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Maradona dead: Argentina legend and one of world’s greatest footballers dies aged 60 | World News

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The legendary Argentinian footballer Diego Maradona has died at the age of 60, the country’s football association has said.

Maradona, who captained Argentina’s 1986 World Cup-winning team, is widely regarded as one of the greatest footballers of all time – if not the greatest.

There will be three days of national mourning, Argentina’s President Alberto Fernandez has said, adding that Maradona “made us immensely happy”.

A minute’s silence will be held in the player’s memory at all the Champions League matches on Wednesday evening.

Diego Maradona
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Maradona had been in poor health. Pic@ Altitude Films

Latest reaction live after Maradona dies aged 60

The star, who underwent surgery for a subdural haematoma a few weeks ago, died of a heart attack, his lawyer said.

It happened at his home on the outskirts of Buenos Aires, according to Argentinian media.

A subdural haematoma is a serious condition where a blood clot develops between the skull and the surface of the brain. It is usually caused by a head injury.

The player’s doctor, Leopoldo Luque, said he had shown signs of improvement since the operation.

Maradona dead: Tributes paid to football legend

Maradona was also admitted to hospital recently because he was “not well psychologically”.

He had been “very sad for a week” and “didn’t want to eat”, according to one of his representatives.

Maradona at a match in March
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Maradona at a match in March

As well as the triumph in 1986, Maradona also led Argentina to the final of the Italia 90 World Cup and managed them in South Africa in 2010.

His international playing career ended after he failed a drugs test at the 1994 World Cup in the United States.

He was also banned from football in 1991 after testing positive for cocaine while playing for Napoli, where he won two Serie A titles.

His “Hand of God” goal against England in the 1986 quarter-finals – when he pushed the ball into the net with his hand – was followed by a remarkable solo effort, in which he dribbled past half the England team.

Just fourteen years later, the man born in a shanty town on the southern outskirts of Buenos Aires – the fifth of eight children – nearly died of cocaine-induced heart failure.

In 2005, he had a gastric bypass operation to lose weight, and was treated two years later for life-threatening alcohol-induced hepatitis.

Given his first football as an infant, he slept with it under his arm and was discovered in street kickabouts by the scout for Argentinos Juniors, making his league debut 10 days before his 16th birthday.

At 17, he just missed being included in Argentina’s 1978 World Cup-winning squad at home.

Former England striker Gary Lineker said Maradona was “by some distance the best player of my generation and arguably the greatest of all time”.

He added: “After a blessed but troubled life, hopefully he’ll finally find some comfort in the hands of God.”

Brazil’s Pele said: “I lost a great friend and the world lost a legend. One day, I hope we can play ball together in the sky.”

Cristiano Ronaldo said Maradona was an “eternal genius” and an “unmatched magician”.

Maradona playing in the World Cup in 1986
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Maradona playing in the World Cup in 1986

Graeme Souness, who played against Maradona during his time in Italy with Sampdoria, said he was “tiny but fearless”, an “absolute warrior and ridiculously brave”.

To play against him was to be in the “presence of greatness”, the former Liverpool captain added.

Napoli said Maradona’s death was a “devastating blow” for both the city and the club.

He also played for Barcelona, Sevilla, Boca Juniors and Newell’s Old Boys and was most recently manager of Gimnasia y Esgrima in La Plata, Argentina.

He coached in the Middle East and Mexico, as well as in his home country.



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National Rifle Association: US gun advocacy group files for bankruptcy | US News

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The National Rifle Association (NRA) has announced it has filed for bankruptcy petitions in a US court as part of a restructuring plan.

The gun rights advocacy group said it would restructure as a Texas nonprofit to exit what it described as “a corrupt political and regulatory environment in New York”, where it is currently registered.

It comes four months after the New York Attorney General filed a lawsuit to dissolve the organisation over allegations of financial misconduct.

In a message issued to its members and supporters on Friday, the group said the decision to file voluntary chapter 11 petitions in the United States Bankruptcy Court was not due to financial problems.

“You know that our opponents will try to seize upon this news and distort the truth,” the statement said.

“Don’t believe what you read from our enemies. The NRA is not ‘bankrupt’ or ‘going out of business’. The NRA is not insolvent. We are as financially strong as we have been in years.”

The message suggested the decision had been taken as a direct result of the lawsuit in New York.

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“We are leaving the state of an attorney general who, just a few months ago, vowed to put us out of business through an abuse of legal and regulatory power,” it said.

“Subject to court approval, the NRA is pursuing plans to reincorporate in the State of Texas.”

Residents of El Paso mourn the victims of the Walmart shooting
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The group has fought against gun controls despite a succession of mass shootings in the US, including the 2019 killing of 20 people in El Paso, Texas

A separate statement from the organisation said the “move will enable long-term, sustainable growth and ensure the NRA’s continued success as the nation’s leading advocate for constitutional freedom – free from the toxic political environment of New York”.

NRA chief executive Wayne LaPierre said: “Obviously, an important part of this plan is dumping New York.

“The NRA is pursuing reincorporating in a state that values the contributions of the NRA, celebrates our law-abiding members, and will join us as a partner in upholding constitutional freedom.”

The NRA has previously faced allegations it wields disproportionate influence on American politics through extensive lobbying.

New York State Attorney General Letitia James speaks during a news conference announcing the lawsuit
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New York State Attorney General Letitia James announced her move to dissolve the group in August

It has played a key role in preventing tighter restrictions on gun sales, despite a series of deadly mass shootings and opinion polls repeatedly showing a significant majority of Americans favour stricter controls on weapons.

Announcing her move to dissolve the group in August, New York Attorney General Letitia James accused it of siphoning millions of dollars from its charitable mission for personal use by senior figures.

“The NRA’s influence has been so powerful that the organisation went unchecked for decades while top executives funnelled millions into their own pockets,” she said.

“The NRA is fraught with fraud and abuse, which is why, today, we seek to dissolve the NRA, because no organisation is above the law.”

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US Capitol riots: Police break silence on ‘brutal, medieval style combat’ | US News

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Police involved in protecting the Capitol building last week have spoken for the first time describing what happened as “brutal, medieval style combat”.

The officers were outnumbered by hundreds of rioters, who federal prosecutors claim were intending to “capture and assassinate officials”.

Officer Daniel Hodges was nearly crushed to death in the violence. Disturbing video shows him trapped by a metal door, bloodied and screaming for help.

Supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump face off with police during a "Stop the Steal" protest outside of the Capitol building in Washington D.C. U.S. January 6, 2021. Picture taken January 6, 2021. REUTERS/Stephanie Keith
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Supporters of Donald Trump face off with police before breaching the Capitol building

“They were calling us traitors, shouting at us, telling us to remember our oath, and eventually, they attacked us,” he said.

“At that moment in the hallway where I was pinned, I was there to do my best to keep them out, obviously, and the way I was doing that was with my body.”

At times, he said, he thought he wouldn’t survive.

“There was chaos, someone managed to get his thumb in my eye and start gauging my eye,” he said.

“That was the second time I thought it might be the end, or I might be maliciously disfigured.”

The police officers’ accounts of the chaos and the violence brings a chilling new understanding to what the world witnessed.

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Nancy Pelosi has spoken of visiting Auschwitz – and then seeing anti-Semitic T-shirts among Capitol rioters

The footage is still being carefully studied by investigators.

In one video, police officer Michael Fanone can be seen being pulled from the building.

He was then beaten by the pro-Trump thugs on the steps of America’s seat of democracy.

He said: “Guys were grabbing at my gear, I had my badges ripped off, my radio was ripped off, one of my ammunition magazines was stripped from my belt and guys were trying to grab my gun and they were chanting: ‘Kill him with his own gun’.

“I thought… I could shoot them, they’re trying to kill me and I’m justified, but if I did that I’d provide them with the justification they needed to kill me.

“So then I thought I could appeal to someone’s humanity and I just started yelling that I have kids.”

A supporter of Donald Trump carries a Confederate battle flag in the US Capitol
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A supporter of Donald Trump carries a Confederate battle flag in the US Capitol

Another police officer, Eugene Goodman, has also been feted for his bravery and is now in line for the congressional gold medal.

In video that has emerged he can be seen armed with just his baton and, at great risk, diverting the insurrectionists away from the unguarded entrance to the Senate, allowing members to escape.

But as some police officers are lauded for their heroism, others are being investigated. It is thought some had a role in the chaos.

The wider investigation is beginning to gather pace and so far there have been nearly 100 arrests.

Authorities are still trying to identify more suspects, including the man wanted in connection with the murder of police officer, Brian Sicknick.

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And it is feared there could be more attacks in the days leading up to the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden.

Thousands of National Guard troops are fanned out across the capital, fortifying institutions.

This city now has all the hallmarks of a war zone. It is a sad reflection of the state of politics in a country which feels increasingly under siege.

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COVID-19: Global coronavirus deaths pass two million – just over a year since outbreak began | World News

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Global deaths linked to coronavirus have passed two million – just over a year since it was first identified in China.

The US has recorded the highest number at over 389,000 – and more than 23 million cases, according to figures from Johns Hopkins University.

Brazil – where several new variants have recently been identified – is second with over 207,000 deaths.

India and Mexico are next, with roughly 152,000 and 137,000 respectively.

The UK has recorded the fifth-highest death toll – and the highest in Europe – with more than 87,000 deaths recorded within 28 days of a confirmed positive test. Italy follows closely behind with around 80,000.

Global deaths from coronavirus hit one million on 29 September – it has taken 108 days to reach two million.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said the death toll had been “made worse by the absence of a global coordinated effort” on vaccination.

“Science has succeeded, but solidarity has failed,” he said.

While wealthy nations have already given millions of doses, things have barely got off the ground in poorer countries with large populations – meaning deaths from the virus are likely to remain high for a long time.

“Behind this terrible number are names and faces – the smile that will now only be a memory, the seat forever empty at the dinner table, the room that echoes with the silence of a loved one,” said Mr Guterres.

It is little over a year since the World Health Organisation (WHO) put out its first bulletin on COVID-19, warning that a “pneumonia of unknown cause” had been identified in China.

At that stage, it said the country had reported 44 patients of which 11 were severely ill, and that the outbreak had been linked to a wet market in the sprawling city of Wuhan.

Thailand confirmed the first case outside China on 13 January, and France reported three cases – the first in Europe – on 24 January.

America’s first case was in Washington state on 21 January – in a man who had recently been to Wuhan.

By the end of January, the WHO’s emergency committee declared the outbreak a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC).

The first UK cases were confirmed on 31 January – in two Chinese nationals at a York hotel – one of whom was a student at the city’s university.

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