Diamond League plans Norway ‘Impossible Games’ exhibition

The Diamond League plans to stage a behind-closed doors exhibition event in June after two meetings were called off due to the coronavirus pandemic.

An event named ‘The Impossible Games’ is set to take place in Oslo on 11 June and will be televised by Norway’s public broadcaster NRK.

Norway’s double world champion Karsten Warholm will attempt to break the world 400m hurdles record.

Organisers said the event would conform with pandemic guidelines in Norway.

World Athletics president Sebastian Coe said: “This is really positive news for athletes and fans and promises, even in this early stage, to be another great night of athletics from the Bislett stadium.”

The event will also see a pole-vault contest between world-record holder Mondo Duplantis and multiple Diamond League champion Renaud Lavillenie, though organisers stressed a full programme of competition has not yet been confirmed.

The night of action will take place on the date which was meant to stage the running of the Oslo Diamond League meeting.

But Diamond League meetings on weekends either side of the event – in Eugene, Oregon, on 7 June and Paris on 13 June – have been postponed.

In all, Diamond League meetings in Qatar, China, Sweden, Italy, Morocco, France and the US have now been called off.

The next scheduled meeting in the calendar after the Oslo exhibition event is due to be in London on 4 July.

TO DELIVER NIGERIA FROM ITS CURRENT MESS, RELIGIOUS LEADERS MUST FIRST DISPLAY ACCOUNTABILITY


In its simplest form, the work of an Accountant is to keep records of financial transactions, analyse and present a report to show how much money or resources were received, how much was spent and how much remained at the end of a particular period. The most important thing is that the Account must be made available to various people who may need to use the information for one thing or another.
You may want to ask me what is the business of a “Man of God” to give account of his activities and what correlation that has with the financial mess the Country is at the moment.
Let me quickly x-ray a particular story of the Bible to explain my point. It’s the story of the 5 loaves + 2 fishes that Jesus used to feed over 5,000 people and they still got 12 extra baskets. You can study Book of Matthew Chapter 14 from verses 14 to 20 for confirmation of my reasoning. From that story I saw Jesus Christ, among other personalities, as a great Leader , a Statistician, a Visionary & Budget expert, a Human and Material Resources Manager, most importantly, a thorough Accountant/ Auditor and then a great Philanthropist Note that I didn’t mention a personality of a Miracle Worker as most of you know. That’s our problem as a very religious people. We always attribute everything to God and miracles instead of taking proper actions as the situations may require. Let us leave that point and focus on the other personalities for now… especially, Jesus Christ as a very thorough Accountant & Auditor.
In that story, our Grand Master was able to give accurate account of (1) The “Offering” collected which was 5 loaves + 2 fishes and from whom…the people. (2) How the “Offering” was carefully managed and used to feed 5,000 men excluding women and Children. (3) How 12 extra baskets of the “Offering” were saved and (4) How the remaining 12 baskets were given to the people from whom the initial Offerings were collected in the first instance. I assume the people took the 12 extra baskets to their homes to the old and others who couldn’t come to the Crusade ground.
Getting close to the point now. Our Master clearly laid that principle of ACCOUNTABILITY that cannot be seen in most “Men of God” today. To me, as long as those Religious leaders treat those “Offerings” in other ways asides the way our Grand Master treated it, financial corruption will continue to deal with us as a nation.
Now, see how the “Men of God” are at the forefront of the matter. Every Sunday, a Christian President or VP, Minister, Governor, Commissioner go to Church to worship. Every Friday, a Muslim President or VP, Minister DGs etc go to the Mosques to worship. At those Religious Centres, those Political Office holders have become “Members” who are temporarily “juniors” to the “Men of God” who are supposed to represent God at such meetings. It is expected that God should pass instructions to His people through His Pastors, Imam etc. For example, “Men of God” should preach to “Members” not to steal moneys and other resources that belong to the general public. They should also show proper Account of their Stewardship. It is expected that those “Members” should listen and obey “God”. They should leave the Churches and Mosques with a repentant heart to serve the masses that voted them to power.
But is that what we see at the Religious Centres? No. Instead “Men of God” asks us to “Pray for all men especially those in Authority” Can you see that? Pray for people mismanaging our resources and burdening our lives with crises? The only prayer that makes sense to me is to ask God for wisdom to vote inept leaders out of office at the next available opportunity.
This piece is not judge our “Men of God” but rather a call for them to be transparent the way our Lord and Master demonstrated. Whatever resources that come to them should be in trust for the welfare of the Members regardless who contributed what offering. When this happens, “Men of God” can easily and boldly admonish our Polital leaders to do the same. Judgement must start from the House of God ( 1 Peter 4 vs 17 referring to Ezekiel 9 vs 6). To turn our eyes to other side is to deceive ourselves and waste our time in prayers. We have prayed enough, it’s time for actions in the right direction. Enough of miracle seeking. Nigerians should do the right things.
That is my candid contribution towards finding a way out of our mess as a nation. I wish us best of luck.

Credit: Olatunde F. Omojola

‘Merge tennis’ governing bodies,’ says Roger Federer

Roger Federer says “now is the time” for the men’s and women’s governing bodies to merge while tennis is in limbo because of the coronavirus.

The 20-time Grand Slam champion floated the idea in a series of Twitter posts.

He said a merger of the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) and the men’s Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) “probably should have happened”.

“We can come out of this with two weakened bodies or one stronger body,” Federer said.

Later on Wednesday ATP chairman Andrea Gaudenzi appeared to back the idea saying: “Our sport has a big opportunity if we can come together in the spirit of collaboration and unity.

“Recent cooperation between governing bodies has only strengthened my belief that a unified sport is the surest way to maximise our potential and to deliver an optimal experience for fans on site, on television and online. To that end, I welcome the views of our players.”

WTA chairman and chief executive Steve Simon said the organisation had been “regular contact with the ATP” during the coronavirus pandemic, adding: “I have long stated that we are at our best as a sport when we can work together, and the recent weeks have highlighted that fact.

“We look forward to continuing discussions on how we can effectively work together to deliver the greatest value to our fans and to our many stakeholders.”

BBC Sport understands preliminary discussions have taken place between the two tours about greater collaboration in certain areas.

While many high-profile tennis players have backed Federer’s plan, Australia’s Nick Kyrgios tweeted on Thursday to say: “We shouldn’t merge.”

On Wednesday, the world number 40 had posted: “Did anyone ask the majority of the ATP what they think about merging with the WTA and how it is good for us?”

In a series of social media posts on Wednesday, Federer added: “I am not talking about merging competition on the court but merging the two governing bodies that oversee the men’s and women’s professional tours.

“It’s too confusing for the fans when there are different ranking systems, different logos, different websites, different tournament categories.”

“The WTA on its own was always Plan B,” added King. “I’m glad we are on the same page. Let’s make it happen.”

Spanish 19-time Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal added: “It would be great to get out of this world crisis with the union of men’s and women’s tennis in only one organisation.”

Reigning Wimbledon champion Simona Halep, two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova, Argentine Diego Schwartzman and two-time Grand Slam champion Garbine Muguruza are among the other high-profile tennis players to voice their agreement on social media.

Madagascar and the Miracle cure for coronavirus

Unarmed Madagascar soldiers went door-to-door in the capital Antananarivo, doling out sachets of a local herbal tea touted by President Andry Rajoelina as a powerful remedy against the novel coronavirus.

Baptised Covid-Organics, the tonic is derived from artemisia, a plant with proven efficacy in treating malaria as well as other indigenous herbs.

It has been developed by the Madagascar Institute of Applied Research (IMRA) but has not been tested internationally.

“This herbal tea gives results in seven days,” Rajoelina announced at its official launch on Tuesday.

“We can change the history of the entire world,” he said, after downing a dose. “Two people have now been cured by this treatment.”

Mainstream scientists have warned of the potential risk from untested herbal brews.

There is currently no known cure for coronavirus, which has infected at least 121 people in Madagascar and more than 2.6 million worldwide.

Yet military officials on the Indian Ocean island nation say the infusion would be better than nothing.

“It will strengthen immunity,” said military doctor Colonel Willy Ratovondrainy on state television, as troops launched a mass distribution campaign.

In pairs, soldiers followed people through Antananarivo’s narrow alleyways into their homes.

“Good morning, we are here to distribute the Covid-Organics tea,” one of them said.

Jean-Louis Rakotonandrasana gratefully accepted the free packet of herbs.

“We are eager to try this infusion since we saw president Rajoelina drink it on television,” the 58-year-old said.

Most of Madagascar’s 26 million inhabitants live in grinding poverty with limited access to healthcare and regularly take herbal teas for a variety of common ailments.

Unarmed Madagascar soldiers went door-to-door in the capital Antananarivo, doling out sachets of a local herbal tea touted by President Andry Rajoelina as a powerful remedy against the novel coronavirus.

Baptised Covid-Organics, the tonic is derived from artemisia, a plant with proven efficacy in treating malaria as well as other indigenous herbs.

It has been developed by the Madagascar Institute of Applied Research (IMRA) but has not been tested internationally.

“This herbal tea gives results in seven days,” Rajoelina announced at its official launch on Tuesday.

“We can change the history of the entire world,” he said, after downing a dose. “Two people have now been cured by this treatment.”

Mainstream scientists have warned of the potential risk from untested herbal brews.

There is currently no known cure for coronavirus, which has infected at least 121 people in Madagascar and more than 2.6 million worldwide.

Yet military officials on the Indian Ocean island nation say the infusion would be better than nothing.

“It will strengthen immunity,” said military doctor Colonel Willy Ratovondrainy on state television, as troops launched a mass distribution campaign.

In pairs, soldiers followed people through Antananarivo’s narrow alleyways into their homes.

“Good morning, we are here to distribute the Covid-Organics tea,” one of them said.

Jean-Louis Rakotonandrasana gratefully accepted the free packet of herbs.

“We are eager to try this infusion since we saw president Rajoelina drink it on television,” the 58-year-old said.

Most of Madagascar’s 26 million inhabitants live in grinding poverty with limited access to healthcare and regularly take herbal teas for a variety of common ailments.

Madagascar deployed the army last month to help enforce a lockdown in its three main cities to curb the spread of COVID-19.

Soldiers who set up roadblocks and patrolled streets are now making sure everyone receives a sachet of the infusion and instructions for use.

“One infusion goes into four litres of water,” said Rabefarihy, repeating the instructions. “Two cups per day for adults, one cup for children, nothing for pregnant women.”

Madagascar’s coronavirus cases remain relatively low and there have been no recorded deaths so far.

But the country’s fragile healthcare system would easily be swamped by a surge in cases and authorities are banking on prevention.

Their aim is to raise awareness about the virus and strengthen people’s immune systems.

“We highly recommend taking this plant-based infusion,” said presidential cabinet head Lova Ranoramoro.

(AFP)

NLC and FG in disagreement over extension of lockdown

The Nigeria Labour Congress has called on the Federal Government not to extend the lockdown order on COVID-19, warning that doing so might cause social unrest in the affected states and the Federal Capital Territory.

In a letter addressed to the chairman of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 and dated April 14, 2020, which was signed by the NLC president, Ayuba Wabba, the union also frowned at the method employed by the FG in the distribution of the palliative measure, calling for the expansion of the initiative to all Nigerians affected by the pandemic.

The union said, “While we understand the public health imperatives for extending the lockdown in some parts of the country, it is also very important to underscore the fact that the states currently under total lockdown are the economic and administrative nerve centres of Nigeria.

“This is very dicey. As much as it is important to keep many Nigerians from dying in the hands of coronavirus, loss of income and the accompanying destitution can also be a pathfinder for numerous other sicknesses and deaths. This is the time to play the balancing game.

“The truth is that our economy might relapse into prolonged coma if the current lockdown in the nation’s nerve centres goes beyond the current extension.

“There were widespread acts of civil disobedience, inducement of law enforcement agents to gain passes and even various forms of violent crimes.

“No one is sure how long this dam would hold. We fear that the situation will get out of hand if the lockdown exceeds one month.

“While we commend government for being proactive, we opine that the stimulus package would be best served through consultation with social partners.

“Labour and private sector employers have a good understanding of industries where jobs and production are in most danger.”

Coronavirus: Antibody tests for immunity begins

Italy began conducting antibody tests in the northern region of Lombardy on Thursday, seeking information about coronavirus immunity to help guide authorities as they reopen the long locked-down country.

Lombardy, the region hardest-hit by the coronavirus crisis in Europe’s worst-affected country, is betting that the science about “herd immunity” derived from the blood tests will help the prosperous industrial region return to work faster and safer.

Nearly 13,000 people have already died of the virus in densely populated Lombardy, whose capital is Milan — more than half of Italy’s total dead.

Although Germany has already started nationwide antibody tests and countries such as Finland and Britain have announced plans to roll them out, many questions remain about how reliable data derived from the tests will be.

Health authorities have said 20,000 tests would be performed every day in Lombardy. First to be tested are those in the worst-hit provinces: health workers, those under quarantine showing coronavirus symptoms and those they have been in contact with, as well as others with mild symptoms.

Authorities hope to roll out the tests to the wider region after April 29.

The head of Italy’s National Health Council, Franco Locatelli, said last month that antibody tests would help authorities determine the spread of the coronavirus.

Data would also provide “very relevant information on herd immunity” which would useful in developing strategies to help restart the country, he said, such as who could be allowed to go back to work.