Cipro

Witness the day the asteroid struck in jaw-dropping virtual reality! (360 video)

Cyprus Mail - Dom, 05/07/2020 - 19:44

Witness the extraordinary journey of the meteor that caused the largest asteroid impact in recorded history, in an immersive VR experience that will leave you awestruck from beginning to end.

Ride with the asteroid as it barrels towards Earth, become part of its devastating impact as it breaches the planet’s atmosphere, and watch it explode over Siberia.

With breath-taking visuals this VR experience portrays the power of the universe like never before by recreating the Tunguska event just in time for Asteroid Day on Friday, June 30.

Produced by Your Discovery Science http://www.youtube.com/yourdiscoverys…

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Famagustans: a craving for home

Cyprus Mail - Dom, 05/07/2020 - 19:25

Militsa Popas Kleopas and her late husband, Popas Kleopas, were well known to all Famagustans. Now 95, Kleopas was 49 when she left Famagusta, on Wednesday, August 14, 1974. She took with her only some food and clothes but no valuables as she intended to return within a few days.

She was incensed by recent claims from historian Andros Pavlides that Famagusta residents unnecessarily abandoned their town during the 1974 invasion and would never have lost it if they had stayed put.

In an interview with Sunday Mail columnist Christos Panayiotides she describes what happened and why Pavlides was wrong.

 Between the first and second phase of the Turkish invasion many people, who were displaced from the Kyrenia area, came to Famagusta and took temporary shelter in friends’ homes or in hotels that had already been vacated by holiday-making tourists. The horrible maelstrom of the war, the eye-witness reports of torture, rape and execution inevitably created a climate of fear and anxiety.  These stories were confirmed by the on-going references by the Cyprus Broadcasting Corporation of “the regular retreating of our military forces”.

Then the Geneva ceasefire talks collapsed, the second phase of the Turkish invasion was launched in the afternoon of August 13 and intensified early August 14 with Turkish tanks advancing towards Famagusta and Varosha was bombarded by air and sea. The people of Famagusta, mainly women and children, felt the need to seek safety in the neighbouring villages, particularly when the military and the civil authorities of Famagusta were ordered to relocate to the Limassol area which, due to its proximity to the large British base of Episkopi, was considered to be a safe area.

At around 7.00am on Wednesday, August 14, my husband, my father and one of my two sons, all got into an old car of ours – our two newer cars were left at home because we believed they would be safer there – and we set off for Dhekelia.

Just after we reached Derynia, my father, Michalis Psaras, who was in a good shape despite his age of 74, said he had to go back as he could not bring himself to leave his orchard at Kato Varossia behind. He returned home and remained there for a few weeks until he was discovered by Turkish soldiers who blew up and ransacked the safe in which we had placed all our valuables, and arrested him. He was held in the Famagusta prison for a few weeks and then, due to his age, he was transferred by the United Nations/Red Cross to the unoccupied areas. His cellmates were not so lucky and most of them are still classified as missing persons.

Militsa Popas Kleopas

Some people have recently argued that the Famagustans deserted their city and therefore do not have the right to demand their return.

These are ridiculous arguments. When the army and the police had abandoned the city, what were the elderly people, the women and the children meant to do? From what I learnt later, Nicosia was abandoned in exactly the same way and most of its residents found themselves on the Troodos mountains and in Limassol, where the government had fled. I feel very annoyed by this kind of garbage. I feel that, on top of losing our wealth and our livelihoods, as a result of the irresponsible and incompetent behaviour of those who were in command at the time and the general collapse of the mechanisms that were supposedly there to protect us, we now have to suffer the pain of certain people rubbing salt against our wounds. These people are unabashedly adding insult to injury.  Shame on them!

Could it be argued that the Famagustans have failed to return to their homes because over the years they did not exercise sufficient political pressure in the direction of a compromise settlement that would have enabled them to return?

That the Famagustans can be held responsible for their non-return because they failed to exercise the necessary political pressure, is a position which I also reject outright. They have shown great sensitivity to the predicament of all the people made refugees by the Turkish invasion, and have avoided acting in isolation – a course that would have probably resolved the problem of being allowed to return to Famagusta. This national sentiment should be praised, not criticised.

I am 95 years of age and I continue to hope that I will manage to go back to my home before I die.  I would like the political leadership to hear my cry of desperation and act.

 

Christos Panayiotides is a regular columnist for the Cyprus Mail, Sunday Mail and Alithia

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Bottas wins dramatic Austrian opener

Cyprus Mail - Dom, 05/07/2020 - 18:51

Valtteri Bottas won an action-packed Austrian Grand Prix for champions Mercedes on Sunday as Formula One started its delayed season with plenty of drama, if no spectators, in a race with only 11 finishers.

Charles Leclerc finished a surprise second for Ferrari with McLaren’s Lando Norris celebrating a first podium after a time penalty dropped Mercedes’ six times world champion Lewis Hamilton to fourth.

Formula One F1 – Austrian Grand Prix – Red Bull Ring, Spielberg, Styria, Austria – July 5, 2020 Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas leads Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton during the race, as F1 resumes following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) Joe Klamar/Pool via REUTERS

“I managed to keep it together and control the race from my side and it’s a good start to the season,” said Finn Bottas, who had to keep his cool through three safety car periods.

Norris, at 20 the youngest driver in the race and now the youngest Briton to stand on an F1 podium, also set the fastest lap.

The race, on a sunny afternoon at the scenic Red Bull Ring was held in front of empty grandstands and no fans for the first time due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Spaniard Carlos Sainz made it a double points haul for McLaren in fifth, with Sergio Perez sixth for Racing Point and Pierre Gasly seventh for AlphaTauri.

Esteban Ocon, who last raced in 2018, took eighth for Renault on his return while Antonio Giovinazzi bagged ninth for Alfa Romeo and Sebastian Vettel, who had another nightmare, completed the top 10 for Ferrari.

Canadian Nicholas Latifi was the last car running with 11th for Williams.

HAMILTON BREACH

There was drama even before the race when stewards performed a U-turn after a Red Bull challenge and dropped Hamilton from the front row to fifth on the grid for a breach in Saturday’s qualifying.

That also promoted Red Bull’s Max Verstappen to the front row alongside Bottas on pole position.

Any hopes the Dutch youngster had of completing a hat-trick of Austrian wins, after 2018 and 2019, disappeared when he suffered an early technical problem and became the season’s first retirement.

In a race with three safety car periods, Bottas soon had Hamilton in his mirrors but the Briton’s challenge vanished when he was handed a five-second time penalty for causing a collision with Red Bull’s Alex Albon while defending second place.

The Thai spun off into the gravel, his podium hopes shattered.

Leclerc, whose team had struggled in qualifying with Sebastian Vettel failing even to make the top 10, moved up to third against all expectations — which became second after the chequered flag.

“I did not expect it. A huge surprise, but a good one,” said the Monegasque. “It feels like a victory today.”

Racing Point’s Mexican Perez, who had run as high as third in the 2019 Mercedes lookalike, lost fourth place to Norris two laps from the end but was already carrying a time penalty for exceeding the pit lane speed limit.

Anyone who had feared Mercedes running away in a race of their own, after the champions dominated practice and qualifying, need not have worried.

Mercedes, their cars changed from silver to black as part of an anti-racism campaign, fretted about gearbox sensors and warned both drivers to keep clear of the kerbs.

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Tough new tools to curb immigration

Cyprus Mail - Dom, 05/07/2020 - 17:24
Bangladesh, India and Pakistan on list of 21 ‘safe’ countries from where asylum applications will be rejected

By Elias Hazou

In mid-June Interior Minister Nicos Nouris unveiled sweeping new policies aimed at containing and managing the influx of asylum seekers. The two-pronged strategy, it is claimed, will halt the island’s saturation with economic migrants posing as something else. But as always, it remains to be seen whether the enforcement and application will yield results.

A recent report by the European Asylum Support Office (Easo) said Cyprus is among the EU member states receiving more asylum applicants per capita last year than during the migration crisis of 2015.

The report said the Republic had one of the sharpest increases in the number of applications in 2019, to the tune of 76 per cent compared to 2018. Last year, Cyprus received 13,650 asylum applicants compared to around half that number in 2018 and one-third in 2017. The top country of origin of applicants by 20 per cent, was Syria.

Cyprus is also the country facing the largest relative backlog, with more than 2,000 pending cases for every 100,000 inhabitants. According to the data, 18,795 cases were pending at the end of last year, an 85 per cent increase compared with 2018. The top country of origin for these pending cases was again, Syria.

In a presentation on June 18, the interior minister noted that post-2014 the number of asylum applicants reached 34,000, almost Paphos’ population, putting Cyprus on top of the list of EU countries in terms of numbers of asylum seekers.

He reiterated that asylum seekers amount to 3.8 per cent of the country’s population whereas in other frontline countries this percentage is under one per cent.

Other than the demographic aspect, Cyprus lacks the resources to cope with the hosting and processing requirements, Nouris said.

Before the Covid-19 situation hit, the top ten countries of origin of new asylum seekers during the first three months of 2020 were: Syria, India, Cameroon, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nigeria, Georgia, Nepal, Democratic Republic of Congo and Egypt.

The two main modes of entry of people who end up seeking asylum are: across the buffer zone, from the north of the island; and secondarily people coming here for studies. The former category comprises around 75 per cent of asylum seekers. The latter category either vanish from college after a few months or even weeks, melting away into the population as illegals, claim asylum or else enter into sham marriages.

According to the interior ministry, from 2017 to 2019, 3,214 individuals who came here as students initially ended up filing for asylum. In the same time period, 2,239 entered into wedlock with EU citizens that are considered sham marriages.

Interior Minister Nicos Nouris

To stop this, as of the next academic year (September), all institutes of higher education will be required to beef up their admission policies. College applicants must furnish a bank statement affirming they are able to pay at least one year’s worth of tuition fees. They must additionally produce a sworn statement that they are not coming to Cyprus because their life is in danger. And they must prove they possess a solid knowledge of the English language, either by presenting an international accreditation or by taking an oral test.

Lastly, their right to employment will be restricted to vocational training as part of their studies programme, while colleges will not be able to enroll more students than the permitted number approved for them by the education ministry.

Mary Koutselini, head of the Agency of Quality Assurance and Accreditation in Higher Education, told the Sunday Mail the issue of pretend students has been occurring for years, to the full knowledge of authorities.

Asked why this was allowed to go on so long, she said it was because up until now colleges faced no sanctions for enrolling people not meeting minimum admission requirements.

Until now, the education ministry designated for each college a certain number for student attendance, based on spatial capacity – infrastructure, students per square metre and so forth.

But whenever colleges were found to have ‘lost’ a number of foreign students during the course of the academic year, the ministry would not penalise them – their enrollment ‘quota’ for the next academic year remained intact.

So no disincentive existed for the colleges to stop loading up their classes.

Under the changes now being proposed, authorities will tackle the problem indirectly – mandating enforced minimum English-language qualifications for college applicants.

Previously, Koutselini explained, colleges skirted this requirement by exploiting a loophole – enrolling new students into one-year foundation courses.

This practice will no longer be tolerated if the changes go through, she noted.

Christoforos Hadjikyprianou, chairman of the board at the European University of Cyprus, was adamant that the issue of fakers does not pertain to the universities, but rather the smaller colleges.

“To my knowledge there has not been a single instance of an asylum seeker in our university,” he said.

The universities are European University of Cyprus, University of Nicosia, Frederick, UCLan and Neapolis University Paphos.

“Our foreign students are for the most part from European countries, and we have very few from China. We don’t currently have any students from Africa,” said Hadjikyprianou.

Their vast majority of students hail from central Europe, Germany, Italy, France and Austria.

Students from countries like Lebanon and Jordan can be counted on the fingers of one hand, he remarked.

Sixty-two per cent of their students are Cypriots, 30 per cent Greek nationals, and the remaining eight per cent other foreign nationals. European University has approximately 6,500 students.

That’s the containment part of the strategy. The backlog management side pertains to people coming in through the north.

The chief tool in tackling this situation is a list of ‘safe countries’. Asylum applications from these countries shall be considered manifestly unfounded and denied on a fast-track basis, unless the individual provides concrete proof he or she is truly at risk in their country of origin.

The initial list of 21 ‘safe’ countries, which may be revised from time to time, is as follows: Albania, Montenegro, Serbia, Northern Macedonia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Georgia, Ghana, India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Philippines, Nepal, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Senegal, Gambia, Egypt and Nigeria.

The list applies to all asylum seekers, no matter how they entered the Republic.

The policy also involves beefing up the service that processes applications by employing 30 additional officials in order to achieve the goal of examining manifestly unfounded applications within 10 days maximum.

Between 2017 and 2019, 2,239 individuals got married to EU citizens that are considered sham marriages.

Once the Asylum Service denies an application, the applicant may appeal with the administrative court. The new rules in the pipeline will slash the time of filing from 75 days currently, to just 15 days. Guidelines issued to authorities envisage completing the entire process – whether an application is approved or denied – within no more than three weeks.

What’s more, should an applicant’s appeal be denied by the administrative court, he or she can appeal again with the supreme court. The new policy aims to reduce the maximum time of filing to the supreme court from 42 days to 10 days.

Once the Asylum Service denies an application, a deportation order will be issued but it will be put on hold, should the applicant appeal with the administrative court within the designated timeframe. If he or she does not appeal, the deportation order is activated and the deportation executed.

In the event recourse is made to the administrative court, and the latter finds against the asylum seeker, the deportation order is executed immediately, irrespective of whether the applicant plans to take the case to the supreme court.

This is perfectly in line with EU law, an interior ministry source tells the Sunday Mail. The Republic has no legal obligation to keep a denied asylum seeker here even if he or she plans to appeal with the supreme court.

However, should the supreme court subsequently uphold the appeal, then arrangements would be made to bring back the deported applicant.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, a UNCHR source said the purpose of the changes is to expedite asylum applications, but voiced concerns over the brevity of filing an appeal to an asylum denial decision.

Also, the administrative court decision is issued in Greek only, unintelligible to asylum applicants.

Other legislative amendments will crack down on municipalities found to be conducting sham marriages, by stripping them of their licence.

The proposed new measures regarding sham marriages and speedier asylum procedures are currently before the House of Representatives and are due to be voted on in the coming weeks.

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Coronavirus: One case recorded on Sunday

Cyprus Mail - Dom, 05/07/2020 - 16:38

One new case of coronavirus was detected on Sunday, the ministry of health side, from a total of 1,445 tests.

This brings the total number of cases in Cyprus to 2,003.

The new case is a person who was to be admitted to a reception centre for refugees, who has already been taken to the Eden Wellness centre to be looked after.

The one positive result was from 216 tests taken as part of the ongoing programme of recommendations from GPs and the checking of certain groups through public health.

Other tests carried out on Sunday which recorded no positive cases were:

226 from the 10,000 workers who returned to their jobs during the second and third phases of the relaxation of measures

8 tests from contact tracing of already identified cases

92 tests taken on private initiative

699 tests taken among repatriates and arrivals from overseas

184 tests from the microbiology labs at general hospitals

20 tests from people who work at the courts

One person remains in Famagusta general hospital being treated for coronavirus.

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Yellow weather warning issued for Monday

Cyprus Mail - Dom, 05/07/2020 - 15:59

The Department of Meteorology on Sunday afternoon issued a yellow weather warning for extreme high temperatures on Monday.

The warning is valid from 1pm on Monday until 5pm.

The maximum temperature is expected to rise to around 41C inland and to around 33C on Troodos.

Vulnerable people e.g. the elderly and very young are advised to act with caution.

 

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Enjoy the early morning garden

Cyprus Mail - Dom, 05/07/2020 - 15:38

Gardening with Patricia Jordan

During these next couple of hot months I like to get out in the garden very early in the morning to do any jobs that need to be done – usually seed collecting, weeding, dead heading and cutting back growth. It’s a lovely fresh time of the day and so much can be done before the sun rises well above the horizon and making such jobs impossible! I love to hear the buzz of the hundreds of bees around the Leucophylum bushes (see Plant of the Month) as they fight to get their share of the goodies there; the cockerel crowing in the garden down below us; the twittering of the sparrows in the trees and the faint chimes of the village church bell in the distance. It’s all very rural! Most of the hard work in our garden has been done by now. Rosemary bushes that died during the cold wet winter have been dug out and new ones are ready to replace them when the time is right. It’s no good planting new plants in the middle of summer, despite the garden centres being full of choice plants. It’s better not to plant now, but if you really have to, then do it in the evening and water them in well so as to give them a chance.

With the high temperatures of the last few months many herbaceous plants will have gone over and it is good to have something to fill the gaps. Luckily, we can grow wonderful tropical and subtropical trees and shrubs to help us get through this period. From South Africa came Carissa macrocarpa and Plumbago auriculata. The latter can cover unsightly fences or walls in no time. Some people don’t like plumbago however, as the seeds are very sticky and you have to remove them from your clothes. However, this is the way the plant propagates itself in the wild, as animals scratch off the seeds stuck to their hides and furs and they germinate where they fall. Carissa’s glossy green leaves, contrasting so well with the heavily scented white flowers exude a lovely evening perfume on the air. Beware though of the very thick thorns tucked in underneath the stems.

Albizia julibrissin, known as the Persian Silk Tree or the Chinese Silk Tree because of its lovely tasselled ‘flowers’, came from tropical or sub-tropical areas so does well along the coastline. Drought tolerant and able to survive strong winds, albizia can grow just as easily in sandy free-draining soil as in clay. The sweetly-scented flowers appear in mid-summer, but have no petals, rather clusters of perhaps 10 or more long stamens, resembling silk threads. They are generally pink or pink and white and are extremely attractive to bees, moths, and butterflies. The light sensitive foliage, which closes up at night, has around twenty small pinnate leaflets.

At this time of year Delonix regia, is looking vibrant. It is known otherwise as the Flame of the Forest tree, because the crown of flowers, which towers above other trees, looks like it is on fire. These trees can tolerate drought or grow in salty conditions, so again are very suitable in more humid gardens, although they do need a lot of space. Originally from Madagascar, this tree forms an umbrella shape that is quite pleasing to the eye. Although it is fast growing it may take up to ten years before any flowers appear, so be patient.

Tecoma stans, a member of the large Bignoniaceae family, is much used in roadside planting in coastal towns as it doesn’t grow too tall, and its brilliant yellow flowers dance on the breezes amongst the bright-green leaves, under our wonderful blue summer skies. Feed this lovely tree with an all-round fertiliser in spring.

 

WHAT TO DO IN THE GARDEN IN JULY

If you like blue flowered plants then agapanthus would suit you. These sun-loving South African summer bulbs (Agapanthus africanus) are flowering now atop tall stems in pots as well as in the garden. Known as the African Lily or Lily of the Nile, they are also popular around the world. As well as blue flowers there are also some white-flowered varieties and newer smaller plants with blue and white striped flowers are being introduced as well. There are lots of myths attached to growing agapanthus. In New Zealand, they thrive by the roadsides without any obvious treatment, but elsewhere they are sometimes called ‘iffy’ plants as they don’t always produce flowers. Crowding them together in a pot doesn’t always help either, but a feed with a high potassium fertiliser in August may aid flower production. (Rose or tomato fertilisers are high in potassium). If you feel you need to move them into a larger pot only go up one pot size at a time and even this might inhibit flower growth for a season. Most of the agapanthus for sale here are evergreen, which suit our coastal gardens and those who live in lower elevations, but if you live in the mountains you may have to afford the top of the plant some protection during the winter. If you are going to buy a plant make sure it has a flower stem on it, so that you know that it has reached the flowering stage. I don’t advise buying them if they are in a packet.

Tulbaghia is another worthwhile South African plant flowering during our summer. It is sometimes mistaken for chives as the foliage is very similar and its common name is Gentleman’s Garlic, but it is not as pungent as the garlic that we know. This plant likes a sunny spot and lovely star-like flowers will appear about the slender stems. Tulbaghia violacea is widely available in Cyprus. Although the foliage and roots smell very garlic-like the flowers have a delicate hyacinth-like perfume. They will grow equally as well in pots as in the garden.

Potted hydrangeas, known as Hortense here, are in the garden centres now, although I find they are difficult to keep growing from season to season here, but they can reach enormous sizes given the right conditions. They are easy to care for providing that you keep the soil moist, yet over-watering can kill them. They prefer to be grown in a good bright light. If you manage to keep them going over the winter, then come springtime you can cut the stems down to an outward facing growth and they should shoot from there.

This year after I dug all the bulbs from my freesia bed and graded them to keep them in a dry place until the autumn, I decided that the empty bed looked boring. It is in full sun all day so I decided to grow a zigzag row of sunflowers. I chose ‘Russian Giant’ seeds as the label said that they would grow to 10 feet high and have 12 inch flower heads. I had a high germination rate and all the plantlets were planted out in my garden. Knowing that such tall plants would like watering often, I dug a plant pot beside each plant, so that I would give each of them lots of water every day. Well, they grew to just above 6 feet and the largest flower heads were the about 10 inches. A slight disappointment but fun!

Plant of the Month – Leucophyllum frutescens

Leucophyllum frutescens has many common names such as Texas Ranger, Texas Sage, Purple Sage, Silver Leaf, White Sage, Ash Bush, Sensia, Wild Lilac and even the Barometer Bush, as it reacts to humidity and moisture after rainfall, when a profusion of flowers appear on the stem-ends, causing the local bees to have a feeding frenzy! You can even encourage this to happen by spraying water over the top of the bush!

This lovely, hardy, drought-tolerant shrub is a welcome addition to the summer garden. The pink flowers growing at the ends of the silver stems look like miniature foxgloves, which open as the insects dive inside. Originally the shrub came from Mexico and the desert regions of Texas, but it is widely grown in other hot parts of the world nowadays. The Texas Ranger prefers uncultivated soils and doesn’t need feeding at all. Surprisingly it also does well in damp humid conditions. The plant can withstand salt sprays, which makes it a good choice for seaside gardens. It can even be grown in a pot, making a wonderful addition to any patio or veranda.

This lovely showstopper likes a very sunny spot, becoming somewhat straggly if it is grown in shade, which may cause you to think that it needs water. Treat it as a desert plant and it will reward you with lots of flowers. Give it an annual spring prune and use the softwood cuttings to propagate new plants. It is such a good-value plant for dry gardens and the leaves and flowers make a pleasant tea, which is mildly sedative.

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Health minister hails responsible behaviour after English pubs reopen

Cyprus Mail - Dom, 05/07/2020 - 15:37

By Alistair Smout

People in England appear to have broadly behaved themselves as pubs reopened this weekend, Britain’s health minister Matt Hancock said on Sunday after the latest step towards a return to normality from the coronavirus lockdown.

Thousands of people flocked to pubs, restaurants and bars around England on Saturday as large parts of the hospitality sector reopened for the first time since March.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has urged people to “enjoy summer safely” as he bids to tread a narrow path of restoring consumer spending to help battered businesses recover, while avoiding a second wave of COVID-19 infections.

“From what I’ve seen, although there’s some pictures to the contrary, very very largely people have acted responsibly,” health minister Matt Hancock told Sky News.

“Overall, I’m pleased with what happened yesterday. It was really good to see people out and about, and largely socially distancing.”

Britain has been the European country worst hit by the coronavirus and has an official death toll of 44,198.

Johnson and Prince Charles each paid treatment to Britain’s National Health Service, 72 years after it was founded, for its sacrifices in tackling the pandemic.

Simon Stevens, chief executive of NHS England, thanked the public for their support, as well as their restraint on Saturday night.

“Pleasingly, we did not see last night the kind of scenes people feared (there) might be” he told BBC’s Andrew Marr Show.

“The foolish few, but the sensible majority, I think is the story across the country, and long may that continue.”

Police Federation National Chair John Apter however said it was “crystal clear” that drunk people were unable to practice social distancing.

The rule changes apply only to England as the devolved nations in the United Kingdom have been setting their own timetables for easing restrictions, with Wales and Scotland easing restrictions more slowly.

The government has said that it is aiming for local lockdowns rather than national restrictions if needed, such as the one introduced in the city of Leicester last week.

Hancock said he was worried about factory conditions in the city. Boohoo last week defended its supply chain practices after criticism from a garment workers’ rights group.

“There are some quite significant concerns about some of the employment practices in some of the clothing factories in Leicester,” he said, adding there was significant enforcement powers available including shutting down businesses.

“We’re not just asking nicely, we’re very clear to businesses that these are their responsibilities.”

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Egan earns Blades a point at Burnley

Cyprus Mail - Dom, 05/07/2020 - 15:32

By Simon Evans

John Egan grabbed an 80th-minute equaliser as Sheffield United earned a 1-1 draw at Burnley in the Premier League on Sunday after James Tarkowski had given the home side a first-half lead.

The result, at a windy and cold Turf Moor, leaves both teams still in contention for a Europa League place and provided some justice for the Yorkshire side who certainly did not deserve to leave Lancashire empty-handed.

United are eighth on 48 points from 33 games with Burnley ninth on 46, a point ahead of Tottenham Hotspur who host Everton on Monday.

Matej Vydra missed a good early chance for Burnley, shooting wide after being put through by Erik Pieters while United went close when Sander Berge forced a good save out of Nick Pope from close range.

The Clarets grabbed the lead, two minutes before the interval when Dwight McNeil floated in a free kick which was flicked on by Jay Rodriguez and Tarkowski slid to turn the ball in at the back post.

Although the visitors were on top in midfield for good stretches of the game, Burnley should have doubled their lead in the 76th minute when a long-range Rodriguez effort was parried out by Dean Henderson straight to McNeil but the 20-year-old could not find the target.

It was to prove a costly miss as United drew level four minutes later thanks to an emphatic finish from Egan at the back post after Billy Sharp had glanced on a cross from George Baldock.

Egan’s goal was his first in the Premier League and means he has now scored in all four professional divisions in English football.

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Papadopoulos: Anastasiades couldn’t stand for third term even if he wanted to

Cyprus Mail - Dom, 05/07/2020 - 14:57

With a Tweet President of Diko Nikolas Papadopoulos said President Nicos Anastasiades could not stand for a third term even if he wanted to.

Papsdopoulos was responding after Anastasiades said in an interview published in Kathemerini on Sunday that he wanted to be clear he would not be standing for president in the election in 2023.

“The political decision of the President not to stand for a third term is respected. Of course, even if he wanted to, he cannot, since Article 40 (e) of the Constitution forbids it, and contrary to what is being discussed, there is no question of retroactivity,” Papadopoulos tweeted.

In December 2019 the House plenum passed a bill changing the constitution so that the positions of President and Vice President could only be held for two terms.

The proposal was filed by leader of the Citizens’ Alliance, Giorgos Lillikas.

Anastasiades was first elected in 2013 and won a second term in 2018.

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Prime Minister Johnson and Prince Charles lead birthday tributes to Britain’s health service

Cyprus Mail - Dom, 05/07/2020 - 14:40

Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Prince Charles paid tribute to Britain’s state-run National Health Service on its 72nd birthday on Sunday, expressing pride in how it has coped with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Both have recovered after contracting the coronavirus, with Johnson having said the NHS saved his life, “no question”, after he was admitted to intensive care with severe COVID-19 symptoms.

Johnson was expected to join in a “Clap for Carers” at 5 p.m. (1600 GMT), a reprise of what had been a weekly tribute to doctors, nurses, and other frontline workers during the height of lockdown.

“This year, we’ve seen not only the greatest challenge the NHS has ever faced, but also an unprecedented outpouring of affection and support for that institution,” Johnson said in a video tribute.

The NHS was founded on July 5, 1948 by Aneurin Bevan, who was health minister in the Labour government at the time. He said the taxpayer-funded service should be free at the point of delivery, with treatment based on clinical needs and not a person’s ability to pay.

Prince Charles, Queen Elizabeth’s son and heir to the throne, said this founding principle was a “profoundly moving statement of our values” which was never more relevant than now.

He paid tribute to the sacrifices made by the staff of the NHS to provide treatment to more than 100,000 patients who have been treated in hospital for COVID-19. He has said he was lucky to get away with only mild symptoms from his diagnosis, and was not admitted to hospital.

“To all who have given so much during this present danger, I just want to say that it is you who have been our shield. It is your hands that have held us up,” he said in a video message.

“Despite all that has been endured, there is deep cause for gratitude, and a true reason for pride.”

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Remand renewed for man in fake cheques case worth millions

Cyprus Mail - Dom, 05/07/2020 - 13:59

A 63-year-old man involved in a case of forged payments worth millions of euro on Sunday had his remand renewed for a further five days.

He is the husband of a 49-year-old woman also being held on remand who is the accountant of a group of companies.

The man was arrested for the alleged issuance of 19 forged company cheques worth a total of 20,000 euro.

On Friday the woman’s 73-year-old father was also remanded after investigation showed 50 forged cheques in his name totalling 60,105 euro which were deposited in his personal bank account.

All three have remained tight lipped on any involvement and say they will have their say in court.

On Wednesday the fourth remand against the woman runs out while police continue to questions numerous witnesses in a case that involves 4.5 million taken under false pretences.

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Dogs react to being adopted and rescued

Cyprus Mail - Dom, 05/07/2020 - 13:53

Dogs React To Being Adopted and Rescued | In honor of National Animal Shelter and Rescue Appreciation Week, we put together some of our favorite shelter rescue videos and ways you can help these great organizations. A big thank you to all the animal shelters for the work they do around the world and don’t forget – #adoptdontshop!!

1. Shelter Dog Is So Excited On Her Freedom Ride To sponsor Hazel’s ongoing care while she searches for her forever home, you can support Deity Animal Rescue: http://thedo.do/deity. Follow them on Facebook for updates on her adoption search: https://www.facebook.com/deityanimalr…

2. Dog Abandoned By Her Family Is Finally Happy Again To help Lullaby’s rescuers save more dogs like her, you can support Stray Rescue of St. Louis: http://thedo.do/stlouis

3. Dog Hasn’t Stopped Smiling Since He Came Home From The Shelter Keep up with this handsome pit bull on Instagram: http://thedo.do/meaty. To help dogs like Meaty, you can support Fresno Bully Rescue: http://thedo.do/fresnobully.

4. Hundreds Of Dogs Meet New Families

5. Dog Who Was Rescued From Shelter Can’t Stop Smiling For more of this beautiful dog Pez, check out her Instagram: http://thedo.do/pezandpinky. To help dogs like Pez, you can support the American Maltese Association Rescue (AMAR): https://americanmalteserescue.org/get….

6. Rescue Dog Gets The Care She Needs — And A Haircut, Too To help support Trinket’s rescuers, please visit the Michigan Humane Society: http://thedo.do/michigan

7. Dog Who Spent 12 Years In A Puppy Mill Is So Happy Now Follow Little Belle, the blind rescue dog on Facebook: http://thedo.do/littlebelle. Special thanks to the Humane Society of the United States (https://youtu.be/vqAxHit7wlw).

8. Dog Who Went Through The Worst Is So Happy With His New Family To help save more dogs like Baron the Rottweiler, you can support his rescuers at the Michigan Humane Society: http://thedo.do/michigan. If you’re able to help provide information on his abusers, please contact their cruelty investigations department: http://thedo.do/mhcruelty.

9. 300 Dogs Were Saved From This Terrible Puppy Mill Special thanks to the Humane Society of the United States: https://youtu.be/jNG1cnQ5jpI. To help the rescue more pupies like Daniel, please support their Animal Response Team: http://thedo.do/art

10. Dog Firsts: Rescue Dogs Experience Love For The First Time

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Diamantis Agony VΙ – with A. G. Leventis Gallery

Cyprus Mail - Dom, 05/07/2020 - 13:48
““Agony VI”, which Diamantis painted a year later, in 1969, evokes a different visual climate. In this strongly expressionist work, the dominant position is held by the expressive power of the landscape, which is upgraded by acquiring primary importance in the composition. Unlike most of Diamantis’ works in which the drawing plays a decisive role, here the colour becomes entirely independent, extremely expressive, antirealistic, full of strength, intensity and symbolism. The liberated figures are rendered schematically through quick, nervous brushstrokes, making the painting pulsate with emotional power. In the painting, we can make out three female fi gures running in a burning landscape, which becomes the expression of the artist’s soul, fi lled with anxiety and distress. The burning earth comes together with a dramatically stormy sky that completely hides the horizon. The space is hermetically closed, with no way out, and the figures seem to vanish, to be annihilated in this disturbed nature. This work brings Diamantis very close to German Expressionism, especially to works by Emil Nolde, such as “Tropical Sun”.” – Dr. Eleni S. Nikita, From the catalogue of the exhibition “Agonies – Diamantis” Agony VΙ, 1969, oil on canvas, 66 x 81 cm, Alecos Diamantis Collection

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Police urge motorcyclists to wear helmets

Cyprus Mail - Dom, 05/07/2020 - 13:33

Paphos police on Sunday appealed to motorbike users to wear helmets for their own safety.

Speaking after the death of a motorcyclist in Paphos early on Sunday morning, CID Paphos spokesman Michalis Ioannou said “we are making for one more time an appeal to motorcyclists to wear a helmet”.

Shortly before 5am on Sunday Evagoras Demetriou, 24, from Ayia Marina was driving home after a night out on the main road from Polis to his village when he lost control of the bike, which overturned leaving him on the pavement.

He was taken to Paphos general hospital where doctors confirmed his death.

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Croatia holds election amid sharp economic downturn, rising coronavirus infections

Cyprus Mail - Dom, 05/07/2020 - 13:23

By Igor Ilic

Croatia held an election on Sunday at a time of rising coronavirus infections and a sharp economic downturn from the pandemic, with the outcome likely to lead to political negotiations to form a new government.

The ruling centre-right Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) has had a slight advantage in most opinion polls over its main rival, the Social Democrats (SDP), but neither party is seen being able to govern on its own.

“At these challenging times both for public health and the economy Croatia deserves to be led by experienced and responsible people,” Prime Minister and HDZ leader Andrej Plenkovic told supporters this week.

His two top opponents are SDP leader Davor Bernardic and popular singer Miroslav Skoro, whose nationalist and eurosceptic Domovinski Pokret (Homeland Movement) has fared third in the opinion polls with just above 10% support, compared with close to 30% for the two top parties.

Polling stations will close at 1700 GMT when the exit polls will be released. The first preliminary official results are expected around two hours later.

By 0930 GMT the turnout was 18.09%, around one percentage point below that four years ago. The highest number of voters, many of them wearing masks, has been reported in the Zagreb area, while some eastern parts of the country, with recent clusters of COVID-19 cases, lag behind other areas of Croatia.

“My choice is Skoro as I believe his party wants stability and to stop the young people from moving to seek jobs abroad,” said Ilija Grlic, a voter from the Zagreb area.

The new government will have an uphill task to keep a grip on the coronavirus while trying to restore the economy, expected to shrink some 10% this year. Tourism revenues are forecast to slump 70%.

“I think that the SDP could be a relative winner, but that the HDZ could be the one to eventually form a (coalition) cabinet,” said Kristijan, a teacher, before casting a ballot.

Some analysts believe that the two biggest parties may be forced to join forces, as the alternative of trying to form a stable government with junior partners, such as Skoro’s Homeland or the conservative Most (Bridge) party, may prove difficult.

Both Plenkovic and Bernardic have firmly rejected the idea of a “grand coalition”.

Croatia has reported a relatively small number of coronavirus infections – 3,000 COVID-19 cases and around 100 deaths recorded so far – but infections have accelerated in the past two weeks, with the daily number of new cases currently peaking at around 80.

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Guardiola confident City’s UEFA ban will be overturned

Cyprus Mail - Dom, 05/07/2020 - 13:19

By Simon Evans

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola is confident the club will win their appeal against a two-year UEFA ban from European football.

City’s appeal against the ban was heard last month at the Court of Arbitration of Sport (CAS) and a decision is expected by July 13.

European soccer’s governing body UEFA ruled in February that City had committed serious breaches of Financial Fair Play (FFP) regulations and failed to cooperate with its investigation, handing them a ban and a 30 million euro (24.9 million pounds) fine.

“We are ready, I have a lot of confidence and trust with the people that we will be allowed to play the Champions League because we want to be on the field during these years,” Guardiola told British media.

“On 13 July we will know the resolution, hopefully, for the club – all the workers, players and everyone here, staff – to try to continue growing up as a club in the next years,” he added.

Missing out on a Champions League season would cost City, who have denied wrongdoing, as much as 100 million pounds ($127 million) in prize money and broadcast revenue, as well as matchday and other revenues.

The FFP regulations are designed to stop clubs running up big losses through spending on players.

They also ensure that sponsorship deals are based on their real market value and are genuine commercial agreements — and not ways for owners to pump cash into a club to get around the rules.

UEFA opened an investigation into City last March after the publication of ‘Football Leaks’ documents led to allegations that the club’s Abu Dhabi owners had inflated sponsorship agreements to comply with the FFP requirements.

The leaked documents included club emails which referred to money being “routed” through sponsors. Reuters was unable to verify if such payments were made https://www.reuters.com/investigates/special-report/soccer-files-fairplay-mancity.

As well as questioning the nature of the documents, City were unhappy at the way in which UEFA’s Club Financial Control Body (CFCB) conducted the investigation.

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Masks and remote-control trolleys for F1’s new-look podium

Cyprus Mail - Dom, 05/07/2020 - 12:40

By Alan Baldwin

The top three finishers in Sunday’s season-opening Austrian Formula One Grand Prix will have towels and water delivered to them by remote-controlled trolley before they can get their hands on any champagne.

They must also wear facemasks before stepping up onto socially-distanced individual rostrums placed in front of their cars on the start-finish line due to strict anti-pandemic measures.

Formula One race director Michael Masi outlined details of the new post-race procedures in a note to teams ahead of the sport’s first championship grand prix to be held entirely without spectators.

The leading three will have to park up next to boards marking the first, second and third positions on the start/finish straight.

They will then step out to be weighed on portable scales positioned next to their cars and conduct the official interviews.

“Once the interviews have been completed a remote-control trolley with water and towel will be delivered to each driver,” the note continued. “No other drinks are permitted in the parc ferme area.”

The rostrum and dais will be placed in front of the cars, instead of the more familiar podium positioned above a crowded pit lane or track crammed with cheering team members and flag-waving fans.

The drivers will then move to their individual podium steps before the national anthems are played and virtual flags displayed.

No dignitaries will be involved in the presentation of trophies.

“The champagne celebrations will then take place,” the note said.

Sunday’s race is the first major global sporting event being held since countries emerged from the COVID-19 lockdown.

The Red Bull Ring is operating under strict health and safety requirements, with drivers and teams subjected to regular testing for COVID-19 and operating in ‘bubbles within bubbles’ to limit any risk of an outbreak of the virus.

The usual sponsors and VIPs are not in attendance and team numbers are limited. Permanently accredited media are not allowed in the paddock or pit lane unless working for broadcasters or Formula One.

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Shifty paradigms: Black Lives Matter uncovers US’ false assumptions

Cyprus Mail - Dom, 05/07/2020 - 12:35

By Nicholas Karides

When the American physicist and historian of science Thomas Kuhn identified the notion of the Paradigm Shift in the early 1960s, he described it as a fundamental change in the basic concepts and experimental practices within a scientific discipline.

Such a shift, Kuhn asserted, occurs when the dominant paradigm under which normal science operates is rendered incompatible with new phenomena, facilitating the adoption of a new theory or paradigm. Kuhn, who died in 1996, had confessed to a certain elasticity in his use of the term which has since infiltrated popular culture and spread to non-scientific contexts inevitably degenerating into a cliché.

Post-Covid19 every industry from hospitality to retail seems to be having their paradigm shifted. A fast and furious world that not long ago had worshipped ‘disruption’ as the only path to innovation is now forced to rethink everything.

Outside science laboratories and markets Kuhn’s term is being loosely used to signify changes in our collective perceptions, the type that is seeing a neurotic professional class reassess the slippery line of work-life balance. But nowhere is the change in perception more profound than in the explosion of racial tensions in the United States and the way the #BlackLivesMatter movement is now reshaping the country and social contexts everywhere else.

This late realisation of what it means not to breathe freely as an African American in the United States has shuttered assumptions in every western society. Whether the fall out will prove a permanent paradigm shift or a slide into more social upheaval now depends, in part, on whether the incumbent 45th president will retain power in November.

In understanding how we got here and where this might end up it is useful to recall that Barack Obama’s election in 2008 as the first African American president had itself been described as, yes, a paradigm shift. But given that 12 years later a movement like BLM has had to be mobilised and, more ominously, has faced hostility from the White House that Obama vacated, goes to show that perhaps that shift was not as paradigmatic.

As symbolisms go Obama’s victory was certainly a seminal moment in the country’s history. It was an extraordinary manifestation of change particularly when one contemplates that it was not until as late as 1965 that African Americans were fully granted the right to vote, when Obama himself was four years old. His election disrupted the old political culture and for a while, at least on the surface, racial tensions appeared to cool off. However, given where we are, very little changed in the underlying racism African Americans still face.

Obama, whose intelligence and decency this author admires, had presided over the same racial inequality and police brutality we see today. He dealt with the many vicious incidents during his term with dignity and compassion always saying the right things but in the end his administration failed to bring real change.

He would argue – and he would partially be right – that his efforts in the very difficult socio-economic circumstances he inherited from George W Bush were held back by a hostile Congress dominated by a dogmatic Republican Party going through its own paradigm-shifting and polarising nervous breakdown.

In recent weeks Obama has become very vocal, breaking the long-established norm that prevents former presidents from hostile engagement with incumbents. True to his reputation as a careful strategist his interventions have been both robust and thoughtful but have still triggered considerable reaction. His call to BLM protesters to “make this moment the real turning point for change” was seen as admission that his eight-year reign had fallen short while his call on them to redirect their energy at the ballot box was seen in some quarters as too cautious. You can’t satisfy everyone. Obama was and remains a positive force but, clearly, his impact wasn’t as defining as we might have thought.

To make things worse BLM is generating intense hostility among the Right prompting fears of a Fascist backlash in part fueled by Donald Trump’s repulsive personality. As things stand, it will fall on Obama’s vice president, the unlikely radical, Joe Biden, to calm things down enough to salvage some of America’s lost rationality and humanity.

To go back to Kuhn, the recent phenomena in the US do not constitute a paradigm shift; they have merely revealed that the paradigm had been false. It is hard for Americans and Americophiles to stomach, but for a real paradigm shift to occur they would first have to address the false assumptions that have corrupted their theories about themselves. Paramount among these is the romantic notion that America was ever great.

 

Nicholas Karides is the founder of Ampersand, the Nicosia based public affairs firm and network partner of ICF Next (Brussels). It offers its clients insight, advice and editorial support to make their communication work more relevant, more substantive and more effective @NicholasKarides

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Britain puts $10 million into study on long term effects of Covid-19

Cyprus Mail - Dom, 05/07/2020 - 12:26

Britain is putting 8.4 million pounds ($10.49 million) into a new study to examine the long-term effects of COVID-19 on patients, the health ministry said on Sunday.

The novel coronavirus which causes COVID-19 has been observed to cause many health impacts for some patients beyond immediate respiratory issues, but with other infected people asymptomatic, the workings of the virus are not fully understood.

“As we continue our fight against this global pandemic, we are learning more and more about the impact the disease can have, not only on immediate health, but longer-term physical and mental health too,” health minister Matt Hancock said.

The Department of Health said 10,000 people would take part in the study, which is being led by the University of Leicester and hospitals in the city.

Lung and blood samples of the patients will be taken and they will also be assessed by advanced imaging, and the findings will be used to develop new forms of personalised treatment.

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