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Inside the hacked U.S. election

first_imgU.S. intelligence agencies have found that the Russian government directed the hacking of Democratic Party email systems during the presidential election to boost the Republican campaign effort, a finding that has alarmed many foreign policy analysts, especially in light of strained relations between the two powerful nations. It is still unclear whether the reported intrusion affected the outcome of the 2016 election in any way. But President Obama last Friday ordered the Central Intelligence Agency to deliver a comprehensive report on its probe before he leaves office next month. Senate Democrats, including Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Minority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) urged that the resulting report be made public. Together with a handful of Republicans, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), they also have called for a congressional investigation into the alleged security breach. But President-elect Donald Trump quickly ridiculed the assessment and questioned the judgment and credibility of U.S. intelligence agencies. For months, he has repeatedly challenged the notion that Russia could be the source of stolen Democratic emails published by WikiLeaks and other online outlets. Kevin Ryan, a retired Army brigadier general and director of the Belfer Center’s Defense and Intelligence Projects at Harvard Kennedy School, analyzes U.S.-Russia security relations, military intelligence, and missile defense capabilities. Ryan was a defense attaché to Russia and a senior regional director for Slavic states in the Secretary of Defense’s office, among other senior roles. Ryan spoke with the Gazette about Russia’s alleged involvement in the U.S. election, the brewing friction between the incoming president and intelligence community, and the implications that those contentious issues have for U.S.-Russia relations.GAZETTE: Former CIA chief and Belfer Center senior fellow Michael Morell called the reported Russian intrusion “the political equivalent of 9/11.” Should this event be viewed as something like an act of war?RYAN: No, because it doesn’t even come close to threatening the existence of the United States. The idea that foreign governments would want to support friendly candidates during an election is ancient. It’s as old as history. And the United States itself openly, and with some resources, supports candidates in some countries that it thinks would benefit United States interests and goals around the world. So another country like Russia trying to interfere in our election process is not unheard-of. I’m not trying to make the case that it’s O.K., or that it’s equivalent to what we did, say, in helping candidates and parties in Ukraine and Georgia with the “color revolutions.” But the idea that another country would be interested in getting a friendly candidate to be elected is not unusual. It’s an interference which we should not condone and which we should try to prevent and which we should respond to, but I don’t see it as an act of war.GAZETTE: When you hear terms like “high confidence” and “consensus” used to describe the assessment that Russia did interfere in the 2016 election, how do you interpret that language? What thresholds of certainty need to be reached for the intelligence community to state something like this to Congress?RYAN: The important thing to note is that it’s more than just a possibility, but less than a certainty — I think that’s what they mean. It means, for example, that the director of national intelligence [James R. Clapper] believes that the Russian government directed the compromise of emails in order to influence or in order to interfere with the election process. He said that in a public statement that he issued with [the Department of Homeland Security]. I guess we’re not going to get the direct evidence for that unless President Obama’s study, which he’s commissioned, decides to release some version of that evidence.GAZETTE: Do you think the agencies have disclosed all they know, or are they holding some information back in order to maximize their strategic options?RYAN: My guess is that the classified report by the CIA to the congressional leaders includes all the information that is pertinent to this question. But I also imagine that the reports that we’re getting in the [news]papers are somewhat less than the full version. If you note that in The Washington Post, they say that “a senior U.S. official who spoke with others about the report said the following thing, that CIA assessed the Russians were trying to support Trump.” So you don’t have the CIA saying it. You don’t have one of the congressmen who got the briefing saying it. You’ve got somebody else who claims he or she spoke with others who saw the report. So that’s one filter right there. That person’s words, I don’t think they’re reliable quotes from the assessment. And then you have to add the filter of The Washington Post, whatever their journalists or editors … [do to make] changes that are just normal, not nefarious, just normal editing of an article, some people can read that article and come away with a different opinion. So I think the congressmen got all the details, but we didn’t, and we have two filters that we have to go through.GAZETTE: What’s the nature of the apparent disagreement between the FBI and the CIA on whether the Republican National Committee servers were hacked or not? Does one agency have better technical expertise, or is this a result of their different approaches to cyber investigations and perhaps their longstanding rivalry?RYAN: This is built into the system. You have two separate rooms full of analysts and people working on information they’ve collected and shared with each other. One team comes up with this wording and this analysis, and another team comes up with something else. This happens all the time. The CIA’s assessment that was given to Congress, if The Washington Post article was accurate, was not a fully coordinated assessment. In other words, not all of the 17 intelligence agencies chopped on it and said “Yes, we see it this way.” So let’s assume that one of the 17 that didn’t was the FBI, and it’s probably because of the wording. I think they are probably much closer in understanding than we are led to believe in some of the press reports. The differences between the two are probably not significant. You have, I think, a minor but nuanced difference between two intelligence agencies. It’s then being exaggerated or blown up by political people who are reading about this in the paper. So it’s blown up by the press, it’s blown up by the people who read it, it’s blown up by the people who are using the information.GAZETTE: In hindsight, was it smart for the Obama administration to hold back from taking greater action in the run-up to the election?RYAN: I think what they did was they didn’t elect to not come forward with something. What they did was they assessed the report, and they felt the interference of the Russian hackers or whoever, they felt that it was not changing the outcome of the election, or that it did not change the outcome of the election, or was not going to change the outcome of the election. So the Obama administration made that assessment and then therefore felt they had the latitude to wait to talk about this, for a lot of reasons. I don’t second-guess that decision. I think they’re right. I don’t think the effort by the hackers, at the behest of the Russian government, I don’t think it made the difference in Trump being elected president. I think this is a serious breach of protocol, a serious breach of our own systems, it’s a serious cyber breach, and we shouldn’t be taking it lying down. We should’ve already done something very public or made a much stronger reaction to this, but it’s not an act of war, and we should not be going to Def Con 3.GAZETTE: Do you expect the U.S. will retaliate and, if so, how and when?RYAN: I don’t know if we’ll retaliate because President Obama has done a lot of great things, but he has not been very consistent in following through on his red lines and threats. So I don’t know if the U.S. will retaliate. And if this all doesn’t get retaliated before the Jan. 20 inaugural, I have no idea what the Trump administration will do with it. They may just ignore it, or they may take it up with the Russians, I don’t know. It’s a very serious problem that we do not have in place the mechanism to identify the culprits and develop a response or a reaction that can be known and appreciated by the public. This is a result of the combination of a lot of factors, such as the high classification of cyber attacks and cyber defense, and the classification of reports that come out of the intelligence community. We haven’t really worked through those things as a country yet in order to be able to show the American people, “Here’s what happened and here’s what we’ve done about it.”GAZETTE: How do you think the intelligence agencies are reacting to a breach on their watch and to Trump’s dismissal of the idea that Russia could be involved because their intelligence is not credible?RYAN: The first thing I think is that these are grown men and women and that their feelings are not easily hurt. The idea that Trump’s tweet or his comments about the intelligence community — that these are the same guys who didn’t figure out the Iraq weapons of mass destruction — they take it on as a criticism. They don’t like it, I’m sure, but they’re professionals and they’ll do their job anyway. It’s unfortunate that he feels that way about the intelligence community. I think they’re much better than that. But they’re going to get an opportunity, once he’s president, to show that to him, and so will his nominee to head the Central Intelligence Agency, [Rep. Mike] Pompeo.GAZETTE: Are officers upset that Russia apparently succeeded in penetrating our election?RYAN: I don’t think people in the intelligence community think of it that way. They say to themselves, “We figured out what Russia did. We figured out who did this, who hacked the emails, who leaked them to WikiLeaks, and then how they get on to the public docket.” They look at that and they say, “We’ve figured all that out and how it happened.” That’s a big success for one part of the intelligence community. You have Cyber Command and the cyber establishment within the government, and I’m not sure that they see what the Russians did as their fault. I think they see it as a vulnerability that exists everywhere in the world. In fact, they’re undoubtedly exploiting those same kinds of vulnerabilities in Russia and other countries where they can, not in response to what happened here, but simply as a matter of course. So I don’t think they look at this as a big loss on their watch. The guys in the CIA have no responsibility for stopping hacking attacks. Their day job is to figure out what happened, and they did that.GAZETTE: If President Trump and his top national security adviser, say Michael Flynn, do not appreciate or trust evaluations from the CIA and other intelligence agencies, what effect does that have on national security?RYAN: If he’s ignoring intelligence reports or acting contrary to the best analysis that our Central Intelligence Agency or the director of national intelligence gives him, then that would be a serious problem. But I don’t think he’s done that yet. He’s been tweeting, but those are not policy statements, in my mind. One thing in favor of appreciating the usefulness and value of good intelligence is that Flynn used to head the Defense Intelligence Agency, and he spent many years as an intelligence officer, so he knows what he thinks is good intelligence. Anybody inside the intelligence community will tell you there’s good and bad intelligence, and it’s a constant effort to make sure that the intelligence that’s written up and put forward is fair, balanced, and accurate. That doesn’t always happen. Maybe Flynn is going to be much more vocal, or he’s going to enable Trump to be much more vocal about skepticism about certain reports. But when an intelligence briefing is given by analysts to a bunch of intelligence people or a bunch of commanders, I can guarantee you there’s a lot of skepticism in the room, almost always. People question things immediately: “How do you know that?” “What’s your assumption?” “What’s going on?” To an outsider, it could seem like, “Wow, these people don’t really trust those guys or they don’t really think much of their work.” But it’s just the nature of trying to make sure that the story’s accurate.GAZETTE: What steps could U.S. intelligence take to protect the nation if someone in the new administration shared intelligence, either inadvertently or deliberately, with Russia?RYAN: It’s got to be a concern for any senior government official. [Trump is] appointing [as Secretary of State Exxon Mobil CEO Rex] Tillerson, so he’s a good example. You want to make sure that those people understand the difference between unclassified and classified material. Hillary Clinton got into trouble because of the way she handled, or allowed her staff to handle, classified material [in her private email account]. You need to have almost a bipolar mind sometimes to try and keep these things separate, and people still screw up.GAZETTE: Some former intelligence officers say there’s a very good likelihood that Russia has been targeting and possibly “cultivating” Trump since at least 2012, when he purchased the Miss Universe pageant, and potentially years earlier. Given what you know about Russian espionage, is that a real possibility?RYAN: First of all, Trump is not being run by the Russian FSB or SVR [security services]; he’s not the Manchurian candidate. He makes his own decisions clearly and is not responding to any guidance or direction from President [Vladimir] Putin, let alone most people in the United States. Now, do the Russian security establishment and intelligence agencies keep a book on every significant American who comes to Russia? Yes. In the old days, you could’ve gone to the FBI and gotten your FBI file. If you were somebody important and had made comments or done big things, there’s a file on you. I’m guessing that there was a file on Donald Trump somewhere in Moscow too, and it was filled with whatever they thought was important, and even the little things that they didn’t think were important at the time but might be important someday. That’s just the way they operate. They have a very manpower-intensive setup, and they collect and they collect and they collect. And then someday, when suddenly something happens that you didn’t expect, like he’s president of the United States, they go back to the file and say, “OK, what’s in here? What can we use?” But it’s almost too late to use it when he’s president of the United States. He’s already weathered his locker room talk, and he’s already weathered disparaging Gold Star families, and everything else. It’d be hard to imagine that the Russians have something more on Donald Trump than what Donald Trump has already offered.GAZETTE: If an agency found evidence of either outright collaboration or an awareness and tolerance for Russian hacking by someone in the Trump team, what happens then? As president, could Trump effectively quash this?RYAN: This is a great question. Congress can’t order them or the Department of Defense to do something, because that’s the commander in chief’s role, but they can take the money away for something, which is their way of imposing their preference and their will and guidance. They write the budget and give the money to the CIA. And if the CIA or somebody isn’t going to make a report to Congress because President Trump said, “No, you guys don’t have to do that,” well then Congress can say, “I guess you don’t need all this money you’re getting.” They can make life very difficult for them.Certainly, he can make it tougher for a review to happen. But this is why we have to rely on the wisdom of the Founding Fathers who created a system of government with checks and balances. You’ve already seen some of these things in the press about people in his own party in Congress who disagree with him on Russia, on the intelligence assessments and reports, and they’re calling for investigations and things that run contrary to his expressed wishes so far. There’s a lot of checks and balances, and we’re going to find out in the next four years if that system can stand up to a Trump presidency.This interview has been lightly edited for length and clarity.last_img read more

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Officials Give Friday COVID-19 Update

first_imgShare:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window),Why aren’t people in Western New York being tested under the same protocols as NYC? Photo: CDCJAMESTOWN – Thirty-four people are now under a ‘precautionary quarantine’ in Chautauqua County, according to data released by officials Friday afternoon.So far, there remains no confirmed cases of the novel Coronavirus in the county.Officials recommend that all county physicians and hospitals notify the Chautauqua County Health Department when a COVID-19 test is performed, but cannot assure that they have record of every test that has been performed in the county.“What we can be assured of, through the NYS electronic reporting system, is the number of confirmed tests – 0 in Chautauqua County,” officials said. The Chautauqua County COVID-19 Response team continues to meet daily to evaluate and respond to the rapidly changing COVID-19 situation.This team is made up of local Public Health and Emergency Response professionals. Testing supplies are in very limited supply and only those hospitalized or very sick should be tested at this time.It is not being recommended that individuals without symptoms of respiratory illness or those with mild or moderate symptoms be tested for COVID-19 at this time; testing will not change treatment recommendations. If you feel sick, stay home. Call your health care provider for advice.Officials stress the importance of following the precautionary guidelines and social gathering regulations:Wash your hands (for 20 seconds) often throughout the dayCover your cough and sneezesAvoid close contact with others (6 feet)Stay homeIf you have COVID-19 symptoms – fever, cough, shortness of breath – stay home.  You can manage your respiratory symptoms at home.Monitor your symptoms. If your symptoms get worse, call your healthcare provider.  They will instruct you.  DO NOT call 911 or visit the ER unless you have a life-threatening emergency.Get rest and stay hydrated.Cover your cough and sneezes.Wash your hands often.Stay away from other people in your home.Avoid sharing personal items like dishes, towels, and bedding.Clean all surfaces that are touched often.If you need answers to specific COVID-19 questions, check this list and find the agency who can best answer your questions:Chautauqua County Public Health COVID-19 Hotline 866-604-6789New York State Department of Health COVID-19 Hotline 888-364-3065 (24/7)Adult Protective Services/CASA 716-753-4447Business Questions – call CCIDA Offices at 716-661-8900Child Abuse Registry 1-800-342-3720 (24/7)Child Care Assistance 716-753-4192Child Support  716-753-4555 or email [email protected] (Heat assistance) call  716-753-4385Meals Assistance contact NY Connects at 716-753-4582, 716-363-4582 or 716-661-7582Mental Health Crisis Hotline 800-724-0461 (24/7)Office for the Aging Services  Call NY Connects 716-753-4582Temporary Assistance/SNAP 716-661-8200Need something else?  Contact “211” 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  Dial 2-1-1 or 888-696-9211 or visit their website at www.211wny.orgJamestown Public Schools also released an update Friday:School Meals“Grab and Go” meals will continue to be available at all three middle schools & Jamestown High School Monday-Friday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.Almost 1,000 meals served today to JPS students and families.This week, we have provided 3,770 meals to our students and our families.ChildcareOur Jamestown community childcare program still has spaces available. Priority will be given to parents who work in healthcare, public safety, and first responders. If you have a child age 3 to 11 and are in need of childcare, please reach out to [email protected] and or call 716-203-1539 for information.Learning at HomeThe district would love to see photographs and videos of children learning at home. Please send your photos/videos to [email protected] to possibly be featured on JPS social media.If a high school student needs a Chromebook or iPad, please reach out to the JHS main office at 483-3470 to ask about our device loan program. If a student needs technical support for their device, please send an email to [email protected] has canceled all 2019-20 state assessments, including: ELA, Grades 3-8, Math, Grades 3-8, Science, Grades 4 & 8, NYSESLAT and NYSAA. We do not yet know whether Regents exams will be canceled.Officials have also learned that AP exams will be offered online. More detailed information will be forthcoming on our website.More resources are consistently being added to the district’s learning at home website (www.jpsny.org/learningathome).JPS Superintendent Dr. Bret Apthorpe will hold a Facebook Live Q & A event on JPS Facebook page @JamestownPublicSchools for parents tomorrow (Saturday, March 21) at 9 a.m.Check www.jpsny.org for the latest updates.last_img read more

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Useful waste

first_imgBy Stephanie SchupskaUniversity of GeorgiaTwo and a half pounds of litter – that’s about how much onechicken produces in its lifetime. A team of University of Georgiascientists is working to turn the poultry state’s waste litterinto a valuable alternative fuel product.That’s good news in Georgia, where chickens, specificallybroilers, rank No. 1 in the state’s agriculture, with aleaving-the-farm value of almost $4 billion. Poultry litter ismostly manure mixed with a bedding material such as wood shavings.Two and a half pounds of litter per broiler is 2.5 pounds ofby-product waiting to be converted into something usable, saidJimmy Palmer of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Withfunding from an EPA grant, UGA researchers are searching for waysto add value to poultry waste.“This will help us collectively deal with environmental issues ofgrowing agriculture,” said Palmer, an EPA regional administrator.“A waste is a terrible thing to mind,” he said, twisting a commonphrase. “We’re looking for better ways to deal with waste.”Through a process called fractionation, the UGA researchers planto produce two types of materials from the poultry litter,separating the fine and coarse parts, said Mark Risse, a UGACooperative Extension engineer and member of the research team.The scientists form the fine, nutrient-rich material into pelletsfor fertilizer. Because the processed fertilizer pellets wouldallow a slower release of nutrients into the soil, pollution frompathogens and nutrients in the poultry litter would be reduced.“Most poultry litter is currently being directly land-applied asfertilizer,” said K.C. Das, coordinator of the UGA Biorefinery.“It makes sense to a point. But in north Georgia, there’s notenough land to spread the litter. Through this process, we’reproducing a better energy product as well as a better fertilizer.”The research team puts the coarse, energy-rich poultry littermaterial through an intense heating process called pyrolysis tocreate char and bio-oil. The char can be used anywhere charcoalis used. Bio-oil can be refined further and used as diesel-likefuel.UGA engineers say developing a cheap source of energy frompoultry litter would provide a cleaner source of energy, helpingthe state grow in an economically and environmentally sustainableway. They estimate that in the United States, using poultrylitter as fuel could save 283 million gallons of fossil fuel.“Two or three companies are looking at Georgia right now,” Rissesaid. “They’re looking at pelleting litter for fertilizer.There’s a very real opportunity for research that can be used not10 years from now, but now.”“A lot more is said than usually done, and we’re about to do it,”Palmer said of the project.Besides Risse and Das, the UGA research team includes CooperativeExtension engineer John Worley, professor Sid Thompson andgraduate student Kaushlendra Singh.The project builds on work Thompson did 15 years ago and had toshelve due to a lack of application at the time. Now, with thedemand for alternative fuels increasing, his halted research cancontinue.The project team is in the process of showing they can break uppoultry litter into two parts and use both. The researchers willalso have to determine whether the processes should be done atcentralized locations across the state or at individual farms.“Poultry litter represents two times the energy consumption on afarm,” Das said. “You have everything you need to produce energyon the farm already.”last_img read more

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Auditor Salmon says schools can save more on supplies

first_imgVermont State Auditor, Tom Salmon, is attempting to find more ways for Vermont schools to save money on  supplies.  In a report released on April 20, Salmon said that schools are missing an opportunity to take advantage of the State s competitive bidding, estimating that they spend at least $60 million a year on supplies such as paper and computers.  The state has an extensive centralized contracting system covering 400 commodities, but Salmon noted that only 21 percent of the school supervisory unions surveyed were checking state contracts.   The State s Department of Buildings & General Services (BGS) has developed an extensive centralized contracting system with competitively bid contracts covering 400 commodities in 45 categories, Salmon noted, but we are not adequately deploying this system to help schools stretch their dollars and save money. He said that schools likely spend at least $60 million a year on standard supplies such as paper, janitorial and office supplies, computers and other educational staples. If we could save just 3 percent on that amount, it would mean nearly $2 million a year in avoided costs for the educational system, he said.Salmon said his study also showed that at times a local school district can beat the state price on an item by purchasing from a local vendor. School business managers take pride in finding low prices, and by paying attention to the local vendors seasonal promotions, close-outs and other offerings, they can beat the state price, he noted.For example, schools can often beat the State s price on copy paper, Salmon said, because the State is mandated by law to procure copy paper that is recycled and processed 100 percent chlorine free. The State is typically about 25 percent higher on paper costs, he noted.The auditor s limited review found that one supervisory union in the Southern part of the state paid less than the State contract price on 7 of 9 comparable items, not including copy paper. The school union saved between 3 and 48 percent on the 7 items. Another school union in central Vermont paid more than the State contract price on 5 of 7 items, not including copy paper, paying between 10 and 22 percent more on the 5 items.The report noted that legislation passed in 1987 required BGS and the Dept. of Education to develop and promote a program of centralized purchasing of equipment and supplies for public schools in Vermont, by which purchases may be combined in order to obtain volume purchasing discounts and other purchasing benefits.Salmon said the current system doesn t fully address the legislation s requirement for a centralized system for school purchasing, but is a good starting point for more cooperation. The State s system currently doesn t allow us to know which schools are using the system and how much they might be saving, Salmon noted. But it s clear that we have opportunities for improvement and more savings. We have recommended that Education and BGS get together and appoint an action committee to explore ways to increase cost-effective savings in the purchasing area. There s a lot more we could do, in my opinion, Salmon said.The purchasing report is available at www.auditor.vermont.gov(link is external). Click on Audits & Reports and then Reports to access the review on school purchasing. Source: Vermont Auditorlast_img read more

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Chinese planes to bring overseas Wuhan citizens back to virus-hit city

first_imgChina sent two planes to Malaysia and Thailand on Friday to bring “stranded” Hubei province residents back to the virus-stricken city of Wuhan, authorities said.The Xiamen Airlines flights will pick up the Chinese nationals from Kota Kinabalu in Malaysia and the Thai capital Bangkok, according to the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC).There are 117 nationals from Hubei province in Bangkok and 100 in Kota Kinabalu who are “willing to take the chartered flights back to Wuhan as soon as possible”, the CAAC said in a statement. This is in spite of the fact that Wuhan, capital of Hubei province, is the epicentre of a new virus outbreak that is believed to have originated in a market that sold wild animals.The city of 11 million has since experienced an unprecedented lockdown, preventing residents from leaving in a bid to stop the deadly virus from spreading further.The charter flights are expected to arrive in Wuhan at 1200 and 1300 GMT on the same day.”The charter flights adopt the principle of voluntary ticket purchase,” the CAAC added. China’s foreign affairs ministry said earlier on Friday that the country would bring Wuhan residents back from overseas “as soon as possible” due to the “the practical difficulties that Chinese citizens from Hubei, especially Wuhan, have faced overseas”.This comes after a number of airlines announced they were halting or reducing flights to China as the country struggles to contain the spread of a deadly new virus.On Monday, Malaysia banned visitors from Wuhan and its surrounding Hubei province as well.The topic was trending online on Friday, with over 67 million views and 21,000 discussion posts on China’s Twitter-like platform Weibo.”These people probably don’t want to go back (to Wuhan),” said one.Another questioned if residents should be brought back if they were not infected.When asked about the suspension of international flights at a press conference on Thursday, Zhu Tao of the CAAC said authorities were coordinating arrangements to bring travellers home.Hospitals have been overwhelmed in Wuhan. AFP reporters saw long queues, with some patients saying they lined up for two days to see a doctor.As fears of the outbreak have spread overseas, prominent figures in Chinese communities in Italy have warned of episodes of “latent racism” against their compatriots by Italians fearful of catching the virus.China has advised its citizens to postpone trips abroad and cancelled overseas group tours, while several countries including the United States, Germany, Britain and Japan have urged their citizens to avoid travel to China.Topics :last_img read more

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Nordea Life & Pension CIO says Brexit could well be buying opportunity

first_imgThe London properties had been sold off more than a year ago because Nordea Life & Pension felt the real estate market in the UK capital had become a bit overheated, he said.“We have had the British pound hedged for a long time, so we are not at risk from swinging currency levels,” Schelde said.Two weeks ago, the investment team decided to reduce the risk in its equities portfolio somewhat in the light of, inter alia, the upcoming EU referendum, he said.“Vækspension is therefore ready for the British referendum – however it turns out,” he said.Schelde said turbulent markets could also create new opportunities.“If there is a ‘no’ to the EU, and the market reacts by selling pounds, then the price of the currency will fall, in which case we could, for example, consider getting rid of our hedging of the currency and thus exploit the lower rates,” he said.He added that, since it is impossible impossible to know what will happen in advance, the team is following the situation very closely. Nordea Life & Pension in Denmark says the investments behind its main pension product have been positioned for a long time to cope well with either outcome from Thursday’s UK referendum on EU membership, and that a “leave” vote could well be a buying opportunity.Anders Schelde, CIO at the Nordic banking group’s pensions arm in Denmark, said: “Our base case, in case of a Brexit, is that it could very well be a buying opportunity, so we will watch markets carefully on Friday and see what happens.”The DKK55bn (€7.4bn) portfolio of Nordea Life & Pension’s flagship Vækstpension (growth pension) product, which is now bought by 90% of new clients, has long been prepared for either outcome of Thurday’s vote in the UK, he said.“Earlier on, we have had investments in London properties, in sterling and in equities,” he said.last_img read more

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Key to happiness is a boom that’s contagious

first_imgGetting to your happy place might not be child’s play but it could be as simple as finding that your property has sold for more than you expected, according to the latest study.A new study has found the key to happiness, and the good news is it’s part of a housing boom that could be contagious.Getting to your happy place might be as simple as finding that your property has sold for more than you expected, in this case the highest level of satisfaction seen in two years, according to ratings firm RateMyAgent. MORE: Bizarre way TV star scored dream Qld home Beach regions including the Gold Coast continued to draw strong satisfaction levels.It wasn’t all good news though, with Far North Queensland emerging as the unhappiest place in Australia. “Far North Queensland doesn’t have what you would call a stable economy, not like Brisbane or Sydney or Melbourne where there is strong infrastructure, financial centres, health centres,” Mr Armstrong said. He said the FNQ had “a greater level of shift worker, mining industry, tourism industry, these industries can be very volatile, these are the sorts of people that can be affected by an inability to borrow money, these are the people banks probably clamped down on and areas where banks held back because of more uncertainty about income and employment”.Mr Armstrong said he did expect tourism and mining areas to see a bit more volatility as China adjusted to a post-coronavirus world. He said the level of housing supply for sale would pick up in Australia and across Queensland though, as higher prices give vendors greater levels of confidence.“Queensland can be a two tiered market because it does have places that rely on mining and tourism. I think those areas will probably drag their feet a little bit,” he said. “But then that southern part like the Gold Coast and Brisbane will bounce back and hold itself.” FOLLOW SOPHIE FOSTER ON TWITTER Buyers fighting over fewer housing options The report found the happiest state was Victoria (55 per cent), which had overtaken Tasmania (51 per cent), followed by New South Wales (50 per cent), Australian Capital Territory (48 per cent), South Australia (42 per cent), Queensland (38 per cent) and Western Australia (33 per cent).Mr Armstrong said the number of properties on the market “dropped off a cliff” last year, creating a lack of supply that was manifesting in higher prices for sellers.“The number of properties sold dropped by close to 20 per cent,” he said. “Through the whole year the supply was really tight, really restricted and so when you have that level of supply that is one of the key indicators as to why we’ve seen that happiness across the whole country”.More from newsParks and wildlife the new lust-haves post coronavirus10 hours agoNoosa’s best beachfront penthouse is about to hit the market10 hours agoHe said after the Federal Election and the Banking Royal Commission, “in buyers mindset it was game on”. “When buyers got back into the market, there was a lot less stock. That’s why we saw in second half of 2019, price expectations grow rapidly. Sellers had conditioned themselves to accept less and were pleasantly surprised when they got more.” Video Player is loading.Play VideoPlayNext playlist itemMuteCurrent Time 0:00/Duration 0:58Loaded: 0%Stream Type LIVESeek to live, currently playing liveLIVERemaining Time -0:58 Playback Rate1xChaptersChaptersDescriptionsdescriptions off, selectedCaptionscaptions settings, opens captions settings dialogcaptions off, selectedQuality Levels720p720pHD432p432p216p216p180p180pAutoA, selectedAudio Tracken (Main), selectedFullscreenThis is a modal window.Beginning of dialog window. Escape will cancel and close the window.TextColorWhiteBlackRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentBackgroundColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentTransparentWindowColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyTransparentSemi-TransparentOpaqueFont Size50%75%100%125%150%175%200%300%400%Text Edge StyleNoneRaisedDepressedUniformDropshadowFont FamilyProportional Sans-SerifMonospace Sans-SerifProportional SerifMonospace SerifCasualScriptSmall CapsReset restore all settings to the default valuesDoneClose Modal DialogEnd of dialog window.This is a modal window. This modal can be closed by pressing the Escape key or activating the close button.Close Modal DialogThis is a modal window. This modal can be closed by pressing the Escape key or activating the close button.PlayMuteCurrent Time 0:00/Duration 0:00Loaded: 0%Stream Type LIVESeek to live, currently playing liveLIVERemaining Time -0:00 Playback Rate1xFullscreenHow much do I need to retire?00:58center_img Latest research involving a survey of 40,000 Australians, found a boom in satisfaction among those selling their homes in the country – with the happiness level doubling from 20 per cent of those surveyed in December 2018 to 41 per cent in December 2019.“Aussies across the country are rising in happiness, as seller satisfaction doubles nationwide – indicative of a steady upturn in the property market,” the report said. Footy player lists Brisbane home The percentage of sellers who received higher than expected sales prices on their homes doubled in one year, boosting happiness levels.The study’s price expectation report asked those who had sold their homes during July to December last year if the sale price was above, below or in line with their expectations.“Results showed a significant increase in overall national satisfaction with net happiness doubling,” according to RateMyAgent chief executive Mark Armstrong.He said the study showed there were “plenty of reasons for optimism”.The happiest place in Queensland was Townsville, the report found, but the southeast corridor continued to dominate the top 10 list in the state.Queensland’s top 10 happiest places were Townsville, Scenic Rim, Moreton Bay, Brisbane, Gold Coast, Logan, Sunshine Coast, Ipswich, Rockhampton and Redland, the report found.It found 45 per cent of vendors in Townsville had got a better sale price on their home than they expected, almost double the same time the previous year (25 per cent) and also beating the national result.Ray White agent Jess Nguyen said the surprising factor was that while the market was quiet leading up to Christmas, genuine buyers had come out of the woodwork.“December 2019 saw a significant number of genuine buyers. Buyer interest has increased in Queensland – with consumers appearing to be more confident in market conditions. This increased confidence is largely attributed to steady interest rates.” Brisbane is hammering home saleslast_img read more

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Philippine Coast Guard Takes Over Security Supervision of All Ports

first_imgThe Philippine Coast Guard has assumed control of the security supervision of all ports, and shipping operations in the island country from the Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) and the Philippine Port Authority (PPA).The Coast Guard acted upon the order from the Transportation Secretary Arthur P. Tugade, who directed the PCG to supervise security operations in all seaports as part of the government’s implementation of state security over threats posed by the Maute Group.Also known as the Islamic State of Lanao, the radical Islamist group has surrounded Marawi City which may eventually lead to the Presidential declaration of Martial Law in Mindanao.As informed, pursuant to the provisions of the International Ships and Ports Security (ISPS) Code, the PCG is mandated to control movements of all vessels in seaports and harbours; to impose ports and ships identification system; to designate security zones; to inspect loads and to deter the transport of illegal imports; to regulate access to ports, vessels and waterfront facilities; and to enforce appropriate security measures in all ports of Mindanao.This entitles the right for PCG to arrest, seize and detain persons, cargo, vessels found violating maritime security and pertinent laws, and to file corresponding charges, which took its effect immediately after its issuance until Martial Law in Mindanao is lifted.last_img read more

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Irish decide on abortion, before NZ, BUT…..

first_imgStuff co.nz 14 March 2018Family First Comment: Pro-life advocates Family First NZ said these results confirm “the Labour government has no mandate at all to liberalise the abortions laws”. “The vast majority of the population – including people who generally support abortion – show strong support and acceptance of the current legal framework and the presence of safeguards around issues such as coercion, standards for providers, and informed consent,” spokeswoman Marina Young said on its website.Here in New Zealand, legislation hasn’t been altered since 1977 – abortion is still a crime if not approved of by two specifically certified medical consultants.They must believe that carrying the child to term would endanger the physical or mental health of the mother, or the child is the result of incest, or the mother is “severely subnormal”, or the child is at risk of being “seriously handicapped”.Justice Minister Andrew Little told Stuff in January that Labour wanted to “modernise” the laws and see abortion treated as a health issue – not a criminal one.Little has given the Law Commission eight months to conduct a review and report back to him proposed alterations to the law.However, an independent poll of New Zealanders conducted by Curia Market Research in December 2017 found significant support for greater time limits on abortion, including from those who generally support abortion.There was only small support for the current Crimes Act time limit of 20 weeks, and overwhelming rejection of any extension to the limit. There was also strong support for legal safeguards.Pro-life advocates Family First NZ said these results confirm “the Labour government has no mandate at all to liberalise the abortions laws”.“The vast majority of the population – including people who generally support abortion – show strong support and acceptance of the current legal framework and the presence of safeguards around issues such as coercion, standards for providers, and informed consent,” spokeswoman Marina Young said on its website.Of the 1013 New Zealanders polled just 9 per cent supported the current legal limit for an abortion of 20 weeks. Fifty per cent indicated the time limit should be shorter than the current 20 weeks, and a further 36 per cent were unsure. Of those who did pick a time limit, 15 weeks was the median choice, according to Curia.Only 4 per cent believed it should be later than 20 weeks, including up to birth, as proposed by pro-abortion group, the Abortion Law Reform Association of New Zealand (ALRANZ).READ MORE: https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/102130614/an-irish-abortion-referendum-raises-questions-why-nz-is-still-waitingKeep up with family issues in NZ. Receive our weekly emails direct to your Inbox.last_img read more

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BCPO beefs up security for holidays

first_imgPolice assistance desks (PADs) inshopping malls, and also in churches during the early morning masses were alsoinstalled, he said. “The beat patrollers include 53organic personnel and 113 police trainees, along with those from the 10 policestations,” Pico added. He added that the city police willremain on full alert for the whole month of December. BACOLOD City – Police officialsreassured residents of this city on their readiness from terrorism, criminalityand other threats to peace and order. “We would like to remind them that thepolice cannot watch them all the time. We also need their cooperation,” headded. Lieutenant Colonel Ariel Pico, BCPOspokesperson, said over 200 beat patrol personnel were already deployed lastweek to secure various areas of convergence here during the Christmas and NewYear holidays. Pico appealed to residents of Bacolodto cooperate with the police in ensuring their safety and security. Pico advised that as much as possible,crowded areas should be avoided especially during rush hour when theft usuallyhappens. (With a report from PNA/PN) Pico said that policemen will also bedeployed in ports during the influx of holiday travelers.last_img read more

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Franklin County Community Foundation plans public open house

first_imgBrookville, In. — The Franklin County Community Foundation invites the public to an open house on Wednesday, December 5 from 5 to 7 p.m. at the office at 577 Main Street in Brookville.The event is intended to honor the generous volunteers and contributors to the foundation.For more information please call 765-647-6810.-0-last_img

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NFF disowns story on appointment of Amokachi as Technical Director

first_imgRelatedPosts Nigeria plan Cote d’Ivoire, Tunisia friendlies Nigeria’s former U-17, U-20 goalkeeper dies at 26 NFF top shot dies The Nigeria Football Federation has stated that Bitrus Bewarang remains the Technical Director of the football-governing body. It said at no time has the body called for applications from candidates for Bewarang’s position, not to talk of appointing anyone into the post. “This clarification becomes necessary against the background of wide-circulating but totally misleading reports of the appointment of Mr. Daniel Amokachi, a former Super Eagles captain and coach, as head of NFF technical department,” Chairman of the NFF Technical and Development Committee, Alhaji Yusuf Ahmed Fresh, said in Abuja on Wednesday. “The NFF has been bemused by this unfounded story, which no doubt must have embarrassed Mr. Amokachi himself.” Yusuf Fresh, who is also member of the CAF Technical and Development Committee, commended President Muhammadu Buhari for appointing Amokachi as ambassador of Nigerian Football, saying: “Mr. Amokachi richly deserves this appointment as someone who served our dear nation meritoriously on the field of play as a player and coach.” NFF’s Director of Communications, Ademola Olajire, added: “While the NFF does not and will not foreclose the possibility of a major role for Ambassador Daniel Amokachi in the federation in the future, the truth is that presently, such an appointment has not been made. “Ambassador Amokachi no doubt deserves all the regard and respect befitting his new role as an ambassador. He should not be dragged into needless controversies such as this. “The NFF, once more, enjoins the generality of the media to retain the important work ethic of fact-checking and verification, and beware of empty wildfires lit by obscure online cells that lack any iota of credibility.” A sports news website had earlier published the appointment of Amokachi by the NFF as its Technical Director, a story from which several newspapers took a cue.Tags: Ademola OlajireBitrus BewarangDaniel AmokachiNigeria Football FederationYusuf Ahmed Freshlast_img read more

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Bournemouth player tests positive for COVID-19

first_img(BBC) – An unnamed Bournemouth player is one of two new coronavirus cases discovered by the latest round of Premier League tests – taking the overall total of positive results to eight.The Cherries said the player’s identity will not be disclosed – they will now self-isolate for seven days.The other positive was at a different club which has not been named.Tests took place on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday of last week, with 996 players and club staff tested.In the Championship, two individuals from Hull City have tested positive after 1,014 tests were undertaken at all 24 Championship sides over the past 72 hours.“Following strict adherence to the Premier League’s return to training regulations, the club’s training ground remains a safe working environment for players and backroom staff, who will continue to be tested for Covid-19 twice per week,” Bournemouth said in a statement.The first round’s results, announced on 19 May, returned six positive tests at three clubs from the 748 players and staff tested.That number included the positive tests of Watford defender Adrian Mariappa and Burnley assistant manager Ian Woan.For the second round of testing the number of tests available to each club was increased from 40 to 50.Squads started non-contact training from Tuesday for the first time since the Premier League was suspended on 13 March because of the coronavirus pandemic, with 92 fixtures remaining.Speaking on Friday, Premier League chief executive Richard Masters said the league was “as confident as we can be” about restarting in June.Germany’s Bundesliga has already resumed, while on Saturday the Spanish Prime Minister said La Liga can resume behind closed doors from 8 June.What’s next?The guidance for the second phase of training, which would allow contact, is waiting to be signed off by the government.The Premier League is due to meet on Wednesday and Thursday for further discussions about restarting the season, with the results of the third round of testing also due later in the week.Players quiz government on BAME risksWatford captain Troy Deeney and former Arsenal striker Ian Wright were among those who quizzed government officials on Friday about the added dangers that coronavirus might pose towards black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) players.The Office for National Statistics says black men and women are nearly twice as likely to die from coronavirus as white people in England and Wales.Hornets forward Deeney and Chelsea midfielder N’Golo Kante opted to stay away from club training this week as a precaution.In a “frank and open” online meeting, medical experts, including deputy chief medical offer Jonathan Van-Tam, were asked to quantify risks.Deeney and Wright, who were also joined in the online forum by former Newcastle striker Shola Ameobi and former Chelsea technical director Michael Emenalo, were told that the risk among young and healthy footballers was low.But concerns were also raised about passing the infection on to family members.The Professional Footballers’ Association, which was also in attendance, has asked for more research to be conducted into the issue.last_img read more

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Badgers set for tough road matchup with Jayhawks

first_imgThe Wisconsin women’s basketball team faces what is likely to be its toughest test of the young season Thursday when it travels to Allen Fieldhouse to face the Kansas Jayhawks.Awaiting the Badgers (4-5) in Lawrence, Kan., will be a high-scoring Jayhawks (7-1) offense that averages 77.1 points per game and shoots better than 50 percent from the field. On the other end of the hardwood, Wisconsin is riding its first multiple-game winning streak of the year after a nail-biting 48-46 victory over St. Louis Monday.One of the biggest challenges to Wisconsin’s defense in the matchup with Kansas comes in the form of 6-foot-3 forward Carolyn Davis. A dominant post presence who lit up the Badgers for 29 points last year, the junior is currently averaging 16.9 points per contest and is one of the top post players in the Big XII.Though UW will not be able to completely shut down Davis, the team plans on loading the paint with defenders in hopes of keeping the ball out of the forward’s hands.“We’re really looking to limit the touches inside and really make [Davis] work for the points,” sophomore guard Morgan Paige said. “We know she’s very, very aggressive inside, and she’s very strong, so we really need to keep her from getting the ball in the first place.”Still, the Jayhawks’ productive post play doesn’t end with Davis. Senior forward Aishah Sutherland puts up an average of 13.8 points per contest, preventing the Badgers from being able to focus their defensive effort on one star player.Though Kansas will be a challenging opponent for Wisconsin, the Badgers have also shown significant improvement in their last several games. With a season-low 12 turnovers at the Kohl Center against Saint Louis, UW has been doing a much better job taking care of the ball as of late.“Our guards did a great job of handling the ball. There wasn’t a lot of trouble getting it up the court even with pressure; we’ve really been working on our full court break,” sophomore forward Cassie Rochel said. “We just need to be really assertive with our passes and ball fakes and stuff like that so we don’t have 30 turnovers a game.”The Jayhawks boast four players averaging at least 10 points per game, and limiting turnovers and scoring efficiently will be of particular importance in Lawrence.Along with not handing over the ball, the Badgers believe minimizing easy fastbreak buckets is a key to slowing down a talented and speedy Kansas offense.“With them being tall and big, one thing is just getting back and setting up our defense,” Rochel said. “We can’t let them get any easy transition buckets. We just really have to make them work for each possession.”If the Badgers hope to pull off the road upset Thursday, they will have to do a superb job cleaning the boards. Outrebounded by Saint Louis in their last game, the battle for the glass gets no easier against a long Kansas squad that averages 40.1 rebounds per game to UW’s 34.4.According to head coach Bobbie Kelsey, the Badgers have been focusing on rebounding all week after a disappointing performance on the boards Monday. However, the Badgers expect to be forced to play some zone defense against the Jayhawks to give them the best chance of slowing down a deep Kansas offense, making the rebounding game all the more difficult.“The problem with zone [defense] is you’re not in good rebounding position,” Kelsey said. “You’re helping, you’re bumping off, and then people start being in no man’s land … just guarding an area but not the person in your area. And then that leads to missed box outs.”In a matchup that comes as part of the Big Ten/Big 12 Challenge, Wisconsin is hoping to make up for a tough 86-93 overtime loss to the Jayhawks last season at the Kohl Center.While a road date with Kansas will certainly be a major test for Wisconsin’s defense, Kelsey realizes these tough non-conference matchups will only benefit the Badgers once Big Ten play arrives.“It’s an NCAA-type team,” Kelsey said. “That’s just going to give us good experience when we go into our conference play. So it just gets you prepared for what you’re going to see in conference, and they’re pretty comparable to what we have in our conference.”last_img read more

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Women’s water polo heads to Triton Invitational

first_imgThe season is fully underway for the No. 2 women’s water polo team, which hits the road this weekend for the Triton Invitational. The San Diego tournament brings together 16 top-ranked teams from the California area, providing potentially four games of solid competition across two days.Photo by Emily Smith | Daily TrojanThe Trojans earned the top seed in a bracket including No. 13 UC Santa Barbara, No. 18 San Diego State and unranked Sonoma State. They will start tournament play against Sonoma State, a team that USC has never faced in program history. The Trojans have fared well so far this season against unranked opponents, demolishing Cal Baptist 20-0 and Pomona-Pitzer 21-3 two weeks ago, and the team carries confidence into the tourney opener.“We’re still working on rotating in the younger players and giving everyone time to get comfortable as a unit,” senior captain Brianna Daboub said. “We’re still finding our rhythm and figuring out a lot of little parts of the game, so this weekend will be really good for us.”If the Trojans win the opener, they’ll have one more matchup on Saturday and two more on Sunday. With 12 ranked teams in the tournament pool, those games could give the team the chance to play three more ranked opponents. However, the team’s sights are set at the end of the tournament, which offers a possibility to face off against UCLA in the final game. Although it’s only a possibility, any opportunity to face off against UCLA is a cause for excitement for the Trojans. In the history of collegiate water polo, only four teams have made it to the NCAA final — Stanford, Cal, USC and UCLA. The finals of the MPSF and NCAA tournament this year can be expected to come down between these four teams, and a chance at facing the Bruins early in the season will give the squad a chance to size up its competition.The Bruins will be led by head coach Adam Wright, who enters his first year with the women’s team after earning accolades coaching the men’s side for UCLA. The Bruins also lost valuable seniors at the end of last season, but its younger players integrated effectively in a season opening victory over Loyola Marymount. The headliner of that young corps is sophomore Maddie Musselman, who Longan describes as a player who can make the difference between a win and a loss for any team.“At any point in the season, [playing UCLA] is a good barometer for where we’re at as a team,” team captain and goalie Amanda Longan said. “We look forward to it, and I think it’s good because it gets us going and keeps us looking forward.”last_img read more

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Iwobi Shifts Focus to Arsenal after AFCON 2019

first_img“I’ve had a tournament to remember but you only get a few days off to refresh then switch focus to club football again,” Iwobi told BBC Sport.“The target and challenge is always the same, it will be a new season but our determination will be to win every game and competition.“Of course, we want to be better than last season (a fifth-placed finish), where we had some positives by going unbeaten for 22 games in all competitions and the plan will be to stay consistent throughout the season.”Iwobi joined Arsenal as a nine-year-old and has come through the club’s Hale End Academy, before breaking into the first team in 2015.He has a contract with the Gunners until summer 2022 and was quick to dismiss reports in the English media on Sunday linking him with a move away from North London.“It’s important to just ignore stuff like that and focus on a very important season ahead,” said Iwobi.“Arsenal is an amazing club, I have been there since primary school and it’s a place I call home and passionate fans who are like family members.“I’m looking forward to the new season with this great club and hopefully we can make our fans smile at the end of the season.“As a footballer you’re committed to play for the badge, train alongside fantastic players daily and compete against some of the game’s best every weekend. What more can you ask for.”Iwobi represented England at Under-16, 17 and 18 level before switching allegiance to Nigeria and has made 36 appearances for the West African nation.He has since produced some stunning rainbow flicks and tricks that has conjured images of his uncle and Nigeria’s legend Austin ‘Jay-Jay’ Okocha in his pomp and showcased his nephew’s undoubted ability.Despite saying he wants to be his own man, the local media and fans continue to liken him to the former Super Eagles captain, but Iwobi often says he is unbothered.In October 2015 Iwobi made his debut against DR Congo in a friendly in Belgium and has scored six goals including in the 2-1 friendly defeat by England at Wembley last year.Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegram Arsenal’s Alex Iwobi has already turned his attention to club matters after helping Nigeria to a third-place finish at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations in Cairo, Egypt.Iwobi played in every match during his country’s campaign in Egypt, scoring in the 3-2 win over Cameroon.The 23-year-old said yesterday he cannot wait for the new English Premier League season to start.last_img read more

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