November 14, 2008

Drogba faces police, FA probes

Didier Drogba is facing police and FA investigations after throwing a coin into the crowd during Chelsea’s Carling Cup fourth round defeat to Burnley.

The Chelsea striker apologised for his actions which followed his 27th-minute goal but could still be in trouble.

In a statement on Chelsea’s website, Drogba said: “I tried to celebrate the goal and I received some things at me.

“The big mistake I did was to throw it back so if someone was hurt I just want to apologise for it.”

There were no reports of any spectators being injured. However, the Metropolitan Police confirmed on Thursday that it is looking into the incident.

A spokesman said, “An inquiry is being conducted by the Football Unit at Fulham police station. No-one has been arrested.”

The incident happened after the Ivory Coast forward put the Blues ahead in his first match since returning from injury.

Drogba, 30, made a single-finger gesture before throwing a coin back into the Burnley section of the crowd.

He said, “This is not something I should show in a football match.

“It was an incident in the heat of the moment and I regret it. It was just a mistake and nothing more.”

A Chelsea spokesman said, “We will deal with this in the usual way. We are aware there is an incident. But we will not discuss it further until we have seen the referee’s report.”

Chelsea boss Luiz Felipe Scolari said, “I have not spoken with Didier about any problem. The referee gave him a yellow card but I did not see what happened.”

Oshiomhole freezes Edo accounts

Edo State Governor, Mr. Adams Oshiomhole, on Thursday, froze all the state government’s accounts in banks until further notice.

He directed them to stop honouring cheques issued by the ousted administration headed by Prof. Oserhiemen Osunbor.

The government’s decision, which was contained in a statement signed by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Information and Orientation, Mrs. Betty Igbeyi, urged all the ministries and parastatals to give due attention to the directive.

The governor also relieved all political office holders in the state of their positions.

Barely 24 hours after he was sworn in, Oshiomhole on Thursday, visited President Umaru Yar’Adua at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

He explained that he was at the villa to pledge his loyalty to the President despite the fact that was not a member of the Peoples Democratic Party.

He disclosed that even when he had not been declared governor by the courts, and despite their political differences, he had a privileged relationship with the president.

Oshiomole disclosed these to State House correspondents shortly after meeting the president.

According to him, Edo State needs the president’s support or intervention to enable him face squarely, the arduous challenges ahead.

Furthermore, he said that he was overwhelmed with joy that the president was very anxious to see how the Federal Government could contribute in arresting what he described as, “the drift and to restore the glory of Edo State.”

In Benin, a statement signed by the newly appointed Secretary to the State Government, Mr. Pally Iraise, shortly after his inauguration on Thursday, directed the affected people to hand over government property in their possession to the Permanent Secretary, Central Administration, Governor‘s Office, Benin.

The governor said that the choice of Iraise, an accountant and banker, as the SSG, was based on merit, as demonstrated by his contribution to the development of the Owan East Local Government Area, where he was chairman from 2004 to 2007.

Oshiomhole, who spoke at Iraise’s inauguration at the Government House, also urged the 18 local government chairmen in the state not to use public funds to place congratulatory advertisements for him in the media.

He said that such funds should be effectively utilised to bring the desired change and development to the people of the state.

The governor said that the Edo citizens had great expectation that the new administration had the capacity, and was determined to take advantage of the resources of the state to bring new hopes to them

Why Can't James Bond Catch Jason Bourne?

Compared to James Bond, Jason Bourne is a punk.

As a movie franchise, the Ian Fleming-conceived spy has it all over Robert Ludlum's in volume, longevity, international appeal, and sheer number of bedroom scenes.

True, the Matt Damon Bourne films have been almost universally hailed by critics, while the Bond series has been hit and miss.

And, oh, yes, there's one other thing: The last two Bourne movies have made more money, domestically, than any one Bond movie, domestically.


Quantum of Solace, your move.

Opening Friday, Quantum of Solace is the 22nd Bond adventure, and the second to star Daniel Craig.

Already an international blockbuster, the movie has grossed some $160 million in two weeks outside the U.S. And while reviews here have been mixed (unlike the ecstatic reception that met Craig's first Bond), Casino Royale, expectations are for Quantum of Solace to be a U.S. superpower.

With reporting nearly 400 sold-out screenings as of Wednesday, Exhibitor Relations was projecting a franchise-best $55-60 million opening weekend. Lee Tistaert of was more bullish, calling for a $63 million debut.

Which still wouldn't be as big as the biggest Bourne opening.

Inflation is, of course, a factor, if not the overriding explanation. Movie tickets cost considerably more in 2002, when the first Bourne was released, than in prehistoric 1963, when the first Bond was released.

But even in a fairer fight—2007's The Bourne Ultimatum versus 2006's Casino Royale—Bourne still comes out on top: a $227.5 million domestic gross compared to $167.4 million; a $69.3 million opening weekend compared to $40.8 million.

"I think cast is an issue," says filmmaker Richard Schenkman, who founded and formerly ran the James Bond 007 Fan Club. "I think the Bourne movies hit at a very good moment in [Damon's] career."

Beyond that, Schenkman thinks the Bourne trilogy tapped into something often underestimated in box-office discussions: Quality matters.

"The Bourne movies are just so good, everyboy tells everybody you just have to see this thing," Schenkman says.

Quality paid off for Casino Royale, which cashed in its four-star buzz for the franchise's biggest domestic gross, and a nearly $600 million worldwide overal take, a number far bigger than any put up by the Bourne movies.

What was not missed on audiences of Casino Royale, however, was that the grimmer, new-look Bond looked an awful lot like the Jason Bourne. The resemblance was especially striking in action sequences that were revved-up—or too "violent," as Bond alum Roger Moore recently put it.

So, can Bond ever top Bourne if he's trying to be Bourne?

A recent Fandango poll would seem to make the task difficult. Fifty-two percent of respondents said they prefered Damon's Bourne to Craig's Bond, compared to 48 percent who sided with 007. (Fandango and E! Online are both owned by Comcast.)

But to Deborah Lipp, author of The Ultimate James Bond Fan Book, the question is all wrong. The Craig Bond, she says, is what Bond has always been.

"Everything changes the James Bond series. They're very in touch with the moment," Lipp says. "Just the way Live and Let Die was influenced by blaxploitation, just the way Moonraker was influenced by Star Wars. So, sure [Bourne] is an influence."

"But it's not an imitation."

Although presumably Bond wouldn't mind imitating a $69.3 million opening.

Naval ratings go wild again, kill policeman

Two naval ratings have been arrested by the Ogun State Command Police for allegedly killing a policeman and severely wounding another in a scuffle at a hotel in Ota.

The policemen Mr. Oladiran Abanikanda and – Adewale Nureini, were said to have been stabbed on Wednesday night after an argument over a female attendant at the hotel.

Abanikanda reportedly died at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital on Thursday morning after a spirited attempt to save his life. Nureini is said to be responding to treatment at the Ota General Hospital.

The Ota incident occurred less than two weeks after six naval ratings attached to the convoy of the Chief of Naval Logistics, Rear Admiral Harry Arogundade beat up and stripped a 27-year-old lady, Miss Uzoma Okere, in Lagos.

Arogundade and the six naval ratings were on Wednesday summoned by the authorities of the Nigerian Navy to the Defence Headquarters over the attack on Uzoma, who is the daughter of the National Assembly Sergeant-at-Arms.

About three years ago, a naval officer, Lt. Felix Odulami, shot dead a commercial motor cycle (Okada) operator in Ikeja, Lagos, for allegedly hitting his Mercedes Benz 190E.

The naval authorities set up a board of inquiry to investigate the killing, but up till now the outcome is yet to be made public.

The Police Area Commander of in Ota, Mr. Adeoye Oyelola, who confirmed the incident on Thursday to our correspondent on the telephone, said the two policemen were first rushed to a private hospital before being transferred to different health institutions.

The area commander, an Assistant Commissioner of Police, alleged that the ratings, after committing the crime, tried to escape.

He said, “A medical doctor alerted me that two of my men had been rushed to his hospital after they were stabbed. So, I had to rush there. I was told that one of the ratings objected when one of the policemen asked a lady attendant to serve him a drink. He (rating) was said to have told the constable, who was not in uniform, not to send the lady on an errand because she was his girlfriend.”

“It was during the argument that followed that one of the naval ratings brought out his knife and stabbed the policeman at the back. In an attempt by another police officer to seize the knife from the rating, his colleague brought out his own knife and stabbed him.”

Oyelola, however, said while one of the ratings was arrested on the spot, the other was caught ”loitering around the police station in an attempt to call for re-inforcement.”

He added that some naval personnel were in the area command on Wednesday night for consultations over the incident.

Oyelola‘s claims, however, differed from the uncoordinated accounts of the two ratings. They had said during a preliminary interrogation that their attempt to report an assault on them by the late Abanikanda and Nureini was frustrated by other policemen.

Our correspondent in Abeokuta learnt that the case had already been reported to the office of the Inspector – General of Police, Mr. Mike Okiro.

The ratings are believed to have been detained in separate cells in one of the police stations in the state capital.

The Deputy Commissioner of Police in the state, Mr. Bassey Inyang, also confirmed the incident but said the case was still with the State Criminal Investigation Department.

”I have heard the case but you know it has to be properly investigated. I will not be able to say much on it now, ” Inyang said.

Meanwhile, the Nigerian Bar Association on Thursday demanded sanctions against Arogundade and the six ratings that attacked Uzoma.

It also deplored the detention of a magistrate and some lawyers by policemen in a court at Oji-River, Enugu State.

The NBA, in a statement by its National President, Chief Oluwarotimi Akeredolu (SAN), called for a stop to what it called “despicable violence against civilians inherent in the culture of our armed forces and the police.”

The statement reads in part, ”We condemn the barbaric act against Uzoma and call on the naval command to immediately sanction the errant ratings and the naval officer under whose watch she was beaten and stripped naked in addition to paying her adequate compensation for the damages, which resulted from their action.

“The senseless and horrible treatment meted out to Okere in Lagos on November 3, 2008 is one case too many. The barbarism witnessed in this case is certainly not an aberrant act.”

On the Oji-River incident, the association said, “We also note and condemn the action of a detachment of the Nigeria Police Force, which detained a senior magistrate for carrying out her judicial function.

“The detention of Senior Magistrate Mrs. Uche Mogboh and lawyers in her court at the behest of an Assistant Superintendent of Police, Ashabua, for making a formal order of discharge and acquittal of an accused person in the course of the performance of her judicial function is condemnable.”