Cipro

Actress Annabella Sciorra testifies she tried to fight Weinstein during alleged rape

Cyprus Mail - 2 ore 7 min fa

Actress Annabella Sciorra testified on Thursday that Harvey Weinstein pinned her hands behind her head and violently raped her more than 25 years ago, becoming the first accuser to take the stand against the former Hollywood producer in his sexual assault trial.

“He had intercourse with me as I tried to fight, but I couldn’t fight anymore because he had my hands locked,” she told the New York jury of seven men and five women. Weinstein, sitting at the defense table, took notes on a legal pad at times during the testimony.

Weinstein, 67, has pleaded not guilty to charges of assaulting two women, Mimi Haleyi and Jessica Mann. He has said all of his sexual encounters with women were consensual.

Sciorra’s allegation from the winter of 1993-94 is too old to be charged as a separate crime, but prosecutors hope it will show that Weinstein was a repeat sexual predator, a charge that could put him in prison for life.

As the trial wrapped for the day, prosecutors said they wanted to call actress Rosie Perez to testify that Sciorra told her about the alleged attack, a request the defense opposed. James Burke, the judge presiding over the case, said he would rule on the issue “soon enough.”

The trial is a watershed moment for the #MeToo movement, in which women have gone public with allegations against powerful men in business and politics.

Since 2017, more than 80 women, including many famous actresses, have accused Weinstein of sexual misconduct.

Weinstein reshaped the independent film industry with critically acclaimed pictures such as “The English Patient” and “Shakespeare in Love.”

Actresses Ellen Barkin, Mira Sorvino and Rosanna Arquette sent Twitter messages of support to Sciorra, best known for her role in HBO’s “The Sopranos.” Barkin was in the courtroom for her testimony.

Sciorra told the jury that the evening of the alleged rape had started with Weinstein giving her a ride home from an Irish restaurant. After dropping her off, he knocked on her door and came inside uninvited.

She testified that after forcing intercourse on her, he performed oral sex on her as she protested.

“It was just so disgusting that my body started to shake in a way that was very unusual,” she said. “It was like a seizure or something.”

One of Weinstein‘s attorneys, Donna Rotunno, methodically sought to undercut Sciorra’s account.

Rotunno repeatedly asked Sciorra if she had tried to get away from Weinstein and whether she had fought back during the alleged rape.

Sciorra said she did not recall the details of the struggle but repeated that she felt she could not escape.

“He was frightening,” she said.

During rapid-fire questioning, Rotunno grilled Sciorra about whether she had called the police, gone to the hospital or immediately told anyone she had been raped.

Sciorra said she had not.

“At the time, I didn’t understand that it was rape,” she said.

Sciorra told jurors that she saw Weinstein several weeks later at a dinner where she tried to confront him and told him she fainted during the alleged attack.

She said he responded by saying, “That’s what all the nice Catholic girls say.”

She said Weinstein leaned in and said: “This remains between you and I.” Though he laughed, his tone was “very menacing,” Sciorra said.

On Friday, prosecutors are expected to call Barbara Ziv, a Temple University psychology professor, as an expert. Ziv will testify about “rape trauma syndrome,” including why rape victims might not report what happened to them or show obvious signs of trauma, according to court filings by prosecutors.

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News podcast: Will a 15 year legal battle end a British man’s anguish at the Supreme Court today?

Cyprus Mail - 2 ore 15 min fa

The Cyprus News Digest, in collaboration with the Cyprus Mail, brings you an in-depth analysis of some of the latest developments in local and international – in audio form.

Presented by Rosie Charalambous, this week:

        • Will a 15 year legal battle end a British man’s anguish at the Supreme Court today?
        •  It’s cervical cancer week – what do you know about HPV?
        • “Risks in a challenging world” is this year’s topic at the Economy Panel
        • A film premiere about Cypriots in Birmingham

For direct download click here 

For more, visit: http://cyprusmail.libsyn.com/

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Restaurant Review: Koi, Nicosia 

Cyprus Mail - 2 ore 25 min fa

My undergraduate granddaughter asked if I liked Sushi. I responded that I have a weakness for most Oriental dishes, and was pleased that many Asian kitchens had settled in our great capital. A regular previous complaint of mine was the absence of ethnic cuisine in the city while our erstwhile visitors, particularly the English tourists, who claim ‘chicken tikka marsala’ as their national dish, can trip along our coastline scattering spring-rolls where they may.

The young relative suggested I sound out ‘Koi’. This is located in Menandrou Street, off Themostenes Dervis with Wagga Mamma on the corner and tucked in behind Pixeda and opposite Skinny Fox. I believe there is also an oyster bar in there somewhere. Quite a collection.

But it wasn’t the proliferation of dining opportunities that struck me, but rather the knowledge that a child of one of the most conservative communities on the island should have experienced the delicate cuisine of Japan, and not only enjoyed it, but returned for more. What on earth is going on?

Sushi depends upon the quality of the ingredients. They must always be fresh and accompanied by wasabi (horseradish) that contains the glucoside sinigrin which accounts for its pungency. The more finely grated, the more potent the taste. It stimulates the appetite and the digestive juices; but be aware, it will be the hottest sauce you have encountered. The pickled ginger is sliced and fermented. It refreshes the mouth after each dish.

Koi is simply furnished with wooden chairs and tables, easily spaced, with 52 covers inside and out; quite comfortable. Marialitza, our charming waitress, offers the menu that is simply laid out and contains most of the basics one expects from a Japanese Sushi restaurant in central Nicosia. My companion and I have a weakness for tempura and order the shrimp dish served with a sweet chilli sauce to start. We could have chosen edame soya beans, rice balls, tuna or salmon rolls. The menu contains Maki, Nigiri and Sashimi. These feature slices of raw fish such as salmon, tuna and eel served as Dragon Roll.

Whenever, I see eel on a menu, it will appear on my plate. The Koi method of serving eel is to present it in an avocado and cucumber rice roll topped by smoked eel with teriyaki sauce and sesame seeds.

We followed this with Spicy Crab roll, bound by surimi, avocado and red massago on the outside. All were as fresh, nourishing and perfectly wrapped in the traditional style with the nori – seaweed – ranging in colour from deep green to black. There is something visually pleasing about plates of Sushi and Sashimi when arranged in file on the dining table accompanied by the little dishes for the soy and the dash of wasabi and the curled ginger pickles. We chose to drink green tea – Koi provide free water – and half way through the meal we had a flask of Saki; not a drink to be taken lightly. Many assume that it is a form of tea so be aware it pours out at 14.5 ABV, which is about the same as a fortified wine. Went very well with the sweet: Mochi.

A very pleasant evening, the only disappointment was the last dish which was a little tired. But proprietor, Panagiotis Psarris, knows what he is about and what the young Cypriots want. Probably the best value for money I have experienced in many a year.

 

VITAL STATISTICS

SPECIALTY Sushi

WHERE Koi, Menandrou 3, Nicosia

CONTACT 22 260777 or 96 007882

PRICE Very reasonable

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“No, No America”: Thousands of Iraqis rally against U.S. military presence

Cyprus Mail - 2 ore 27 min fa

Thousands of Iraqis rallied at two central Baghdad intersections on Friday after a prominent cleric called for a “million strong” protest against the American military presence, following the U.S. killing of an Iranian general and an Iraqi militia chief.

The march called by Moqtada al-Sadr aims to pressure Washington to pull out its troops, but many anti-government protesters fear it could overshadow their separate, months-long demonstrations that have challenged Iran-backed Shi’ite groups’ grip on power.

Sadr opposes all foreign interference in Iraq but has recently aligned himself more closely with Iran, whose allies have dominated state institutions since the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003.

Throngs of marchers started gathering early on Friday at al-Hurriya Square in central Baghdad and near around the city’s main university, Reuters witnesses said. Marchers avoided Tahrir square, symbol of mass protests against Iraq‘ ruling elites.

“We want them all out – America, Israel, and the corrupt politicians in government,” said Raed Abu Zahra, a health ministry worker from southern city of Samawa, who arrived by bus at night and stayed in Sadr City, a sprawling district of Baghdad controlled by the cleric’s followers.

“We support the protests in Tahrir as well, but understand why Sadr held this protest here so it doesn’t take attention from theirs,” he added.

Men and women marched waving the red, white and black national colours, and chanted slogans against the United States, which leads a military coalition against the Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria.

“DO NOT CROSS THIS BARRIER”

Some were wearing symbolic white robes indicating they’re willing to die for their country while others sat looking out over the square from half finished buildings, holding signs reading “No, no, America, no, no, Israel, no, no, colonialists”.

Marchers were protected by Sadr’s Saraya al-Salam brigades and Iraq‘s Popular Mobilization Forces, an umbrella grouping of Iran-backed Shi’ite militias, witnesses said.

It is unclear if the march will end up at the gates of the U.S. Embassy, the seat of U.S. power in Iraq and the scene of violent clashes last month when militia supporters tried to storm the compound.

Main roads in Baghdad were barricaded by security forces and the city’s Green Zone, which houses foreign missions, were blocked off with concrete barriers. Outside the U.S. embassy, a sign reads “Warning. Do not cross this barrier, we will use pre-emptive measures against any attempt to cross”.

The U.S. killing of Iranian military mastermind General Qassem Soleimani in Baghdad this month has raised the spectre of more civil strife in a country torn by years of sectarian conflict.

For the first time in nearly two years, parliament voted along sectarian lines to press the government to kick out U.S. forces. Shi’ite parties voted in favour, while Sunni Muslim and Kurdish lawmakers boycotted the session.

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Man wanted for alleged rape

Cyprus Mail - 2 ore 39 min fa

The Sovereign Base Area Police are looking for Prasad Chandana Weerathunga Arachochig in connection to an alleged rape in Ypsonas on January 21.

The Sri Lankan man is alleged to have raped a co-worker in the village, within the SBAs at approximately 7.30pm.

Police have conformed that the man is known to drive a white Suzuki wagon, with the registration number of KJF 096.

The man has been missing since the night of the alleged incident and his mobile phone has been deactivated.

Anyone with information that could help locate the suspect should call 112.

 

 

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Three injured in road accident

Cyprus Mail - 3 ore 15 min fa

A 19-year-old man is in critical condition in Nicosia hospital after he was injured in a road crash on Thursday evening in the Limassol district.

The man was driving on a road in Trachoni at 9.15pm when his vehicle collided with a car driven by a 21-year-old man who had a 16-year-old girl with him as a passenger.

All involved were injured and taken to Limassol general hospital. The 21-year-old man and the girl were released after receiving first aid while the 19-year-old was diagnosed with a head injury and transferred to Nicosia.

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Explosion under car of Aris football club chairman (Updated)

Cyprus Mail - 3 ore 21 min fa

A bomb exploded in the back of the car of John Panayi, president of the Aris football club, at dawn on Friday in Limassol.

The car was parked in the driveway of his house and the explosion, which occurred at 4.30am, damaged the car and shattered windows of the house.

According to media reports, the glass of the balcony door in the room where his children were sleeping was shattered, causing pieces of glass to fall on the bed of his eight-year-old daughter.

The explosive device had been placed at the right rear tyre of the vehicle.

Police said they are looking into the motives of the perpetrators as it is not clear whether the incident is related to his professional status.

Only last week the Cyprus Football Association temporarily postponed all scheduled fixtures in all leagues after referees protested over the car bomb placed on a car belonging to 33-year-old referee Andreas Constantinou.

From the beginning, investigators turned their attention to Constantinou’s involvement with football, specifically to a fixture between Doxa and AEL which ended in a 2-2 draw. After the game, AEL had expressed complaints about the refereeing.

Reports said Constantinou was also the referee in a cup game between Ayia Napa and Pafos FC for which a notice had been received suggesting it could have been fixed due to suspicious betting activity.

It was one of five notices the CFA received recently.

 

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Roads closed, schools closed, winds drop

Cyprus Mail - 3 ore 24 min fa

There is a chilly day ahead, while some schools in the mountains will remain closed and a number of roads only open to 4×4 drives and vehicles equipped with snow chains.

The education ministry announced on Friday morning that schools in Lemythou, Kyperounta, Platres, Agros, Pelendri, Trimiklini and Moniatis will stay closed due to the weather conditions.

The following road are accessible only for vehicles with snow chains and four-wheel drives:

Karvounas – Troodos

Troodos – Platres

Prodromos – Troodos

Moniatis – Platres

Platres – Trooditissa

Pera Pedi – Mandria

Kato Platres –  Phoini – Lemithou

Kalo Chorio – Agros

Karvounas – Kyperounta – Agros

Trimiklini – Pelendri

Amiantos – Karvounas

Pedoulas – Prodromos – Trooditissa

Pedoulas – Pinewood – Kakopetria

Kakopetria – Karvounas

Kambos – Pyrgou

Kalopanayiotis – Pedoulas

Gerakies – Kykkos

The strong winds of Thursday night will continue on Friday morning but will gradually die down by the afternoon. Temperatures will rise to 11C inland and 13C at the coast.

At night they are forecast to drop to 1C around Nicosia, 3C to 5C in coastal areas and -6 in the higher mountains.

It will get markedly warmer during the weekend, reaching levels above average for the time of the year.

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Crushed Serena says Grand Slam record bid will go on

Cyprus Mail - 3 ore 48 min fa

“I can’t play like that,” said a downcast Serena Williams, lamenting her third round upset by rank outsider Wang Qiang at the Australian Open on Friday but declared her bid for a record-equalling 24th Grand Slam title would go on.

The seven-times Melbourne champion stumbled to her earliest exit at the tournament in 14 years with an error-strewn 6-4 6-7(2) 7-5 loss to 27th seed Wang that raised queries about her hopes of chasing down Margaret Court’s record major titles.

The stunning defeat at Rod Laver Arena came less than four months after Williams trounced Wang 6-1 6-0 in the U.S. Open quarter-finals.

“Honestly, if we were just honest with ourselves, it’s all on my shoulders. I lost that match. So it is what it is,” Williams told reporters after racking up 56 unforced errors next to 43 winners.

“Like I said, it’s not about the tournament, it’s just like I can’t play like that. Like, I literally can’t do that again. That’s unprofessional. It’s not cool.”

While Williams struggled to hit her targets throughout, her fighting spirit was never in doubt as she staved off a quicker defeat in the second set by breaking Wang as she served for the match at 5-4.

Williams’ formidable serve sprung her from peril four times in the deciding set but the bullet-proof confidence which has defined her career was gradually chipped away as Wang defiantly dragged her into a tense dogfight.

Wang reprieved Williams twice on match point but the American could not make her pay and bowed out somewhat meekly with a backhand fired into the net.

In the early stages of pregnancy, Williams grabbed her seventh title at Melbourne Park in 2017 but has fallen agonisingly short of another major triumph since returning to the tour in 2018 as a mother.

She has reached four Grand Slam finals but failed to win any, with her recent U.S. Open defeat to Canadian talent Bianca Andreescu playing out in front of a partisan crowd in New York.

The window for another Grand Slam trophy may have grown smaller on Friday but 38-year-old Williams said she felt like she was “on the way up” and dismissed the idea that she might have made her last appearance in Melbourne.

“I’m not even thinking about anything, about not being here,” she said.

“I’m way too old to play like this at this stage of my career. It’s such a big tournament. It’s no excuse, to be honest,” she added, still churning over her performance.

“I’m definitely going to be training tomorrow. That’s first and foremost, to make sure I don’t do this again.”

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Nine-hour documentary screening to remember Holocaust

Cyprus Mail - 4 ore 20 min fa

It’s not very often you come across a nine-hour documentary but that’s the case for Claude Lanzamann’s Shoah. That’s not the only lengthy fact about the documentary. It was 11 years in the making (1974-1985) and it recounts the story of the Holocaust through interviews with survivors, witnesses and perpetrators and footage of the death sites filmed at the end of the 70s and beginning of the 80s.

In the director’s words, “Shoah is not a film about survival but a testimonial of death.” The International Literature Festival Berlin is organising a global event on the occasion of the International Holocaust Remembrance Day (January 27). In Cyprus, the screening will take place on Sunday, January 26.

The documentary was hailed as an “epochal masterpiece of memory culture”, and as “an epic film about the greatest evil of modern times”. It received numerous nominations and awards at film festivals around the world including the New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Non-Fiction Film and the BAFTA Award for Best Documentary.

Claude Lanzmann was one of the great French filmmakers and intellectuals. Born in Paris of Jewish parents, he joined the French resistance and went underground to fight the Nazis. Later, he studied philosophy in France and Germany and subsequently took a position as a lecturer at the Free University of Berlin in 1948/49.

In 1953, Lanzmann, who belonged to Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir’s intellectual circle, became a permanent collaborator on the legendary political and literary journal Les Temps Modernes.

The Holocaust, anti-Semitism and the struggle for human rights have been at the core of his work both as a filmmaker and journalist. Among his best-known films are Israel, Why? (1973) about the necessity of the founding of Israel after the Second World War; Tsahal (1994) a close examination of the Israeli defence force; and Sobibor, October 14, 1943, 4pm (2001) about the prisoner uprising in the Sobibor death camp in 1943.

In 2013 Lanzmann received the Honorary Golden Bear for Lifetime Achievement at the 63rd Berlin International Film Festival. It was the first time that a documentary filmmaker received this honour from the Berlinale.

Screening his nine-hour-long film is no easy task so the organisers will split it up in four parts with three intervals. The day will begin at 2.30pm at ARTos Foundation in Nicosia and will end around 1am. Care to brave it?

 

Shoah

9-hour documentary screening about the Holocaust. Directed by Claude Lanzamann. January 26. ARTos Foundation, Nicosia. 2.30pm-1am. Registration is mandatory. Tel: 99-678132

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The property issue should have been addressed a long time ago

Cyprus Mail - 4 ore 23 min fa

This issue should have been addressed immediately after the 1974 war and a tax levied on any real-estate transactions to compensate people like my wife’s family who lost everything in the north.

Since then, distortion in property values in the south has made many people who owned anything on this side richer than they could ever have dreamed of and the developers and speculators are making fortunes which they fear might be lost if there is a solution and prices fall as a result of territory being returned and the north being legally accessible to buyers!

This is a hot potato which none of the ruling economic and political elite ever dare to openly discuss, but which everyone knows about and I hope this case finally opens the floodgates which will force there to be a solution or at least the cost of 1974 will be fairly shared among everyone!

MS

Legal moves to compensate 1974 refugees

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Mosquito experts visit Akrotiri

Cyprus Mail - 5 ore 5 min fa

The Sovereign Base Area Environmental Department and the Joint Services Health Unit (JSHU) hosted a training seminar last week on harmonising Aedes Invasive Mosquito (AIM) surveillance across Europe.

The event, which took place at the Akrotiri Environmental and Education Centre, saw some of the most widely-respected experts from all over Europe come together to discuss and learn more about mosquito control.

In recent years, Akrotiri has become the centre of excellence on this issue and it has hosted similar events previously as a result of the success it is having in trying to control the mosquito problem.

Major Chris Taylor, who heads up the JSHU team, explained why this seminar has become so important to European academics who have a vested interest in understanding more about the issue.

He said: “Mosquito-borne diseases emerging, or re-emerging in Europe, are a serious cause of concern to human health. This workshop aimed to bring together mosquito expert students from across Europe to provide a theoretical basis and develop the practical skills for the implementation of harmonized AIM surveillance in Europe, with the final goal to implement a standardised pan-European monitoring scheme in the summer of 2020 and beyond.”

This latest seminar saw students from Spain, Italy, Portugal, Greece, Slovenia, Slovakia, Switzerland, Albania, Bulgaria, Netherlands, Turkey, Cyprus, Moldavia, Belgium, Romania and Croatia, visit the centre, where they also undertook field work to see how the JSHU team and the SBA Environmental Department work.

Major Taylor continued: “The Cyprus location in the Mediterranean means it will be sentinel for invasive mosquitos moving towards mainland Europe.
“The SBAs, through its Environmental Department and JSHU, have been monitoring and controlling invasive mosquito species in a sustainable and environmentally sensitive way for over 50 years, so we have become experts in the field.

“The fact that some of the top experts in the world come to this event in Akrotiri says a lot and it is important that we are able to share what we know to help other countries across Europe and beyond.”

Dr Kelly Martinou, one of Europe’s top entomologists working for JSHU, is at the forefront of the Bases mosquito work and she feels last week’s seminar proved highly beneficial to all those that took part.

She explained: “This is a really important forum because it allows experts from all over to Europe to come together, ask questions and share ideas about mosquitos.
“During the seminar, there was no specific subject matter to discuss, we wanted to encourage open conversation about any issues concerning mosquitos. Of course, there are subject areas that concerned all of us but it was important to answer as many questions as possible.”

In fact, during the seminar, many of the questions may have seemed obscure to some, but not to Dr Martinou, she continued: “Those at the seminar had a genuine interest in mosquitos and we had questions like ‘how viable are genetically modified mosquitos (GMO) as a form of control’?

“This is an interesting subject to look at because it is can be used. The idea is that you put GMO, male mosquitos into an environment to mate with the females and when the eggs arrive, they are born dead and this is a form of control. This was just one of the issues we discussed.”

Dr Martinou also said JSHU and the Bases environmental team were keen to build on the success of the seminar and plan to hold more in the future.
“We are part of the European Cooperation of Science and Technology,” she said. “This allows us to meet each other, solve problems and work together and share any data we produce to get a better grasp of mosquito control and surveillance.

“The first meeting of this kind was held here in Cyprus and we are very proud of that and we will certainly hold more in the futrure.”

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New Year’s Honour List for entomologist

Cyprus Mail - 5 ore 10 min fa

Dr Kelly Martinou from the Joint Services Health Unit working in RAF Akrotiri has been awarded the Commander Strategic Command Commendation as part of Her Majesty the Queen’s, New Year’s Honours List.

The prestigious award, which was announced shortly before the new year, has gone to Dr Martinou – one of Europe’s top entomologists – for her outstanding work on mosquito control and her overall performance in the field.

Dr Martinou, who is originally from Greece but lives in Limassol with her Greek Cypriot husband, has been working on the Bases since January 2015 and despite the plaudits she already received for her research and work, she revealed her surprise at being given the award.

She explained: “I had no idea that I was being put forward for the commendation, so I was very surprised to learn when the list came out that I was to be given an award.

“Of course, it is a great honour and one I am very proud of and I have to say thank you to those people that I have worked with for putting me forward for it.
“I have been very lucky in my time working for the Bases in that I have always had very supportive colleagues and that counts for a lot. In my time here, we have broadened what we do as an organisation and we have become a centre of excellence on issues such as mosquito control.”

Dr Martinou, who is an expert in that field, has become the focal point on the issue not just for those in Cyprus but all over Europe and she revealed why the subject matter interested her so much.

She continued: “I have always had a professional interest in insects and after reading an article in the New Scientist whilst in the UK, I became fascinated about ‘biological control’, insects that eat other insects for example.

“Mosquitos in particular fascinated me because we have to remember that they have outlived the dinosaurs, so they are very durable and are survivors, so we would be naïve to think we can solve the problem all together and must therefore learn ways to control them.”

Despite the challenges facing Dr Martinou and her team at JSHU, she said there was some excellent work taking place in the area and she was keen to thank the Bases community for all their help.

She said: “Both the civilian and military communities have been excellent in providing us with support and I am very grateful for that. Much of the success we have is achieved with the support of this community and I am hopeful that will continue.”

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China shuts down transport, temples as virus death toll rises to 25

Cyprus Mail - 5 ore 14 min fa

China stepped up measures to contain a virus which has killed 25 people and infected more than 800, with public transport suspensions in 10 cities, temples shutting, and the rapid construction of a new hospital to treat those infected.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) on Thursday declared the new coronavirus an emergency for China but stopped short of declaring the epidemic of international concern.

Health authorities fear the infection rate could accelerate over the Lunar New Year, when hundreds of millions of Chinese travel at home and abroad during week-long holidays, which began on Friday.

At the railway station in Wuhan, the few passengers foolhardy enough to return home to a city at the epicentre of the outbreak put on a brave face as they alighted the train.

“What choice do I have? It’s Chinese New Year. We have to see our family,” said a man named Hu, as he stepped off the train in Wuhan.

As of Thursday, there were 830 confirmed cases and 25 people had died, the National Health Commission. Most cases are in the central Chinese city of Wuhan, where the virus is believed to have originated in a market which traded in illegal wildlife.

Preliminary research suggested that in the most recent stage of its evolution, the Wuhan virus was passed on to humans from snakes.

Wuhan, a city of 11 million people, and neighbouring Huanggang, a city of about 7 million people, were in virtual lockdown. Rail stations were largely shut, with few trains stopping in the city, flights were suspended and there were checkpoints on main roads in and out of the city.

On a high-speed train that stopped in Wuhan station on Friday afternoon, about 10 passengers got off, but nobody boarded before the train resumed its journey.

“I’m not afraid. I trust the government. I need to be with my family,” said a passenger, dragging two large cases to the escalator at Wuhan station. He would not give his name.

Wuhan was building a new 1,000-bed hospital to treat those infected, with the aim of having it ready by Monday, the official Changjiang Daily reported on Friday.

The prefabricated buildings were being erected around a holiday complex originally intended for local workers, set in gardens by a lake on the outskirts of the city.

Non-fatal cases have also been detected in Thailand, Vietnam, Singapore, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and the United States, prompting several airlines to suspend flights to and from Wuhan.

But WHO said on Thursday that it was a “bit too early” to consider the outbreak a “Public Health Emergency of International Concern”. Such a designation would have required countries to step up the international response.

“Make no mistake, though, this is an emergency in China,” said WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

“It has not yet become a global health emergency. It may yet become one,” he said.

The previously unknown virus, which has no cure and can spread through respiratory transmission, has created alarm because there are a number of unknowns. It is too early to know just how dangerous it is and how easily it spreads.

Symptoms include fever, difficulty breathing and coughing.

Three research teams are to start work on developing potential vaccines, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations said. The plan is to have at least one potential vaccine in clinical trials by June.

Some experts believe the new virus is not as dangerous as the 2002-03 Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) that killed nearly 800 people, and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), which has killed more than 700 people since 2012.

“I’m not scared. It isn’t as serious as everyone is making out. I’ve come back from the United States and I don’t think it is that bad,” said a rail passenger told Reuters as he alighted a train at Macheng, the station just before Wuhan.

TEMPLES, FORBIDDEN CITY, RAIL STATIONS SHUT

Chinese health authorities have advised people to avoid crowds during the Lunar New Year holidays.

A total of 10 cities in China’s central Hubei province have suspended some public transportation over the coronavirus outbreak, the Hubei Daily reported on Friday.

Buses in cities of Chibi, Xiantao, Zhijiang, Qianjiang, Xianning, Huangshi and Enshi have suspended services. Ezhou city has shut its train stations.

In Zhijiang city, all public venues have been shut down except hospitals, supermarkets, farmers’ market, gas stations and drug stores, said Hubei Daily.

Indoor entertainment venues in Enshi city have also been shut down, it said.

Some famous temples in China have closed due to virus. Beijing’s Lama Temple, where people traditionally go to make offerings for the new year, will close from Friday.

Haikou, capital of the southern resort island province of Hainan, is closing cultural and tourist facilities such as libraries and museums.

Beijing cancelled large gatherings, including two Lunar New Year temple fairs, and closed the Forbidden City, the capital’s most famous tourist attraction, to visitors until further notice.

In Wuhan residents thronged hospitals for medical checks and rushed to buy supplies, clearing out supermarket shelves and queuing for petrol.

Chinese-ruled Hong Kong, which has two confirmed cases, is turning two holiday camps into quarantine stations as a precaution. Taiwan has banned anyone from Wuhan from entering.

The U.S. State Department warned travellers to exercise increased caution in China as airports worldwide stepped up the screening of passengers arriving from the country.

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New parliament building is a total waste of taxpayer’s money

Cyprus Mail - 5 ore 20 min fa

Commenters had more or less the same view on the proposed building of a new parliament

S: As ususal they have got their own selfish priorities right, use the all the funds up to keep themselves fully up-to-date and comfortable, why would they spend the money on new hospitals ,and clinics and medical facilities in remote areas, they all are able to travel abroad for their own medical needs.
Why would they worry about infrastructure and public transport as long as they are comfortable with their large cars and bodyguards/drivers?

AB: A monument to further squandering of taxpayers money . For all MPs do in Parliament they could hold the parliamentary sessions in a public phone box . 95 million is the opening estimate, you can be sure the developer will ‘squeeze’ another few million from the taxpayer while it is being built .

G51:No way on this planet this project will cost 95 million or more.
At least 50% over price looking at the model on display.

S: Would love to have €95 million for better public transport and road infrastrucutre, instead of a new parlament.

New parliament building will cost €95 million

 

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Australian Open Day 5 highlights

Cyprus Mail - 6 ore 42 min fa

Highlights of the fifth day at the Australian Open, the first Grand Slam tournament of the year, on Friday (times AEDT; GMT+11):

1534 WANG SHOCKS WILLIAMS

Chinese 27th seed Wang Qiang extended former world number one Serena Williams’ wait for a record-equalling 24th Grand Slam singles title, producing a superb performance to seal a 6-4 6-7(2) 7-5 win over the American and move into the fourth round.

1527 BARTY PAT FOR JABEUR

World number one Ash Barty had kind words for Ons Jabeur shortly before the Tunisian became the first Arab woman to make the round of 16 at a Grand Slam with a three-sets victory over Caroline Wozniacki.

“I’ve played Ons before. Played doubles with her. She’s a great person as well. I enjoy giving her a little bit of stick every single day when I see her. She gives it back, which I love. It’s great banter,” Barty said.

“It’s really nice to see her starting to play big matches, get herself deeper in tournaments. She has the ability, she has the brain on the tennis court… (she is) someone who brings a smile on my face whenever I see her.”

1515 THREE-SETTER A FITTING END TO CAREER, SAYS WOZNIACKI

Caroline Wozniacki said that a tough match which went the distance was the appropriate way to end her career.

“It was only fitting that my last match would be a three- setter, a grinder and my career would finish with a forehand error. I guess it was meant to be,” Wozniacki said in a courtside interview.

“I really am happy. I’m excited for what’s to come. You might see me around off the court.”

1458 END OF THE ROAD FOR WOZNIACKI AFTER JABEUR LOSS

Tunisia’s Ons Jabeur beat former world number one Caroline Wozniacki 7-5 3-6 7-5 in the third round to send the 2018 champion into retirement.

Wozniacki has said the Australian Open would be her final tournament as she looks forward to the next stage of her life with her husband of seven months, ex-NBA All Star David Lee.

Earlier, seventh seed Petra Kvitova blasted past Ekaterina Alexandrova 6-1 6-2 in 58 minutes.

1352 SCHWARTZMAN SHOWS HIS FUNNY SIDE

Diego Schwartzman was in a humorous mood following his win over Dusan Lajovic, when asked in a courtside interview about his potential fourth-round meeting with Yoshihito Nishioka or world number two Novak Djokovic.

“I just know Nishioka, because he is my size,” Schwartzman said of the Japanese 24-year-old, who like him is also 5ft 7in. “The other guy I really don’t know.”

1328 SCHWARTZMAN SURGES PAST LAJOVIC

Argentina’s Diego Schwartzman staved off a late comeback attempt by Dusan Lajovic to beat the Serb 6-2 6-3 7-6(7) and reach the last 16 for the second time, matching his best performance at Melbourne Park.

1231 BARTY ROARS INTO FOURTH ROUND

World number one Ash Barty kept alive hopes of a local champion for the first time since 1978 with a 6-3 6-2 demolition of 29th-seed Elena Rybakina.

Barty needed just 78 minutes to beat the 20-year-old from Kazakhstan to advance to the fourth round.

1100 PLAY STARTS ON TIME WITH DOUBLES

Play started on time with most of the outside courts hosting first round doubles matches, while world number one Ash Barty opens the third round in the singles on Rod Laver Arena against Kazakhstan’s 29th-seed Elena Rybakina.

Women’s champion Naomi Osaka opens the evening session against American teenager Cori Gauff in arguably the singles clash of the day on the showcourts.

After rain caused delays for the outside courts early on Thursday the weather forecast was for a high of 24 Celsius (75.2 Fahrenheit) but with breezy conditions still to test players at Melbourne Park.

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HIO forecast Gesy surplus this year

Cyprus Mail - 9 ore 23 min fa

The national health scheme Gesy will post a surplus of €80m in its first year of full operation, said Thomas Antoniou, the head of the Health Insurance Organisation (HIO), which administers the scheme.

Antoniou presented the budget for 2020 for the HIO, to the House health committee on Thursday. He said that the forecasted expenses of Gesy would be €969.6m and forecasted revenue €1.05bn.

Antoniou said it was moving for him to present the first budget for Gesy which enters its second and final phase of implementation in June. Deputies submitted several questions to Antoniou and expected written responses by the HIO’s board and management.

Deputies were informed that the HIO needed more staff to be able to fully perform its duties. There were still problems in the operation of Gesy but these were gradually being tackled said Antoniou.

He explained there were still doctors that had not fully come to terms with the changes, while some patients were still putting pressure on doctors for unnecessary referrals and lab test. Doctors were much less obliging in this respect than they had been in the past.

Disy deputy Savia Orphanidou, after the meeting, said there had been great progress in the first months of Gesy’s operation. She added, however, that some doctors registered too many patients with the result they had long patient lists and could not respond to patient calls.

During Thursday’s meeting deputies discussed the possibility of lowering the maximum number of patients registered with a personal doctor from the current 2,500 to 1,500, said Orphanidou. This was possible now that more doctors have joined Gesy.

Edek leader Marinos Sizopoulos used the forecasted surplus for 2020 to ask why state guarantees had been given to private hospitals in order to join Gesy. If the HIO budget would post an estimated €80m surplus, then why did the government need to offer €70m in guarantees, he asked.

Edek and Diko disagreed with the government offering €70m in guarantees to persuade private hospitals to join Gesy.

 

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Our View: Akel’s criticism of foreign minister over Turkey is justified

Cyprus Mail - 9 ore 25 min fa

Foreign minister Nicos Christodoulides is the latest state official who seems to believe he is above criticism. He follows the example set by the auditor-general and the attorney-general, who make a habit of questioning their critics’ motives and defining what criticism is acceptable and what is not.

Christodoulides repeated his accusations against Akel on two television stations on Wednesday, claiming the party was engaging in an organised campaign against him that contained a personal element. Of course, the criticism did indeed have a personal element, because it was directed at the foreign minister’s declarations, policy and decisions regarding the ‘legal and political shield’ of the Cypriot EEZ, which has proved nothing more than a slogan.

The hollowness of this ‘legal and political shield’ has been exposed by Turkey’s total disregard for international law and provocative assertion that ‘might is right’. Turkey has just sent its drillship to Block 8 in the Cypriot EEZ for which the Republic had given drilling licences to foreign companies. This is the latest humiliation inflicted on the Republic by Turkey, which has now raised doubts about the validity of licensing contracts signed by oil companies and the Cyprus government.

Turkey is behaving like a ‘pirate’ as the government has said, but is doing so with impunity. The price that Christodoulides claimed Turkey would pay for its illegal and aggressive actions has not materialised. This is the minister who a few months ago was boasting about the ‘targeted’ measures and even sanctions that the EU would impose on Turkey, the minister that reassured us that Cyprus – through its strategic alliances – had been greatly strengthened and acquired geo-strategic importance.

He was on radio, television and in newspapers every other day reassuring the public that all the steps were being taken to safeguard our EEZ and that tough sanctions would be imposed on Turkey. This grandstanding and raising of expectations were made a mockery of by President Anastasiades himself, when on Tuesday he said we should not have illusions that the EU would take tougher measures against Turkey. Asked about this, Christodulides said the president was being pragmatic – in stark contrast to his foreign minister.

Having got things so badly wrong Christodoulides should be engaging in self-criticism instead of complaining because a political party has pointed this out. He should be man enough to accept the political criticism and take responsibility for his poor judgement in raising expectations about stopping Turkey through alliances, sanctions and arrest warrants.

He may not be accustomed to criticism, but if he wants to pursue a political career, he should learn to take it.

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In Davos, Trump frames climate change as global culture war

Cyprus Mail - 9 ore 27 min fa

By Peter Apps

In Davos on Tuesday, President Donald Trump pledged the United States to a major global project to plant a trillion trees worldwide in the next decade. In almost any previous administration, that announcement would have been the centrepiece of the president’s speech to the World Economic Forum, focusing this year on climate change amid Australia’s wildfires and faster than expected progress towards renewable energy generation.

Instead, Trump grabbed the agenda in a very different way, lambasting climate change campaigners as “prophets of doom” making “predictions of apocalypse” and pledging that America would defend its economy. Like almost every other major action the president takes this year, it paints an unambiguous picture of both how he sees the world and intends to use that framing to win a second term.

It is, as always, an unambiguously divisive approach that Trump knows will antagonize his rivals and, he hopes, mobilise his base. That, he clearly feels, is best done by going on the offensive. Liberal outrage and alarm over draconian measures against migrants, trade wars or risky foreign actions such as the killing of Iranian Major-General Qassem Soleimani, Trump appears to be betting, may simply play into his hands with the demographics that he really needs.

He will hope the same will be true of slamming hardline climate campaigners like Greta Thunberg, whom he did not mention by name but who was in the auditorium to hear him speak. Climate change is rising up the priority list for US voters – one poll by Yale and George Mason University climate change departments in May showed as many as 40 per cent saying it might influence their choices. But those voters, of course, remain amongst the least likely to embrace Trump.

Strikingly, he painted the pledge to contribute to the trillion trees – a project of the World Economic Forum supported by the UN Environment Program and the Food and Agriculture Organisation – as “conserving the majesty of God’s creation”. Evangelical Christian voters are at the heart of Trump’s strategy, whatever his personal faith, an approach that has underpinned embracing sometimes controversial preachers and appointing judges keen to roll back access to abortion.

The next major global climate summit will be in Glasgow in November – less than a week after the US presidential election on the 3rd of that month. For Trump, that likely means doubling down on this kind of rhetoric.

“ABSOLUTE POWER”

Globally, on climate at least, sentiment appears to be shifting – with high-profile extreme weather events such as the Australian bushfires potentially providing a political turning point even in traditionally sceptical countries. Last year’s “yellow vest” protests in France, however, remain a potent reminder of public resistance to efforts to change behaviour through steps like fuel tariffs. “These alarmists always demand the same thing – absolute power to dominate, transform and control every aspect of our lives,” said Trump.

Such words will grab headlines – but pointedly, Trump did not dispute the science. The Yale and George Mason study showed 73 per cent of registered US voters believed climate change was happening – 95 per  cent of liberal Democrats, 88 per cent of Democrats defining themselves as “moderate” or “conservative”, 68 per cent of liberal/moderate Republicans and just 40 per cent of conservative Republicans.

The numbers who believe that warming is mostly caused by humans remain notably lower – 59 per cent of registered voters, 84% of liberal Democrats, 70 per cent of moderate/conservative Democrats, 55 per cent of liberal/moderate Republicans – 14 points higher than in October 2017 – and only 26 per cent of conservative Republicans.

Intriguingly, though, support for action to lower greenhouse gas emissions turns out to be more widespread than believing in the underlying science: 76 per cent of voters say they believe emissions should be cut regardless of what other countries do, while 77 per cent told pollsters they thought Trump was wrong to quit the Paris Climate Agreement. As before, those results are heavily partisan, with liberal Democrats hugely more likely than conservative Republicans to back anti-climate action.

NOT A HOAX, NOT AN EMERGENCY?

An October focus group in the key swing states of Ohio, Minnesota and Wisconsin reported by news website Axios provides a more nuanced view. By and large, those involved believe climate change is a genuine concern, certainly not a hoax. But they also did not feel that it was a genuine emergency requiring radical action.

Like so much in the modern world, this is a global as much as a national political dividing point. Ahead of the Glasgow climate summit, the United Nations, most major Western governments and increasingly multinational firms are on a very similar page. Investment bank Goldman Sachs announced this year it was getting out of investments it judged to be contributing to climate change, while a tsunami of investment stands ready to pour into renewable energy and associated projects as the technology becomes available.

Already, the International Energy Agency says renewable energy generation is growing faster than expected – making up 26 per cent of the total world production – and could expand by 50 per cent in the next five years, powered by growth in solar energy in particular. Costs of the latter are predicted to fall 15-35 per cent by 2024 – but emerging economies, particular China, will remain heavily dependent on coal while the green industrial revolution could prove devastating to energy producing states such as Russia and Saudi Arabia.

If predictions that the world is reaching a tipping point in climate change, ushering in more Australia-style extreme events, that may be enough to win the international argument, even amongst Trump-supporting rural dwellers who distrust the concept now.

But that may not bother Trump. He is focused on November.

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