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24 Hours Across Africa

Senate opens hearing into Facebook plans for Libra cryptocurrency

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U.S. lawmakers from both sides of the aisle were set to grill Facebook Inc on its cryptocurrency plans on Tuesday, as the project continues to draw intense scrutiny from financial regulators and politicians across the globe.

Facebook is fighting a rearguard action to get Washington onside after it shocked regulators and lawmakers with an announcement on June 18 that it was hoping to launch a new digital coin called Libra in 2020.

Since then it has faced criticism from policymakers and financial watchdogs at home and abroad who fear widespread adoption of the digital currency by the social media giant’s 2.38 billion users could upend the financial system.

“Facebook has demonstrated through scandal after scandal that it doesn’t deserve our trust,” Democratic senator Sherrod Brown, the ranking member of the Senate Banking Committee, said in his opening remarks. “We’d be crazy to give them a chance to let them experiment with people’s bank accounts.”

Critics have expressed anger that the company would have got so far in its plans for such a potentially groundbreaking project without extensive input from policymakers, especially when it is already in the spotlight over privacy issues.

The Senate Banking Committee is questioning David Marcus, the company’s top executive overseeing the project, on issues ranging from how Libra could affect global monetary policy to how customer data will be handled.

Marcus, who was president of PayPal from 2012 to 2014, tried to assuage concerns in his opening remarks by promising that Facebook will not begin offering Libra until regulatory issues are addressed.

“We know we need to take the time to get this right,” Marcus, who is also due to testify before the House Financial Services Committee on Wednesday, said.

Marcus is likely to get a frosty reception from other Democratic lawmakers who already believe the company is too large and careless with consumer data.

He is also likely to face skepticism from Republicans after U.S. President Donald Trump and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin voiced concerns.

“They’re going to have to convince us of very high standards before they have access to the U.S. financial system,” Mnuchin said on Monday.

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24 Hours Across Africa

Samson Siasia ban for life by Fifa

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Former Nigeria coach Samson Siasia has been banned for life and fined $50,000 by Fifa for agreeing to ‘the manipulation of matches.’

Siasia was coach of Nigeria between 2010-2011 and for a spell in 2016 but the time period when Fifa believes he committed his infractions is unclear.

He has also served as coach of the country’s Under-20 and Under-23 sides.

In a statement, Siasia was found ‘guilty of having accepted that he would receive bribes in relation to the manipulation of matches.’

The sanction stems from an ongoing ‘large-scale investigation’ Fifa is conducting into the behaviour of Wilson Raj Perumal, a convicted match-fixer from Singapore.

He is the third African to be banned by Fifa for his links to Perumal after former Sierra Leone FA official Abu Bakarr Kabba and former Botswana FA official Mooketsi Kgotlele were suspended in July for five years and for life respectively.

A former international, Siasia won the 1994 Africa Cup of Nations with Nigeria, for whom he played over 50 times while scoring 16 goals.

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24 Hours Across Africa

Liverpool sweat over Adrian fitness

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Liverpool first choice keeper Allison Becker missed the UEFA Super cup final against Chelsea Fc due to calf injury.

Jurgen Klopp has stated they could play their second Permier League game against Southampton on Saturday without Adrian after a collision with a pitch invader.

Manager Jurgen Klopp says the Spaniard was injured during post-match celebrations following Liverpool’s win over Chelsea in the Super Cup on Wednesday.

“A supporter jumped over something, was chased by some security guys, slipped and kicked his ankle. Crazy,” Klopp said after Adrian saved Tammy Abraham’s penalty in the shootout win.”

He added: “Apart from that it was a brilliant night for him.”

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Adrian was injured by a fan shortly after his team-mates congratulated him for the decisive penalty save during the Super Cup shootout

The incident happened as the Liverpool players were huddled together celebrating the match-winning save.

A supporter, attempting to join the group, ran towards them, slipping as he was grabbed by a steward, and collided with several players.

Klopp said: “There’s no doubt about how much we love our fans, there’s no doubt about that at all, but if they all could stop doing that – that’s the worst example we have so far heard about.

“We played against Manchester City and someone ran on the pitch then.

“At Norwich, there was someone as well.

“I don’t know what you can do about it in the stadium but that means there is a lot of responsibility for the supporters as well. If the one person cannot hesitate or stop himself, then the people around should do it because it’s not funny. It’s crazy. You think ‘wow, how can something like this happen?'”

Liverpool’s third-choice keeper Andy Lonergan, 35, who was an unused substitute for the game in Istanbul which finished 2-2 after extra time, could deputise for Adrian if the 32-year-old is ruled out.

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