Woman faces court over alleged attack of nurse, cop


A GRAFTON woman charged with attacking two people while seeking medical treatment in Lismore Base Hospital has had her charges dismissed.

The 22-year-old woman was charged with assault occasioning actual bodily harm, resisting an officer in execution of duty, two counts of assaulting an officer in execution of duty and common assault.

Police alleged the woman, who can’t be named for legal reasons, was being treated in the hospital after she overdosed on her medication.

The court was told the woman had allegedly assaulted a nurse while being treated in early September and then when police were called, she attacked one of the arresting officers.

 

Lismore Base Hospital in Lismore.

 

When her matter was mentioned before Lismore Local Court on Monday, her solicitor, Hannah Donaldson, said her client didn’t have a criminal history and her behaviour during the incident was very out of character.

Ms Donaldson asked for her client to be dealt with under the Mental Health Act.

Magistrate Jeff Linden said while the woman’s actions were on the “bottom end of the spectrum” in terms of how serious the injuries were, attacks on hospital staff were increasing in frequency.

However, he agreed to deal with the matter under the Act.

The woman’s charges were dismissed on the condition she complies with a community treatment order.





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Man charged with stalking, attempted abduction over Hawthorn attack


A man has been charged after a young woman was allegedly stalked and attacked in Melbourne’s east last week.

The 30-year-old from Kew was arrested in relation to an incident in the early hours of Sunday, November 22, in which a 25-year-old woman was allegedly stalked around the Glenferrie and Burwood roads area in Hawthorn.

The woman told police that just before 1am, she believed she was being followed. She changed her walking route and called a friend to alert them to her situation.

Police say that a man then followed her in a car. CCTV footage shows a man pulling on a black balaclava mask moments before she was grabbed.

The woman elbowed the man in the stomach as he allegedly attempted to choke her and drag her backwards into Henry Street.



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Melbourne woman killed and two others seriously injured in Narre Warren home attack



A woman has died and two other people are in hospital with serious injuries after they were attacked at a house in Melbourne’s outer-south-east on Monday afternoon.

Emergency services were called to the house on Springvalley Way at Narre Warren South about 1:00pm.

A 70-year-old woman and a three-year-old girl were taken to hospital with serious injuries.

A 42-year-old woman was flown to hospital but later died.

A 15-year-old boy was arrested at the scene and taken to hospital under police guard with serious injuries.

Police said investigators were yet to determine the exact circumstances of the the incident, but were not looking for anyone else.



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Just like Trump’s tariffs, China’s trade attack will backfire


Trump’s tariffs, particularly those he placed on China’s exports to the US during last year’s American-instigated trade war, were initially misconceived – they were the product of Trump’s lack of understanding of international trade and the significance, or otherwise, of trade balances – and then morphed into a broader and more complex attempt to damage China’s ability to challenge America’s economic, technological and geopolitical leadership.

China’s actions are punishment for Australia’s outspokenness and an attempt to intimidate the Morrison government and prevent it from airing its opinions and inciting a broader western consensus and alliance that could have a material impact on the issues whose visibility Australia has raised.

Like Trump’s tariffs and assaults on the multi-lateral organisations that America had played a pivotal role in creating, which alarmed America’s traditional allies, China’s attempt to intimidate Australia is likely to be counter-productive and force other western nations to consider what China’s new belligerence might mean for them.

Just like Trump’s tariffs, there is also a cost to China’s companies and consumers from its actions.

The Trump trade war might have damaged China, although it largely redirected the exports affected by the tariffs, but it was paid for by US companies and consumers in the form of higher prices. Similar outcomes could be expected from China’s bans on Australian products.

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Australia, apart from its proximity, has become one of China’s major trading partners because it is reliable, its products are high-quality and its prices are competitive.

Take coking coal. Australia – mainly BHP – supplies roughly half the metallurgical coal China’s steel mills import. While China has a massive domestic coal industry, its steel mills need the premium coal Australia produces.

Higher quality raw materials make the mills more productive, lower energy costs, produce less environmentally-damaging emissions and help contribute to higher quality end-products.

Since China first canvassed the ban on Australian coal, about 7 million tonnes – an estimated $US700 million ($950 million) worth of coal – has been left stranded, awaiting unloading, in Chinese ports. The ex-Australia coking coal price has slumped to about $US100 a tonne, its lowest levels for four years and nearly 30 per cent lower than the price two months ago.

BHP is the biggest Australian exporter of coal to China. Credit:Peter Braig

That would suggest the “ban” – China says the curbs on imports of Australian coal are because many Australian producers have failed to meet environmental standards – is working to hurt Australia.

Chinese domestic coal prices, however, have risen sharply – they’re now about twice the price of imported coal – and the prices of the US and Canadian coking coal that is being substituted for the Australian product have also spiked.

So, Chinese steel mills are paying a lot more for lesser quality coals that reduce the productivity of their operations, produce more environmentally harmful emissions and lead to lesser quality products.

The market for coking coal is far more diversified than for, say, iron ore where China takes up to 80 per cent of Australia’s production. Japan, South Korea, India and even Europe are existing customers. India, in particular, is experiencing something of a steelmaking boom and has been buying more Australian coal.

Thus, to punish Australia China is damaging its own steel’s competitiveness by providing its competitors with access to more high quality but lower-priced raw materials that self-evidently meet the Japanese, Korean and Indian environmental standards.

The massive tariffs on Australian wine for supposed dumping – selling products below the cost of producing them – is as absurd, although the cost of that action will be borne via reduced choice for Chinese consumers.

Australia is the biggest exporter of wine to China and Treasury Wine Estates is the heavyweight among those exporters. The 169.3 per cent tariff on its wines will effectively price them out of the market.

Maybe the targeting of Australian wine and coal is as much a protection racket as it is punishment for Australian politicians offending Chinese sensitivities.

If Treasury is dumping wine in China, however, it’s not at all obvious in its financials. The Treasury EBITS (earnings before interest, tax and the accounting treatment for its wine inventories) margin in Asia, where China generates more than two-thirds of the division’s earnings, is a touch under 40 per cent.

That compares with a margin of 22.5 per cent in Australia, 13.8 per cent in the US and 14 per cent in Europe, the Middle East and Africa and looks more like profiteering than dumping.

China is trying to revive its domestic wine industry, where production has more than halved in the past three years. There’s also been a spate of defaults on corporate bond issues by Chinese state-owned coal producers.

Maybe the targeting of Australian wine and coal is as much a protection racket as it is punishment for Australian politicians offending Chinese sensitivities. In any event, while it will harm Australian producers, there’ll be some self-inflicted harm, too. Just like Trump’s tariffs.

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Rocket attack causes fire at oil refinery in northern Iraq


BAGHDAD (AP) — A rocket attack in northern Iraq on Sunday caused a large fire to break out at an oil refinery, briefly halting operations, the country’s Oil Ministry said.

The fire hit a fuel storage tank at the small Siniya refinery in Salahuddin province. There were no reports of casualties, the ministry statement said.

The fire was extinguished and operations resumed within few hours after the attack, the ministry said, citing the state-owned Northern Refining Company that runs the refinery.

The Siniya refinery is near Iraq’s largest oil refinery, Baiji, which sustained major damage during the war against the Islamic State group. The refinery was overhauled and eventually reopened in 2017 following the extremist group’s defeat.

It was not immediately clear who was behind Sunday’s attack. Although IS no longer holds territory in Iraq, the group maintains sleeper cells and frequently carries out attacks across parts of the country, including the north.

Iranian-supported armed groups are also believed to be behind a series of rocket and mortar attacks targeting U.S. interests in Iraq, frustrating the Trump administration, which in September threatened to close its embassy in Baghdad if they continue.



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Ethiopia’s Tigray crisis: Mekelle hospital struggling after attack – Red Cross


media captionEthiopia’s Tigray conflict: What does it mean for the east Africa region?

The main hospital in the capital of Ethiopia’s northern region of Tigray is “dangerously low” on supplies as it treats the wounded from the fighting around the city, the Red Cross says.

On Saturday, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed had said that federal forces had taken control of the city.

He described it as the “last phase” in the three-week long fight with the Tigray People’s Liberation Front.

But the TPLF leader vowed to fight on, in a statement to Reuters.

Few details have emerged from Tigray throughout the fighting as communications have been cut.

  • Ethiopian soldiers accused of blocking border with Sudan

  • Can Ethiopia ignore Africa’s diplomats?
  • Why Ethiopia may be marching into guerrilla war

The statement from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) provides a rare insight into events on the ground during the conflict – in which hundreds have reportedly died and tens of thousands have fled their homes.

What does the Red Cross say?

The ICRC said the Ethiopian Red Cross ambulances had taken “injured and deceased people” to the Ayder Referral Hospital.

On a visit to the hospital, ICRC staff found “80% of patients to be suffering from trauma injuries” adding that other services had to be suspended “so that limited staff and resources could be devoted to emergency medical care”.

“The hospital is running dangerously low on sutures, antibiotics, anticoagulants, painkillers, and even gloves,” ICRC head in Ethiopia Maria Soledad said.

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.View original tweet on Twitter

The hospital is also running low on body bags for the deceased, the Geneva-based organisation said.

The ICRC, however, did not give any figures for the numbers injured or dead. Neither did it say whether the victims were civilians or military personnel.

What does the government say?

In a statement on Twitter on Saturday, Mr Abiy said the army was in full control of Mekelle and that this “marks the completion of the [military’s] last phase”.

“I am pleased to share that we have completed and ceased the military operations in the Tigray region,” he said.

media caption“Every precaution will be taken to protect civilians,” says attorney general Gedion Timothewos

He added that the army had released thousands of soldiers taken by the TPLF and was in control of the airport and regional offices, saying that the operation had been carried out with “due care for citizens”.

The prime minister has consistently described the TPLF leadership as a “criminal clique” and said that the police will “bring them to the court of law”.

How has the TPLF responded?

In a text message to Reuters, TPLF leader Debretsion Gebremichael did not directly comment on the situation on the ground, but said of the government forces: “Their brutality can only add [to] our resolve to fight these invaders to the last.”

He added: “This is about defending our right to self-determination.”

Mr Debretsion’s whereabouts are unknown.

A TPLF statement read out on regional Tigray TV said: “Fascistic bombings have caused civilian deaths and injuries. The Tigray government has vowed that it would take retaliatory actions against the barbaric bombings”.

Tigray TV and another station from the region were taken off air.

Analysts say the TPLF could now be preparing to return to the mountains to launch a guerrilla war against the federal government.

What are the humanitarian concerns?

The UN had warned of possible war crimes if the Ethiopian army attacked Mekelle.

It has also expressed concerns about the lack of access for humanitarian workers.

The Ethiopian authorities said on Thursday that “a humanitarian access route” overseen by the government would be opened, adding they were “committed to work with UN agencies… to protect civilians and those who need it”.

Also on Thursday, Ethiopian troops were deployed along Tigray’s border with Sudan, preventing people fleeing the violence from leaving the country, according to refugees.

media captionThe BBC’s Anne Soy reports from a refugee camp on the Sudan-Ethiopian border

In an update released on Saturday, the UN said that more than 40,000 Ethiopians had crossed over since the fighting began in early November.

Ethiopia’s state-appointed Human Rights Commission has accused a Tigrayan youth group of being behind a massacre this month in which it says more than 600 non-Tigrayan civilians in the town of Mai-Kadra were killed. The TPLF denied involvement.

In a meeting on Friday, Mr Abiy told African peace envoys that civilians would be protected.

Who are the TPLF?

The TPLF fighters, drawn mostly from a paramilitary unit and a well-drilled local militia, are thought to number about 250,000.

The organisation was founded in the 1970s and spearheaded the uprising against Marxist dictator Mengistu Haile Mariam, who was toppled in 1991.

It then went on to be the dominant political force in the country until Mr Abiy became prime minister in 2018.

Mr Debretsion has said the Tigray forces were “ready to die in defence of our right to administer our region”.

What is the fighting about?

The conflict is rooted in longstanding tension between Ethiopia’s government and the TPLF, sparked by Mr Abiy’s moves to sideline the party.

When Mr Abiy postponed a national election because of coronavirus in June, relations further deteriorated.

The TPLF said the government’s mandate to rule had expired, arguing that Mr Abiy had not been tested in a national election.

In September the party held its own election, which the government said was “illegal”.

In early November, TPLF fighters entered a military base in Mekelle which led to the start of the federal army’s operation in Tigray.

Find out more about the Tigray crisis:

media captionThree consequences of the ongoing crisis in Tigray.

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Iranian nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh dies in hospital after being shot in targeted attack


An Iranian nuclear scientist long suspected by the West of masterminding a secret atomic weapons programme was assassinated near Tehran.

Mohsen Fakhrizadeh died of injuries in hospital after armed assassins fired on his car, Iranian media reported.

“Unfortunately, the medical team did not succeed in reviving [Fakhrizadeh], and a few minutes ago, this manager and scientist achieved the high status of martyrdom after years of effort and struggle,” Iran’s armed forces said in a statement.

The semi-official Fars news agency said the attack happened in Absard, a small city just east of the capital, Tehran.

It said witnesses heard the sound of an explosion and then machine gun fire. The attack targeted a car that Fakhrizadeh was in, the agency said.

Tasnim news agency said that “terrorists blew up another car” before firing on a vehicle carrying Fakhrizadeh and his bodyguards in an ambush outside the capital.

Those wounded, including Fakhrizadeh’s bodyguards, were later taken to a local hospital.

A photo of Iranian nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh.(Twitter: Iran International English)

Fakhrizadeh has long been described by Western, Israeli and Iranian exile foes of Iran’s clerical rulers as a leader of a covert atomic bomb programme halted in 2003.

Iranian officials respond

Adviser to Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and military leader Hossein Dehghan said that Iran would strike back against the killers.

“In the last days of the political life of their … ally (US President Donald Trump), the Zionists (Israel) seek to intensify pressure on Iran and create a full-blown war,” he tweeted.

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Israel alleged that Fakhrizadeh was the Islamic Republic’s military nuclear program until its disbanding in the early 2000s.

Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said the killing had “serious indications” of Israeli involvement.

Israel declined to immediately comment on the killing of Fakhrizadeh, who Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu once called out in a news conference saying: “Remember that name”.

Reuters reported that in the United States, The Pentagon declined to comment on the killing when asked for a response.

No comment has been forthcoming from the White House either, although President Trump retweeted several posts about the killing.

Israel has long been suspected of carrying out a series of targeted killings of Iranian nuclear scientists nearly a decade ago.

Iran has long denied seeking to weaponise nuclear energy.

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Fakhrizadeh has the rare distinction of being the only Iranian scientist named in the International Atomic Energy Agency’s 2015 “final assessment” of open questions about Iran’s nuclear programme and whether it was aimed at developing a nuclear bomb.

Reuters/AP



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Gary Lineker tribute, football news, Argentina, death, heart attack, how did he die


The death of Diego Maradona at 60 years old has left the world stunned, with an incredible outpouring of grief from past and present players as well as fans across the globe pouring in.

A true global superstar on the pitch, Maradona is arguably as one of the greatest players ever to play the world game.

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Former England star turned commentator Gary Lineker delivered a heartfelt tribute to the legend, including one unheard of tale, which has gone viral.

Over 4.7m people have seen the tribute, at the time of writing, with Lineker blown away by Maradona’s passion and skill in the game.

While the rest of the world mourned, Boca Juniors, the club he won his only Argentinian league title with, illuminated his box at La Bombonera in a stunning tribute.

The stadium holds plenty of Maradona stories, including one when Lineker remembered his unrivalled passion, when he thought the football legend was about to fall out of the box.

“He‘s so revered, he’s so worshipped in Argentina,” Lineker said on BT Sport. “He constantly had a huge entourage around him.

“I went to see Boca Juniors play. He had his own little box. I went with his family. The atmosphere was unbelievable at this game.

“One of his daughters was literally holding him as he was screaming over the balcony, holding him so he wouldn‘t fall off. He had such an incredible passion for the game.”

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Lineker went on to say he never thought he would see anyone come close to Maradona, although conceded Lionel Messi isn’t too far off, but he said Maradona was something else.

Reliving a time he played with Maradona in a Rest of the World side during an exhibition game, Lineker delivered a tale on a moment that left even the best players in the world in awe of the Argentinian legend.

“There were players like Platini on the pitch. Everyone was totally in awe of (Maradona),” said Lineker.

“The first thing he did was in the dressing room, he sat there; just a pair of shorts. And you know you roll your socks up? He did that and just juggled them on his left foot for about five minutes.

“Then we went out on the pitch and he did something incredible, one of the most unbelievable things I‘ve ever seen on a football pitch.

“He juggled the ball all the way out to the centre circle and then bang, he whacked it as hard he possibly could (up into the air) and waited. It came down and he did it again. He did it 13 times. The most he ever did was walk three paces to it.

“All of us were standing there going, ‘That’s impossible’. I remember going to training the next day at Barcelona. We all tried it and the best anyone did was three, and they were all running for the third one.

“I‘ve never seen anyone have such a beautiful affection for a football.”

Maradona’s legend was made at the 1986 World Cup Finals when he put Argentina on his back as the nation won its second title.

While most people want to remember the “Hand of God” goal against England in the quarterfinal, the other goal of Argentina’s 2-1 victory saw Maradona cut through the English defence and slotted a freakish goal that was named the goal of the century.

Lineker, who played for England that day, revealed just how special that moment was.

“You‘ve got to realise that the pitch at the Azteca was awful,” said Lineker.

“It had been relaid. Every time you put your foot on a piece of turf, it just disappeared under your foot.

“To do what he did, that little pivot and turn on the halfway line and then to go past the players like they weren‘t there was just the most remarkable thing.

“It was the closest in my life that I‘ve ever felt like I ought to applaud someone else scoring a goal. Obviously, I didn’t because you’d get destroyed back home.

“He was head and shoulders the best player of my generation.”

Social media was in awe of the tribute.

Lineker also posted a video catching up with Maradona, and vision of his warm up, the one that left him awe-struck, as Maradona danced to music played over the PA shared by Piers Morgan.



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5 Lessons We Learned From Our Ransomware Attack


By Mark Hughes, Senior Vice President, DXC Technology

It’s well documented that ransomware attacks are on the rise, and they can have serious consequences that impact all parts of a business including customers, operations, brand, and even boards of directors.

As part of my role at DXC Technology, I oversee our security business, and I frequently deal with attacks on our customers. But on Saturday, July 4, 2020, as I was stepping out of the car to start my family vacation, the company became the target of a ransomware attack.

The incident involved Xchanging, a subsidiary based in the United Kingdom, which provides technology-enabled business services to the commercial insurance industry. The attacker sent an often-used image of a beloved cartoon character making an obscene hand gesture with this message: “We have your data. We’ve encrypted your files. If you want to negotiate, we can talk on a secure tool or chat session.”

While the network used by the Xchanging business was segregated from DXC’s much larger IT environment, we were nonetheless concerned about whether the incident would have operational impacts to Xchanging customers when London insurance offices opened on Monday.

Time is of the essence in a ransomware attack, as one of the real impacts is downtime. The average attack takes critical systems down for 16 days, according to Emsisoft, which predicts overall ransomware costs could hit $170 billion worldwide in 2020.

In the Xchanging instance, the hacker had gained initial access just two days earlier. Only a handful of systems were accessed, and we were able to quickly isolate and neutralize the threat. No data was stolen, and we did not pay the ransom. We immediately engaged our customers and authorities. On Sunday, July 5, we cleaned and restored the impacted environment. By Monday morning, Xchanging was able to process insurance policies.

Tips For Staying Safe

The criminal investigation is ongoing, and we are taking every opportunity to review our controls and procedures. Nearly everything worked as planned. But that, sadly, is not the case for many organizations.

We analyzed what went right, what did not, and what we can do better.

Here are five key takeaways:

Know your infrastructure. Focus on basic software-patching hygiene, and ensure all networks and firewalls have enterprise security tools in place to detect malicious behavior. The attackers began by using a publicly available security testing tool referred to as “grayware.” Grayware is not malicious in its own right but in this case was used to create a backdoor to exploit Microsoft Windows and deploy a new variant of encryption malware. While we had not prevented the attack, we were alerted that something was not quite right, and we were able to quickly identify where the network was compromised when the attack was underway.

Involve senior leadership from the start. Our global crisis team met to assess the situation, which was key for us because we directly involved senior leaders so that critical decisions could be made quickly. For example, we needed to shut off remote access, so I made the decision to sever all connectivity to the Xchanging systems. While that sounds easy, it required urgent action from our IT teams in both the United Kingdom and India, and engaging leadership from those teams allowed the shutoff to happen quickly and efficiently. Throughout the response, members of our leadership team — including our CEO, Mike Salvino — were involved in evaluating the situation and making key decisions. Good governance is crucial in these times. If you lack accountability or clarity on who’s doing what, you’re wasting precious minutes that attackers will exploit.

Engage authorities and experts early. Law enforcement and security experts can provide invaluable insight on how to counter an attack and enable fast legal intervention. For example, the ransomware was set to send Xchanging data to website domains in the United States, so I contacted law enforcement officials working on the holiday weekend. That evening, we obtained a court order to take control of the attackers’ internet domains.

Gain as much leverage as you can — and don’t pay. Authorities strongly advise against paying ransoms. In fact, the United States and United Kingdom are moving to enforce civil and even criminal penalties for making ransom payments. In our case, the attackers didn’t ask for money upfront. They wanted to negotiate. We knew we had cut off the attack, we knew they didn’t have our data, and we knew we had backups. We were in a strong position, so we didn’t need to negotiate. If you do choose to negotiate with cybercriminals, don’t go it alone. Find and retain an experienced ransom broker — preferably as part of your incident response preparation, before you’ve been attacked.

Be transparent. You don’t have to reveal all the facts, but openness is generally a good practice. We shared the attacker’s indicators of compromise (IOCs) with hundreds of customers. While there certainly may be information that you cannot release (e.g., when subject to customer confidentiality restrictions or as directed by law enforcement), sharing information when you can do so not only helps keep others safe, but it can also help you enlist the aid of a large body of your colleagues, authorities, and the security community. We issued a news release on Sunday, July 5, to make public markets aware, and we followed up with another release a few weeks later to confirm containment.

The law enforcement officials I spoke with that weekend were surprised that our attack was already contained. Most of the calls they receive come from the CEO, because the IT and security teams are frantically busy, and the company is usually on its third or fourth day of shutdown with no end in sight.

We know our July 4 attack could have been much worse. A combination of rapid incident response, security controls and governance, and utilizing technical tools and industry practices gave us an advantage.

The “new DXC” showed up strong to address the challenge and keep our customers top of mind at all times.

And that’s how I spent my summer vacation.

Stay on top of the latest threats. Subscribe to DXC’s Security Threat Intelligence Report.

About the author

Mark Hughes is senior vice president of offerings and strategic partners at DXC Technology, responsible for DXC’s global security organization and offerings, including cyber defense, secured infrastructure, digital identity, and data protection. He previously served as chief executive at BT Security.

 

 

 

 



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Football legend Diego Maradona dies of heart attack


The Argentine World Cup winning captain had undergone brain surgery earlier this month

  Argentine legend Diego Maradona gestures during his first training session as coach of Mexican football club Dorados, at the Banorte stadium in Culiacan, Sinaloa State, Mexico. – Argentinian football legend Diego Maradona passed away on November 25, 2020. (AFP)

BUENOS AIRES: Argentine football legend Diego Maradona has died at the age of 60, his spokesman announced Wednesday.

Renowned with Brazil’s Pele as one of the greatest footballers of all time, the Argentine World Cup winning captain died of a heart attack, having undergone brain surgery earlier this month, a member of his entourage told AFP.

 

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