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Vienna museum cancels migrant ‘propaganda’ play

A controversial theater piece about two refugees, one from Syria and one "from Africa," has been canceled hours before its public premiere. But the government-commissioned play has been seen by thousands of children.

e Weltmuseum in Vienna on Friday canceled the first public performance of “World in Flux” (“Welt in Bewegung”), a play about migrants in Austria, shortly before its premiere following criticism that the government-commissioned work was “crude propaganda” and full of racist stereotypes. The work had already been seen by thousands of schoolchildren as part of a special free viewing program. ... Read More »

Spain’s wildlife emergency room

About 7,000 wild animals are treated each year at the GREFA wildlife hospital in Madrid. DW visited the patients, feathered and furred, to find out how humans put them at risk - and offer hope of conservation. A red kite is having physiotherapy to recover from a gunshot wound. Vet Virginia Moraleda is massaging the bird's wing. She explains that the bird is doing well and will soon be set free. It's one of lucky ones. Only half the 7,000 animals that come to the Grupo de Rehabilitación de la Fauna Autóctona y su Hábitat (GREFA) hospital each year make it back to the wild. Vultures, for instance, have to be in an extremely fragile state of health before they’re likely to be found lying on the ground and brought in to the hospital, explains Nacho Otero, head of GREFA's rehabilitation and release department. Human friends and foe But those that do make a full recovery make it all worthwhile. Especially as around 80 percent of patients end up here for man-made reasons. "At least let's repair what we as humans do to wildlife," Otero says. A few have been deliberately targeted by hunters. But most have had accidental run-ins with their human neighbors – colliding with glass door, for example, or being hit by a car. Power lines are the biggest killer. In Spain, almost 34,000 birds die each year from collision or electrocution. Many more are left disabled. Trash is also a major hazard for wildlife. Lizards get trapped in soda cans; endangered Canarian shrews are often found dead inside discarded bottles. European pond turtles — endangered or extinct in most European countries — are illegally traded as pets or put at risk by other "pet" species brought from abroad but eventually abandoned in the wild. One of the patients is a Spanish pond turtle with a shell malformation. Rocío Fernández, a student vet and volunteer at the hospital, says it was probably bred in captivity and lacked nutrients because of inadequate food and sunlight. "They are very cute when they're small but once [they grow up], people don't know what to do with them," Fernández says. Lost to the wild Contact with humans carries all kind of risks for wild animals. Young foxes or wild boars, for example, can become dependent on humans, meaning they can never live a normal life in the wild. That’s the case for a fox Otero is looking after. A family accidently ran over its mother and took the cub home to care for it. But nine months later, they regretted their decision. Otero says if it had been brought in right away, it could have been released along with five other baby foxes which the hospital returned to the wild earlier this year. Now it's too late. The young fox would not only face tremendous challenges to survive, but could endanger other animals, if farmers reacted to him approaching humans for food by placing traps and poison. Otero hopes the fox will soon move to an educational open-air center, but is waiting for permits to make this possible. "Being here for him is like being imprisoned," Otero says sadly. Birds, meanwhile, have better chances of readapting to life in the wild – particularly those with low intelligence levels like vultures, should they survive. In any case, "we try to keep their contact with us to a minimum," Moraleda says. “We usually treat them far less than once a day. And don't worry, they don't see us as their friends – this hurts!" she says, extending the red kite's wing. Reviving species Víctor García, wildlife specialist with the Spanish Environment Ministry, is carefully fitting a new solar-powered transmitter to a black vulture's back. The old one alerted conservationists that the bird was not moving. It turned out to have a dislocated wing. Now, it’s going to rejoin a growing population of the birds in the Pyrenees, which had been pushed to the brink of extinction a century ago. GREFA doesn’t just care for individual animals. It’s also working to revive whole populations – like that of the lesser kestrel. In the 60s, there were around 100,000 breeding pairs in Spain. Now there are just 12,000, and that number keeps falling. At GREFA center, they're being bred in captivity. But GREFA can’t rehabilitate species alone. Threatened migratory species in particular can only be saved though cross-border efforts. The long-distance migrant Montagu's harrier is another bird of prey at risk. In Madrid, 28 pairs have been reduced to just four in the last few years. "They don't come back from Africa anymore, but we don't know exactly why. We need further research," Otero says. At the hospital, every animal brought in is a priority, be it a Spanish imperial eagle — which has benefitted from successful conservation efforts — or a baby sparrow. Otero says the act of saving an animal at all is important to our relationship with the natural world. Living side-by-side For a child, a sparrow chick found flailing on the ground may be the most important animal in the world; "it probably has already been given a name." Rescuing helps motivate people and raise awareness, Otero says. Schoolchildren are invited in to the hospital to learn about threats to the natural world around them – and solutions. Observing a Bonelli's eagle with an amputated wing, a child asks what he can do to prevent birds from electrocution. "Well, just turn off the lights. Less consumption, fewer power lines, fewer electrocuted birds," Otero says. Living in harmony with wildlife doesn’t come easily in the modern world. The common vole, for example, tucks into crops, causing major disputes between conservationists and farmers. But, after years of awareness campaigns, they're finally cooperating to use birds as a natural control system for the diminutive rodent. "In general, the situation has really improved," Otero says. "Many farmers call us because they’ve found a snake in their barn — that was inconceivable a few years ago; they would have killed it immediately." When people bring animals that are really beyond hope, we think we may have gone too far raising awareness, Otero says. But he concludes: "The world is not only ours, and everyone has a role protecting it."

About 7,000 wild animals are treated each year at the GREFA wildlife hospital in Madrid. DW visited the patients, feathered and furred, to find out how humans put them at risk – and offer hope of conservation. A red kite is having physiotherapy to recover from a gunshot wound. Vet Virginia Moraleda is massaging the bird’s wing. She explains that ... Read More »

Palestinian protest on Gaza border turns deadly

Hundreds of Palestinians have been injured and at least 12 killed by Israeli security forces facing down land protests on the Gaza-Israel border. The protests are to continue until the new US Embassy is opened. Tens of thousands of Palestinians, including women and children, gathered at five points along the fenced border at the start of six weeks of protests on Friday. The five sites have been set up from near the Erez border crossing in the north to Rafah, where it meets the Egyptian border in the south. At least 12 Palestinians were killed on Friday: two of them by Israeli tank fire, according to the Gaza Health Ministry. The same source said 400 people were wounded by live Israeli gunfire and others were struck by rubber bullets or treated for the effects of tear gas. Organizers had called on demonstrators to stay away from the border area but as the day wore on, hundreds of young people moved closer to the frontier, from where the Israeli military kept watch. Disproportionate force? The Israeli military said Palestinians rolled burning tires and threw stones at the Israeli forces, who responded with live bullets, tear gas and fired at what they called the "main instigators." Witnesses said the Israeli military used a drone to drop tear gas over at least one location. Three sites in particular were targeted with tank fire and an airstrike after the Israelis claimed there had been a shooting attack against their soldiers. No Israeli soldier was injured. Palestinians, and Turkish authorities, accused Israel of using disproportionate force. The protest, which has the backing of Hamas, is expected to last more than six weeks, as US President Donald Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital becomes final when the US Embassy moves to Jerusalem. On Friday evening, organizers encouraged demonstrators to withdraw from the border area until Saturday. 'A message to Trump' "The Great March of Return is a message to Trump," Ismail Haniyeh, the chief of the Hamas political bureau, told the crowds. "There is no concession to Jerusalem, no alternative to Palestine, and no solution but to return. This is the Palestinian people taking the initiative and making the event for the sake of Palestine ... for the sake of Jerusalem and the right of return," Haniyeh said. The protests began as Palestinians marked Land Day, commemorating the killing of six unarmed Arab protesters in Israel in 1976. Dubbed "The Great March of Return," organizers said the rallies would continue until May 15 when Palestinians commemorate the Nakba, or "catastrophe," where more than 700,000 Palestinians fled their homes or were expelled during the war that led to the creation of Israel in 1948. The date is one day after the new US Embassy in Jerusalem is expected to be formally opened. According to the United Nations, about 1.3 million of Gaza's 2 million residents are refugees or the descendants of refugees, and the protest is calling for them to be allowed to return to land that has been taken by Israel. Read more: Intifadas: What you need to know jm,law/sms (AFP, AP, dpa, Reuters)

Hundreds of Palestinians have been injured and at least 12 killed by Israeli security forces facing down land protests on the Gaza-Israel border. The protests are to continue until the new US Embassy is opened. Tens of thousands of Palestinians, including women and children, gathered at five points along the fenced border at the start of six weeks of protests ... Read More »

Greek ministerial couple step down after housing subsidy scandal

Two government ministers have resigned in quick succession after public outcry over a Cabinet housing allowance. Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras is set to find replacements for the affluent married couple. Greece's economy and development minister has resigned hours after his wife quit as deputy labor minister in response to a housing stipend row. Dimitri Papadimitriou handed in his resignation to Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on Monday night "for reasons of political sensitivity," an Economy Ministry official told Reuters news agency. Papdimitriou's wife, Rania Antonopoulou, stepped down after Greek media reported she had accepted a €1,000 ($1,200) monthly housing allowance for an apartment she shared with Papdimitriou in an expensive Athens neighborhood. Read more: Greece secures billions as bailout enters final stages Antonopoulou was eligible to apply for the allowance as a cabinet member whose primary residence was outside of Athens. The couple's main home is in the US, where they had been working as scholars before joining the Greek government in 2015 and 2016. Despite the absence of any wrongdoing, the disclosure sparked national criticism. Greece is recovering from a severe financial crisis and a third of the population lives in poverty. US tax filings from 2015 showed that Antonopoulou owned $340,000 and Papadimitriou around $2.7 million worth of stocks. Read more: Greeks stuck in lousy, part-time jobs as government claims success "It was never my intention to insult the Greek people," Antonopoulou said, adding that she would return around €23,000 drawn from the housing allowance over two years. The government said it would end the housing allowance. Tsipras is also reportedly set to reshuffle his Cabinet on Thursday to fill the two vacant posts. Papadimitriou was responsible for attracting foreign investment to Greece and Antonopoulou worked on reducing unemployment. Read more: Greek firms paying employees with coupons

Two government ministers have resigned in quick succession after public outcry over a Cabinet housing allowance. Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras is set to find replacements for the affluent married couple. Greece’s economy and development minister has resigned hours after his wife quit as deputy labor minister in response to a housing stipend row. Dimitri Papadimitriou handed in his resignation ... Read More »

Germany, unemployment, poverty, European Union, Eurostat

A humanitarian ceasefire in eastern Ghouta has broken down nearly as soon as it started. The UN is urging warring parties to allow aid into devastated areas. Syrian regime warplanes and artillery bombed eastern Ghouta on Tuesday, despite a Russian-brokered ceasefire in the rebel-held enclave. Damascus and Moscow said rebels shelled an evacuation route opened to allow civilians to leave eastern Ghouta. The UN said the fighting made it impossible to remove civilians or provide aid. "We have reports this morning there is continuous fighting in eastern Ghouta," U.N. humanitarian spokesman Jens Laerke said. "Clearly the situation on the ground is not such that convoys can go in or medical evacuations can go out." Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered a daily five-hour "humanitarian pause" to airstrikes in eastern Ghouta. Moscow said it would only go into effect if rebels ceased attacks. The renewed fighting comes amid calls from the international community to implement a nationwide cessation of hostilities as the humanitarian situation worsens on the ground. Read more: Which rebel groups are fighting in Syria's eastern Ghouta? What the ceasefire entails: The five-hour cessation of hostilities was planned for 9 a.m to 2 p.m. local time (1200 UTC). The ceasefire is aimed at establishing a "humanitarian corridor" to allow civilians to exit from eastern Ghouta, considered one of Syria's last rebel strongholds. In agreement with the Syrian regime, the Russian Defense Ministry said it will help evacuate the sick and injured Read more: What foreign powers want from the Syrian war Massive casualties: Over the past week, more than 500 civilians have been killed by the Syrian government's latest offensive in eastern Ghouta. Russian warplanes formed an integral part of the offensive, according to independent monitors, rights groups and US authorities. Why now: As the conflict winds down, Damascus is attempting to consolidate territory across the country with the help of Russia to secure its interests during peace talks. Given that eastern Ghouta is one of the last remaining rebel strongholds, the Syrian regime is seeking to strike a fatal blow to the opposition movement before peace talks gain ground. Calls for ceasefire: With a growing civilian death toll, the international community has urged all warring parties to enact a nationwide ceasefire. On Saturday, the UN Security Council voted unanimously in favor of a 30-day humanitarian ceasefire. Better than nothing: Stephane Dujarric, spokesman for UN chief Antonio Guterres, responded to the announcement, saying: "Five hours is better than no hours, but we would like to see any cessation of hostilities be extended." Russia "can end" the violence: US State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert urged Russia to use its "influence" to end the fighting. "The United States calls for an immediate end to offensive operations and urgent access for humanitarian workers to treat the wounded and deliver badly needed humanitarian aid," Nauert tweeted late Monday. "Russia has the influence to stop these operations if it chooses to live up to its obligations under the #UNSC ceasefire." Seven-year war: More than 300,000 people have been killed since the conflict began in 2011 following a government crackdown on protesters calling for the release of political prisoners and for President Bashar Assad to step down. Since then, the conflict has evolved into a multifaceted war, drawing in global superpowers, neighboring countries and non-state actors. Read more: The search for dead Russian mercenaries in Syria

A humanitarian ceasefire in eastern Ghouta has broken down nearly as soon as it started. The UN is urging warring parties to allow aid into devastated areas. Syrian regime warplanes and artillery bombed eastern Ghouta on Tuesday, despite a Russian-brokered ceasefire in the rebel-held enclave. Damascus and Moscow said rebels shelled an evacuation route opened to allow civilians to leave ... Read More »

Unemployed in Germany have greatest risk of poverty in the EU

Despite being one of Europe's wealthiest and economically-stable countries, Germany has the highest risk of poverty for the unemployed. According to the latest EU figures, the risk is as high as 70 percent. Those who are unemployed in Germany face a much bigger risk of falling into poverty than in any other European Union country, according to figures released by European statistics office Eurostat on Monday. After analyzing data from 2016, Eurostat found that the risk of poverty for those on unemployment benefit in Germany is at 70.8 percent - significantly higher than the average of 48.7 percent across Europe. Read more: Poverty, homelessness on the rise despite German affluence Lithuania was a distant second at 60.5 percent, followed by Latvia with a poverty risk of 55.8 percent. The countries with the lowest risk poverty for the unemployed — all under 40 percent — were France, Cyprus and Finland. Eurostat defines people as being at risk of poverty if their income is less than 60 percent of the national median. That means, in effect, that incomes of poorer people in Germany are growing at a slower rate than those above the median. Read more: The ticking timebomb of German poverty Forcing people into poorly-paid work Germans who have lost their jobs can at first claim 60 percent of their salaries as unemployment benefit (or 67 percent if they have children) - provided they have been paying social insurance contributions for at least 12 months. After a certain period, which depends on how long they were in work, unemployed people must claim a standard benefit known colloquially as "Hartz IV," - currently set at €416 ($512) a month. Housing benefits have to be claimed separately. "The new numbers don't surprise me," said Ulrich Schneider, head of the Paritätische Gesamtverband, an umbrella organization for a number of charities and social equality organizations. "This is the fruit of German social security policies. In 2005 we abolished a benefit for the unemployed that ensured that many unemployed people got something beyond Hartz IV - the result is that there is a bigger gap between the employed and the unemployed than elsewhere." Schneider also said he was baffled that Germany's welfare system has a reputation for generosity abroad. "These were conscious political decisions, because it was hoped that this would force more people into low income jobs," he told DW. "Germany's social state has been deliberately pared down since 2002. Look at health insurance: nowadays you can't get eyeglass prescriptions anymore, and waiting times for doctors have grown." The fallout, Schneider argued, is growing social fragmentation - even if Germany's poor are still better off than their counterparts in Bulgaria, say, they end up more cut off from their own society. "If I can't keep up with the average income, I get marginalized. That means many things that are natural for others are impossible for me - being a member of a sports club, for example, or allowing my child to learn a musical instrument." Opposition outrage Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative Christian Democrats (CDU) and their Bavarian sister-party the Christian Social Union (CSU) have been presiding over Germany's welfare state in coalition with the center-left Social Democrats (SPD) since 2013. The opposition did not waste the opportunity to attack the government. Left party leader Katja Kipping called the Eurostat figures a "resounding smack in the face for the CDU, CSU and SPD." Kipping said the coalition government "has to answer for the catastrophic situation," but has "apparently no desire to change anything." The Green party's labor market spokesmen Wolfgang Strengmann-Kuhn and Sven Lehmann were equally outraged, describing the figures as "sorry proof of the inadequacies of our social welfare system." "We have to improve the access to unemployment insurance for everyone, including short-term contractors, the self-employed, and others without security," they said in a joint statement. But Christoph Schröder, senior researcher at the Cologne Institute for Economic Research (IW), pointed out that the total unemployment rate had dropped significantly in the past decade. Calculated as the percentage of unemployed people of all those available to the job market, the rate is currently at 5.8 percent, down from 11.7 percent in 2005. That equates to a total of 2.57 million people, down from 4.86 million in 2005. "I think that shows that the people that are still unemployed now are likely to be long-term unemployed," Schröder told DW. "But we have also criticized that less money is being spent on helping the long-term unemployed than previously." "We did have increasing inequality, and increasing poverty risk rates, since the end of the 1990s until around 2005, though since then there hasn't been a particular increase," he added. "There has been an increase because of the relatively high immigration rate - but if you take that out you have only a slight increase in inequality." Read more: Rich vs. poor: How fair and equal is Germany?

Despite being one of Europe’s wealthiest and economically-stable countries, Germany has the highest risk of poverty for the unemployed. According to the latest EU figures, the risk is as high as 70 percent. Those who are unemployed in Germany face a much bigger risk of falling into poverty than in any other European Union country, according to figures released by ... Read More »

German court allows city ban on diesel cars

Germany's top administrative court has ruled that it is legal for cities to ban diesel cars. The government opposes the bans, but is under pressure from the EU to do more to combat air pollution. Germany's Federal Administrative Court in Leipzig ruled on Tuesday that cities may be permitted to put driving bans in place for diesel vehicles. The ruling does not determine whether the bans will be implemented, but rather that German states, cities and communities have the right to impose them to maintain air pollution limits without needing federal legislation. Read more: Move is on to ban diesel cars from cities Environmental Action Germany (DUH), the environmental and consumer watchdog organization that first brought the case, praised the court's decision, calling it a "great day for clean air in Germany." Tuesday's decision concerned two earlier court rulings in Stuttgart and Dusseldorf, the capital cities of the German states of Baden-Württemberg and North Rhine-Westphalia, where air pollution massively exceeds allowable levels. DUH initially sued both cities, saying they hadn't done enough to combat emissions. The court in Stuttgart said driving bans were the "most effective" means to improve air quality and safeguard health in urban areas, while the Dusseldorf court found the bans had to be "seriously examined." Read more: Can free public transport really reduce pollution? Berlin: Bans are 'avoidable' The German government is hoping to avoid the driving bans, saying that it would be possible to reduce air pollution in urban zones without banning older diesel cars. "The court has not issued any driving bans but created clarity about the law. Driving bans can be avoided, and my goal is and will remain that they do not come into force," German Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks said following the court's decision. Chancellor Angela Merkel noted that the bans, should cities choose to carry them out, wouldn't affect all drivers in Germany, but said the government would discuss with urban regions and municipalities on how to proceed. "This concerns individual cities where more needs to be done, but it's not really about the entire area of Germany and all car owners," Merkel said. German drivers anxious over bans Besides the German government, the country's influential car industry also opposes diesel driving bans. Millions of German drivers and businesses have also been anxiously awaiting the court's decision, with many concerned about their disrupted driving routes and a possible devaluation of their vehicles. Read more: Will taxpayers foot the bill for Dieselgate? Still, facing possible legal action from the European Union over the Germany's air quality, the German government is preparing alternatives. The Transport Ministry could update traffic regulations to include an option for cities to impose diesel bans on certain routes later this year.

Germany’s top administrative court has ruled that it is legal for cities to ban diesel cars. The government opposes the bans, but is under pressure from the EU to do more to combat air pollution. Germany’s Federal Administrative Court in Leipzig ruled on Tuesday that cities may be permitted to put driving bans in place for diesel vehicles. The ruling ... Read More »

Neymar injury an opportunity for Julian Draxler at PSG

From rising star to Germany regular, Julian Draxler's career has long been trending upward, but he's struggled for playing time since joining Paris Saint-Germain. Will Neymar's injury offer him a pre-World Cup boost? Six months ago, things were looking pretty good for Julian Draxler. After securing the move away from Wolfsburg that he'd long been angling for, he'd become a regular in Paris Saint-Germain's version of the Galacticos, captained Germany to a Confederations Cup win and had the inside track toward a starting spot in Germany's World Cup defense in Russia. But then, at the beginning of August, the French club broke the world transfer record to sign a Brazilian from Barcelona who played in his position. Since Neymar arrived at the Parc des Princes, there's been little doubt that he's the star of the show, with 29 goals in 29 games to go along with the headline-grabbing birthday parties and public rows over penalty duties. But his arrival has been less than positive for Draxler, who has completed 90 minutes just six times for his club this season, with only a handful of cameo appearances in his favored position on the left wing. Frustrations evident After PSG's 3-1 loss to Real Madrid in the first leg of the Champions League last 16 — in which Draxler played just nine minutes — the 24-year-old let his frustrations slip to German broadcaster ZDF. “In the Bernabeu, you don’t want to watch 84 minutes from the bench but, with our squad, you don’t always get the choice,” he said. The extent of Neymar's metatarsal fracture, which he suffered in PSG's 3-0 win over Marseille on Sunday, is unclear at this stage, but it appears he'll be out for at least a month. This means he is almost certain to miss the return leg on March 6, despite PSG coach Unai Emery's suggestion there's a "small chance" he'll be ready. Draxler would surely revel in another game against a team he dismantled while playing for Wolfsburg in 2016 . However, his place is not totally assured, with Argentinians Angel di Maria or Javier Pastore among the alternatives for the Parisian club. A chance to make his mark Despite the competition, Emery, who has often tried to shoehorn the German in to a central midfield since Neymar's arrival, spoke highly of Draxler in December as rumors swirled about a switch to the Premier League. "He's in a constant evolution and he still has a lot of energy. At PSG, Draxler is in very good hands, he's a great contributor to our game, he's learning a lot," Emery said. "I talk to him a lot and I'm very demanding with him and he's one of those very ambitious players and he shows that with good performances, also for the national team, and he's a very important player for us." As Emery suggested, Draxler is a key man for Joachim Löw and his name is surely inked in to Germany's 23-man squad for Russia 2018. But, with Leroy Sané impressing for Manchester City, Julian Brandt showing flickers of form at Bayer Leverkusen and Marco Reus impressing in his latest comeback at Borussia Dortmund, Draxler needs regular playing time to find the form and fitness that would secure him a starting spot. With another crunch game against Marseille in the French Cup on Wednesday before the Madrid game and prestige international friendlies against Spain and Brazil at the end of March, Neymar's absence could offer an opportunity for PSG's half-forgotten man to restate his case.

From rising star to Germany regular, Julian Draxler’s career has long been trending upward, but he’s struggled for playing time since joining Paris Saint-Germain. Will Neymar’s injury offer him a pre-World Cup boost? Six months ago, things were looking pretty good for Julian Draxler. After securing the move away from Wolfsburg that he’d long been angling for, he’d become a ... Read More »

Usain Bolt to play charity football match amid pro contract hint

After his retirement from the track, Usain Bolt is making strides towards a new career. The Jamaican sprint great will captain a star-studded side in charity football match and has hinted at a professional contract. Never one to shy away from the spotlight, Usain Bolt is set to make a return to the sporting world in a charity football match which has previously attracted such luminaries as Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane, Brazilian legend Ronaldinho, actor Will Ferrell and pop star Robbie Williams. The eight-time Olympic gold medallist announced on Twitter on Tuesday that he will be joining the Soccer Aid World XI - a motley crew put together to help raise funds for the United Nations Children's Fund, Unicef. Since retiring from athletics he's also flirted with playing cricket and been pictured at the US Grand Prix. Read more: Untouchable Usain Bolt bows out in London Bolt, long linked with trials at Borussia Dortmund thanks to both parties' relationship with Puma, will captain the side, with Williams skippering the English XI that will line up against them. "Robbie and his England team better watch out as I won't be going easy on them," said Bolt, who also claimed he has a "special celebration" planned should his side win. Thee announcement came hours after Bolt, 31, had sent out a tweet suggesting that he'd signed for a team before South African Premier Soccer League outfit Mamelodi Sundowns put out a tweet of their own featuring Bolt in their training gear and a knowing hint about his future. But it seems Bolt's tweet was only related to the charity match, with the Puma logo on the Mamelodi Sundowns kit probably explaining their part in the somewhat confusing series of events. The Soccer Aid match will take part on June 10 at Manchester United's Old Trafford stadium.

After his retirement from the track, Usain Bolt is making strides towards a new career. The Jamaican sprint great will captain a star-studded side in charity football match and has hinted at a professional contract. Never one to shy away from the spotlight, Usain Bolt is set to make a return to the sporting world in a charity football match ... Read More »

Slain Slovak journalist was targeted by Italian Mafia: colleague

Jan Kuciak was killed just before publishing a report about ties between politicians and organized crime, a fellow reporter said. Kuciak is the second anti-corruption journalist murdered in the EU in the past six months. A colleague of Slovak journalist Jan Kuciak said on Tuesday that he believed the slain reporter was the target of organized crime. Tom Nicholson said that before his death Kuciak had been about to publish an explosive report about ties between the Italian mafia and high-level politicians. According to Nicholson, who worked closely with Kuciak, the 27-year-old was working on a story about "the fraudulent payment of European Union transfer funds to Italian nationals resident in Slovakia with alleged ties to the 'Ndrangheta" organized crime group from Italy's Calabria region." "The (Slovak) secret service already has the gangsters' names; both Jan and I were operating from leaked intelligence documents," Nicholson wrote in Politico. "Slovak organised crime has never killed reporters, even in the bad old days. Whereas Italy's mafia gangs have shown no such compunctions." Kuciak's death was a 'warning' Kuciak and his girlfriend Martina Kusnirova were found dead with gunshot wounds in their home in the town of Velka Maca on Sunday. The authorities were alerted when Kusnirova's mother reported concerns that she had not heard from her daughter in several days. According to the police, ammunition had been arranged around the bodies as if to issue a "warning." Candlelight vigils have been held across Slovakia for the couple, and there have been renewed calls for more anti-corruption protests in the country following a wave of them last year. Kuciak worked for the news portal aktuality.sk, which is owned by the German-Swiss Axel Springer and Ringier media group. He was active in reporting stories on fraud cases involving businessmen with links to Prime Minister Robert Fico's Smer-Social Democracy party. Second killing Kuciak's murder is the second killing of an anti-corruption journalist in an EU country in the past six months. Maltese journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia was murdered in a car bomb attack last October. Tom Gibson, the EU represenative for the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) told DW: "With two cases of murdered journalists within half a year, it is clear that investigative journalists in EU Member States are not safe. Whilst Brussels starts to engage in the latest round of discussions on corruption allegations, officials should at the same time ask themselves: what can we be doing better to protect the free press?" Slovak PM: Journalists are 'prostitutes' Fico is well known for his antagonistic relationship to the press, and has often verbally attacked journalists in public. In a 2016 press conference, he described the reporters present as "dirty, anti-Slovak prostitutes." According to Slovakian daily SME, two of the businessmen Kuciak was investigating had ties to one of Fico's senior advisors. Nevertheless, Fico announced a €1 million ($1.2 million) reward for information leading to the murderers' capture. Police chief Tibor Gaspar said that Kuciak's death was "most likely related to the investigative work of the journalist."

Jan Kuciak was killed just before publishing a report about ties between politicians and organized crime, a fellow reporter said. Kuciak is the second anti-corruption journalist murdered in the EU in the past six months. A colleague of Slovak journalist Jan Kuciak said on Tuesday that he believed the slain reporter was the target of organized crime. Tom Nicholson said ... Read More »

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