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After spending one year in a Rwandan prison waiting for the country’s high court to decide on her case, Diane Rwigara feared the worst.

The 37-year-old told Sky News: “I will just have to accept it and go to prison because I guess that is the price that you pay for freedom.”

The former financial accountant faced a 22-year spell in jail for “inciting insurrection” and “forgery” after she tried to run in last year’s presidential election against Rwanda’s long-time president Paul Kagame.

Her mother, Adeline, also faced a 22-year term after sending messages that were critical of the government on Whatsapp to her sister and a couple of her friends.

But in a surprise judgment, the court found that both members of the Rwigara family were innocent.

“All charges… have been dropped. The court finds that the prosecution charges were baseless,” said one member of the three-judge panel.

The activist ran for president in 2017
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The activist ran for president in 2017

While the decision will come as a great relief to both women, it will not erase what the pair have been through.

Ms Rwigara’s difficulties began when she declared her candidacy in Rwanda’s 2017 presidential contest.

Her 44-year old campaign manager, Thadeyo Muyenzi, went missing and has still not been found.

Then, nude photos – purportedly of Ms Rwigara – were published and shared on social media.

Finally, the country’s election board banned her from participating after they accused her of forging people’s signatures in support of her bid. Kagame won a third term in office with 98% of the vote.

Paul Kagame is credited with creating stability in Rwanda - but has grown increasingly authoritarian
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Paul Kagame is credited with creating stability in Rwanda – but has grown increasingly authoritarian

Undeterred, the budding politician launched her own political party called the People Salvation Movement, but the police raided the family home – detained the accountant and her mother for the following 12 months.

Speaking to Sky News hours before the verdict was announced, Ms Rwigara said she was targeted by the state because she is prepared to challenge Kagame and his ruling clique.

She added: “This is what happens when you dare to have a different political opinion – a different view from those in the government.

“This is what happens if you don’t disappear like my campaign manager or get thrown into prison or lose your life. So yes, you do pay a price for speaking out in this country.”

Diane Rwigara was found innocent today
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Diane Rwigara was found innocent by a Rwandan court

Paul Kagame, the country’s towering, beanpole-like president, has been widely praised for his role in providing stability and economic growth after Rwanda’s catastrophic genocide in 1994.

However, human rights groups and others have tired of his increasingly autocratic style.

Criticism of the government is rarely tolerated and in 2015, he engineered a constitutional amendment which means he can hold the presidency until 2034.

Amnesty International welcomed the court’s verdict on Diane and Adeline Rwigara but called on the Rwandan government to do more to protect freedom of expression and political debate: “[They] should never have faced charges for expressing their views.

“We call on the Rwandan authorities to build on this judgment and work towards developing greater tolerance and acceptance of alternative and critical views.”

Ms Rwigara, who is described as “fearless” by those close to her, is not about to apologise for attempting to hold Rwanda’s leaders to account. Nor is she likely to stop trying.

“I speak the truth, that the system is built on a lie,” she said. “They simply do not want to be exposed.

“The lie is that everything is well in Rwanda and I just talk about [the reality] which is the high level of unemployment, the high level of poverty, the disappearances, the killings, all that, and they are not ready for that to be exposed.”

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Game Of Thrones fans aren’t happy with this Daenerys Targaryen waxwork | Ents & Arts News

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She is Daenerys Targaryen, Mother of Dragons, a queen who could soon claim the Iron Throne.

So it is only fitting she should have a waxwork in her honour – but perhaps makers could have made it a bit more… well, a bit more Daenerys-like.

Dublin’s National Wax Museum’s new addition pays homage to the Game Of Thrones character, played by Emilia Clarke, but has been widely mocked online.

“Wow, Winter’s really taken its toll,” said one commenter on the venue’s Instagram post, referencing one of the series’ most famous lines: “Winter is coming.”

“How do you f*** this up with all the technology there is,” said another user.

“Oh my god WHAT HAVE YOU DONE TO HER,” said another post.

Pic: HBO/Sky Atlantic
Image:
The real Daenerys, with boyfriend/nephew Jon Snow. Pic: HBO/Sky Atlantic

Many have said the figure looks more like Legolas from Lord Of The Rings, who was played by actor Orlando Bloom, or Lucius Malfoy, played by Jason Isaacs in the Harry Potter films.

More from Game Of Thrones

They might have a point…

Jason Isaacs as Lucius Malfoy in Harry Potter
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Jason Isaacs as Lucius Malfoy in Harry Potter
Orlando Bloom as Legolas in Lord of the Rings
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Orlando Bloom as Legolas in Lord of the Rings

Daenerys is not the only famous face to be immortalised in less-than-flattering wax or stone.

Remember the Christian Ronaldo bust? Mo Salah‘s? And Beyonce has had numerous sculptures which haven’t quite lived up to the real Queen Bey.

:: How many times can Beyonce statues get it wrong?

A bust of Cristiano Ronaldo has caused a storm on the internet
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This statue of Cristiano Ronaldo was eventually replaced
The statue features Mo Salah with his arms outstretched
Image:
Not sure if Mo Salah’s statue is in proportion

Statues of Michael Jackson, Lucille Ball and Diego Maradona have also been ridiculed in recent years.

Clarke herself has yet to comment on her own figure, but let’s hope Daenerys sees the funny side.

Should she decide to unleash those dragons, it wouldn’t last long.



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Emiliano Sala’s father dies three months after footballer’s fatal plane crash | World News

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The father of Emiliano Sala has died three months after the Premier League footballer was killed in a plane crash.

Horacio Sala, 58, suffered a fatal heart attack in Argentina, the mayor of his hometown Progreso said.

“2019 has been very hard on us,” Julio Muller told local media.

“I think Horacio couldn’t get over what happened to Emi.

“Every news he heard about the investigation was really tough for him.”

A plane carrying Emiliano Sala crashed on 21 January, just two days after he had completed a £15m move from French club Nantes to Cardiff City.

The Argentinian striker was travelling to the Welsh capital in a private plane with pilot David Ibbotson when it went down in the English Channel near Alderney.

Horacio Sala described his anguish after the wreckage was discovered, telling Argentinian television: “I cannot believe it. This is a dream. A bad dream. I am desperate.”

Horacio Sala was visibly emotional during a vigil for his son in February
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Horacio Sala was visibly emotional during a vigil for his son in February

The footballer’s body was recovered on 7 February after a privately-funded search was launched, while Mr Ibbotson remains missing.

It has also emerged that one of Emiliano Sala’s best friends died last week in a car crash.

Sebastian Rabellino was a footballer for San Martin de Progeso, the club where Sala started his career as a youth player.

Following Sala’s death, Cardiff City and Nantes are locked in a legal battle over his £15m transfer fee after the Premier League club refused to pay the first £5m instalment.

Emiliano Sala is Cardiff's record signing
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Emiliano Sala had signed for Cardiff City for £15m

It is understood Cardiff argue that Sala’s contract had been rejected by the Premier League because it contravened signing-on fee rules and was therefore “null and void”, Sky Sports News reported.

The club also claim that further contract clauses – proposed by Nantes – had not been met.

Meanwhile, Cardiff City has denied claims it failed to offer Emiliano Sala suitable travel arrangements before his ill-fated flight to the UK.

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Uber seeks market value of over $90bn in share sale | Business News

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Uber is seeking a market value just above $90bn in its planned flotation, according to documents filed with regulators.

The ride hailing firm said it planned to offer 180 million shares in its Initial Public Offering (IPO) at a price of between $44-per share to $50-per share.

There would be an additional 27 million shares sold by current equity holders, Uber said.

It had been widely reported in US media that Uber had reduced its top valuation from a more lofty $120bn following a lacklustre stock market debut for its largest rival in North America, Lyft.

While Lyft’s shares climbed when trading first began last month, Lyft’s market value has plummeted since – down by 22% ahead of Friday’s opening.

In the filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Uber revealed the path to profitability would likely be a rocky road for investors.

It reported a net loss of $1bn for the first quarter of the year on revenues of roughly $3bn.

It said its shares would trade on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker name UBER.

Uber also said PayPal had agreed to purchase $500m of stock in a private placement as the pair embark on a venture to create a digital wallet for customers.

The filing kicks off a 10-day roadshow for potential investors to ask questions of senior management.

They are likely to face questions on subjects ranging from profitability to the treatment of drivers following controversy over its treatment of so-called gig economy workers and safety provisions.

More follows…

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