It hit me. Strong, invasive.

Sweat, men`s.

A blend of stale tobacco, sweet smelling perfume and something else. Garlic perhaps.

Eyes closed, I took a lung full.  A single female in an ocean of male species.

The ding of the elevator roused me, I waded through and out the doors.

Here I am in South Korea, as far away from the North as possible, thanks for asking. Flashback a couple of months ago, upon my arrival, I had fallen asleep in the car en route my apartment after more than 24 hours of travel. I woke up suddenly and it was pitch black, took me a while to realize that we were in a tunnel. Underground. In fact it was one tunnel after another, each one longer than the last. As if that wasn’t enough, we went into one that wasn’t just underground, it was under water as well. I swallowed nervously as a feeling of claustrophobia threatened to engulf me.

 “Guy, these people build ships the size of the Titanic for a living, na small tunnel dem no fit build? Relax.” My alter ego Soleil whispered in my ear.

We snaked our way up winding roads to the point where the mountains and the clouds kissed. My fear of heights disappeared as I took in the stunning views of the valleys and plains hundreds of feet below. We arrived at our apartment, a 14-storey marble building right in the centre of town. I watched as the driver drove the car into what appeared to be a parking slot for a single vehicle on the ground floor. He alighted, pushed a button on the wall, and the huge metal doors closed up. I looked through the peephole in utter amazement as the car was lifted by a metal plate which inched its way up until it disappeared out of sight. That was when I noticed the other cars stacked on both sides of the wall, from the ground to the topmost level of the building like peas in a pod.

Fast forward a couple of weeks, my brain had attuned to waking when I should have been sleeping and I had been inducted into the Korean way of life after weeks of eating Kimchi and an assortment of sea food, Korea by night was left to be discovered. The streets were usually packed till the early hours of the morning even on week days. It was not a strange sight to find men straight out of the office, still in their grey uniforms moving from one bar to another. I always wondered how they managed to stay awake at work the next day.

This particular evening was windy, a result of the ripple effect of Typhoon Hato which was sweeping through nearby China. Our party of about two dozen guys and only three girls – Naija gehs scarce like banga rice here – passed by several restaurants. The curtains parted enough for us to see groups of family units sitting cross-legged on the floor, taking turns to dip their spoons into steaming bowls of fish soup. Bright neon lights announced the assortment of businesses from Foreigners clubs to transgender bars. The former were a popular sight, I counted a number of them during my regular evening walks. One of my Naija friends had ventured into one, the bouncers had promptly kung-fu-d his black ass out. Not all foreigners were welcome it seemed.

We arrived at our destination, a nondescript bar-cum-restaurant, one of hundreds. It was a large room, tables and chairs were arranged in a horse shoe, creating a space in the middle which served as a dance floor. We made our way past a couple of dancers to the corner of the room. We were the only blacks there, in fact I came across only a handful of coloured people my entire stay. As it was their custom to treat everyone with respect, we were treated no differently. They were a friendly and curious people, I got used to women and children approaching me simply to touch my hair. The waiters wasted no time setting our table with large bowls of prawns and pork cutlets which they proceeded to roast over an open fire right in front of us. We spent the next couple of hours washing our sumptuous meal down with ice cold Soju.

There she was, petite, skinny with long black hair. She must have been no older than 16 years old I deduced from the near flatness of her chest although I may have been wrong. Dressed in an all black attire which contrasted sharply with her pale skin, she reminded me of a vampire. Her arms were wrapped around an older grey-haired man with a large pouch. He in turn had one hand around her waist and the other right on her flat behind. They both swayed suggestively on the dance floor, oblivious to everything and everyone around them. She turned and looked in our direction, she had the most innocent almond shaped eyes I ever saw. I shook my head in disbelief. Life hard sotay oyinbo sef dey hustle.

The music changed after a while from Pop to Latino as more and more people arrived. A small group of Korean girls laughed loudly as they left their seats to the dance floor. One of them in a yellow flowing skirt, lifted up the hem of the garment and dug her heels in like a professional Spanish dancer, briefly reminding me of a bull coming face to face to a skilled matador. She was a beautiful dancer. Without any warning she reached down and in one swift move yanked off her skirt. My jaws fell open like a Yoruba man who had just been slapped. Everyone craned their necks to catch a glimpse of what was on display. Fortunately or unfortunately, depending on what side of the fence you are on, she was naked from the waist down save for a pair of very short shorts.

A couple of hours later we joined the group of night crawlers making their way home like fishermen after a night at sea. Except that we had no fish. A small party of Korean men wobbled slowly behind us, still in their gray uniforms singing in high pitched voices, arms wrapped around each other for support. One of them pulled away just in time to direct the avalanche of semi-digested food from his mouth to the sidewalk. The others cheered him on as he spilled his guts all over his shoes.

How then could a people so gay and merry have such a high rate of suicide, the second highest in the world. My friend`s grandfather took his own life because he didn’t want to be a burden to his children anymore. I asked my friend who shares same last name with half of the country`s population how she felt about this, she shrugged her shoulders and looked out the window.

But, I came to admire their strong work ethic and meticulousness in getting the job done. I imagine myself living in a society such as this in which both sexes have equal rights. Where one could spend up to two years in prison for infidelity.  Well, that law was revoked in 2015. Damn!




All Roads Lead South

He pulled the thick woolen jacket close to his body as he alighted from the red bus clutching a weathered suitcase. It was foggy and cold outside, dusk was only just falling. The street had taken on the look of something old and withered, soft and feeble. The last of the little sunshine there had been, if one could call it that, had since been defeated by creeping grey shadows. It felt as if he had stepped into the twilight zone. He crossed the road to the other side, walked rapidly for half a mile then made a right turn. It had snowed heavily the night before and the night before that. Winter seems to have come with a vengeance this year. It was fast becoming the coldest he was experiencing since his arrival several years before. He mumbled a greeting to a few other walkers like himself who were heading home after a long day out.

The tall thin man pulled a crumpled pack of cigarettes from his chest pocket, took out a stick and lit it quickly without missing a beat. He took a long drag as he continued on his journey, pulling his jacket even closer. He had begun to smoke only recently, they said it helped with the cold. As they said also about Whisky which he rather enjoyed. Ogogoro. He smiled as he remembered the local gin which is produced from fermented Raphia Palm tree juice. That can be sure to keep the cold away, he thought to himself. Ogogoro just went to the top of the list of things he would relish upon his return to Nigeria. He was suddenly overcome with acute nostalgia.

He brisked up his pace as it began to snow lightly. He recalled the first time he had seen these frozen white flakes, he had raced outside the tiny apartment he shared with four other guys, their mocking laughter trailing him down the winding staircase. He had spread out his tongue like a blanket allowing the tiny cold droplets land softly, laughing wildly. He smiled at the memory. That was three and a half years ago. Time does go fast when one is busy. Busy for him meant schooling during the day and washing dishes at night, week in week out for the past eighteen months. It was tough juggling both, tougher still in winter than in summer. He knew how fortunate he was to have landed the job in the first place. Before that he had been at the mercy of fellow parishioners at the church. Today however he had skipped school to cover up for a colleague who had taken ill. He was always on the lookout for a way to make extra cash.

His fingers felt numb. He flicked the half-smoked cigarette into a nearby shrub and hurriedly shoved his hand into the warmth of his pocket. Again he had left home without his beanie, his ears were freezing. He moved aside to allow a bent old lady go past with her trolley of shopping. The street lights flickered on, casting long ghost-like shadows on the narrow path. The evening was still and quiet but for the distant barking of a dog. The scent of food wafted towards him as he rounded a corner. Blindfolded, the unmistakable aroma of garlic and soy sauce would have alerted him that he was approaching Mr Chang, the Asian restaurant a couple of blocks from his apartment. He was reminded that he had had dinner. Leftover baked potatoes, two generous slices of roast beef and a turkey salad. One of the perks of working in a restaurant was the free food. He glanced at the brightly lit family-owned establishment, a handful of diners could be seen digging away at their Friday night supper. He fancied the idea of dressing up all nice and going out to dine, a beautiful lady perched on one arm. They would chat about the weather first and then about the recent resignation of Prime Minister Macmillian, which many considered a relief after the drama of the Profumo Affair. At work earlier in the day it was the topic of discussion as they rinsed off dishes with warm water, then stacked them on metal racks. The night shift would polish them to a shine before arranging them on the counter ready to repeat the cycle the next day.

“Hey!” Edward, the day manager had bellowed from the front part of the noisy kitchen.

“Get back to work”. He had a loud booming voice that resonated across the large room. Edward had risen rapidly from line chef to manager in a space of one year. He was a tough boss but a fair one.

He went past a cluster of white cottages then arrived at his destination, a blue white and red block of flats. Nothing distinguished it from eight other identical ones but for a red telephone kiosk on its east side. In the fading evening lights he could hardly make out a figure inside the booth. As he made to go past it, strong hands reached out and grabbed him roughly by the collar, almost yanking him off his feet.

6 Common Toddler Skin Conditions

People tend to think of young children’s skin as smooth, soft, and blemish-free. But the truth is, a toddler’s skin is not immune to blotches, splotches, and other icky, itchy ailments. Sooner or later you’re bound to discover a blight on your little angel’s fresh, dewy skin (if it hasn’t happened already; diaper rash, anyone?) and that’s completely normal and par for the toddler course. But when that blotchy day dawns, what are you supposed to do? How will you know what the offending blemish is? And how can you make it disappear? While it’s always best to get your child checked out by your pediatrician, you can get a head start on the diagnosis by learning about some of the more-common toddler skin conditions — and their recommended treatments:


Symptoms: Thickened, red, scaly patches of skin that itch. If your child scratches too much (who could blame him?), the rash can become raw, oozy, and crusted.

Causes: This common, chronic, and often-inherited skin condition usually (but not always) starts in infancy and can be triggered by any of several factors including dry skin, exposure to heat or cold, wool or man-made clothing, dust, sweat, certain foods, allergens, soaps, and detergents.

Treatment: To keep your toddler’s eczema under control, try to keep his skin from becoming too dry. You can do this by using a cool-mist humidifier in his room, bathing him in lukewarm water (hot water will dry out the skin more), and using only mild shampoos and conditioners. Apply moisturizing lotion daily (particularly right after bathing to lock in moisture), and use nonirritating detergents when you wash his clothes and bedding. If your toddler has a mild flare-up of eczema, an over-the-counter cortisone cream may tame the inflammation. You can also try home treatments such as a cool bath sprinkled with either baking soda or oatmeal (both ingredients are known to calm the itching).

If none of that helps, your doctor may suggest a prescription-strength cortisone cream and/or an oral antihistamine to alleviate the swelling and itchiness. If your uncomfortable tot is still itchy, he may need a prescription oral corticosteroid.

If your tot is two or older, and all other treatments have failed, your doctor may suggest nonsteroidal medications — such as Protopic and Elidel — which act on the immune system to help alleviate eczema flare-ups. But because there is concern that prolonged use of these drugs may have harmful effects on the immune system, they should be used only as a last resort.


Symptoms: Skin that’s red, swollen, and itchy, sometimes with blister-like bumps.

Causes: As this condition’s name implies, this rash rears its ugly head when your toddler’s skin comes into contact with an offending substance. If the rash erupts in the diaper area, it could be due to irritation from urine or stool, a new kind of diaper wipe or lotion, or simple chafing. If the rash appears on another area of your tot’s little body, it could be due to an allergen, such as a new brand of soap, a fragrance in your laundry detergent, or poison ivy or oak.

Treatment: First of all, try to pinpoint the culprit, and steer clear of it. In the meantime, your doctor may suggest treating the diaper area with a barrier cream that contains zinc oxide and/or cortisone cream. It’s also key to make sure your tot’s tush is completely dry before you put the cream on and to change his diaper frequently. As for other areas of the body, cortisone cream may be needed there too. For extreme cases, your doctor might recommend oral corticosteroids and antihistamines.


Symptoms: Redness in the diaper area (particularly in the creases of the skin) along with bright-red skin lesions or sores that are small and solid.

Causes: Yeast breeds in warm, moist environments, so the diaper area is a prime area for yeast overgrowth. You may notice a yeast diaper rash if your toddler’s been going long spells without diaper changes, or if he’s recently taken antibiotics (which wipe out beneficial bacteria that’s needed to control yeast).

Treatment: Change your little one’s diapers as frequently as possible — you may even want to let him go commando at home for periods of time to keep the diaper area dry. As with contact dermatitis in the diaper area, your doctor may suggest a barrier cream containing zinc oxide. In addition, you’ll likely need to use an antifungal cream on your toddler’s tender skin to help control the yeast.


Symptoms: Tiny, red, pin-sized bumps on the skin. Occasionally, the rash becomes blistery, and then dries up.

Causes: A combo of hot summer days and too many layers can cause the pores of sweat glands to get plugged, resulting in a prickly heat rash.

Treatment: As you would imagine, when your tot’s got a heat rash, it’s key to cool him down. Bring your toddler into cooler climes (like an air conditioned house) or give him a cool bath. Then, try to keep your child’s skin as clean and dry as possible. Avoid overdressing your tot when you know he’ll need to be in a hot environment. Instead, dress him in light fabrics that breathe (like cotton). To alleviate the rash, skip the heavy moisturizers, which can clog pores, and instead, sprinkle the area with cornstarch or add cornstarch to the bath.


Symptoms: Red, scaly, itchy, circular lesions that appear anywhere on the body (and look like red rings).

Causes: Despite its name, this contagious infection is not caused by a worm; it’s caused by a fungus that can be found virtually anywhere — on people, animals, towels, bedding, and in the soil. While it’s a fungus that’s pretty hard to avoid, only a small percentage of kids exposed to it develop a ringworm infection.

Treatment: Your doctor will probably suggest an over-the-counter antifungal cream. If that doesn’t get rid of the rash, your itchy toddler may need a prescription-strength antifungal cream. For ringworm of the scalp (which is trickier to treat), the doc will likely prescribe an oral antifungal medicine as well as a medicated shampoo.


Symptoms: Itchy, red, blistery sores that ooze, burst, and spread. As the sores dry up, they form yellowish-brown scabs. The sores usually appear on a child’s nose and mouth, but they can show up anywhere.

Causes: This contagious infection is caused by bacteria that often invade the skin through cuts, bug bites, or other irritated areas (like around the nose if your toddler has been blowing his frequently). Your toddler may have stumbled upon the bacteria by picking up an infected towel or toy, or by touching an infected person.

Treatment: Your pediatrician will probably prescribe either an antibiotic cream or an oral antibiotic to heal the sores. It’s also important to keep the infected skin clean. If impetigo goes untreated, it can lead to an antibiotic-resistant infection, so it’s best to get it under control quickly.

Game Of Thrones Season 8 Is Only 6 Episodes, Season 7’s Next Cameo Revealed

[UPDATE] It was also confirmed at SXSW that Game of Thrones Season 8 is only six episodes long, according to Entertainment Weekly.

“It’s only going to be six episodes for the final season,” showrunner David Benioff said. “From the beginning we’ve wanted to tell a 70-hour movie. It will turn out to be a 73-hour movie, but it’s stayed relatively the same of having the beginning, middle and now we’re coming to the end. It would have been really tough if we lost any core cast members along the way, I’m very happy we’ve kept everyone and we get to finish it the way we want to.”

The original story is below.

Singer Ed Sheeran will have a cameo in Game of Thrones Season 7, it was announced today at South By Southwest in Texas.

“For years, we tried to get Ed Sheeran on the show to surprise [Arya Stark actress Maisie Williams], and this year we finally did it,” showrunner David Benioff said, according to Variety.

We don’t know anything at all about Sheeran’s character or how he fits into the story. Asked for more details, an HBO representative told Variety, “He has a role. No more details.”

Also during the panel, Sophie Turner (Sansa Stark) said she’s hopeful for another singer to take on a role in Game of Thrones. “I’m still waiting on Bieber,” she said, referencing Justin Bieber. Weiss jokingly responded, “You’re waiting on Biebs? Season 9.”

The joke here is that Game of Thrones is expected to end after Season 8.

Sheeran isn’t the only musician to have a cameo in Game of Thrones. Members of the band Mastodon appeared in a Season 5 episode. As for other Season 7 cameos, New York Mets pitcher Noah Syndergaard will play a Wildling.

Sheeran also had a role on Sons of Anarchy creator Kurt Sutter’s Bastard Executioner.

Game of Thrones Season 7 premieres on July 16.

Kim Jong Nam’s death: Footage surfaces showing attack

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (CNN)Closed circuit television flick released Monday appears to show the moment that Kim Jong Nam was attacked and the events leading up to his death.

The flick, which first aired on TV in Japan, shows Kim being attacked at Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2, walking over to a desk and then being escorted to a hospital clinic — both of which match the timeline of events released by authorities.
Kim, the estranged half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, died on his way to hospital. Authorities believe that he was poisoned and the case is being treated as a murder investigation.
So far, police have arrested four suspects and looking for four more who were believed to have left Malaysia the day of the attack. Five of the eight are North Korean.
When asked if North Korea had ordered his murder, a top Malaysian police official merely said, “the four (on the run) hold North Korean nationality, that is all.”
Interpol is assisting in the search.

A diplomatic spat

The investigation into Kim’s death has sparked a diplomatic row between Malaysia and North Korea.
Pyongyang’s ambassador to Malaysia, Kang Chol, told reporters Monday that the investigation was being “politicized by Malaysia in collusion with South Korea.”
He claimed that the dead man was Kim Chol, a citizen of North Korea, and that requests for a DNA sample were “preposterous.”
Malaysia’s Deputy Prime Minister said the North Korean embassy in Malaysia confirmed Kim Jong Nam’s identity. He added that Kim Jong Nam had been traveling with two passports, one under the name Kim Chol. Kim Jong Nam had a reputation for traveling with false documents.
Earlier Monday, the Malaysian government summoned Ambassador Kang after he accused officials in Kuala Lumpur of conspiring with “hostile forces” during the investigation.
Malaysia also recalled its own ambassador in Pyongyang, the Malaysian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
North Korea had previously said it opposes any autopsy that is done without their own officials present and has publicly demanded the country return the body.
But Selangor Police Chief Abdul Samah Mat said that without DNA from a next of kin, Malaysia wouldn’t hand over Kim’s body or release the autopsy report, which could reveal the cause of death.

FG Scraps 10% Equity Contribution on Housing Mortgage within N5m

The federal government has said that henceforth housing mortgages below N5 million will no longer attract the usual initial payment of 10 per cent equity from approved off-takers.

In a statement by an Assistant Director of Information in the Ministry of Housing, M. A. Ahmed, in Abuja on Sunday, it said it chose to scrap the 10 per cent initial deposit on such cadre of housing loans administered by the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN) to demonstrate its commitment to the provision of affordable houses to Nigerians, especially low income earners.

Though it did not disclose what the new arrangement for mortgages within this financing cadre would look like, the Minister of State for Power, Works and Housing, Mustapha Baba Shehuri, however said that the waiver had been approved by the government.

The statement quoted Shehuri to have said during a recently commissioned 125-unit housing estate being financed by the FMBN and developed by a private developer, Messrs LCK Projects (Nigeria) Limited, in Enugu, that in view of the challenge of housing deficit in Nigeria, which has been put at about 17 million, the ministry would build mass houses in every state of the country for public workers and other interested parties over the next three years, using a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) model.

PFN Urges FG to Publish Names of Treasury Looters

The Vice-President of the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN), South-south, Bishop Simeon Okah, over the weekend advised the federal government to publish the names of those who have looted Nigeria’s treasury.

Okah, at a press conference heralding Flock of Christ Mission’s 2017 world convention holding from 12th to 19th of March, said the anti-corruption war of President Muhammadu Buhari would be meaningless if the names of the looters are not published.

He said the anti-graft war of President Buhari was not thorough as many individuals who are in his cabinet and who are alleged to be corrupt were still walking the street as free men.

The Bishop of Flock of Christ Mission lamented that politicians who have defected to the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) from other parties are been given protection by the APC, adding that this has made the anti-graft war of the APC selective.

Andy Murray beats Milos Raonic for second Wimbledon title

Andy Murray ended 77 years of British angst when he won Wimbledon in 2013. It didn’t take the Scot anywhere near as long to collect a second title at tennis’ most beloved tournament.

Murray cruised past big-serving Milos Raonic 6-4 7-6 (7-3) 7-6 (7-2) in southwest London on Sunday to register a third grand slam title overall and first since downing Novak Djokovic at the All England Club three years ago.
“I feel happier this time,” Murray told reporters. “I feel, yeah, more content this time. I feel like this was sort of more for myself more than anything, and my team as well. We’ve all worked really hard to help get me in this position.
“Last time it was just pure relief, and I didn’t really enjoy the moment as much, whereas I’m going to make sure I enjoy this one more than the others.”
When the aforementioned Djokovic — currently the most dominant men’s tennis player on the planet — was unexpectedly sent packing in the third round by Sam Querrey, the second-ranked Murray became the prohibitive favorite.
He came through and while he didn’t have to confront any of the “Big Four,” it would be harsh to suggest he didn’t merit the success: This was Murray’s third grand slam final of the season. He has, no doubt, been men’s tennis’ second best performer in 2016.
READ: Who is Sam Querrey?
With his victory, the 29-year-old avoided becoming the first man in the Open Era to lose the opening three grand slam finals in a season.
His coach, Ivan Lendl, is one of only two men to have lost more grand slam finals than Murray’s eight but he won a lot, too, picking up eight majors.
Just how much the retired great aided his charge in the past month only Murray knows but the record will show that the usually expressionless Lendl — who rejoined Team Murray in June after a split in 2014 — has been in Murray’s corner for all three of his grand slam titles. Murray is, however, visibly calmer with the American around.
Lendl had tears in his eyes in the player box when the two-hour, 48-minute tussle concluded; Murray wept into his towel in his chair.
“There were opportunities for Andy to explode today and he didn’t,” Pat Cash, who beat Lendl in the 1987 final, told CNN. “It’s been fascinating to see why it’s taken him so long to get a grip on his emotions when he’s playing tennis tournaments.
“Today is the clearest example yet of what he’s had to do the last handful of years. Maybe Ivan is the only one he wants to listen to.”
Raonic made immense strides at Wimbledon as he became the first Canadian man to make a grand slam final. The world No. 7 came from two sets down to win a match for the first time in his career — against David Goffin in the fourth round — and ousted the hugely popular seven-time champion Roger Federer in five sets in the semifinals.
“Phenomenal” was how he described his two weeks at SW19.
It would have been even better with a win Sunday yet his top weapon, the serve, wasn’t firing the way it needed to be against Murray.
Raonic, remarkably, only produced three aces in the first 1 1/2 sets and eight overall. He’d averaged 23 prior to the final. Murray’s deep return stance and the pressure he exerts by simply being one of the game’s finest returners impacted Raonic, mind you.
“I think Andy did really good returning,” said Cash. “But if you hit the marks and spots exactly, it’s going to be an ace, so Milos didn’t exactly hit the marks. They might play tomorrow and Milos might hit 20 aces but this is what grand slam finals are about. It’s not routine.”
The 25-year-old’s backhand remains a work in progress and Raonic — who added Lendl’s arch-rival John McEnroe to his coaching setup last month — was unable to capitalize on his half chances. His approaches to the net often lacked bite and the result was Murray prospering.
“I think that it was quite a close match,” Riccardo Piatti, Raonic’s co-coach who flew in for the final, told reporters. “Murray has more experience than Milos.
“Milos can play better. For me it means the returning game and not (giving Murray) too much rhythm. He needed to attack more in the returning game.”
Raonic’s serve “wasn’t great,” added the Italian. “But for me his serving depends on how he is returning.”
Raonic had extended Murray to five sets in the Australian Open semifinals and then to the maximum three sets in a Wimbledon warmup in London last month.
“I was keeping up with him,” Raonic told reporters. “But then when it counted, I wasn’t able to get on top.”
If he was suffering from nerves at the outset, Raonic sure didn’t show it in the first game, holding comfortably as The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge looked on.
Saving a break chance at 1-1, Raonic wasn’t as fortunate at 3-3. He was lucky to get away with a poor, sliced approach at 15-40 but on the next point a similar approach was punished by Murray. Murray cleverly prompted a volley error.
Ivan Lendl on managing Andy Murray

Raonic would hold an opportunity at 0-15 with Murray serving for the set but in what was a sign of things to come, couldn’t win the ensuing point.
A charitable Murray let Raonic survive on break points to start the second and in the seventh game. Leading Murray 4-3, once again at 0-15 Raonic erred, this time on a backhand return.
Raonic happily saw two break points dissipate at 4-4 — in a game when Murray repelled a 147 mile-per-hour serve — and he now had the chance to capture the set. But at 5-4, 0-15, a sloppy backhand slice found the net, quashing the brief momentum.
He started the 12th game with a backhand miscue and at 15-all didn’t do enough with a forehand approach.
Murray proceeded to race to a 6-1 lead in the tiebreak, playing flawlessly, and Raonic was realistically finished: No man in the Open Era has ever trailed 2-0 in sets in a Wimbledon final and triumphed.
To sum up his afternoon in the sunshine, Raonic made unforced errors on his lone two break points at 2-2 in the third.
He admirably took, though, Murray to another tiebreak. Murray once again was exquisite in storming to a 6-1 lead and clinched the championship when Raonic sent a backhand into the net.
Raonic — one of tennis’ most thoughtful speakers — vowed to do all he could to attain the next level.
“I’m going to work on everything,” he promised. “I’m not going to leave any stone unturned. I’m going to try to get myself back in this position, try to be better in this position.
“I’m going to try to get fitter, stronger. I’m going to try to improve my return game, improve my serve. I can improve there. Improve my efficiency coming forward. There’s not one thing that I’m not going to try to improve.”
The athlete that he is, Murray will always try to improve and make up ground in majors on fellow “Big Four” members Djokovic, Federer and Rafael Nadal.
“It’s very rare that you get through a slam without playing Novak, Roger or Rafa,” he said. “But I still feel like my best tennis is ahead of me, that I have an opportunity to win more.”
Murray is doing just fine at the moment.

Spanish bullfighter gored to death on live TV

A professional bullfighter was gored to death by a bull during a competition on live television in Spain over the weekend.

Victor Barrio, 29, was killed in Teruel, in the eastern Aragon region.
Plaza de Las Ventas bullring, where he’s worked as a bullfighter fox six years, announced his death in a statement Saturday. It said a moment of silence will be held in his honor.
Spanish bullfighter Victor Barrio performs in Madrid in 2011. He was gored to death by a bull Saturday.

Spanish bullfighter Victor Barrio performs in Madrid in 2011. He was gored to death by a bull Saturday.
Spanish towns hold annual summer festivals in which bulls dash after humans in a short run that seems like an eternity.
In Pamplona, where Spain’s famous bull run is held, the event dates to 400 years. It gained fame worldwide after author Ernest Hemingway wrote about it in his 1920s novel, “The Sun Also Rises.”
The annual festival is so popular that Pamplona’s population of 200,000 can triple during the eight consecutive days of running in July.
Throngs of revelers travel to Spain every year for a chance to watch from the barricades and balconies.
In Pamplona’s San Fermin festival, a 33-year-old Japanese man was gored in the chest, one of 14 people injured Saturday, the local government said on its website.

Dallas police chief: Shooter had larger plans

The gunman who killed five police officers in Dallas was plotting larger attacks, Dallas Police Chief David Brown said Sunday.

“We’re convinced that this suspect had other plans and thought that what he was doing was righteous and believed that he was going to target law enforcement — make us pay for what he sees as law enforcement’s efforts to punish people of color,” Brown said in an interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper on “State of the Union.”
Brown said police found bomb-making materials and a journal at the shooter’s home that suggested he’d been practicing detonations and appeared ready to take aim at larger targets.
It was enough, Brown said, to have “devastating effects on our city.”
Dallas gunman is former U.S. Army reservist

Dallas gunman is former U.S. Army reservist 02:09
He said the shooter, Micah Johnson, “obviously had some delusion. There was quite a bit of rambling in the journal that’s hard to decipher.”
Among Dallas investigators’ current goals: Figure out what Johnson had meant by “RB,” lettering that Brown said he’d written on the wall in blood before his death.
Police are “trying to figure out what those initials mean, but we haven’t determined that yet,” Brown said.

Blood on walls

“At the scene where he was killed, he wrote some lettering in blood on the walls, which leads us to believe he was wounded on the way up the stairwell, on the second floor of the El Centro building and where we detonated the device to end the standoff there was more lettering written in his own blood,” he said.
How did police use robot to kill gunman?
The details made for significant new disclosures about the killings that have rocked the Dallas community and the nation. Brown also sought to deliver a message to protesters in states like Minnesota and Louisiana after people there were killed by police last week in what critics have called cases of excess force.
“We’re sworn to protect you and your right to protest, and we’ll give our lives for it,” Brown said.
“And it’s sort of like being in a relationship where you love that person, but that person can’t express or show you love back,” he said. “I don’t know if you’ve been in a relationship like that before, Jake, but that’s a tough relationship to be in, where we show our love — because there’s no greater love than to give your life for someone, and that’s what we’re continuing to be willing to do.”
“And we just need to hear from the protesters back to us, ‘We appreciate the work you do for us in our right to protest,'” Brown said. “That should be fairly easy.”

Negotiating with the gunman

Brown said the gunman was only willing to negotiate with a black police officer during the standoff.
He was also singing while speaking with police officers, Brown said.
“We had negotiated with him for about two hours, and he just basically lied to us — playing games, laughing at us, singing, asking how many (police officers) did he get and that he wanted to kill some more and that there were bombs there,” Brown said, “so there was no progress on the negotiation.”
“I began to feel that it was only at a split second he would charge us and take out many more before we could kill him,” he said.
That, Brown said, is when his officers devised a plan to use a robot to detonate a bomb near the gunman.

The decision to use a bomb

Brown said he faced a difficult choice — with no way to send officers after the gunman without further jeopardizing their lives.
“He was secreted behind a brick corner,” he said, “and the only way to get a sniper shot to end his trying to kill us would be to expose officers to grave danger.”
When his officers proposed using the robot, Brown said, “I approved it. And I’ll do it again if presented with the same circumstances.”
“You have to trust the people whose lives are at stake. I appreciate critics, but they’re not on the ground, and their lives are not at risk,” he said.
Brown also said police arrested 20 to 30 people who had been involved in protests in Dallas that night who were wearing gas masks and bullet-proof vests and had AR-15s slung across their shoulders. That’s legal in Texas, he said, but once the shooting began, those people “were suspects.”
He also encouraged Americans to “stand up” to support police officers.
“These officers risk their lives for $40,000 a year. $40,000 a year,” he said. “And this is not sustainable, not to support these people.
“We’re not perfect. There’s cops that don’t need to be cops. I have been the first to say, we need to separate employment with those types of cops — 1% or 2%. The 98% or 99% of cops come to work, do this job, come to work for 40 grand. It’s not sustainable.”

Five reasons Europe will miss the UK

Brussels, Belgium (CNN)Britain’s referendum on EU membership is the biggest change in the Union’s history — the first time a country left the Union.

Observers say the UK would feel the biggest impacts, positive or negative, from “Brexit,” but the EU, too, has much to lose.
Here are five ways the European Union benefits from British membership:
A tale of two towns: Wish you were … in or out?

1. Economy

Economic differences of opinion on Britain and the EU

Economic differences of opinion on Britain and the EU 02:32
Britain’s economy is the second-largest in Europe, after Germany. The UK represents 17.6% of the Union’s 14.6 trillion euro GDP.
Brexit may not be a “catastrophe,” says Charles de Marcilly of the European think tank Robert Schuman Foundation, but it would certainly be an “amputation.”
Just under half of Britain’s exports go to the EU, and just over half of the country’s imports come from the rest of the Union, Marcilly says.
In other words, Britain’s economy is closely integrated with the rest of Europe.
Right now, that trade benefits from the free trade zone that’s central to the EU. Now the UK’s decided to leave, that would all be subject to re-negotiation.
Brexit is already hurting the UK economy

2. Diplomacy

The UK is an important diplomatic player that has long prided itself on “punching above its weight.”
In a field where symbolism is incredibly important, Britain boasts nuclear-weapons capability and a permanent seat on the U.N. Security Council.

“EU foreign policy is not exactly a great success story,” says Jan Techau of Carnegie Europe. But “whenever the EU has done something useful and forceful” — such as sanctioning Russia over the war in Ukraine or negotiating with Iran — “Britain played a crucial role in that.”
“Without Britain as part of the mix, not only do we lose one of the countries that has a naturally global outlook,” says Techau, “but also one of the real diplomatic heavyweights within the EU — big foreign service, traditionally strong abroad, a potent military power in the European context as well.”
London has 123 embassies around the world. Its history as a colonial superpower means association with 52 other members of the Commonwealth.
Brexit: UK government says 820,000 jobs could be lost

3. Military

Debate: Could brexit endanger peace?

Debate: Could brexit endanger peace? 11:59
The British military stands out in the European Union for its size and capability. Within NATO, only the United States spends more on its military.
And the UK also stands out for its willingness to use military power abroad. While Germany is widely seen as the EU’s leader, economically and politically, its history means it is very reticent to exercise that power by force abroad.
“An EU without Britain will certainly be a less potent and a less powerful player, and that’s not a good thing,” explains Techau.
UK PM makes “patriotic case” for EU

4. Ideology

Conservative party members split over EU referendum

Conservative party members split over EU referendum 06:25
Right now, says Techau, there is a relative balance within the EU “between a more state-centric economic vision versus a more free-trading capitalist model.”
The UK “stands for an open-market, capitalist system; a single market; free trade.
“All of those good things that have made the EU bigger and greater and a better organization will be damaged by…Brexit.”
Doru Frantescu of the Brussels-based NGO Vote Watch Europe agrees.
“The leftist forces — those who favor more integration, harmonization of taxation across the EU — have tried for years to … impose EU regulation on how and what should be taxed in the member states.

“This has not happened also because of the position of the UK representatives in the Council and in the European Parliament.
“But with the British representatives out of these bodies, there will be a momentum for those who propose more red tape, more taxation, to promote their agenda on these policies.”
The truth about UK immigration

5. Union

What does Europe think of Britain's EU exit vote?

What does Europe think of Britain’s EU exit vote? 01:56
Perhaps it’s obvious, but Britain’s membership in the Union promotes, well, union.
“If one of the key members of the club leaves the club,” says Frantescu. “Automatically the other ones will think ‘is this club still worth being in?'”
“It will look very bad to the outside world that an important country like Britain deems this club so ludicrously bad that it wants to leave,” says Techau.

A look at Brexit: Why are the Brits thumbing their noses at Europe?

(CNN)According to legend, two fingers were famously raised by Henry V’s archers at Agincourt 601 years ago. It was supposed to be a gesture of defiance toward the French who threatened to cut off their bowing digits if they were captured.

Now the descendants of those men have given the same gesture not just to the French, not just the EU, but to their own political elites.
Now is time to ask: Why?
The message from the shires of England is that they no longer trust their leadership. A divide has opened; centers of cosmopolitan wealth are at odds with their council estate and country-living cousins. It is not about wealth, it is about history — about who the British think they are.
UK votes to leave the EU in 90 seconds

UK votes to leave the EU in 90 seconds 01:32
For the majority, they are too far from their history, their roots are stretched, and the blame for it falls on migrants — not personally but as an all-consuming force for change.
Where Henry’s archers might have gathered for mead merriment and more, the pubs of little England have been alive with an anti-elitist groundswell. The global capitalist machine, they postulate, has gobbled up more migrants than the country can contain.
For many in the UK, beyond the leafy fringes of the capital’s rosy suburbia, they see a rich upper class that has grown ridiculously rich, intertwined with a political elite in their pocket and their thrall.
It is a revolt that needs little understanding, they would say. The poor have been misunderstood and misrepresented for too long. As a policeman outside the UK prime minister’s home at 10 Downing Street told me last night as the “leave” campaign took the lead, the politicians — and with a gesture of his head, he indicated the prime minister behind him — “didn’t listen.”
The argument of political leaders that immigration benefits the economy is lost on the “Leave” supporters because they don’t feel they see the benefits.
When the argument is lost, so is trust. But none of this happened in isolation.
The critical shift came when Immigration took on hues of Islamophobia as migrants surged from the seething cauldron of Middle East conflicts.The EU was apparently unable to hold them back.
It was the spark that some in “leave” campaign needed. They played up fears of ISIS attacks, of over-burdened schools and hospitals, of moms, dads, brothers, sisters, children, and grandchildren forced to miss out on their rightful and paid-for state support, edged out by newly arrived migrants hungry for handouts and everything for free.
The “leave” campaigners’ message almost wrote itself: Bring back the Britain of their memories. Take back control, not just from Europe, but from their own runaway politicians. Nigel Farage, one of the prominent “leave” campaigners, played this card time and time again.
What happens after Brexit?

What happens after Brexit? 01:13
Farage is already demanding new leaders to take them on this uncharted course. Calmer heads in the pro-exit ranks, chief among them former London Mayor Boris Johnson, are less onerous, calling for a modicum of caution, no haste for Prime Minister David Cameron to go.
It is too soon to say how long the populist fervor will last and who will emerge as leader — Farage and his divisive rhetoric or Johnson realizing a long-awaited political ambition.
Will Boris Johnson be the next British PM?

Will Boris Johnson be the next British PM? 02:54
Johnson is embarking on a transition of Churchillian proportions, but then part of him has always relished the chance to live up to that gargantuan reputation. No reading of Johnson’s own biography on Churchill could leave the reader in any doubt — in place of Churchill’s name, read “Johnson”.
It is soaring ambition on a par with the new course the “leave” campaign has set.
Why did this happen? A salutary lesson from history may be due.
Within a year of Agincourt, Henry V was dead, his massive debts financing that battle far from paid, and within a few years, the war settled in the continent’s favor.
But then history remembers only the two fingers story, and Shakespeare’s words immortalizing Henry: “Cry ‘God for Harry, England and Saint George!”
We write our own history, and today a new chapter was begun.

Hard Rock

Having convinced myself that I deserved to unwind after a particularly long and hard week, me and a couple of friends decided to check out Hard Rock Café. We all had heard of this trending hangout but only one of us had ever been there.

Dressed to the nines on that humid Friday evening, we arrived at our destination. After several minutes finding a parking spot, we headed for the entrance. Parked practically at the doors was a sleek black Jaguar, next to it was some other exotic car whose name I knew not. What happened to the recession? Yeah, right! The rich just get richer. Ha ha! What struck me first as we went through the doors was the sheer space. This was not your usual “Lagos bar” which is usually no larger than a standard three bedroom apartment. This one was large enough to hold up to a thousand people, just the inside alone. Then there was an outside sitting area which was equally as large. The decor was impressive, replica outfits worn by famous people adorned the walls on two sides.

“The whole Lagos dey here”. My friend shouted loud enough for me to hear over the blaring speakers.

Or so it seemed. From the scantily clad to the ones who looked good enough to grace the cover of Vogue. The good, the bad and the ugly, everyone was here. The kind of place you could be sure to run into someone you knew. I waved at a few familiar faces. The air reeked of alcohol and expensive perfumes. No nasty cigarettes or cigars smell here. Mba!

The DJ knew his onions as he dished out a blend of the old and the new, Afro and rap, reggae and pop. He even threw some Mapouka into the mix. I felt right at home as I took a sip from my ice cold “long” drink. This was my idea of how a bar cum-club should be. Lots of space, high ceiling, good music, not forgetting the right crowd.

A couple of hours later we agreed upon a change of scene so we headed for Quilox. We all had been there in the past, it was not one of my favourite hangouts as I found the crowd too young. Arugbo! Ha ha! As we got out of our cars the deafening sound of a gunshot shattered the stillness of the night. A few meters from where we stood was a car backing out from the club to the road, onto the oncoming traffic. And standing in the middle of the road, flagging the approaching vehicles down was an armed officer. One hand was motioning for them to stop while the other held a rifle which was pointed at the sky above him.

“Pschewwwwww!” I hissed in utter disgust. Did he really need to fire a shot into the air? Soldier come soldier go according to Fela.

I was already pissed off by the time we arrived at the entrance which was manned by a group of hefty bouncers dressed in black. I shook my head in disbelief when they held out what they called drinks vouchers and informed us that we would only be granted admittance into the club upon purchase of the vouchers which cost a whopping 10k per head.  I hissed louder this time. Does it include a 3 course meal? I said to myself. We quickly did an about-turn and headed for Sips.

Sips was as crammed as Hard Rock Cafe was spacious. We literally had to squeeze our way in. Too many people stuffed into a way too small space. The smell was undeniable, cigarettes and sweaty bodies. But no one seemed to mind as everyone was clearly having a good time so we pitched in. We managed to find a spot at the bar beside some bored looking girls and ordered drinks.

As I scanned the sea of faces, my gaze was drawn to this rather good looking guy. He was of average height, slim, fair in complexion, almost effeminate.  He had a long narrow face, full beard, pointed nose and small hard eyes. From his features I could tell he was Fulani. He was dressed in a white danshiki and he nursed a glass of what appeared to be whisky. His rather pretty face broke into a wide smile as a dark stocky guy beside him whispered something into his ear. I watched him for a while until I got bored.

Not long after, we decided to call it a night. I stepped outside, closed my eyes and took a long breath of clean fresh good ol’ CO2 as we headed for the exit. In our path was a group of people in an altercation. Two-fighting a friend of mine would say.

” Don’t be stupid, you know better than to utter such nonsense. Who do you think you are”? A soft voice dripping with anger yelled in perfect Queen`s English. Behold it was our Fulani friend.

”Iyalaya! Omo alé!” A thick guttural voice that could only have emerged from the most rugged parts of Isalè Eko yelled back. The voice matched the owner perfectly. A dark heavyset guy dressed in all black with enough muscles to make Mike Tyson envious, obviously one of the bouncers. His counterparts held him back as he made to advance towards our friend who had the common sense to step back. Dem no dey tell big man to comot from sun.

In the wee hours of the morning I passed out on my bed, a smile of contentment on my face.

It had been a good Hard Rock night.


Destructive Pests: Kaduna Declares State of Emergency on Tomato Farming

The Kaduna state government has declared a state of emergency on tomato farming in the state following the outbreak of destructive pests.

The Commissioner of Agriculture, Dr. Maigari Daniel Manzo, who disclosed this at a news conference in Kaduna on Monday, said 80 per cent of tomato farms have been ravaged by an exotic pest called tomato blight ( tuta absoluta).

Manzo said over 200 tomato farmers in three Local Government Areas of the state were affected by the destructive pests, adding that the farmers had suffered losses worth N1 billion in the last one month.

The commissioner said already some officials of the ministry of agriculture had been sent to Kenya to liaise with experts with a view to finding solutions to the problem.

“I want to say that Governor Nasir El-Rufai has declared a state of emergency on tomatoes in the state. This is as a result of the invasion of the crops by a pest named tomato blight botanically known as tuta absoluta.

“In the past one month 12 local government areas of the state who produce tomatoes have lost 80 per cent of their tomatoes harvest.

“In three local government areas about 200 famers have lost One billion naira worth of their tomatoes. So you can imagine the magnitude of the lose.

“It is so severe that even Dangote who has established a tomato processing plant in Kano had to shut down production,” the commissioner said.

Sugar shortage cuts Coca-Cola production in Venezuela

A sugar shortage has forced Coca-Cola to stop producing soft drinks in Venezuela amid an escalating food and energy shortage.

Coke said that suppliers in Venezuela will “temporarily cease operations due to a lack of raw materials”.

The announcement comes after the country’s biggest brewer, Empresas Polar, closed plants due to a barley shortage.

Venezuela’s economy has contracted sharply as oil prices plunge.

A Coca-Cola spokesperson said the company would continue producing sugarless drinks such as Coca-Cola Light (Diet Coke).

“We are engaging with suppliers, government authorities and our associates to take the necessary actions for a prompt solution,” she said.

Sugarcane production has been falling due to price controls and rising production costs, as well as problems in obtaining fertiliser.

As a result, many smaller farmers have turned to other crops that are not price controlled and thus generate higher income.

Venezuela is expected to produce 430,000 tonnes of sugarcane in 2016/17, down from 450,000 tonnes for the previous 12 months, and import 850,000 tonnes of raw and refined sugar, according to USDA figures.

Queues in VenezuelaImage copyrightGETTY IMAGES

The economic problems have forced many consumers to queue for hours to buy basic foodstuffs.

Venezuela’s economy is expected to shrink by 8% in 2016 after it contracted by 5.8% last year.

Its reliance on oil to generate foreign currency and investment has made it a victim of regular recessions.

President Nicolas Maduro has instituted a state of emergency in an effort to combat the economic crisis. Critics argue it is an attempt to strengthen his grip on power.

Meanwhile, tyre maker Bridgestone said on Monday it was selling its Venezuelan business after six decades in the country.

The company’s Venezuelan assets will be sold to Grupo Corimon.

Other multinational firms such as Ford, Procter & Gamble and Halliburton have either slowed or abandoned their investments in Venezuela.