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Australia’s PM launches official campaign six days out from election

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Source: Reuters

Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison officially launched his party’s election campaign on Sunday, less than a week before the May 18 vote that opinion polls have consistently indicated he will lose.

At the campaign launch in Melbourne, Morrison’s focus was on economic management and said his center-right Liberal-National coalition would support the “decent, simple and honest aspirations” of Australians.

“A stronger economy where people have the confidence to invest more, to employ more, to invent more, to work hard,” Morrison said.

The government has been trailing the center-left Labor Party, led by Bill Shorten, in polls for years, though recent figures indicate the race is tightening.

Morrison’s Liberal Party has been rocked by division in recent times, having had three different leaders in four years.

Neither of Morrison’s two immediate predecessors as prime minister, Malcolm Turnbull and Tony Abbott, were present at the campaign launch. Former Prime Minister John Howard, who led Australia from 1996 to 2007, also did not show up.

Morrison previously dismissed questions about why the former prime ministers wouldn’t be attending, saying the day was about speaking directly to the Australian people.

“It’s not about party festivals and slapping backs and doing all that sort of stuff,” Morrison told reporters on Saturday.

Morrison has been the dominant figure for the government in the campaign but members of his front bench attended the launch on Sunday, including Environment Minister Melissa Price, who has largely been unseen during a campaign in which climate change has been a prominent issue.

The coalition has had to focus its attention on many traditionally safe seats this election, which appear to be under threat from candidates running on platforms focused on more action on climate change.

The Age newspaper reported on Sunday the government was facing tight contests in Tony Abbott’s seat of Warringah in Sydney and the seat of Higgins, in Melbourne’s wealthy inner-east.

Labor leader Bill Shorten said there were a lot of disillusioned voters in Higgins, which the Liberal Party has held since the seat was created in 1949.

“There is a mood for change,” Shorten told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

Morrison also took aim at Shorten and said Labor had a history of poorly managing the economy.

“Reckless spending is not a vision … it’s a burden on current and future generations,” Morrison said.


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24 Hours Across Africa

Nigeria announce 21-Squad for U17 Fifa World Cup.

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Nigeria under-17 coach Manu Garbage has announce a final 21-man squad for the Fifa Under-17 World Cup in Brazil later this month.

Nigeria are the most successful team in the history of the event with five wins (in 1985, 1993, 2007, 2013 and 2015) and three runners-up medals.

The West Africans are in group B alongside Hungary, Ecuador and Australia and will face Hungary in their opening game on 26 October.

They will lock horns with Ecuador three days later before they play their final group match against Australia on 1 November.

Nigeria squad:

Goalkeepers: Sunday Stephen (Football College Academy), Joseph Oluwabusola (Bournemouth, England), Daniel Jinadu (West Ham United, England)

Defenders: Usman Ibrahim (Giant Brilliants FC), Quadri Edun (G12 FC), Charles Etim (Blessed Stars Academy), Ferdinard Ikenna (A&B FC)

Midfielders: Daniel Francis (FC Hearts), Monsuru Opeyemi (B. Angel FC), Ibrahim Said (Dabo Babes Academy), Samson Tijani (Collings Edwin FC), Hamzat Ojediran (Jossy United FC), Peter Agba (Falala FC)

Forwards: Wisdom Ubani (Giant Brilliants FC), Peter Olawale (Delta Warriors FC), Akinkunmi Amoo (Sidos FC), Oluwatimilehin Adeniyi (Sporting Dreams FC), Olakunle Olusegun (ABS FC), Ibraheem Jabaar (Ijebu FC), Abba Bichi (Talentbase Sport FC), Divine Nwachukwu (Riverline FC).

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24 Hours Across Africa

Victor osimhen bags player of the month award

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Lille’s Nigeria international Victor Osimhen has been named September’s French Ligue 1 Player of the Month.

The 20-year-old striker, who joined the club in August from Belgian side RSC Charleroi, scored twice and provided two assists in five matches last month as Lille climbed into the top five.

“It’s been an amazing time at this club and to get this award is surreal,” says Osimhen

“I’m grateful to those who voted, thankful to my teammates, our backroom staff and the entire Lille fans for the love.

“I never expected this to happen so soon but I guess this is what comes when you are surrounded by great players, loved ones and the blessings of God.”

Osimhen saw off the challenges of Monaco’s Algerian international Islam Slimani and veteran Nantes defender Nicolas Pallois to the monthly honour awarded by the Player’s Union (UNFP).

He succeeds Angola-born Rennes midfielder Eduardo Camavinga, who won the August award and became the youngest ever winner at the age of 16.

An incredible two months for Osimhen in the colours of Lille has resulted in eight goals in 11 appearances for the northern club.

Osimhen was the top scorer as Nigeria clinched a fifth Under-17 World Cup title in 2015 with 10 goals in Chile, which saw him win the Golden Boot and Silver Ball.

He also scored on his full debut for Nigeria in a 2-2 friendly draw against Ukraine in September.

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