According to reports, Microsoft on Wednesday pledged $500 million for loans and grants aimed at ramping up construction of affordable housing in the Puget Sound area of Washington state where the US technology giant has its home.
“In recent years, our region hasn’t built enough housing for the people who live here,” Microsoft executives Amy Hood and Brad Smith said in a blog post. We are committing $500 million as a company to advance affordable housing solutions.” Microsoft was only a few years old when it moved from New Mexico to the Seattle area city of Bellevue in 1979, and now has its headquarters in nearby Redmond.
Since 2011, job growth in the region has been 21 percent while housing construction growth has trailed at 13 percent. A gap in available housing has caused housing prices to nearly double in the past eight years, making the greater Seattle area the sixth most expensive region in the US, according to Hood and Smith. “The gap between job growth and housing growth has been even greater in the suburban cities around Seattle than in Seattle itself. This is a big problem. And it’s a problem that is continuing to get worse,” the blog post said.
The $500 million will be used to “help kick-start new solutions” to the housing crisis, according to the executives. Microsoft planned to make $225 million available at below-market rates to subsidize preservation and construction of middle-income housing, initially targeting six cities east of Seattle and Lake Washington. “Median income in the region hasn’t kept pace with rising housing costs, increasingly making it impossible for lower- and middle-income workers to afford to live close to where they work,” Hood and Smith said. Teachers, nurses, first responders and many in key roles at nonprofits, businesses and tech companies now begin and end their workdays with long commutes.” A total of $250 million will be made available at market rates for low-income housing development, while $25 million will be devoted to philanthropic grants aimed at addressing homelessness, according to Microsoft. “With these and similar investments, it’s possible to lend money, accelerate progress, be repaid and then lend this money again. Our goal is to move as quickly as possible with targeted investments that will have an outsized impact,” Hood and Smith said. Microsoft is one of Washington State’s largest employers.
According to reports, attempts by the Okoi Obono-Obla-led Special Presidential Investigative Panel (SPIP) to arrest President of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) and four other board members on allegations of corruption suffered a set back on Monday as the earlier warrant of arrest granted to the body has been suspended.
An Abuja Chief Magistrate District Court II, sitting at Wuse Zone 2 and presided by his Worship Mabel T. Segun Bello, through its order put in abeyance the warrant of arrest it had issued previously to the Obono-Obla panel against some elected officials of NFF, namely; Amaju Melvin Pinnick (NFF President), Seyi Akinwunmi, Shehu Dikko, Ahmed Yusuf and Dr. Sanusi Mohammed, its General Secretary.
A statement from the law firm of Mamman, Nasir & Co, counsels representing the NFF, yesterday maintained that the warrant was obtained by SPIP erroneously “as it ultra vires the enabling law establishing SPIP.”
The statement signed by Muhammad Sani Katu Esq, stressed that this fresh order for the maintenance of status quo thereby suspending the execution of the warrant of arrest was made on 14th day of January, 2019 under the hand of the presiding judge of the Court (Chief District Judge II).
The latest acquisition of Rivers United Peter Ubakanma who was unveiled last week Saturday made his first debut for his new Club Rivers United as he was in the starting line for the match day 2 NPFL. Peter who was a former player of MFM was on full action from start to finish as he’s team cart away with a point and way from home against Niger Tornadoes in match that ended 1-1.
Speaking to the media, the skillful midfielder Peter Ubakanma said: I give glory to God because this is my first debut match for my new club Rivers United, and i must say it is a wonderful start for me, because my first debut did not end liabilities. Regarding the match, It was a tough match I must say, but we came prepared for it, we were determined never to leave without a point to our credit and i thank God it played out that way for us.
Our opponent Niger Tornadoes are a good side, they showed good character of play, they were a tough side because you could actually see their determination to grab they three points.
I really appreciate the efforts of all my team mates and the technical crew , we listened to the instructions given to us as players and played by it as well which gave us a point. A draw away from home is not a bad one for us a team.
The midfielder concluded by saying it just the beginning for better things to come in my career, I am ready to play my part to see that Rivers United end as one of the top 3 on the NPFL team at the end of the season.
Interestingly, Super Eagles winger Moses Simon has joined millions of Nigerians in the ongoing social media throwback picture craze using the hashtag #10yearchallenge by releasing pictures of himself and his wife while they were still in their secondary school days.
The winger who joined Spanish side Levante in the summer from Gent in Belgium posted picture of his wife and himself when they were much younger which dated back to their time as secondary school students. The Nigerian international posted the pictures on instagram with the caption; “Forever grateful oh God.”
Simon tied the knot with his high school sweetheart Ibukun Sarah Adenuga in Oyo state in 2015 and the beautiful couple welcomed their first child in August 2018 and has since continued to live stronger.
The Nigerian international who missed an opportunity of playing at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia due to injury has bounced back strong returning to the Eagles fold and also getting play time in Spain.
Kwara United head coach Abubakar Bala has called on the club’s teeming supporters to be patient as he believes the tide will change in the team’s favor in no time. The Harmony Boys on Wednesday failed to pick a point in Lagos as the fell by two goals to nil at the Soccer Temple Agege stadium to the hosts MFM FC.
Kwara United went behind in the second half of the encounter when striker Segun Alebiosu put the ball inside his own net in the 49th minute before MFM FC’s star Adeniji Kabir’s perfect header in the 76th minute put the game beyond the reach of the men in yellow. With favorable results not coming the way of the team, fans of the Ilorin based club are beginning to fear the worst but Bala is confident things will change for the better as he hopes to work on the team’s weak areas.
“The season is just beginning, and about 65 percent of the boys are new and I know that gradually they will blend together. It is an abridged league and we know how fast and short it is so we will work on our weak areas very fast and I’m sure we will recover quickly. With the two results from the first and second match, I know they will be worried and everybody will be in a haste to see the team change positively. We are going to work very hard to change the tides so I’m ensuring them that we will bounce back and do well this season.”
Kwara United players are yet to score in the league and Bala says he is concerned. “I am very worried. It is a problem when you can’t create chances but when you create chances and not convert them it is a very big problem. Now that we know the problem, we will work on it ahead of the next match.” Kwara United played a 1 – 1 draw aginst Sunshine Stars of Akure in the first match in Ilorin before losing away to MFM FC in Lagos and are billed to face seven time NPFL champions Enyimba FC on Sunday.
Mikel who is still searching for a new club after terminating his contract with Chinese Super League side Tianjin Teda described the opportunity he had playing with the Czechoslovakian international as a great honour.
The 36-year-old is set to call time on his illustrious football career and the Nigeria international has applauded the move noting that there is time for everything in life. “It has been an honour to have played and won so many trophies with you Petr Cech,” Mikel posted on Instagram.
Cech who has seven league appearances this season for Arsenal will hope his side claim victory over his former club Chelsea when they meet on Saturday at the Emirates Stadium. Cech started his career with Chmel Blsany and played for Sparta Prague, Rennes before joining the Blues in 2004. He won four Premier League titles, four FA Cup, three league Cup, two Community Shield, one Champions League and one Europa League trophy before joining Arsenal in 2015 to end his 11-year stay at the Stamford Bridge.
While Mikel may have hailed Cech’s planned retirements plan, there are no indications that retirement is on his own plans for now. The former lyn of Oslo midfielder who has hinted that he may not be leaving China despite parting ways with Tianjin Teda is yet to pitch tent with another club.
There have been speculations that possibilities abound in the Major Super League in United States, Turkish league and even return to England all of which the former Tianjin Teda captain is yet to indicate any interest. It is equally speculated that other teams in the 20-team Chinese Super League sides may take advantage of his exit from Tianjin Teda to woo him to their side.
Compatriot and equally clubless Super Eagles striker Odion Ighalo is also in the market but has made it clear he will not be interested in joining a second division club.
NFF President has revealed that the national team Super Eagles would play a game at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium, Benin before the end of the year. Pinnick gave the assurance after inspecting the ongoing reconstruction work at the stadium in Benin, on Tuesday.
According to him, the match could be an international friendly or a World Cup qualifier after the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt, in July. “Edo State has been the traditional home of footballers; I’m very happy and impressed with the level of work done here (Ogbemudia stadium).”
Obaseki is determined to revive sports in the state, and the reconstruction of the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium is a good idea. The Obaseki administration deserves commendation for putting measures in place in ensuring that the state regains its lost glory in sporting activities,” he said.
Former heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko has dismissed speculation that he could make a comeback to the ring and rematch Anthony Joshua as “an early April fool’s day joke.”
Klitschko, 42, retired from boxing after he was knocked out by WBA-WBO-IBF champion Joshua at Wembley Stadium in 2017.
The Ukrainian was also defeated by Joshua’s countryman Tyson Fury in his previous fight in 2015. With uncertainty surrounding the heavyweight division and the immediate futures of Joshua, Fury and Deontay Wilder, Klitschko said he had been sent messages by fans urging him to return. Fury and Wilder are expected to fight a rematch at a U.S. venue in the first half of 2019, leaving Joshua in need of an opponent to fill his April 13 fight at Wembley.
But despite suggesting that he feels he would still be able to compete at the highest level, Klitschko quickly rejected talk that he could come out of retirement any time soon. “I’m all about challenges in life and I do really feel that I [have] still got it,” Klitschko posted on Twitter.
“Recently many of you contacted me willing to see me making a comeback to the ring this April and I’m thankful to y’all for that. However, I need to call such speculation an early April fool’s day joke.”
Joshua, 29, is expected to face London rival Dillian Whyte in April, but has repeatedly said that securing a heavyweight unification bout with Wilder remains his No. 1 priority.
Bernardo Silva says Manchester City’s squad is approaching full strength at the right time as they mount a four-pronged trophy assault. Kevin De Bruyne and Benjamin Mendy have missed large chunks of the campaign through injury, while David Silva, Fernandinho, Sergio Aguero and Ilkay Gundogan have had spells out recently.
But the Premier League champions are now getting close to full strength, with Mendy the only key player sidelined with a serious injury, and there are hopes he could be back in action before the end of the month. City illustrated the depth of their squad as they named De Bruyne, Aguero and Riyad Mahrez on the bench for Monday’s clash with Wolves and still eased to a 3-0 win.
“It feels like we have all the squad, which is important because we need all of them,” said playmaker Silva. “It is good finally to be back together. Of course until this moment of the season we have had so many injured players, we never played with the whole squad. To have almost the whole squad available is fantastic for us and it is very good to try and go for all the competitions.”
Silva, 24, has no issue with the fact that means increased competition for his own place.
“That is what happens when you play in one of the best teams in the world,” he said. “You have fantastic players in your position, you have to work hard to try and play as many minutes as you can. That is a good thing. It means you have a good squad. Everyone pushes the other teammates so you have to work harder to get in the team.”
City remains firmly in the title race after Monday’s victory cut Liverpool’s lead at the top of the Premier League back to four points. They are also still competing in both domestic cups and the Champions League. Their involvement in all those competitions could ultimately amount to playing a considerable number of games more than Liverpool but Silva is confident that would not hamper their title defence.
He said: “Honestly, I don’t think so. I think it is a good sign for us that we are still in all the competitions, that is what we try to do and big teams try to do. We will keep going that way, we have a good squad. We will try to make things work, knowing that it is not easy but when you play in a club like Man City, season after season, you get used to playing lots of games at a high level.”
Unai Emery believes he will be handed the time necessary to “get Arsenal back to where the club deserves to be” despite a recent slump threatening the Gunners’ chances of a return to the Champions League. After a 22-game unbeaten run between August and December, Arsenal have lost three of their last six Premier League matches to fall six points behind Chelsea in the battle for a top-four finish.
However, the Spaniard is confident that he is not working under the same time pressure to succeed as he was at Paris Saint-Germain where one league title and four domestic cups in two seasons in charge were not enough to keep his job due to a lack of progress in the Champions League. “The idea is to get Arsenal back to where the club deserves to be, but it needs time. At Arsenal, it’s maybe the first time I feel that I have the support to build up from the bottom in order to get where we want to be. It allows us to work more for the long-term –- or at least, ‘long-term’ in football terms. It supports the kind of work we want to do at this club,” Emery told Sky Sports.
Of more immediate concern for Emery is making the best of the resources available to him after claiming the club doesn’t have the funds for any permanent transfers this month. A large chunk of Arsenal’s budget is tied up in a lucrative deal handed to Mesut Ozil last January that runs until 2021.
The former German international is the club’s highest earner, reportedly on £350,000 a week.
However, Ozil failed to even make Emery’s squad for the 1-0 defeat at West Ham last weekend and has been routinely dropped throughout the course of the season. Emery, though, is hoping his treatment of the former Real Madrid star will get the best out of Ozil rather than force him out of the club.
“At certain times, you have to provoke friction with footballers. From that friction, you can get something more out of them, something from inside, a greater sense of ambition or maybe even a complaint –- a complaint regarding the team can be positive. As a manager, you have to be careful because that friction can break a relationship. But I believe in always looking for more, both individually and collectively. In the end, the main thing with any footballer is that their qualities are used to benefit the team. As a manager, you have to get the maximum out of that player and at the same time make sure that he fits with the rest of the team so that everyone is better.”