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  • Cuba: Crowds pay last respects to Fidel Castro in Santiago

    Cuban President Raul Castro has led final tributes to his brother Fidel at an event in the city of Santiago.

    Tens of thousands of Cubans attended the ceremony, as well as world leaders.

    Raul Castro vowed to honour the socialist principles and goals of the revolution led by Fidel, who died on 25 November aged 90.

    He also announced that Cuba would ban naming any monuments or roads after Fidel Castro, at the request of the late leader.

    "The leader of the revolution strongly opposed any manifestation of cult of personality," said Raul Castro.

    No statues or busts of Fidel will be erected in Cuba, he said.

    The urn with his ashes will be interred on Sunday in Santiago, known as the birthplace as the Cuban Revolution.

    It arrived on Saturday in Santiago, after a four-day journey from the capital, Havana.

    Large crowds shouting 'Long live Fidel!" and "I am Fidel!" greeted his funeral cortege through the streets of Santiago.

    'A father to us'

    The leaders of Venezuela, Nicaragua and Bolivia have attended the ceremony.

    Former Brazilian Presidents Dilma Rousseff and Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva were greeted by Raul Castro in Revolution Square.Image copyrightREUTERSImage captionRaul Castro (right) welcomed ex-Brazilian Presidents Dilma Rousseff and Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva to the ceremonyFidel Castro in July 2006Image copyrightEPAImage captionFidel Castro stepped down in 2006School girl cries in Fidel Castro's funeral cortegeImage copyrightAPImage caption"I am Fidel," chanted many Cubans as the funeral cortege went through the streets of SantiagoThe ashes of Cuban leader Fidel Castro upon arrival in Santiago, Cuba,Image copyrightAFPImage captionFidel Castro's ashes will be interred in Santiago on Sunday

    "All of us who love Fidel, who is a father to us. He cleared a path for us and the people will follow him," Tania Maria Jimenez told Reuters.

    She was among thousands of Cubans watching as the urn with Mr Castro's ashes was driven past the historic Moncada barracks in Santiago.

    Fidel Castro was part of the small group of revolutionaries who launched an attack on the barracks on 26 July 1953.

    The attacked failed, but it was considered the first act of the revolution that would depose the US-backed government of Fulgencio Batista on 1 January 1959.

    Opinion on Fidel Castro, who ruled Cuba as a one-party state for almost half a century, remains divided.

    Supporters say he returned Cuba to the people and praise him for some of his social programmes, such as public health and education.

    But critics call him a dictator, who led a government that did not tolerate opposition and dissent.

    Raul Castro took over when his brother's health deteriorated in 2006.

    Fidel Castro's ashes will be placed in the Ifigenia Cemetery, where Cuban independence hero Jose Marti is buried.

    Read more »
  • Fidel Castro death: Cuba plunged into mourning for ex-leader

    Candles and flowers around a picture of Fidel Castro in Havana. Photo: 26 November 2016Image copyrightAPImage captionThe nine-day mourning period will last until 4 December

    Cuba is mourning its revolutionary leader and former President Fidel Castro, whose death was announced late on Friday and has plunged the country into nine days of mourning.

    The body of the 90-year-old was due to be cremated at a private ceremony in Havana on Saturday.

    Some world leaders have been paying tribute to the 20th century icon.

    US President-elect Donald Trump, however, described Fidel Castro as a "brutal dictator".

    Castro came to power in 1959 and ushered in a Communist revolution, defying the US for decades.

    His supporters viewed him as a man who stood up to America during the Cold War and returned Cuba to the people. His critics, however, called him a dictator.

    A hero and a tyrant - obituary

    His life in pictures

    A revolutionary at home and abroad

    Flags are flying at half-mast on government buildings across the island, as many ordinary Cubans are feeling grief at the loss of someone who was a part of their lives for decades.

    In Miami, a US city with a large Cuban community, there were celebrations shortly after Castro's death was announced, with people banging pots and cheering.

     

    The US cut ties with Cuba in 1961 amid rising Cold War tensions and imposed a strict economic embargo which remains in place more than half a century on.

    Under President Barack Obama, the relationship warmed and diplomatic ties were restored in 2015.

    Mr Obama said history would "record and judge the enormous impact" of Castro. America was extending "a hand of friendship to the Cuban people" at this time, he added.

    Reaction as it happened

    A mourning period began on Saturday and will be observed in Cuba until the urn with Castro's ashes is taken to the south-eastern city of Santiago de Cuba to be laid to rest there on 4 December.

    Before that, a series of memorials will be held in Havana and Castro's ashes will travel along the route of the Caravan of Freedom that took place in January 1959.

    Many in Havana were in tears on Saturday, genuinely moved by the loss of a man they consider to have freed their country from Washington's grasp, the BBC's Will Grant reports.

    Castro was the longest serving non-royal leader of the 20th Century. He had been retired from political life for several years, after handing power to his brother Raul in 2006 because of illness.

    Reacting to news of Castro's death one woman, a government employee, said: "I always said it couldn't be. Even though they said it now, I say it can't be."

    But Cuban dissident group Ladies in White, which was founded by wives of jailed dissidents, tweeted: "May God forgive him, I won't".

    Loved and loathed: Castro's death online

    Cubans abroad: 'Mixed emotions'

    Divisive legacy captivates world media


    How Castro defied the US

    Throughout the Cold War, Fidel Castro was a thorn in Washington's side.

    An accomplished tactician on the battlefield, he and his small army of guerrillas overthrew the military leader Fulgencio Batista in 1959 to widespread popular support.

    Within two years of taking power, he declared the revolution to be Marxist-Leninist in nature and allied Cuba firmly to the Soviet Union - a move that led to the missile crisis in 1962, bringing the world to the brink of nuclear war before the Soviet Union abandoned its plan to put missiles on Cuban soil.

    Castro lights a cigar with Che GuevaraImage copyrightGETTY IMAGESImage captionCastro in the mid-1950s with another leading revolutionary - Che GuevaraPope John Paul II shakes hands with Fidel CastroImage copyrightAPImage captionYears later he would meet Pope John Paul II, despite declaring Cuba an atheist state

    Despite the constant threat of a US invasion as well as the long-standing economic embargo on the island, Castro managed to maintain a communist revolution in a nation just 90 miles (145km) off the coast of Florida.

    Despised by his critics as much as he was revered by his followers, he maintained his rule through 10 US presidents and survived scores of attempts on his life by the CIA.

    He established a one-party state, with hundreds of supporters of the Batista government executed. Political opponents have been imprisoned, the independent media suppressed. Thousands of Cubans have fled into exile.

    Graphic

    How has the world reacted?

    Many world leaders have paid tribute to Castro. Russian President Vladimir Putin described him as a "reliable and sincere friend" of Russia, while Chinese President Xi Jinping said his people had "lost a good and true comrade".

    The Soviet Union's last leader, Mikhail Gorbachev, said: "Fidel stood up and strengthened his country during the harshest American blockade, when there was colossal pressure on him."

    Data pic

    UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon acknowledged advances in education, literary and health under Castro, but said he hoped Cuba would "continue to advance on a path of reform, greater prosperity and human rights".

    Pope Francis, who met Castro, an atheist, when he visited Cuba in 2015, called his death "sad news".

    In Venezuela, Cuba's main regional ally, President Nicolas Maduro said "revolutionaries of the world must follow his legacy".


    Fidel Castro's key dates

     
     
    • 1926: Born in the south-eastern Oriente Province of Cuba
    • 1953: Imprisoned after leading an unsuccessful rising against Batista's regime
    • 1955: Released from prison under an amnesty deal
    • 1956: With Che Guevara, begins a guerrilla war against the government
    • 1959: Defeats Batista, sworn in as prime minister of Cuba
    • 1961: Fights off CIA-sponsored Bay of Pigs invasion by Cuban exiles
    • 1962: Sparks Cuban missile crisis by agreeing that USSR can deploy nuclear missiles in Cuba
    • 1976: Elected president by Cuba's National Assembly
    • 1992: Reaches an agreement with US over Cuban refugees
    • 2006: Hands over reins to brother Raul due to health issues, stands down as president two years later
    Read more »
  • Fidel Castro, Cuba's leader of revolution, dies at 90

    James Robbins looks back at Fidel Castro's life

    Cuba's former president Fidel Castro, one of the world's longest-serving and most iconic leaders, has died aged 90.

    His younger brother and successor as president Raul Castro announced the news on state television.

    Castro toppled the government in 1959, introducing a Communist revolution. He defied the US for decades, surviving many assassination plots.

    His supporters said he had given Cuba back to the people. Critics saw him as a dictator.

    Live updates

    A hero and a tyrant - obituary

    His life in pictures

    A revolutionary at home and abroad

    Ashen and grave, President Castro told the nation in an unexpected late night broadcast on state television that Fidel Castro had died and would be cremated later on Saturday.

    "The commander in chief of the Cuban revolution died at 22:29 hours this evening (03:29 GMT Saturday)," he said. "Towards victory, always!" he added, using a revolutionary slogan.

    A period of official mourning has been declared on the island until 4 December, when his ashes will be laid to rest in the south-eastern city of Santiago.

     
     

    Media captionRaul Castro announced the death of his brother on state television

    Barring the occasional newspaper column, Fidel Castro had essentially been retired from political life for several years.

    In April, Fidel Castro gave a rare speech on the final day of the country's Communist Party congress.

    "I'll soon be 90," the former president said, adding that this was "something I'd never imagined".

    "Soon I'll be like all the others," Fidel Castro said, suggesting his "turn" to pass away was coming.

    Castro was the longest serving non-royal leader of the 20th Century.

    He temporarily handed over power to his brother in 2006 as he was recovering from an acute intestinal ailment. Raul Castro officially became president two years later.

    News of his death left some in Havana stunned.

    "I always said it couldn't be," said one woman, a government employee. "Even though they said it now, I say it can't be."

    How he defied the US

    Throughout the Cold War, Fidel Castro was a thorn in Washington's side.

    An accomplished tactician on the battlefield, he and his small army of guerrillas overthrew the military leader Fulgencio Batista in 1959 to widespread popular support.

    Within two years of taking power, he declared the revolution to be Marxist-Leninist in nature and allied the island nation firmly to the Soviet Union.

    Castro lights a cigar with Che GuevaraImage copyrightGETTY IMAGESImage captionCastro in the mid-1950s with another leading revolutionary - Che GuevaraPope John Paul II shakes hands with Fidel CastroImage copyrightAPImage captionYears on he would meet Pope John Paul II, despite declaring Cuba an atheist state

    Despite the constant threat of a US invasion as well as the long-standing economic embargo on the island, Castro managed to maintain a communist revolution in a nation just 90 miles (145km) off the coast of Florida.

    Despised by his critics as much as he was revered by his followers, he maintained his rule through 10 US presidents and survived scores of attempts on his life by the CIA.

    He established a one-party state, with hundreds of supporters of the Batista government executed. Political opponents have been imprisoned, the independent media suppressed. Thousands of Cubans have fled into exile.

    How has the world reacted?

    Latin American leaders have been quick to pay tribute.

    Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto said Castro was a "great friend" of Mexico, while to El Salvador's President Salvador Sanchez Ceren he was an "eternal companion".

    Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro said "revolutionaries of the world must follow his legacy".

     
     

    Media captionLittle Havana celebrates Fidel Castro's death

    The Soviet Union's last leader, Mikhail Gorbachev, said: "Fidel stood up and strengthened his country during the harshest American blockade, when there was colossal pressure on him".

    Russian President Vladimir Putin described him as a "reliable and sincere friend" of Russia, while Chinese President Xi Jinping said "Comrade Castro will live forever".

    For French President Francois Hollande, Castro embodied Cuba's revolution in both its "hopes" and its later "disappointments".

    In Miami, where there is a large Cuban community, there have been celebrations in some parts of the city, with people banging pots and cheering.

    A Cuban exile group, the Cuban Democratic Directorate, said Castro left "legacy of intolerance" and had set up a "vicious totalitarian regime".


    What happens next? Will Grant, BBC News, Cuba

    Although the announcement of Fidel Castro's death caught many Cubans unawares, it can't be said that they weren't partly expecting it. In a sense, they have been preparing for this moment, a post-Fidel Cuba, for several years now as he retired from public life and largely disappeared from view.

    But now that it has actually arrived, some are asking whether it will make any political different to Cuba's trajectory.

    Cubans gather in front of a portrait of Fidel CastroImage copyrightAPImage captionCuba began economic reforms when Castro was still alive

    It's unlikely to, mainly because Raul Castro has already been implementing economic changes intended to attract foreign direct investment and ease the tight restrictions on ordinary Cubans. Plus, of course, there is the new rapprochement with Washington.

    While it's still not clear what a Trump presidency will mean in that regard, those changes are unlikely to be reversed because of Castro's death. Nor will Cuba change its one-party political system in his absence.

    Politically, his legacy lives on.


    Fidel Castro's key dates

     

    Fidel Castro (1926-2016)

    The former Cuban president has died aged 90 - his dramatic life makes his longevity all the more surprising

     
    • 80 rebels landed with him on Cuba to launch the revolution

    • 32 was his age when he came to power, toppling Fulgencio Batista

    • 49 years as Cuban president, a record for a non-royal leader

    • 638 assassination attempts he reportedly survived

    •  

    Reuters
    • 1926: Born in the south-eastern Oriente Province of Cuba
    • 1953: Imprisoned after leading an unsuccessful rising against Batista's regime
    • 1955: Released from prison under an amnesty deal
    • 1956: With Che Guevara, begins a guerrilla war against the government
    • 1959: Defeats Batista, sworn in as prime minister of Cuba
    • 1961: Fights off CIA-sponsored Bay of Pigs invasion by Cuban exiles
    • 1962: Sparks Cuban missile crisis by agreeing that USSR can deploy nuclear missiles in Cuba
    • 1976: Elected president by Cuba's National Assembly
    • 1992: Reaches an agreement with US over Cuban refugees
    • 2006: Hands over reins to brother Raul due to health issues, stands down as president two years later

    Cuba's revolutionary leader

    Read more »
  • Black Friday and Cyber Monday: Five tips for spotting a bargain

    Black Friday window signImage copyrightREUTERS

    Black Friday is now one of the UK's busiest shopping days.

    Retailers offer up a dizzying array of special offers and big discounts, with more deals added online on Cyber Monday.

    But how can you spot a genuine bargain?

    1 Check the size of the discount

    Before you buy, it is always worth checking if the same product is cheaper somewhere else, experts say.

    Some specialist sites can tell you if the product has been discounted more heavily before.

    For example, Camelcamelcamel.com shows the price history of Amazon products - allowing shoppers to see if they have been offered more cheaply in the past.

    Amazon screen grabCamelcamelcamel pageImage captionCamelcamelcamel.com shows the other prices the Kindle Fire has been sold at on Amazon's UK site

    When consumer group Which? looked back on retailers' offers last year, it found only 90 out of 178 deals were cheapest on Black Friday.

    Danny Munday, general manager of HotUKDeals, a deal-sharing website, said retailers sometimes increase the price of an item before a sales event to make the discount look deeper.

    Members in online forums will share their knowledge of sale prices and recommended retail prices, he added.

    2 Look for price match

    With competition fierce, retailers are starting to match the deals being offered by their rivals.

    John Lewis is one of the main companies that does this, but Currys and Amazon also have in the past, said Gary Caffell, deal editor at MoneySavingExpert.

    "When people are price matching each other, look at other factors like warranty and delivery fees," he said.

    Electrical goods purchased from John Lewis often have longer warranties, compared with the standard one year.

    That includes five years on televisions, three years on many own-brand electrical goods and two years on other electrical items.

    Mr Caffell adds what all the experts agreed with: "Don't get sucked in by the hype and buy something you don't need or can't afford."

    Black Friday discount signImage copyrightPA

    3 All-store discounts can offer better value

    Retailers often have deals "up to" a big headline percentage, but only some stock will be available at that discount.

    "The stronger deals are those which are available across the whole store," Mr Caffell said.

    For example, Gap is offering a 40% discount on full-price items and the Disney Store has 20% off.

    One thing to be aware of with big Black Friday discounts on certain items is that sometimes they are unwanted stock which is of poor quality, Mr Munday said.

    It is also worth looking out for extra discount codes on companies' Facebook pages or mailing lists, for example on delivery charges, they said.

    4 Know your rights

    Experts also cautioned that some Black Friday bargains might be non-refundable.

    "Online you've got the right to change your mind and take it back, but that's not necessarily the case in-store," Mr Caffell said.

    ShoppersImage copyrightREUTERS

    Research by Which? indicates only 29% of shoppers know that they have more protection when returning goods bought online than in-store.

    "It's important to do your research so you know your shopping rights before you buy, just in case you change your mind," said Alex Neill, Which? managing director of home and legal.

    Jo Causon, chief executive of the Institute of Customer Service, said customers are increasingly thinking about the shopping experience and aftercare, not just price.

    "If you're having to take things back and it's difficult, that's hardly a bargain," she said.

    5 Brace for website crashes

    Once you've found a bargain online, though, you do not want to lose it because the website or app crashes.

    Sites including John Lewis, Argos and Tesco Direct have struggled with the traffic in previous years.

    404 errorImage copyrightTHINKSTOCK

    In some cases the websites have crashed but are still available on mobile or tablet, Mr Caffell said.

    By having a page open across multiple devices, you are better protected from crashes, he said. It also gives you an extra place in online queues, which can be very long.

    "The busiest time for people logging on is going to be around midnight and then 08:00 or 09:00 in the morning," Mr Caffell said.

    Read more »
  • A boy who left his bear on a plane got a decked-out bear from Southwest

    When a little boy accidentally left his stuffed bear named Teddy on a flight from Dallas to New Orleans over the Thanksgiving holiday, he was crushed.
    Grayson and his teddy bear did everything together.
    His mom, Christina Mulligan, did what any mom would do. She tried to get Teddy back.
    "I was in contact with all of the baggage claim, TSA, I think I called the lost and found repeatedly," she told CNN. "Every time I called, they were like, 'Is this about the bear?'"
    She posted on the Southwest Airlines Facebook page asking for help. Maybe a flight attendant had seen him or another passenger on the plane had picked him up.
    What she didn't know at the time was that the New Orleans airport was overwhelmed with calls from employees and strangers. Everyone just trying to find Teddy.
     
    "I freaked out," Grayson Mulligan told CNN affiliate KTVT. "I play with him a lot," he said. "I carry him around a lot."
    A month went by and still -- nothing.
    That's until the end of December when Christina received a call from a corporate employee at Southwest Airlines, who told her that her post caught a lot of attention on private Southwest pages and even made its way to some executives.
    Christina told CNN that apparently a flight attendant found Teddy on the plane and handed him off to somebody at the airport but after that he was nowhere to be found. Teddy never made it to the Lost and Found.
    But Southwest had something else in store: a new bear with a story all his own.
    "They said, 'We'd love to give Grayson a new bear,' and I was on board with it," she said.
    "I felt happy because I know they cared a lot about me," Grayson told KTVT. "And I have some flight attendant bears too."
    He named his new bear Jack.
    "Because he looked like a Jack to me," he said.
    And Jack had quite an adventure before getting to Grayson.
    Christina shared the photos that Southwest sent to Grayson on her Facebook page. They showed Jack working on the tarmac at Dallas Love Field, inspecting cockpits, preparing the cabin for passengers, booking the flight, and yes, even standing in line.
    "We love connecting people to what's important in their lives, and our employees put their servant's heart on display to help make Grayson's day. We are proud to have played a small role in bringing Grayson and Jack together," Southwest Airlines said in statement to CNN.
    "This is his favorite airline," she said. "Grayson's even been to the facility with a pilot friend and has been in one of the flight simulators when he was four or five."
    When Grayson read Jack's story, he cried.
    "He said, 'I'm getting a new bear,' it was just so sweet," Christina said.
    "He's always wanted to be a Southwest pilot," she added. "They don't even know that part."
     
    Source CNN
    Read more »
  • Coronavirus: China admits 'shortcomings and deficiencies'

    China's top leadership has admitted "shortcomings and deficiencies" in the country's response to the deadly coronavirus outbreak.

    The rare admission came from the Politburo Standing Committee, which called for an improvement in China's emergency management system.

    It also ordered a "severe" crackdown on illegal wildlife markets - where the virus is thought to have emerged.

    The death toll rose to 425, with more than 20,000 confirmed cases.

    The government's initial handling of the outbreak has been widely criticised.

    Officials have been accused of downplaying the severity of the virus at the start of the outbreak and in some cases, attempting to keep news of it under wraps.

    One doctor in Wuhan who tried to warn his fellow colleagues about the outbreak in early January was accused of "making false comments" and told by police to stop the "illegal activity".

    It was only later in January that the government ramped up harsh emergency measures - ordering the virtual lockdown of Hubei province, where the virus is believed to have originated.

    • 'Make coronavirus wildlife trade ban permanent'
    • How worried should we be?
    • Coronavirus: A visual guide to the outbreak

    On Monday alone, there were 64 new deaths, China's National Health Commission said - all in Hubei.

    There are more than 150 cases in other countries, with one death in the Philippines.

    On Tuesday, Hong Kong confirmed its first death from the coronavirus. Broadcaster RTHK said the 39-year-old man, who suffered from an underlying illness, had visited Wuhan on 21 January.

    The new coronavirus causes severe acute respiratory infection and symptoms usually start with a fever, followed by a dry cough.

    The number of deaths in China, excluding Hong Kong, now exceeds the 349 killed on the mainland in the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (Sars) outbreak of 2002-03. But the mortality rate of the new virus is about 2.1% - much lower than that of Sars at around 9.6% - suggesting it is not as deadly.

    What has the Politburo said?

    Reports of the standing committee meeting, chaired by President Xi Jinping, were carried by the official Xinhua news agency.

    It said lessons had to be learned from what had been a "big test" of China's governance system.

     

    "In response to the shortcomings and deficiencies that were exposed responding to this epidemic, we must improve our national emergency management system and improve our abilities in handling urgent and dangerous tasks," the report said.

    "It is necessary to strengthen market supervision, resolutely ban and severely crack down on illegal wildlife markets and trade," it added.

    On Monday, a study by a Chinese virologist said bats were the likely source. of the virus.

    Wuhan remains the "top priority" and additional medical staff will be sent there, the committee said.

    It said officials should assume full responsibility for their duties in epidemic prevention, and that those who failed to perform them would be punished.

    It has been revealed that two officials in the town of Huajiahe were removed from their posts after a teenager with cerebral palsy died when his father - and sole carer - was quarantined for suspected coronavirus.

    What is happening on the ground?

    Monday's deaths, at 64, mark a new high for fatalities in a single day - topping the previous high of 57 on Sunday.

    Wuhan has seen the speedy construction of two new hospitals, although they are not yet fully operational.

    Provinces with populations larger than 300 million have been ordered to make the wearing of masks in public mandatory.

     

    But there is a shortfall in equipment and China's foreign ministry on Monday issued a global appeal.

    Spokesperson Hua Chunying said: "What China urgently needs at present are medical masks, protective suits and safety goggles."

    Some cities, including Shanghai, have extended the Lunar New Year holiday, with many schools still closed.

     

    Hong Kong, which has 15 confirmed cases, has suspended 10 out of 13 border crossings with mainland China.

    How are other countries responding?

    The health ministers of the G7 group of nations - the US, Germany, Japan, UK, Canada, France and Italy - held a conference call on Monday.

    German Health Minister Jens Spahn said they had agreed to co-ordinate on travel regulations, viral research and co-operation with the World Health Organization (WHO) and China.

    Many nations have evacuated their citizens from affected areas of China, often placing them in quarantine on arrival home.

    The US has ordered the departure of all US personnel family members under the age of 21, and any US citizen who has been in Hubei province will be subject to 14 days' quarantine.

     

    Ms Hua said the US measures were "excessive" and contrary to WHO recommendations, accusing the US of "spreading fear".

    • US bars foreigners who recently visited China

    The WHO has warned that closing borders could even accelerate the spread of the virus, if travellers enter countries unofficially.

    More than 20 countries have recorded confirmed cases.

    The latest on travel restrictions:

    • Denying entry to all foreign visitors who have recently been to China: US, Australia, Singapore
    • Denying entry to foreigners travelling from mainland China: New Zealand, Israel. (Russia will also apply these restrictions, though not through Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport)
    • Denying entry to foreigners who have visited Hubei province: Japan, South Korea
    • Temporarily suspending all flights to mainland China: Egypt, Finland, Indonesia, the UK, Italy
    • Closing the border with China: Mongolia, Russia (partially)
    • The body that represents some of the world's largest cruise ship operators, the Cruise Lines International Association, announced on Monday that passengers and crew members who had recently travelled to China would not be allowed to board vessels

     

    How deadly is the virus?

    More than 75,000 people may have been infected in Wuhan, experts say.

    But estimates by the University of Hong Kong suggest the total number of cases could be far higher than official figures.

    • Diary of a life in locked-down Wuhan
    • Coronavirus: What it does to the body
    • Wuhan: The London-sized city where the virus began

    A report on the early stages of the outbreak by the Lancet medical journal said most patients who died had pre-existing conditions.

    The report found that, of the first 99 patients treated at the Jinyintan Hospital in Wuhan, 40 had a weak heart or damaged blood vessels. A further 12 had diabetes.

    Most people infected are likely to fully recover - just as they would from a normal flu.

    An expert at China's National Health Commission (NHC) said that one week was sufficient for a recovery from mild coronavirus symptoms.

     

    Source BBC

    Read more »
  • Neymar out of PSG squad for match two days after birthday party

    Neymar is out of the Paris St-Germain squad for their league match at Nantes on Tuesday with a rib injury.

    The Brazilian, who needed treatment during PSG's victory against Montpellier on Saturday, celebrated his 28th birthday at a Parisian nightclub 24 hours later.

    Manager Thomas Tuchel said his team selection would not be influenced by the timing of the party.

    "Is it the best way to prepare for a match? No, clearly not," he said.

    "Is it the worst thing in the world? No," the German added in his news conference on Monday.

    "I always protect my players, and I really love my team. With this party, I accept that it is a bit difficult to protect the players, but the context is not simply black or white," he said.

    "It is a shame, because we are giving people the chance to speak badly of us. We need to adapt to the situation, but I am not going to leave a player on the bench or at home because they went out and celebrated."

    The club confirmed on Monday that tests had shown Neymar suffered the cartilage injury during the first half of Saturday's Ligue 1 match.

    Neymar was not the only PSG player Tuchel was questioned about - after a touchline spat with Kylian Mbappe in the 5-0 weekend win.

    "There is nothing personal between him and me. These things happen," Tuchel said about his 21-year-old striker who reacted angrily to being substituted midway through the second half.

    "It was between a player who does not want to come off, and a coach who had his reasons for doing something, and who wanted to give a game to players who deserved it."

     

    Source BBC

    Read more »
  • A blueberry muffin 'could have day's worth of sugar'

    Some blueberry muffins sold by cafes and supermarkets contain more than the recommended daily intake of sugar for adults, researchers have discovered.

    'Limited labelling'

    Action on Sugar and the Obesity Health Alliance, which looked at 28 muffins sold in food outlets in train stations and supermarkets, found 61% of them contained six teaspoons of sugar or more - the upper daily limit for a child aged seven-to-10 years old.

    They also found muffins bought at train station food retailers had 19% more sugar per portion and were 32% bigger than those bought in supermarkets.

    There was also a big variation, with muffins from Marks and Spencer containing just three teaspoons.

    Caroline Cerny, from the Obesity Health Alliance, said: "We may think grabbing a blueberry muffin is a reasonably healthy option for a snack on the go compared to other cakes or a chocolate bar - yet the figures suggest otherwise.

    "There is huge variation in both the size of muffins and the sugar content, and with limited nutrition labelling, it's all too easy to eat a huge amount of sugar in just one serving."

    The research also found a lack of nutrition labelling on a number of muffins, both those sold in stations and in supermarkets.

    The two organisations are now calling for manufacturers to reduce sugar in line with the government's plans to cut it by 20% in common products by 2020.

    They are also calling for front-of-pack "traffic-light" nutrition labelling to be mandatory across all products, including the out-of-home sector.

    The British Retail Consortium, which represents food retailers, said its members were "actively engaged" in Public Health England's sugar reduction strategy and had removed thousands of tonnes of sugar in products such as bakery items.

    Andrea Martinez-Inchausti, its deputy director of food policy, added: "Food-to-go retailers that provide takeaway products proactively provide energy information for their products and have further nutrition information available whilst all major supermarkets have led the way in providing clear labelling using the UK recommended front-of-pack scheme."

    Costa told the BBC that the figure of 40.3g of sugar for its blueberry muffins is not correct. It said this figure appeared on its nutritional information as a result of an internal error. The sugar content was previously 33.4g per muffin, Costa said.

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  • George Clooney‬, ‪Amal Clooney‬, ‪David Letterman‬, ‪My Next Guest Needs No Introduction with David Letterman‬‬

    George Clooney, the man who so many believed could by no means get married and in no way have youngsters; just unfolded to gush about both Amal Clooney and the twins they have got collectively. The actor lately made an appearance on David letterman's Netflix display, my next guest needs no advent, to speak about his early life in Kentucky, his activism, and his wife of three-plus years, human rights legal professional Amal Clooney.

     

    Letterman requested Clooney to give an explanation for the very lucky way he and his wife met whilst he changed into at his home on Lake Como in Italy. "It’s the wildest component. A mutual pal of ours said, 'I’m stopping by using and can i deliver my friend?' and i used to be like, 'of path," Clooney said. "And I was given a call from my agent, who known as me and stated, 'i met this girl who's coming to your own home who you're going to marry.'"

     

    Effortlessly, Clooney’s parents had been touring, so that they met Amal at the same time as Clooney.

     

    They stayed up all night talking before exchanging e mail addresses. After that, Clooney might write to Amal from the attitude of his dog Einstein, requesting her law understanding by way of announcing things like, "I’m being held hostage, and i want a legal professional to get me out of this room." (Corny, but very adorable.)

     

    In an attempt to impress her, Clooney invited Amal to Abbey Street in which he was recording a soundtrack for a film. "[It's] a groovy aspect, you’ve got a hundred and fifty-piece orchestra and i thought, ‘if you’re ever going to electrify anyone…’” however she become in a meeting with a collection that allegedly has ties to terrorism. “So she left this assembly… and we’re right here simply doing a dumb film score.”

     

    Clooney went on to speak about his spouse's primary accomplishments as a lawyer, mentioning that she's one of the first so that it will carry isis to courtroom.

     

    "She is this awesome man or women and now mother, which is something i think you ought to assume she might be super at as well," he stated. "Whilst you see it in character, it makes you sense notably proud and also exceptionally small."

     

    Letterman requested about Clooney’s enjoying as a brand new father to twins Ella and alexander, announcing, "The cause of your life is now not you."

     

    "I’ve to say that before i had the twins, i felt that way approximately her," Clooney defined, relating to Amal. "i felt that i had met someone who i would sincerely trade my lifestyles for. I'd met a person that her life supposed extra to me than my existence. And I’d never had that enjoy before."

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  • Saudi corruption sweep to move to trial with 95 detained

    Saudi authorities are still holding 95 people in a purported anti-corruption campaign that was launched nearly three months ago by the kingdom’s influential crown prince, Saudi press quoting the attorney general reported on Wednesday.

    A Saudi infographic shared on social media said that detainees who have not agreed on financial settlements to close their case will soon be referred to the Public Prosecution for trial.

    Billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal is reportedly among those still being held since early November when Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered the stunning arrests of top princes, businessmen and officials. The prince is chairman of the publicly traded Kingdom Holding, which has investments in twitter, Apple, Citigroup, and the Four Seasons hotel chain. He is also an investor in ride-sharing services Lyft and Careem.

    If a financial agreement cannot be reached, the attorney general has previously said that detainees will be prosecuted, investigated further and could face six months or more imprisonment.

    At least 11 princes were among those detained in the surprise sweep that began Nov. 4. Many of the detainees have been held at the luxurious Ritz Carlton hotel in Riyadh, which has been closed to the public since. The hotel’s website is taking reservations again starting Feb. 14.

    While the Saudi public has for decades complained of rampant government corruption and misuse of public funds by top officials, the arrests of top business figures and princes, and the secrecy shrouding who was detained and what their alleged crimes were, have foreign investors worried.

    State-linked Sabq news website quoted Attorney General Saud al-Mojeb on Wednesday as saying 90 detainees in total have been released after agreeing to settlements involving cash, real estate and other assets. He says a total of 350 people were questioned in the sweep.

    Among those detained were two of the late King Abdullah’s sons, including Prince Miteb bin Abdullah who was fired from his post as head of the National Guard the night of his arrest. After paying an undisclosed sum, the prince was released and later photographed smiling with his younger cousin, the 32-year-old crown prince, at a horse race in late December. Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was even filmed kissing Prince Miteb’s shoulder in a sign of respect.

    The Attorney-General also confirmed most of those detained had struck monetary settlements in exchange for their freedom and the settlements could boost state coffers by $US100 billion.

    Saudi daily Okaz, which has ties to the monarchy, also quoted an unnamed source as saying a number of high-profile detainees had been released from the Ritz-Carlton over the past 48 hours “after reaching settlements”.

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