Kidnappers Demand N50m on Abducted Lobi Stars Player, Akleche

first_imgFemi SolajaFour months after the widely reported abduction of Super Eagles Captain’s father, Pa. John Michael Obi, the country’s football family is again, thrown into confusion following the abduction of Lobi Stars player, Sunday Akleche, by gunmen on Tuesday in Aba.Akleche was reportedly kidnapped along with his fiancé along Aba- Port Harcourt Expressway en-route the National Youth Service Corp (NYSC) camp in Abia State. He was said to be on his way to drop his intended wife at the NYSC camp. Sunday Akleche According to Owngoalnigeria.com, a member of the Akleche family broke the news of the incident yesterday. The family member said that the kidnappers have placed a N50million ransom on the player in one of the conversation they had with his family via the player’s phone yesterday night.Just like it happened last summer, while Mikel was on national duty with the Super Eagles in Russia, his father was abducted while on a trip from Jos to his home state, Anambra but the Police were able to track the hoodlums and Pa Obi was rescued without body injury but traumatised all through the 12 days in the kidnappers captivity.The abducted Akleche was ever present for Lobi Stars who were crowned champions after the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) was brought to an end with 14 matches left to go.The Kaduna-born forward has not been allowed to talk to his family by the kidnappers.Already the issue has been reported to security agencies in Abia State while search is on to rescue him from his abductors.Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegramlast_img read more

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Second-year Lakers forward Brandon Ingram vows he has ‘more to show’

first_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error SACRAMENTO — With his own family across the country in North Carolina, second-year Lakers forward Brandon Ingram had a plan to secure a home-cooked meal in Los Angeles.Maybe more than one.“I’ll be traveling to a couple of my teammates’ houses, trying to pick up plates,” he said following the Lakers’ 113-102 loss to the Sacramento Kings on Wednesday.Hey, he’s 20. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREUCLA alum Kenny Clark signs four-year contract extension with PackersIt’s a fact that can’t be repeated enough as the Lakers eagerly await the breakout they expect from the former Duke star and 2016 No. 2 overall pick who has taken a backseat in the pressure department since the arrival of rookie point guard Lonzo Ball.And as much as the lanky Ingram plans to spend the four days before the Lakers’ next game on Monday enjoying a brief break, he also will be “trying to reflect on these first 19 games, seeing where I can get better.”It’s an ongoing question for Ingram. Everyone keeps waiting for him to take a big step forward, perhaps missing the fact it’s already happening.In his second season, Ingram’s scoring has climbed from 9.4 points per game as a rookie to 14.7. His supporting numbers – rebounds, assists, steals – are all up, as well, and he’s shooting 45.1 percent from the field. His 33.8 minutes per game have spiked from the 27.7 minutes he averaged through the first 53 games last season, before he replaced veteran Luol Deng as the full-time starter.Ingram showed up for training camp with more muscle packed onto his frame, a challenge from Magic Johnson to score 20 points per game and a seemingly enhanced self-confidence.center_img “I think I have some more to show,” Ingram said. “This summer I was super confident in what I wanted to do this season, and I don’t think it’s all came yet.”While Ball has commanded most of the attention from media, Ingram is the one causing problems for opposing coaches. Over his last four games, he has emerged as an improved distributor, averaging 5.25 assists.The Lakers took Thanksgiving off and will use Friday as a rest day as well before practicing Saturday and Sunday. They face the Clippers in a designated road game on Monday.“We’ve got a lot of young guys who have never done this before,” Coach Luke Walton said, “and even guys who did it last year, second-year, B.I.’s playing huge minutes … So it will be good for them to physically and mentally shut it down for a few days.”AWKWARD TRANSITIONWalton knew that the decision to emphasize getting out in transition to a young team would come with some growing pains.But he’s ready for them to transition into being better in transition.“We know there’s going to be turnovers,” Walton said. “I think our guys are good enough that those numbers should start coming down now, it’s been a long enough time that we should be a little more clean in the way we do our transition game.”The Lakers are committing 17.3 turnovers per game, second-worst in the NBA, ahead of only Philadelphia.“It will be something we will keep focusing on and addressing in film sessions, “ Walton said.Against the Kings, the Lakers committed 17 turnovers that led to 23 points for Sacramento and scored just 10 fast-break points despite forcing 17 turnovers of their own, including eight steals.“We have a lot of turnovers,” Ball said. “Especially in transition. Those are even double negatives because you’re supposed to get buckets with those and it kind of, puts the defense, demoralizes them.”He added: “We’re getting opportunities, we’re not converting.”One particularly glaring moment came with 7:16 left in the fourth quarter on Wednesday. Kyle Kuzma had just hit a 3-pointer to cut the Kings’ lead to 14 and the Lakers, who recovered from a 19-point deficit to win a night earlier, looked poised to make another late comeback.Kuzma intercepted a pass from Frank Mason III and pushed the ball the other way, but overthrew a wild, cross-court pass intended for Julius Randle. The ball sailed out of bounds and the Kings scored the next five points, putting an end to the rally.“I think we’re going for home runs every time when we can just make a pass and make a layup,” said Ball, who was responsible for four turnovers. “We’ve just got to execute better.”last_img read more

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L.A. leaders ignore actual gang reform

first_imgTHERE’S just one problem with civil-rights attorney Connie Rice’s proposed “Marshall Plan” to rid L.A. of gangs. It won’t work. Ever. Rice’s report says nothing about the Los Angeles Unified School District’s continued tolerance of gang behavior on its campuses that gives these thug groups a place to plan and recruit. It says nothing about the Probation Department’s severe mishandling of county juvenile halls and camps. This incompetence has created an environment so violent, out-of-control and toxic that juvenile-incarceration facilities are now a place where gangs go to recruit and spread word of their accomplishments and plans. The report says nothing about holding legally accountable the 100,000 gang members’ 200,000 parents who are aiding and abetting their children’s participation in severe criminal activity. It says nothing about Juvenile Court judges’ refusal to enforce the terms of probation that all convicted gang members have, which would quickly return to incarceration those who refuse to obey the law. And the report says nothing about the need for our increasingly cowardly populace to “man up” in their neighborhoods. Neighbors must be willing to identify and testify against local criminals – and quit expecting a handful of cops to do for us what we refuse to do for ourselves. A “Marshall Plan” would foolishly spend millions of dollars “creating more jobs” for gang members who are too unmotivated, too immature and lazy, and too drug-saturated to take the countless entry-level jobs that are already available. Millions more would be wasted on more education programs, when countless outstanding education programs in L.A. sit half-empty because these unparented teens are too unmotivated to participate. Is there any proven program for turning around gang members and other high-risk youths that would work for all of Los Angeles? Is there any program that would not cost millions, could be implemented immediately, and would start showing results in less than 30 days? For the last 10 years, I’ve taught at the West Valley Leadership Academy in Canoga Park, an alternative public school for gang members and high-risk youths – the worst of the worst. We hold our students to exceptionally high standards of dress and conduct. We don’t let them get away with any kind of thuggish behavior – even if that means we personally have to endure threats or worse. But getting tough works. Our school has students attending daily within a few days of enrolling. They get employed, as well as clean and sober, and behave perfectly. They take college or vocational classes, get off probation, stop gang and racist activity, and ultimately, graduate to successful careers. What more could you ask? How about the fact that 100 percent of their parents participate in monthly training/education meetings? Our program, and its results, could be in place throughout all L.A. schools and communities within weeks – and without extra funding. All it would require is for those hard-core individuals who are ruining L.A.’s future to swallow their pride and be willing to try something new. I’m not talking about gang members. I’m referring to our local leaders. Paul D. White is the co-founder of West Valley Leadership Academy in Canoga Park.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

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Yahoo shares plunge 13%

first_imgSAN FRANCISCO – Yahoo Inc.’s fourth-quarter profit nearly doubled as advertisers continued to shift their spending to the Internet, but it wasn’t enough to live up to the lofty expectations for the Web’s most heavily trafficked destination. Yahoo’s shares plunged by more than 13 percent after the report’s release Tuesday. The Sunnyvale-based company said it earned $683.2 million, or 46 cents per share, during the three months ended in December. That represented an 83 percent increase from net income of $372.5 million, or 25 cents per share, at the same time in 2004. The 2005 results included a $310 million gain triggered by a complex deal that left Yahoo with a 40 percent stake in Alibaba.com, China’s largest e-commerce company. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORESanta Anita opens winter meet Saturday with loaded card If not for that gain and other accounting items unrelated to its ongoing operations, Yahoo said it would have earned 16 cents per share. That figure fell a penny below the average estimate among analysts polled by Thomson Financial. Revenue for the quarter totaled $1.5 billion, a 39 percent increase from $1.08 billion in the comparable 2004 period. After subtracting the advertising commissions that Yahoo paid to other Web sites, the company’s fourth-quarter revenue stood at $1.07 billion, in line with analyst estimates. Yahoo shares gained 21 cents to close at $40.11 on the Nasdaq Stock Market, then plunged $5.40, or 13.5 percent, in extended trading. Because Yahoo is the first major Internet company to disclose how it fared during 2005’s final quarter, its fourth-quarter report has become a focal point for investors trying to gauge just how much more advertising migrated online during the busy holiday shopping season. Yahoo’s earnings shortfall appeared to have a ripple effect on another Internet bellwether, online search engine leader Google Inc., whose shares shed $16.11, or 3.5 percent, in extended trading. Google’s market value already had climbed 13 percent so far this year in anticipation that its profit will exceed analyst expectations when its fourth-quarter results come out Jan. 31. This marks the second consecutive quarter that Yahoo has reported robust financial growth only to have investors punish its stock. The pattern reflects the high hopes riding on Yahoo’s stock as investors bet on the company’s ability to cash in on the Internet advertising boom. Although Yahoo’s profits have been steadily rising in recent years, the company still hasn’t been able to come up with a formula that’s as effective at serving up moneymaking ads as Google, its biggest rival. “Frankly, Google has done a better job than us,” Yahoo Chairman Terry Semel acknowledged during a Tuesday interview. Both Yahoo and Google display text-based ads on hundreds of Web sites in addition to their own, but only get paid when the links are clicked on. Google’s knack for enticing clicks has generated a long stretch of stellar earnings growth that has eclipsed Yahoo’s. As a result, Google is currently worth twice as much as Yahoo, even though it is a younger company. A growing number of people also are relying on Google to process search requests, another factor depriving Yahoo of an opportunity to make more money. Through November, Google held 39.8 percent of the U.S. search market, up from 34.6 percent at the same juncture in 2004, according to comScore Media Metrix. Meanwhile, Yahoo’s share has dropped to 29.5 percent, down from 32 percent in November 2004. Semel has been promising to introduce improved advertising algorithms later this year, a pledge he reiterated Tuesday. But he stressed it will be a gradual process that’s unlikely to have a significant impact on Yahoo’s earnings until 2007. Drumming up more advertising will become even more important later this year when Yahoo will lose one of its biggest partners, Microsoft Corp.’s MSN.com, which plans to launch its own marketing network this summer. Yahoo said Tuesday that it expects to lose about $120 million in advertising revenue generated by its partners this year. Besides the Microsoft setback, the erosion also reflects an expectation that Yahoo will have to share more revenue with its other remaining partners. Despite those challenges, Yahoo management predicted the company will continue to thrive as advertisers ante up to reach its vast audience. Yahoo ended 2005 with 365 million users, a 21 percent increase from 2004. In an attempt to become less dependent on advertising, Yahoo has been selling more services, such as high-speed Internet access and matchmaking, to its visitors. The company ended the year with 12.6 million subscribers, an 11 percent increase from 11.4 million in September. The subscribers paid $186 million in fees during the fourth quarter, a 38 percent increase from the same time in 2004. Spurred by its steady growth, Yahoo added another 674 workers during the fourth quarter, expanding its payroll to 9,816 employees at the end of 2005. Excluding its ad commissions, Yahoo forecast its 2006 revenue will range from $4.6 billion to $4.85 billion – a 24 percent to 31 percent increase from 2005. The average 2006 revenue estimate among analysts is $4.77 billion, according to Thomson Financial. For all of 2005, Yahoo earned $1.9 billion, or $1.28 per share, on total revenue of $5.26 billion. Net income for 2004 totaled $839.6 million, or 58 cents per share, on total revenue of $3.57 billion. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

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