Monthly Archives: October 2019

Girl suicide bomber kills 7 at bus station in Nigeria

A young female suicide bomber blew herself up in Damaturu, the capital of northern Nigeria’s Yobe State, killing at least seven people on Saturday, witnesses said.

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The girl detonated the explosives at a busy market near a bus station.

At least 27 people were wounded, many critically, and ambulances continued to bring in the injured, said a Reuters witness at a nearby hospital.

      

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the blast, but it bore the hallmark of Islamist militant group Boko Haram, which has been fighting a six-year insurgency in a bid to establish an Islamic state in northern Nigeria.

       

Boko Haram took over a territory larger than Belgium last year, killing thousands of people and displacing some 1.5 million. The militants overran most of Borno state and parts of Adamawa and Yobe.

      

But a Nigerian army offensive, backed by troops from Niger and Chad, has recaptured most of the territory, forcing Boko Haram on the run. Cameroon has helped by repelling advances in its border areas.

      

The frequency of raids and bomb attacks has significantly decreased, but several attacks in the past week suggest that the militants are returning to guerrilla warfare tactics.

       

Since Wednesday, they have attacked the outskirts of Borno state capital Maiduguri twice, retaken the town of Marte in the same state and attacked a village in neighbouring Adamawa state.

       

The Nigerian army says it is working to root out Boko Haram from its last stronghold in the vast Sambisa forest in eastern Borno state. They have freed over 700 women and children captured by the group but progress has been hampered by the militants’ widespread use of landmines.

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PSG clinch third French title in a row

The Qatari-owned club needed only a point but ended the night eight points clear of their closest rivals Olympique Lyonnais who were held to a 1-1 home draw by Girondins Bordeaux.

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The title kept Laurent Blanc’s side on course for a sweep of domestic honours, with the Parisians already winners of the League Cup and facing second tier AJ Auxerre in the French Cup final at the end of the month.

Monaco stayed third on 68 points, four adrift of Lyon, after beating Metz 2-0 in the principality while Olympique Marseille and St Etienne also won to stay tied on 66 in the battle for a place in next season’s Champions League preliminary round.

Evian Thonon Gaillard joined Racing Lens and Metz in being relegated after losing 2-1 to St Etienne.

“I love watching the scenes of joy, whether on the field or in the locker room,” said a delighted Blanc. “The players on the field earn the titles, we play a small part.

“We must let the players express themselves and the coach must always be behind them. It’s not up to him to be at the front of the stage.”

Midfielder Blaise Matuidi put PSG ahead in the 17th minute, slotting past goalkeeper Jonathan Ligali after a defence-splitting pass from Adrien Rabiot.

Ezequiel Lavezzi made it 2-0 in the 25th minute, from a cross by Serge Aurier, his eighth league goal of the season but Montpellier pulled one back five minutes before the break through Anthony Mounier’s shot into the top corner.

The win was the eighth in a row in the league for PSG who claimed their fifth French title.

The match, watched by a 27,930 crowd at the Stade de la Mosson, ended with flares lit in the stands and thrown on to the edge of the pitch with stewards stamping out the flames.

“I still enjoy doing this job,” said Blanc. “I have to thank my staff because without his staff a coach is nothing at all.”

(Reporting by Alan Baldwin in London, editing by Tony Jimenez)

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Aust rower sues alleged US attacker

The family of champion Australian rower and lifesaver Robert Scott have filed a multi-million dollar lawsuit in the US against the man they allege viciously attacked him on a California street.

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Scott, 26, suffered severe traumatic brain injuries in the August 17, 2014, attack and nine months later is still blind, unable to walk or eat and has lost hearing in his left ear, according to the lawsuit.

The injuries inflicted on the physical education teacher from the mid-north coast NSW town of Pacific Palms were allegedly from a single, unprovoked punch by Fresno man Gilbert Romero.

Scott’s US lawyer, Benjamin Tryk, says it will cost between $US300,000 to $US400,000 ($A369,845 to $A493,127) per year to care for Scott.

“Robert Scott’s treating physician in Sydney has estimated that he will require around-the-clock medical care and supervision for the remainder of his life,” the lawsuit filed in the Superior Court of California states.

Prosecutors in the Californian city of Fresno opted not to charge Romero. Fresno is located between Los Angeles and San Francisco.

Fresno’s chief deputy district attorney Greg Anderson told AAP in January there was insufficient evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt the Australian, who had a blood-alcohol level of 0.24 after a long day of drinking, was unlawfully assaulted by Romero.

After taking a year off from his job as a PE teacher Scott spent time in Canada and the US and was planning on visiting Mexico.

In Fresno to visit a friend, Scott was walking along a residential street about 9pm when he approached a car and asked the occupants if they needed help, according to the lawsuit.

Romero and two relatives were allegedly in a nearby home.

“Kathy and Julio Gill yelled to Robert Scott from their window, ‘You’re in the wrong neighbourhood’ and then moments later, their brother, Gilbert Romero, ran from their residence and struck Robert Scott,” the lawsuit states.

Before he was hit Scott allegedly put his hands up and told Romero: “I don’t want any trouble”.

“Romero punched Scott, whose head hit the asphalt, and then drove away from the scene,” according to the lawsuit.

Following weeks in a Fresno hospital Scott’s family flew him back to Australia in an air ambulance, which pushed medical costs in excess of $US1 million.

Scott was a national junior champion rower.

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McIlroy shoots career-low 61 to lead in Charlotte

The Northern Irishman used an astonishing display of long driving to overpower Quail Hollow, and struck a series of towering iron shots that honed in on the pins to set up 11 birdies.

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He posted an 18-under 198 total, a tournament record low score, to open a four-shot lead over American Webb Simpson (68), and a seven-shot advantage over third-placed Robert Streb.

McIlroy’s 61 bettered by one stroke the course record he held jointly with Brendon de Jonge.

McIlroy rated it among the best of his career.

“I looked at the scores in the morning and saw there were some low ones out there,” the world number one told reporters.

“I got a little more aggressive, and it paid off.

“I just aimed at the flags today. It’s as simple as that. I was taking dead aim.”

The four-times major champion recalled he once shot a 61 at Portrush in Northern Ireland in an amateur event.

“That was a good round. There’s been quite a lot of rounds where I’ve got it going but that was definitely up there today,” said.”

McIlroy had 23 putts, but did not hole anything longer than 15 feet and only once, at the first hole, where he sank a seven-footer for par, was he in serious danger of dropping a shot.

He started thinking about shooting a 59 after a birdie at the 13th took him to eight-under.

McIlroy needed to birdie the difficult final two holes to shoot a magical 59 but it was not to be as he left his approach shots a long way from the hole on both occasions.

“I was a little disappointed not finishing it off the way I wanted to,” said McIlroy, who notched his first PGA Tour victory here five years ago.

He nearly did not play here this year, due to his busy schedule. He is glad he decided to come, even if it means playing five weeks in a row.

“I love the place, I’m playing well, so at least for now that decision (to play) has paid off,” he said.

(Editing by Gene Cherry)

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American Pharoah wins Preakness, in Triple Crown hunt

Ridden by Victor Espinoza, the colt followed up his victory in the Kentucky Derby with a win by seven lengths in the pouring Maryland rain that turned the sandy course into a mud bath.

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American Pharoah now needs to win the Belmont Stakes on June 6 to become the first horse since 1978 to complete the elusive Triple Crown.

“I told everybody the real American Pharaoh would show up today and indeed he did,” said Egyptian-born owner Ahmed Zayat. “He is the real deal for the sport, not for me, for the fans.

“I am hoping God, please let’s have another run at it. Hopefully we well see everyone at Belmont if he came out of the race well. He is the real deal and the sport needs him.”

For Mexican jockey Espinoza the Belmont will be another chance to win the Triple Crown. He rode California Chrome to victory in the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness last year before losing in the Belmont.

Since Steve Cauthen rose Affirmed to glory in all three races in 1978 there have been 13 times when a horse has gone into the Belmont with a chance of the Triple Crown – only to miss out.

American Pharoah, the 4-5 favourite, pulled clear just before turning into the stretch and the outcome was never in doubt from then on.

Tale of Verve was second and Divining Rod finished third.

American Pharoah paid $3.80, $3.40 and $2.80. Tale of Verve $19 and $8.80 and Divining Rod $5.20.

“He broke a little slow and I pushed him to go to front and as soon as I take the lead, that was it,” said Espinoza, who illustrated the conditions by pouring water out of his racing boot.

The win was the sixth Preakness triumph for trainer Bob Baffert, who was delighted.

“Just an incredible horse, what he does is amazing.

American Pharoah from day one people were expecting this and with the weather I was getting a little leery but great horses do great things and he showed it today,” Baffert said.

(Reporting by Simon Evans in Miami, editing by Gene Cherry)

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