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2020 US OPEN:• Azarenka triumphs, Serena Williams 24th Grand Slam chase ends again

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2020 US OPEN:
• Azarenka triumphs, Serena Williams 24th Grand Slam chase ends again

Once again, Serena Williams pursuit of winning a record-equalling 24th Grand Slam singles title has ended at Arthur Ashe Stadium in New York.

Belarusian Victoria Azarenka stunned her 1-6 6-3 6-3 in the semi-finals of the U.S. Open on Thursday, to deny Serena a replay of 2018 final with Naomi Osaka.

Azarenka will now play the Japanese on Saturday in her third final at Flushing Meadows, having lost the previous two to Williams in 2012 and 2013.

Azarenka said her mental game had been crucial in beating the 38-year-old Williams, who needed a medical timeout to have her left ankle re-taped in the third set due to Achilles trouble.

“I have been working on finding a calm mind and keep the body going,” the Belarusian said in an on-court interview. “She dug me in a big hole in the first set. I needed to find energy to climb out of the hole and it wasn’t easy.”

Williams, who has been stuck on 23 Grand Slam titles since winning the 2017 Australian Open, said the defeat was “obviously disappointing”.

“At the same time … I did what I could today,” she added.

“I feel like other times I’ve been close and I could have done better. Today I felt like I gave a lot.”

Six-times U.S. Open champion Williams came out firing winners from all sides of the Arthur Ashe Stadium court while Azarenka struggled with her serve, committing four double faults in the first set and winning just six of 15 first-serve points.

She also had 10 unforced errors and appeared increasingly frustrated, with a mic catching her muttering a pair of expletives at herself before Williams took a 4-1 lead.

Williams wrapped up the opening set in little more than half an hour but Azarenka seized momentum in the second frame, breaking the third seed’s serve with a pair of backhand winners from the baseline to take a 3-2 lead.

Playing her first Grand Slam semi-final in seven years, Azarenka got the better of Williams in some explosive exchanges of power-hitting while her serve also saw major improvement.

The 31-year-old took the set to force a decider after winning nearly 75% of her first-serve points and committing just one unforced error.

The twice Australian Open champion kept up the pressure in the third set and looked to be in a deep meditative state as Williams had her ankle taped, not even reacting as an insect landed on the bridge of her nose as she waited to resume the match.

Azarenka then sealed her place in the final with an ace.

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BREAKING: SANWO-OLU TO ABOLISH PENSION FOR EX-GOVS, DEPUTIES

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BREAKING: SANWO-OLU TO ABOLISH PENSION FOR EX-GOVS, DEPUTIES

By Sodiq Oyeleke

Governor of Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu on Tuesday announced his intention to repeal the Public Office Holder (Payment of Pension Law 2007), which provides for payment of pension and other entitlements to former Governors and their Deputies.

He made this known while presenting the 2021 budget to the Lagos State House of Assembly.

Sanwoolu said the bill would be sent to the Lagos Assembly for legislative approval.

According to Sanwo-Olu, the abolition of pension for former governors and deputies will reduce the cost of governance.

He said, “Mr. Speaker and Honourable Members of the House, in light of keeping the costs of governance low and to signal selflessness in public service, we will be sending a draft executive bill to the House imminently for the repeal of the Public Office Holder (Payment of Pension Law 2007), which provides for payment of pension and other entitlements to former Governors and their Deputies.”

Detail later…

  • PunchNg

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EndSARS CELEBRITIES, PROMOTERS MUST FACE LAW, GARBA SHEHU SAYS

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EndSARS CELEBRITIES, PROMOTERS MUST FACE LAW, GARBA SHEHU SAYS

The Central Bank of Nigeria had recently frozen the account of some protest organisers in a bid to stop further protests from occurring.

Garba Shehu, Senior Special Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari, has said that all Nigerians and celebrities, who promoted protests against police brutality in the country must face the law.

The Central Bank of Nigeria had recently frozen the account of some protest organisers in a bid to stop further protests from occurring.

The Nigeria Immigration Service also seized the travel passport of Modupe Odele, preventing her from leaving the country for providing legal aid to arrested protesters.

The Nigerian Government irked by the protests had in October hired thugs to hijack the demonstration, plunging the nation into chaos in a bid to blame it on peaceful #EndSARS protesters.

While speaking on why the CBN froze the account of the protesters, Shehu while speaking on Channels Television’s Sunday Politics said, “This country has only one President and has only one constitution. President Muhammadu Buhari is responsible for his government. The buck stops on his table.

“We are a country governed by law. There is a constitution —under section 33— that clearly defines the rights of citizens to freely protest in a peaceful way but where a peaceful protest turns into riot, violence and looting, there is a law and order duty to be performed.

“Everyone witnessed the massive looting of public and private properties particularly in Lagos, Calabar, Plateau, Taraba and some other states, even the FCT.

“Now, the laws of the country must be allowed to decide, to rule on wrongdoing on the part of anybody.

“I am not particular about any celebrity or promoter but this country has been harmed enormously and people should be prepared to account for what they did.”

  • SaharaReporters

Garba Shehu Classic FM, Abuja.

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PRESIDENT BUHARI: DISBANDING OF SARS FIRST STEP TO EXTENSIVE POLICE REFORMS

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PRESIDENT BUHARI: DISBANDING OF SARS FIRST STEP TO EXTENSIVE POLICE REFORMS

President Muhammadu Buhari Monday in Abuja declared that disbanding of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) is the first step to extensive police reforms by his administration.

Speaking at the launch of the Presidential Youth Empowerment Scheme (P-YES), aimed at creating 774,000 jobs across the Local Government Areas (LGAs) in the country, President Buhari also directed that all those responsible for misconduct or wrongful acts be brought to justice.

”I will like to use this opportunity to say a word on the recent genuine concerns and agitations by Nigerians about the excessive use of force and in some cases extra-judicial killings and wrongful conduct of the men of the Nigerian Police Force,’’ President Buhari said during the launch of the P-YES programme, attended by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, Senate President Ahmed Lawan, Governor Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano State and Engineer Dave Umahi of Ebonyi State.

He continued: ”The disbanding of SARS is only the first step in our commitment to extensive police reforms in order to ensure that the primary duty of the police and other law enforcement agencies remains the protection of lives and livelihood of our people.

”We will also ensure that all those responsible for misconduct or wrongful acts are brought to justice.

”We deeply regret the loss of life of the young man in Oyo State during the recent demonstrations.

”I have directed that the circumstances of his death should be thoroughly investigated.

”Meanwhile, it is important to recognise that the vast majority of men and women of the police force are hardworking and diligent in performing their duties.

”The few bad eggs should not be allowed to tarnish the image and reputation of the force.”

On the empowerment programme, the President while restating his administration’s commitment to youth development and poverty alleviation pledged that the Federal Government policies of social protection and people empowerment would continue on track, despite the challenges posed by COVID-19 pandemic.

The President, who described P-YES as a cornerstone of his administration’s social and economic development strategies, said it was part of the overall policy of ensuring that 100 million Nigerians were lifted out of poverty in ten years.

”The P-YES is also part of the plan that we adopted in 2016 in which we empowered One hundred youths from each of the 774 Local Government Areas with the necessary tools to acquire skills and establish small businesses.

”Given the success of that initiative, we are now committed to creating 774,000 jobs across all the LGAs, through the P-YES programme,” he said.

President Buhari, who took a tour of P-YES tools and equipment displayed at the forecourt of Presidential Villa, expressed delight that the materials showcased represent the fruits of the initiatives embarked upon by his administration in 2016.

”All the tools, machines and equipment that are exhibited here, are products of the efforts of these empowered youth entrepreneurs.

”I note with particular pleasure that they were all fabricated in Nigeria by Nigerian youths using locally sourced materials. This is a wonderful and uplifting achievement.

”As an entrepreneurship empowerment project, the P-YES programme aims to address the needs of unskilled and less educated youth.

”It targets key areas of activities that are of practical importance and are essential to every aspect of our economy.

”These include areas such as agriculture and food processing, restaurant and catering, tailoring and fashion design, technical skills such as in the Information and Communications Technology sector, artisanship, welding, carpentry and joinery, other small businesses and activities associated with the micro-economic sector of this economy,” he said.

The President used the occasion to call on State Governments, Ministries, Departments and Agencies of government to factor the P-YES into their programmes to assist the youth realise their potentials in their chosen fields.

He urged local and foreign private sector operators in Nigeria to also contribute their share to the expansion of this programme through channelling their corporate social responsibility efforts towards skills acquisition, creation of start-ups, and other intervention measures.

President Buhari declared that the expansion of the P-YES would now be vigorously pursued, adding that more resources will be committed to the achievement of its goals and objectives towards youth empowerment and entrepreneurship development.

The President commended the Office of the Senior Special Assistant on Youth and Students Affairs, under Hon. Nasiru Saidu Adhama, for driving the P-YES programme in accordance with the mandates prescribed for the office and the programme.

He expressed confidence that the programme being supervised by the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation would make significant difference.

In his remarks, Hon Adhama assured the President that as achieved in the pilot phase of the programme the selection of beneficiaries in the full-scale P-YES scheme would be done with the utmost transparency and credibility, adding that equal opportunities will be observed in the delivery of equipment, tools and machines to all States and LGAs.

Femi Adesina
Special Adviser to the President
(Media & Publicity)
October 12, 2020

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