Zimbabwe presidential election too close to call: poll

By Crimson Tazvinzwa

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – Zimbabwe’s July 30 presidential election will provide no clear winner, with 40 percent of voters choosing President Emmerson Mnangagwa and 37 percent his opponent, Nelson Chamisa, according to an Afrobarometer poll released on Friday.

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Opposition leader Nelson Chamisa and President Emmerson Mnangagwa

The poll of 2,400 voting-age adults conducted between June 25 and July 6 found 20 percent of people would not disclose their choice. If no candidate receives more than 50 percent of the vote there will be a runoff on Sept. 8.

zimbabwe elections
Zimbabwe’s first post-Mugabe election: Mnangagwa, Chamisa and the empty bucket of promises

Alisson joins list of Liverpool’s most expensive signings

Alisson’s arrival means seven of the top 10 have also arrived during Jurgen Klopp’s reign at Liverpool.

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Alisson played in all of Brazil’s matches at the World Cup in Russia

Liverpool’s £65million capture of Alisson makes him Liverpool’s second most expensive signing, pushing Adam Lallana out of the club’s top 10 splashes.

This comes in the same summer Fabinho arrived for £39.3million and Naby Keita’s near £53million move was finally made official.

The trio’s arrivals see them shoot towards the upper echelons of the club’s biggest ever signings, easily entering the all-time top 10.

Indeed, both Alisson and Van Dijk are now the most expensive players in their respective positions.

What should be noted, perhaps, is how the top six have all arrived at Anfield over the past 12 months – hinting at a real shift in intent from owners FSG.

Alisson’s arrival means seven of the top 10 have also arrived during Jurgen Klopp’s reign.

Here are the club’s most expensive signings.

Virgil Van Dijk (Southampton, £75million)

Liverpool’s record signing was finally confirmed on December 27, 2017, with Liverpool agreeing to pay Southampton £75million for the Dutch defender.

The deal put an end to a transfer saga that had raged on for months with Southampton refusing to budge during the 2017 summer window.

Since arriving at Anfield, Van Dijk has been a complete success. He has been integral in helping Liverpool shore up a previously suspect defence. A great physique, calm demeanour and great ability to play it out from the back ensure that Van Dijk is a perfect modern day centre-half and has been one of the high points of Jurgen Klopp’s career at Liverpool so far.

Alisson after signing for Liverpool
Alisson after signing for Liverpool (Image: Andrew Powell/Liverpool FC

Alisson (Roma, £65million)

A true transfer saga unfolded but ended with Liverpool possessing the world’s most expensive goalkeeper to join the costliest defender in football.

Liverpool sporting director Michael Edwards moved decisively to secure Alisson’s services after Roma’s asking price dropped and the 25-year-old made it clear that his heart was set on signing for the club.

The Reds had initially walked away after being quoted £90million by Roma sporting director Monchi in May and then £75million in June.

However, Roma significantly reduced those demands and as Chelsea sat waiting for Thibaut Courtois to be sold to Real Madrid, Liverpool acted swiftly to beat the Londoners to Allison’s signature.

The Brazilian no.1 has caught the eye during his time in Italy, despite shipping seven goals against the Reds in the Champions League semi-final last season.

(Image: Photo by Martin Rose/Bongarts/Getty Images)

Naby Keita (RB Leipzig, £52.75million)

At £52.75million, the second most expensive player to walk through the doors at Anfield will certainly have a lot of pressure on his shoulders.

Based on his displays for RB Leipzig over the past two years, Liverpool fans have nothing to worry about. Keita has boundless excesses of energy, pace to burn allows him to cover right across the middle of midfield and he possesses a genuine talent on the ball that holding midfielders often lack.

Often likened to Chelsea’s N’Golo Kante, if Keita can achieve even a fraction of what Kante has in the Premier League then the Reds will have found themselves one of the top midfield talents in world football. Expect him to deliver and then some.

(Image: Nick Taylor/Liverpool FC/Liverpool FC via Getty Images)

Fabinho (Monaco, £39.3million)

Another big splash into the central midfield department, Fabinho may well partner Naby Keita in the Liverpool engine room this season.

Similarly energetic and strong in the tackle, Liverpool look to be building a side that is equipped to take on any style of play and make an assault on the Premier League crown.

At 24 years old, Fabinho will soon be hitting his prime years and, with international caps for Brazil and a host of Champions League appearances under his belt for Monaco, won’t be concerned by the prospect of signing for such a big club.

(Image: Andrew Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images)

Mohamed Salah (Roma, £36.9million)

An argument for THE success story of this list, Mohamed Salah comes in as Liverpool’s fourth most expensive signing. The fee could rise in the future and move him up this list but the current £36.9million outlay spent last summer to bring the Egyptian to Anfield now seems like an absolute snip.

Forty four goals in all competitions for the Reds last season, a Premier League Player of the Year award and coming runner-up in the Egyptian election all mean that Salah has had a year to remember.

A heartbreaking early exit from the Champions League final due to injury only endeared him to the fans more, and he’ll be ready to bounce back following a disappointing summer with his country at the World Cup.

(Image: John Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images)

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (Arsenal, £35million)

The £35million spent to bring Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain from Arsenal to Liverpool last summer was viewed as a big risk in certain sections of the media and amongst many Liverpool fans.

Proving the doubters wrong, the midfielder has proved great value for money, putting in stand-out performances such as the one against Manchester City in the first leg of the Champions League quarter-final.

A terribly cruel injury ruled him out of the final in Kiev, and subsequently the entirety of next season, in all likelihood.

(Image: Action Images / Paul Thomas)

Andy Carroll (Newcastle, £35million)

The first on this list that Liverpool fans would rather forget is joint-fifth. Andy Carroll.

Signed for £35million and unveiled alongside Luis Suarez, who cost £22.8million, it isn’t hard for Reds to decide which was the success story. Carroll’s short stay on Merseyside was dogged with injury and poor form. He only managed 11 goals in 58 appearances for Liverpool and was eventually loaned out to West Ham where he remains permanently.

Two of those 11 goals did, however, come against Everton.

Christian Benteke (Aston Villa, £32.5million)

The second disappointment on this list, it is dumbfounding to know that £32.5million Christian Benteke was more expensive than names such as Luis Suarez, Fernando Torres and Sadio Mane.

Signed in July 2015 as the man to fill the void left by Suarez, Christian Benteke came to the club with the reputation of a striker who could score goals and bully defences into submission.

What Liverpool received was 10 goals in 42 games for the club before departing for Crystal Palace. A wonder strike at Old Trafford aside, Benteke’s Anfield career was very much a non-event.

Sadio Mane (Southampton, £30million)

Another big spend that now looks to be an absolute bargain, Sadio Mane cost Liverpool £30million when arriving from Southampton in the summer of 2016. Scoring 33 goals in 73 games so far, Mane has been a huge success and is a key part of Liverpool’s three-pronged attack that also features Salah and Roberto Firmino.

Full of pace, tenacity and skill, Mane also has the knack of scoring in big games. He and Liverpool fans alike will be expecting another strong campaign this season as Liverpool look to challenge Manchester City for the Premier League title.

Roberto Firmino (Hoffenheim, £29million)

Roberto Firmino arrived from Bundesliga outfit Hoffenheim in July 2015 for £29million after an impressive four-and-a-half-year spell in Germany.

‘Bobby’s’ first two seasons at Anfield saw him play very well, working incredibly hard for his teammates and providing an effective foil for the other attacking players in the side.

Last season saw Firmino reach a new level. A career best 27 goals has seen him silence the critics that claimed he can’t deliver the goals to be the central striker at a top club. In doing this, he has also managed to maintain his workrate and team ethic.

Rights group calls for international solidarity with Gaza

Smoke rises above buildings during an Israeli air strike on Gaza City on 14 July 2018 [Ashraf Amra/Apaimages]
Smoke rises above buildings during an Israeli air strike on Gaza City on 14 July 2018 [Ashraf Amra/Apaimages]

The International Committee for Breaking the Siege of Gaza has called for international solidarity with the besieged enclave as Israel tightens its grip on the coastal Palestinian territory and closes the border crossings.

The committee said in a statement that “the ongoing Israeli actions against Gaza highlights the importance of solidarity ships and efforts to break the siege that must continue and take many forms”.

It stressed that mobility at the grassroots level is increasing as well as the solidarity activists’ sense of responsibility that the Palestinian people should have full freedom to live a decent life and move to and from their homeland.palestine

Read: Gaza patients appeal to the world to save their lives

Governments must fulfill their duty towards Gaza and prosecute the Israeli occupation, its leaders and soldiers and bring Israeli war criminals to justice, it added.

Head of the International Committee for Breaking Gaza Siege and founder member of Freedom Flotilla Coalition, Zaher Birawi, said that international solidarity with Gaza would press the Israeli government to change its attitude towards Gaza, which has been under an illegal siege for 12 years.

‘My heart is Palestinian,’ Maradona tells Abbas

Former Argentina footballer Diego Maradona has told Mahmoud Abbas, “My heart is Palestinian.” The football icon met the Palestinian President in Moscow on Sunday.

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Former Argentina footballer Diego Maradona (L) and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas [Twitter]

Maradona posted a video of the short meeting with Abbas on his Instagram page. It was reported widely in the Arab and Israeli media, including Ynet News.

The footballer regarded by many as the best ever told Abbas that he sympathises with the plight of the Palestinians. “This man wants peace in Palestine,” he said after a short hug. “President Abbas has a country and has a right.”

Abbas thanked Maradona and presented him with a gift in the form of a painting of a dove carrying an olive branch, as well as some Palestinian olive oil.

Read: Argentina cancels match with Israel amid protests

Amnesty International calls on Washington to investigate UAE ‘war crimes’

The United States should investigate the United Arab Emirates’ use of detention and torture, according to Amnesty International. This is because the US supports the UAE’s military campaign in Yemen. Amnesty called on the US Congress to pressure President Donald Trump to condemn the UAE for torture and arbitrary detention.

It stressed that if the United States fails to hold the UAE accountable it will encourage further mistreatment of civilians.

yemen a forgotten war
Yemen, the forgotten proxy war

Amnesty asserted that the UAE arbitrarily detains and tortures Yemeni civilians in a network of secret prisons. Such secret prisons are unlawful.

Further, Tawfik Al-humaidi, a Yemeni political and human rights activist, has said that the US provides cover UAE abuses in Yemen.

Based on this, Al-humaidi has demanded that US human rights and judicial institutions file complaints against the UAE. In a report entitled “God only knows if he’s alive,” published Thursday, Amnesty called for an investigation into “practices of enforced disappearance and torture” in detention centres in southern Yemen. It calls these acts “war crimes.”

Read: UAE ‘committed’ to Somalia’s stability

The UAE rejected the report. In a statement published by the official news agency WAM it call the the report “baseless,” and says that it “does not run any prisons in Yemen.”

Amnesty clarified that:

“Yemeni security forces that are backed by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) as well as UAE troops operating in southern Yemen have been carrying out hundreds of arbitrary arrests and committing serious violations, including enforced disappearance and torture and other ill-treatment, mostly under the pretext of ‘fighting terrorism’. Families have been left trying to navigate an opaque structure of competing security forces and a network of formal and informal detention centres in a desperate attempt to locate their loved ones. These violations must be investigated. The fate and whereabouts of the disappeared must be revealed and effective remedy and reparations must be afforded to victims.”

Amnesty says it investigated 51 cases of men held by Yemeni security forces, backed by the UAE, between March 2016 and May 2018, in the provinces of Aden, Lahij, Abyan, Hadhramaut and Shabwah. 19 are still missing. It also claimed to have documented “the widespread use of torture and other ill-treatment measures in Yemeni and Emirati detention centres.”

“The UAE, operating in shadowy conditions in southern Yemen, appears to have created a parallel security structure outside the law, where egregious violations continue to go unchecked,” said Tirana Hassan, Crisis Response Director at Amnesty International.“Ultimately these violations, which are taking place in the context of Yemen’s armed conflict, should be investigated as war crimes.”

Trump doubles down – invites Putin to White House

Unbowed by swirling criticism of his summit encounter with Vladimir Putin, President Donald Trump swiftly invited the Russian leader to the White House this autumn for a second get-together.

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Trump, Putin Helsinki Summit
The cleanup from the first meeting in Helsinki has continued with no letup. Trump belatedly decided Putin’s “incredible offer” of shared US-Russia investigations was no good after all.
A White House meeting would be a dramatic extension of legitimacy to the Russian leader, who has long been isolated by the West for activities in Ukraine, Syria and beyond and is believed to have interfered in the 2016 presidential election that sent Trump to the presidency. No Russian leader has visited the White House in nearly a decade.
Trump asked National Security Adviser John Bolton to invite Putin, and “those discussions are already underway,” Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said on Thursday (US time). Trump earlier had tweeted that he looked forward to “our second meeting” as he defended his performance at Monday’s summit, in which the two leaders conferred on a range of issues including terrorism, Israeli security, nuclear proliferation and North Korea.
“There are many answers, some easy and some hard, to these problems … but they can ALL be solved!” Trump tweeted.
There was no immediate reaction from the Kremlin to the invitation.
News of the invite appeared to catch even the president’s top intelligence official by surprise.
“Say that again,” National Intelligence Director Dan Coats responded, when informed of the invitation during an appearance at the Aspen Security Forum in Colorado.
“OK,” he continued, pausing for a deep breath. “That’s going to be special.”
The announcement came as the White House sought to clean up days of confounding post-summit Trump statements on Russian interference in the 2016 election.
Trump’s public doubting of Russia’s responsibility in a joint news conference with Putin on Monday provoked withering criticism from Republicans as well as Democrats and forced the president to make a rare public admission of error.

Get the f*** out of the building!’ Whoopi Goldberg and Trump supporter Judge Jeanine Pirro fight on The View

Whoopi Goldberg, far left, and Jeanine Pirro, fourth from left, get into their heated argument on The View.

Whoopi Goldberg, far left, and Jeanine Pirro, fourth from left, get into their heated argument on The View.

Towards the end of the show, Pirro praised Trump with lowering the unemployment rate for the first time in 50 years for ‘minorities, Hispanics and African Americans’ but Goldberg and fellow The View co-host Sunny Hostin said the credit should be given to former president Barack Obama, the Daily Mail reported.

Pirro fired back saying: “You’re suffering from Trump derangement in this room.”

Goldberg and Pirro discuss THer remark set off a chain reaction that blew up the segment, caused a massive argument backstage and saw the judge kicked out of the building, she later told The Sean Hannity Show.

Moments after Pirro’s “Trump derangement” quote, View co-host and Trump opponent Meghan McCain said she wasn’t deranged, and Pirro pointed at Goldberg, setting the longtime host off.

“Did you just point at me? I don’t have Trump derangement, let me tell you what I have,” Goldberg shot back. “I am tired of people starting a conversation with, ‘Mexicans are liars and rapists’. Listen, I’m 62 years old, there have been a lot of people in office that I don’t agree with, but I have never ever seen anything like this.”

She continued: “I’ve never seen anyone whip up such hate, I’ve never seen anyone be so dismissive and clearly you don’t watch this show, so you don’t know that I don’t suffer from that. What I suffer from is the inability to figure out how to fix this, that’s my issue.”

Goldberg and Pirro then got into a screaming match, with Pirro declaring: “You know what’s horrible? When people who shouldn’t be here end up murdering children of American citizens.”

“What’s horrible is when the president of the United States whips up people to beat the hell out of people,” Goldberg yelled back, telling Pirro she was done with the interview.

“Say goodbye, bye! I’m done,” Goldberg said.