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England’s 1966 World Cup-winning goalkeeper Gordon Banks has died aged 81

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ADETOLA, M.A

 

Regarded as one of the game’s greatest in his position, Banks was named Fifa goalkeeper of the year six times and earned 73 caps for England.

He is perhaps best known for his wonder save from Pele during the 1970 World Cup against Brazil. Born in Sheffield, he won the League Cup with Stoke and Leicester, before retiring in 1973.

“It is with great sadness that we announce that Gordon passed away peacefully overnight,” his family said.”We are devastated to lose him but we have so many happy memories and could not have been more proud of him.”

Sir Bobby Charlton, who was part of the team alongside Banks that won the World Cup in 1966, said: “Gordon was a fantastic goalkeeper, without doubt one of the best England has ever had.

“I was proud to call him a team-mate. Obviously we shared that great day in 1966 but it was more than that. “Even though I was on the pitch and have seen it many times since, I still don’t know how he saved that header from Pele.”

Banks is the fourth player of the England team that started the 1966 World Cup final to have died, after Bobby Moore, Ray Wilson and Alan Ball. Another of that XI, Sir Geoff Hurst, tweeted: “One of the very greatest. Thinking especially of Ursula, Julia, Wendy and Robert. Sad for football, Stoke City and England fans.”

Stoke chairman Peter Coates said Banks, who made 250 appearances for the club, had been “poorly for a number of weeks”. He told Radio 5 live: “He made his home in Stoke, and was very much part of the fabric of the club. You don’t get too many like him, and he was immensely modest for all his talent.

“He was England’s greatest goalkeeper when they had their finest hour.” England and Manchester City forward Raheem Sterling was among the first to pay tribute, tweeting: “Of course there was that save, but it’s so much more we are mourning today. RIP Gordon Banks. England legend, your legacy will live on.”

Former England striker Gary Lineker said: “An absolute hero of mine, and countless others, England’s World Cup winner was one of the greatest goalkeepers of all time, and such a lovely, lovely man.” Ex-England goalkeeper Peter Shilton, who replaced Banks at Leicester, tweeted: “I’m devastated – today I’ve lost my hero.”

“A world Cup winner, a legend.  RIP Gordon Banks,” tweeted Leicester and England defender Harry Maguire, while Watford keeper Ben Foster said: “Had the pleasure of meeting you as an 18-year old-with my Dad, and him being completely star struck by you. Total gent. You will always be a member of the Goallys Union.”

 

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African Union calls for peace conference on Libya in July

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ADETOLA, M.A

 

The African Union (AU) has proposed a global conference in July to try to resolve the conflict in Libya with the aim of holding elections in October. The goal of the summit would be to set the framework for nationwide polls to take place in October

A statement on Tuesday said the 55-member body would like to hold “an international conference on reconciliation in Libya under the auspices of the AU and UN” during the first half of July. The declaration also requested the AU commission, alongside the United Nations and the Libyan government, take “all the necessary measures for the organisation of presidential and legislative elections in October 2019”.

The North African country has been torn apart by power struggles and undermined by chronic insecurity since the NATO-backed ousting of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.

The country has at least two rival administrations. One, recognized by the UN, is based in the capital Tripoli. While the other has made its headquarters the eastern city of Tobruk.

In addition, there are dozens of armed groups vying for power and state wealth. Suicide bombers have targeted a number of Libya’s vital institutions as armed groups take advantage of the chaotic political situation.

In a separate development, forces loyal to General Khalifa Haftar of the self-declared Libya National Army (LNA) assumed full control of El Sharara, Libya’s biggest oil field.

The LNA reached a remote pumping station in El Sharara last Wednesday but hadn’t moved on the main field, which a force of state guards and tribesmen had seized and shut down in December.

“Peacefully, with no resistance, LNA has full control over Sharara oilfield with all its facilities,” the LNA spokesman said on Twitter, adding the facility was being secured.

 

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Nigeria Re-Elected Into AU Peace, Security Council

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Nigeria has been re-elected into the African Union Peace and Security Council (AU-PSC) for a new three-year term, 2019-2021.

Alongside Nigeria, four other countries – Burundi, Algeria, Kenya and Lesotho were also elected, reflecting the five regions of the continent.

Seven countries keenly contested for the available five vacancies.

A statement by the spokesperson, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, George Edokpa, said Nigeria was re-elected on Friday during the on-going 34th Ordinary Session of the Executive Council of the African Union in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

“Nigeria has sustained the membership of the AU-PSC since its inception in 2004 following the decision of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government, to dedicate a seat of 3 year term to Nigeria at every PSC election in recognition of Nigeria’s contribution to the maintenance of peace and security in Africa and beyond,” the statement quoted Nigerian Ambassador to Ethiopia and Permanent Representative to the African Union, Bankole Adeoye, as saying.

The Peace and Security Council of the AU is a standing decision-making organ of the African Union charged with responsibilities of: conducting early warning and preventive diplomacy; facilitate peace-making; establish peace-support operations; and, in certain circumstances, recommend intervention in Member States to promote peace, security and stability.

The statement said, “The PSC role through Nigeria’s guidance in the Lake Chad Basin region has been remarkable, particularly in the endorsement of the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF).

“Nigeria has also supported the AU PSC engagements the security situation in ECOWAS region, Sahel and beyond.”

It added that, “Nigeria’s objective in the African Union Peace and Security Council will be guided by its renewed commitment towards proving the needed support in the on-going implementation of the African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA) and the African Governance Architecture (AGA) in-line with the AU Agenda 2063 and the SDGs 2030 goals.

“More so, as Africa continues to respond to old and emerging conflicts in the continent, Nigeria would continue to collaborate with other member states to improve on the gains made in proffering African solutions to African problems, as regards the overall objective African ownership and leadership to durable peace in the continent.”

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US Longest Serving Congress Member Dies At 92

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John Dingell, a gruff Michigan Democrat who entered the US House of Representatives in 1955 to finish his late father’s term and became a legislative heavyweight and longest-serving member of Congress, died on Thursday. He was 92.

The former lawmaker’s wife, Debbie Dingell, who was elected to succeed him, was with him when he died peacefully at home in Michigan, her office said.

“He was a lion of the US Congress and a loving son, father, husband, grandfather, and friend,” Debbie Dingell’s office said.

“He will be remembered for his decades of public service to the people of Southeast Michigan, his razor sharp wit, and a lifetime of dedication to improving the lives of all who walk this earth.”

The Detroit News reported that he was in hospice care after being diagnosed with prostate cancer, which he had decided not to treat.

Dingell served 59 years in the House before retiring in 2015 because, as he said to a Michigan business group at the time, he could no longer “live up to my own personal standard” for serving in Congress.

Dingell served as chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee for 16 years, where he pushed major legislation, including the breakup of telecommunications firm AT&T, cable deregulation, the Endangered Species Act and the Clean Air Act.

He also played an important role in passing the legislation leading to Medicare, the health insurance program for elderly Americans, in 1965, and the Affordable Care Act in 2010, popularly known as Obamacare.

Dingell did not win all of his legislative fights. He opposed the North American Free Trade Agreement, which was approved in 1993.

In his later years as a legislator, Dingell navigated Capitol Hill in a motorised scooter bearing a vanity plate emblazoned with the words “THE DEAN,” the title for the longest-serving member of the House.

Well after leaving Congress, he remained popular, deploying his wit in posts on Twitter.

Three former presidents – Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama – expressed their condolences for the long-serving lawmaker.

“Hillary and I mourn the passing of John Dingell, one of the finest public servants in American history,” Clinton, a Democrat, said in a statement.

“For nearly 60 years, John represented the people of Michigan with honour, integrity, great good humour, and unequalled ability to get good legislation passed.”

Bush, a Republican, said he was fortunate to speak to Dingell shortly before he died.

“I thanked him for his service to our country and being an example to those who have followed him into the public arena,” Bush said in a statement.

Obama, a Democrat, lauded Dingell for his steady, determined efforts over a long career to bring change.

“John led the charge on so much of the progress we take for granted today,” Obama said in a statement, adding that American lives are better for his lifetime of service.

Democratic Senator Debbie Stabenow wrote in a post on Twitter: “We have been incredibly lucky to have you and will miss you dearly.”

On Wednesday, Dingell’s wife said on Twitter that she skipped Tuesday’s State of the Union address in Washington to be with him as his health declined.

On Wednesday, Dingell dictated a tweet for his wife to write: “I want to thank you all for your incredibly kind words and prayers. You’re not done with me just yet.”

 

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