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FIFA fines Nigeria $30,800, NFF appeals



  • As Russia fined over free speech violation over Kursk sub disaster

The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) yesterday expressed surprise at the $30,800 fine slammed on the country by world football ruling body, FIFA for alleged crowd encroachment during the Super Eagles 4-0 thrashing of the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon at Godswill Akpabio Stadium, Uyo in a 2018 World Cup qualifier last month.

The NFF, which said it would appeal the sanctions, has also launched a campaign to ensure that football fans comported themselves in orderly manner during and after Saturday’s match against Zambia at the same venue.

Speaking on the sanction, NFF General Secretary, Mohammed Sanusi said yesterday that the Federation has started the awareness campaign to educate the security personnel on how to ensure the fans do not run onto the field of play even after the final whistle.

“We are not happy that Fifa is imposing a fine on us over fans encroachment onto the field of play. To avoid the repeat of such ugly development, an enlightenment campaign is now ongoing to educate the security men that would be on duty during our match against Zambia. We are going to ensure that all aspects of the spectators are enlightened. That fine is no small money,” Sanusi said.

He revealed that the NFF has appealed against the fine, adding that there are evidence to show that nothing of such happened during the game.

According to Sanusi, the NFF has forwarded to Zurich the video clips of the match as evidence. “We were surprised at the fine”, he said.

According to FIFA, Nigeria was fined Improper conduct among spectators (pitch invasion by supporters and invasion of restricted areas by supporters [other than the pitch]) during the game against Cameroon. The offence, it said, violates articles 65 and 67 of the FDCFIFA Stadium Safety and Security Regulations guiding the qualifiers.

The Eagles’ opponent in Saturday’s World Cup qualifier, Zambia got a lighter fine of $7,000 for their fans’ misconduct during their qualifier against Algeria last month.

FIFA said Zambia for improper conduct among spectators (throwing objects [bottles]), which violates articles 65 and 67 of the FDCFIFA Stadium Safety and Security Regulations.

In the meantime, the European Court of Human Rights says Russia must compensate journalists who were sued for articles about the Kursk nuclear submarine disaster in 2000.

The case was won by Novaya Gazeta, an investigative newspaper often critical of the Kremlin.

Russia must now pay it 3,388 euros (£3,007; $3,984), and 2,170 euros to its correspondent Yelena Milashina.

The paper had alleged failure by the military to properly investigate the deaths of 118 Kursk sailors.

The European court ruled that by prosecuting the journalists, the Russian defence ministry had violated Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which safeguards freedom of expression.

In an investigation, the paper disputed the conclusion of a naval forensic expert, Viktor Kolkutin, that 23 sailors had died eight hours after explosions which had killed most of the crew immediately.

Novaya Gazeta alleged that the sailors had survived longer than that, and that the navy had bungled the rescue attempt. It meant that there was no punishment of Northern Fleet officers for criminal negligence over the Kursk disaster.

An official investigation found that two explosions had wrecked the submarine after fuel leaked from a torpedo during a naval exercise.

Another military expert reported that dull repeated knocking heard from the sunken submarine was not an SOS message from the survivors, but some other unidentified noise from a surface ship.

In 2005 a Moscow court had made the newspaper and Milashina pay 57,000 roubles (£744; $985 at today’s rates) in fines for defamation, over their reporting of the military experts’ conclusions.

Guardian NG with additional report from BBC

Foreign News

Israel Rejects Calls For Ceasefire Before UN Security Council



Israel at the United Nations Security Council in New York on Wednesday rejected calls for a permanent ceasefire in the Gaza war.

Israeli UN Ambassador Gilad Erdan told the most powerful UN body that with a ceasefire in place, Israel would not be able to protect its citizens.

“Anyone who supports a ceasefire, basically supports Hamas’ continued reign of terror in Gaza,” he said.

One could not demand a ceasefire and at the same time claim to be seeking a solution to the conflict, Erdan said further, noting that the militant Hamas is not a partner for reliable peace.

“Hamas has publicly stated – you all saw it – that it will repeat Oct. 7 over and over again until Israel is no more.

“How would you respond and defend your citizens from such a clear threat with a ceasefire?” he queried.

Erdan maintained that there could only be an end to the violence if Hamas handed over all its hostages and everyone else involved in the attack on Israel on Oct. 7.

  • dpa
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Report of Israeli hostage family’s deaths overshadows negotiations on Gaza truce



Negotiations between Israel and Hamas to extend the Gaza truce were overshadowed at the last minute on Wednesday by an unconfirmed claim by Hamas that a family of Israeli hostages including a 10-month-old baby had been killed.

Shortly before the final release of women and children hostages scheduled under the truce, the military wing of Hamas said in a statement that the youngest hostage, baby Kfir Bibas, had been killed in an earlier Israeli bombing, along with his four-year-old brother Ariel and their mother.

Their father, who has also been held, was not mentioned in the statement.

Israeli officials said they were checking the Hamas claim, a highly emotive issue in Israel where the family is among the highest-profile civilian hostages yet to be freed.

“The IDF (Israel Defense Forces) is assessing the accuracy of the information,” the military said in a statement which added that it held Hamas responsible for the safety of all the hostages in Gaza.

Relatives had issued a special appeal for the family’s freedom after the children and their parents were excluded from the penultimate group freed on Tuesday.

An Israeli official said it would be impossible to extend the ceasefire on Thursday morning, due to a lapse, without a commitment to release all women and children among the hostages.

The official said Israel believed militants were still holding enough women and children to prolong the truce by 2-3 days.

Egyptian security sources also said negotiators believed a two-day extension was possible.

Families of those Israeli hostages due to be released later on Wednesday had already been informed earlier of their names, the final group to be freed under the truce unless negotiators succeeded in extending it.

Officials did not say at the time whether that included the Bibas family.

Gaza’s Hamas rulers published a list of 15 women and 15 teenage Palestinians to be released from Israeli jails in return for the hostages released on Wednesday.

The hostages were seized by militants in their deadly raid on Israel on Oct. 7.

For the first time since the truce began, the list of Palestinians to be freed included Palestinian citizens of Israel, as well as residents of occupied territory.

So far, Gaza militants have freed 60 Israeli women and children from among 240 hostages, under the deal that secured the war’s first truce.

At least 21 foreigners, mainly Thai farmworkers, were also freed under separate parallel deals.

In return, Israel has released 180 Palestinian security detainees, all women and teenagers.

The initial four-day truce was extended by 48 hours from Tuesday, and Israel said it would be willing to prolong it further for as long as Hamas frees 10 hostages a day.

But with fewer women and children still in captivity, that could mean agreeing to terms governing the release of at least some Israeli men for the first time.

A Palestinian official said negotiators were hammering out whether Israeli men would be released on different terms than the exchange for three Palestinian detainees each that had previously applied to the women and children.

Israeli government spokesperson Eylon Levy said Israel would consider any serious proposal, though he declined to provide further details.

“We are doing everything we can in order to get those hostages out. Nothing is confirmed until it is confirmed,” Levy told reporters in Tel Aviv.

“We’re talking about very sensitive negotiations in which human lives hang in the balance,” he added.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu repeated his earlier pledges to pursue the war to annihilate Hamas, once the ceasefire lapses.

“There is no way we are not going back to fighting until the end.

“This is my policy. The entire cabinet stands behind it. The entire government stands behind it. The soldiers stand behind it. The people stand behind it. This is exactly what we will do,” he said in a statement.

Tuesday’s release also included for the first time hostages held by Islamic Jihad, a separate militant group, as well as by Hamas itself.

“The ability of Hamas to secure the release of hostages held by other factions had been an issue in earlier talks.

The truce has brought the first respite to a war launched by Israel to annihilate Hamas after the “Black Shabbat” raid by gunmen who killed 1,200 people on the Jewish rest day, according to Israel’s tally.

Israeli bombardment has since reduced much of Gaza to a wasteland, with more than 15,000 people confirmed killed, 40 percent of them children, according to Palestinian health authorities deemed reliable by the United Nations.

Many more are feared buried under the ruins. The Palestinian health ministry said another 160 bodies had been pulled out of rubble during the past 24 hours of the truce, and around 6,500 people were still missing.

  • Reuters
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Foreign News

Israeli army says it has opened door leading to tunnel under hospital



The Israeli army says it has broken open the sealed blast door at the end of a suspected Hamas tunnel under the al-Shifa hospital in the Gaza Strip.

The military published two pictures on social media platform X, formerly called Twitter, Tuesday evening showing the open door in a tunnel.

What exactly is behind the door remained unclear at first.

“Just through this door, underneath the Shifa Hospital, are Hamas’ terrorists tunnels.

“Here’s the PROOF of Hamas’ terrorism festering underneath hospitals,” the Israel Defense Forces said in their post on X.

However, the photographs were published without context and could not be independently verified.

The military suspects a command centre of the Islamist Hamas under the largest hospital in the Gaza Strip.

Buildings in the vicinity of the hospital were also suspected.

According to the army, a shaft uncovered a few days ago in the grounds of the embattled hospital led to a tunnel, at the end of which there was a locked “explosion-proof door” after 55 metres.

Israel says the tunnel leads to a network of Hamas tunnels and bunkers.

In spite of international criticism, Israeli soldiers have been engaging in combat operations in and around the Shifa hospital for days.

Israel accuses Hamas of misusing the hospital for “terrorist purposes.”

But Hamas denies this.

  • dpa


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