Michelle Obama charms British crowd with praise for the Queen

LONDON (Reuters) – Former U.S. first lady Michelle Obama charmed thousands of Britons on Sunday, telling anecdotes about meeting the “wonderfully warm and funny” Queen Elizabeth and praising London’s diversity at an event in the capital.

Obama, the wife of Barack Obama, who was president from 2009 to 2017, was in London to promote her best-selling autobiography ‘Becoming’.

She had the sellout audience – many of whom had travelled hours to attend – laughing along within minutes of taking the stage, recounting the furore she caused in 2009 when she breached royal protocol by putting her arm around the queen.

“Yikes! Sorry guys,” she joked, explaining she later learned to keep her hands clasped or

behind her back to curb her natural instincts.

Nevertheless, she had no regrets when it came to the queen: “I don’t know that I could have done anything differently because it was a natural human reaction.”


She said she had been touched by the queen’s decision to wear a small pin badge the presidential couple had given her as a gift, and described Britain’s 92-year-old monarch in glowing terms:

“That was my experience, that has been my experience: that kind of warmth and graciousness and intelligence and wit – I like her.”

Obama’s book tour has so far taken her across North America and Scandinavia. After London, she will go to Paris and Amsterdam.

Last month, the book’s German publisher said ‘Becoming’ could become the biggest-selling autobiography ever.

“It’s absolutely surreal. I think it’s like a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I can’t believe she’s in England as well, I can’t believe we’re going,” said Aisha Chibampe, a 26-year-old corporate finance worker who drove four hours from the northern city of Leeds for the show.


Obama, asked by host Stephen Colbert what advice she had for people in Britain about how to stay calm in a time of turmoil – a likely reference to political divisions over Brexit – said London was unique and should treasure its diversity.

“This trepidation, the anxiety, it’s everywhere, it’s all over the world,” she said.


“I was looking out over the city, London, a beautiful city, and the thing I love about it is it is truly representative of true international diversity, in ways that you don’t see in cities, most cities particularly, even in the United States, and that is a gift,” she said, drawing cheers.




Celine Dion ‘knew’ she had to let her husband go

Celine Dion “knew” she had to let her husband go.

The ‘My Heart Will Go On’ hitmaker was devastated when her spouse René Angélil passed away in January 2016 after a battle with throat cancer but she knew she couldn’t be “selfish” and just had to let him pass.

She said: “Losing my husband, seeing him suffer was extremely hard. But I have learnt to love him like there is no tomorrow. I knew that I had to let him go in peace, and not be selfish trying to make him stay a little longer. I now see him in the eyes of my kids, and that makes me stronger. It helped me to keep going and to go back on stage. So, I continue to work hard, I have found new passions such as dance and, made new friends and I’m very well surrounded.”



Celine previously confessed she still gets “so much strength” from her late husband and she feels so much “power and positivity” in her life.

She said: “I feel so powerful and in charge and grounded and happy. I think from René giving me so much strength and power and positivity and being in charge even more because now, I will never be a dad, but it’s like I’m in a double job as a parent, so I’m a ‘parents’ … The kids are growing and I see them and I look at them and I’m like well, we’ve done a great job and I’m so proud … You cannot stop living and go forward. Today’s the first day of the

beginning of my life because I know that I don’t have to worry. I feel stronger, more beautiful, more grounded. There’s this power and this strength that comes with that maturity.”





Ovation to Tiger Woods’ win at the 2019 Masters nearly as historic as the victory itself

AUGUSTA, Ga. — Standing behind the 18th green at Augusta National — with a row of 20 patrons in front of me about 40 more to my rear, it was easy to get lost in the moment and become unaware of one’s surroundings. Usually when we experience historic moments at sporting events, we are in the stands, platformed one row behind each other with a clear view of the action.

When the bogey putt dropped on his 72nd hole and Tiger Woods raised his fists to scream to the heavens, I saw the top of a black Nike hat, the red collar of his mock-neck shirt and a putter shot into the air … along with the simultaneous pumping fist motion made by the thousands around me. I generalize that number as “thousands” because even watching the four-minute celebration back, it’s impossible to fathom how many spectators surrounded the 18th fairway, 18th green and Woods’ path back to the clubhouse to submit his scorecard.





I’ve never seen anything like it in sports. Not when Woods had the masses flank him during his walk to the 18th green on his way to winning the Tour Championship at East Lake. Not when football clubs across the globe celebrate their trophy presentations in the stands. Not when fans rush the court after a buzzer-beater or storm the field following an upset victory.

It was the most peaceful pandemonium one could imagine. And while it was an unreal experience, cultivating long-dormant emotions usually withheld for personal moments, watching the scene unfold from the birds-eye view of our CBS cameras the morning after not just nourished those emotions but somehow enhanced them.

Over a span of 4:03, Woods first sinks his final putt, officially completing the redemption story of a man who has seemingly transitioned from a win-at-all-costs egoist to a grind-it-out altruist. That’s not to say winning is no longer foremost in his mind, it’s just that he now knows there’s much more that matters in life, a realization we all encounter at some point.
With fans roaring in every direction and chanting his name so loud it likely could have been heard in Atlanta, Woods received congratulations from his playing partners and caddie Joe LaCava. He then turned to his family, waiting for him behind the 18th green.

In a moment that will replay on sports reels forever, Woods bear-hugged his son Charlie with the same vigor with which he once grabbed his father Earl after Tiger’s first Masters win 22 years prior. Hugs with no less power were then delivered to his mother Kultida and daughter Sam before Tiger made a trek through a sea of patrons that gathered to exalt him.

Far away in the background, perhaps drowned in the water at No. 12 along with Francesco Molinari’s ball, were the justified criticisms of his personal life, the strain his playing style took on his body for so many years, and the numerous surgeries on his back and neck that saw Woods miss eight straight majors (2016-17) altogether and get cut at four of the six he played in the two years prior (2014-15).

In that moment, Woods became again what he never actually stopped being — a man of the people. The man of the people. The first golfer since Jack Nicklaus to be bigger than the sport, who like Jack is the second to go more than 20 years between major championship victories.
As Tiger’s red mock shirt parted the sea of patrons, there were more guttural screams and fist pumps. Outstretched arms of the spectators begged for a connection with Woods, and he indulged a few. Then he made the turn toward the clubhouse where one would expect the number of waiting patrons to dissipate. Nope. Through a second tunnel Woods went with a grin on his face that told a simple story: This means as much to me as it does to you.

Again, experiencing all of this in the moment, feet firmly planted without elevation, it was tough to soak it all in. But take 4:03 out of your life — as I did this morning — and watch it again. Feel the feels.
Tiger Woods is your 2019 Masters champion, and in winning his fifth green jacket, he brought a renewed sense of relief to himself, likely his family, and surely sports fans across the globe who love cheering for champions but will always prefer a great redemption story.









Govt Says No Plans to Remove Fuel Subsidy

The Minister of Finance, Mrs. Zainab Shamsuna Ahmed has said the federal government will not remove subsidy at this moment because there are no buffers to cushion the effects.

The minister made the commitment yesterday at the closing press briefing at the annual IMF/World Bank Spring Meetings in Washington DC, United United States of America.


The minister who was flanked at the briefing by the CBN Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, and the Ministry of Budget and National Planning, Sen. Udoma Udo Udoma said plausible as the argument to remove subsidy sounds, Nigeria isn’t ready for it at this time.


“There is no eminent plan to remove fuel subsidy, ” she declared.


She explained further that the FG has “no plan to remove fuel subsidy. If we have to remove subsidy, we will be working with various groups to look at the alternatives. We discuss this very frequently at the economic management team but we haven’t found the viable alternatives so we are not yet at the point of removing subsidy,” she said.

“We are here to discuss with the global community on various policy issues. One of the issues that always come up in the report especially, the IFM Article Four Report, is how we handle fuel subsidies. The IMF will say fuel subsidies are better removed so you could use the resources for other important sectors. In principle that is a fact to do so.

But in Nigeria we don’t have any plans to remove fuel subsidy at this time because we have not yet designed buffers that will enable us to remove the subsidy and provide cushions for our people” she noted.

Speaking on other matters, the minister said the process of issuing a second green bond N15 billion later this year to finance various sectors in agriculture, power, health and water resources.

The first green bond of over N10bn she said was a success. “The projects that were scheduled to be financed by the green bonds have been so financed so it’s fully drawn and performed. The projects are at various levels of completion” she assured.

On a broader scale of climate finance she said ‘in view of our efforts as Finance ministers who play a key role in steering the economy and managing risks, including from climate change, climate finance, we were invited to join the coalition of climate Finance Ministers a coalition of Finance Ministers with long experience with climate actions and are well aligned with the Principles of the Coalition. Nigeria endorsed the Coalition Principles as one of the founding members” she said.

On Nigeria’s human capacity development she noted that last year “when the human capital project was released, many of us were concerned that Nigeria was placed 157 out of 189 and I did promise that we would go back home and address this issue, I am happy to report that we used this Spring Meetings to show case what the government is doing in this important area. We have set up an inter-ministerial working group with representatives of the State Governors and are currently piloting some initiatives in health, education and of course you are all aware of the social safety nets programs of the Federal Government where we have 15 million people already on the register,” she said.

Meanwhile, despite assurances of availability of Premium Motor Spirit by Federal Government, many petrol stations in Lagos, Oyo, Ogun and Osun states were not selling the product yesterday, the Daily Trust can reports.

A NAN correspondent who went round the Osun State capital and its environs on Sunday reports that many of the petrol stations were under lock and key.

Meanwhile, the few petrol stations selling the product in the aforementioned states had long queues of vehicles.

Tayo Arowolo, a fuel attendant in one of the filling stations visited in Osun said the scarcity of the product was as a result of inability of many of the Independent marketers to lift the product at the Lagos depot.

Arowolo said most petrol stations in the state were hoarding the products and selling to motorists at a particular time while others stopped selling earlier than expected.

He said that if the situation was not urgently addressed, it would bring untold hardship on the people.

Mr Yusuf Ayinla, a motorist who was on the queue at Cornoil filling station at Old Garage, Osogbo, said it was sad that petrol stations were hoarding the product thereby creating artificial scarcity.

Ayinla, however, implored the appropriate authorities to do the needful before things become more difficult for the common man.

Another motorist, Mr Ayo Adeyanju, said many commercial drivers were taking advantage of the scarcity to increase transport fares.

Adeyanju appealed to government to intervene in the situation before it gets out of hand.

But the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) yesterday said based average daily supply of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) which it noticed has increased this year, there was no need for Nigerians to panic over

The Executive Secretary of the PPPRA Abdulkadir Saidu in a statement said the Agency has observed the sudden re-appearance of queues at some filling stations over speculation of short fall in the supply of PMS otherwise called petrol.

“PPPRA in line with its mandate to regulate petroleum products supply and distribution as well as establish an industry data bank has continued to monitor products supply in the sector in line with best practices. Thus, PMS average daily supply for the year 2017, 2018 and 2019 are about 46 million, 54 million and 56 million litres respectively. These indicate an improved level of supply in 2019,” Saidu said.

“Based on the available data, there is adequate supply of PMS with over 21 days sufficiency. PPPRA therefore urges fuel consumers across the country to desist from panic buying as the Agency would continue to monitor the supply situation and take every step required to ensure that there is no disruption in the supply chain.”





Cultists on the rampage in Lagos, behead two, kill three others

Residents of Alasiya in Abraham Adesanya Estate area, in the Eti-Osa Local Government Area of Lagos State, were thrown into panic on Sunday as a suspected clash by rival cults left five corpses on the streets.
Eyewitnesses, who spoke to PUNCH Metro, said the clash started around midnight, adding that two of the five corpses were beheaded.


It was gathered that one victim was shot dead, another was slaughtered and the last one was butchered to death.

It was learnt that the police were able to recover four corpses because the family of one of the victims refused to release his remains.

A resident, Black Che, said he heard multiple gunshots around midnight.

The Enugu State indigene said, “Last night, when we were inside the factory around midnight, we heard gunshots. But when we came out this morning, we saw five corpses. The police evacuated four corpses but the last corpse was not released to them, because the family of the person who was killed prevented them from taking his corpse away.

“Two of the corpses that I saw were beheaded; another one was shot dead and his assailants slit his throat; another was slaughtered; and the last one was butchered. The corpses were dumped at different locations around the Alasiya bus stop.

“One dead body was by the road divider at General Paint; one was in front of the bus stop; another was in front of a school; one was not far from the Total filling station; while the last one was by the recycling area around the bus stop.”

A security guard, Uka Kalu, said when he heard the gunshots around midnight, he immediately closed the gate of the company he was hired to secure, adding that he was surprised to learn of the death of five people in the morning.

He said, “I was inside when I started hearing gunshots and the noise of people. I came out to observe what was going on. When I got outside, I asked the people I saw what was going on and what they told me was that some people who disembarked from a vehicle were the ones shouting. I immediately got inside and locked the gate.

“It was in the morning that we realised that the noise was in connection with the killing of five people, and when one of our workers visited the scene, he came back saying the sight was gory.”

A welder, Isiak Adebayo, while condemning the rate at which youths were killing themselves in the name of cultism, charged security agents to restore normalcy in the area.

The state Police Public Relations Officer, Bala Elkana, said four corpses that were probably dumped in the area were recovered, adding that the command had commenced investigation into the matter.

“Four corpses were recovered from the scene of the incident and what we are suspecting is a cult supremacy fight. We have launched an investigation into the case,” Elkana said.





Nigeria ‘Hellish’ Under Buhari, Omotola Says

Nollywood star, Omotola Jalade-Ekeinde, has described the quality of life of Nigerians under President Muhammadu Buhari’s leadership as “Hellish”.

The 41-year-old actress who is also an activist made the statement on Twitter and Instagram on Sunday evening.

“The Country Under your watch is Hellish! @ProfOsinbajo @MBuhari @NGRPresident, her tweet read.

She also charged Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and Mr Buhari to act fast.

The 41-year-old actress was speaking against the backdrop of the recent spike in extrajudicial killings across the country.


“The lack of Money in circulation, now coupled with the continuous Assault and killings by uniformed men. Will make this Country implode!!! It’s Unbearable!, Omotola said.

“Do something! Insecurity! Fear and Desperation everywhere”, said Omotola.

Omotola, who is also an Amnesty International campaigner, recently called for a state of emergency in troubled zones.

She also said she believes Nigeria needs some kind of ‘revolution’ to get better.

The Country Under your watch is Hellish! @ProfOsinbajo @MBuhari @NGRPresident The lack of Money in circulation,Now coupled with the Continuous Assault n Killings by Uniformed men’ll make this Country implode!!!It’s Unbearable! Do something!Insecurity!Fear n Desperation everywhere

  • Omotola .j. Ekeinde (@Realomosexy) April 14, 2019

The Country Under your watch is Hellish! @YOsibanjo @MBuhari @NGRPresident The lack of Money in circulation,Now coupled with the Continuous Assault n Killings by Uniformed men will make this Country implode!!!It is Unbearable! Do something!Insecurity!Fear n Desperation everywhere

  • Omotola .j. Ekeinde (@Realomosexy) April 14, 2019





Israel Adesanya Beats Kelvin Gastelum via Decision in UFC 236 Co-Main Event

Israel Adesanya claimed the interim UFC middleweight championship belt via unanimous decision over Kelvin Gastelum in the co-main event of UFC 236 in Atlanta on Saturday.

The kickboxing wunderkind put on a masterful display of technique and power in an instant-classic five-round battle that had a little bit of everything.

Gastelum set the tone by taking the first round. His hand speed as he moved into range proved to be a key factor as he landed some notable left hands. He even scored a knockdown to highlight the frame, but it set the table for Adesanya to show whether he could adjust in the second round:
“Bloody Elbow

Question for Adesanya is, can he adjust to Gastelum’s speed and power. The strike selection isn’t likely to change that much if he can read it. #UFC236
Adesanya answered in the second round. With some time to figure out Gastelum’s timing he stunned his opponent several times in the second frame, flooring him with a hard right hand and later scoring big with a spinning back elbow:


The two knockdowns for Adesanya in Round 2 were a rare sight to see in a Gastelum fight:


That was the first time that Gastelum had been knocked down since his fight with Rick Story at UFC 171 on March 15, 2014 per Fightmetric

The tide continued to turn in The Last Stylebender’s favor in the third frame. He was more comfortable in his counter-striking in the period and answered questions about his defensive grappling abilities. He was taken down briefly but had no problem in getting right back up to his feet and keeping the fight standing up after.

The takedown defense answered a serious question about Adesanya as he continues to reveal to fans more of his game:


Gastelum doesn’t look like his gas tank will hold up. I thought he’d be able to take Adesanya down, but it turns out the Stylebender has solid takedown defense.

Gastelum wasn’t done making things interest, though. He landed a round-changing head kick that rocked Adesanya and set up an intriguing fifth round:


Adesanya showed the heart of a champion in the fifth and final round. He answered the call with a masterful performance that made him an interim champion and earned the judges’ nod, nearly finishing Gastelum as the final horn sounded.

This is just the latest step in a fascinating rise to the top for The Last Stylebender. The 29-year-old has now run his perfect record up to 17-0, including wins over Anderson Silva and Derek Brunson to go with the win over Gastelum.

Now, the question will be whether he can continue his rise to the role of champion.
The interim belt is a step, but it only guarantees that he’ll be the next in line to welcome Robert Whittaker back to the Octagon. Whittaker hasn’t seen action in the cage since June 2018 when he took a split decision from Yoel Romero.

It’s a fight that Adesanya has already been building up hype for even before picking up the win over Gastelum.

“Dude, the guy has fought twice in three years. Imagine me as champion in three years what I could do. My first year look what I did in UFC, so imagine me in three years what I could do,” Adesanya said on Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show (h/t Adam Guillen Jr. of MMA Mania). “And I actually work, I actually show up to work. Even though I don’t like it all the time, I actually get all the media s–t done.”

Whittaker was scheduled to fight against Gastelum at UFC 234 in February, but emergency surgery took him out of the fight.

Ariel Helwani of ESPN.com has reported that Whittaker plans on returning to action in June or August. When he does, it’ll be a new challenger in Adesanya waiting on him.