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UEFA Champions League Semi-Finals Draw

The Spanish elite will meet the top two in Germany in the UEFA Champions League semi-finals after today's draw paired FC Bayern München with FC Barcelona and pitted Borussia Dortmund against Real Madrid CF.


2013 final: Wembley Stadium


Both first legs will take place in Germany on 23 and 24 April, with the returns in Spain on 30 April and 1 May after the open draw at UEFA headquarters in Nyon, conducted by UEFA General Secretary Gianni Infantino and former Netherlands striker Ruud van Nistelrooy.

The Bayern v Barcelona tie is a mouth-watering prospect: newly crowned German title holders take on Spanish champions-elect. They have met surprisingly little on the European stage, though their six encounters encompass the 1995/96 UEFA Cup semi-finals which Bayern edged and most recently the last eight of the 2008/09 UEFA Champions League. There a first-half double from Lionel Messi in the first leg meant there was only ever going to be one winner.

Both teams have had their scares this season. Arsenal FC pushed Bayern all the way in a stirring round of 16 comeback while Barcelona were 19 minutes from elimination on Wednesday before Pedro Rodríguez struck against Paris Saint-Germain FC to seal progress to a record sixth straight semi on away goals. Dortmund left it somewhat later against Málaga CF, needing two added-time goals to complete their Lazarus act in a turnaround up there with the best in the UEFA Champions League's 21-year history.

Their reward is a tie with Madrid, who were also their opponents 15 years ago in the last of their three European Cup semi-finals to date. The Merengues proved too powerful, a 2-0 home victory preceding a 0-0 second-leg draw. The Schwarzgelben can take heart from the fact that in the group stage they claimed a 2-2 draw and 2-1 win against Madrid yet the Merengues present a real hurdle.

They may trail Barcelona by 13 points in the Liga with eight games to go but they have measured up with everyone in this competition. Earlier this week José Mourinho spoke of his side having a 25% chance of claiming a tenth European Cup next month, and for many those odds have shortened. It will be a record-equalling seventh semi-final for the Portuguese coach: he has won two out of six so far, though tellingly he has triumphed both times he has made the final.

The draw means there may be a final between two clubs from the same country for the fourth time in UEFA Champions League history and the first since 2008. Madrid were victorious in the first of those, defeating Valencia CF in the 2000 Paris showpiece. AC Milan sneaked past Juventus on penalties three years later and Manchester United FC also needed spot kicks to beat Chelsea FC in 2008.

Semi-finals
FC Bayern München (GER) v FC Barcelona (ESP) 23 April, 1 May
Borussia Dortmund (GER) v Real Madrid CF (ESP) 24 April, 30 April

Final (25 May, Wembley Stadium)
For administrative purposes, a draw was made to determine who will be the designated home team for the final. The winners of the Dortmund v Madrid tie were selected first.

Head-to-head records
Bayern v Barcelona
Bayern W3, D2, Barcelona W1
Bayern's European Cup semi-final record: W9 L5
Barcelona's European Cup semi-final record: W6 A7

Dortmund v Madrid
Dortmund W1, D3, Madrid W2
Dortmund's European Cup semi-final record: W1 L2
Madrid's European Cup semi-final record: W12 L11
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¶Unveil New Anthology For Chinua Achebe


It was a fecund and commemorative gathering yesterday as literary enthusiasts and writers converged in Awka, the Anambra State Capital, to mark the 2019 Chinua Achebe Literary Festival organized young writers in the state.


The event which is a literay festival held annually in honour of foremost Nigerian literary champion, Late Prof. Chinua Achebe in celebration of his worthy life, works and legacies in the literary field.


Delivering a lead paper on the event's theme — ''Intellectuals And National Development: The Chinua Achebe Approach,'' the Guest Lecturer, at the event, RC (Reginald Chiedu) Ofodile described Achebe as a great intellectual and patriot whose commitment to national development was uncommon, being a man who placed his nation’s advancement above his personal glorification, as evidenced by his two-time rejection of the honour of Commander of the Order of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.


Going memory lane through Achebe's works and life, Mr. Ofodile, an international award-winning writer and actor said "In his approach as an intellectual striving for national development, abjuring art for art’s sake; Chinua Achebe walked his talk, and posterity gives him credit for that."


Describing the event as auspicious, the Chairman of the occasion who is also an award-winning poet and author of 'Pregnancy of the gods' Mr. Odili Ujubuońu noted that Chinua Achebe was not only a great writer but also a cultural activist who through his pen and mastery of art, exposed to the world, the real beauty of Igbo culture and that of Africa at large.


Earlier in his address of welcome, the convener of the event and Coordinator of Society of Young Nigerian Writers (Anambra Chapter), Mr. Izunna Okafor said the primary aim of the event was to celebrate Achebe as a hero and eagle on the Iroko of African Literature, immortalize him in their own way as young writers, and also remind the concerned authorities to immortalize him the best way he deserves.

He said "Aside these, we also, through this event, promote, encourage and reward creative writing and reading culture among our youths and students; discover and harness the hidden but amazing talents among our young ones, in the literary field; and also present writers and readers (intellectuals) as the elixirs to the country's ailments, among other objectives we pursue through it."


Acknowledging that Anambra State has given the world arrays of writers, Izunna who himself is an award-winning author and journalist also called for public and private support for the subsequent editions of the event, even as he urged the  state government to appoint aide(s)  (Special Assistant or Senior Special Assistant or even both) on literary matters, who will stand as a bridge between the government and writers in the state, both young and established.


Responding, the Executive Governor of Anambra State, Chief Dr. Willie Obiano, represented by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. James Ezeh extolled the young writers for initiating and sustaining the literary festival in honour of Achebe the legend, and also avowed the state government's continuous support to the young writers and youths in the state, being a youth friendly Governor.


The Governor was thereafter presented with a gift of pictorial artwork containing a sonnet, creatively crafted by one of the young writers, Mr. Chinonso Okafor.


The 2019 Chinua Achebe Literary Festival featured, among other literay packages, the unveiling and official presentation of Chinua Achebe Poetry/Essay Anthology, entitled "Arrows of Words" which is a new (85-paged) anthology of poems and essays, published by the young writers in honour of Achebe.

The event also featured presentation of awards to some deserving personalities and organisations in the state, as well as presentation of prizes to the winning schools and students in the Chinua Achebe Essay Writing Competition, which is an essay writing competition for secondary schools in Anambra State, endowed by the Anambra Newspapers and Printing Corporation (publishers of the National Light Newspaper, Ka O Di Taa Igbo Newspaper and Sportslight Xtra).


Others great writers and literary enthusiasts who graced the occasion included the Traditional Ruler of Obosi, H.R.M Igwe Chidubem Iweka, represented by Chief Okey Mgbemena (Uzzi Obosi); Sir Chuka Nnabuife (author of 'Mbize: Rage of Red Earth, and MD, National Light Newspaper); Mr. Uzor Maxim Uzoatu (author of  God of Poetry, and Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Communication); Rev. Fr. Ositadimma Amakeze (author of The Last Carver); Mr. Okeke Chika Jerry (author of The gods Are Hungry); Mr. Isidore Emeka Uzoatu (author of Vision Impossible); the Director of Anambra State Library Board, Dr. Nkechi Udeze, and MD/CEO of Naira Rice industry, Comr. Arinze Omenwa, among others.


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Zuma is set to publish debut novel, Fib and the Axe of fury by Esosa Kolawole in 2019. 

Fib and the Axe of fury is a young adult story of Fibikemi Adeosun, a determined, girl of St. Martha’s school.

Here’s the blurb: Aaron Oni has just two more months to live.

When Fibikemi lost her eyeglasses, a magical barrier protecting her from herself, she encounters something strange.

It’s only the beginning of a weird and terrifying journey and in a matter of time, someone dangerous will come for her.

Her obsession with saving Aaron pushes her to do the unimaginable and eventually, she discovers exactly why she must never take off her eyeglasses outside her home.

Brilliantly paced, with a young, exciting heroine and a twisting, imaginative story line, Fib and the Axe of fury is a strange West African mythological story.

This story sheds light on the Yoruba gods/ goddesses and more will be established in the spin off. It also deals with mental issues and how people handle it differently.

“I wanted to write a book that touched some social issues, but still have some fun. I’m glad I was able to do that. Even though some of my characters were quirky and fun to relate with, I was able to  delve into what  loss of loved one can cause, rape and the resulting effect. Even boys are not safe too.”

Esosa Kolawole first wrote a novella titled Dear Dave in 2017, but developed a strong connection with paranormal stories. Some of her short stories includes: Asákè and the goddess of death, The house of tiny people, The Ant Queen, Portal of Faili and many more.

Esosa’s writings have appeared in Fiction magazines  including the 81 words and 101 fiction.She holds a degree in Estate management. When not working, she plays adventure games on her play station.

Fib and the Axe of fury will be available in retail stores in Nigeria in 2019Esosa Kolawole author of Fib and the Axe of fury

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