Speaking at a conference on mental health at King’s College London yesterday, Mr Ellwood also debunked several myths around veterans, saying that ex-forces personnel are not mad, bad and sad, but make a vital contribution to society.The MOD recently increased funding for mental health provision for military personnel by £20 million over the next ten years.A new helpline for service personnel has also been established. The new number – 0800 323 4444 is backed up by a major internal communications campaign on mental fitness across the services.Combat Stress – the leading veterans mental health charity – has been commissioned to run the new helpline service for serving troops 24 hours a day.The extra £2-million a year for the next ten years to improve mental health services in the Armed Forces is on top of the £20-million per year that is currently committed. The additional money, which brings the total planned spending to £220-million over the next decade, will be put towards an increase in mental health specialists and bolstering existing provision.The MOD currently has a network of 20 ‘hub and spoke’ mental health centres, comprising of 11 hubs and a further nine teams. Regular visiting clinics are also held at other military centres across the country.Last year the MOD launched its Defence Mental Health and Wellbeing Strategy focusing on preventative measures to protect our personnel. MOD also partnered with the Royal Foundation, a charity setup by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry, to improve training and education alongside the strategy to promote mental fitness.There are a range of services provided by partners working with MOD and through the Armed Forces Covenant, including the NHS, other Government departments and charities which serving personnel, veterans, and their families can access.You can read the executive summary of the strategy hereYou can read the full strategy here
*** For Immediate Release:Saturday, May 3, 2008 State of Vermont Our budget also reflects the principles I laid out inJanuary: It protects the mostvulnerable and invests in economic growth and job creation. In particular, I want to thank you foragreeing to increase our investment in the Next Generation scholarships andworkforce training, and for restoring proposed cuts to the Building BrightFutures early childhood education program and my mentoring initiative forchildren. In January, I presented a series of proposals to achieveprosperity through affordability and to rethink, revitalize and reform the wayour state addresses its most pressing challenges. HOUSEINTROThank youMadam Speaker, Majority Leader Partridge and Minority Leader Adams for yourleadership; and my heartfelt thanks to all the members of this body for yourwork this session. Montpelier, Vt. — In a brief adjournment address to theLegislature today, Governor Jim Douglas highlighted the successes of the 2008legislative session. The complete text of the Governor’s addressfollows. *** We have made significant progress to improve the lives ofour fellow Vermonters, but there is more to do. We must, for example, redouble ourefforts to address rising healthcare costs and propertytaxes. I was pleased to sign the Energy Efficiency andAffordability Act of 2008 establishing an efficiency program to help homeownersand businesses reduce fuel consumption and save money. ### I am pleased to stand before you [this afternoon] tothank you for working with me to deliver on our obligations to the people ofVermont. I caution, however, that by not making some of the mostdifficult decisions there will be more significant budget challenges ahead. We will have to work together, in thecoming biennium, to manage to available revenues and increased pressures inMedicaid and other areas of state government. We can be proud of the bold steps we’ve taken to rethinkand reform our system of corrections. We can be particularly proud of the emphasis we’ve put on preventingdomestic and sexual violence. Contact: Jason Gibbs(802) 828-3333 *** JAMESH. DOUGLAS”urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office” /> Governor Highlights Successes of LegislativeSession ### Governor’s Adjournment AddressSaturday, May 03, 2008 From the outset, we recognized we must be unyielding inour commitment to the fiscal security of our state, the protection of Vermonterswho are struggling, and our investment in economicgrowth. Together, we crafted a responsible, compassionate andbalanced budget. And we turned backefforts to raise taxes on the already overburdened taxpayers of our state. SENATEINTROThank youLt. Governor Dubie for your steady leadership on so many important issues thissession; President Pro Tem Shumlin, and Minority Leader Doyle for yourleadership; and my heartfelt thanks to all of the members of thisbody. *** We passed health care legislation that makes additionalstrides in improving the cost and quality of our health care system. State ofVermont OFFICE OF THE GOVERNOR And I am pleased we were able to reach agreement on ahousing bill. While it took severalyears to get to this point, and the bill does not go as far as I had hoped, itwill result in the creation of homes that otherwise would not be built and, mostimportantly, that working families can afford. This is a step in the rightdirection. Your support for these efforts is appreciated—not just byme, but also by all the people of Vermont who expect Montpelier to take allresponsible steps to strengthen the economy, provide relief from rising costsand encourage job creation. *** We understoodthen, as we do now, that by making healthcare, homeownership and the taxburden more affordable—and by making smart, targeted investments in job creationand our natural environment—our families and our state willprosper. Vermont must remain vigilant—we will not rest on ourlaurels. We must resolve to takewhatever steps necessary to ensure we are the first state to emerge from thiseconomic downturn with a stronger, more innovative economy. JAMES H.DOUGLAS Going far beyond the success of these initiatives,however, is your swift and diligent work on my Economic Growth Initiative. This package will create jobs and helpensure Vermont emerges from this downturn with a stronger economy. OFFICE OF THE GOVERNOR We can be proud that this budget positions Vermont toemerge from this national recession with a stronger, more resilient—andtherefore more prosperous—economy for the long term. GOVERNOR GOVERNOR We’ve done it before—most recently in 2003—and we can doit again. Thank you all very much,indeed. We have a robust transportation bill that invests $418million into Vermont’s transportation infrastructure, emphasizes road and bridgepreservation and puts more Vermonters to work on projects all acrossVermont.
Middlebury Interactive Languages (MIL), the premier provider of world language instruction for K-12 students, has named former Massachusetts Governor and national education leader Jane Swift as CEO. Swift brings more than two decades of leadership in education technology, public policy and administration to MIL, a joint venture of Middlebury College, renowned for its world language programs, and K12 Inc., the nation’s largest provider of curriculum and online education for K-12 students.‘Learning a world language is important for students in many ways, but of greatest concern is the reality that America is falling behind other nations in preparing students with the language proficiency needed to compete in the global economy,’ said Swift. ‘It really excites me that MIL has the potential to transform how we teach and learn languages and better connect us to the rest of the world. I am delighted to work with such a great team to help more students gain the 21st Century skill of world language.’Founded in 2010, MIL offers a rich portfolio of world language products, both online and in brick-and-mortar schools, using language immersion as well as other techniques to accommodate different learning styles. By leveraging the online tools and reach of K12 and Middlebury College’s century of excellence in world language instruction, MIL provides proven and cost-effective world language programs for students, teachers and school districts across the country. As a result, MIL is well positioned to help reverse the alarming trend of public schools dropping world language programs due to budget cuts.Swift is also a Distinguished Lecturer of Leadership Studies at Williams College, where she has taught a class on leadership in politics for the past three years. Prior to MIL, Swift served as the Senior Vice President of Government Solutions and Strategy for ConnectEDU, a Boston-based private education technology company focusing on student college and career transitions. She also served as a General Partner at Arcadia Partners in Boston, a national education venture capital firm, and founder of WNP Consulting, an educational consultancy with clients across the country.‘With a leader of Jane Swift’s stature at the helm, we’re confident that Middlebury Interactive Languages will set a new standard in the world language learning industry across the nation,’ said Ron Packard, founder and Chief Executive Officer of K12 Inc. ‘The need for strong world language skills is critical in today’s 21st Century global economy, and Jane’s deep understanding of K12’s virtual school model and her proven record as an education leader will help MIL reach more students across the country.”MIL is leading the way to support world language proficiency as a critical core skill for all students. Better communication skills, along with cultural awareness obtained through world language study empower pre-college students entering a competitive and increasingly global workforce. Additional academic benefits to second language acquisition include improved cognitive abilities, better memory, and higher academic achievement. In fact, according to the College Board, students who completed at least four years of foreign-language study scored more than 100 points higher on each section of the SAT than students who took a half year or less.‘We are delighted to have Jane join us on this important educational initiative,’ said Ronald D. Liebowitz, President of Middlebury College. ‘World language opportunities for primary and secondary school students in this country are declining due to financial pressures, yet the need has never been more important to our nation’s global competitiveness and to each student’s future success. Jane’s leadership can help expand the reach and effectiveness of Middlebury’s renowned language immersion methodology, bringing both global culture and communication to an even wider audience of young students.”While serving as a public official for more than a decade, Swift made ensuring excellence in every Massachusetts school her top priority. As a three-term state Senator, Swift assisted in drafting the landmark 1993 Massachusetts Education Reform Act. As Governor from April 2001 to January 2003 she implemented many of the critical components of the new law. She also implemented sweeping changes in the Massachusetts public schools, which have been consistently ranked among the best in the nation. Recognizing the gains made under Swift’s watch, the U.S. Department of Education in January 2003 declared Massachusetts schools a national model.Swift, who has received seven honorary degrees, received a Bachelor of Arts in American Studies from Trinity College, in Hartford, Connecticut. During college, Swift spent a term abroad in Rome, Italy, where she was immersed in the local culture and became conversational in Italian, a language which she had heard regularly growing up when visiting her grandmother’s home. Her daughters are currently engaged in learning world language as well, and have been studying online with the Powerspeak12 program for the past three years.A native of North Adams, Massachusetts, Swift resides with her husband, Chuck Hunt, and their three daughters in Williamstown, Massachusetts.About Middlebury Interactive LanguagesMiddlebury Interactive Languages (MIL) is the premier academic leader in world language instruction for K-12 students. A joint venture of Middlebury College and K12 Inc. (NYSE: LRN), MIL is a national leader in providing greater access to superior world language programs and a key contributor to the success of digital learning initiatives to provide students with the skills they need to be competitive in a 21st Century global marketplace.Middlebury Interactive Languages offers a portfolio of world language products as a total solution, both online and in brick-and-mortar schools, using academic teaching methods to meet national ACTFL standards. Products include the Middlebury-Monterey Language Academy, a full-immersion summer residency program; Middlebury Interactive courses, intensive online coursework for high schools offering Middlebury immersion; Powerspeak12 robust online language focus courses for grades 3-12; Avant STAMP assessment; and MIL Professional Development. MIDDLEBURY, Vt.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–
By Dialogo February 09, 2011 Peruvian Defense Minister Jaime Thorne affirmed on 6 February that the United States will continue supporting Peru in the areas of intelligence and technological resources for the fight against drug trafficking. “We’ve going to have help on two issues that are very important, technology and intelligence, and that’s very important in the fight against drug trafficking,” Thorne told the press after meeting with the head of the U.S. Southern Command, Air Force General Douglas Fraser, and the U.S. ambassador to Peru, Rose Likins. Thorne said that Fraser told him that the will is there to continue working in collaboration with Peru on the strategic and technological levels in the fight against drug trafficking. “That decision is very valuable, beyond the material contributions, because intelligence work among all the countries involved in the issue of drug trafficking is very important,” he said. Thorne said that this support will be a complement to the human resources that are prominent in the Peruvian Armed Forces and police. “We have excellent military and police capabilities,” he added. In June 2010, a report by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) indicated that Peru had become the world’s largest producer of coca with 119,000 tons in 2009, displacing Colombia, which produced 103,000 tons. Peru is estimated to have an annual cocaine production of 304 tons, which puts it in second place behind Colombia.
Fadjroel also explained that Indonesia follows in several other countries’ footsteps in imposing a temporary ban on the live animal trade to and from mainland China. Previously, Trade Minister Agus Suparmanto stated that Indonesia would halt imports of live animals from China, adding the government was considering the possibility of banning imports of other goods from the country as well. “We will obviously stop live animal imports from China and are still considering banning other products,” Agus said on Monday. This statement drew criticism from Chinese Ambassador to Indonesia Xiao Qian, who asked Indonesia to remain calm.“In this situation, we need to be calm. Don’t overreact and cause a negative impact on investments and the economy,” Qian said, citing the World Health Organization’s recommendation for other countries to refrain from restricting travel or trade with China. Responding to Qian’s statement, Fadjroel said he did not agree that Indonesia was overreacting in this case.“Other countries also did the same as our government. We will keep it that way until WHO revokes certain bans related to coronavirus outbreak prevention,” he said.Topics : In response to Beijing’s displeasure toward Jakarta’s decision to impose restrictions on importing goods from China, the government of Indonesia has clarified that they would only apply to live animals.“We would like to thank the Chinese government for its feedback, although we have to clarify that we only prohibited trade involving live animals,” presidential spokesman M. Fadjroel Rachman said in a statement on Wednesday. Read also: ‘Don’t overreact’: Chinese envoy responds to Indonesia’s travel ban amid virus fears
Deputy President William Ruto has asked the Council of Governors to reconsider its decision to shut down counties saying there are better ways of dealing with the stalemate. Ruto urged Governors to take advantage of the Supreme Court ruling that unlocks 50 per cent of their total allocation.He said the partial shutting down of counties would derail the country’s development agenda adding that counties were an integral part in ensuring equal distribution of resources. “No county should be shut down because there is a way they can receive resources,” he explained.Get breaking news on your Mobile as-it-happens. SMS ‘NEWS’ to 20153 Dr Ruto spoke today at his Karen residence during a prayer meeting attended by Kajiado County faith and political leaders.Also Read Cardinal Njue condemns conduct of leaders in the countryPresent were MPs George Sunkuyia (Kajiado West), Mary Senata (Nominated), Aisha Jumwa (Malindi), Lemanken Aramat (Narok East), Mwambu Mabonga (Bumula), Benjamin Tayari (Kinango), George Kariuki (Ndia), Kimani Ichunywa (Kikuyu), Philip Mpayeei (Kajiado County), Beatrice Nkatha (Tharaka Nithi).At the same time, Dr Ruto appealed to Senators to take advantage of the additional resources allocated to counties to end the revenue sharing formula stalemate.Dr Ruto said the Senate must come up with a formula that will ensure no county is disadvantaged.Also Read Uhuru calls for rebuilding of the UN to better address emerging challengesDr Ruto asked Jubilee Party leaders not to lose focus on the party’s manifesto.He said the Party promised to unite Kenyans and transform the country through the implementation of development projects.“The foundation of Jubilee is to unite Kenyans from all communities and eliminate tribalism because united we can achieve everything we want.”On his part, Mr Mabonga said Jubilee Party was committed to the development of the country as outlined in the party’s manifesto.He said: “We want to see this nation prosper because that was the agenda of Jubilee Party.”Mr Sunkuyia said they would stand firm in the party to ensure the party does not fall apart.Also Read COVID-19: Kenya records 139 new cases, 198 recoveries and 9 fatalitiesMr Ichungwa said the country was better off prioritizing economic recovery to secure jobs as opposed to amending the constitution.The Kikuyu legislator said the country should focus on implementing the 2010 constitution saying it was the best Africa.“All we need is to implement this Constitution to the letter, if we do that we do not need to change anything else in it.”Ms Jumwa said it would be wise to implement other reports citing the Truth Justice and Reconciliation Commission and the Ndung’u report.
It might have been mid-May, but there was no mistaking the magnitude of Saturday afternoon’s game against the San Francisco Giants.And Dee Gordon was going to do anything he could to spark the Dodgers’ offense.Gordon terrorized the Giants on the basepaths and at the plate, igniting a 6-2 comeback victory in a game in which the Dodgers trailed 2-0 in the sixth inning.To Gordon, there was one simple goal Saturday. Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error “Just win — that’s it,” Gordon said, breaking into a big grin. “I just wanted to help my teammates get in better situations so we can score some runs.‘It felt good. We haven’t come back like this in a long time. It shows the kind of team we can potentially have.”Gordon drilled a two-out RBI double past a drawn-in Pablo Sandoval at third base to drive in the go-ahead run in the seventh inning.Gordon went 2 for 3 with a walk, two runs and an RBI. Gordon also recorded three stolen bases — the third time this season he has stolen three in a game. Gordon has a major league-leading 24 steals, becoming just the fourth player in the past 25 years to have at least 24 steals through their first 35 games, joining Scott Podsednik (25 in 2005 with the Chicago White Sox), Kenny Lofton (26 in 1996 with Cleveland) and Vince Coleman (25 in 1991 with the New York Mets). “Dee’s a little beast, man,” said Dodgers center fielder Matt Kemp, who went 2 for 4 with a solo homer in the eighth inning, giving him his fifth multi-hit game in his past eight. “He’s great for the team and gets us going. He’s a firecracker. He needs to keep stealing bases.”It was just the Dodgers’ third win in nine games against San Francisco this season and it pulled them within 3 1/2 games of the Giants in the NL West. The Dodgers also won for just the second time in their past seven games.“We definitely needed this,” Kemp said. “They have pretty much owned us, and we need to start playing better baseball.”The Dodgers had the right guy on the mound to accomplish that feat.Zack Greinke has pretty much established himself as a stopper since joining the Dodgers’ rotation last season, usually following a Dodger defeat with a much-needed victory.Boy, was Greinke needed Saturday.Greinke (6-1) delivered seven quality innings, allowing two runs on six hits with eight strikeouts, three walks and a hit batter.It was the 20th straight start in which Greinke has allowed two or fewer runs, and Greinke had to work out of a pair of bases-loaded jams in the first two innings to keep it to 2-0.“I mixed pitches really well today, and that was the key. And I didn’t throw it down the middle when guys were on base. Those were the two keys probably,” Greinke said. “Anytime you give up a couple of runs early, you’ve got to keep them there. Down three, that’s a little tough, but two and we can still come back.”“The No. 1 thing today was winning a game we were losing for a long time, and it was a little bigger because it was the Giants.”Brian Wilson loaded the bases in the eighth but got Hunter Pence to hit a mile-high that catcher Drew Butera (double, run) gloved to a massive roar from the announced crowd of 47,199.Chris Perez pitched a scoreless ninth for the Dodgers.Greinke (6-1) improved to 5-1 this season following Dodger losses and is 11-2 after losses during his short tenure with the team. The Dodgers own a 14-3 record in Greinke’s starts following a loss in the past two years.“We’re lucky to have a guy like him pitching for us, and he’s pitching the best he can. All our pitchers are doing the best they can,” Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig said in Spanish. “Even when we get ourselves in a little trouble, they’re there.”Puig and Kemp have been heating up of late.Kemp hit his fifth homer of the season — an opposite-field shot that kept carrying during the afternoon heat at Dodger Stadium. He also had a tying RBI single in the sixth.Kemp is hitting .464 (13 for 28) with two doubles, a homer and an RBI in his past eight games.Puig hit an RBI ground-rule double that just got chalk down the left-field line to score Gordon in the seventh for a 4-2 lead. Puig finished with two hits, extending his hitting streak to 10 games — in which he is hitting .415 (17 for 41) with two doubles, two homers and 10 RBIs. He also added a nifty catch in foul territory in the ninth.“I’ve had a lot of concentration, I’ve been hitting curveballs and all the pitches and I’m working hard every day,” Puig said. “I feel very happy for us winning against a team who has been defeating us too many times.”
FACEBOOK / LOCAL SMOKE People across the county are finding ways to support area restaurants struggling to stay open and pay staff during the COVID-19 shutdown, like Local Smoke BBQ in Red Bank. Not only is the town looking to help businesses in Holmdel, but it is also looking for ways to support small business owners who live in Holmdel, whose places of work may be outside of the community. There is now an online questionnaire available on the township website, for example, that asks respondents what they need from the public to stay afloat. That may include purchasing online gift cards or merchandise, making donations or ordering takeout or delivery. When asked what the survey responses are showing, Buontempo said most businesses are seeing inconsistency. “On any given day, their business is up because they’re getting a lot of activity or some days, they’re getting little activity. It’s not as consistent business as it was in the past,” he said. It’s been “very hard” for these business owners to predict their staffing and inventory needs. The New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJDEA) has presented a package of programs to support small businesses impacted by the virus, with over $75 million of state and private financial support. It will benefit an anticipated 3,000 to 5,000 small and midized enterprises through a zero-interest grant program, according to a press release. FACEBOOK / GOOD KARMA Restaurants are also supporting health care workers on the frontlines, including Good Karma Cafe, in Red Bank Some towns had already provided residents with a list of open restaurants and essential retail businesses, including Holmdel Township. According to Mayor Greg Buontempo, township employees called restaurants in Holmdel to figure out which establishments were open and what they were offering. They then composed a list of those open restaurants with hours of operation and whether they are available for pickup orders, delivery or are registered with mobile prepared food delivery applications like GrubHub, Uber Eats, etc. “Small businesses are the backbone of our economy and account for more than 95 percent of the business community in Monmouth County,” said Freeholder Director Thomas A. Arnone. “It’s a quick reference guide for residents to be able to support local restaurants and eateries in town,” said Buontempo. By Allison Perrine Next, they reached out to Holmdel businesses that remain open under the government’s executive orders. Similar to what it did for the restaurants, the town found out which stores are open and listed them on the website with hours of operation. MONMOUTH COUNTY – As social distancing regulations remain in place, putting a heavy burden on restaurants and small businesses, people are stepping up to try and keep them afloat during this challenging time. As part of the initiative, announced April 2 during a county press conference, a list is now available of all area restaurants that are open for business with takeout and delivery options. It will be continually updated and is available at takeoutinmonmouth.com. Currently, it is organized by town. Residents can find their municipality, click through and find out which restaurants are open, with links to their websites. Any businesses that are open and are not on the list are welcome to email [email protected] to be added. This article originally appeared in the April 9th, 2020 print edition of The Two River Times. The owner of a small business himself, Sen. Vin Gopal (D-11) says he knows personally how hard the pandemic is hitting local businesses. “Low-interest loans are helpful as a stopgap measure, but a lot of mom-and-pop stores can’t afford to go deeper into debt – they need clear and direct cash assistance now,” he said in a press release. “I’m glad to see the NJEDA taking this important step forward, and I know that we’ll continue to work to make sure that our small business can stay afloat during this crisis.” Most restaurants in the Two River area are continuing to serve their customers, if possible, with takeout and delivery options. However, those efforts may not be enough to keep some businesses out of debt or from closing permanently. Because of that, several grassroots efforts are popping up in Monmouth County to support the community, including the county’s latest initiative, “Take Out in Monmouth.” “This is such a great and easy way for residents to know where they can locally order takeout and delivery as well as for small businesses to let residents know that they are open for business,” said Sue Kiley, freeholder deputy director.
ARCADIA, Calif. (Dec. 30, 2015)– Four-time winner of the prestigious sprint, trainer Bob Baffert has once again set his sights on Saturday’s Grade II, $200,000 Santa Ynez Stakes at 6 ½ furlongs on the main track as he trains three of the eight 3-year-old fillies entered. Graded stakes winner Pretty N Cool, as well as Treasuring and One Last Shot will contest the 65th running for the Hall of Fame conditioner.Sensational when breaking her maiden by four and a half lengths in her first outing over a sloppy track at Del Mar July 19, Pretty N cool went on to finish second in the Grade I Del Mar Debutante to Breeders’ Cup Juvenile filly winner Songbird on Sept. 5. Though fourth in her last outing in her first attempt at a route of ground in the Grade I Starlet at Los Alamitos on Dec. 12, Pretty N Cool will return to a shorter distance Saturday as she seeks her first Grade I win.Pretty N Cool is owned by Karl Watson, Mike Pegram and Paul Weitman and is 6-3-1-0 overall with earnings of $362,000.After breaking her maiden by 7 ¼ lengths at Los Alamitos on Sept. 19, Smart Strike’s Treasuring went on to run second in the Desi Arnaz stakes by only half a length at Del Mar on Nov. 15 and most recently, ran fifth in the Grade I Starlet.Treasuring is owned by Hill ‘n’ Dale Equine Holdings Inc. and Edward McGhee and is 5-1-1-2 overall with earnings of $72,800.With five starts to her name, One Last Shot has run a mile on turf in three stakes, including the Grade III Jimmy Durante at Del Mar on Nov. 28 in which she ran 11th after having to steady at the quarter pole. The filly by Any Given Saturday who was purchased for $230,000 at the OBS 2-year-old in training sale in April will visit the main track at Santa Anita for the first time and will gain veteran Mike Smith in the saddle.The complete field for the Santa Ynez, to be run as the 3rd race on a nine-race card Saturday, with jockeys and weights in post position order: My Dynamo, Fernando Perez, 119; Rockantharos, Edwin Maldonado, 119; Decked Out, Kent Desormeaux, 119; Treasuring, Victor Espinoza, 119; One Last Shot, Mike Smith, 119; Code Warrior, Anne Sanguinetti, 119; Pretty N Cool, Martin Garcia, 123; Forever Darling, Rafael Bejarano, 119.
Mali applied some early pressure from corners, but they were almost caught out when Emmanuel Emenike got behind the defence on the right after a beautiful pass from John Obi Mikel. The striker then forced an excellent right-footed save out of Mamadou Samassa, who was at full stretch as he blocked the shot. The second semi-final took place at the Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit where Burkina Faso had played all their matches so far, beating Ethiopia and Togo and drawing with Zambia and Nigeria. They made good use of their previous experience at the ground to take the game to Ghana and created the contest’s better chances. When the penalty shootout went their way, they were deserved winners. Mikel came close from range with a powerful volley in the 22nd minute, but only minutes later the Super Eagles hit the front. 7 February 2013 ‘Nigerians have waited a long time for this’“Nigerians have waited a long time for this moment,” coach Stephen Keshi said after the match. “Nigerians have missed out a great deal in the last few years. My goal was to put a smile on the faces of Nigerians. ‘I believe in my players’Stallions’ coach Paul Put was a very happy man after the match and said: “We are looking forward to doing well in our first ever final because l believe in my players, and l have seen so much commitment from them on the field.” EqualiserOn the hour, Bance levelled for Burkina Faso. After receiving the ball on the edge of the Black stars’ box, in plenty of space, he finished with aplomb to Dauda’s right to make it 1-1. Mali’s coach Patrice Carteron tried to put a positive spin on a bad result. “We are proud of the fact that we have been able to play well. I’m proud of my team, even though we did not go to the final. We have to remain positive. A minute from the break, Mali’s misery was compounded when Emenike found the back of the net from a free kick at the top of the box. It was clear that it wasn’t going to be Mali’s night; Emenike’s shot was to Samassa’s right, but it took a big deflection before finding the bottom left-hand corner. On the sidelines, the Nigerians celebrated wildly. Their spot in the Afcon final was all but sealed. Durban’s Moses Mabhida Stadium hosted the early semi-final between Mali, the highest ranked team remaining in the tournament and Nigeria, who had defeated the top ranked team in Africa, Cote d’Ivoire, in the previous round. A tight contest was predicted, but it failed to materialise as the Super Eagles netted three times in the last 20 minutes of the first half to take a 3-0 lead into the break. It was too much for the Malians to overcome. Five minutes from the end, the outstanding Jonathan Pitroipa went down in the Ghana box. It looked like a clear-cut penalty, but referee Jedidi instead showed Pitroipa a yellow card for diving, which was the player’s second of the game, and he was dismissed. ‘We lost against a good team’“We lost against a good team that was full of confidence tonight. We played a team that just beat Cote d’Ivoire and you could see their confidence on the night. What happened to us tonight is very difficult. Mali has been able to reach the semi- finals before and we also achieved that, which is good.” Burkina Faso started strongly, but Ghana were first on the scoreboard when referee Slim Jedidi inexplicably awarded a penalty against the Stallions. It was a hard to fathom decision that outraged the Burkinabe, but Wakaso eventually took the spot kick and beat Daouda Diakite, low to the keeper’s left. ShootoutAnd so the match moved to the penalty spot. With the first kick, Ghana’s Isaac Vorsah made a horrible mess of his shot, firing shockingly wide of Diakite’s right hand post. Henri Traore then beat Dauda to immediately put Burkina Faso on the front foot. Moses was the instigator just five minutes later when Nigeria doubled their lead. He sent Emenike clear with a lovely through ball, which the striker ran onto before crossing to the feet of Brown Ideye, who bundled the ball into the net. Bance almost netted his second with a blast from close range that beat the keeper, but Harrison Afful somehow not only blocked the shot on the line, but deflected it over the crossbar for a corner. Asamoah Gyan, Ghana’s captain, commented: “It was unfortunate to lose on penalties. We came here to win and go to the final, but what happened tonight ended up like a lottery with penalties and we were unlucky with ours. We have lost, but we will get over it and move on.” For the Nigerians, it was a case of the Super Eagles being better than the Eagles as they advanced to their first Afcon final since 2000. For the Burkinabe, the victory ensured their best ever result in the continental finals. Their previous best of fourth place in 1998 was achieved on home soil in 1998. Eagles’ skipper Seydou Keita, one of the tournament’s most outstanding players, admitted Nigeria outplayed Mali, but was disappointed in his side’s performance. “We were very happy against South Africa because we played as a team,” he said. “Tonight we didn’t play well and we must all share responsibility.” Ball watchingVictor Moses did great work on the right, working his way free of the attention of Adama Tamboura with a great turn, which caught the Malian defenders in the middle ball watching. Elderson Echiejile, however, was ready when Moses knocked in a teasing cross across the top of the six-yard box. He met the ball on the bounce with a diving header, which left Samassa with no chance and Nigeria one goal to the good. A diving saveGyan got in behind the Stallions’ defence in the 25th minute, but was unable to beat Diakite, who kept his team in the match with a diving save to his left. Solomon Asante also had a decent chance to score, but his shot ballooned over the crossbar from inside the box. Burkina Faso pressed hard from the start of the second half and Fatawu Dauda barely kept a header from Aristide Bance out. Ghana were under the whip, but they almost caught out the Burkinabe on the counter-attack; Gyan’s shot from close range hit the keeper’s left-hand post and rebounded into play. On the attack, the Stallions’ Prejuce Nakoulma battled hard to get a foot to the ball in the Ghanaian box. Goalie Duada came out to challenge, but Nakoulma jabbed it past him and into the net. The referee, with another controversial decision, ruled the striker’s foot had been too high and it was thus dangerous play. ExposedOn the hour-mark, the Malians were again exposed down their left flank when Ahmed Musa was sent clear with only the keeper to beat. He fired between Samassa’s legs to extend the Green Machine’s lead to 4-0. Paul Koulibaly, though, failed to beat Duada in the third round of kicks and the scores were level. Emmanuel Clottey handed the advantage back to the Burkinabe with a poor miss and Diakite sealed Ghana’s fate when he saved superbly to his left from Emmanuel Agyemang-Badu. Would you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See: Using SAinfo material “We knew that Mali would give us a tough time, but we knew that they are a little bit slow and we took advantage of that.” The favourites were upset as Nigeria and Burkina Faso progressed to the final of the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) in South Africa on Wednesday night. Nigeria were superb in a 4-1 win over Mali, while Burkina Faso saw off Ghana 3-2 on penalties, with one kick in hand, after the teams had ended extra time level at 1-1. Christian Atsu drew a good save out of Diakite with a well-struck left-footed shot, but the match headed into extra time. The Eagles were not going down without a fight and they managed to pull one back in the 75th minute through Cheick Diarra after good approach play from Cheick Diabate. There was no coming back from 4-0 down, however, and Nigeria cruised into the Afcon final.