Morocco to ‘come out swinging’ against Spain at World Cup

Morocco to ‘come out swinging’ against Spain at World Cup
Morocco's coach Walid Regragui attends a press conference at the Qatar National Convention Center (QNCC) in Doha. AFP
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Updated 05 December 2022

Morocco to ‘come out swinging’ against Spain at World Cup

Morocco to ‘come out swinging’ against Spain at World Cup
  • Morocco coach Walid Regragui has urged his team to believe they can defeat powerhouse Spain as they attempt to reach a first World Cup quarter-final
  • “If we’re able to send Spain packing I think this will be a wonderful surprise not only for us but for our country,” said Regragui

DOHA: Morocco coach Walid Regragui has urged his team to believe they can defeat powerhouse Spain as they attempt to reach a first World Cup quarter-final.
The north African side are in the last 16 for only the second time after advancing as winners of Group F ahead of 2018 runners-up Croatia, having defeated Belgium and Canada in Qatar.
“It will be a very testing game for us. We’re coming up against one of the best footballing nations in the world. I think they’re one of the favorites to reach the final,” Regragui said on Monday.
“That said, we’ve also got things up our sleeve. We’ve had one extra rest day compared to them and we’re going to try and pull a surprise out of the bag. 
“If we’re able to send Spain packing I think this will be a wonderful surprise not only for us but for our country.”
Spain denied Morocco a famous win at the 2018 World Cup with a last-gasp equalizer in a 2-2 draw, the only point the Moroccans picked up in Russia.
“We’re not seeking revenge at all. We’re not looking at what happened in the past,” said Regragui, who was appointed in August.
“We’ve got a new generation and, for me, the mentality has to change with the Moroccan team. All the negative aspects, that’s the old Morocco, we’ve changed. Our country’s changed.”
Morocco, the lone Arab nation and the last African team remaining in Qatar, will have the vocal backing of thousands of fans for Tuesday’s game at Education City Stadium.
“We’ll come out swinging. We want to hoist the Moroccan flag way up high. We’re playing first and foremost for us and our country,” said Regragui. 
“All Arabs and Africans, we want to make them happy. We want their prayers and we want their support so it can give us that extra ingredient to win. Before it was just the Moroccans that supported us.” 
Morocco would become just the fourth African team to reach the quarter-finals — after Cameroon in 1990, Senegal in 2002 and Ghana in 2010 — if they beat the 2010 champions.
Morocco’s only other appearance in the last 16 came in 1986, when they lost 1-0 to eventual runners-up West Germany.
“I don’t think we should go out with any sort of complex,” said Regragui.
“Yes, we’re the underdog, but we know what Spain are made of and the recipe is easy. We shouldn’t be worried, we should have no regrets and give the best of ourselves.”


Saudi leaders offer condolences to Pakistan on victims of mosque attack

Saudi leaders offer condolences to Pakistan on victims of mosque attack
Updated 2 min 2 sec ago

Saudi leaders offer condolences to Pakistan on victims of mosque attack

Saudi leaders offer condolences to Pakistan on victims of mosque attack
  • A suicide bomber blew himself up inside a crowded mosque killing 100 people

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s King Salman sent a cable of condolences to Pakistani President Arif Alvi over victims of the terrorist attack at a mosque in Peshawar that killed 100 people, the Saudi Press Agency reported early Wednesday.

“We strongly condemn this criminal act and we send to your excellency, the families of the deceased and the Pakistani people, our deepest and sincere condolences,” the king said, wishing the injured a speedy recovery and affirming the Kingdom’s stand with Pakistan.

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman also sent a similar cable to President Alvi.

A suicide bomber blew himself up inside a crowded mosque in a highly fortified security compound in Peshawar on Monday, the latest in a string of attacks targeting police.

Police said the attacker appeared to have passed through several barricades manned by security forces to get into the Red Zone compound that houses police and counter-terrorism offices in the northwestern city of Peshawar.

A police chief said Tuesday that the blast was a targeted revenge attack.


Newcastle sink Saints to end 47-year wait to reach League Cup final

Newcastle sink Saints to end 47-year wait to reach League Cup final
Updated 21 min 45 sec ago

Newcastle sink Saints to end 47-year wait to reach League Cup final

Newcastle sink Saints to end 47-year wait to reach League Cup final
  • Newcastle had all the momentum, sweeping forward in a black and white wave that left Southampton powerless to stem the tide

NEWCASTLE, United Kingdom: Newcastle reached the League Cup final for the first time in 47 years as Sean Longstaff’s double inspired a 2-1 win against Southampton in Tuesday’s semifinal second leg at jubilant St. James’ Park.
Longstaff’s first-half strikes ensured Eddie Howe’s side finished the job after winning 1-0 in the first leg last week.
Che Adams reduced the deficit before the interval and Magpies midfielder Bruno Guimaraes was sent off in the closing stages.
But Newcastle held on to clinch a 3-1 aggregate victory that booked a final date with Manchester United or Nottingham Forest at Wembley on February 26.
United hold a 3-0 lead against Forest heading into Wednesday’s second leg at Old Trafford.
The Magpies’ most recent domestic final ended in defeat against United in the 1999 FA Cup.
Newcastle, who have never won the League Cup, are aiming to lift a major domestic trophy for the first time since the 1955 FA Cup.
Their last major silverware in any competition came in the 1969 Inter-Cities Fairs Cup.
On a cathartic night for Newcastle after decades of suffering, it was fitting that Longstaff, a boyhood Magpies fan, should be the one to send them to Wembley.
With Newcastle legends Alan Shearer and David Ginola joining the celebrations in the stands, raucous Magpies fans were ready to keep the party going all night long in the football-crazy city’s Bigg Market and Quayside bars.
Revitalized by Howe’s astute leadership and the financial muscle of a largely Saudi-backed ownership group, a club once regarded as the laughing stock of the Premier League can finally hold their heads high.
They sit third in the Premier League and look set for a sustained period as contenders for the English game’s top honors.
Reaching their first domestic cup final this century is another significant landmark in Newcastle’s rebirth.
Ramping up an already vociferous atmosphere, Newcastle’s Anthony Gordon was paraded on the pitch before kick-off after completing his £45 million ($51 million) move from Everton.
Howe had labelled the second leg a “season defining” moment for Newcastle and it took his fired-up side just five minutes to raise the decibel levels even further.
Longstaff found Kieran Trippier on the right flank and sprinted onto the defender’s return pass before guiding a low finish past Gavin Bazunu from 12 yards.
Longstaff’s first goal at St. James’ Park in four years was nearly followed by a second moments later when he flashed just wide from Guimaraes’ reverse pass.
Newcastle had all the momentum, sweeping forward in a black and white wave that left Southampton powerless to stem the tide.
Once again it was Longstaff who provided the finishing touch to a breathtaking raid in the 21st minute.
Exposing Southampton’s fragile wing-back system, Joe Willock sprinted into space behind James Bree and found Miguel Almiron, whose cutback was drilled home by Longstaff.
Newcastle keeper Nick Pope had kept 10 successive clean-sheets, but his unbeaten streak ended in the 29th minute.
Completely against the run of play, Willock gifted possession to Adams and the striker smashed a superb shot into the far corner from outside the penalty area.
In a symbolic passing of the torch, Jonjo Shelvey — a veteran of Newcastle’s darker days — waved farewell to fans on the pitch at half-time ahead of his move to Nottingham Forest.
Shelvey has been left behind by Howe’s revolution, an overhaul that has given Newcastle a much stronger spine.
In the past, Newcastle would have wilted when Southampton pushed hard in a tense second half, but they are made of sterner stuff now.
Pope’s brilliant save from Adam Armstrong ensured Newcastle’s long-awaited return to Wembley wasn’t derailed despite Guimaraes’ 82nd minute red card for stamping on Samuel Edozie.


Inter beat Atalanta to reach Italian Cup semifinals

Inter beat Atalanta to reach Italian Cup semifinals
Updated 8 min 31 sec ago

Inter beat Atalanta to reach Italian Cup semifinals

Inter beat Atalanta to reach Italian Cup semifinals
  • Matteo Darmian struck the only goal 11 minutes after half-time

MILAN: Inter Milan set up a potential Italian Cup semifinal clash with arch rivals Juventus after the holders saw off Atalanta 1-0 on Tuesday.
Matteo Darmian struck the only goal 11 minutes after half-time, his low strike across Juan Musso enough to put a tight quarter-final at the San Siro in Inter’s favor.
Simone Inzaghi’s side will take on either troubled Juve or Lazio in April’s two-legged semis, with the pair facing off in Turin on Thursday.
Inter beat Juve in last season’s final to claim their eighth Italian Cup.
The other side of the draw will be decided on Wednesday when Fiorentina host Torino and Roma welcome Cremonese to the Italian capital.
Inter came through a tough test with Atalanta who are a direct rival for a place in next season’s Champions League.
Milan Skriniar was dropped for the match, which was played just after the closure of the winter transfer window in Italy which left him at Inter until the summer.
Slovakia captain Skriniar will leave at the end of the season as a free agent for Paris Saint-Germain.
Inter’s attentions now turn to Sunday’s Serie A derby with AC Milan, whose league title defense has crumbled after a series of bad results culminating with last weekend’s 5-2 home hammering at the hands of Sassuolo.
Defending champions Milan have dropped to fifth with Inter now the closest challengers to league leaders Napoli, 13 points off the pace.


UN sounds alarm on trafficked medicines in the Sahel

 A pharmacy tech pours out pills of Hydroxychloroquine at Rock Canyon Pharmacy in Provo, Utah, on May 20, 2020. (AFP)
A pharmacy tech pours out pills of Hydroxychloroquine at Rock Canyon Pharmacy in Provo, Utah, on May 20, 2020. (AFP)
Updated 55 min 13 sec ago

UN sounds alarm on trafficked medicines in the Sahel

 A pharmacy tech pours out pills of Hydroxychloroquine at Rock Canyon Pharmacy in Provo, Utah, on May 20, 2020. (AFP)
  • The financial benefits from the illicit trade are reaped by many, including pharmaceutical company employees, law enforcement officers and street vendors

DAKAR: Up to 50 percent of medicines in West Africa are substandard or fake, the UN warned Tuesday in a report on the illicit trade in medical products, which can lead to antimicrobial resistance or toxic contaminations while undermining trust in health care systems.
Between January 2017 and December 2021, at least 605 tons of medical products were seized in West Africa during international operations, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) said, though reporting is inconsistent and the real number is likely to be higher.
Across sub-Saharan Africa, up to $44.7 million per year is spent on treating people who have used counterfeit or substandard malaria treatments, the report said.
And up to 267,000 deaths are linked each year to the use of substandard antimalarials, according to World Health Organization data cited by the report.
Beyond the risk of counterfeits and poorly made drugs — which at best do not work and at worst lead to toxic contaminations — the report also warned of legitimate medications being used in unauthorized ways.
That can lead to increased resistance to frontline drugs such as antibiotics and antimalarials.
“Once a (legitimate) product is diverted from the supply chain, there is very little (oversight) about how it is being used,” said Francois Patuel, the head of the UNODC’s Research and Awareness Unit.
“If you... ask for an antibiotic in the market, you will be able to purchase it. Whether it is the right antibiotic that should be used, or should be used at all, is not something that is controlled,” he added.
“It is contributing to bacterial resistance and to antimalarial resistance.”
The report, which focused specifically on trafficking within the Sahel countries of Mauritania, Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger and Chad, said the medical products that have been diverted from the legal supply chain typically come from Europe and to a lesser extent from China and India.
They often pass through seaports in Guinea, Ghana, Togo, Benin and Nigeria before being moved into the Sahel.
The financial benefits from the illicit trade are reaped by many, including pharmaceutical company employees, law enforcement officers and street vendors.
Armed groups, however, are less involved, it said.
“Despite terrorist groups and non-state armed groups being commonly associated with trafficking in medical products in the Sahel, most reported cases in the region show that the involvement of such groups is limited and mainly revolves around consuming medical products or levying ‘taxes’ on them in the areas under their control,” it said.

 


Countries call for WHO swift action on sexual abuse

Countries call for WHO swift action on sexual abuse
Updated 01 February 2023

Countries call for WHO swift action on sexual abuse

Countries call for WHO swift action on sexual abuse
  • “Complaints must be addressed in a timely manner, and perpetrators held to account, so we strongly support efforts to strengthen WHO’s investigative capacity,” the member states said

GENEVA: More than 50 countries on Tuesday told the World Health Organization that they wanted perpetrators of sexual abuse within the WHO to be swiftly held to account.
Survivors of sexual exploitation, abuse and harassment (SEAH) must also be given proper support, the countries told the UN health agency’s executive board meeting.
The WHO has been under intense pressure to make far-reaching changes following revelations in 2020 of widespread sexual abuse by humanitarian workers in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
British ambassador Simon Manley delivered a joint statement on behalf of 57 countries, voicing “deep concerns” about allegations of SEAH, and the alleged abuse of authority by WHO staff and contractors.
The countries included all 27 EU member states, South Africa, India, Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, Chile, Japan, the United States, Canada, Australia, Mexico, Argentina, Brazil, South Korea and Ukraine.
They recognized that progress had been made in recent years, and praised the bravery of survivors and whistleblowers in speaking out.
“Building a culture based on integrity, transparency and accountability is crucial,” the countries said.
“We encourage WHO management to set the tone and lead by example in these areas, particularly by establishing clear responsibility and accountability lines.
“We strongly support WHO’s investment in capacity-building and training for staff. This work should build awareness of the power differentials and inequalities between victims and perpetrators that lie at the root of SEAH.”
They called for a shift toward an approach centered on victims and survivors.
“Complaints must be addressed in a timely manner, and perpetrators held to account, so we strongly support efforts to strengthen WHO’s investigative capacity,” the member states said.
“We expect prompt and confidential reporting to be provided to member states, including on the actions taken to address SEAH.”
The 34-member executive board’s job is to advise the World Health Assembly of member states — the WHO’s decision-making body — and implement its decisions.
The 152nd session of the WHO executive board started on Monday and runs until February 7.
The WHO says it has zero tolerance for any form of sexual misconduct by any of its workforce and takes prompt action whenever an allegation is raised.