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Osaka wins second Australian Open, thrashes Brady

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Naomi Osaka thrashed American Jennifer Brady in two straight sets on Saturday to win her second Australian Open title and the fourth Grand Slam of her career.

Osaka, the Japanese No. 1, cruised past the American 6-4 6-3, in just 77 minutes on Rod Laver Arena.

The third seed became the first woman since Monica Seles to win her first four major finals.

She also drew level with the likes of Kim Clijsters in terms of Slams won.

Only the Williams sisters boast more major titles.

Osaka andd Brady had met before at the semi-final of the US Open last year.

Fans hoping for a repeat of the pair’s engrossing match then were left disappointed as Brady froze in the spotlight of her first Grand Slam final.

Osaka also played some way short of her best tennis and joined Brady in contributing to a dour, error-strewn first set.

But she settled to clinch six straight games, roaring to a 4-0 lead in the second before serving out the match to love.

A big serve sealed it, causing Brady to fire a forehand return long, and Osaka held her racket over her head and beamed in an understated celebration.

Osaka, who won the 2019 tournament, offered Brady warm congratulations and thanked the fans at the trophy ceremony.

“When we played in the semis of the U.S. Open, a couple of months ago, and I told everyone that ‘Listen you’re going to be a problem’. And I was right,” said Osaka, who will be world number two when the rankings are updated.

“It feels really incredible for me. I didn’t play my last Grand Slam with fans so just to have this energy it really means a lot.”

Twenty-five year-old Brady in her response said: “First I would like to congratulate Naomi on another Grand Slam title.

“She’s such an inspiration to us all and what she’s doing for the game is amazing and getting the sport out there and I hope young girls at home are watching and are inspired by what she’s doing.”

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Bitcoin bounces back after Elon Musk reassuring tweet

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Bitcoin bounced back from a three-month low on Monday in the wake of Tesla boss Elon Musk’s latest reassuring tweet about the automaker’s bitcoin holdings.
The cryptocurrency however experienced a volatile session as investors initially sold and then bought them.
In his latest tweet, Musk said, “Tesla has not sold any bitcoin”.
The clarification came after his weekend tweets that hinted Tesla is considering or may have already sold some of its massive holdings.
Musk has boosted crypto markets with his enthusiasm for the asset class, but has lately roiled trade by appearing to cool on bitcoin in favour of its one-time parody, dogecoin.
The gyrations are beginning to spook even steeled traders.
Bitcoin fell more than nine per cent on Monday to as low as $42,185, its lowest since February 8, but rallied more than five per cent to around $44,220.
Ether, linked to the ethereum blockhain, fell even more to as low as $3,123.94, and then rallied to $3,400. Dogecoin fell nearly seven per cent to $0.48, and all three are well under recent records.
“Elon Musk has been the catalyst to this, but ultimately it just comes down to the nuts and bolts of what crypto really is: it’s a store of value, but it’s also a momentum vehicle, and right now the momentum is to the downside,” said Chris Weston of brokerage Pepperstone in Melbourne.
He added, “Why would I want to buy bitcoin right now – even if I’m bullish – until the liquidation is over and you see some consolidation in price?”

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Agitation for Yoruba nation may degenerate into war, Ladoja warns

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A former governor of Oyo State, Rashidi Ladoja, yesterday, told agitators of Yoruba self-determination to exercise caution, as the agitation might degenerate into war if not well managed.

Addressing newsmen at his Bodija, Ibadan residence, after observing the Eid prayers to commemorate the end of the Ramadan fast, the former governor called for more religious tolerance and fairness, justice, especially in making political appointments.

Ladoja said: “Some parts of the country feel cheated in the appointment into some offices in the country. The country will collapse when we have incompetent people in power.

“We are a federation and not a mono-language or mono-ethnic country. We deserve the policies that make us strong, even with our diversities, but that seems to be our weakness. That is why people are looking for other options in terms of restructuring and dissolution. “And when that is the practice, it means the best of men are not in position and when you have people that are not competent running a system, the system will at the end of the day collapse. Let’s only hope that Nigeria will survive.”

Appealing to those beating the drums of war, the former governor said: “People only know the beginning of wars, but many don’t know how it ends. Some of the agitators for the Yoruba Nation don’t even know what it means.

“Nobody knows how the war in Syria started and it took years they have to take it easy. There will be a time when God will give us good leaders, and there will also be the time God will give us leaders that are not as good. If we want to go because of our challenges, we may need to sit down and talk things out on the way to go.

“When people are agitating, who says those in the North are not planning to go too? But let’s assume that people in the South are talking too much, while people in the North are acting too much.”

Southern, Northern govs should meet on grey areas —Mimiko

Meanwhile, former Ondo State governor, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko, yesterday, urged the Southern governors to meet with their counterparts in the North to harmonise grey areas on the  resolutions reached at their meeting in Asaba, Delta state. Mimiko, in a statement, said that the resolution of the southern governors forum was commendable and the next step  is for them to meet with their Northern counterparts “to iron out what may just be minor areas of difference in substance and timelines.” The statement reads: “The resolution of the Southern Governors’ Forum, at the end of its meeting in Asaba, Delta State, on May 11 2021, is commendable.

“It is also salutary that members of the Southern caucus of the National Assembly have weighed in. “It is all a reflection of the realization of the fact that the nation may be perching at the precipice, and of the urgent need to pull her back.

“The next step is for the Southern Governors to meet with their Northern counterparts to iron out what may just be minor areas of difference in substance and timelines. “There cannot be any reasonable arguments against decentralization of policing to ensure emergence of compact and efficient sub-national forces under State (sub-national government control). “There surely cannot be any disagreement amongst the Governors on the issue of devolution of resources from the centre.”

Act fast on your resolutions, Onitiri urges Southern govs

Similarly, an activist and critic, Adesunbo Onitiri, yesterday, urged the 17 Southern governors to take action on their 10-point resolution adopted in Asaba, Delta State, on Tuesday, to save their people from the present insecurity ravaging the entire area. Applauding the governors, Onitiri,

in a statement in Lagos, said they have waited for long, while their states were being deliberately ravaged by armed Fulani herdsmen and other hardened criminals, who have been making life difficult for everybody in the entire area. He said: “The southern governors should realise that they are not an appendage or inferior to their Northern colleagues. We are in a very perilous state; we are looking for heroes to salvage our country from imminent collapse and calamity.

“The governors should immediately make laws to ban open grazing in their various states, address the people of your states on the deplorable state of insecurity in the country and appeal to their patriotic sense to cooperate with you to stem down the insecurity.

“The most insulting aspect of the matter is that farmers were being attacked, maimed, killed or kidnapped for ransom. As if that was not enough, the farmers were being sent out of their farms, their farm produce destroyed, and their wives and daughters raped as if Nigerians were in a banana republic.”

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COVID-19: Lagos places USA, Canada, South Africa, 11 others on watch list

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Lagos State has placed 14 countries on watch list as part of measures to prevent a possible spread of the new COVID-19 variant.

Commissioner for Health Prof. Akin Abayomi said the measure became necessary following the discovery of variants from banned countries within another country.

He said: “The affected countries are Canada, USA, France, Germany, Netherlands, Togo, Ghana, Cameroon, Angola, South Africa, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Rwanda.

“Nigerians returning from lesser hajj would have to undergo a compulsory seven-day self-isolation.

“The state will not hesitate to prosecute anyone, irrespective of status, who fails to comply with the directive.”

Abayomi stressed some of the possible events that could trigger a third wave include general laxity, false sense of security and non-adherence to guidelines, religious holidays, COVID fatigue, entry of mutations and variants.

He added: “The state has however developed a five-pillar strategy for curbing a potential third wave in Lagos.

“These include ensuring that all travelers carry out COVID-19 tests while we also introduce PCR test to determine variants and mandatory seven-day quarantine.

We will also utilise EKOTELEMED to monitor confirmed cases and provide telemedicine services.

“We will be sensitising Lagosians on the importance of non-pharmaceutical interventions such as handwashing, social distancing, thresholds for public gathering, as well as discourage super spreader events.

“Our oxygen supply approach will be two-phased – outsource oxygen plants to private partners and PPP for 700 cylinder/ day oxygen plant, while we also increase the number of vaccine doses administered by leveraging the private sector.”

The commissioner, who spoke on the successes recorded so far, said some isolation centres are currently empty.

“Landmark, Agidingbi, Gbagada, FCC, Lagoon and Onikan isolation centres have been shut while Amour II and Gbagada Isolation Centres are being re-activated.

“Of the 554 bed capacity, 550 beds are currently available. There is also a decrease in the number of patients who require oxygen therapy at IDH, Yaba. Following the reduction in number of positive cases, the use of oxygen has reduced from an average of 300 bottles per day in January 2021 to 60 bottles per day in April 2021,” he added.

Prof. Abayomi said of the 58,611 cases confirmed, 54,049 recovered, 4,346 were admitted; 3,906 were discharged and 354 deaths were recorded. One confirmed case is current in isolation with three suspected cases.

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