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Biden lifts visa ban on Nigeria

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US President, Joe Biden, has lifted the immigrant visa ban imposed on Nigeria by Donald Trump, his predecessor.

According to the New York Times, Biden reversed the ban on his first day in office and directed the State Department to restart visa processing for individuals from the affected countries.

The visa reverse ban came as former Vice President Atiku Abubakar in statement on his twitter handle, asked newly inaugurated US leaders, Joe Biden and his deputy, Kamala Harris, to support Nigeria’s fight against terror and remove all travel restrictions imposed on Nigerian citizens by the Donald Trump administration.

Bloomberg also reported the action which came through an executive order and would seek a plan to address the people affected.

Trump imposed the ban on immigrant visa issued to those who seek to relocate to the US on Nigeria and six other countries after expanding his controversial immigration policies.

First issued as the Executive Order 13768 of January 25, 2017, the ban was amended several times in the face of numerous court challenges, with the final version barring citizens of seven countries: Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria, Yemen, Venezuela, and North Korea.

In January 2020, the immediate past US president signed fresh a proclamation that included Nigeria, though not as severe as those for the seven countries covered by the preexisting travel ban.

While it still allowed Nigerians to visit the US, citizens were, for the most part, barred from settling in the US permanently.

Chad Wolf, acting secretary of the department of homeland security, had said the travel restrictions were imposed on Nigeria and six other nations to “address security concerns in the way the banned countries track their own citizens, share information with the U.S. and cooperate on immigration matters”.

But hours after assuming office as 46th president Wednesday, Biden issued an executive order that reversed the travel restrictions, saying ”immigrants have helped strengthened America’s families, communities, businesses and workforce, and economy, infusing the United States with creativity, energy, and ingenuity.”

According to Bloomberg, “the ban that Biden ended blocked entry to most people from Iran, Syria, Libya, Yemen, Somalia and North Korea. It also restricted immigrant visas for people from Nigeria, Kyrgyzstan, Myanmar and Eritrea as well as for certain others from Venezuela and Tanzania.”

It said the new executive order seeks to review other “extreme vetting” practices used by the US under the Trump administration to improve travellers’ information-sharing with foreign governments.

It, however, reported that Biden’s “ambiti-ous” immigration policies, which also seeks an eight-year path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, could face obstacles in congress.


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Djokovic sets new record consecutively, remains world No. 1

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Novak Djokovic set a new landmark of 311 weeks as world number one on Monday, one week longer than Roger Federer whose tally of a record 20 Grand Slam titles is now firmly in the Serb’s sights.

“Big day today,” the tennis superstar wrote on Twitter.

Djokovic, 33, won his 18th major at the Australian Open in February.

With Federer turning 40 in August, the Serb has time on his side. He is a year younger than Rafael Nadal who also has 20 majors.

“It really excites me to walk the path of legends and giants of this sport,” said Djokovic, in a statement released by the ATP whose rankings have been running since August 23, 1973.

“To know that I earned my place among them by following my childhood dream is a beautiful confirmation that when you do things out of love and passion, everything is possible.”

Djokovic reclaimed the top ranking from Nadal in February 2020 and finished as year-end number one for the sixth time, tying the record set by Pete Sampras.

ATP Chairman Andrea Gaudenzi said: “Novak’s many achievements in tennis are nothing short of extraordinary. Among them this record may stand as his single most impressive.

“Reaching No. 1 is something many players dream of and very few ever accomplish, and to have held the top spot for longer than anyone is testament to the levels of sustained excellence that Novak has redefined in our sport.”

Federer, who returns to action in Doha this week after more than a year out of action to recover from two knee operations, slipped out of the top five on Monday to sixth. His place was taken by Stefanos Tsitsipas.

Djokovic made his top 100 debut in July 2005, just weeks after Nadal had won his first Roland Garros.

He was top 50 in June 2006, top 20 for the first time in October 2006 and top 10 by March 2007.

He first became world number one at the age of 24 on July 4, 2011, the day after winning Wimbledon for the first time, beating Nadal in the final.

Only a six-month injury absence in 2017 saw his ranking plunge, all the way to 22 the following summer.

It was just a blip — Djokovic was back at number one again by November and with the exception of November 2019 until January last year, when Nadal reclaimed pole position, he has been rock solid.

Few would bet against Djokovic, who in 2016 was the first man to break the $100 million prize money barrier, ending his career with more Slams than Federer and Nadal.

In head-to-heads, he leads Federer 27-23 and has won all six of their last meetings at the majors, including 2019’s epic Wimbledon final where he saved two match points.

Djokovic’s record was top news in his native Serbia on Monday, with headlines like “No one was ever like Nole” in daily newspaper Vecernje novosti.

Videos of the most important moments of his career will be projected onto Belgrade town hall on Monday evening, and the capital’s authorities called on fans to gather and honour Djokovic despite the pandemic measures.

ATP rankings as of March 8:

1. Novak Djokovic (SRB) 12,030 points

2. Rafael Nadal (ESP) 9,850

3. Daniil Medvedev (RUS) 9,735

4. Dominic Thiem (AUT) 9,125

5. Stefanos Tsitsipas (GRE) 6,660 (+1)

6. Roger Federer (SUI) 6,630 (-1)

7. Alexander Zverev (GER) 5,615

8. Andrey Rublev (RUS) 5,019

9. Diego Schwartzman (ARG) 3,640

10. Matteo Berrettini (ITA) 3,480

11. Denis Shapovalov (CAN) 2,910

12. Gael Monfils (FRA) 2,860

13. Roberto Bautista (ESP) 2,770

14. David Goffin (BEL) 2,760

15. Milos Raonic (CAN) 2,630

16. Pablo Carreno (ESP) 2,585

17. Grigor Dimitrov (BUL) 2,575

18. Fabio Fognini (ITA) 2,535

19. Felix Auger-Aliassime (CAN) 2,516

20. Stan Wawrinka (SUI) 2,365

(AFP)


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Breaking: Jorginho scores as Chelsea overcome Everton, tightens Premier League top 4 spot

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Chelsea consolidated fourth spot in the Premier League as Thomas Tuchel’s unbeaten start to life at Stamford Bridge continued with a 2-0 victory over Everton.

In a crucial contest in the race for Champions League qualification, Kai Havertz made decisive contributions in either half as Chelsea proved a cut above their resurgent top-four rivals.

Havertz had a hand in Chelsea’s opener when his 31st-minute strike deflected in off Everton defender Ben Godfrey, and the German won the second-half penalty off Jordan Pickford which handed Jorginho the opportunity to double the hosts’ lead from the spot.

Tuchel’s eighth victory as Chelsea manager extends his unbeaten start to 11 games and sees the Blues open up a four-point lead over fifth-placed Everton, who saw their three-game winning run end with a whimper in the capital.


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NDLEA drives harder, nabs drug dealer, recovers cocaine inside Monarch’s Palace

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The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) has a notorious suspected drug trafficker, Hassan Taiwo, with three parcels of cocaine concealed in a false bottom created in his suitcase.

Mr Femi Babafemi, who is the Director of Media and Advocacy at the agency, disclosed this in a statement on Monday.

He noted that the suspect was arrested by operatives of the agency at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport (MMIA).

According to the statement, preliminary investigations reveal that Hassan who was intercepted at the E-Arrival hall of the MMIA at the weekend, upon arrival onboard Ethiopian airlines at 1:30pm Friday, has been plying the illicit trade through the middle east routes for some time.

“The suspect came into Nigeria through Addis-Ababa but he actually travelled to Addis-Ababa from Abuja,” the Commander of MMIA NDLEA Command, Ahmadu Garba, was quoted as saying in a statement.

He added, “Upon a thorough search, we discovered another ticket on him while our findings also show that he has been plying his criminal trade through some Middle East countries.”

Elsewhere, operatives of the Anambra State Command of the agency recovered 58.5 grammes of cocaine and 13.9 grammes of heroine concealed in the palace of a prominent traditional ruler in the state.

The NDLEA commander in the state, Muhammadu Idris, noted that investigations were ongoing to unravel how the illicit drugs were hidden in the palace.

He added that the palace security guards were helping the agency to trace the dealer behind the consignment.


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