Brazil-Argentina match suspended over COVID controversy
Brazil’s World Cup qualifying match against Argentina was stopped shortly after kick-off on Sunday as controversy over COVID-19 protocols erupted. Amid incredible scenes at Sao Paulo’s Neo Quimica Arena, the match between the two giants of South American football was halted when a group of Brazilian public health officials marched onto the pitch, saying four players in Argentina’s squad based in England should be placed in “immediate quarantine” for breaching COVID-19 protocols. The four players were accused of failing to disclose that they had spent time in the United Kingdom in the 14 days before their arrival. A government order prohibits the entry into Brazilian territory of any foreign person from the United Kingdom, India or South Africa, to prevent the spread of variants of the coronavirus. With the game apparently abandoned, Brazil’s squad began a practice game on the arena with Argentina’s team having reportedly left the stadium.
Saadi Gaddafi released from Tripoli jail
Saadi Gaddafi, the third son of former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, detained in a prison in the capital Tripoli since 2014, was released in execution of a court order issued several years ago. Saadi Gaddafi has already left Libyan territory on a private jet on a direct flight to Turkey. Extradited from Niger in 2014, Saadi Gaddafi, now 47, was tried and acquitted by the Tripoli Court of Appeal in 2018 for the 2005 murder of a former coach of Tripoli’s Al-Ittihad football team , Bachir Rayani, but remained in prison. He was also to be tried for his alleged involvement in the suppression of the uprising that ended his father Muammar Gaddafi’s regime in 2011. He is remembered for his stint as a player in Italy as well as a shareholder in Juventus, Roma and Triestina.
Taliban guaranteeing safety, access to aid
The Taliban, in a meeting with the head of UN humanitarian actions in Kabul, have committed themselves to guaranteeing the safety and security of humanitarian personnel and access to people in need and humanitarian workers, both men than women, as well as freedom of movement. Martin Griffiths arrived in the Afghan capital for several days of meetings with the Taliban leadership.Meanwhile, Taliban fighters are penetrating deep into the Panjshir Valley, the last bastion of resistance in Afghanistan, while many flee their villages. Local sources reveal they have conquered new districts in the valley. According to the BBC, a policewoman, Banu Negar, was shot and killed by the Talibanin her house in front of some of her relatives.
Girls Aloud star Sarah Harding dies at 39
Several British national papers lead with the death of former Girls Aloud singer Sarah Harding. Harding revealed in August last year that she had been diagnosed with breast cancer, which had spread to other parts of her body. Dominating the front of the Daily Mirror is a black and white photo of Harding, followed by her mother’s tribute: “I know she won’t want to be remembered for her fight against this terrible disease – she was a bright, shining star and I hope that’s how she can be remembered instead.”
Paralympic Games: Tokyo hands baton to Paris
The Paralympic flame was extinguished as the curtain came down on a memorable and historic Tokyo 2020 Games. More than 4,400 elite athletes participated, and many celebrated their achievements at a spectacular closing ceremony before the baton was handed over to Paris 2024 among cries of “Arigato” (thank you) and “Sayonara” (goodbye).
Police block Napolitan tobacconist
The tobacconist in Naples who stole a €500,000 scratch card from an elderly woman tried to leave Italy, but was blocked at Fiumicino airport by border police. The man was in possession of a ticket to the Canary Island, but not the winning coupon. The Carabinieri accused him of theft, but the card was not found and he is free to go wherever he wants and in theory, he could still leave the country.