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FIFA President Tells Countries to Name Stadium After Pele As World Bids Football Icon Goodbye

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Pele was buried in his final resting place Tuesday as millions of fans in Brazil and around the world mourned the sports legend.

Newly inaugurated President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva paid his respects at Vila Belmiro, the stadium where Pelé played for most of his career.

Pele was being laid to rest in the city where he grew up, became famous, and helped make into a global capital of his sport. Mass was held at the Vila Belmiro stadium before the black casket was driven through the streets of the city of Santos in a firetruck.

It was taken into the cemetery as bands played the Santos team’s official song, and a Catholic hymn. Before the golden-wrapped casket arrived, attendees sang samba songs that Pelé had liked.

Stars absent

“Where’s Ronaldo Nazario? Where’s Kaka, where’s Neymar?” asked Claudionor Alves, 67, who works at a bakery next to the stadium. “Do they think they will be remembered like Pele will? These guys didn’t want to stop their vacations, that’s the problem.”

Another notable absentee was Jair Bolsonaro, whose term as president ended Dec. 31. A day before, he departed capital Brasilia on a flight to Florida, shirking the ceremonial duty of passing the presidential sash to Lula. Bolsonaro is staying in a condominium complex outside Orlando and has been filmed speaking to neighbours.

Among those at the stadium was Pelé’s best friend Manoel Maria, also a former Santos player.

“If I had all the wealth in the world I would never be able to repay what this man did for me and my family,” Maria said. “He was as great a man as he was as a player; the best of all time. His legacy will outlive us all. And that can be seen in this long line with people of all ages here.”

FIFA President Gianni Infantino told journalists that every country should name a stadium after Pele. “I am here with a lot of emotion, sadness, but also with a smile because he gave us so many smiles,” Infantino said. “As FIFA, we will pay a tribute to the ‘King’ and we ask the whole world to observe a minute of silence.”

Another fan and friend in line was Brazilian Supreme Court Justice Gilmar Mendes. “It is a very sad moment, but we are now seeing the real meaning of this legendary player to our country,” Mendes told journalists. “My office has shirts signed by Pele, a picture of him as a goalkeeper, also signed by him. DVDs, photos, a big collection of him.”

Geovana Sarmento, 17, waited in the three-hour line to view his body as it lay in repose. She came with her father, who was wearing a Brazil shirt with Pelé’s name.

“I am not a Santos fan, neither is my father. But this guy invented Brazil’s national team. He made Santos stronger, he made it big, how could you not respect him? He is one of the greatest people ever, we needed to honor him,” she said.

Caio Zalke, 35, an engineer, wore a Brazil shirt as he waited in line. “Pele is the most important Brazilian of all time. He made the sport important for Brazil and he made Brazil important for the world,” he said.

In the 1960s and 70s, Pele was perhaps the world’s most famous athlete. He met presidents and queens, and in Nigeria a civil war was put on hold to watch him play. Many Brazilians credit him with putting the country on the world stage for the first time.

Rows of shirts with Pele’s number 10 were placed behind one of the goals, waving in the city’s summer winds. A section of the stands was filling up with bouquets of flowers placed by mourners and sent by clubs and star players – Neymar and Ronaldo among them – from around the world as loudspeakers played a song named “Eu sou Pelé” (“I am Pele”) that was recorded by the Brazilian himself.

The crowd was mostly local, although some came from far away. Many mourners were too young ever to have seen Pelé play. The mood was light, as people filtered out of the stadium to local bars, wearing Santos FC and Brazil shirts.

Claudio Carrança, 32, a salesman, said, “I never saw him play, but loving Pele is a tradition that goes from father to son in Santos. I learned his history, saw his goals, and I see how Santos FC is important because he is important. I know some Santos fans have children supporting other teams. But that’s just because they never saw Pele in action. If they had, they would feel this gratitude I feel now.”

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Why We’re Charging Helicopter Landing Fee – Aviation Ministry

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The Ministry of Aviation and Aerospace Development on Monday said the introduction of helicopter landing levies was in line with global best practices and cost recovery measures.

This is contained in a statement by Odutayo Oluseyi, Head, Press and Public Affairs of the ministry in Lagos.

According to Mr Oluseyi, the ministry recognises the importance of helicopter operations in Nigeria’s aviation industry and is committed to implementing international best practices in helicopter operations.

He said that helicopter landing levies were commonplace in countries such as the US, the United Kingdom, India and various other regions worldwide.

He maintained that Tallahassee International Airport in Florida began implementing helicopter landing levies under Vector Airport Systems, since 1 October 2022.

Mr Oluseyi said helicopter landing levies were common across airfields in the United Kingdom, ranging from major commercial ones, to small general aviation fields.

He added that, typically, helicopter levies matched or exceeded those for fixed-wing aircraft, and varied based on factors like location and services provided.

“The federal government has granted NAEBI Dynamic Concepts Ltd exclusive rights to collect helicopter landing levies in line with the MoU between NAEBI Concept and NAMA (focal Agency), Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) and the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA).

“It is instructive to note that NAMA, under the Act as amended in 2022, is empowered to collect aeronautical revenues in both the upper and lower airspace to support her self-sustainability.

“However, over the years, NAMA has predominantly relied on the upper airspace for her revenue generation.

“Government in her wisdom, having discovered a lacuna on the lower airspace where helicopter operations is dominant, directed NAMA to live up to its responsibilities, to enable them generate enough resources, to sustain their aeronautical architecture, enhance security and surveillance and improve the overall quality of helicopter operations in Nigeria,” he said.

According to Mr Oluseyi, the government is confident that the move will improve capacity, efficiency, safety, security and attract more investments in the aviation industry.

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Fubara Vows to Probe Previous Rivers Administrations

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Rivers State Governor, Siminalayi Fubara, has said he will set up a panel of inquiry to look into the affairs of governance in the state.

Fubara disclosed this during the swearing-in and administration of the oath of office on Dagogo Iboroma, SAN, as the Attorney General of the state and Commissioner for Justice.

The governor criticised recent comments by the former Attorney-General of the State and Justice Commissioner, Prof. Zacchaeus Adangor, SAN, who resigned from his cabinet over a fortnight ago and urged the new Attorney-General to defend the state.

Fubara stated, “It is not the one that while you were here… the only thing you do is to sabotage the government.

“Instead of you to close your mouth, you publicly claim that you’re a learned person to tell people that you’re the Chief Law Officer. Chief Law Officer, you were here and went to stand before a Magistrate Court.

“At that time you didn’t remember that you’re a Chief Law Officer going against the ethics of your job.”

Addressing the new AG, the governor said, “You have a big task. As it is today in the local parlance, they say the jungle has matured. We will be setting a panel of inquiry to investigate the affair of governance.”

The governor further said there was a deliberate attempt to sabotage his administration, saying, “If we disagree, no matter how bad it is, it should be resolved.

“But it has become very clear that this disagreement there is no headway to it, and for many reasons, there is very visible evidence that there is sabotage, a deliberate attempt to sabotage this administration.

“Maybe where they are, they are telling them nothing will happen, it is happening here live, we have our own legislators that are performing their duties according to the Constitution. So that record is threatened.”

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Tobi Amusan Again! Sets New World-Leading Record

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The world record-holder in the women’s 100m hurdles, Tobi Amusan, was the fastest over the barriers, setting a world-leading time of 12.40 (0.9m/s).

Danielle Williams, a two-time world champion, was ahead for most of the race but lost her rhythm over the final two hurdles and finished second with 12.46.

“This is the healthiest I’ve been. It’s a pain-free season compared to other years,” World Athletics website quoted Amusan to have said.

“I told myself: ‘I’m not getting a DQ today’. I’m not the best of starters, but looking at how I executed today, it could have been better, but I am thankful for the win.”

Nigeria’s Minister of Sports, John Enoh, took to his X handle to congratulate the Nigerian athletics queen for her latest feat.

“Take your flowers Tobi Amusan, you stormed to an emphatic win in the women’s 100m hurdles at the Jamaica Athletics Invitational, clocking a time of 12.40s (0.9), a World Lead time!

“You defeated World Champion Danielle Williams, who came 2nd in 12.46s, while Christina Clemons was 3rd in 12.54s.

“Tobi, you keep making our country proud. Paris Olympics is around the corner, your performance gives us hope just like others that Nigeria is set to break a jinx. Keep soaring, we are proud of you,” Enoh wrote.

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