will come ahead of the referendum itself, on 18 September next year. Mr Salmond said: “We are Scotland’s independence generation and our time is now.” Scotland’s first minister reckoned devolution had provided a “taste of independence”, but the country was now ready to make its own decisions. Mr Salmond also told the 1,000 people gathered that, under independence the national minimum wage would rise at least with the level of inflation, to help people keep pace with the cost of living. And he urged bosses at the Grangemouth petrochemical refinery, which has been temporarily shut down due to a dispute with workers to “fire up the plant”. At the same time he urged union officials to drop their threat of strike action. The SNP leader said the white paper would have two functions, the first being to set out what would happen between achieving a “yes” vote in the referendum and the first elections to an independent Scottish Parliament, in the spring of 2016. He went on: “It will therefore be clear that independence is not, at its heart, about this party or this administration or this first minister but about the fundamental democratic choice for Scotland – the people’s right to choose a government of their own. “Secondly, the white paper will set out our vision for Scotland – the why of independence – the Scotland that we seek. “We seek a country with a written constitution protecting not just the liberties for the people but enunciating the rights of the citizen.” James Cook reports from the SNP’s conference in Perth Mr Salmond told the conference: “We will not wake up on the morning of 19 September next year and think to ourselves what might have been. “We will wake up on that morning filled with hope and expectation – ready to build a new nation both prosperous and just. “After almost a quarter of a century moving forward to this very moment – let us ask ourselves these simple questions: If not us, then who? If not now, when? “Friends – we are Scotland’s independence generation -and our time is now.” Mr Salmond said of a “yes” vote in the referendum: “It will be, above all, an act of national self confidence and national self belief. “We, the people of Scotland, have by far the greatest stake in its success.” Mr Salmond said the devolved Scottish Parliament, established in 1999, had been used to enact policies, like the public smoking ban, free personal care for the elderly and a council tax freeze. He went on: “With just a taste of independence, we’ve been able to deliver fairer policies than elsewhere in these islands. “With a measure of independence on health, on education, on law and order we’ve sought to make Scotland a better place. “So, let’s consider what we can achieve by extending our power over the things we don’t currently control. “Our welfare system, our economy, our energy supplies, our international security. “Because there is no doubt that we are paying a heavy price for Westminster decisions.” Alex Salmond said the Grangemouth plant needed to be “fired up now” The first minister said Scotland had to move away from Westminster government decisions, which he said people north of the border did not want, from housing benefit welfare reforms – branded the welfare tax by critics -to Trident nuclear weapons on the Clyde. Mr Salmond said the national minimum wage, which was brought in by the UK Labour government and which benefits about 70,000 people in Scotland, had failed to increase in real terms in almost 10 years. The first minister said a fair work commission, established under independence by an SNP government, would be to set a minimum wage guarantee. He said: “This guarantee will ensure that the minimum wage rises at the very least in line with inflation. “Let us pledge that never gain will the wages of the lowest paid in Scotland fail to keep up with the cost of living.” At the same time, Mr Salmond again challenged David Cameron to face him in a referendum TV debate -an invitation the Prime Minister declined after arguing the event should be between the leaders of the campaigns for and against independence. The SNP leader said: “Here’s the deal prime minister – we’ll publish the white paper then you and I must debate, prime minister to first minister. “The choice is yours – step up to the plate or step out of the debate.” Turning to the Grangemouth dispute, Mr Salmond said it was time for an injection of “common sense” into the bitter row between its operator Ineos and the Unite union. Blair McDougall, Chief Executive of Better Together: “We’re all proud to be Scottish, we all believe in Scotland, we just don’t believe in Alex Salmond Ineos says the site is losing £10m a month and will close by 2017 unless workers agree to a rescue package which includes a change in their terms and conditions and final salary pension scheme. Mr Salmond left the conference on Thursday to facilitate talks between the two sides, but no agreement has been reached, and the petrochemical plant remains closed. The first minister said the threat to Grangemouth grew the longer it was shut, saying: “To the union – drop any strike threat. To the management – fire up the plant and then negotiate against the background of a working facility, not one which is in mortal danger. Find common ground. “Let us be quite clear -Scotland wants to see Grangemouth operating and the people of Grangemouth working – fire up the plant and do it now.” Sharethisstory About sharing Report: SNP conference 2013 6 hours ago Fishing sector ‘to gain’ post Yes 19 October 2013 SNP pledges energy bill cut post Yes 18 October 2013 Independence ‘will protect needy’ 18 October 2013 RelatedInternet links Scottish National Party The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites ‘Buffer zones’ for shale projects 5 hours ago Labour MP Doran announces retirement 19 October 2013 HS2 will benefit UK, says minister 6 hours ago Features & Analysis What is a bubble? The joint Nobel winners who fundamentally disagree 10 things Marmosets won’t interrupt each other, and nine other nuggets In pictures Your photographs of the wildfires sweeping New South Wales Strings attached How Brazil hopes to reap large rewards from its oil fields The only way is up Meet the manager of the world’s worst football team The Africa Express One week to record an album in Mali’s capital, Bamako Rebuilding the brand Get an Angela Merkel, and other advice for US Republicans Lost art Can using gadgets make you forget how to write?

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’ regime on chemical weapons

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime deserves credit for complying with a chemical weapons deal, US Secretary of State John Kerry has said.

He was speaking after international monitors said the destruction of Syria’s stockpile had begun.

The mission was established under a UN resolution, which was passed after a deal between Russia and the US.

The resolution followed international outrage at a chemical weapons attack near Damascus in August.

“The process has begun in record time and we are appreciative for the Russian co-operation and obviously for the Syrian compliance,” Mr Kerry said after talks with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation (Apec) summit in Bali, Indonesia.

“I think it’s extremely significant that yesterday, Sunday, within a week of the (UN) resolution being passed, some chemical weapons were being destroyed.

“I think it’s a credit to the Assad regime, frankly. It’s a good beginning and we welcome a good beginning.”

The destruction of Syria’s chemical arsenal is being overseen by a team from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).

An official on the joint OPCW-UN delegation said on Sunday: “The first day of destruction and disabling is over and missile warheads, aerial bombs, along with mobile and static mixing and filling units, were dealt with. Work continues tomorrow and in the next few days.”

The actual destruction of the stockpile, being carried out by the Syrians, is not expected to be straightforward, as some sites are in combat zones.

It is the first time the OPCW – based in The Hague – has been asked to oversee the destruction of a chemical weapons armoury during a conflict.

The Syrian government gave details of its chemical weapons arsenal last month to the OPCW under the Russia-US agreement which also provided for Damascus to join the Chemical Weapons Convention.

That arsenal is thought to include more than 1,000 tonnes of sarin and the blister agent sulphur mustard among other banned chemicals.

In an interim report earlier this year, UN chemical weapons inspectors confirmed that the nerve agent sarin had been used in the attack in Ghouta on the outskirts of Damascus on 21 August.

It was estimated to have killed hundreds of people and was blamed by the United States and other Western powers on the regime of Bashar al-Assad. But he accuses Syrian rebels of being behind it.

Peace conference

Under the terms of the US-Russia deal, Syria’s chemical weapons capability should be removed by the middle of 2014.

The speed with which the team has been able to reach the sites and start the process of destruction underlines the urgency of the mission, says the BBC’s Anna Holligan in the Hague.

It was hoped that the new climate of co-operation would help bring about a wider conference in Geneva on ending the Syrian conflict.

UN-Arab League peace envoy Lakhdar Brahimi was quoted on French media on Sunday as saying he was encouraging all parties to come to Geneva in the second half of November but that peace talks were not a certainty.

Mr Assad denies that his forces had used chemical weapons, blaming the rebels instead.

More than 100,000 people have died since the uprising began in 2011 and millions more have fled Syria.

Liverpool places £55m price tag on Suarez


Liverpool are braced for Real Madrid to return with a £45m bid for star striker Luis Suarez in January. The Uruguay forward was desperate for a move to the La Liga giants in the summer but it did not materialise, thanks to Madrid’s capture of Gareth Bale. After forking out £86m for the Welshman they did not want to pay Liverpool’s asking price of £55m for Suarez. Liverpool would still demand the same fee in January and any potential transfer would depend on how the sides are performing by December. Madrid may decide they do not need the striker if their form improves, while if Liverpool are still in a position to contend for the title, they will be more reluctant to sell Suarez. The player is still keen on the idea of moving to Madrid – and his agent Pere Guardiola is also happy for him to do so. If any potential transfer looks like happening, Arsenal may try and intervene – although Liverpool are not keen on selling to a domestic rival. Arsene Wenger wanted to secure the striker’s services in the summer but could not, instead splashing £42.5m on Mesut Ozil.

Plane crash in Nigeria


WORLD NEWS At least 11 dead after passenger plane crashes near Nigeria airport

Henrie Eduozor

Bystanders at the scene of a plane crash in Lagos on Thursday.

By Carlo Dellaverson, Staff Writer, NBC News At least 11 people were killed Thursday when a passenger plane crashed near an airport in Nigeria’s largest city, authorities said.

The Nigeria National Emergency Management Agency said that the aircraft crashed after taking off from Lagos. It had been bound for the city of Akure, about 170 miles away. At least 11 people were confirmed dead and at least one passenger survived the crash, the agency said.

GM of LASEMA, confirms 11 dead, four hospitalised in crashed Akure-bound aircraft in Lagos today 11:22 AM – 3 Oct 2013

NEMA Nigeria @nemanigeria Follow


Reuters reported that 27 people were aboard the chartered Associated Airlines plane.

“The plane couldn’t lift properly so it just came down,” Aviation Ministry spokesman Joe Obi told Reuters.

Witness Henrie Eduozor told NBC News he was on his way to the airport in Lagos when he saw smoke rising from a nearby field. He said people ran toward the scene screaming “There’s been a crash!”

Eduozo saw three bodies being removed from the wreckage.

Air crashes are relatively common in Nigeria, which despite having Africa’s second-biggest economy has a poor safety record.

Murtala Muhammed International Airport was the scene of a June 2012 crash that killed 163 people.

US shutdown


US shutdown: BarackObama warnsofdefault danger President Obama: “Absolutely I am exasperated because this is entirely unnecessary” US President Barack Obama has warned that Wall Street should be concerned that a conservative faction of Republicans is willing to allow the country to default on its debt. The US government has partially closed after Congress failed to agree a budget and will run out of cash on 17 October unless its debt ceiling is raised. In a TV interview on Wednesday, Mr Obama said he was “exasperated”. John Boehner (Republican) and Nancy Pelosi (Democrat) both spoke after the talks He later held talks with Congressional leaders that ended without agreement. The US government closed non-essential operations on Tuesday after Congress failed to strike a deal on a new budget. Republicans and Democrats are blaming each other for the impasse. The shutdown has left more than 700,000 employees on unpaid leave and closed national parks, tourist sites, government websites, office buildings, and more. However, as one budget crisis raged in Washington DC, another one -potentially more dangerous – loomed in the coming weeks. On 17 October, the US government will run out of cash to pay its bills unless the debt ceiling is raised. On both issues, the Republicans who control the House of Representatives have demanded concessions from Mr Obama and his fellow Democrats in return for funding the government’s continued operation and for raising the debt ceiling. Chiefly, the Republicans demand the repeal, delay or defunding of a healthcare reform law -dubbed Obamacare -passed by the Democrats in 2010. Major portions of that law, which was subsequently validated by the US Supreme Court and was a major issue in the 2012 presidential election, took effect on Tuesday. ‘Profoundimpact’ On Wednesday, Mr Obama met the heads of some of Wall Street’s biggest banks -including JPMorgan Chase, Goldman Sachs and Bank of America – to discuss the debt ceiling and other economic issues. James Clapper: “This seriously damages our ability to protect the safety and security of this nation” The bankers are members of the Financial Services Forum, a lobby group which has, along with 250 other businesses, sent a letter to Congress urging it to raise the debt limit. Following the meeting, Mr Obama told CNBC “it’s important for them to recognise that this is going to have a profound impact on our economy and their bottom lines”. Mr Obama also said he was unwilling to negotiate “with the extremist wing of one party” as the 17 October deadline neared. “The message I have for the [Congressional] leaders is, as soon as we get a clean piece of legislation that reopens the government… until we get that done, until we make sure that Congress allows [the Department of the Treasury] to pay for things that Congress itself already authorised, we are not going to engage in a series of negotiations,” he said. As foreign markets anxiously monitored the US budget crisis, European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi warned that a protracted shutdown was “a risk not only for the US, but also the world economy”. ‘Asking forfairness’ On Wednesday evening Mr Obama met Republican House Speaker John Boehner, as well as Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell, Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi at the White House. Mr Boehner later left the talks complaining that the Democrats would not negotiate. “All we’re asking for here is a discussion and fairness for the American people under Obamacare,” he told reporters. Nancy Pelosi, however, accused the Republicans of “moving the goalposts” on the budget deal. Harry Reid said Democrats were “locked in tight on Obamacare” and neither the president nor Democrats in Congress would accept changes to the law as the price for a deal on reopening the government. The view on the shutdown from deserted landmarks in Washington and New York Analysts say Mr Boehner could end the current government showdown by allowing the House to vote on a “clean” budget bill that does not alter the health law, because that could pass with a coalition of Democrats and moderate Republicans. But doing so would risk his standing with the most conservative elements of his caucus. Earlier on Wednesday, senior US intelligence officials warned the shutdown of the government seriously damaged the ability of spy agencies to protect the US. Director of National Intelligence James Clapper told a Senate panel that an estimated 70% of intelligence workers had been placed on unpaid leave. Also on Wednesday, the White House announced Mr Obama would cut short a planned four-nation tour of Asia next week. He will attend regional summits in Indonesia and Brunei, but skip Malaysia and the Philippines due to the government shutdown. The US government ceased operations deemed non-essential at midnight on Tuesday, when the previous budget expired. National parks and Washington’s Smithsonian museums are closed, pension and veterans’ benefit cheques will be delayed, and visa and passport applications will go unprocessed. However, member will be paid