Archive for January, 2020

Libyan government must honor its promise, release ‘illegally detained’ employees – Russian NGO

Posted by RT on January 31, 2020  |   Comments Off on Libyan government must honor its promise, release ‘illegally detained’ employees – Russian NGO

A Russian NGO has accused the government in Tripoli of breaking the pledge it made during peace talks by refusing to release two of its employees, arrested last year on charges of “meddling” in an election that never happened.

Maxim Shugalei and Samer Hassan Ali Seifan worked for the Foundation for National Values Protection, a Russian nonprofit. They were arrested in May 2019 by the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA).

“We consider that one of the objectives of this arrest of Russian citizens was the urge to prevent the leak of the results of their social studies, which prove the absence of your support by the citizens of Libya,” the Foundation’s president Alexander Malkevich said in an open letter to GNA head Fayez Al-Sarraj, released on Thursday.

Shugalei and Seifan were detained “without any legal grounds” and on Sarraj’s instructions, Malkevich added. “According to our information, members of foreign intelligence agencies also participated in the arrest.”

The Foundation for National Values Protection is accusing Libyan PM Fayez al-Sarraj (pictured in Berlin, Germany, January 20, 2020) of illegally detaining two of their employees ©  REUTERS/Michele Tantussi

It was reported at the time that Seifan and Shugalei were arrested on suspicion of trying to “influence” the upcoming elections – which had been called off the month before, as troops of the rival Libyan National Army (LNA) began advancing on Tripoli. 

Malkevich called on Sarraj to release the two men under a commitment he made earlier this month, during the peace talks in Berlin sponsored by Russia and Turkey. The Foundation’s letter was also published as a paid advertisement by the Washington Post.

Tripoli’s response was to say that Sarraj “does not interfere” in the work of law enforcement, according to Foreign Minister Mohammed Siyala.

“An investigation is underway regarding those two, and when it is finished the judicial organs will make a statement,” Siyala told RIA Novosti on Friday.

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A destroyed and burnt tank, that belongs to the eastern forces led by Khalifa Haftar, is seen in Gharyan south of Tripoli Libya June 27, 2019. © REUTERS/Ismail Zitouny
In 2011 Russia and Turkey did not stop NATO in Libya. Now their voices speak loudest as they try to end 9 years of chaos

Moscow and Ankara are spearheading the latest initiative to get the GNA and LNA to negotiate an end to the civil war in Libya. Turkey has sent troops and weapons to the GNA, while Russia has been accused of supporting LNA chief General Khalifa Haftar – though Moscow has denied this. Sarraj refuses to negotiate with Haftar in person, and while significant progress has been made at the meetings in Moscow and Berlin over the past month, a ceasefire has yet to materialize.

The GNA is internationally recognized, but only controls the area around Tripoli, with Haftar’s forces in charge of most of the rest of Libya. The once prosperous North African country sank into chaos in 2011, after a NATO intervention helped local militants overthrow and brutally murder long-time leader Muammar Gaddafi. 

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Brexit is ‘historic alarm signal’ indicating need to deeply reform EU, says Macron

Posted by RT on January 31, 2020  |   Comments Off on Brexit is ‘historic alarm signal’ indicating need to deeply reform EU, says Macron

In a televised address to mark Britain’s withdrawal from the EU, French President Emmanuel Macron branded Brexit a “historic alarm signal” which should “spur” deep EU reform to build a powerful and efficient European Union.

Describing Friday as a “sad day”, Macron said the 2016 Brexit campaign was based on lies, exaggerations, and cheques that were promised but will never materialize. He said the UK leaving the bloc was a shock, but that it came about because Europe had been used as a scapegoat for difficulties “all too often”.

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British EU Members of Parliament react after the Brexit vote © REUTERS / Francois Lenoir
Remainers’ last stand: British pro-EU cheerleaders mourn Brexit day with black armbands

Macron also spoke about the historical and future relationships between Britain and France, saying that the pair’s long history is “one made of blood, freedom, courage and battles.” He said his compatriots would never forget how much they owe Britain, adding that while British people will no longer have the same rights in the EU after Brexit, UK citizens living in France will still be “at home” there. 

The French president said he wants to see a close relationship with post-Brexit Britain, but the country can’t simply be in and out of the EU at the same time, and France will continue to defend the interests of both its fishing and agriculture industries – two key areas the countries have butted heads over before. 

"And in this negotiation, we will remain united, all 27 of us," he said of the remaining EU member states.

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Newspapers and other souvenirs at a store near Parliament Square in London on Friday. © REUTERS/Simon Dawson
‘New dawn’ or ‘leap into the unknown’? How the UK’s partisan press marked Brexit day

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China condemns ‘truly mean’ US travel warning, as coronavirus runs rampant

Posted by RT on January 31, 2020  |   Comments Off on China condemns ‘truly mean’ US travel warning, as coronavirus runs rampant

Beijing has slammed the US for issuing a warning against traveling to virus-stricken China, calling the decision “truly mean.” Earlier, the World Health Organization urged countries not to restrict travel.

“The World Health Organization urged countries to avoid travel restrictions, but very soon after that, the United States did the opposite,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said in a statement. “It’s truly mean.”

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FILE PHOTO © Global Look Press / ZUMAPRESS.com / Jack Kurtz
While other countries evacuate citizens from Wuhan, China is to bring over 200 people from Thailand, Malaysia back home

Earlier on Friday, the US State Department issued its highest-level travel warning, advising citizens: “Do not travel to China due to novel coronavirus.” The warning also advised those currently in China to “consider departing using commercial means.”

The US warning came a day after the World Health Organization labeled the outbreak of the SARS-like Wuhan coronavirus a “public health emergency of international concern.” Since the virus broke out in Wuhan – a city of 11 million people – last month, it has spread to every region of China and at least 25 other countries, killing at least 213 people and infecting just under 10,000, mostly in China. Despite issuing its strongest warning, the WHO recommended that countries avoid implementing travel or trade restrictions.

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YouTuber Logan Paul and an assortment of models (left); German influencer 'Fitness Oskar' and his girlfriend (right). © Instagram/Loganpaul/Fitnessoskar
Influenza? Instagram influencers post Coronavirus PHOTOS in desperate bid to go VIRAL

The US is not the only country advising its citizens to avoid China. Britain, Germany, Russia, Japan and others have all issued their own travel warnings, and China’s neighbors have locked down their borders. Singapore banned all arrivals and transfers from travelers from Chinese airports. Mongolia banned all arrivals from China by air, train and road. Vietnam suspended all tourist visas for Chinese citizens and foreigners who have been in China in recent weeks, and Russia closed its far east border with China.

At least seven major airlines, including Air France, KLM, British Airways, American Airlines and Lufthansa, have all stopped flying to mainland China, and several governments, including the US, Britain and Japan, have chartered flights to evacuate their citizens from the Wuhan area.

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Astronomers spot two-star system spinning so fast it’s BENDING space & time (VIDEO)

Posted by RT on January 31, 2020  |   Comments Off on Astronomers spot two-star system spinning so fast it’s BENDING space & time (VIDEO)

Astrophysicists spend their time working on some truly mind-bending stuff but after two decades of observations, scientists have witnessed a pair of stars spinning so fast they literally bend both space and time.

The team has been tracking the orbit of the extraordinary binary star for about 20 years, using the CSIRO Parkes Observatory’s 64-metre radio telescope. 

The researchers, from the ARC Centre of Excellence of Gravitational Wave Discovery, caught the spinning celestial bodies “frame-dragging” or, in other words, twisting both space and time with their immense gravity.

The research, published Friday in the journal Science, is yet more evidence for Einstein’s theory of general relativity.

The binary star is made up of two stars. One is a white dwarf, a star whose nuclear fuel has run out, which is roughly the size of the Earth but has 300,000 times its density. The other is a neutron star which is somehow about 100 billion times the density of the Earth while only measuring approximately 20 kilometers (12.5 miles) in diameter. 

All that matter is compressed into a star system with the catchy name “PSR J1141-6545.”

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Kepler spotted a white dwarf star pulling material off its brown dwarf companion. Illustration: © NASA and L. Hustak (STScI)
Ancient ‘Vampire’ star spied sucking the life out of celestial giant by NASA’s planet-hunting probe

We can witness frame-dragging to a tiny degree by observing gyroscopes here on Earth, however it takes an extremely long time, one degree every 100,000 years or so, but because the effect is around 100 million times as strong in the binary pair the scientists were able to spot it despite the fact that it is several hundred quadrillion kilometers away. In case you think that’s a made up number, a quadrillion is equal to a million billion.

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While other countries evacuate citizens from Wuhan, China is to bring over 200 people from Thailand, Malaysia back home

Posted by RT on January 31, 2020  |   Comments Off on While other countries evacuate citizens from Wuhan, China is to bring over 200 people from Thailand, Malaysia back home

Despite the coronavirus outbreak, over 200 Chinese nationals in Southeast Asia are desperate to come home. China has sent planes to bring them back to Wuhan while other nations airlift their citizens out of the quarantined city.

Ever since the Wuhan cordon sanitaire began on January 23, tourists from Hubei province have been stuck in nearby Southeast Asian countries, unable to get back home. Malaysia banned visitors from Wuhan on January 27, but those who were in the country already still remain.

Thailand has not shut its borders yet, but that’s of little help to the tourists: Wuhan is closed off from the world, and no commercial flights can get there.

As their visas are set to expire (ThailandMalaysia), Chinese nationals are finding themselves in limbo. But China is now bringing them back. The Civil Aviation Administration of China says there are 117 nationals from Hubei in Bangkok, Thailand, and 100 in Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia. The CAAC has charted two Xiamen airlines flights to come pick them up as soon as possible. 

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Illustration: © Global Look Press
China develops rapid Coronavirus test that works in under 15 MINUTES

This is a part of a wider push by Beijing to bring Wuhan citizens abroad back home due to “the practical difficulties that Chinese citizens from Hubei, especially Wuhan, have faced overseas,” according to China’s Foreign Affairs Ministry. 

Some Chinese airline crews have already volunteered to help out their stranded countrymen. For example, Juneyao flight HO1340 from Osaka to Shanghai, rerouted to Wuhan on January 29 to drop off 94 passengers along with 19 boxes of protective outfits and masks. The flight crew agreed to a two-week quarantine after their heart-warming display of solidarity. 

At the same time, other countries have been working hard to evacuate their citizens from the quarantined city, with the US, UK, Japan, India, and others sending civilian aircraft with China’s approval. So far, hundreds have been airlifted from Wuhan and placed under quarantine at home. 

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Fin24.com | Local stocks slide as global weakness persists

Posted by Fin24 Markets on January 31, 2020  |   Comments Off on Fin24.com | Local stocks slide as global weakness persists
Pressure mounted on the JSE which saw it close weaker in tandem with trends in global markets which traded under pressure.

Fin24.com | Local stocks slide as global weakness persists

Posted by Fin24 Markets on January 31, 2020  |   Comments Off on Fin24.com | Local stocks slide as global weakness persists
Pressure mounted on the JSE which saw it close weaker in tandem with trends in global markets which traded under pressure.

Egypt unearths 3,000 year-old tomb with sarcophagus dedicated to Horus, GOD of the sky (VIDEO, PHOTOS)

Posted by RT on January 31, 2020  |   Comments Off on Egypt unearths 3,000 year-old tomb with sarcophagus dedicated to Horus, GOD of the sky (VIDEO, PHOTOS)

A vast trove of artifacts, including 20 sarcophagi, has been discovered in sixteen tombs in Egypt’s Minya region. It’s the latest in a series of high-profile digs which have resulted in extraordinary finds in recent years.

The Ministry of Antiquities unveiled the incredible discovery at the Al-Ghoreifa site, about 300 kilometres (186 miles) south of Cairo on Thursday.

© Global Look Press / dpa / Samer Abdalla

The tombs contained the mummified bodies of high priests of the god Djehuty, and nobility from the 26th dynasty from the Late Period around 3,000 years ago. A spectacular sarcophagus inscribed with hieroglyphics dedicated to the sky god Horus was also unearthed.

© Global Look Press / dpa / Samer Abdalla

Speaking at a presentation at the site, the Egyptian Minister of Antiquities Khaled El-Enany said the Minya region ‘continues to reveal its secrets’ as he showcased some 10,000 blue and green ushabti (funerary figurines) and 700 amulets, including some made of pure gold.

© Global Look Press / dpa / Samer Abdalla

Two of the sarcophagi were still sealed and in ‘very good’ condition, according to Mohamed Wahballah, a member of the archaeological team. Amulets marked with scarab shapes and images of a winged cobra were also discovered.

© Global Look Press / dpa / Samer Abdalla

Painted limestone canopic jars used to store the organs of those mummified and buried in the tombs were also unveiled at the ceremony.

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The mummified body of an Egyptian priest, Nesyamun, is prepared for a CT scan at Leeds General Infirmary as part of a project to replicate his vocal tract. ©  Scientific Reports / Leeds Teaching Hospitals / Leeds Museums and Galleries
Listen to your mummy! Egyptian priest’s ‘voice’ heard 3,000 years after his death through 3D-printed vocal tract

Egypt has sought to revive its ailing tourism industry in the wake of the 2011 uprising by bolstering its archaeological digs in recent years. The excavations have led to the discovery of numerous exceptional objects from the ancient civilization.

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Brexit is a ‘sea change’ for Europe – Merkel spokesman

Posted by RT on January 31, 2020  |   Comments Off on Brexit is a ‘sea change’ for Europe – Merkel spokesman

As Britain finally departs the European Union, a spokesman for German Chancellor Angela Merkel described the UK’s exit as a ‘sea change’ for the bloc, in a statement that hit the same notes as a breakup letter.

“We regret [Brexit], and we think the majority of the German population feel the same, but we respect the decision,” Steffen Seibert said at a press conference on Thursday. Siebert added that Berlin hopes Britain will remain a “close partner and friend” of Germany.

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Brexit Party MEPs leave the European Parliament in Brussels © Getty Images / Thierry Monasse
‘Like storming the beaches all over again’: Brexit Party evokes WWII rhetoric as MEPs leave Brussels to sound of bagpipes (VIDEOS)

Britain leaves the European Union at 11pm on Friday, three and a half years after voting to do so. A spokesman for Boris Johnson said that the Prime Minister will “celebrate Brexit” with a small party for staff, while Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage has organized a celebration rally at London’s Parliament Square.

While Johnson and Farage may be celebrating their EU breakup, not everyone is in a celebratory mood. Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon will lead a protest march in Edinburgh, and there will be a candlelit vigil outside Scottish Parliament at 11pm.

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Comic hypocrisy? Macron lampooned for posing with anti-police brutality t-shirt (PHOTO)

Posted by RT on January 31, 2020  |   Comments Off on Comic hypocrisy? Macron lampooned for posing with anti-police brutality t-shirt (PHOTO)

French President Emmanuel Macron has been accused of blatant hypocrisy, after he was photographed with a t-shirt satirizing his own government’s violent crackdown on anti-austerity protests.

Macron paid a visit to the International Comic Book Festival in Angouleme, southwestern France on Thursday – but his appearance likely had the opposite of its intended effect on France’s increasingly discontented electorate.

A photograph taken during the festival shows the French leader holding up a t-shirt showing a cartoon cat with a bleeding, patched-up eye. Under the feline reads: LBD 2020, an allusion to the infamous “defense ball launcher” (LBD) used by French riot police, as well as the name of the comic book festival (BD 2020).

Apparently oblivious to the double entendre, Macron is seen cracking a grin as he poses with the shirt – and the very amused cartoonist credited with making it.

The photo-op gaffe sparked outrage from Macron’s critics. Left Party leader Jean-Luc Melenchon said the incident showed that the French president “trivializes police violence.”

French police have been accused of using excessive force to quell anti-austerity and Yellow Vest protests across the country. More than 20 protesters have lost eyes in demonstrations against Macron’s deeply unpopular reforms.

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The photograph also enraged law enforcement. Yves Lefebvre, a senior police union official, described the incident as “scandalous,” local media reported.

Responding to the outrage, Macron suggested that the photograph shows how in France’s “free society,” the president can hold up a t-shirt with which he does not agree.

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