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Issue 31 March 16 - 29, 2017

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MONEY MATTERS Deutsche Bank to raise 8bn€ and overhaul strategy Page 36

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SPORTS Leicester make £16.4M profit from title season Page 58

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Issue 31 March 16 - 29, 2017

Marbella pimp offers virgin for 5000€ Spanish police have smashed a high-end prostitution ring whose catalogue of services included offering the sale of a teenage girl’s virginity. Seven people have been arrested in the sting and a 16-year-old girl, whose virginity had been offered up online for the price of 5,000 euros ($5,340), was freed. The network, operating out of the southern resort city of Marbella, advertised the sale of the virginity of a woman who was 18 but looked much younger -- following the raid police confirm the girl was actually only 16. Described as a “perfectly organised” and lucrative network the gang used telephone operators to book services and taxi rides for prostitutes to hotels and the homes of “clients with a high financial standing”. The gang also used a specialised agency to help it optimise its visibility online when internet users searched for prostitution services which police were able to track to neighbouring Estepona. Police said in a statement: “After analysing the documentation, the investigators found there was a perfectly organized criminal network behind the ads dedicated to the sexual exploitation of women, which made enormous profits from this activity.” Prostitution in Spain is legal however brothels and pimping are not.

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Simply Media Group is one of the largest English media advertising and publication groups here is Spain. We aim to always give you original editorials and news from not just here in Spain but from around the world. As members of the British Press Association and EFE we aim to ensure that all our news is current, factual and more importantly interesting to you the reader. Deposito Legal Nยบ: MA 298-2013 Editor in Chief: Stan Israel Production Manager: Lisa Brown Design & Layout: Jackie McAngus Graphics: Paul Scotton Accounts: Rachael Jones Journalists: Annabel Milnes-Smith Dawn Gudgin Jose Gonzales Sales: Maria Teresa Alves Prieto Dan Coffee Steven Jones Contributors: Reuters The Conversation Property Wire Agence France-Presse Comic Strip Fernando Rebouรงas The Weekend World reserves the right to make grammatical & spelling corrections as and when deemed necessary and to classify correctly an advertisement. Although every care and attention is made to ensure the advertisement is correct at time of print, regrettably mistakes do sometimes occur. The Weekend World accepts no responsibility for the content of advertisements, nor for any claims made by advertisers.

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Issue 31 March 16 - 29, 2017


Issue 31 March 16 - 29, 2017

WEEKEND WORLD - 3

NEWS

May will trigger Brexit in the ‘coming days’ British Prime Minister Theresa May continues to keep up the suspense over when she would trigger Brexit, saying she would have the power to do so within days and it would happen by the end of March.

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fter weeks of debate, parliament has finally approved a bill empowering May to trigger Article 50 of the EU’s Lisbon Treaty, which would start a two-year countdown to Britain’s departure from the bloc. Addressing MPs, May said the bill could now receive formal assent from Queen Elizabeth II “in the coming days” -- a process that would leave the prime minister free to start Brexit. “We remain on track with the timetable I set out six months ago,” May said, referring to her promise to trigger Article 50 by the end of March. “I will return to this House before the end of this month to notify when I have formally triggered Article 50 and begun the process through which the United Kingdom will leave the European Union,” she said.

“This will be a defining moment for our whole country.” Opposition Labour MPs jeered the prime minister as she gave an update on last week’s EU summit -- particularly when she recounted how she had urged the other EU leaders to complete Europe’s single market, which Britain will be leaving. Her promise to consult all Britain’s devolved nations in the Brexit negotiations drew particularly loud laughter, the day after Scotland’s governing nationalists launched a fresh bid for independence. The British government has said a second referendum is unnecessary, less than three years after Scots rejected independence in a first vote, and May said that “this is not a moment to play politics”.


Issue 31 March 16 - 29, 2017

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NEWS

Big four back ‘multi - speed’ Europe ideology The heads of continental Europe’s biggest economies, in a joint view of the European Union’s future at a troubled time, have endorsed the idea of a “multi-speed” EU in which some members could deepen their integration faster than others.

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T a meeting held last week in the gilded splendour of the Palace of Versailles spurred by calls to strengthen the EU in the face of Britain’s exit from the bloc, eurosceptic populism and fears over US President Donald Trump’s strategy for Europe. “Unity does not equal uniformity,” French President Francois Hollande told reporters ahead of a working dinner with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy and Italy’s premier Paolo Gentiloni. “For this reason I support new forms of cooperation,” he said at a joint press conference with the other leaders. Some EU member states could “go more quickly” and “further in areas such as defence and the eurozone, by deepening the economic and monetary union, and by harmonising fiscal and social policy,” Hollande said. Other EU members could choose to opt out of measures intended to deepen integration, he added. France and Germany, which are often described as the European Union’s “engine”, had already backed the idea of a multispeed Europe.

Italy, Belgium, The Netherlands and Luxembourg had also signed on to the idea, as they worriedly eye the rise of anti-European parties.

‘Courage’ Merkel urged Europeans to “have the courage to accept that some countries can advance more rapidly than others”, and that that should not stop members on a slower integration footing from catching up. “We must be able to move forward,” she said. Gentiloni meanwhile urged “a more integrated European Union”, albeit with “different levels of integration”. No concrete project was announced after the meeting in Versailles. There had been speculation the leaders would shy away from making specific proposals to avoid antagonising member states who resist the multiple-speed concept, including many in eastern Europe. European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker has laid out five possible scenarios for the EU after Britain leaves. They include reducing the EU to just a single market, returning some powers to member countries and creating a “multi-speed” Europe. EU leaders are now considering Juncker’s

Controversial Military HQ looks set for approval EU foreign and defence ministers are expected to approve controversial plans for a military headquarters to coordinate the bloc’s overseas security operations, officials said. EU foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini (right) said they would discuss ways “to move forward, to make the European Union more credible and stronger in defence.” “The immediate decision will be on the military planning and conduct capability,” Mogherini said, as she went into the ministers meeting in Brussels, referring to the new command centre.

REASSURANCES “It is not a European army -- I know this is the label going around -- it is a more effective way of handling our military work,” the former Italian foreign minister said. The EU has repeatedly issued reassurances that it is not going to undercut NATO as the primary defence for Europe. Britain’s vote to leave the EU, stripping the bloc of one of its most powerful and nuclear-armed countries, plus

doubts about US President Donald Trump’s NATO commitment have given fresh impetus to efforts to step up military cooperation. The MPCC will oversee the European Union’s “non-executive” operations -- those that do not use force -- such as civil-military training missions in Mali, the Central African Republic and Somalia. The EU also runs Operation Sophia in the central Mediterranean, which can use force to stop migrant smugglers, and Operation Atalanta, part of international anti-piracy forces off the Horn of Africa. These operations have their own command centres which will remain separate, EU sources told AFP last week. European Commission head Jean-Claude Juncker called for a common EU defence headquarters in September after the Brexit vote, resurrecting an idea that had circulated in the EU for years. The MPCC, based in Brussels, will have a small staff and be headed by a director rather than a commander, to avoid overt military connotations, EU sources said last week.

options ahead of a summit in Rome on March 25 marking the bloc’s 60th anniversary, where they will make their own declarations about the way forward after Britain’s expected departure in 2019. That date, combined with the rise of populist and nationalist figures, has triggered a wave of angst about Europe’s future. The EU faces legislative elections in The Netherlands this month, followed by presidential elections in France in April and May. Germany, Europe’s biggest economy and paymaster, holds legislative elections in September. Far-right candidate Marine Le Pen is widely forecast to reach the runoff in the French vote, while the party of firebrand anti-Islam MP Geert Wilders is expected to perform strongly in the Dutch race.  Merkel, meanwhile, is facing pressure from the hard-right populist party Alternative for Germany. Trump’s nationalism and expressed scepticism about NATO has also stirred concerns in Brussels. On January 31, the president of the European Council, Donald Tusk, listed the Trump administration as a “threat” facing the bloc, along with China, Russia and radical Islam.


Issue 31 March 16 - 29, 2017

WEEKEND WORLD - 5

NEWS

EU THREATENS FINES FOR those FAILING TO TAKE IN REFUGEES

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igration Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos (inset right) said member states had until September to take in 160,000 Syrian and other refugees from the two countries, which have been on the frontline of the migration crisis. So far only 13,500 have been relocated in a process bogged down by general inertia and resistance from Eastern European states which oppose Muslim immigration. “If we don’t have tangible efforts by September... the commission will not hesitate to make use of its power,” Avramopoulos, who is Greece’s EU commissioner, told a news conference. The EU has been trying to convince members states “to do their duty,” he said. “But if it is not the case in the future, infringements might be an option,” he said.

The EU on has stepped up warnings that countries could be punished if they fail to share the burden of mainly Syrian refugees stranded in Greece and Italy.

EU Parliament wants US citizens to get visas The European Parliament is in talks about whether US citizens should have to get visas to visit the EU as long as Washington refuses to allow permit-free travel for five of the bloc’s countries. A non-binding resolution passed by a show of hands said the European Commission, the EU’s executive arm, was “legally obliged to take measures temporarily reintroducing visa requirements for US citizens” within two months.

FINES As the executive branch of the 28-nation EU, the European Commission is able to launch “infringement proceedings” to impose fines on member state that break the bloc’s rules. Countries like Hungary and Slovakia have proposed paying “solidarity” contributions instead of actually taking in any migrants. But others such as France and Germany insist that no country can shirk its duty to admit a minimum number of refugees under the plan, which was pushed through in September 2015. The EU launched the scheme to deal with the biggest wave of refugees in its history, with more than 1.1 million arriving in 2015, most of them fleeing the conflict in Syria. In February, EU vice president Frans Timmermans said the Commission was for the first time considering penalties for states that break the rules. Meanwhile the Commission urged EU nations to quickly seal deals with Nigeria and Tunisia to speed up the deportation process.

The EU says most African migrants are heading to Europe for economic reasons, making them ineligible for protection like that granted to asylum seekers fleeing war or persecution. “We want to continue to offer succour to persons in need of international protection,” Timmermans said in a statement. “We owe it to them, to our partners outside the EU, and to our citizens to be able to say clearly: when in need, we’ll help, when not, you must return.”

Refugees can be denied a visa The EU’s top court has ruled that states can deny visas to people trying to enter to claim asylum, in a case of a Syrian family trying to come to Belgium. In a surprise judgment, the European Court of Justice ruled against the family from the besieged city of Aleppo who had applied for the humanitarian visas at the Belgian embassy in the Lebanese capital Beirut last October.

JUDGEMENT “Yesss! We won!” Belgium’s Immigration Minister Theo Francken (left) tweeted after the judgment. The Luxembourg-based court went against an earlier recommendation by its chief lawyer that the family ran the risk of inhumane treatment if they stayed in Syria. The decision was seen as a test case for EU

countries which have been dealing with a huge number of refugees in the past two years, mainly from the conflict in Syria. “Member States are not required, under EU law, to grant a humanitarian visa to persons who wish to enter their territory with a view to applying for asylum,” the court said. “But they remain free to do so on the basis of their national law,” it added. The Orthodox Christian couple and their three young children had challenged the refusal of the Belgian immigration office, citing the European Convention of Human Rights. One family member claimed to have been abducted by an armed terrorist group, then beaten and tortured, before being release on payment of a ransom. The family claimed more broadly they risked persecution on account of their religious beliefs.

Any move to reintroduce visa requirements for US citizens would have to be approved by member states first, a process which could take years. “Citizens of Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Poland and Romania still  cannot enter  US territory without a visa, while US citizens can travel to all EU countries visa-free,” a parliament statement said. The Commission should suspend the visa waiver system for US nationals for 12 months, it said.

RESTRICTIONS The parliament statement noted that Canada also imposed visa requirements on Bulgarian and Romanian citizens but these restrictions were now due to be lifted in December. The spat comes at a time when the European Union is keeping a wary eye on new US President Donald Trump who has attacked the EU, welcomed Brexit and imposed an immigrant ban on seven mainly Muslim countries which was later overturned by a court. A spokeswoman for EU Migration Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos acknowledged the resolution and said he had resumed efforts to obtain full visa reciprocity during a reent visit to Washington. “Our approach of continued engagement and patient diplomatic contacts brought tangible results with Canada,” the spokeswoman said. “Our assessment of the situation with the US has not changed and we will continue our discussions.”


Issue 31 March 16 - 29, 2017

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UK NEWS

Britain will ‘fight back’ if no EU deal

Britain will “fight back” if the EU will not strike an acceptable deal on Brexit, finance minister Philip Hammond said. He said Britain would “do whatever we need to do” to be competitive if the country left the European Union without concluding a trade agreement. “If there is anybody in the European Union who thinks that if we don’t do a deal with the European Union, if we don’t continue to work closely together, Britain will simply slink off as a wounded animal, that is not going to happen,” he told BBC television. “British people have a great fighting spirit and we will fight back. We will forge new trade deals around the world. “We will do whatever we need to do to make the British economy competitive and to make sure that this country has a great and successful future.” Hammond, the chancellor of the Exchequer, refused to be drawn on whether that meant Britain would cut its corporation tax, set to fall to 19 percent on April 1 from 20 percent, in a bid to attract investment away from Europe. “We expect to be able to achieve a comprehensive free trade deal with our European Union partners, but they should know that the alternative isn’t Britain just slinking away into a corner,” he said. Britain is one of the largest net contributors to the EU budget, along with Germany, France and Italy, and the issue of outstanding payments will be a priority for Brussels in the Brexit talks. Britain’s former ambassador to the EU has said the bloc is set to demand up to 60 billion euros ($64 billion) from Britain, a figure that other EU sources have confirmed to AFP. A committee in the British parliament’s upper House of Lords said Saturday that the UK could legally leave the EU without settling its accounts. But Hammond indicated that Britain would pay any bills it owed to the EU. “This is a piece of negotiating strategy that we are seeing in Brussels,” he said. “We are a nation that honours its obligations and if we do have any bills that fall to be paid we will obviously deal with them in the proper way.” Prime Minister Theresa May intends to trigger Article 50 of the EU’s Lisbon Treaty by the end of March. This starts a two-year withdrawal process, after which Britain will leave the union whether or not it has struck a deal on its future ties with the bloc.

Britain and Ireland step in to end N Ireland stalemate

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olitical parties in Northern Ireland immediately started a threeweek countdown of power-sharing executive following the election results. The vote was sparked by divisions between the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), which wants Northern Ireland to remain in the United Kingdom, and Sinn Fein, which wants it to be reunited with the rest of Ireland. British Prime Minister Theresa May and her Irish counterpart Enda Kenny (right) spoke by phone on Sunday and agreed Britain’s Northern Ireland Minister James Brokenshire and Irish Foreign Minister Charlie Flanagan will hold talks with the parties on Wednesday.

STRONG, PEACEFUL AND PROSPEROUS “They discussed their shared commitment to work with the parties to move forward and create a stable administration which ensures a strong, peaceful and prosperous Northern Ireland,” a spokesman for May said. The British and Irish premiers will hold further talks on the fate of Northern Ireland’s semi-autonomous assembly at an EU summit on Thursday, he added. Dublin said the two leaders will stay in close contact over the political situation, with Kenny’s office stressing the aim of “re-establishing a functioning executive as soon as possible”. The election was prompted when Sinn Fein, the Irish republican party, refused to continue working with the pro-British DUP after leader Arlene Foster refused to step aside

Britain and Ireland have vowed they would dispatch envoys to help resolve a stalemate in Northern Ireland after elections in the British province failed to end divisions.

pending an ongoing investigation into a botched green energy programme she had introduced as energy minister. The DUP won 28 seats in the election while Sinn Fein garnered 27 seats in the 90-seat assembly. The overall results marking a historic shift as unionist parties lost their absolute majority for the first time since the province’s creation in 1921. The Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP), a nationalist party, won 12 seats; the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) won 10; the cross-community Alliance Party took eight;

and others won five. Following the election, Brokenshire called for “urgent discussions” to see the devolved parliament get back on track. “Now that assembly members have been elected, there is a limited window in which the assembly and executive can be restored,” he said. Sinn Fein has so far refused to back down on its demand for Foster to step down.  If the political deadlock cannot be resolved within three weeks, the assembly could be suspended and governance of the province transferred to London.

Britain says 13 terror attack plots foiled since 2013 Security services have foiled 13 potential terror attacks in Britain since 2013, its most senior counter-terrorism policeman confirmed, with more than 500 active investigations at any one time. Mark Rowley, assistant commissioner of London’s Metropolitan Police, said incidents inspired by the Islamic State group were a “large part” of the problem although Al-Qaeda remained a significant threat, while the far-right was also an issue. He was speaking at the launch of a campaign for more community involvement in combating terrorism, and revealed that one-third of the most high-risk investigations had been helped by information from the public. “Together, the UK intelligence community and police have disrupted 13 UK terrorist attack plots since June 2013,” Rowley said. “The threat is becoming more varied and the move towards low-tech attacks on crowded places, like those we have seen in major European cities and beyond, makes it even more important everyone re-

mains vigilant.” He added: “We’ve got over 500 investigations at any one stage.” A study from the Henry Jackson Society, a conservative think tank, found Islamic-inspired terror offences almost doubled, from 12 each year between 1998 and 2010 to 23 each year in the following five years. An analysis of 269 such offences since 1998 also found most perpetrators were British or dual nationals and a disproportionately high number were Muslim converts. Women are also increasingly involved, accounting for four percent of incidents between 1998 and 2010, but 11 percent between 2011 and 2015. The threat level for international terrorism in Britain has been “severe”, meaning an attack is considered highly likely, since August 2014. Islamist attackers killed 52 people in suicide bombings on the London transport system in July 2005 and there have been isolated incidents since.


Issue 31 March 16 - 29, 2017

WEEKEND WORLD - 7

UK NEWS

UK public Queen to receive Spanish against exiting EU without deal king in June, then Trump Queen Elizabeth II will host Spanish King Felipe VI on his state visit to Britain in June, Buckingham Palace have announced, meaning US President Donald Trump’s trip will have to be later in the year. Felipe VI and his wife Letizia, who had been forced to postpone their planned visit last year because of the political crisis in Spain, will now visit Britain on June 6-8, the palace said in a statement. This means Trump’s state visit will be “later in the year,” Prime Minister Theresa May’s spokesman said. British media have reported that October is the most likely date for the US leader, whose trip is expected to be accompanied by massive protests. The police earlier said they were preparing for Trump to arrive in June but reports citing senior government sources later said this had been delayed. May extended the invitation for a state visit, a high honour that involves a banquet with Queen Elizabeth II, when she met Trump at the White House in late January. It was part of a charm offensive intended to strengthen bilateral ties as Britain prepares to leave the European Union.

But coming at the same time as Trump announced his ban on refugees and travellers from seven mainly Muslim countries, it sparked public outrage in Britain. More than 1.8 million signed a petition asking for the visit to be cancelled, prompting a debate in parliament where several lawmakers condemned the proposal. The Speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow, has also said he believes Trump should not be allowed the honour of giving a speech to parliament.

Britain owes EU two billion euros after China import fraud Britain owes the European Union budget two billion euros after turning a blind eye to a major scam by Chinese importers, the EU’s fraud office has announced. “We recommended that the European Commission recovers the money from the United Kingdom,” the EU’s anti-fraud office OLAF said in an email, confirming a report by Politico. OLAF accuses Britain of ignoring rampant use of fake invoices and customs claims by Chinese importers which cost 1.99 billion euros ($2.1 billion) in lost customs duties to the EU. The claim comes at a sensitive time in EUBritain relations, just before London is to embark on Brexit negotiations in which the UK’s exit bill -- estimated at 60 billion euros -- has already sparked sharp exchanges. The UK government said it rejected the report and insisted Britain was tough on fraud. “We don’t recognise the figures and (the UK’s revenue authorities) are looking at it now,” a

spokesman for British Prime Minister said. The matter was “entirely separate and unrelated matter to the Brexit negotiations,” he added. An investigation by OLAF showed that between 2013 and 2016, fraudsters evaded customs duties by using false invoices and incorrect customs value declarations on imports into the UK. OLAF said that “despite repeated efforts and in contrast to the actions taken by several other member states to fight against these fraudsters,” the scam in Britain continued to grow. The office said that the scheme also cost other EU countries -- such as France, Germany, Spain and Italy -- 3.2 billion euros in lost national value-added-tax revenue. The fraudsters involved “are in fact organised crime groups whose actions affect the entire EU; they operate in criminal networks active across the EU,” OLAF said.

British people are against the prime minister’s plans to leave the European Union without a deal if parliament rejects the agreement struck with Brussels, according to a new poll released by the Independent. Last month, Theresa May’s government agreed to give lawmakers a vote on the final Brexit deal before it is concluded with Brussels. However they warned that if parliament rejected the terms of the final deal, Britain would still leave the bloc and revert to World Trade Organization rules to trade with the EU. But only 25 percent of British people would support leaving the EU “with no set future relations in place,” according to a BMG Research poll commissioned by the daily newspaper The Independent which surveyed 1,576 people online. A total of 56 percent favoured other options at odds with May’s plans. Among those, 27 percent said May

should try to renegotiate a deal, 15 percent said Britain should stay in the EU on existing terms and 14 percent said Britain should stay in on new terms that the government should try to negotiate. May’s “no deal is better than a bad deal” approach has received strong criticism. Former prime minister John Major said last week that exiting the EU without a deal would be “the worst possible outcome”. And the House of Lords is expected to vote for an amendment to the Brexit bill to give parliament a vote on the final withdrawal deal and any future ties with the EU. If the amendment goes through, it would further delay the start of the Brexit process. May is under pressure to pass the bill quickly to meet her deadline of triggering Article 50, which starts the divorce proceedings with the bloc, by the end of March.

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Issue 31 March 16 - 29, 2017


Issue 31 March 16 - 29, 2017

WEEKEND WORLD - 9

UK NEWS

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cotland will begin the process for making a request to the British government to hold a new independence referendum between late 2018 and early 2019, Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has announced. Her announcement came as British Prime Minister Theresa May triggers the process of leaving the European Union after last year’s Brexit vote. “Next week I will seek the authority of the Scottish parliament to agree with the UK government... the procedure that will enable the Scottish parliament to legislate for an independence referendum,” Sturgeon said. But Sturgeon, leader of the pro-independence Scottish National Party (SNP), also held out the possibility of a compromise with the British government, saying: “I am not turning my back on further discussion.” Sturgeon said however that her requests for Scotland to be allowed to remain in the European single market even as the rest of Britain leaves had so far been met with “a brick wall of intransigence” from London. “I cannot pretend to the Scottish people that a compromise agreement looks remotely likely,” she said, adding: “I’m doing what I think is right for the country.” “In my view it is important that Scotland is able to exercise the right to choose our own future at a time when the options are clearer than they are now, but before it is too late to decide our own path.” Scotland rejected independence by 55 percent in a September 2014 vote and the British government says that settled the question. But Sturgeon and her supporters argue that the Brexit vote changed all that since Scotland voted for Britain to remain in the EU by 62 percent in the June 2016 referendum. A BMG survey of 1,009 people for Scottish broadsheet The Herald found that 56 per-

Scotland to seek new independence referendum First Minister Nicola Sturgeon of the Scottish National Party

British Prime Minister Theresa May

cent of those who expressed views were against another independence vote before Brexit occurs. Some 52 percent said they were against Scotland seceding from the UK. But an Ipsos MORI poll showed support for independence on a knife-edge, with 49 percent of Scots in favour. May has said she will fight for Britain as a whole, including Scotland, in the upcoming

EU negotiations and the government has held out the promise of more autonomous powers for Scotland as some areas of EU control -- such as agriculture and fisheries -are handed back to Britain. But the SNP rank and file remain unconvinced and say the government’s argument in the 2014 referendum that staying in Britain would mean remaining in the European Union constitutes a broken promise.

Many nationalist activists heading to the SNP conference starting on Friday are hopeful about the prospect for independence. “A second referendum does now look inevitable though the timing of it remains unclear,” Mark Diffley, director at Ipsos MORI Scotland said.

Blair denies Trump job talks report Tony Blair has had no discussions about working for US President Donald Trump, his spokesman said after reports that the former British prime minister sought to become his Middle East adviser.

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ONY Blair has had no discussions about working for US President Donald Trump, his spokesman said after reports that the former British prime minister sought to become his Middle East adviser. According to The Mail on Sunday newspaper, Blair met with Trump’s son-in-law and key aide Jared Kushner last week to discuss taking a role with Trump. The weekly tabloid said Blair had met Kushner three times since September.

A spokesman for Blair initially said: “I’m not going to comment on private conversations.” But a statement on his website later said: “The story in The Mail on Sunday is an invention. “Mr Blair has made no such ‘pitch’ to be the president’s Middle East envoy. Neither has he had any discussions about taking such a role or any role working for the new president.” It continued: “He has been working on the peace process for 10 years. He continues to do so. He does so in a private capacity. He

will continue to do it in that way.” After leaving office in 2007, Blair was the envoy of the Middle East Quartet until 2015. The group comprises the European Union, Russia, the United Nations and the United States. Blair was prime minister from 1997 to 2007, winning three general elections but his role in leading Britain into the war in Iraq has badly damaged his legacy at home. However, he has been making more interventions in British politics since leaving his

Middle East role. Last month he urged Britons who support the European Union to “rise up” and persuade Brexit voters to change their mind about leaving the bloc, in a high-profile speech. Blair wrote an article in The New York Times newspaper where he called for a centrist new coalition that is “popular, not populist”, in order for liberal democracy to survive and thrive in the face of rightist populism.


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UK NEWS

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owever a drop in the jobless rate comes alongside news of slowing wages growth. Unemployment for the quarter ending January 31 fell to 4.7 percent from a rate of 4.8 percent in the final three months of 2016, the Office for National Statistics said in a statement. “The unemployment rate dropped to 4.7 percent in the three months to January 2017... It has not been lower since June to August 1975,” the ONS said. Analysts’ consensus forecast had been for an unchanged rate of 4.8 percent, which would have kept unemployment at an 11-year low point.

RESILIENCE “The labour market is currently seeing decent improvement, reflecting the economy’s resilience through the second half of 2016,” Howard Archer, chief UK  economist at IHS Markit, said. “However, markedly slowing earnings growth reinforces the squeeze on consumers coming from rising inflation – and this is likely to increasingly weigh down increasingly on economic activity.” It comes as British Prime Minister Theresa May intends on starting the EU withdrawal

UK cinemagoers asked to become real-life

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British film icon James Bond has entertained audiences for over five decades, but now the country’s foreign intelligence agency is asking cinemagoers to become spies themselves. MI6 has unveiled a 58-second advertisement -- entitled “But She Can” -that will be shown in cinemas as part of a recruitment drive to attract budding spies from diverse backgrounds. “I want everyone to know that, regardless of background, if you have the skills we need and share our values, there is a future for you in MI6,” said agency chief Alex Younger as he unveiled the advertisement.. “I want people to see our advert and know there is a place for them in our team.” Younger has previously blamed Bond for creating a stereotyped image of a British spy, and is keen to employ more female agents. He said the fictional spy gave a “misleading portrayal” of MI6, and that Bond would “have to change his ways” to survive in the modern agency.

British unemployment hits 41-year low Britain’s unemployment rate has struck the lowest level for more than 41 years, official data shows as the country prepares to trigger its exit from the EU. process by the end of March. Parliament this week approved a bill empowering the government to trigger Article 50 of the EU’s Lisbon Treaty, starting a twoyear countdown to Brexit. “The labour market has been helped by the economy’s extended resilience since June’s Brexit vote, but mounting signs that consumers are starting to limit their spending

fuels belief that 2017 will become increasingly difficult for the economy and for the jobs market,” said Archer. “The imminent triggering of Article 50 will bring likely difficult negotiations with the EU... Consequently, we see unemployment starting to edge up before too long and we suspect that the unemployment could reach 5.1 percent by the end of 2017,” he added.

The Bank of England will be mindful of the mixed unemployment data ahead of its latest monetary policy announcements due Thursday. Analysts widely expect the BoE to keep its main interest rate at a record-low 0.25 percent and make no changes to its cashstimulus programme aimed at supporting the UK economy during the Brexit process. “The wage growth element is key for the Bank of England as weaker wage growth, which increased by only 2.2 percent yearon-year in January, could reduce pressures on the BoE to raise interest rates,” said Kathleen Brooks, research director at City Index.

Scottish nationalism, euroscepticism rising Support for Scottish independence is at a record high but still remains below 50 percent, according to a new study published after First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced a new bid to break away. Sturgeon has said a second referendum was needed because of Scottish support for EU ties but the study found that rising euroscepticism in Scotland could undermine her argument. Sturgeon earlier this week announced she would seek authority for a second referendum on leaving the United Kingdom, ideally before it leaves the European Union in early 2019. A majority of Scots wanted to stay in the EU in last June’s Brexit referendum, but were outvoted by the rest of Britain. The ScotCen long-term social attitudes study found that 46 percent of Scots now back independence from the rest of Britain, the highest level since the survey began in 1999. “Overwhelming support for independence among younger voters might mean there is majority support for independence in future,” it said. But the survey, conducted between July and December last year, also found rising levels of euroscepticism, from 40 percent in 1999 to 67 percent last year. “Now might not be the best time for the SNP to hold a second referendum,” the NatCen centre said, referring to Sturgeon’s Scottish National Party. “High levels of euroscepticism in Scotland mean focusing on EU membership may not be the best way to swing voters in favour of ‘Yes’.” A YouGov opinion poll for The Times newspaper found 43 percent would support independence and 57 percent would reject it, once those who did not know or were undecided were excluded. It was largely conducted before Sturgeon’s announcement. A similar survey last November put support for independence at 44 percent. British Prime Minister Theresa May has rejected the idea of a second vote as “divisive”, less than three years after Scots voted by 55 percent to reject independence, and accused the SNP of playing politics. Angus Robertson, the SNP’s most senior figure in the British parliament, told The Guardian newspaper that a referendum could be avoided if Scotland was allowed to stay in the EU single market. May has said Britain will be leaving the market when it leaves the EU, but Robertson said he would seek “a compromise agreement protecting Scotland’s place in Europe”.


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Spanish climber abandons winter Everest summit attempt A Spanish climber abandoned his attempt to make the first winter summit of Mount Everest in over two decades, saying it would have been “suicidal” to push on. Extreme cold and strong winds forced Alex Txikon, 35, to return to base camp, giving up his bid to scale the world’s highest mountain without using oxygen tanks.

SUICIDAL The last successful winter summit of Everest was in 1993 by a Japanese team. But no one has reached the peak in winter without additional oxygen since a Nepali mountaineer in December 1987. “It would have been suicidal to continue,” Txikon said from base camp, according to a statement released by his team. “As the person responsible for the expedition, I must not endanger the lives of my companions and also not my own. And believe me, it is more difficult for me to go down to base camp than to go up to C4 (camp four),” added the experienced climber

who last year made the first ever winter ascent of Nanga Parbat in Pakistan, which has been nicknamed “Killer Mountain”. Txikon’s expedition to make a rare winter ascent of the 8,848 metre (29,030 foot) peak was mired by setbacks.

The Spaniard was forced to return to Kathmandu in mid-February after making it as far as camp four -- the last before the summit -- following a disagreement with his expedition organisers. He then returned to Everest with a new team

of Sherpa guides. Txikon’s climbing partner, Spanish skier Carlos Rubio, 28, pulled out in late January after being crippled by altitude sickness while at camp two -- 6,400 metres above sea level. Meanwhile the government liaison officer who was meant to accompany the team died of altitude sickness before even reaching base camp in mid-January. Most people attempt to summit Everest during a narrow window of favourable weather between late April and May. Mountaineering experts say climbing in winter is more dangerous than in spring, owing to high winds and temperatures that can plunge as low as minus 60 C.   The extreme cold also makes it more difficult for the body to absorb oxygen, which is already limited at high altitude.  Mountaineering is a major revenue earner for impoverished Nepal, home to eight of the world’s 14 peaks over 8,000 metres.

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A

rural exodus, which began in the 1950s as people moved to find work in factories, has left some parts of Spain  with just two people per square kilometre -- the same density as in Siberia. This is the case in parts of Castile, a vast region in central Spain where Sarnago is located, in the northern Aragon region and the southern provinces of Extremadura. It makes  Spain  a “strange country within Europe” since no other similarly sized nation on the continent has such demographic deserts, Spanish writer Sergio del Molino wrote in his travel book “La  Espana  Vacia» («Empty Spain”), published last year. “The depopulation here was brutal,” said Jesus Hernandez, the mayor of San Pedro Manrique, a larger town of around 600 residents near Sarnago. The emigration from the region was especially fuelled by a decision in 1965 while  Spain  was in the grips of the dictatorship of Francisco Franco to plant 22,000 hectares (54,000 acres) of pine trees to feed the paper industry, which pushed out cereal farming. Two years later, Carrascosa›s father moved his family to Tudela, a town further east in the fertile Ebro Valley.

Spain struggles to repopulate its deserted interior Sarnago lost its last resident 37 years ago but Jose Maria Carrascosa and his association are trying hard to revive the village, an uphill battle in one of Spain’s most depopulated regions.

Not forgotten But wind-swept Sarnago, which at one point was home to about 400 people including 30 children, has not been forgotten by its former residents, who have restored 25 of its 40 houses and now have running water and access to electricity. not led to any permanent residents, mainly Carrascosa, who heads an association that due to lack of public services in the village, seeks to reverse the village’s fortunes, is located some 200 kilometres (135 miles) proud of his three-bedroom home in Sarnnortheast of Madrid. ago, which he visits regularly for short stays. The nearest public health centre is four km Through meetings, a magazine and social away in San Pedro Manrique but offers only media, he encourages other former resibasic medical care. dents to maintain a link with the village too.              There is a primary school there as well, with The restoration of homes, though, has still 66 children, but no high school.

Jesus Catalan, a 71-year-old pensioner, and his wife live in Sarnago from March to October but leave in winter when temperatures can drop to minus 15 degrees C (5 degrees F). “January and February are very hard and if there is a heavy snowfall you are trapped,” he said. Rural tourism has grown in recent years in

Spain says fewer refugees need relocating in EU Spain has hinted it wants to receive fewer refugees from European Union border areas than it had originally agreed, arguing the number of people needing  relocation was far less than thought. The EU in 2015 approved a plan to share out 160,000 refugees already on European soil, mainly in Italy and Greece, across its 28 states to tackle the continent’s worst refugee crisis since World War Two. Spain had agreed to take in 16,200 refugees -- around 10 percent of the total – yet within two years only 1,100 have resettled in the country so far.  “The reality is that currently there are not 160,000 refugees that

meet the criteria laid down in EU decisions,” Foreign Minister Alfonso Dastis told a parliamentary commission. “There are no refugees in Italy. There are illegal immigrants,” he said. “In Greece there are 55,000 to 60,000 refugees, this is why I think it would be reasonable to set targets according to this figure,” he added, suggesting that Madrid wanted to revise the number of refugees it receives under the EU agreement. Tens of thousands of people marched through the streets of Barcelona, Spain’s second largest city, on February 18 to urge the Spanish government to immediately meet its pledge to take in thousands of refugees.

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the region, which boasts picturesque treecovered valleys, mountains and even dinosaur footprints. Father of two Gonzalo Esteban, 42, moved to the nearby town of Yanguas, with just 40 residents, in 2001 with his wife from Valladolid, a city of 300,000 residents, 250 km away, to open a rural inn with a restaurant specialising in mushroom dishes. But Esteban said he was aware that the town, which has just seven young families including his own, could easily die out. “All it would take is for three families to leave with their children,” he said. Rural tourism is not enough to make up for the decline in agriculture, as farm workers over the decades have been drawn away to factory or administrative jobs in the nearby Basque Country and Navarra. Elsewhere in Spain, the industrialised regions around Madrid and Barcelona also proved a pull to rural workers, while out-ofdate machinery and farming techniques in poorer places sent people in search of better paid jobs.  

Incentives to farm Farming is key in revitalising the deserted areas, unions and environmentalists argue. “If there are no farmers and livestock breeders, villages become depopulated,” said Aurelio Gonzalez, head of the regional branch of the union of small farmers and breeders. European Union agricultural subsidies, which focus on boosting competitiveness instead of “the net amount of jobs created”, are also to blame, said Daniel Lopez, of environmental group Ecologists in Action. He pushes for more support for ecological farming, with similar programmes as in France and Italy. During the medieval Reconquest, or Christan campaigns to recapture territory from the Moors, livestock farmers received financial incentives to set up on land taken from the Muslims, Carrascosa said. Juan Antonio Sanchez Quero, who is in charge of fighting depopulation at the Spanish Federation of Municipalities and Provinces, said it was time to again offer fiscal incentives to livestock farmers to reverse a process that threatens to close many towns. “Something like that” could help his region and others like it,  Carrascosa said.


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Spanish Royals to visit Japan in April


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WEAKENED Founded in 1959, ETA waged a violent decades-long campaign for an independent Basque homeland in northern Spain  and southwestern France, and is blamed for the deaths of more than 800 people. The outfit has been severely weakened in recent years after hundreds of its members were arrested and some of its weapons were seized. It declared a ceasefire in October 2011 but has refused to give up its weapons. Five people were arrested and arms seized in December in a joint raid by Spanish and French officers near Bayonne in southwest France which officials in both nations de-

scribed as a “blow” to ETA. But it subsequently emerged that those arrested included the head of an environmentalist group, a former head of the Basque Country chamber of agriculture, and a female journalist. The head of French rights group the Ligue des Droits de l’Homme (LDH), Michel Tubiana, condemned the raid, saying the aim of the activists was to destroy ETA arms and to hand them over to authorities. ETA is seeking to negotiate its dissolution in exchange for amnesties or improved prison conditions for the roughly 400 ETA members held in Spain and France.

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Spanish police have arrested a Romanian man suspected of being the ringleader of a large group of people who ate thousands of euros’ worth of food at two restaurants before fleeing without paying the bill. The 48-year-old was detained in the northwestern city of Ponferrada in the province of Leon, and police are looking for a second Romanian suspect, the interior ministry sai.. Police launched their investigation after a group of over 100 people, purporting to celebrate a baptism, enjoyed a 2,000-euro ($2,100) banquet on February 27 at the Hotel Carmen restaurant in Bembibre, northern Spain, before promptly doing a runner. “They were dancing, then suddenly they had disappeared. In one minute, a hundred peo-

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ple had left,” restaurant boss Antonio Rodriguez told Cadena Ser radio. “They didn’t leave in little groups -- no, they went all at once.” It later emerged that another restaurant about 10 kilometres (six miles) away in Ponferrada was also the scene of a similar heist in mid-February -- that time by a group of around 200 people. They were allegedly celebrating a wedding, when they also fled without paying a bill of some 10,000-12,000€. “In both crimes, the modus operandi was the same,” the interior ministry statement said. The arrested man posed as the godfather of the baptised child and the father of the groom when he made the bookings, local newspaper Diario de Leon reported.


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No detention for ex-IMF chief Rato despite sentence Spain’s anti-corruption prosecutor has allowed former IMF chief Rodrigo Rato (right) to remain free and without judicial supervision despite a jail sentence of four years and six months for embezzlement. Rato, who is also a former Spanish economy minister, will now remain at liberty until the court rules definitively on his case. Rato was sentenced on February 23 for misusing funds when he was the boss of two Spanish banks.

APPEAL He was tried with 64 other former executives and board members, accused of misusing 12 million euros ($12.7 million) between 2003 and 2012. He is expected to file an appeal. The case caused an outrage in Spain, where it was uncovered at the height of a severe economic crisis that left many people struggling financially -- made all the worse because Bankia later had to be nationalised. Pending a final verdict, the anti-corruption prosecutor did not ask the National Court hearing the case to take Rato into custody. Rato’s behaviour during the trial “was completely appropriate”, the National Court said, adding that it saw “no need for precautionary measures”. Only one banking union, the CIC, urged the court to jail Rato

immediately. The union had filed a complaint to the court, under a Spanish law that allows organisations and individuals who are not directly linked to a case to do so. Rato and the other executives were accused of having paid for personal expenses with credit cards put at their disposal by both Caja Madrid and Bankia, without ever justifying them or declaring them to tax authorities. These expenses included petrol for their cars, supermarket shopping, pricey holidays, luxury bags or parties in nightclubs. Rato, 67, denied any wrongdoing and said the credit cards were for discretionary spending as part of executives’ pay. In another case that also made waves in Spain, the king’s brother-in-law Inaki Urdangarin was also left free without posting bail following his sentence of six years and three months for siphoning off millions of euros. Rato was economy minister and deputy prime minister in the conservative government of Jose Maria Aznar from 1996 to 2004, before going on to head the International Monetary Fund until 2007. In October 2015, the judicial authorities confiscated his passport as they investigated him over suspected tax fraud, money laundering and fraud.

Former Catalan leader given two-year public office ban

Former Catalan president Artur Mas has been banned from holding office for two years for organising an illegal 2014 independence referendum. The 61-year-old, Catalan leader from 2010 until last year, was convicted of civil disobedience for organising the symbolic, non-binding poll in the wealthy northeastern region in defiance of a ban by Spain’s Constitutional Court. Catalonia, a region with its own language and customs, has long demanded greater autonomy and separatists have for years tried to win approval from Madrid for an independence vote. Spain’s economic downturn has boosted the demands, with many Catalans resenting the taxes they pay to the central government in Madrid to subsidise poorer regions. The Catalan government is committed to holding a new referendum with or without Madrid’s permission by September, though the region’s top legal body ruled earlier this month that only the Spanish state had the authority to call such a vote. Anti-independence parties had asked for a legal opinion

on the region’s 2017 budget, which includes provisions for a referendum promised by Catalan President Carles Puigdemont. In the November 2014 vote called by Mas, more than 80 percent of those who cast a ballot chose independence, but just 2.3 million out of 6.3 million eligible voters took part. Calls for outright independence have increased in recent years. Polls show that Catalonia, which accounts for almost a fifth of Spain’s economic output, is roughly split in half over breaking away.

Pablo Escobar’s son slams TV series for ‘glorifying’ criminals THE son of infamous Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar slammed depictions of his father’s life like those in the hit Netflix series “Narcos”, saying they “glorify” criminals. “I am not against telling stories, but I am against glorifying criminals and showing drug trafficking as glamorous. This confuses youths,” Sebastian Marroquin, who changed his name from Juan Pablo Escobar after his father’s death, told the Spanish newspaper El Periodico. “I receive tonnes of messages from youths asking for help to be like my dad. They want to be that criminal, they send me photos dressed up like him, with his moustache, his hairstyle,” Marroquin added. “Series about narcos have turned my father into a hero and given young people the idea that it is cool to be a drug trafficker.” Marroquin, 39, made headlines last year when he took to Facebook to list 28 inaccuracies in Netflix’s popular series about his father and called the show “insulting”. He told El Periodico that he offered the producers of the series access to his family’s personal archives, including letters written by his father and never before released videos, but they said they were not interested, “They preferred inventions by some scriptwriters in California to the truth from those who suffered this story in the flesh,” Marroquin told the newspaper. Colombian television station Caracol TV has also come out with a series about Escobar and several movies are in the works. Escobar headed the world’s leading cocaine cartel in the 1980s. He fought extradition to the United States with a violent campaign in Colombia, ordering bombings and the kidnapping and killing of politicians, judges and journalists who got in his way. Marroquin was 16 when his father was shot to death in 1993 by Colombian police. He rebuilt his life in Argentina after Escobar was gunned down, re-emerging as a guilt-ridden public speaker determined to make amends for his father’s role in the drug war that racked Colombia. Marroquin published a best-selling book in 2014 entitled “Pablo Escobar: My Father”, which revealed details of wild parties where pinatas were stuffed full of tens of thousands of dollars in cash, and has just released a follow-up book.


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Spanish “miniMadoff” sentenced to 13 years A Spanish man has been sentenced to more than 13 years in jail for running a pyramid scheme that swindled 350 million euros from over 180,000 investors in Europe, the United States and Latin America. Spain’s National Court found German Cardona Soler, 46, dubbed the “mini-Madoff” in reference to jailed US conman Bernard L. Madoff, guilty of fraud, money laundering, document falsification and criminal association. Cordona’s company, Finanzas Forex, offered returns of as much as 10-20 percent monthly for investments in currencies and instead used the money to buy real estate for himself and colleagues. He was arrested in 2011 in the Mediterranean city of Valencia along with two others.

RIDICULOUS The court said only five percent of the money was invested in currencies and its clients received “ridiculous quantities” in return for their investments. The bulk of the money raised was used to buy buildings in Colombia, Spain, Panama and the United States for a total of 81 million dollars. The company also used the money to buy $107 million in gold, the court said. Finanzas Forex, which operated between 2007 and 2010, had over 186,000 clients. They were given false information about the gains their investments were making via a company web page. Cardona’s Colombian wife, Lina Maria Mantilla, 47, was sentenced to three years in jail for money laundering and criminal association. The court ordered Cardona to pay a fine of 300 million euros while his wife was hit with a fine of 900,000 euros. Madoff is serving a 150-year sentence at a federal prison in North Carolina after he confessed to running a massive Ponzi scheme that fraudulently took in anywhere between $23 billion and $65 billion, depending on whether interest is included in the tally. He never actually invested even a penny of the sums his clients entrusted to him, instead drawing on funds from new investors to remunerate the older ones. But the house of cards collapsed in December 2008 when a growing number of investors, panicked by the financial crisis, attempted to cash out their investments. 

Spanish winners of Pritzker architecture prize ‘dialogue’ with nature Very little has changed at the offices of architectural firm RCR Arquitectes, owned by Rafael Aranda, Carme Pigem and Ramon Vilalta, the three Spanish winners of the prestigious Pritzker Prize.

T

he relatively unknown trio who won the coveted prize for modern works that are deeply rooted in their local surroundings. Speaking from their offices in the Catalonian town of Olot, Aranda, 55, and Vilalta, 56, explained what led them to work there, and how their work is meant to inspire and awaken people’s spirituality and imagination. Pigem, 54, was unavailable for comment after losing his voice the day after the announcement. “We decided to come here, to our home in Olot ... in the hope that our shared work would allow us to do architecture, that it would give us strength,” Aranda said. “Since then we have added people who also wanted to become part of our shared creativity.”

LANDSCAPE Nestled deep in the countryside of Spain’s northeast, Olot is surrounded by beech trees, marshes and volcanoes -- a dramatic natural landscape that has long inspired their work. The prize announcement made special note of where they work, saying that in a globalised world, people increasingly fear “we will lose our local values, our local art, and our local customs”. It said the trio “tell us that it may be possible to have both... our roots firmly in place and our arms outstretched to the rest of the world,” it said. “That’s what has always animated us,” Aranda said, “being able to feel the place, the people, family, having that essence.” The Pritzker choice was seen as a move away from the celebrity architects that have dominated the field in favour of the Spanish trio who have worked together for 30 years in their hometown.

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Ramon Vilalta, Carme Pigem and Rafael Aranda of RCR Arquitects

“The fact of working in a place connected to nature really helped us to understand to dialogue with her...on the level of natural materials: rocks, steel, crystal,” Vilalta said. He added that it was crucial for them to use materials where “you can feel the passage of time”. “Inert materials, that do not change with the passage of time, do not really interest us.” Among the trio’s most celebrated buildings are the La Lira Theatre public space in Spain and the Soulages Museum in Rodez in southwestern France. Their buildings reflect the simplicity and colours of their region, such as the omnipresent dark steel in their work that calls to mind volcanic rocks. “We want to open the doors to the part (of humanity) that is the most sensitive, the most spiritual,” Vilalta said. “That’s what we would like to (inspire) with our buildings: that they open people’s minds, imagination, and emotions.”  The prize will be awarded to the three Spaniards in Tokyo on May 20.


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INTERNATIONAL NEWS

WikiLeaks exposes alleged CIA hacking program

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HE CIA can turn your TV into a listening device, bypass popular encryption apps, and possibly control your car, according to a trove of documents published by WikiLeaks which it said came from the US spy agency. WikiLeaks said the documents show that the Central Intelligence Agency is rivalling the National Security Agency, the US government’s main electronic spying body, in cyber warfare, but with less oversight. The group posted nearly 9,000 documents it said came from the CIA, calling it the largest-ever publication of secret intelligence materials. The CIA would neither confirm nor deny the documents were genuine, or comment on their content. “We do not comment on the authenticity or content of purported intelligence documents,” said spokesman Jonathan Liu in an email.

Cyber weapons ‘proliferation’ WikiLeaks claimed that a vast trove of CIA documents representing “the majority of its hacking arsenal” had been leaked within the cyber security community -- and that it had received, and released, a part of them. “This extraordinary collection, which amounts to more than several hundred million lines of code, gives its possessor the entire hacking capacity of the CIA,” it said. “The archive appears to have been circulated among former US government hackers and contractors in an unauthorized manner, one of whom has provided WikiLeaks with portions of the archive.” WikiLeaks said the documents show the CIA has produced more than 1,000 malware systems -- viruses, trojans, and other software that can infiltrate and take control of target electronics. These hacking tools have targeted iPhones, Android systems

such as the personal phone reportedly still used by President Donald Trump, popular Microsoft software, and Samsung smart TVs, which can be transformed into covert microphones, according to WikiLeaks. The agency has also examined hacking into the electronic control systems on cars and trucks, potentially making it able to control them. By infecting smartphones, WikiLeaks said, the CIA can get around the encryption technologies of popular apps like WhatsApp, Signal, Telegram, Weibo, and Confide by collecting communications before they are encrypted. WikiLeaks said the documents’ leak suggests that the CIA has

Norway ‘anti-troll’ site makes you read before commenting Victims of online “trolling”, rejoice. A Norwegian site may have found the key to muzzling malicious commenters on the internet: requiring people to read an article before discussing it. As an experiment, NRKbeta, a media and technology subsidiary of public broadcaster NRK, has since mid-February required viewers to correctly answer three questions about articles before being able to comment on them. “Generally, we see that many read only the headline and a few lines before rushing into the comments section to participate in the debate,” NRKbeta editor Marius Arnesen told AFP on Thursday. “By asking three questions from the text, we ensure that the discussion starts around a common knowledge base,” he added. The method is a way of raising the level of debate but also of taming inflammatory reactions. “If you’ve been annoyed by something in the article, you’re forced to pause, think a little, and read the article if

you haven’t already done so,” Arnesen said. “We therefore hope to take the edge off when you are furious in the comment section,” he added.  The experiment is still too new to draw any definitive conclusions, according to Arnesen. But the number of comments seems to have remained more or less the same and the returns of regular readers are generally positive, he said. “Laudable initiative”, an online surfer commented on NRKbeta’s website, adding: “Even though my faith in humanity does not go far enough to dissuade me from believing that every debate ends up veering off onto stuff like Adolf Hitler, immigration, rotten politicians, conspiracy theories...”  NRKbeta has yet to find a way to measure the results of its test balloon.  “How do you measure success in these matters?” Arnesen asked. “Is it a success to have fewer comments? More comments? And how do you measure their qualitative improvement?” 

not sufficiently controlled its own cyber weapons, potentially permitting them to fall into the hands of other hackers. “Many of the vulnerabilities used in the CIA’s cyber arsenal are pervasive and some may already have been found by rival intelligence agencies or cyber criminals,” WikiLeaks said. In a statement, WikiLeaks founder and chief editor Julian Assange said that the documents show the “extreme risk” of the uncontrolled spread of cyber weapons. “Comparisons can be drawn between the uncontrolled proliferation of such ‘weapons’, which results from the inability to contain them combined with their high market value, and the global arms trade,” he said.

German police arrest man bragged of child murder online German police have arrested a 19-year-old man suspected of stabbing a nine-year-old boy to death and bragging about the murder in an online video -- and discovered another body. The man, named as Marcel Hesse, was arrested after he went into a restaurant in the northern town of Herne and shouted: “Call the police, I’m wanted”. Authorities had been hunting for Hesse for several days after they were alerted by people who had viewed the clip on the “darknet”, a hidden online arena notoriously used by criminals to trade weapons, drugs and child pornography. A team of police later discovered the child’s corpse when they searched the cellar of the suspect, who has been described as an unemployed and socially withdrawn man not previously known to authorities. The child had been Hesse’s neighbour and investigators confirm they could not rule out that he had also killed a woman. After his arrest, Hesse put the investigators on the trail of an apartment he had just burned and in which a second dead body was found. In a conversation on the internet Hesse had said that he had “fought a beast of 120 kilos” (260 pounds) and that “she put up more of a fight than the child.” 


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ne side of the temple gate is blocked by cops in blue, the other by rows of bald men in orange -- the frontline of a bizarre stand-off between the Thai state and Buddhist monks that is raising questions of impunity, religion and power. The Dhammakaya  temple’s compound  in northern Bangkok has been under siege for two weeks as thousands of officers try to arrest the sect’s 72-year-old spiritual leader. Phra Dhammachayo, who is accused of colluding in a $33 million embezzlement, is believed to be hiding somewhere on the temple’s sprawling 1,000 acre grounds, an area twice the size of Monaco. The Thai junta, which has run the country since 2014, has invoked special powers to get him but so far failed spectacularly. Police were initially led on a merry dance through secret tunnels, empty rooms and even to the fugitive abbot’s quarters -- where they found a bed with pillows arranged under a sheet in a poor imitation of a sleeping person. But defiant monks and temple followers have now blocked officers from entering the temple and resuming the search. With the stand-off lurching into farce, the Thai junta that ordered the raid is fast ‘losing face’ and transfixing a public banned from criticising the generals who seized power in a 2014 coup.  “At first this area was controlled by police... but the temple devotees took it back,” Phra Pasura  Dantamano,  a  senior  monk,  explained  after  his staff helped  sneak  reporters inside the compound. Around him sat rows of monks and disciples chanting mantras in the direction of officers who have ordered them to leave but fear sparking a violent confrontation.

UNHOLY ROW: Thai monks and cops in bizarre temple turf war Temple staff -- who deny knowledge of the former abbot’s whereabouts -- say he is innocent and accuse the junta of launching a politicised witch-hunt. Inside the compound, where phone service has been cut by authorities, defiant devotees fear authorities are trying dismantle their temple and seize its assets. “We will stay until we win,” said 67-year-old

Narin Mingkwan, one of thousands of mostly middle-aged women leading the unlikely holdout.

How much to nirvana? Founded in  1970 the temple  has harnessed modern technology and aggressive PR  methods to build a cult-like following -and a handsome bank account. 

SWEDEN TO BRING BACK CONSCRIPTION Sweden has announced that it will reintroduce compulsory military service starting this summer to respond to global security challenges including from Russia. “The government wants a more stable staff supply system and to boost its military capability because the security situation has changed,” Swedish Defence Minister Peter Hultqvist told TT news agency.  The Scandinavian nation, which has not seen armed conflict on its territory in two centuries, ended conscription in 2010 after it was deemed an unsatisfactory way of meeting the needs of a modern army. Sweden’s minority government on Thursday is set to introduce to the parliament a bill to restore conscription this summer for all Swedes born after 1999. It will last for 11 months. The measure is expected to be adopted by parliament, subject to agreement between the leftist government and the

centre right opposition. Some 13,000 young Swedes are expected to be mobilised from July 1, but only 4,000 of them, 18-year-olds of both sexes, will be selected for military service based on motivation and skills.   They will be called up each year after January 1 2018.  “The new security situation is also a reality, partly in the form of Russian power politics which has long been underestimated and downplayed,” Wilhelm

Agrell, a security expert at Lund University said. Sweden is not a NATO member but has signed the body’s Partnership for Peace programme launched in 1994 to develop military cooperation between NATO and non-member countries. On defence issues, Sweden is very close to its Finnish neighbour, which has with Russia a border of 1,340 kilometres (800 miles). The Nordic and Baltic region’s only nonaligned countries, Finland and Sweden, have stepped up their military cooperation with US, following concerns over Russia’s increased military activity in northern Europe. Finland accused Moscow last year of violating its airspace when two Russian fighter jets flew on separate occasions in the south of the coastal town of Porvoo. The incident raised alarm in Sweden. Russia has warned against Sweden and Finland joining NATO, an issue that has been debated in both countries.

Critics accuse  the  abbot of  distorting  traditional Buddhist morality by encouraging materialism and promising spots in the afterlife in exchange for donations.  Beyond the temple’s gates, manicured lawns and tree-lined canals sweep around towering geometric shrines, including one that famously resembles a glittering UFO. The Dhammakaya campus also boasts a slick ‘Donation Room’ that resembles a bank branch -- complete with ATM machines. Yet devotees deny an obsession with money, insisting the sect is popular because of its accessible meditation methods. “We have tried to adapt ourselves to the changes of society,” said Phra Pasura Dantamano, a monk tasked with media relations who has been furiously Tweeting out the daily drama. Junta chief Prayut Chan-O-Cha insists arresting the abbot is essential to the rule of law in a country where connections and cash frequently shape the justice system. Experts speculate the temple is however in the junta’s crosshairs for political reasons. It is rumoured to have close links with former premier Thaksin Shinawatra, whose super rich clan win Thai elections but are hated by the army and its elite backers. Yet the junta’s quest for the abbot appears to be backfiring.  Arresting him by force risks an unholy collision with monks and devotees -- scenes that would inflame Buddhists around the world. But admitting defeat may invite other challenges to the military regime. “It’s a breakdown of the system,” Sanitsuda Ekachai, an expert on Thai religion and politics, said of the stalemate. “I really fear for a violent confrontation.”  The junta appears in no mood to retreat and Prayut is convinced the fugitive monk is still inside the temple. “If  he thinks he is innocent then he should come out and fight the case... don’t use faith as a shield,” the junta chief said.


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President Oprah? Winfrey doesn’t rule out 2020 run Media mogul Oprah Winfrey did not say she was running for president, but she didn’t rule it out either, raising the unlikely prospect of a titanic celebrityon-celebrity duel with Donald Trump in 2020. In an interview with Bloomberg TV that aired Wednesday, host David Rubenstein asked whether she had ever thought about her own White House campaign. Winfrey replied, “I never considered the question even a possibility,” before add-

ing: “I just thought, ‘Oh. Oh?’” Reminded by her host that Trump’s victory proved one did not need government experience to be elected president, Winfrey flirted with the prospect. “That’s what I thought,” the former talk show icon said, in the interview taped in December about one month after Trump’s election win. “I thought, ‘Oh gee, I don’t have the experience, I don’t know enough.’ And now I’m thinking, ‘Oh.’” The extraordinarily influential Winfrey

was a strong supporter of Democrat Hillary Clinton in 2016. Eight years earlier her endorsement of Barack Obama proved a critical factor in his primary victory over rival Clinton. Winfrey is no stranger to discussing presidential politics. In 1988, on the set of her talk show, she asked Trump, then 42, if he would ever run for president. “Probably not,” the real estate mogul replied, before adding that if he did run, “I would have a hell of a chance of winning.”

FOSSILS POINT TO LIFE ON EARTH 4 BILLION YEARS AGO

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ven at the lower end of the spectrum, “the microfossils we discovered are about 300 million years older” than any runners-up, said Dominic Papineau, a professor at University College London who made the discovery. The dating puts the fossils “within a few hundred million years of the accretion of the solar system,” he said in a video statement. The results were published in the peer-reviewed journal Nature. The fact that life kick-started not long after Earth formed suggests it could also emerge on watery worlds outside our Solar System at comparable stages of formation, the scientists said. “If life happened so quickly on Earth, then could we expect it to be a simple process that could start on other planets?”, asked lead author Matthew Dodd, a graduate student at the London Centre for Nanotechnology. Earth and Mars had liquid water on their surfaces at the same time, he noted. “We could expect to find evidence for past life on Mars four billion years ago,” Dodd said. It may also be true, he added, that Earth was “just a special case.” The tiny fossils -- half the width of a human hair and up to half-a-millimetre in length -- take the form of blood-red tubes and filaments formed by ocean-dwelling bacteria that fed on iron.

The oldest fossils ever found are “direct evidence” of life on Earth 3.8 to 4.3 billion years ago when our planet was still in its infancy, researchers have reported. The Nuvvuagittuq Supracrustal Belt showing a few of Nunavut’s Nastapoka Islands in the background. Image: D.Papineau

Strong evidence of life

Locked inside white, flower-like quartz structures known to harbour fossils, they were found along what were once warm-water vents on the ocean floor, most often in deep waters.

German drink-driver stuns police by confessing murder A German man caught for drink-driving twice in one night surprised police by confessing to a murder he committed a quarter of a century ago, authorities said Thursday. The 52-year-old was taken to a police station about a week ago after repeatedly being caught at the wheel while over the legal alcohol limit, they said. The man, who had no previous criminal record, then surprised officers by telling them he had stabbed to death a 38-year-old woman in November 1991 in Bonn, North Rhine-Westphalia state. He told police that as a 26-year-old student, having long had “violent and homicidal fantasies”, he had rung the

Such iron-rich, hydrothermal systems exist today, and are home to bacteria that may be similar to those unearthed by Dodd and his colleagues. Known as the Nuvvuagittuq Supracrustal Belt, the site of the discovery contains some of the oldest sedimentary rocks known on Earth.

woman’s doorbell, entered her home, handcuffed her and, when she screamed, repeatedly stabbed her. Police and prosecutors, after reopening the file on the long unsolved murder, believe details the man gave in his confession suggest he is telling the truth. Investigators are also checking whether the man, who now lives in Lower Saxony state, may have committed other crimes. The man himself had seemed not entirely clear on why he had spontaneously confessed to the killing, police said. He had merely told police that he had lost hope as the drink-driving offences would cost him his job.

They formed between 3.77 and 4.29 billion years ago, and may have been the habitat for the planet’s first life forms. It is still not known when, or where, life on Earth began, but these deep-sea vents are seen as a good candidate. Earth is thought to be about 4.57 billion years old. Previous claims of super-ancient fossils have been challenged by scientists asking whether they are, in fact, natural mineral formations of some kind. “One of the big questions when it comes to early life studies is whether or not the organic carbon we find in these rocks is actually biological in origin,” explained Dodd. The researchers used several methods to check, including laser-imaging to analyse the minerals associated with the organic material. The presence of two in particular -- apatite and carbonite -provide strong evidence for life, they said. Moreover, the flower-like quartz structures in which the tubes and filaments are embedded have often been found in younger rock to contain traces of bacteria that consumed iron for energy. The possibility that the microfossils were forged by temperature and pressure changes as the sediment formed were also examined, and excluded. The new fossil find complements the recent discovery of 3.7-million year geological structures in Greenland called stromatolites. While not fossils, stromatolites are made by microbial colonies, and form in the sunlit surface waters of the ocean. The oldest microfossils previously reported were found in Western Australia and dated to 3.46 billion years ago, though some scientists say that these are not biological in origin.  Several other research institutions contributed to the new study, including the Geological Survey of Norway, the US Geological Survey, and the University of Ottawa.


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Police must get ‘tech-savvy’to catch criminals

Europe’s police officers need to become “as tech-savvy” as the criminals they are trying to catch, its policing agency urged, saying it had identified some 5,000 gangs operating across the continent. “Technology is a key component of most, if not all criminal activities carried out by organised crime groups in the EU,” Europol director Rob Wainwright said at the launch of a new report, aimed at helping to shape European crime-fighting policy for the next four years. “Policing has got to adapt and follow in the same way. We’ve got to have police officers with digital, forensic analytical capabilities. They have got to get used to following crime across the Darknet, however challenging that is,” Wainwright said, speaking to AFP on the sidelines of the report’s launch. The Darknet is a hidden online arena notoriously used by criminals to trade weapons, drugs and child pornography.

“The point we’re making today is that the investigators of all forms of serious and organised crime now need to be as tech savvy as the specialists they used to rely on from the back room in the past,” he added. The 60-page report, called the Serious and Organised Crime Threat Assessment (SOCTA), is the first since 2013. It forms the “heart” of an EU-wide policy on the fight against crime for the next four

years, the 28-member bloc’s security commissioner Julian King said. The report, released at Europol’s fortress-like headquarters in The Hague, said some 5,000 organised crime groups have been identified in Europe and were being investigated. The number has jumped from 3,600 in 2013 -- “primarily a reflection of a much improved intelligence picture,” Wainwright said. “The rate of technological innovation and

the ability of organised criminals to adapt to these technologies have also been increasing over recent years,” Wainwright said. “Developments such as the emergence of the online trade in illicit goods and services are set to result in significant shifts in criminal markets,” he said. The report said although migrant smuggling and drug trade remain Europe’s largest criminal markets, “emerging phenomena such as the online trade in illicit goods and services may eclipse these markets in size and profits in the future.” It pointed out that online shopping “in the legal economy has had a profound impact on business models, shopping experiences and customer expectations.” “This development has been mirrored in the online trade of illicit goods as criminals, like legitimate traders, look to opportunities online to grow their businesses,” the report said.


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INDIAN POLICE FIND 19 FEMALE FOETUSES DUMPED IN SEWER Indian police have confirmed the discovery of 19 aborted female foetuses dumped in a sewer in the western state of Maharashtra, highlighting the country’s problem of female foeticide. Prenatal sex tests are illegal in India, a policy designed to stop unborn girls being aborted by parents desperate for a boy. But the tests are still thought to be common, particularly in poor rural areas, and sex ratios are skewed towards males across India. “We have recovered 19 foetuses and are trying to arrest the doctor, who is absconding,” Dattatray Shinde, a po-

lice superintendent in Maharasthra’s Sangli district, told AFP. He said the foetuses were found late Sunday wrapped in blue plastic bags in a sewer next to a clinic run by doctor Babasaheb Khidrapure in the village of Mhaisal. Officers made the discovery after a 26-year-old woman died during a failed abortion attempt at the surgery, Shinde said. “We have arrested the victim’s husband Praveen Jamdade for pressuring her into an abortion,” he said. Parents and doctors can be jailed for up to five years for requesting or conducting a pre-natal sex test.

A 2011 study in the British medical journal The Lancet found that up to 12 million girls had been aborted in the last three decades in India. India had 940 females for every 1,000 males, according to the last official census published in 2011, up from 933 in 2001.  In Sangli, where the feotuses were found, there are just 867 girls per 1000 boys, the figures show. Women in India can face pressure to produce male children, who are seen as breadwinners. Girls are often viewed as a financial burden as they require hefty marriage dowries.

Breaking Europe launches fourth bank: Earth monitoring satellite the Thai vets remove

Europe has launched a fourth satellite for its Copernicus Earth-monitoring project to track changes in forest cover and air pollution, the European Space Agency (ESA) announced. The 1.1-tonne, “colour-vision” Sentinel-2B satellite blasted off on a Vega rocket from Europe’s space port in Kourou, French Guiana, overnight, and was successfully placed in Earth orbit, it said. In about three days, controllers will start calibrating instruments to commission the satellite, which is to start operations in three to four months.

SOPHISTICATED “With this launch we are taking another step toward advancing the Copernicus programme, which is the most sophisticated Earth observation system in the world,” ESA director general Jan Woerner said in a statement. Two more satellites are to follow in the coming months. Sentinel-SB, a twin of Sentinel-2A launched in June 2015, will zoom in on changes in the Earth’s land mass and coastal zones -- forest cover and pollution in lakes and coastal waters, for example. Between them, the Sentinel-2 pair will cover the Earth’s entire surface in five days. They are placed in

the same orbit, on opposite sides of the planet, 180 degrees apart. “Each Sentinel-2 satellite carries an innovative highresolution multispectral camera with 13 spectral bands for a new perspective of land and vegetation,” the agency said. “The combination of high-resolution, novel spectral capabilities, a field of vision covering 290 kilometres (180 miles) and frequent revisit times will provide unprecedented views of Earth.” Sentinel-1A was launched in April 2014 and Sentinel1B two years later. They are equipped with special cloud-penetrating radar with which to monitor Earth’s surface by day and by night, regardless of the weather. Future satellites will focus on ocean data and Earth’s atmosphere. By mapping areas stricken by flood or earthquake, Copernicus will also help emergency teams identify worst-hit areas and locate passable roads, railway lines and bridges. Copernicus, a programme of the ESA and European Commission, is named for the 16th-century Polish astronomer who determined that the Earth orbited the Sun, and not the other way round, as convention had it at the time.

915 coins from turtle

A sea turtle dubbed ‘Piggy Bank’ has had her fortunes restored after Thai vets removed 915 coins from her stomach -- a deposit built up after years of gulping down good luck pennies tossed into its pond. The 25-year-old turtle, called ‘Omsin’ in Thai, underwent a gruelling seven-hour surgery to remove the five kilogramme hoard of coins. She was sent to Bangkok vets with a cracked shell and an Xray unexpectedly revealed the haul, which came in various currencies. “There were 915 coins in her stomach, we removed them one by one,” said Nantrika Chansue, a veterinarian in charge of Chulalongkorn hospital’s aquatic research centre told AFP. “Piggy Bank is okay now but she will have to remain at the centre for up to two weeks,” the vet added, saying it was the first surgery of its kind.  The troubled reptile lived for two decades in a small public park in Chonburi Province. Visitors tossed coins into her pond seeking to ‘make merit’ or good luck, a practice vets have urged the public to stop. “A turtle can live up to 80 years and the belief is that throwing coins into the turtle pond will make the coin thrower live longer,” Rungroj Thanawongnuvej, Dean of the Faculty of Veterinary Science at Chulalongkorn said in a statement. “Throwing the coins is more bad karma because it is animal torture,” he said.


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N the week that SpaceX announced it would launch two tourists to skirt Earth’s satellite in 2018, experts agreed the health effects would chiefly be minor and short-lived. These are the stakes:

Feeling green “Like every single astronaut who goes into space, they’re going to get... very bad motion sickness,” Daniel Grant of the Centre for Altitude Space and Extreme Environment Medicine in London, said This is because the balance sensors in the inner ear which tell us which way is up and down, get all confused in zero gravity. Some astronauts get over it within hours, while others need days -- clearly a problem for a trip lasting only a week. In bad news for selfie enthusiasts, another symptom is a puffy face (and thinner legs) as body fluids, pulled downward by gravity on Earth, spreading out and upward in the weightless environment. This can also lead to profuse urination -tricky in an environment where everything, including liquids, float. Bones and muscles will change too, say the experts, although a week is probably too short to cause lasting weakness. Other annoyances on the journey could include unexpected claustrophobic freakouts, and a disturbed sleep cycle which will translate into heavy jetlag back on home soil.

Moon tourists risk rough ride Non-stop vomiting, a puffy face and the constant need to pee: Volunteers for a weeklong loop around the Moon may be in for a rough ride even if all goes to plan.

Radiation risk A potentially graver, but less likely, peril is elevated cancer risk from exposure to radiation outside Earth’s protective magnetosphere. Spaceships have built-in protection against radiation, which is hundreds of times higher than on Earth. Radiation doses for a short trip like this one would be low, “but that does not mean there

is no risk at all,” said Thomas Berger, a radiation biology expert at the German DLR space agency. It grows with so-called solar particle events -- massive ejections of protons from the Sun which can deliver highly concentrated doses of radiation. 

These events, which can last two days, are unpredictable but rare. A major eruption was registered in 1972, between two Apollo missions to the Moon. None has occurred while humans were in space. If it does, spacecraft have “storm shelters”.  But if humans were somehow to get caught

Hidden figures no more: Lego honors ‘Women of NASA’ LEGO sets have long celebrated superheroes like Batman and Superman. But now, the Danish toy maker is honoring real-life heroines -- five women pioneers for the US space agency NASA. The proposal for the set, submitted on Lego’s community and ideas page by MIT News editor Maia Weinstock, has been approved, beating out 11 other projects examined by the Lego Review Board. “Women have played critical roles throughout the history of the US space program, aka NASA or the National Aeronautics and Space Administration,” Weinstock wrote in her proposal. “Yet in many cases, their contributions are unknown or under-appreciated -- especially as women have historically struggled to gain acceptance in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM),” she added. Lego said it expects the new “Women of NASA” set to be available by the end of the year or in early 2018. “We’re really excited to be able to introduce Maia’s ‘Women of NASA’ set for its inspirational value as well as build and play experience,” the company said in a blog post. The five women included in the set are:  n Astronaut Sally Ride, who became the first American woman in space in 1983 n Astronaut Mae Jemison, who became the first African-American woman in space in 1992 n Astronomer Nancy Grace Roman, nicknamed the “Mother of Hub-

ble” for her role in developing the landmark space telescope n Computer scientist Margaret Hamilton, who developed the onboard flight software for the Apollo mission  n Mathematician Katherine Johnson Johnson is one of three women portrayed in “Hidden Figures,” the Oscar-nominated film that tells the little-known story of three female African-American scientists who played a key role in NASA’s early space program. The 98-year-old Johnson, portrayed in the movie by Taraji P. Henson, attended the Oscars with the film crew on Sunday and received a standing ovation from the A-list audience.

in the blast, high exposure could cause radiation sickness leaving the travellers too ill to control their vessel. In an extreme case, they could die.

Technical problem The main danger to space tourists, observers agree, is spacecraft failure. “In my view, the biggest risks are technical failure on blastoff, during the voyage, or on reentry into Earth’s atmosphere,” said Martin Giard of France’s National Institute for Earth Sciences and Astronomy. “There is an overall risk of an accident... something going wrong,” added John Logdsdon, former director of the Space Policy Institute at the George Washington University. But he stressed “the technology is even better now than 45 years ago”, when we last sent humans into deep space.

Unknowns Up to now, said Grant, only extremely healthy people, “basically perfect humans”, have been sent to space after months of training and health checks. “With space tourism, you’re going to start seeing some unhealthy people getting sent into space. If they need to be on medication or they have illnesses in the background, we don’t know how they react in space because we’ve never seen that before.” For most, the payoff far outweighs the risks. “There are of course, a lot of risks,” said Berger. It doesn’t mean you have to scare people. But it is always necessary to inform everybody about possible risks, and this starts with the risk of sitting on a rocket.”


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INTERNATIONAL NEWS Bumblebees have smelly feet, scientists have revealed. Moreover, the odour in their tiny footprints is so potent that other bees can detect it hours after they had visited a flower, a team wrote in the journal Scientific Reports. Adding to the intrigue, experiments showed that bumblebees can distinguish the smell of their own feet from those of other bees. “This is the first time it has been shown that bumblebees can tell the difference between their scent and the scent of their family members” or unrelated peers, said study coauthor Richard Pearce of the University of Bristol. This means the insects can detect who had recently visited a flower -- they themselves, or a different bee. “These impressive abilities allow them to be cleverer in their search for food,” Pearce said in a statement, noting their adaptable brains. “Bumblebees are flexible learners.” Last month, scientists reported in the US journal Science that bumblebees can be trained to roll a ball into a goal -- a skill not directly related to food foraging or other bee duties. For the latest study, Pearce and colleagues trained bees to visit plastic, laboratory “flowers” -- some containing a nectar reward and others mere water. In three different experiments, the “flowers” were laced with different foot aromas and the bees taught to associate each smell with either a nectar reward, or none. - Sniffer bees In one experiment, nectar-containing “flow-

Bumblebees have smelly feet to help them eat

Bunblebees were given tiny balls and trained to roll them into targets

ers” always carried the foot odour of a bee’s relatives while non-rewarding flowers contained its own tracks from previous visits. After training, came the test. Nectar was removed from the experiment altogether, and all flowers -- sporting different foot perfumes -- contained nothing but water. In the majority of cases, the bees behaved as during training. They drank from those flowers flaunting the aroma they were taught to associate with a sugary reward, showing that the insects can tell one foot bouquet from another, the sci-

EU approves Hungary’s Russian-backed nuclear plant EU anti-trust authorities have approved a controversial nuclear expansion project in Hungary that is heavily backed by Russia. The approval removes the last roadblock to the 12.5 billion euro ($13.2 billion) expansion of Hungary’s only nuclear facility, which Russia is financing by 80 percent as tensions between Europe and the Kremlin run high. The European Commission “has approved this support under EU state aid rules on the basis of commitments made by Hungary to limit distortions of competition,” said a statement. Construction of the two 1,200 megawatt reactors at the Paks plant outside Budapest is considered a strategic project by Prime Minister Viktor Orban, a close ally of Russia’s. EU authorities were under huge pressure to take a close look at the deal amid fears the Kremlin was using the deal to meddle further with the bloc’s sensitive energy sector. On a visit to Hungary last month, Russian President Vladimir Putin lauded the project and said Russia was “ready to finance the ex-

After year of calm, Mt Etna bursts into life

Mount Etna, the famous Sicilian volentists said. cano, has erupted for the first time in The scent, contained in secretions that help more than year. bees adhere to slippery surfaces such as The highest volcano in Europe burst flower petals, can linger for hours. into life last week and continued to In the wild, bumblebees probably use this produce fountains of bright orange ability to sniff out what type of bee had visitlava for two days. ed a flower before them, how long it stayed, The relatively smallto eruption wasDirect notalso has a and how long ago, said Pearce. Currencies or make a payment another be over £150), they’ll set up beneficiary. Many customers unique agreement with Caixa Direct Debit for you. It can use online transfer systems like in Spain, any so they’re able sufficiently powerful to aBank cause “It has already been suggested... that bees be weekly, monthly, quarterthis for smaller transactions to open a free CaixaBank acly or yearly. Leaving you free but for preferresidential to speak directly to centres count exclusively for all their problems near have a strong sense of smell and could even to sit back and enjoy the view a person when making larger customers, which allows them transfers. With Currencies Di- to have immediate transfers the peak, on the eastern side of the be used as ‘sniffer bees’ in airports, I’m not rect it’s up to you. from Spain to UK with no transfer fees. This can save you Today’s ratesisland, look good, and the nearby airport sure if their sense of smell is better than that Repatriating funds thousands!at Catbut you don’t need to transfer Let’s face it. We know Spain your money for – say – three of mind ania continued to operate normally. of a dog, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it is.” is fantastic - there’s a reason Peace months? No problem. A Forbe over £150), they’ll set up a Direct Debit for you. It can be weekly, monthly, quarter ly or yearly. Leaving you free to sit back and enjoy the view

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why you invested and moved there in the first place all those years ago. However, home will always be home, and we can’t blame you for wanting to go back.

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try to get a chunk of your hardearned money with hidden fees and unfair exchange rates. This is hardly a secret. Instead, when you are planning a move back, it is recommended to use the expertise of a currency exchange company like Currencies Direct. Not only will they provide you with the guidance you need to understand all the process, but they can save you up to 5% on

When looking for an exchange provider, you want to get the best rates and great service. You want someone to talk to you, to understand what’s important to you and what you want to achieve. But most importantly, you want to make sure your funds are in safe hands. After all, it’s your money we’re talking about. Currencies Direct have been around since 1996, so they have credibility and longevity. Both of these are fundamental when choosing the right currency exchange provider company.

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Every time you transfer money overseas with your bank you’ll lose money in hidden fees and a poor exchange rate. Use our regular transfer service and you’ll be making great currency savings! pansion 100 percent”. The deal made headlines in November when Germany’s representative to the European Commission, Guenther Oettinger, flew in a private jet belonging to a Kremlin lobbyist closely associated to the project. In its statement, the commission did not mention Russia and said its powers were limited to competition concerns and that Hungary’s financing committed no violations. Tensions have been high since Russia’s annexation of Crimea and the start of the conflict in Ukraine in 2014, for which the 28-nation EU bloc has imposed wide-ranging economic sanctions.

Give us a call on +34 952 906 581 to find out more. Let’s talk currency

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SPA - Weekend world full page - v1.indd 1

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Issue 31 March 16 - 29, 2017

30 - WEEKEND WORLD

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Issue 31 March 16 - 29, 2017

W

WEEKEND WORLD - 31

EEKEND focuses on SOTOGRANDE & GIBRALTAR WORLD

University of Gibraltar secures global recognition by joining the Commonwealth Scholarship and Fellowship Plan The University of Gibraltar has joined the prestigious Commonwealth Scholarship and Fellowship Plan (CSFP) bringing global recognition and an acknowledgement of its PhD research programme. The CSFP was established in 1959 since when over 30,000 individuals have benefited. The scholarships aim to sustain the principles of the Commonwealth. It is one of the largest and most prestigious scholarship schemes for international study in the world. Prof Daniella Tilbury, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Gibraltar said: ‘This is a significant milestone in the development of our institution. It places Gibraltar, and our PhD research degrees, on a global map of prestigious universities. To have achieved this in less than 18 months is testament to the work of the team here and our success in establishing the research degrees as meeting a tough, globally recognised, standard.’

culture Prof John Wood, Secretary General of the Association of Commonwealth Universities (ACU), which oversees the CSFP, said: ‘The ACU is delighted that the University of Gibraltar is offering the territory’s first-ever Commonwealth Scholarship. These scholarships are available in more countries than ever before, and offer young people across the Commonwealth the chance to experience study and culture in new destinations’. The Gibraltar Commonwealth Scholarship, which is to be launched on April 7th, is supported by HMGOG. The Chief Minister, The Hon Fabian Picardo QC commented, ““HM Government of Gibraltar continues to support the University, and is pleased to support the establishment of a Gibraltar Commonwealth Scholar. This will raise the standing of the University and of Gibraltar internationally in a Commonwealth context, at a time when we are particularly seeking to improve our international partnerships.” The Minister for Education, Dr John Cortes, explained why this is such an important milestone ‘Our University’s postgraduate re-

search work is proving to be one of its earliest successes. Bringing an international student into our growing research community will greatly benefit development in this area.” The chosen scholar will spend three years in Gibraltar contributing to a core area of the University as a PhD researcher. Commenting on the research programme, Prof Daniella Tilbury said: ‘A core objective for our programme is to create an ongoing legacy for Gibraltar that sits as comfortably in its exploration of our unique past as it does assessing the outlook for our future. Gibraltar is known as a centre of excellence for finance as well as online and digital businesses and we are immensely proud to be able to add our PhD programme to this global profile.’

A major exhibition is being planned by Gibraltar Cultural Services on behalf of the Ministry of Culture. This exhibition will celebrate the history and development of fashion in Gibraltar. Among the exhibits will be several pieces by the late Eduardo Viotto, widely considered Gibraltar’s first successful fashion designer, and photographs kindly loaned for this occasion from private collections. Any local designers with pieces that they would like to loan for the duration of the exhibition are welcome to come forward. These pieces must be original works and must be accompanied by sketches, mood boards, and other items that have contributed to the piece’s final creation. These works will be reviewed by GCS and if selected, will form part of the final exhibition. Persons interested should contact Gibraltar Cultural Services, events department on telephone: 20067236 or email: culture. info@culture.gov.gi, no later than Friday 31st March 2017.

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GIBRALTAR INTERNATIONAL DRAMA FESTIVAL 2017 Gibraltar Cultural Services, on behalf the Ministry of Culture, wish to inform the general public that due to unforeseen circumstances The White Light Company entry ‘The American Dream’, which was going to be performed as the third play on the evening of Thursday 23rd March, has had to withdraw from the Festival. Although the rest of the evening will see the other two plays performed on schedule. If any member of the public has purchased tickets for this day and prefers not to attend they may wish to have their tickets price refunded at the John Mackintosh Hall, from Monday to Friday between 9am and 4:30pm.

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Issue 31 March 16 - 29, 2017

WEEKEND WORLD - 33

Forget the winter blues! Clean Bandit, Craig David and Steve Aoki are the first announced to perform on the main stage at brand new MTV Live Music Event in Gibraltar while Bananarama, Midge Ure and Village People are the first confirmed to play The Classic Stage.

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SAIL Formerly known as the Gibraltar Music Festival, tickets for MTV Presents Gibraltar Calling will go on sale today (Wednesday 1st March 2017). Tickets will be available via the website www.gibraltarcalling.com and from the Gibraltar Ministry of Culture. The Early Bird hard tickets will be sold from the reception at City Hall, John Mackintosh Square, Gibraltar. These tickets will be sold from Monday to Friday between 10:00 and 17:00. Children aged 12 and under are eligible for a free ticket as long as they are accompanied by a ticket-holding adult. These must be obtained in advance from City Hall. MTV Presents Gibraltar Calling continues MTV’s long history of partnering with tourist boards and councils to promote cities and regions to youth audiences and is the brand’s first-ever partnership with HM Government of Gibraltar. Recent stand out MTV live music collaborations include MTV Crashes, Club MTV and not forgetting the flagship MTV European Music Awards which last year took place in Rotterdam. The Minister of Culture, the Hon Steven Linares, said: “I’m really pleased to see how our Partnership with MTV is developing. The Gibraltar Calling festival will continue the success it has had over the past 5 years and will now be exposed to the whole world. I’m sure that the people of Gibraltar will support this venture and will enjoy this World Class Event.” For further information on the event please visit the website www.gibraltarcalling.com Twitter: @MTVGIBCALLING Facebook: @MTVGIBRALTARCALLING

MAYOR’S AWARDS SCHEME The Mayoral Award Scheme which in the past only recognised persons who save a life or participate in any such rescue operation or act of bravery, now encompasses persons or groups who have served Gibraltar in exceptional or voluntary service over a prolonged period of time. His Worship the Mayor Adolfo J Canepa OBE, GMH, MP, who is keen to encourage public participation in the Awards Scheme, invites members of the public to submit recommendations in order to ensure that the Committee under the Mayor’s Chairmanship is able to select from the widest possible field.

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Issue 31 March 16 - 29, 2017

34 - WEEKEND WORLD

VO Cinema Showings Please check with the cinema for any last minute time changes.

SPONSORED BY CITY FM MALAGA

Cines Teatro Goya Avenida Julio Inglesia, Puerto Banus Tel: +34 951 196 666

KONG – Skull Island 18.00, 20.00 Logan

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17.45, 20.00

Cinesur Miramar Avenida De La Encarnacion, Fuengirola Tel: +34 952 198 600 Fences

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Gold 16.45, 19.15, 22.10 KONG: Skull Island 17.00, 19.30, 22.00 Logan 16.401, 19.15, 21.55 King’s Bastion Cinema Line Wall Road Gibraltar Tel: +350 200 72272 Lego Batman Movie 16.00 La La Land

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18.30

KONG: Skull Island 19.00 Logan 21.00 Fist Fight

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n Celebrate the Arrival of Spring Sunday 19 March at Arboretum Marbella, Finca El Trapiche s/n The Arboretum Foundation is marking the start of spring on Sunday 19th of March with a Spring Fair at their public park behind Marbella bus station. From 11.0016.00 there will be stalls with organic and environmentally friendly products, artisan foods, plus arts and crafts and gifts to buy.

n STARS OF THE WEST END MUSICAL Friday 24 March at Teatro Las Lagunas, Camino del Albero, 16, 29651 Las Lagunas de Mijas, Málaga

Tickets (numbered seating) – Stalls @ 25€, Circle @ 20€ are on sale from the website www.ticketsource.eu/bigmpromotions and from sales points; IBEX Insurance, Fuengirola, Woodies Los Boliches and One Stop Shop, La Trocha, Coín. There is an information and reservation hotline on 952661819.

There is a packed schedule of workshops and activities during the Spring Fair. There will be a wide selection of skilled local artisans demonstrating how they create their goods and visitors can help them to make things such as pots baskets, candles, wooden products and more. There will also be a workshop about how to bring sustainability into your everyday life from Arboretum Foundation’s team. It will include practical advice on easy techniques and habits you can adopt to help support the planet, improve your health and save money. This is a great event for all the family including activities for the kids from Marbella nursery Coleta, delicious food and organic drinks to purchase and enjoy at the beautiful Urban Allotments at Arboretum. To attend the fun day is free of charge but donations are welcome. Attendees are asked to bring a book to donate and the donated books will be on sale to raise funds for this fantastic environmental charity. Arboretum Marbella is located near to Marbella’s bus station - Finca El Trapiche s/n Marbella, Málaga find out more. More information and directions to the event can be found on their website www. fundacionarboretum.org and on Facebook @fundacionarboretum

comfortable venue that has seating for 500 in the stalls and first floor circle. There will be a basic bar, as the theatre does not have a permanent bar in place, serving beer, wine, mixed and soft drinks. There will be snacks available.

Doors open at 8pm and the show starts at 8.30pm – Box office and bar will be open from 7.30pm.

n Ayurvedic Workshop in Marbella, Saturday March 25, 12:00 - 3:00 pm at The Farmacy Marbella, Centro Comercial El Capricho, Av. Bulevar Príncipe Alfonso de Hohenlohe, 2, 29600 Marbella “Stars Of The West End”, an entertaining 2 hour show, featuring the most popular songs from the best loved musical theatre. Musicals like “The Phantom of the Opera”, “Jersey Boys”, “Oliver”, “Les Miserables”, “Cats”, “Miss Saigon” and more. Performing in “Stars of the West End” are 3 Principle artists; Mike Sterling – “The Phantom of the Opera”, Lisa-Anne Wood – “Les Misérables” and Michael Conway – “Jersey Boys”. They will be featuring songs from the shows they have appeared in, as well many other wellknown numbers from other top musicals. The Las Lagunas theatre is a cosy and

New years resolutions not working and you want to try a different angle? Come and find out about Ayurveda, what your dosha is, and how to eat according to your dosha* for improved health and vitality! Then enjoy a healthy lunch at the Farmacy afterwards, including a starter, main, coffee/tea/cake! Price: 40 euros (Registration at the Farmacy with a 10 euro deposit and receive your dosha questionnaire to fill in beforehand!) *Doshas are constitutions made up of the 5 elements: earth, water, fire, air and space and determine our physical and mental characteristics, including our size, whether we are hot or cold and how well our digestion works.

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Issue 31 March 16 - 29, 2017

WEEKEND WORLD - 35

A Night of Shenanigans with the Goldies

SPONSORED BY CITY FM MALAGA Broadcasting from Nerja to beyond Calahonda on 106.2FM and from Elviria to Gibraltar via 106.8FM n Natura Málaga, Friday 31 March to Sunday 2nd April, Venue : Trade Fair and Congress Center, Malaga Natura Málaga is a fair that shows the growing public awareness regarding the environment, consumption and healthy eating. The event brings together a public with a philosophy of life that combines different areas such as the consumption of organic food, use of renewable energies, consumption of fair trade articles, organic food, handicrafts, recycling, natural and alternative therapies. www. naturamalaga.com n International Jazz Artist Nancy Ruth live in concert, Saturday 1stApril 1, 8:30 pm Clarence Jazz Club, Calle Cañón 5, 29015 Málaga Nancy has an incredible story about how she moved to the Costa Del Sol from Canada, on her own with hardly any resources, not even a mobile phone and with zero knowledge of Spanish. Despite having nothing and no friends here she persisted and fully integrated into the

Spanish community here, living as a Spaniard, learning the culture, becoming completely fluent in Spanish. She wrote an album all about that experience called ‘Sangria Jam’ and today she uses her music to bring together both the Spanish and the various expat communities here on the coast. As Nancy puts it, “Sangria Jam refers to the way my loves of jazz, flamenco, and latin rhythms come together, as well as my mixed European bloodline, which in part traces back here to Spain. I’m not trying to create a fusion, but rather freely reflect my experience and surroundings. Sin prisa, sin pausa…this recording has taken its own time and course, just like a typical day here in Spain, where for all the plans you may make, life leads you around unexpected corners. The idea is to ride the wave… enjoy the phrase, devour the moments, and notice the magic that catches you off guard”.

at the Millenium

Charity Through Music in its Third Year Saturday 18th March

Do ors ope n at 6.30 p.m . Sh o w s t arts at 7p.m . Limi te d numbe r of t icke ts t his ye ar ! Acts appearing on the night; Sam Oliver, Deborah Dee, Reality International Duo, Jochen Janz, Tina Hall, Marinella Graitsis, Carl Coulton, Susan Mohr and One Wish Steve

Tickets only

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Next to Miel y Nata Restaurant, Calahonda

Tel: 952 934 793 organizado por / organised by

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D-Wine’s Ecological Wine festival will offer visitors 12 Spanish Ecological Wines and Tapas made of organic ingredients, new products from traditional Spanish wine regions will be introduced during the event. The programme also includes a special guest presentation of an organic winery popularising the organic lifestyle, as well as live music , all in a relax environment. The event also aims at drawing attention to healthy eating and wine drinking which greatly contributes to the healing of your body and soul, which is easier to achieve with the help of meals and wines resulting from ecological practices . All the wines presented at the event will be available to buy including a 10 % discount for all participants.

“Wine is the most healthful and most hygienic of beverages.” Louis Pasteur

C a l l e A n a d e A u s t r í a, M a r b e l l a, S p a i n w w w . d -w i n e c o l l e c t i o n . c o m 9 52 81 4 4 46


36 - WEEKEND WORLD

W

Issue 31 March 16 - 29, 2017

FOCUS ON HOMES

EEKEND

WORLD

focuses on

MONEY MATTERS

Money Matters is sponsored by be over £150), they’ll set up a Direct Debit for you. It can be weekly, monthly, quarter ly or yearly. Leaving you free to sit back and enjoy the view

Today’s rates look good, but you don’t need to transfer your money for – say – three months? No problem. A For ward Contract is the currency world’s version of “buy now,

&+34 952 906 581 | costadelsol@currenciesdirect.com | www.currenciesdirect.com

Moving money


Issue 31 March 16 - 29, 2017

FOCUS ON MONEY MATTERS

WEEKEND WORLD - 37

Spanish GDP seen taking a hit from Brexit

United Kingdom - Financial Markets

Britain’s exit from the European Union will trim 0.2-0.4 percentage points off Spain’s gross domestic product growth, according to a government report published Spain’s top priority in Brexit talks will be to keep workers moving freely between both countries, said the report, prepared by Madrid’s representation to the EU. Britain and Spain have strong trade and investment links and the report said the Spanish economy would “suffer negative consequences” from Brexit. Most Active Stocks It said Spanish exports to Britain would fall by 464 million euros Name Last Prev. High Low Chg. % Vol. ($490 million) per year under the best-case scenario which the report defined as Madrid reaching a bilateral trade agreement s Lloyds Banking 68.28 67.85 68.53 67.98 +0.63% 50.21M s Glencore 322.20 316.05 325.15 320.55 +1.95% 15.57M with London after Brexit. But the report said the fall in exports could reach as much as s Barclays 227.85 226.55 228.65 225.65 +0.57% 14.02M one billion euros per year, with the food and auto sectors espet Centrica 217.15 218.60 219.40 216.50 -0.64% 10.61M cially hard-hit. Brexit could cause Spain’s economic output to fall t Vodafone Group PLC 204.30 204.50 204.95 203.60 -0.07% 10.37M by two and four billion euros per year, the equivalent of a fall s BP 460.55 457.00 463.75 459.80 +0.78% 9.74M of between 0.2 and 0.4 percentage points in its gross domestic product, it added. t HSBC Holdings 669.40 670.00 670.30 666.90 -0.09% 9.11M Britain is the biggest destination for Spanish investment abroad s Legal & General 248.91 246.40 249.10 246.30 +1.01% 7.13M and is Spain’s main source of foreign visitors. t Taylor Wimpey 189.40 191.20 191.70 187.90 -0.94% 6.49M Spanish banks such as Santander play leading roles in British fis Morrison Supermarket 238.90 235.00 240.20 234.70 +1.66% 4.85M nance while Spanish service providers like Telefonica and construction firm FCC have significant holdings in the country. Santander generates 12 percent of its revenues in Britain and the Top Gainers Top Losers country accounts for 30 percent of Telefonica’s earnings, accord Name Last Chg. Chg. % Name Last Chg. Chg. % ing to the report. s Hikma Pharm. t Persimmon 2,279.00 +153.00 +7.20% 2,062.00 -35.00 -1.67% May has promised to trigger divorce proceedings with the EU by the end of March. s Antofagasta 808.50 +20.00 +2.54% t Sage Group 637.05 -9.00 -1.39% s Rio Tinto PLC s Wolseley s Glencore

3,382.00 +67.00 5,150.00 +105.00 322.20 +6.15

+2.02% +2.08% +1.95%

t Berkeley t 3I Group t Old Mutual

-41.00 -8.00 -2.30

-1.38% -1.09% -1.02%

Spain’s Repsol announces big Alaska oil find

Spanish energy giant Repsol has announced a large find in Alaska that it says holds approximately 1.2 billion barrels of oil. The discovery, made with its US partner Armstrong Energy, is Repsol’s biggest since a gas find in Venezuela in 2009, a spokesman said. The discovery is “the largest US onshore conventional hydrocarbons discovery in 30 years”, Repsol said in a statement. The petroleum found near the village of Nuiqsut in Alaska’s north “could amount to approximately 1.2 billion barrels” of oil, it added. Repsol has been actively exploring Alaska since 2008. The find was made in two wells in a region where Repsol has made other discoveries with Armstrong since 2011. The Spanish firm holds a 25 percent interest in the discovery, Most Active Stocks with Armstrong holding the rest. Name Last Prev. High Low Chg. % Vol. “The successive campaigns in the area have added significant s Bankia 1.052 1.024 1.066 1.028 +2.73% 29.45M new potential to what was previously viewed as a mature basin,” s Banco Popular 0.928 0.911 0.936 0.911 +1.87% 14.81M Repsol said. The company expects to begin production in the area in 2021, s Santander 5.441 5.360 5.457 5.362 +1.51% 12.60M with a potential rate of around 120,000 barrels of oil per day. s B. Sabadell 1.612 1.589 1.625 1.586 +1.45% 9.02M To put that into perspective, Repsol produced 690,000 barrels of s Caixabank 3.783 3.728 3.820 3.728 +1.48% 8.16M oil per day in 2016, a 23 percent increase over the previous year.   s BBVA 6.873 6.796 6.918 6.798 +1.13% 5.73M The discovery could also mean a big jump in production for Alass Inditex 31.433 31.390 31.650 30.718 +0.14% 2.93M ka, helping stem a nearly three-decade decline in its oil output. s Repsol 14.315 14.100 14.370 14.178 +1.52% 2.60M The state’s oil production has dropped 68 percent since hitt Iberdrola 6.288 6.292 6.315 6.264 -0.06% 2.38M ting a peak of two million barrels per day in 1988, according to the Alaska Oil and Gas Association. It currently produces about s Telefonica 10.182 10.165 10.235 10.140 +0.17% 2.32M 600,000 barrels per day. The Trans-Alaska Pipeline, which transports crude from Prudhoe Top Gainers Top Losers Bay and other North Slope fields to the southern shores of Valdez, now operates at roughly one-quarter capacity. Name Last Chg. Chg. % Name Last Chg. Chg. % The petroleum industry supports one-third of all of Alaska’s ems Bankia 1.052 +0.028 +2.73% t Red Electrica 17.150 -0.050 -0.29% ployment, generating 110,000 jobs throughout the state, which s Acerinox 13.445 +0.270 +2.05% t Gamesa 21.457 -0.023 -0.11% derives around 90 percent of its revenue from the oil and gas sector. s Banco Popular 0.928 +0.017 +1.87% t Tecnicas Reunidas 36.510 -0.045 -0.12% Repsol, together with Italy’s ENI, in 2009 discovered the largest s Repsol 14.315 +0.215 +1.52% t Melia Hotels 12.460 -0.010 -0.08% offshore gas field in Latin America, the giant Perla field off Vens Santander 5.441 +0.081 +1.51% t Iberdrola 6.290 -0.002 -0.03% ezuela which holds 17 trillion cubic feet of gas. The company swung back into the black last year, posting a net profit of 1.7 billion euros ($1.8 billion), boosted by higher oil and Euro exchange rates gas production as well as a rise in crude prices. It recorded a loss of 1.2 billion euros in 2015. 9.13 Norwegian Krone 7.43 Danish Krone 1.40 Australian Dollars Repsol in October 2015 unveiled an ambitious cost-cutting pro9.56 Swedish Krona 8.26 Hong Kong Dollar 0.87 British Pounds gramme which involves slashing billions from capital spending 3.90 UAE Dirham 121.94 Japanese Yen 1.43 Canadian Dollars by 2020 and cutting 1,500 jobs out of 25,000 worldwide by 2018. 1.06 US Dollars 1.53 New Zealand Dollar 7.34 Chinese Yuan

Spain - Financial Markets

Figures correct at 15.03.2017

2,926.00 723.50 223.20


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HE Frankfurt-based bank will issue almost 690 million new shares in early April, with subscription rights for existing shareholders, to raise about 8.0 billion euros ($8.5 billion), chief executive John Cryan said during a conference call. Deutsche Bank had signalled such a move on Friday, but it is still a significant aboutface for Cryan, who insisted until recently that the bank did not need to raise capital. As well as the capital increase, the bank plans to retain its Postbank subsidiary and to partially float its Deutsche Asset Management unit -- itself valued at around 8 billion euros by analysts -- within 24 months. The plan to offer shares in the asset management business must be approved by German financial regulator BaFin. Going forward, Deutsche Bank will be reorganised around three divisions: private banking and wealth management; asset management; and corporate and investment banking. Executives hope that Sunday’s announcement will mark a new chapter for the bank, which has struggled to make a profit in recent years as it faced low interest rates and mammoth fines -- as well as a costly restructuring drive that Cryan launched when he took the helm in 2015. The bank reported a net loss of 1.4 billion euros for 2016.

FOCUS ON MONEY MATTERS

Deutsche Bank to raise 8bn€ and overhaul strategy Troubled German banking behemoth Deutsche Bank has revealed a major shift in strategy, saying it plans to increase capital by issuing shares and renew its focus on its home market. year. That figure “will help us remove a source of uncertainty and thus reduce our refinancing costs,” Cryan said, “and also increase confidence in us as a counter-party and encourage clients to deepen their relationship with us.” The bank aims to further increase its capital cushion by selling parts of its vast asset portfolio, bringing in a further two billion euros.

Volatile year Last year saw a number of scares about Deutsche Bank’s ability to resist financial shocks, as it emerged among the weakest performers in the European Central Bank’s stress tests and had to negotiate with the US Department of Justice (DoJ) over a $14 billion fine sought for its role in the subprime mortgage crisis. Shares in the bank plunged at several points throughout the year, including when news of the DoJ’s demand became public in September and when several hedge funds later withdrew investments.

Turning inward

While Deutsche Bank ended up negotiating its US fines and compensation down to about $7 billion, the perception of weakness remained.

Proceeds from the new shares will bring the bank’s core capital ratio -- a key indicator of the bank’s solvency and resilience -- to 14.1 percent from 11.9 percent at the end of last

Brexit vote hits Deutsche Telekom profits German telecommunications giant Deutsche Telekom said Thursday net profits fell in 2016, as its stake in Britain’s BT lost value in the wake of last year’s Brexit vote. Net profits were down 18 percent to 2.67 billion euros ($2.8 billion), the company said. Analysts had been expecting it to post a profit of 4.54 billion euros. The main factor hitting profits was a 2.2-billion-euro loss from its 12-percent stake in BT “mainly as a result of declines in the BT share price and in the pound sterling following the Brexit referendum,” the German group said.

SURPRISE Britain’s June vote to leave the European Union took the global markets completely by surprise, sparking lingering uncertainty and unease over London’s future relationship with Brussels. Deutsche Telekom stressed that the dip in profits would not affect its payout of shareholder dividends, which it plans to increase by 5 euro cents to 0.60 euros per share. Operating, or underlying profit at the group slightly outpaced the group’s own forecasts,

Issue 31 March 16 - 29, 2017

adding almost 8.0 percent to reach 21.4 billion euros. Revenues at Telekom grew 5.6 percent in 2016 to more than 73 billion euros, more than analysts had forecast, as its American unit T-Mobile USA continued to enjoy strong performance. That division alone added 8.2 million customers last year in the teeth of a highly competitive and saturated US mobile phone market.

T-Mobile USA’s revenues grew 16 percent to $37.3 billion, while profits doubled to $1.5 billion. Across the Atlantic, Telekom’s revenues in Germany and the rest of Europe fell as its fixed-line phone business continues to decline. Looking ahead to 2017, Deutsche Telekom aims to increase revenues to achieve an operating profit of around 22.2 billion euros -4.0 percent higher than 2016’s figure.

By integrating Postbank -- long slated to be sold as soon as it could fetch the right price -- and reorganising its corporate and investment banking units, Cryan argued that Deutsche Bank would “strengthen significantly our leadership in Germany, where our roots are, while also maintaining our global reach.” A renewed focus on Germany is a new direction for the bank, as many of its 8,000 open legal cases worldwide date back to its attempts to go toe-to-toe with British and American banking giants before the financial crisis. With conscientious savers and high-performing small and midsize companies, Europe’s largest economy offers a reliable income if not the sky-high profits of financial market adventures. But banks in Germany face challenges, including low interest rates set by the European Central Bank and intense competition for clients’ cash in a market crowded with small banks. Merging Postbank with Deutsche’s retail banking operations will create a bank with 20 million customers, offering economies of scale and synergies amounting to 900 million euros a year by 2022, Cryan said. Around 9,000 job cuts in Deutsche Bank’s network of German branches have long been a part of Cryan’s plans. Meanwhile, the group will “take advantage of the resurgence in client activity” in corporate and investment banking and find more savings by merging its corporate finance, global markets and global transaction banking units into a single division. Altogether, the restructuring aims to reduce costs from 24.1 billion euros in 2016 to around 21 billion euros by 2021 -- after one-off items for restructuring and layoffs totalling around two billion euros.


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FOCUS ON MONEY MATTERS

France’s PSA buys Opel-Vauxhall to create Europe’s secondbiggest carmaker

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HE move sees PSA regain its position as Europe’s second-largest automobile manufacturer, after Germany’s Volkswagen, overtaking rival French firm Renault. PSA said in a statement it was also buying GM Europe’s financial operations for 900 million euros in a joint deal with bank BNP Paribas, taking the total value of the deal to 2.2 billion euros. The takeover includes six assembly plants and five component-making facilities and some 40,000 employees. Plans for the takeover of the Opel division by PSA, which owns the Peugeot and Citroen brands, were unveiled in the middle of February, sparking fears in Germany and Britain that the prospective new owner could cut non-French jobs. The French giant’s shares rose more than three percent on the Paris stock exchange early Monday on news of the deal, trading at 19.67 euros. PSA boss Carlos Tavares said the firm was “deeply committed to continuing to develop this great company and accelerating its turnaround”. “We are confident that the Opel/Vauxhall turnaround will significantly accelerate with our support, while respecting the commitments made by GM to the Opel/Vauxhall employees,” Tavares said. Vauxhall employs around 5,000 people in Britain. Opel operates some 10 factories in Europe spread across six countries, and had 35,600 employees at the end of 2015, 18,250 of them in Germany. Founded in 1862, Opel, with its lightning-bolt emblem, is a familiar sight on European roads, but in recent years the firm has booked repeated losses, costing Detroit-based GM around $15 billion since 2000. Britain, where it sells vehicles under the Vauxhall brand, is European Central Bank governors will likely resist calls to end a flood of cheap money when they meet Thursday, analysts said, despite eurozone inflation topping their near2.0 percent target. Inflation  in the 19-nation single currency area stood at 2.0 percent in February, Eurostat figures showed last week, the first time since 2013 it has outstripped the ECB’s mandate of “close to, but below 2.0 percent”. Even before then, critics were urging the Frankfurt institution to wind down its massive monetary easing measures that include buying tens of billions of euros of government and corporate bonds each month, cheap loans to banks, and historically low interest rates. But ECB policymakers have argued that the sudden jump in eurozone price growth since December is a temporary effect of increased energy prices. “We should not react to individual data points and short-lived increases in  inflation,” ECB president Mario Draghi told European Parliament lawmakers in February. “Support from our monetary policy measures is still needed.” Analysts largely agree with ECB executive board members that beyond volatile items such as food and energy, underlying pressure on prices from more durable sources, like increased wages for workers, remains

French carmaker PSA has announced the acquisition of General Motors’ European subsidiary, which includes the Opel and Vauxhall brands, for 1.3 bn € ($1.38 billion).

Opel’s largest European market. A sharp fall in the pound since Britain’s vote to quit the EU last June sank Opel’s hopes of getting back into the black in 2016, and it ended up reporting a loss of $257 million.

‘Difficult decision’ Britain’s Unite trade union said the productivity of the UK plants and the strength of the Vauxhall brand meant that it “makes sense” for PSA to continue manufacturing there. Unite boss Len McCluskey also called on the British government to end the uncertainty surrounding trade relations with the EU after Brexit.

“We need every assistance from the government to give this sector a fighting chance,” he said. “That absolutely includes committing now to securing access to the single market and customs union.” PSA said the deal will enable substantial economies of scale and savings in purchasing, manufacturing and research, and they aim to return Opel-Vauxhall to profit in the next three years. GM’s chairman and chief executive Mary Barra said at a press conference on Monday that the sale had been “a difficult decision for General Motors ... but the right one”. In the statement confirming the sale, Barra hailed the move as “another major step” in the company’s efforts to improve its performance. “We believe this new chapter puts Opel and Vauxhall in an even stronger position for the long term and we look forward to our participation in the future success and strong value-creation potential of PSA through our economic interest and continued collaboration on current and exciting new projects,” Barra said. PSA said that all of Opel-Vauxhall’s pensions would remain with GM, apart from a German pension pot and some smaller plans, which will be transferred to the French manufacturer. GM is to pay PSA 3.0 billion euros for settlement of these obligations.

ECB MEETS UNDER PRESSURE AS INFLATION TOPS TARGET too weak to justify tweaking the stimulus package. “Core inflation has remained low despite the rise in the headline rate,” Jennifer McKeown of Capital Economics said. “Even in Germany, where the labour market has been strong for some time, there are few signs of pay pressures.” According to Eurostat, unemployment across the eurozone stood at 9.6 percent in February -- steady at the lowest rate since May 2009, but still leaving slack in the market to hold back wage increases, usually a key driver of inflation.

Alert for hints The ECB has been loath to exit its monetary stimulus programme too quickly, afraid of nipping a still-fragile economic recovery in the bud. On Thursday, policymakers “will not want to add any new uncertainty on the eve of two important elections in the eurozone” -- the Netherlands later this month and France between April and June -- ING Diba bank econ-

omist Carsten Brzeski predicted. But governing council members have begun debating in public speeches what the beginning of the end of stimulus could look like. The bank’s “forward guidance”, carefully crafted statements about future policy, has long suggested interest rates will “remain at present or lower levels for an extended period of time” -- and certainly until after the bond-buying programme is wound down. Higher interest rates are needed to manage a faster-growing economy with higher inflation. So a change to that language suggesting higher rates could be on the way would be an early indicator that the ECB sees the economic recovery on a firmer footing and is looking to cut back its stimulus programmes, Brzeski said. Board member Yves Mersch called for just such a change in early February -- but has yet to be echoed by advocates of a more supportive policy like Draghi. Rather than moving this week, policymakers “would wait until after the French elections until they give any direct or big hint at taper-

ing,” or gradually winding down bond-buying, Brzeski suggested. With little new economic data to go on since the governing council’s last meeting in January, few observers expect the ECB to make drastic changes this week. A new round of forecasts from the central bank’s staff “will reveal an upward revision this year from December’s projection of 1.3 percent” inflation, Capital Economics’ McKeown forecast, but little change to the predictions for 2018 and beyond. That will leave Draghi comfortable defending his plan to continue buying 60 billion euros of bonds per month until at least December this year. No respondents in a survey of economists by Bloomberg News expected the ECB to make changes to its bond-buying or interest rate policy this week. “For the most part, Draghi will, once again, try to keep the hawks (advocates of tighter monetary policy) in check” as the governing council meets away from the cameras, Brzeski predicted.


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FOCUS ON MONEY MATTERS

UK insurer Standard Life buys Aberdeen for £3.8bn T

HE deal, worth $4.7 billion or 4.4 billion euros, was presented as a merger but Standard Life shareholders will have overall control with a 66.7-percent stake in the new firm, according to a joint statement. Aberdeen will hold the rest. The combined business will have a stock market capitalisation of £11 billion and oversee assets worth £660 billion -- making it one of the largest investment managers in the world and the biggest in Britain.

MERGER The news sent Standard Life’s share price more than seven percent higher in early morning London trade, while Aberdeen stock gained almost six percent. “The boards of Standard Life plc and Aberdeen Asset Management plc are pleased to announce that they have reached agreement on the terms of a recommended all-share merger,” said the statement. The transaction “has a compelling strategic and financial rationale through combining Standard Life’s and Aberdeen’s

British financial services group Standard Life has agreed to buy Aberdeen Asset Management for £3.8 billion to create one of the world’s biggest fund managers, the pair said Monday. complementary strengths to create a world class investment group”. They added the deal would “harness Standard Life’s and Aberdeen’s complementary, market leading investment and savings capabilities”. The new business will be headquartered in Scotland and have 9,000 staff worldwide. “We have always been clear that it is Standard Life’s ambition to become a world-class investment company and that this would be achieved through continued investment in diversification and growth, coupled with a sharp focus on financial discipline,” said Standard Life Chief Executive Keith Skeoch.

BMW keeps foot down for 2017 after record year

“We are therefore delighted that this announcement marks another important step towards achieving that ambition.” He added: “We strongly believe that we can build on the strength of the existing Standard Life business by combining with Aberdeen to create one of the largest active investment managers in the world and deliver significant value for all of our stakeholders.” The two groups, which had announced that they were in talks over the weekend, aim to complete the merger in the third quarter subject to regulatory and shareholder approvals. “This merger brings financial strength, diversity of customer base and global reach to ensure that the enlarged business can compete effectively on the global stage,” added Aberdeen Chief Executive Martin Gilbert. Rebecca O’Keeffe, head of investment at stockbroker Interactive Investor, said: “The move by Standard Life to buy Aberdeen is a major attempt to try to build their defences as the active management industry comes under increasing pressure from lower-cost passive managers.”

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German luxury carmaker BMW has announced it boosted profits in 2016 on the back of record sales, offering an increased dividend and promising further growth this year. Net profit grew 8.0 percent over 2015’s figure to reach 6.9 billion euros ($7.3 billion), the group said in a statement, as revenues grew a more modest 2.2. percent to reach 94.1 billion -- both new records for BMW. Operating, or underlying profit fell by 2.2 percent to 9.4 billion euros. Looking ahead to the current year, “we are again targeting a new sales volume record in 2017, with sales slightly up on the previous year,” chief executive Harald Krueger said. But “the BMW Group expects the global political and economic environment to remain volatile,” as Brexit and potential trade

restrictions in the United States loom on the horizon. BMW was attacked by US President Donald Trump in a January interview, with the New York property tycoon warning the German firm not to go ahead with a planned factory in Mexico or face harsh border taxes. The Munich-based group, which also owns Mini and Rolls-Royce, sold a total of almost 2.4 million vehicles in 2016. Its new unit sales record wasn’t enough to outshine Stuttgart rival Daimler, whose Mercedes-Benz flagship outsold BMW’s ownbrand cars for the first time in more than a decade last year. BMW plans to offer shareholders a dividend of 3.50 euros per share, up from a 3.20-euro payout for the financial year 2015.

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Issue 31 March 16 - 29, 2017

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ECB raises eurozone growth and inflation forecasts THE European Central Bank has raised its forecasts for economic growth and inflation for this year and next, but it will nonetheless stick with its easy-money policy, saidECB president Mario Draghi The central bank now expects growth of 1.8 percent in 2017 and 1.7 percent in 2018, compared with earlier forecasts of 1.7 percent and 1.6 percent, respectively, Draghi said. Meanwhile, inflation should reach 1.7 percent in 2017 and 1.6 percent in 2018 -- up from previous predictions of 1.3 percent and 1.5 percent. The ECB left unchanged its forecast of 1.6 percent GDP growth and inflation for 2019. Despite the increased forecasts, Draghi said that the ECB would not increase interest rates, which it has long fixed at historic lows,

or look to wind down its mass bond-buying programme. Such loose monetary policies are designed to boost growth and inflation in the 19-nation eurozone, bringing price increases towards the central bank’s target of “close to, but below 2.0 percent”. Inflation stood at 2.0 percent in February, but Draghi reiterated that the ECB’s governing council plans to “look through” shortterm spikes in the reading due to volatile food and energy prices. “This is a gradual process,” Draghi told reporters at a press conference. “The governing council members want to be convinced they see a self-sustained adjustment in the inflation rate, and we don’t see it yet.”

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ECB holds key interest rates at record lows THE European Central Bank held interest rates at historic lows and stood by its mass bond-buying as observers looked to its president Mario Draghi for hints on when the flood of ECB cash might dry up. The ECB’s governing council -- made up of the 19 eurozone central bank governors and six board members -- voted to keep the benchmark “refi” refinancing rate at a record-low 0.0 percent, a spokeswoman said. They also left the rate on the bank’s marginal lending facility unchanged at 0.25 percent, while the deposit facility rate remained at minus 0.4 percent -- meaning banks have to pay to park their excess cash with the ECB. Although inflation is rising in the single cur-

rency area, observers were not expecting any changes in rates, which the ECB has held steady since March 2016 and repeatedly said it will leave unchanged. The bank’s decision to stick with its “quantitative easing” programme, under which it buys tens of billions of euros in government and corporate bonds per month, was also unsurprising after governors voted to extend it at December’s meeting. ECB watchers will hunt for changes in the bank’s updated economic forecasts and any hint that the bank is more open to raising rates or winding down QE in response to inflation surpassing its target of “close to, but below 2.0 percent” for the first time in years in February.


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04-04-2016 15:47:25


Issue 31 March 16 - 29, 2017

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FOCUS ON HEALTH & BEAUTY

EEKEND focuses on HEALTH & BEAUTY WORLD

Environmental risks kill 1.7m kids under 5 a year

MORE than one in four deaths in children under five are linked to polluted environments, according to two new World Health Organization reports published. Each year, environmental risks such as indoor and outdoor pollution, second-hand smoke, unsafe water and poor sanitation kill around 1.7 million children between the ages of one month and five years, the reports found. Harmful exposure can start in the mother’s womb, increasing the risk of premature birth, which can lead to life-long health problems. When children are exposed to air pollutants they also can face a lifelong increased risk of chronic respiratory diseases, like asthma, and of heart disease, stroke and cancer. The findings were in line with a WHO study published last year showing that about a quarter of all deaths worldwide, across all age groups, were attributable to environmental factors like air, water and soil pollution, as well as unsafe roads and workplace stress. But the new reports highlight the particular dangers faced by the youngest in society.

‘Especially vulnerable’ “A polluted environment is a deadly one, particularly for young children,” WHO chief Margaret Chan said in a statement. “Their developing organs and immune systems, and smaller

bodies and airways, make them especially vulnerable to dirty air and water,” she said. An estimated 570,000 children under five die each year from respiratory infections such as pneumonia, which are attributable to air pollution and second-hand smoke, the reports found. And 361,000 others are killed by diarrhoea resulting from poor access to clean water, sanitation and hygiene, the agency said. Another 200,000 children under five die from unintentional injuries linked to unhealthy environments, including poison-

“Information is not knowledge.The only source of knowledge is experience”

ings, falls and drowning, WHO said. The agency emphasised that a large portion of deaths among children stemming from common causes like diarrhoea, malaria and pneumonia could be prevented by reducing environmental risks. Simply increasing access to safe water and clean cooking fuels, removing unsafe building materials like lead paint, and reducing the use of hazardous pesticides and chemicals could go a long way in preventing such deaths, the reports said. A full 200,000 deaths each year among children under five due to malaria, for example, could be avoided through actions like reducing breeding sites for mosquitos and covering drinking water storage, the WHO said. At the same time, a range of new environmental hazards are emerging, like the ballooning piles of discarded mobile phones and other electronic and electrical waste, which is expected to hit 50 million metric tonnes globally by next year. When not properly recycled, such waste can expose children to toxins that can lead to reduced intelligence, attention disorders, lung damage and cancer, the WHO warned. Climate change is also taking its toll on children, the reports found. Rising levels of carbon dioxide contributes to pollen growth, which in turn is leading to rising rates of asthma in young people, the agency said.

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Mediterranean diet linked to lower risk of one type of breast cancer WE all know that a the Mediterranean diet is good for us but now a major study undertaken in the Netherlands as part of the World Cancer Research Fund International grant programme has shown that by eating a Mediterranean diet cuts deadly breast cancer risk by 40%. Researching looked at data from a study involving more than 60,000 women aged 55-69 over a 20-year period and found that those who ate a diet rich in fruit, vegetables, fish and of course olive oil were less likely to develop one particular type of breast cancer: oestrogen receptor-positive breast cancer one of the most aggressive forms of the disease. The Mediterranean diet has been linked to

better health for a number of years. It’s thought the diet may reduce the risk of cancer because of its high fibre and antioxidant content, and because it helps maintain a healthy body weight. Dr Panagiota Mitrou, Director of the Research Funding at World Cancer Research Fund, said: “This important study showed that following a dietary pattern like the Mediterranean Diet, could help reduce breast cancer risk – particularly the subtype with a poorer prognosis.” Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women with over and it is estimated that there will be 23.6 million new cases by 2030 (estimated).

Red wine the new elixir of youth eventually A compound found in red wine could help fight the ageing process new research carried out by the national institutes of health suggest. Resveratrol, a substance found in the skin of red grapes, may help keep our muscles and nerves healthy as we get older – however before you dash for that bottle of merlot, there are two things to consider; firstly a glass of red wine doesn’t contain hardly enough of the resveratrol compound to cause an effect and secondly the research was carried out on mice! Yes, researchers gave mice food-containing resveratrol for a year, then compared the muscle and nerve cells of those mice to cells from mice the same age who’d had a normal diet. in the mice who’d had the resveratrol-enriched diet, they found less evidence of age-related changes. Although red wine contains resveratrol the amount varies widely, from around 0.2mg to 12.6mg per litre, that’s nothing like enough to get the amounts con-

sumed in this study as the mice were fed 400mg of resveratrol per kilogram of body weight each day. An average weight woman in the UK (around 70kg) would need 28g of resveratrol a day for the same effect – or more to the point 2,000 litres of the most resveratrol-rich wine which would be a sure-fire way to speed up deterioration of the thinking skills, causing brain damage Resveratrol has long been of interest to anti-ageing scientists for many years. A naturally occurring compound found in foods such as red grapes, red wine, raspberries and dark chocolate resveratrol appears to reduce the ability of harmful immune molecules to infiltrate brain tissues. Dr Valdez, the study’s primary author,  “Our next step is to identify the mechanism that enables resveratrol to protect synapses. If we know the mechanism, we can modify resveratrol or look for other molecules that are more effective at protecting the synapses.“

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46 - WEEKEND WORLD

By Clare CollinS

Monday – start diet. Tuesday – break diet! Wednesday – plan to start again next Monday.

I

F this is you, it’s probably time to get off the diet roller coaster and make some bigger changes to the way you eat, drink and think about food. Here are six tips to help you get started.

1. Improve your diet quality score When trying to lose weight, it might be tempting to quit carbs, dairy or another food group altogether. But to stay healthy, you need to meet your requirements for important nutrients like iron, zinc, calcium, vitamins B and C, folate and fibre. These nutrients are essential for metabolism, growth, repair and fighting disease. Our review of diet quality indexes used to rate the healthiness of eating habits found that eating nutritious foods was associated with lower weight gain over time. Improving your diet quality means  eating more  fruit and vegetables, lean meats, poultry, fish, eggs, tofu, nuts and seeds, legumes, dried beans, wholegrains and dairy (mostly reduced fat).

2. Mum was right – eat your veggies Fruit and veg are high in fibre, vitamins and phytonutrients, but low in total kilojoules. So eating more can help you manage your weight. A study of more than 130,000 adults found that those who increased their intake of fruit and vegetables over four years lost weight. For each extra daily serve of vegetables, there was a weight loss of 110 grams over the four years. It was 240 grams for fruit. Small, but it all adds up. Drilling down to specific fruit and veg gets interesting. Increasing cauliflower intake was associated with a four-year weight reduction of about 620 grams, with smaller reductions for capsicum (350g), green leafy vegetables (230g) and carrots (180g). The reduction was 620g for blueberries and 500g for apple or pears. It was not good news all round, though. Corn was associated with a weight gain of 920g, peas 510g and mashed, baked or boiled potatoes 330g.

FOCUS ON HEALTH & BEAUTY

Health Check:

Six tips for losing weight without fad diets 4. Watch what you drink

A can of softdrink contains about 600 kilojoules (150 calories). It takes 30-45 minutes to walk those kilojoules off, depending on your size and speed. Children and adolescents who usually drink a lot sugary drinks are 55% more likely to be overweight. Switch to lower sugar versions, water or diet drinks. A meta-analysis of intervention studies (ranging from ten weeks to eight months) found that adults who  switched  had a weight reduction of about 800 grams.

5. Cue food Our world constantly cues us to eat and drink. Think food ads, vending machines and chocolate bars when trying to pay for petrol or groceries. Food cues trigger  cravings, prompt eating, predict weight gain and are hard to resist. They can make you feel hungry even if you are not. Try to minimise the time you spend in highly cued food environments. Avoid food courts,

take a list when you go to the supermarket and take your own snacks to places where highly palatable food is advertised, like the movies. This will reduce autopilot eating, which sabotages your willpower.

6. Resist temptation A treatment for food cue reactivity is called exposure therapy. With the help of a psychologist or health professional, you expose yourself  to the sight and smell of favourite foods in locations that commonly trigger overeating, like eating chocolate when watching TV. But, rather than eat the chocolate, you only have a taste without eating it. Over time, and with persistence, cravings for chocolate reduce, even when cues such as TV ads or people eating chocolate in front of you are present. You can also draw on your brain’s own selfmanagement skills to resist temptation, but it takes conscious practice. Try this food cue

acronym, RROAR (remind, resist, organised alternative, remember and/or reward), to train your brain to resist temptation on autopilot. When you feel yourself pulled by cues to eat or drink: n Remind yourself that you are the boss of you, not a food cue. n Resist the tempting food or drink initially by turning your back on the cue. (This gives you time to think about next steps.) n Have a pre- Organised** A**lternative behaviour to use against food cues. Grab a drink of water, walk around the block, check your phone messages, read, take a walk in the opposite direction. Diversion works. n Remember what your big-picture goal is. Do you want to eat better to help you feel better, reduce medications, lower blood pressure, improve diabetes control or manage your weight? You can add another  R  for** R**eward.  Financial incentives help change behaviour. Each time you complete your  organised alternative  behaviour put money in a jar. When it builds up, spend it on something you really want.

3. Limit your portion size If you are served larger portions of food and drinks, you eat more  and consume more kilojoules. That sounds obvious, yet everybody gets caught out when offered big portions – even when you’re determined to stop when you’re full. Research shows offering larger portions  leads adults and children to consume an extra 600 to 950 kilojoules (150-230 calories). This is enough to account for a weight gain of more than seven kilograms a year, if the kilojoules aren’t compensated for by doing more exercise or eating less later.

Issue 31 March 16 - 29, 2017

You need a plan The journey off the diet roller coaster needs a cunning plan. Here’s how you can put it all together.

n Change your food environment to avoid constant prompts to eat.

n Plan weekly meals, drinks and snacks. Write a grocery list and buy extra fruit and vegetables.

n Minimise the places you allow yourself to eat and drink to reduce food cue exposure (not in front of TV or computer, at a desk, or in the car).

n Swap to small plates, cups and serving utensils. You’ll serve and eat less without thinking.

n Keep food out of sight (unless it is fruit and vegetables). Store in opaque containers.

n Aim for half your plate covered with vegetables and salad, one-quarter lean protein (trimmed meat, chicken, fish, legumes) and one-quarter grains or starchy vegetables (potato, peas, corn).

n Remove workplace food displays, such as food fundraisers.

Extracts taken from an article originally published on The Conversation.com

n Plan driving and walking routes that do not take you past fastfood outlets or vending machines. n Prerecord TV shows and fast-forward food ads.


Issue 31 March 16 - 29, 2017

WEEKEND WORLD - 47

A S A D O R

CL YEDRAS, S/N C.C. ODEON, LC 9-10 NUEVA ANDALUCIA T. 952 00 34 34 www.vovemasador.com


Issue 31 March 16 - 29, 2017

48 - WEEKEND WORLD

W

EEKEND focuses on FOOD & FINE DINING WORLD

SEASONAL FOODS:

Winter, Spring, Summer or Autumn - within each issue we will look at what fruits and vegetables are in season

Like getting blood out of an orange Once reserved for royalty and the aristocracy, blood oranges are able to transform an ordinary dish into a gourmet mast piece. With their deep crimson hue to their distinct sweet berry flavour and extraordinary nutritional value, blood oranges are equally delicious in savoury and sweet recipes and are extremely popular in Spain adding a burst of colour to any dish. Sadly the Blood orange season is very short running from just Jan – April. So to make the most of their sweet tartness we have selected few tantalising dishes

Halibut with pancetta, potatoes and blood orange salad This delicious crisp-skinned halibut makes a refreshing main course. INGREDIENTS 250g new or red-skinned waxy potatoes, diced into 2cm pieces 2 x 175g skin-on halibut fillets, bones removed Plain flour for dusting 2 tbsp olive oil 70g pack cubed pancetta Small handful of flatleaf parsley, finely chopped FOR THE SALAD 2 blood oranges 2 small shallots, finely sliced 1 small fennel bulb, very thinly sliced, plus the fennel frond, finely chopped 1 tbsp pink peppercorns in brine (from Waitrose), drained and crushed 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling 1 tsp sugar METHOD 1. Place the potatoes in a saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to the boil, then simmer for 6 minutes or until tender. Drain well.

2. Prepare the salad. Peel and segment the oranges over a bowl and reserve any juice. Put the segments in a large serving bowl and add the shallots, fennel, chopped fennel fronds and crushed peppercorns. Whisk the reserved orange juice with the oil, sugar and a pinch of salt. Pour the dressing over the salad and set aside. 3. Dust the halibut fillets in a little flour. Heat a heavy-based frying pan over a medium heat and add 1 tbsp olive oil and half the pancetta. Fry for 1 minute, then add the halibut fillets skin-side down and cook for 3-5 minutes until the skin is crisp and golden. Transfer the fish and pancetta to a plate, cover with foil, then keep warm in a low oven. 4. Heat the remaining oil in the frying pan, add the rest of the pancetta, then cook for a few minutes until turning golden. 5. Tip in the drained potatoes and sauté for 8 minutes or until golden and crusty. Remove the potatoes from the heat and add the finely chopped flatleaf parsley. 6. Spoon the potatoes and pancetta on to 2 serving plates, then top with the fish and remaining pancetta. Put a good spoonful of the salad on top of the fish, then finish with a little extra-virgin olive oil and dressing from the bowl drizzled over the top. Serve any extra salad in a separate bowl.

Mackerel, blood orange, chorizo and walnut salad This simple yet tasty salad makes the most of seasonal British ingredients. The fresh mackerel is complemented by the citrus of the blood orange and the earthiness of the walnuts. INGREDIENTS 190g cooking chorizo, chopped 2-3 blood oranges (or regular oranges) 2 red onions, sliced 140g rocket 3 mackerel fillets 1 tsp Dijon mustard Pinch of sugar 1 tbsp red wine vinegar 3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil 50g chopped walnuts

METHOD 01.Put a frying pan over a medium-high heat and fry the chorizo for 6 minutes or until crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon onto kitchen paper. Meanwhile, slice off the peel and pith from the oranges (or regular ones), then cut out the segments. 02.Discard some fat from the pan, then fry the red onions for 7 minutes until soft. Add to the kitchen paper. In a bowl, toss the onions and chorizo with the rocket. Fry the mackerel fillets, skin-side down, for 3-4 minutes until crisp, then turn over and fry for 2 minutes more. 03.Mix the Dijon mustard, a pinch of sugar and red wine vinegar, then whisk in the extra-virgin olive oil and chopped walnuts. Toss through the salad, then serve on 4 plates. Break the mackerel into large flakes and scatter on top.


Issue 31 March 16 - 29, 2017

WEEKEND WORLD - 49

FOCUS ON FOOD & FINE DINING

Vanilla cheesecake with blood oranges, caramel & hazelnut Hobnob crust 04.a mixing bowl and whisk with an electric mixer until smooth and runny. Whisk in the eggs, then sift over the plain flour and whisk that in. Pour the mixture into the chilled biscuit case, then transfer to the oven, on a baking sheet, and bake for 50-60 minutes until set around the edges with a good wobble in the middle. Remove from the oven, cool and chill overnight.

You can make this cheesecake recipe up to two days before serving – just add the oranges and caramel at the last minute. INGREDIENTS Vegetable oil for greasing 200g Hobnob biscuits 50g roasted chopped hazelnuts 110g unsalted butter, melted 360g full-fat cream cheese 250g mascarpone 175g soured cream 1 tsp vanilla bean paste 175g caster sugar 3 large free-range eggs 50g plain flour For the topping 8-10 blood oranges (see tip) 100g caster sugar 30g unsalted butter Splash rum, Cointreau or brandy Pinch sea salt flakes 75ml double cream

05.For the topping, cut off the orange peel with a sharp knife, then cut out the segments, reserving the juices – it’s best to do this over a sieve in a bowl. Put the sugar in a heavy-based pan and heat very gently until the sugar has dissolved – don’t stir it. If it starts to caramelise too quickly in patches, use a fork to disperse the patches and redistribute the sugar. Once the sugar’s melted, turn up the heat slightly and cook to a rich golden-red caramel. Remove from the heat quickly and stir in the butter and liqueur. It will spit, so be careful. Add the salt, then stir in the cream. 06.Transfer the caramel to a bowl, add 3 tbsp reserved juice from the oranges, then leave to cool (you can add more juice if the caramel sets too firmly as it cools). Tip the orange wedges onto a few layers of kitchen paper, then pat gently with more kitchen paper to dry them slightly.

METHOD 01.Lightly oil the cake tin. Whizz the biscuits and hazelnuts in a food processor until very finely ground. With the motor running, pour in the butter with a pinch of salt, then whizz until the mixture looks like wet sand.

onto the base, then start to build up the sides, adding extra mixture and working it up the tin to form thin walls. Once you’ve used up all the mixture, chill the base in the fridge. Heat the oven to 160°C/140°C fan/gas 3.

02.Tip some of the mixture into the oiled cake tin. Using your fingers and a metal spoon, flatten the biscuit mixture

03.To make the filling, put the cream cheese, mascarpone, soured cream, vanilla paste and 175g sugar in

Blood oranges also work fantastically well as a drink, packed with vitamin c and antioxidants they are perfect for refreshing detox smoothie turning a standard orange smoothie into something a little more sophisticated and as day draws into night a perfect “full-blooded” bloody Mary.

Blood Orange and Strawberry Smoothie Ingredients 2 cups (16 ounces) blood orange juice 1 cup fresh or frozen strawberries, washed and hulled, preferably organic 3/4 cup (6 ounces) vanilla yogurt, preferably organic 2 tbsp honey 4 ice cubes 4 fresh strawberries, orange slices &/or mint sprigs for garnish (optional) METHOD Place all ingredients except the ice cubes in a blender and purée until smooth. Add the ice cubes and pulse just until they’re crushed. Pour into 4 glasses. Garnish if desired and serve immediately. Enjoy!

07.Remove the cheesecake from the fridge 30 minutes before serving. Ease it out of its tin – if it resists, either run a mini blow-torch round the edge or put it very briefly into a warm oven to soften the butter in the crust. Transfer to a serving plate. Just before serving, pile the orange wedges on top, drizzle over the caramel, then slice and serve. Recipes provided courtesy of www.deliciousmagazine.co.uk

Bloody Mary INGREDIENTS 4 c. bottled tomato juice 1 c. aquavit or vodka ¾ c. fresh blood-orange or regular orange juice ¾ c. fresh lemon juice 1 tbsp. prepared horseradish 1 tsp. Hot sauce salt Freshly ground pepper ice cubes Blood orange wedges tomato wedges Fennel or cucumber spears METHOD Whisk together tomato juice, aquavit, orange and lemon juices, horseradish, and hot sauce in a large pitcher. Season with salt and pepper. Pour into 6 ice-filled glasses, and garnish each with an orange wedge, a tomato wedge, and a fennel or cucumber spear.


50 - WEEKEND WORLD

We all love to have a tipple after work, to unwind and distress and as the evenings warm up what better way than to enjoy a refreshing glass with these fantastic healthy options

FOCUS ON FOOD & FINE DINING

Issue 31 March 16 - 29, 2017

WINE O’ CLOCK... BRING IT ON!

BIODYNAMIC

ORGANIC

LOW ALCOHOL

Biodynamic farming uses certain techniques to get the best from the soil, which is considered to be an important organism or a life force in itself. Biodynamic, organic and natural wines are often more expensive than normal commercial wines; biodynamic vineyards have to use special fertilisers, emphasising the health of the soil and require a more intensive hands on approach. But experts insist this is worth the trouble; the wines taste better and as a wine drinker, you can be assured that there are no nasty chemicals.

Organic is basically biodynamic but without the mysticism, they don’t use any synthetic chemicals, weed killers, or add anything artificial to the wines. This is not only good for humans drinking the wine but also for local wildlife.

The simplest thing to do is drink lower alcohol wine. Percentages have been going up over the last few decades. During the 70s, an average French table wine was between 8 and 12%. In subsequent years, with New World wines that grow in warmer climates raising alcohol percentages, and increasing sophistication in wine making techniques, it is not uncommon to have wines of 14%.

2009 Durfort-Vivens Margaux - 13% A, rich lovely tasting claret. Beautiful dark red colour with purple tints. The nose is very expressive, with intense aromas of cassis and blackberries, which are also noticeable in the mid-palate. Ample and round, the body is well structured with polished tannins and delicate layers of oak. Smoke and slight spicy notes rise after further airing of the wine. Stylish and balanced, the 2009 Vivens is a very refined and multinuanced Margaux. 2010 Muscat de Rivesaltes - 15% Three different processes are used for this wine. Some of the grapes are pressed and the juice starts fermenting as soon as it has been racked. A bouquet of citrus and exotic fruit, peaches and apricots. When aged for ten years or so, the aromas metamorphose into candied fruit and oriental spices, this wine goes well with a plate of fruit for afters.

2012 Adobe Carmenère - 14%, A certified organic Carmenere from the Colchagua valley in Chile is deep ruby red, with aromas of cherries and spice, especially black pepper, on the nose. Robust and full bodied on the palate. Smooth and velvety, with ripe and well-balanced tannins. Aged in oak barrels and goes brilliantly with pasta and pizza. 2013 Pouilly Fumé Domaine Jonathan Pabiot 12.5% Pale and refined, this is classic Pouilly-Fumé, with brooding mineral notes intermingling with the citrus fruit core. The palate is pithy and complex, supported by fine acidity and leafy undertones.

G.D. Vajra Moscato D’asti - 5.5% Greenish yellow with straw yellow hues. Expressive aromas of sage and fresh yellow fruits such as apricots, peaches and exotic fruits. A delicate yet persistent pelage, refreshes and cleans your palate. ¬ A Lightly effervescent Italian wine, delicate, and tastes great with cake and deserts. 2010 Von Hovel - 8% A light-skinned, aromatic Reisling - nicely matched with spicy foods.


Issue 31 March 16 - 29, 2017

FOCUS ON FOOD & FINE DINING

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WEEKEND WORLD - 51


52 - WEEKEND WORLD

W TEASERS...

Issue 31 March 16 - 29, 2017

SUDOKU Sudoku is one of the most popular puzzle games of all time. The goal of Sudoku is to fill a 9×9 grid with numbers so that each row, column and 3×3 section contain all of the digits between 1 and 9. As a logic puzzle, Sudoku is also an excellent brain game. If you play Sudoku regularly, you will soon start to see improvements in your concentration and overall brain power.

WORD SEARCH ACROSS 1 Umpire’s cry 5 Weight revealer 10 Japanese wrestling form 14 “What’s My __?” of old TV 15 Sobbed 16 Strong __ ox 17 Donation to a poor box 18 Western __; our half of the Earth 20 Not __ long shot; in no way 21 Tavern orders 22 Songbirds 23 __ Peace Prize 25 Paver’s goop 26 End a phone call 28 “The __ of Oz” 31 Give a heads-up to 32 “...flowers that bloom in the spring, __...” 34 Lamb’s mother

36 37 38 39 40 41 42 44 45 46 47 50 51 54 57 58 59 60 61 62 63

Grow weary Use a loom At that time Actor Holbrook Humiliation Traffic sign Solar __; Sun and planets Bicycle parts 2000 pounds Not as vibrant in color Shining Aspirin, for one Fathers of Jrs. Record of a pupil’s grades Attack & injure Small rodents External Additionally Ran fast Emotional Vane letters

Solution to puzzle from issue 30

DOWN 1 Unwanted spare tire 2 Greasy 3 Boorish 4 “__ Miserables” 5 Carry 6 Fish basket 7 Goals; objectives 8 Luau neckwear 9 McMahon and O’Neill 10 African desert 11 __-friendly; easy to operate 12 Gospel writer 13 Dollar bills 19 Public square 21 Border on 24 Villain 25 Scrabble piece 26 “Hell __ no fury like a woman scorned” 27 Assumed name 28 Surfboard support

Find and circle the Phonetic Alphabet words that are hidden in the grid. The remaining letters spell an additional word from the Phonetic Alphabet 29 30 32 33 35 37 38 40 41 43 44 46 47 48 49 50 52 53 55

Practices __ in; occupy 49ers or 76ers Male sheep Conclusions At what time? Laundry soap brand Stores away Holler High on drugs Pitifully small Hamelin visitor Machines for cash, for short Clutch Frilly trimming Pocket bread Trick Sluggish Portable bed

56 __ McClanahan 57 Gent

Solution to puzzle from issue 30

The hidden word is: NOVEMBER

ADDICTIVE BAKING BARS BITTERSWEET BROWNIES CAKES CANDY

CHIPS CHOCOLATIERS COCOA CONFECTIONERY COOKIES CREAM PIE

CUPCAKE FILLING DARK FONDUE DECADENT FOOD DELICIOUS FUDGE DESSERT ICE CREAM DRINKS ICING

INGREDIENT MILK MOUSSE PUDDING SEMISWEET SUGAR

SWISS SYRUP TREAT TRUFFLES UNSWEETENED WHITE


Issue 31 March 16 - 29, 2017

WEEKEND WORLD - 53

W EIRD W ORLD

EGYPT

The remains of a massive Egyptian statue discovered in a Cairo slum is believed to be one of history’s most famous rulers. Archaeologists from Egypt and Germany found the statue submerged in water and

think it most likely depicts Pharaoh Ramses II, the ruler of Egypt 3,000 years ago. “Last Tuesday they called me to announce the big discovery of a colossus of a king, most probably Ramses II, made out of quartzite,”

Antiquities Minister Khaled al-Anani told Reuters. “We found the bust of the statue and the lower part of the head and now we removed the head and we found the crown and the right ear and a fragment of the right eye.”

CODEWORD Codewords are like crossword puzzles - but have no clues! Instead, every letter of the alphabet has been replaced by a number, the same number representing the same letter throughout the puzzle. All you have to do is decide which letter is represented by which number! To start you off, we reveal the codes for two or three letters. 21 16 9 7 7 20 7 4 7 3 23 22 9 4

R

9 8 18 18 22 23 24 22 11 19 12 11 22 8 7 23 26

12 4 12 15 25

11 1 25 25 10 7 10 22 7 1 7 8 9 2 10 23 12 8 17 12 8 17 21 23 10 13 7 4 7 21 26 21 13 7 25

S

2 22 21 21 14 15 23 4

22 13 11 6 19 9 10 22 24 24 23 15 15 25

13 12 2 13 15 7

7 15 23 19 2 8 18

22 9 4 12 13 15 23 12 9 25

16 9 12 2

O

Ramses II ruled Egypt from 1279 to 1213 B.C., making his 60-year-long-rule one of the longest in ancient Egypt. The growth and prosperity seen in Egypt at the time earned him the title “Ramses the Great.” Excavation will continue in Cairo and, if the remaining pieces can restore the statue, it will be erected at the Grand Egyptian Museum, which is set to open in 2018. www.sunnyskyz.com

USA

The dyeing of the river, which turns the water a healthy-looking (not really) fluorescent green, is an annual tradition on the Chicago River.

11 12 19 12 21 5 25 12

the dye into the water. And they’ve been doing it since 1961. ‘One boat drops the dye into the water and it’s an orange powdery substance, and it’s completely environmentally safe,’ the parade coordinator Pat McCarthy told ABC7 Chicago. ‘Once the orange powder hits the water, it turns a vibrant green. ‘The second boat follows and stirs it up to make sure that the dye spreads out.’ McCarthy explained: ‘Apparently there were a couple of guys doing it [detecting leaks] a lot one day, they came to the union hall and the business manager saw them covered in green… and he got the idea, “I wonder if we put it in the river, would the river stay green?”‘ Now that the river has all been dyed, the city is having a massive parade to celebrate St Patrick’s Day, which is on Friday March 17. www.metro.co.uk

Solution to Wordblock puzzzle from issue 30 yachtsman - caymans - snatchy - ashcan cayman - chants - chanty - mantas - mynahs sancta - scanty - shaman - shanty - snatch stanch - antsy - atman - canst - cants - canty chant - hymns - manas - manat - manta mynah - mynas - nasty - natch - scant - snath synch - tansy - anas - anta - ants - cans - cant cyan - hymn - mana - mans - many - myna nays - scan - sync - tana - tanh - tans - than Solution to CODEWORD from issue 30 4 22 11 3 5 6 7

19 7 8 8 22

B H F C Q A I

4 12 21 25 7 25 10 7 23

3 6 1 12 20 10 6 5 26 6 20 26 24 13

C A J O L E A Q U A L U N G

21 2 8 23 7 13 1

S R D P I G J

7 17 24 15 22 21 7 7

8 10 21 7 2 12 26 21

18 2 6 16 10 8

D E S I R O U S X R A Y E D

4 15 2 17 12 3

21 2 15 8 21 15 23

B Z R T O C

23 7 13 12 23 7 4

23 6 24 12 2 6 9 6

17 19 10 24 17 16

P A N O R A M A T W E N T Y

20 24 24 7 18

L N N I X

11 20 26 17 17 10 2

A B C D E F G HI J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

X A S R P

12 3 10 20 12 17

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

11

12

10 3 21 17 6 21 16

F L U T T E R E C S T A S Y

6 18 21 2 23

26 23 22 10 6 25 6 20

O C E L O T U P H E A V A L

13

12 10 4 7 9 19

O E B I M W

4 26 15 15 10 2

21 12 1 12 26 2 24 21

B U Z Z E R S O J O U R N S

14

15

O

16

17

18

19

WORD BLOCK From the 9-letter grid, find words of 4 letters or more. Words must contain the middle letter, and there is at least one nine-letter word. Target: 37 words

20

21

S

22

23

R

24

25

23 10 7 7 6 2 7

P E I I A R I

26 Every year ahead of St Patrick’s Day, the Chicago Journeymen Plumbers Union pours

11 12 26 2 11 12 20 8

3 2 6 24 24 16

14

F O U R F O L D C R A N N Y 24

12

2

16

Solution to SUDOKU puzzles from issue 30

N

N

A

S

K

E

S

D

E

20 13

N O O R Y K L G


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WEEKEND WORLD - 55

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PLEASE MENTION THE WEEKEND WORLD WHEN CONTACTING BUSINESSES

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WEEKEND WORLD - 57


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Barclays Premier League Table

P Team P W D L F A GD Pts 1 Chelsea 27 21 3 3 57 20 37 66 2 Spurs 27 16 8 3 53 20 33 56 3 Man City 27 17 5 5 53 29 24 56 4 Liverpool 28 16 7 5 60 35 25 55 5 Arsenal 26 15 5 6 55 31 24 50 6 Man United 26 13 10 3 39 22 17 49 7 Everton 28 13 8 7 47 30 17 47 8 West Brom 28 11 7 10 36 37 -1 40 9 Stoke City 28 9 9 10 32 40 -8 36 10 Southampton 26 9 6 11 32 34 -2 33 11 West Ham 28 9 6 13 38 49 -11 33 12 Burnley 28 9 4 15 31 42 -11 31 13 Watford 27 8 7 12 33 47 -14 31 14 Bournemouth 28 8 6 14 40 54 -14 30 15 Leicester City 27 7 6 14 30 45 -15 27 16 Swansea City 28 8 3 17 36 61 -25 27 17 Crystal Palace 27 7 4 16 35 46 -11 25 18 Hull City 28 6 6 16 26 54 -28 24 19 Middlesbr 27 4 10 13 19 30 -11 22 20 Sunderland 27 5 4 18 24 50 -26 19

Sky Bet Championship Table P Team P W D L F A GD Pts 1 Newcastle Utd 37 24 5 8 70 32 38 77 2 Brighton 37 23 8 6 63 31 32 77 3 Huddersfield 36 22 5 9 47 39 8 71 4 Leeds United 37 20 6 11 50 36 14 66 5 Reading 37 19 7 11 49 49 0 64 6 Sheffield 37 18 8 11 48 37 11 62 7 Fulham 37 16 13 8 65 44 21 61 8 Preston 37 15 11 11 51 45 6 56 9 Norwich City 37 15 9 13 63 56 7 54 10 Derby County 37 14 10 13 39 36 3 52 11 Barnsley 37 14 9 14 55 53 2 51 12 Aston Villa 37 12 12 13 37 39 -2 48 13 Cardiff City 37 13 9 15 50 53 -3 48 14 Brentford 37 13 8 16 55 54 1 47 15 QPR 37 13 8 16 41 50 -9 47 16 Ipswich Town 37 10 15 12 37 44 -7 45 17 Birmingham 37 11 11 15 38 54 -16 44 18 Wolves 36 11 9 16 43 47 -4 42 19 Burton Albion 37 10 11 16 36 48 -12 41 20 Notts Forest 37 11 7 19 51 62 -11 40 21 Blackburn 37 9 12 16 44 55 -11 39 22 Bristol City 37 10 8 19 46 53 -7 38 23 Wigan Athletic 37 8 10 19 31 42 -11 34 24 Rotherham 37 4 5 28 32 82 -50 17

All results as at 15.03.2017

Spanish BBVA La Liga Table P Team P W D L F A GD Pts 1 Real Madrid 26 19 5 2 69 27 42 62 2 Barcelona 27 18 6 3 77 23 54 60 3 Sevilla 27 17 6 4 51 31 20 57 4 Atl Madrid 27 15 7 5 49 22 27 52 5 Villarreal 27 13 9 5 39 19 20 48 6 Real Sociedad 27 15 3 9 42 38 4 48 7 Athletic Bilbao 27 13 5 9 34 30 4 44 8 Eibar 27 11 7 9 43 38 5 40 9 Espanyol 27 10 9 8 39 38 1 39 10 Alavés 27 9 10 8 28 33 -5 37 11 Celta Vigo 26 10 5 11 39 45 -6 35 12 Las Palmas 27 8 8 11 43 45 -2 32 13 Valencia 27 8 6 13 36 47 -11 30 14 Real Betis 27 7 7 13 29 44 -15 28 15 Dep Coruña 27 6 9 12 31 42 -11 27 16 Malaga 27 6 8 13 33 45 -12 26 17 Leganés 27 6 7 14 22 41 -19 25 18 Granada 27 4 7 16 24 55 -31 19 19 Sporting Gijón 27 4 6 17 28 56 -28 18 20 Osasuna 27 1 8 18 28 65 -37 11

W

EEKEND focuses on SPORT WORLD

Leicester make £16.4M profit from title season

Leicester City made a pre-tax profit of £16.4 million ($20.1 million, 19.1 million euros) in the season of their fairytale Premier League title win, the club announced on Thursday. Prize money from winning the 2015-16 title saw the Thaiowned club’s turnover swell by over £24 million from the previous financial year, when Leicester had finished 14th. A rise in domestic television revenue and higher attendances at the King Power Stadium -- both linked to the title triumph -- also contributed to the increase in turnover. “Our long-term commitment to financial sustainability includes regular reinvestment back into the club, keeping it competitive as we bid to bring continued success to its growing supporter-base and the community that has supported it for over a century,” chief executive Susan Whelan said in a statement. “We will continue to work diligently and purposefully to build a legacy they can all be proud of.” Ten months on from their 5,000-1 title success, Leicester are toiling near the bottom of the table and recently sacked manager Claudio Ranieri. Despite the increase in turnover during the title-winning campaign, Leicester’s profits fell by around £10 million, mainly due to player purchases. Whelan said Leicester’s title win was the fruit of “years of sustainable planning” and praised owners King Power, the Bangkok-based travel retail group owned by Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha. “The incredible support of the Srivaddhanaprabha family and the King Power Group of companies continues to safeguard the club’s future and it remains an enormously reward-

ing experience for everyone associated with the club to be part of the family’s long-term vision,” she said. “Their passion for the club and commitment to its progress sets the tone from which we all take inspiration.” Leicester also confirmed they are legally contesting a charge that they breached the Football League’s financial fair play rules while playing in the English second tier in 2014. The club’s losses exceeded the permitted limit of £8 million during their Championship-winning 2013-14 season. “The club has entered into an arbitration process with the Football League in relation to the legality of the 2012 Championship FFP rules,” Leicester said in a statement quoted by BBC Sport. “Provision has been made for legal costs in relation to this process, however the directors are confident that no further liability will be incurred by the company.”

LA Galaxy make record Zlatan bid The Los Angeles Galaxy have made a bid to lure Zlatan Ibrahimovic to Major League Soccer in a record deal. Soccer correspondent, Grant Wahl, of sports illustrated has reported that “multiple sources” had confirmed the Galaxy’s move to pry the striker away from Manchester United. Ibrahimovic joined the Premier League giants last year on a free transfer from  Paris Saint-Germain, signing a one-year contract with an option for a further year. The 35-year-old Swedish star has spo-

ken in the past that he is keen to negotiate a new deal however speaking after the Red Devils’ recent League Cup victory over Southampton at Wembley, Ibrahimovic was reluctant to be drawn on his future. “Let’s see what happens. We have another two months of the season to go,” said Ibrahimovic, who has scored 26 goals in all competitions for United this season. Sports Illustrated said the proposed deal for Ibrahimovic would make him “easily” the highest-paid player in MLS history but did not give a figure.

Although MLS teams have a salary cap, each team is allowed three designated players who are exempt from wage rules. Orlando City’s Brazilian former world footballer of the year Kaka is the highest paid player in the history of the league, commanding a salary of around $7.2 million (6.8 million euros). Ibrahimovic is currently reported to be paid a salary of around 300,000 pounds ($365,000, 346,000 euros) per week by United, or just under $19 million a year.


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SPORT NEWS

BT Sport has paid £1.18 billion ($1.45 billion, 1.36 billion euros) to retain exclusive rights to show Champions League and Europa League games in the United Kingdom, the broadcaster announced. The new contract, valid from 2018 to 2021, is worth £394 million per year, a significant increase on its current £299-million-per-year deal. BT, formerly known as British Telecom, has shown Champions League

Guardiola laments expense of English players Pep Guardiola has indicated he will look to Europe and beyond for new Manchester City players this summer because English talent costs too much. Guardiola has signed eight players since becoming City’s manager last July but only one was produced in England, reflecting a larger issue in the Premier League -- the small pool of homegrown players. Defender John Stones cost £47.5 million ($58 million, 55 million euros) from Everton in August, making him significantly more expensive than exciting Brazil centre-forward Gabriel Jesus, brought in from Palmeiras for a “mere” £27 million. Guardiola believes there is a premium on Englishmen in the Premier League that is preventing him from fielding more home-

games since 2015, having outbid free-to-air broadcaster ITV and subscription rival Sky in a 2013 auction. “We are delighted to have renewed these rights,” said BT consumer chief executive John Petter in a press release. “The UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League are two of the best competitions in the world and we would like to thank (European governing body) UEFA for choosing us as their exclusive broadcast partner in the UK.” According to media consultants Enders Analysis, BT attracted an average of 512,000 viewers to its subscription service for Champions League games in 2015-16, an improvement on Sky’s equivalent figure of 479,000 the previous season. But the 13 matches shown free-to-air on BT in 2015-16 were watched by an average of just 150,000 viewers -- a huge fall from 3.8 million under ITV. The new deal gives BT exclusivity across all live games for the first time, while Champions League ‘double-header’ nights will enable it to show back-to-back group-stage games.

grown players. “I would like to have all English players, people don’t believe me, but they are so expensive,” the Spaniard told a news conference on Tuesday. “I would like to play with them. “When I was at Barcelona I liked to field local players because they feel something special for the club, but sometimes it is not possible.” However, Guardiola -- who in between his Barcelona and City stints managed Bayern Munich -- added: “The market is the market. “That is why the club has worked with the academy for a long time to be thinking about the next years -– with me or without me. I hope with me. “I would like to enjoy working with the four or five guys who are growing and play them.”

BT will also make video clips, weekly highlights, UEFA’s magazine show and both competitions’ finals free to watch on social media. Guy-Laurent Epstein, UEFA marketing director, said: “UEFA is delighted to have extended the relationship with BT Sport for a further three seasons, taking our partnership to 2021. “BT Sport has proved to be an innovative broadcast partner, pushing the boundaries and covering the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League in new ways. “BT have delivered strong audiences in the UK and we are excited about their future plans for the use of social media, which will engage a growing fan base that consumes sport in different ways.”

Disgraced UK coach facing eight more child abuse charges A former youth coach at the heart of a child-sex scandal roiling English football has been charged with eight more counts of historical abuse, British prosecutors have announced. Barry Bennell will appear in court in northwest England via video link later this month to face the charges, which relate to two victims and are alleged to have taken place between 1980 and 1987. Bennell, a convicted serial abuser who has served three jail terms for sex offences, has been charged with five counts of buggery with a boy under 16, two counts of indecent assault on a boy under 14 and one of indecent assault on a boy under 16. The former Crewe Alexandra coach had previously been charged with seven counts of indecent assault on a boy and one count of attempted buggery. Those offences were alleged to have taken place between 1981 and 1986, when the victim was under 16. Bennell pleaded not guilty to those charges at Chester Crown Court in January and was remanded in custody until a further hearing on March 20. “Today, March 7, former professional football coach Barry Bennell, 63, was informed that he has been charged with eight counts of non-recent child sexual abuse, following an investigation by Cheshire Police,” a Crown Prosecution Service spokesman said on Tuesday. Bennell worked as a coach for Crewe Alexandra, now in the fourth-tier of English football, as well as Premier League Manchester City and Stoke City, together with junior teams, during his football career. Dozens of former players late last year alleged they had been sexually abused as youths or young players, triggering a scandal and soul-searching in English football.

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BT PAYS £1.18BN TO RENEW CHAMPIONS LEAGUE DEAL


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SPORT NEWS

L

ee Chong Wei, Malaysia’s veteran world number one, captured the AllEngland Open with a trampling 2112, 21-10 win over China’s unseeded Shi Yuqi. It was Lee’s fourth All-England title, which equals the achievement of Morten Frost, the Dane who is his coaching director in Kuala Lumpur. His tally is more than any singles player of the Open era except Lin Dan, the Chinese genius who is the only opponent consistently to get the better of him. The women’s singles also produced a record, with Tai Tzu Ying, the top seed, becoming the first All-England champion in any discipline from Taiwan. But there was misery for China who suffered their worst tournament for two decades. At 34, Lee is the oldest singles champion of the Open era.

STRESSES Lee disclosed afterwards that he almost didn’t make it to Birmingham, unsure whether his damaged left knee heavily strapped would tolerate competitive stresses. “When I decided to come -- which was a very close decision -- I never at all thought that I would win the title,” said Lee. “Yes, I am very surprised. I came because it might be my last, and I just wanted to come and enjoy it.” After two matches he was already feeling more confident about the injury, although he claims it was “never a hundred percent”. His 21-year-old opponent had found a path d on ey m b o to fr rja nd 8FM Ne M a 06. 1 m F ro 6.2 ia g f 10 tar v n i n l t as a o ibra dc nd oa aho to G r B al ia C vir El

Lee wins fourth All England, history for Taiwan past Lin Dan, who Lee Chong Wei appeared like an avuncular compatriot during their semifinal rather than the most fearsome player of his era. It presented Shi with his first major final, whereas Lee has had seven at the AllEngland alone, and many others, and the vast difference in experience showed cruelly. When the newcomer tried to keep the shuttle away from the net, where Lee had scored so heavily in his earlier matches, he found the veteran as brilliantly light-footed as ever, punching clears and, for the first time this week, launching punishing aerial attacks. From 8-7 in the first game it was mostly oneway traffic, with Shi trying different ways to

redirect the flow, but finding that Lee was now able to unleash a complete and unstoppable all court game. “I relaxed my mind,” Lee said, admitting it was a by-product of no longer expecting to win. That is a mental skill he will try to re-create at Glasgow in August for the world championships, a title which has narrowly eluded him. Tai Tzu Ying, the women’s top seed, becom-

ing the first All-England champion in any discipline from Taiwan. She was unpredictable but dangerous, with a smash clocked at 223 mph, and overcame Ratchanok Intanon, the gifted former world champion from Thailand, despite trailing by five points in the second game. The match also had a twist in the tail. Ratchanok seemed about to level the match at 20-18 in the second game when her sliced smash was called in. But a video replay appeal summoned an image showing the shuttle one inch out and, buoyed by the adrenalin of this escape, Tai snatched three more points and the match, winning 21-16, 22-20. China captured only one title, the mixed doubles, through Lu Kai and Juang Yaqiong, which equalled the lowest total in two decades for the sport’s most successful country. It left head coach Li Yongbo, who earlier claimed that the fallow period “doesn’t mean we are going to fall behind,” still seeking evidence to support his assertion.

Sports greatest comebacks Following Barcelona’s epic defeat over Paris Saint Germain 6-1 to make it through to the Champions League quarter-finals we take a look at 5 other sporting miracles that have defied the odds:

Miracle number 1 -- Houston At the 2017 Super Bowl the New England Patriots defeated the Atlanta Falcons 34-28 in overtime after being 28-3 down at one stage in the third quarter.

Miracle number 2 -- Istanbul Liverpool won the 2005 Champions League final against AC Milan despite being 3-0 down at half-time. They then scored three goals in six minutes after the break before going on to take the title in a penalty shootout.

Miracle number 3 -- Medinah At the 2012 Ryder Cup, the European team trailed 10-4 going into Sunday’s singles after being comprehensively outplayed on the

first two days. But Jose Maria Olazabal’s men battled back to win 14.5-13.5 thanks to Martin Kaymer’s winning putt on the last green.

America’s Cup 2013 Team New Zealand led 8-1 against the Oracle Team USA before surrendering their huge advantage to lose 9-8 at San Francisco. The US won the winner-takes-all final race of the regatta by 44 seconds.

France stun All Blacks In the 1999 rugby World Cup semi-finals, France trailed the All Blacks by 24-10 but Le Bleus stormed back to win 43-31 thanks to a 28-point haul from Christophe Lamaison. 26 of France’s points came in a devastating 13-minute spell.


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SPORT NEWS

B

ellew, the WBC world cruiserweight champion, stepped up a division to stop British rival David Haye in the 11th round of a non-title heavyweight fight that took a dramatic turn in the sixth round when Haye suffered a suspected Achilles injury. It was an upset win that leaves Bellew with plenty of options after Haye was stopped for the first time since 2004 in his third career defeat.  Hearn believes Bellew’s future is now at heavyweight and is confident of making home fights against either American Wilder, the WBC champion, or New Zealand’s WBO title-holder Parker, who defends his title against Briton Hughie Fury on May 6. “He’s just beaten one of the best heavyweights in the world so do you want to go back down to cruiserweight or fight Deontay Wilder and Joseph Parker?” Hearn said at a press conference after the fight at London’s O2 Arena. “I think we could bring Wilder of Parker to the  UK. This fight has done great numbers and they aren’t going to get that money anywhere else.    “He’s beaten one of the best heavyweights in the world, so as far as I’m concerned he’s earned his shot.”

Rematch talk But Bellew, 34, insisted he had not decided on his next move, which included the option of a rematch against Haye in Liverpool, possibly at his beloved Everton football club’s ground, Goodison Park. “We’ll evaluate everything on Monday morning, but the salt and pepper are on my side of the table next time,” said Bellew, who seemed to rule out an immediate return to cruiserweight.

Hearn eyes Bellew world title shot after Haye win Tony Bellew has put himself in contention for a shot at world heavyweight champions Deontay Wilder and Joseph Parker, according to promoter Eddie Hearn. “I’ve just come down to his back yard, now he can come to mine.” From the sixth round, Haye was left dragging his injured right foot behind him and was an easy target for Bellew, who showed no mercy, flooring him in the seventh and then sending him crashing through the ropes in the 11th prompting trainer Shane McGuigan to throw in the towel.  After the fight, Haye  went to hospital for treatment on his injured ankle. “The biggest one-punching heavyweight couldn’t put a dent in me,” said Bellew.  “Just before the stoppage I said to David

Beaten Haye undergoes Achilles surgery DAVID Haye has undergone surgery on the Achilles tendon he ruptured during his heavyweight defeat by fellow Briton Tony Bellew, his representatives have announced. Haye, 36, sustained the injury after slipping in the sixth round and fell to a surprise defeat in the 11th round when his corner threw the towel in after Bellew knocked him through the ropes. “David underwent surgery to his right Achilles this afternoon, after completely rupturing the tendon during Saturday night’s fight with Tony Bellew,” read a statement from Haye’s representatives released late on Sunday. “David would like to thank everyone for their many messages of support, as well as the staff at the hospital.” WBC cruiserweight champion Bellew, 34, has revealed he broke his hand early in the fight. Bellew, who appeared in the 2015 ‘Rocky’ franchise film ‘Creed’, has revealed he is considering retirement, but says a big-money fight will be difficult to turn down. “I don’t know how many times more I can put my body and family through this,” Bellew told BBC Radio 5 Live. Asked whether he might retire, he replied: “It’s an option. It’s something I’m thinking about.” Bellew’s promoter Eddie Hearn said on Sunday that American WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder and WBO champion Joseph Parker of New Zealand were potential future opponents for the Liverpudlian. “I have a lot of options,” Bellew said. “I don’t know what’s going to happen, but it will have to be something special.”

‘Stop now’, because I’m not here to hurt people. I looked at [Haye’s trainer] Shane McGuigan and said ‘Stop it’.

COLLAPSE “He has got a great chin and took right hands all night long but he didn’t see the left hook and it made him collapse through the ropes.” Haye had threatened to “hospitalise” Bellew amid a series of pre-fight comments and had promised to end his British rival’s career.   “I did not expect him to have the chin and the durability that he has,” said Haye after

the fight. “Bellew, by far, was the better fighter tonight. I believe I’m more gifted but he had a bigger heart tonight.  “He took my best shots, got back up, and put me down. I’m at his mercy -- I can’t think of world titles now.” Haye last held a world championship heavyweight belt in 2011. The Londoner had hoped for a win to set up a shot at the winner of Anthony Joshua and Wladimir Klitschko, who meet at Wembley Stadium in London for the IBF and WBA world titles on April 29.

Former champion Fury hints at return to ring Troubled former world heavyweight champion Tyson Fury has taken to social media to suggest he could be back in the ring on May 13. However, the 28-year-old Englishman -whose last bout was his remarkable defeat of the then WBO and WBA world champion Wladimir Klitschko in November 2015 -- has to still convince the British Boxing Board of Control (BBBofC) to return his licence. Fury, who has admitted taking cocaine for depression, had his licence taken away last October after he surrendered his world titles so he could concentrate on medical treatment. “Breaking news. Return of the MAC, may 13th, working on an opponent more news to follow,” tweeted Fury.

“I’m taking on all bums, Keep my belts warm guys as they belong to the king who ever got my belts I’m coming for you!Big or small,” he added in a further tweet. Promoter Frank Warren, who has set up Fury’s cousin Hughie Fury with a world title tilt at New Zealand’s WBO heavyweight champion Joseph Parker on April 1, also tweeted that the former champion would be back sometime soon. “The man who ended @Klitschko’s reign. The Real Heavyweight King is coming back for his crown,” tweeted Warren. Fury, who twice pulled out of rematches with Klitschko, was charged with a doping offence by the UK’s anti-doping body last June and an appeal hearing was scheduled for November.


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Top-ranked Johnson captures WGC Mexico crown W

orld number one Dustin Johnson held off Spanish rookie Jon Rahm and England’s Tommy Fleetwood to win the World Golf Championships Mexico Championship by one stroke. The reigning US Open champion became only the fifth player to capture his first event after moving atop the world rankings, matching a feat done by Welshman Ian Woosnam, Australia’s Adam Scott, Fiji’s Vijay Singh and American David Duval. “It means a lot,” Johnson said of the achievement. “It’s a tough spot to be in. There’s a lot

of pressure on you. I came out and hit the ball really well. I played great all week.” After back-to-back 66s, Johnson fired a three-under par 68 Sunday, overcoming two back-nine bogeys with a birdie at the par-5 15th and three closing pars to finish 72 holes on 14-under par 270. Fleetwood finished second on 271 after closing with a 40-foot birdie putt while Rahm shared third with England’s Ross Fisher on 272 with Belgium’s Thomas Pieters and American Justin Thomas fifth on 273. “I played just well enough I guess because I

won by one,” Johnson said. It was the second victory in as many starts for the 32-year-old American after taking the title last month at Riviera and marked the 14th PGA triumph of Johnson’s career. Four-time major champion Rory McIlroy, who could have overtaken Johnson atop the rankings with a victory, fired a 71 to share seventh with Americans Phil Mickelson and Brandt Snedeker on 274. Johnson began a stroke behind Thomas, who opened with a birdie to stretch his edge to two strokes, but the world number one

Injury-plagued Woods to miss Arnold Palmer tournament Four-time Masters winner Tiger Woods has announced he will miss the Arnold Palmer Invitational, putting his participation in next month’s Masters tournament seriously in doubt. The American made the announcement via Twitter saying he was out of next week’s PGA Tour tournament because of back problems. He has not played since he withdrew from the Dubai Desert Classic on February 3. “Unfortunately, due to ongoing rest and rehabilitation on my back, I won’t be able to play in this year’s Arnold Palmer Invitational,” the 41-year old Woods said. “I’m

especially disappointed because I wanted to be at Bay Hill to help honor Arnold. “This is one event I didn’t want to skip. Arnold has meant so much to me and my family; I thought of him as a close friend .... He will be greatly missed and can never truly be replaced.” Palmer died at age 87 in September. The 14-time major-winner Woods returned from a 15-month injury lay-off in December and has slumped in the world rankings. “I have no timetable for my return to golf, but my treatments are continuing and going well.” Speaking at a news conference prior to the Genesis Open in Los Angeles in mid-February, Woods said he was hopeful he could make a successful return in 2017 but also admitted that during the latest long layoff he wondered whether he would ever return to golf. “There was a time when I didn’t know if I could ever swing a golf club again and play with my kids,” he said. Woods last won a major title at the 2008 US Open.

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seized command from there. Thomas never found the fairway at the second and made bogey while Johnson sank a 15-foot birdie putt to share the lead. Johnson put his approach at the par-5 sixth to five feet and sank the birdie putt to seize the lead alone, then saw Thomas stumble back with a double bogey after finding water at the par-3 seventh and a bogey at eight. Johnson dropped a 30-foot birdie putt at the eighth and sank an eight-footer at the ninth to make the turn with a four-stroke edge. But just when Johnson looked to run away, he stumbled with bogeys at the par-4 12th, missing a five-foot par putt, and par-3 13th, finding a bunker off the tee. That opened the door and late-charging Rahm, a 22-year-old Spaniard in his WGC debut, battered it down.

Rahm grabbed lead late Rahm, who won his first PGA title in January at Torrey Pines with a 60-foot eagle on the final hole, eagled the par-5 11th with a 14-foot birdie and sank a 33-foot birdie putt at 14 to match Johnson for the lead at 13-under par. Rahm briefly took the lead with a four-foot birdie putt at the par-5 15th, but Johnson, in the final group just behind Rahm, blasted out of a bunker to two feet from the pin and sank a birdie putt at 15 to regain a share of the lead. The Spaniard missed a six-foot par putt at 16 and an eight-foot par putt at the par-3 17th to leave Johnson ahead by two. Fleetwood’s final birdie capped a round of 66 to keep the pressure on the leader after Rahm faded and Johnson found a fairway bunker off the 18th tee. But he safely found the green with his approach, rolled his first putt inches from the cup and tapped in for the victory.


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Godolphin doping scandal focussed minds The doping scandal that enveloped Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed alMaktoum’s Goldophin stable in 2013 served to shake the racing authorities out of a false sense of security, said Irish racing’s chief vet .

T

HE doping of 22 horses with anabolic steroids at their English stables -- including the 2012 St Leger winner Encke -- resulted in an eight year ban for trainer Mahmood Al Zarooni and did untold damage to the image of his employer. Dr Lynn Hillyer was a central figure in the case as she then worked for the British Horseracing Authority (BHA).

SHAKE UP Now with the Irish Turf Club she said that after the initial shock and negative headlines the affair served to shake up different racing authorities across the world.      “Nobody likes the sport you love being

splashed across the papers or on the 10 o’clock News,” said Hillyer at the Tackling Doping in Sport conference. “Some saw it as a success that they had been caught, I saw it as something had gone wrong somewhere. “However, two good things evolved from it. With anabolic steroids there was a real impetus to co-ordinate policy. “It would also be fair to say it focussed the minds of individual racing authorities on doping because perhaps when things aren’t happening the thought is everything is ok. “When something does happen everyone from those in the sport to the fans require reassurance and this had a sort of impetus of

reviewing what we were doing.” Hillyer says though mercifully for a sport that relies heavily for its credibility on integrity doping is not a scourge. “It is very rare,” she said. “When I was at the BHA there might be 20 positives a year against say 8-9000 samples and the ratio would be similar of what I’ve seen so far in Ireland. “There have been three positive tests in six months, all of those are conventional antibiotics which are commonly used. “There have not been any nasties if you like.”

‘Goalposts are clear’ Hillyer, who says she has rarely seen a great-

Stirring performance from Frankel filly - a chip of the ‘olde block’ Making her 2017 seasonal debut, Soul Stirring took a another step on the Classic trail and maintained her unbeaten record when taking the Gr.3 Tulip Sho, a trial for the Japanese 1000 Guineas, at Nakayama earlier this month winning by two lengths from Miss Panthere (Daiwa Major), with Lys Gracieux (Heart’s Cry) a half-length third. The three-year-old daughter of  FRANKEL  posted an impressive follow up in the Ivy Stakes, a valuable conditions race over 1800m at Tokyo in October, before winning the Gr.1Hanshin Juvenile Fillies at this track back in December. Trained by Kazuo Fujisawa and ridden by Christophe Lemaire, Soul Stirring was bred in Japan by Shadai, and is the second foal out of the multiple Gr.1 winner Stacelita (Monsun).

er density of drug testing than in Ireland with both pre-race and post race testing on the racedays themselves, said for those few who stepped over a clear line there is zero tolerance.

GOOD JOB “The vast majority of trainers look after their horses and don’t wish to give them doping agents and are doing a good job,” she said. “What we are trying to do is differentiate between those who wish to use medication for therapeutic use and on the other hand make it very clear alternative practise won’t be tolerated. Zero tolerance if it affects racing performance. “We have done a lot of work in recent years to differentiate between two groups of drugs. “Integrity is one side but there is a welfare and ethical side as well. “Horses don’t choose to give themselves medication which puts added responsibility on to the trainers.” Hillyer’s role has restrictions for if she sees a prohibited substance at a stables she cannot seize it with her only recourse to take samples from the horses to see if they have been doped. She says it doesn’t need a sledgehammer approach to a nut when one has suspicions about a stable or a stud farm. “A key thing is to make sure that goalposts are clear and those who are prepared to go too close to the line know what that line is. “However, you don’t always need size 12s and a heavyhanded approach.”

‘SPRINT KING’ DAVID NICHOLLS RETIRES FROM THE SPORTS CITING FINANCIAL PROBLEMS David ‘Dandy’ Nicholls, known as the ‘Sprint King’, has announced he has given up training. Nicolls, a father of three and a former jockey, took up training in 1992 after an illustrious career as a jockey with over 400 wins under his belt. Among his wins were the Nunthorpe Stakes, July Cup, Haydock Sprint Cup, Prix de l’Abbaye and the Ayr Gold Cup. Based at Tall Trees Stables near Thirsk, North Yorkshire, Nicholls went out with a winner as stable star Sovereign

Debt landed a valuable race in Qatar last month. He tweeted: “Sovereign Debt was our last runner from Tall Trees, as due to financial problems we have had to cease training. “It was nice to go out on a high during what has been a difficult time & I’d like to thank all our owners that have supported us.” 60-year old Nicholls faces trial in the summer on two charges of sexual assault, which he strenuously denies.


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Leicester ‘pulled off the impossible AGAIN’ Captain Wes Morgan said Leicester City had “pulled off the impossible again” after his goal inspired them to beat Sevilla 2-0 securing the team a place in the Champions League quarter-finals. Morgan and Marc Albrighton struck at the King Power Stadium and Kasper Schmeichel saved a late penalty from Steven N’Zonzi as Leicester overcame a 2-1 deficit to record a famous 3-2 aggregate win. Leicester have toiled in the Premier League this season, costing manager Claudio Ranieri his job, but Morgan believes their European exploits merit comparison with last season’s title fairytale. “We proved a lot of people wrong and pulled off the impossible again,” the centre-back said. “Incredible. I can’t quite believe it. We are newcomers in the Champions League, didn’t expect to get this far and here we are.” Leicester, now managed by Craig Shakespeare, will now have to wait until the end of the week to find out their last-eight opponents however Morgan was relaxed about which of Europe’s heavyweights they will face next. “We will take whoever comes,” said Morgan, whose side have never previously reached the last eight of Europe’s top club competition. “It is a fantastic night for Leicester. We still need to concentrate on the league, but we will enjoy this moment.”

Kasper Schmeichel’s heroics keep Leicester’s Champions League dream alive. wueosport.com

This would NEVER happen when Alex was in charge!

Man United charged with failing to control players Manchester United have been charged by the Football Association (FA) with failing to control their players during the explosive FA Cup quarterfinal with Chelsea, English football’s ruling body said. United’s Spanish midfielder Ander Herrera was sent off in the first half shortly after referee Michael Oliver warned

captain Chris Smalling about the continual fouling of Chelsea’s playmaker Eden Hazard. United’s Argentine defender Marcos Rojo was also caught on camera seemingly stamping on Hazard’s chest in the second half of the match which Chelsea won 1-0 to oust the holders. “Following the Emirates FA Cup tie at

Chelsea, ManUtd have been charged for failing to control their players,” the FA tweeted. Many fans have taken to social media to complain that Man Utd and Mourinho are penalised harshly and that during Alex Ferguson’s reign the FA would never have considered such action

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WEEKEND WORLD NEWSPAPER  

Issue 31

WEEKEND WORLD NEWSPAPER  

Issue 31

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