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Ronaldo set for grand unveiling after Saudi move

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Portuguese superstar Cristiano Ronaldo will be unveiled before thousands of fans at Saudi Arabia’s Al Nassr club on Tuesday, a spokesman said, after sealing a shock move estimated at more than 200 million euros.

The 37-year-old great, a five-time winner of the Ballon d’Or, will arrive late on Monday with his family together with media and technical staff, club spokesman Al-Walid Al-Muhaidib told AFP.

Ronaldo, who left Manchester United under a cloud after slamming the club in a TV interview, will appear at Al Nassr’s 25,000-capacity Mrsool Park stadium in Riyadh at 7:00 pm (1600 GMT) on Tuesday, officials said.

The latest, and possibly final, chapter in an illustrious career comes weeks after Portugal’s quarter-final exit from the World Cup in neighbouring Qatar, where his great rival Lionel Messi lifted the trophy with Argentina.

Ronaldo’s signing until June 2025 is just the latest foray into top-level sports by oil-rich Saudi, which has moved into Formula One, boxing and golf and snapped up English club Newcastle United.

Critics have dubbed the strategy “sportswashing” — an attempt by the conservative country to distract attention from its human rights record.

Al Nassr is expecting a full stadium for the unveiling, according to one official who did not want to be named because he was not authorised to speak to media.

Ronaldo is by far the biggest star to play in Saudi Arabia, although other heavyweights including George Weah, Pep Guardiola and Xavi also had stints in the wealthy Gulf in the twilight of their careers.

Al Nassr, the nine-time Saudi league champions, have called Ronaldo’s signing “more than history in the making”, claiming he will inspire the rest of the league and even the country.

In a tweet, Saudi Sports Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al-Faisal pledged to “support the rest of our clubs for quality deals with international stars soon”.

United terminated Ronaldo’s contract during the World Cup after an explosive interview where he said he felt “betrayed” by the club and had no respect for coach Erik ten Hag.

The Portuguese forward has long been one of the top-paid players in football, earning a reported salary of 31 million euros at Juventus before taking a pay-cut to rejoin United.

Ronaldo has won five Champions League titles (2008, 2014, 2016, 2017, 2018), league titles in Italy (2019, 2020) with Juventus, in Spain (2012, 2017) with Real Madrid and in England (2007, 2008, 2009) with United.

He is also the top scorer in the Champions League and with the Portuguese national team, with whom he won Euro 2016.

In Qatar, he became the first man to score at five World Cups with his penalty in the group-stage win over Ghana.

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CBN disowns notice on cryptocurrency transactions

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The Central Bank of Nigeria says a notice circulating on social media about the risk of cryptocurrency is fake news.

The Apex disclosed this via its official X account, urging the public to disregard the purported notice for all Deposits Money Bank, Non-Bank Financial Institutions, and other Financial Institutions.

The notice reminded “Institutions that dealing in cryptocurrencies and facilitating payments for cryptocurrency exchanges is prohibited”.

However, CBN said the content doesn’t originate from it.

“This information does not originate from the Central Bank of Nigeria.

“For authentic updates, please visit the official website,” CBN wrote.

Recall that the CBN governor, during the Bank’s 293rd Monetary Policy Committee meeting, said over $26 billion funnelled through Binance.

On Tuesday, the Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Ola Olukoyede, said the anti-graft agency froze about 300 accounts to ensure the safety of the foreign exchange market.

The Nigerian government had continued clamping down on Binance and other cryptocurrency platforms amid efforts to defend the Naira in the foreign exchange market.

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Biden says U.S. will begin sending weapons to Ukraine

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U.S. President Joe Biden wants to start delivering of weapons and equipment to Ukraine this week.
The president said this shortly after the U.S. Senate approved billions of dollars in new aid for the country under attack from Russia.
“I will sign this bill into law and address the American people as soon as it reaches my desk tomorrow so we can begin sending weapons and equipment to Ukraine this week,” Biden said.
By passing the legislative package, which also includes billions of dollars in aid for Israel and Taiwan, the U.S. Congress has demonstrated the power of American leadership in the world, Biden added.
“We stand resolutely for democracy and freedom, and against tyranny and oppression.”
There is an urgent need for support for Ukraine, which is being subjected to relentless bombardment from Russia, Biden said.
The bill also contains aid for Israel, which has recently faced unprecedented attacks from Iran.
“This critical legislation will make our nation and world more secure as we support our friends who are defending themselves against terrorists like Hamas and tyrants like Putin,” Biden said.
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NSCDC deploys personnel to JAMB CBT centres in Anambra

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The Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), said it has deployed personnel to ensure a hitch-free 2024 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) in Anambra.

The state Commandant, Olatunde Maku, stated this after monitoring the conduct of the exams across CBT centres in Awka, on Wednesday.

Some of the centres visited are, Integral Development Konsult on Enugu/Onitsha Expressway, White House in Awka, JAMB Centre located inside JAMB office in Amawbia and Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka.

Others are St. John of God ICT Hub, Awka and Kachukwu Ventures Staff Development Centre, behind Government House in Awka.

The examination centres take candidates in three batches: 7 a.m., 10 a.m. and 12 p.m.

Maku said that the synergy between NSCDC and the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) had yielded positive results in reducing exam malpractice.

He said that the monitoring of the centres would continue till the end of the examination period, to ensure a seamless conduct of the exercise and promote transparency.

“We are firm in our determination to protect critical national assets and infrastructure including JAMB centres.

“Which was why the NSCDC deployed personnel to JAMB CBT centres in the state to ensure security and so far they have been professional in carrying out their mandate,” he said.

Maku advised candidates writing the 2024 UTME to be law abiding and avoid being in possession of prohibited or incriminating items during the examination.

He warned unauthorised persons against loitering around designated exam centre, adding that anyone found wanting would be arrested and prosecuted.

Also speaking, Mrs Jema Iheme, JAMB Coordinator, Anambra state, commended NSCDC for their support and for ensuring security of candidates and staff at the exam centres.

Iheme said that the swift response of NSCDC to emergencies and enforcement of exam rules and regulations was contributing to a smooth and secured exam process so far.

NAN also reports that about 1.9 million candidates are expected to write the JAMB UTME, which commenced on April 19 and would end on April 29.

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