Recent Posts

Real hold no fear for ‘quality’ Tottenham, says Eriksen

Real hold no fear for 'quality' Tottenham, says Eriksen

Oct 16 (Reuters) – Tottenham Hotspur have plenty of quality and no need to be afraid of Real Madrid in their Champions League clash in Spain on Wednesday, midfielder Christian Eriksen has said. The Danish international scored the winner as Spurs beat Bournemouth 1-0 in the Premier League on Saturday …

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Oil rig explodes in Louisiana lake, injuries reported

KENNER, La. (AP) – A Louisiana police department says an oil rig has exploded in Lake Pontchartrain in St. Charles Parish. The Times-Picayune reports that Kenner Police Department spokesman Sgt. Brian McGregor said Sunday evening that rescue boats are being sent from the Kenner Boat Launch, and that officials with …

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Gold eases amid firm dollar, stronger equities

Oct 16 (Reuters) – Gold prices eased a touch on Monday, weighed down by a firm dollar and stronger Asian equities. FUNDAMENTALS * Spot gold was down 0.1 percent at $1,303.42 an ounce at 0053 GMT. It gained nearly 0.9 percent in the previous session on weaker-than-expected U.S. inflation data. …

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World leaders condemn Somalia bombing ‘in strongest terms’

World leaders from the United States, Britain, Canada and France on Sunday strongly condemned the weekend suicide bombing in Somalia, the worst attack in the country to date with at least 137 deaths. Saturday’s blast occurred at a junction in Hodan, a bustling commercial district of the capital Mogadishu which …

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Cairo named riskiest megacity for women, worse since Arab spring

CAIRO, Oct 16 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Cairo was named on Monday as the most dangerous megacity for women by an international poll with women’s rights experts saying the treatment of women in the Egyptian capital has worsened since a 2011 uprising seeking social change. Cairo came out worst when …

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Bombardier exploring options for aerospace businesses: Bloomberg

Canadian aerospace manufacturer Bombardier Inc is exploring options for its aerospace businesses, including a sale of some operations, Bloomberg reported on Sunday. The company is considering disposal of assets including its Q400 turboprop and CRJ regional-jet unit, the report said, citing people familiar with the matter. https://bloom.bg/2gdycXF Bombardier is also …

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Atiku’s associate dumps APC for PDP in Kaduna

Atiku’s associate dumps APC for PDP in Kaduna

An associate of former Vice President Atiku Abubakar in Kaduna State, Mallam Isah Dansallah, has defected from the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). Mallam Dansallah, a founding member of the APC, was appointed Chairman of Kajuru local government in Kaduna State by Governor Nasir …

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Magic mushrooms may ‘reset’ the brains of depressed patients, study shows

Magic mushrooms may 'reset' the brains of depressed patients, study shows

The active ingredient in magic mushrooms, psilocybin, may have a ‘reset’ effect on the brain that helps patients overcome depression scientists have shown. Many of the study participants voluntarily described a sense of their brains ‘rebooting’ after just two psilocybin experiences. The psychoactive substance temporarily disintegrates the ‘default mode network’ …

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Two people die in fires in northwestern Spain

Two people die in fires in northwestern Spain

MADRID, Oct 15 (Reuters) – Two people have died in a wave of fires that are ravaging different parts of Spain’s northwestern Galicia region, a Civil Guard spokeswoman said on Sunday. Firefighters found the bodies inside a burned-out vehicle on the road linking two parishes in the city of Nigran, …

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Doctor’s research could buy time for snake bite victims

Doctor's research could buy time for snake bite victims

TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) – A researcher at the University of Arizona is experimenting with a new therapy to help treat rattlesnake bites. The Arizona Daily Star reports Dr. Vance G. Nielsen hopes once ready for humans, the therapy will be administered like an EpiPen, injected into a snakebite victim in …

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Barcelona´s Lionel Messi to become a father for the third time

Barcelona´s Lionel Messi to become a father for the third time

Lionel Messi and his wife are expecting their third child. Antonella Roccuzzo announced the news on Sunday with an Instagram picture of herself and Barcelona star forward Messi with their children Mateo and Thiago. All four have a hand on her T-shirt, over her belly. The post is tagged, “Familia …

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Turning weed into wine in Lebanon

Sitting among the vines of Sauvignon Blanc and Tempranillo growing on his spectacular farm in Lebanon's Bekaa Valley, Michel Emad remembers the not-so-distant time when he opted to cultivate cannabis. The retired soldier was not alone in this illicit trade: cannabis fields used to stretch as far as the eye could see in this part of Lebanon over which the state has tenuous control. "Everyone used to grow hashish, that was what the market wanted, there was no alternative crop," Emad, a father of two in his fifties with neatly trimmed hair, said. Now he and the 220 farmers from the Coteaux Heliopolis cooperative are growing grapes for winemaking in the northern Bekaa Valley's Deir al-Ahmar region. The area, one of the poorest in Lebanon, is notorious for its cannabis production, which expanded massively over recent decades to turn into a multi-million-dollar industry. While cannabis farming has only been feebly challenged by the authorities over the years, it remains illegal and the small cooperative has succeeded in luring some producers away from the risky business. They are looking to cash in as Lebanon's wine industry has blossomed, with traditional heavyweights and myriad smaller producers making inroads on an ever-expanding global market. "Growing grapes is more lucrative and leaves you with a clean conscience," Emad said, explaining that this year's nine-tonne harvest earned him $10,000 (8,400 euros), twice his erstwhile income from cannabis. - Cannabis to Cabernet - On the other side of the dirt road running along his vineyard, the tall stems of cannabis fields are still visible. Emad spent three years growing cannabis, like many other villagers in Lebanon's Bekaa who see it as their only means of survival. The security forces regularly raid the cannabis farms in the area and Emad's fields were wiped out twice before he eventually decided to join the cooperative in 2003. "With hashish you always feel threatened by the authorities, you can't sleep at night for the constant risk of being jailed or seeing the state destroy your crops," he said, puffing on a cigarette in the shade of a tree. The Coteaux Heliopolis cooperative was launched in 1999 and now covers around 250 hectares of vineyard (620 acres) in Deir al-Ahmar. The first harvest in 2003 and the resulting windfall sparked a wave of interest among cannabis farmers in the area. "We have provided evidence that people don't want to grow hashish. They are obliged to because it is their only source of income but they don't actually want to live in fear and in violation of the law," said Shawki al-Fakhri, who heads the cooperative. "If you give them an alternative, a lucrative and legal crop to farm, people will take it in a heartbeat," said the retired engineer, sitting in the garden of the house his grandfather built. - Historical land - The elegant sexagenarian with flowing white hair recounts with an amused grin how his own father had been tempted by cannabis farming decades ago but was eventually dissuaded by his grandfather, a village priest. The cooperative's harvested grapes -- around 400 tonnes in 2017 -- are then sold on to producers such as Chateau Ksara, one of the biggest players in Lebanon's wine industry, or Domaine Wardy, one of the oldest and most renowned wineries. The project initially received funding and technical support from France and gradually grew with local loans allowing producers to turn their fields into vineyards. The grapes of choice are Syrah, Tempranillo, Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon Blanc and Viognier. "These are grapes that like the sun and the heat and could work at high altitude," said Charbel al-Fakhri, who works alongside his father Shawki at the cooperative and got a specialised MBA from France's wine capital Bordeaux. The cooperative has created its own winery and made a modest start with 100,000 bottles in 2017, only a fraction of the eight million bottles Lebanon produces each year. "I really believe our white is a little gem, its freshness is remarkable. We also have a very fresh and fruity red," said Charbel proudly. For him, the switch from cannabis to wine is like returning a historical land to its rightful owner. Coteaux Heliopolis chose its name as a homage to the nearby City of the Sun -- Heliopolis was the name of the ancient city of Baalbek where the Roman wine god Bacchus was worshipped. "The Romans didn't just happen to pick this place. We're 12 kilometres (seven miles) from Baalbek, once the area was covered with vines," the young man said. "Our land is exceptional." AFP

Sitting among the vines of Sauvignon Blanc and Tempranillo growing on his spectacular farm in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley, Michel Emad remembers the not-so-distant time when he opted to cultivate cannabis. The retired soldier was not alone in this illicit trade: cannabis fields used to stretch as far as the eye …

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Bomb kills four Pakistani troops searching for kidnappers

Bomb kills four Pakistani troops searching for kidnappers

A bomb Sunday killed four Pakistani soldiers as they searched for militants linked to the kidnapping of a US-Canadian family who were freed last week. The incident happened near the Kharlachi checkpoint in Kurram district in the restive tribal belt bordering Afghanistan. The family were being held by the Taliban-allied …

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Death toll from blast in Somalia’s capital rises to 53

MOGADISHU, Somalia (AP) – Security and medical sources say the death toll from Saturday’s truck bomb blast in Somalia’s capital has risen to 53 as hospitals struggle to cope with the high number of casualties. More than 60 others are injured. Police Capt. Mohamed Hussein says many victims died at …

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Serena Williams takes cute selfie with daughter Olympia

Serena Williams took to social media to share an adorable new selfie of her and her daughter Alexis Olympia. “My mommy loves Snapchat,” the tennis pro captioned the photo on her daughter’s Instagram account with over 76,000 followers. Serena, 36, also posted the pic on her personal account and wrote, …

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