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1 DISCIPLINE REIGNS OVER FREE-FLOWING FOOTBALL

Liverpool were made to work hard for their latest victory – by a single goal at Norwich City on Saturday and while the Canaries remain adrift of safety at the bottom of the Premier League, they continue to earn respect for the way they approach games.

But although pundits and commentators praise their positive, passing football, the reality of the Premier League is that a tighter, more disciplined style remains more effective – as the league table illustrates.

2 SON'S 50TH GOAL DELIGHT IS MISERY FOR VILLANS

On a day when Son Heung-min scored his 50th Premier League goal, Aston Villa recorded an unwanted half-century of their own in their 3-2 loss.

Dean Smith's side now have the worst defensive record in the division after conceding 50.

They are actually on course to score 50, the sort oRead More – Source

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MADRID: Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone heaped praise on Liverpool ahead of their Champions League last 16, first leg tie, saying they will go down in history for their form this season.

Liverpool return to the Wanda Metropolitano stadium, scene of Junes Champions League triumph over Tottenham Hotspur, unbeaten in the Premier League after 26 games.

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Atletico, meanwhile, have endured a stuttering season in La Liga, where they sit fourth and are locked in a battle to qualify for next seasons competition.

“I remember Klopps (Borussia) Dortmund, who are similar to Liverpool. They have that competitiveness, but the players they have mean they play in a different way," said Simeone.

“Weve always spoken about great sides throughout time and this Liverpool side will go down in history. I really like this Liverpool team because theyre direct but they can change the way they play too and I admire that."

Atletico come into the match after a 2-2 draw at Valencia on Friday, while Liverpool won 1-0 at Norwich City on Saturday.

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Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton and Barcelona forward Lionel Messi were declared joint winners of the Laureus World Sportsman of the Year Award in Berlin on Monday, with the voting tied for the first time in the awards' 20-year history.

Laureus World Sports Awards – Salle des Etoiles, Monaco – February 18, 2019 Novak Djokovic poses after winning the sportsman of the year award REUTERS/Eric Gaillard

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REUTERS: Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton and Barcelona forward Lionel Messi were declared joint winners of the Laureus World Sportsman of the Year Award in Berlin on Monday, with the voting tied for the first time in the awards' 20-year history.

Mercedes driver Hamilton won his sixth world championship in 2019, with 11 race wins and 17 podium finishes, while Messi was crowned the world's best player for a record sixth time when he won the Ballon d'Or.

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American gymnast Simone Biles, who became the most decorated gymnast in world championship history when she won her 25th medal last year, won her third Sportswoman of the Year gong after winning the award in 2017 and 2019.

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DUBAI: Kim Clijsters says she is going to plough ahead with her tennis comeback despite losing her return match 6-2, 7-6 (8/6) to Garbine Muguruza in the opening round of the WTA event in Dubai.

Four-time Grand Slam champion Clijsters, 36, had been out of the game for seven years before the clash with Muguruza, who reached the final of the Australian Open last month, and is keen to push ahead after an encouraging display against the world number 16 Spaniard.

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"I had a good feeling out there, I felt a pace I can handle. I felt like I was able to go toe-to-toe with her from the baseline," said Clijsters.

"I wouldn't have done this if I didn't have that belief somehow. It might take 10 matches to get the way I played in the second set, might take me 10 matches to get that from start to finish.

"I have patience. I'm going to work my way into it and fight. We'll see what happens."

Clijsters did not say where she will continue her comeback, not mentioning any future tournament entries after taking part in Dubai as a wild card.

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A document that appears to give the most powerful insight yet into how China determined the fate of hundreds of thousands of Muslims held in a network of internment camps has been seen by the BBC.

Listing the personal details of more than 3,000 individuals from the far western region of Xinjiang, it sets out in intricate detail the most intimate aspects of their daily lives.

The painstaking records – made up of 137 pages of columns and rows – include how often people pray, how they dress, whom they contact and how their family members behave.

China denies any wrongdoing, saying it is combating terrorism and religious extremism.

The document is said to have come, at considerable personal risk, from the same source inside Xinjiang that leaked a batch of highly sensitive material published last year.

One of the world's leading experts on China's policies in Xinjiang, Dr Adrian Zenz, a senior fellow at the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation in Washington, believes the latest leak is genuine.

"This remarkable document presents the strongest evidence I've seen to date that Beijing is actively persecuting and punishing normal practices of traditional religious beliefs," he says.

One of the camps mentioned in it, the "Number Four Training Centre" has been identified by Dr Zenz as among those visited by the BBC as part of a tour organised by the Chinese authorities in May last year.

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Much of the evidence uncovered by the BBC team appears to be corroborated by the new document, redacted for publication to protect the privacy of those included in it.

It contains details of the investigations into 311 main individuals, listing their backgrounds, religious habits, and relationships with many hundreds of relatives, neighbours and friends.

Verdicts written in a final column decide whether those already in internment should remain or be released, and whether some of those previously released need to return.

It is evidence that appears to directly contradict China's claim that the camps are merely schools.

In an article analysing and verifying the document, Dr Zenz argues that it also offers a far deeper understanding of the real purpose of the system.

It allows a glimpse inside the minds of those making the decisions, he says, laying bare the "ideological and administrative micromechanics" of the camps.

Row 598 contains the case of a 38-year-old woman with the first name Helchem, sent to a re-education camp for one main reason: she was known to have worn a veil some years ago.

It is just one of a number of cases of arbitrary, retrospective punishment.

Others were interned simply for applying for a passport – proof that even the intention to travel abroad is now seen as a sign of radicalisation in Xinjiang.

In row 66, a 34-year-old man with the first name Memettohti was interned for precisely this reason, despite being described as posing "no practical risk".

And then there's the 28-year-old man Nurmemet in row 239, put into re-education for "clicking on a web-link and unintentionally landing on a foreign website".

Again, his case notes describe no other issues with his behaviour.

The 311 main individuals listed are all from Karakax County, close to the city of Hotan in southern Xinjiang, an area where more than 90% of the population is Uighur.

Predominantly Muslim, the Uighurs are closer in appearance, language and culture to the peoples of Central Asia than to China's majority ethnicity, the Han Chinese.

In recent decades the influx of millions of Han settlers into Xinjiang has led to rising ethnic tensions and a growing sense of economic exclusion among Uighurs.

Those grievances have sometimes found expression in sporadic outbreaks of violence, fuelling a cycle of increasingly harsh security responses from Beijing.

It is for this reason that the Uighurs have become the target – along with Xinjiang's other Muslim minorities, like the Kazakhs and Kyrgyz – of the campaign of internment.

The "Karakax List", as Dr Zenz calls the document, encapsulates the way the Chinese state now views almost any expression of religious belief as a signal of disloyalty.

To root out that perceived disloyalty, he says, the state has had to find ways to penetrate deep into Uighur homes and hearts.

In early 2017, when the internment campaign began in earnest, groups of loyal Communist Party workers, known as "village-based work teams", began to rake through Uighur society with a massive dragnet.

With each member assigned a number of households, they visited, befriended and took detailed notes about the "religious atmosphere" in the homes; for example, how many Korans they had or whether religious rites were observed.

The Karakax List appears to be the most substantial evidence of the way this detailed information gathering has been used to sweep people into the camps.

It reveals, for example, how China has used the concept of "guilt by association" to incriminate and detain whole extended family networks in Xinjiang.

For every main individual, the 11th column of the spreadsheet is used to record their family relationships and their social circle.

China's hidden camps

Alongside each relative or friend listed is a note of their own background; how often they pray, whether they've been interned, whether they've been abroad.

In fact, the title of the document makes clear that the main individuals listed all have a relative currently living overseas – a category long seen as a key indicator of potential disloyalty, leading to almost certain internment.

Rows 179, 315 and 345 contain a series of assessments for a 65-year-old man, Yusup.

His record shows two daughters who "wore veils and burkas in 2014 and 2015", a son with Islamic political leanings and a family that displays "obvious anti-Han sentiment".

His verdict is "continued training" – one of a number of examples of someone interned not just for their own actions and beliefs, but for those of their family.

The information collected by the village teams is also fed into Xinjiang's big data system, called the Integrated Joint Operations Platform (IJOP).

The IJOP contains the region's surveillance and policing records, culled from a vast network of cameras and the intrusive mobile spyware every citizen is forced to download.

The IJOP, Dr Zenz suggests, can in turn use its AI brain to cross-reference these layers of data and send "push notifications" to the village teams to investigate a particular individual.

The man found "unintentionally landing on a foreign website" may well have been interned thanks to the IJOP.

In many cases though, there is little need for advanced technology, with the vast and vague catch-all term "untrustworthy" appearing multiple times in the document.

It is listed as the sole reason for the internment of a total of 88 individuals.

The concept, Dr Zenz argues, is proof that the system is designed not for those who have committed a crime, but for an entire demographic viewed as potentially suspicious.

China says Xinjiang has policies that "respect and ensure people's freedom of religious belief". It also insists that what it calls a "vocational training programme in Xinjiang" is "for the purposes of combating terrorism and religious extremism", adding only people who have been convicted of crimes involving terrorism or religious extremism are being "educated" in these centres.

However, many of the cases in the Karakax List give multiple reasons for internment; various combinations of religion, passport, family, contacts overseas or simply being untrustworthy.

The most frequently listed is for violating China's strict family planning laws.

In the eyes of the Chinese authorities it seems, having too many children is the clearest sign that Uighurs put their loyalty to culture and tradition above obedience to the secular state.

China has long defended its actions in Xinjiang as part of an urgent response to the threat of extremism and terrorism.

The Karakax List does contain some references to those kinds of crimes, with at least six entries for preparing, practicing or instigating terrorism and two cases of watching illegal videos.

But the Read More – Source

World News

LAS VEGAS, Nevada: More than 26,000 people took part over the weekend in early voting in Nevada, the state with the next nominating contest in the Democratic White House race, and more than half on the first day were first-time caucus-goers, the state party said.

Nevada Democrats added four days of early voting across the state this year to accommodate those who could not make it to the statewide caucuses scheduled for Feb 22.

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The first day of early voting on Saturday brought out 18,000 Democrats, with 56 per cent of those voters participating for the first time, the party said. By the end of Sunday, the total early turnout was more than 26,000.

State Democrats said they were encouraged by the totals, although local media in Nevada reported some sites were plagued by long lines and waits. About 84,000 voters participated in the last Democratic caucuses in Nevada in 2016.

"We added four days of in-person early voting in order to make the caucus more accessible and encourage more people to participate in the process for the first time – and that's exactly what's happened," said William McCurdy, the Nevada state party chairman.

The Democratic caucuses in Nevada are the third nominating contest in the race to find a challenger to Republican President Donald Trump in the November election, and the first with a more diverse population after contests in predominantly white Iowa and New Hampshire.

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Nearly one-third of voters in the Nevada Democratic caucuses in 2016 were either black or Latino, according to entrance polls.

Nevada is hoping for a smootRead More – Source

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BRUSSELS: A top EU official for digital policy warned on Monday (Feb 17) that big tech companies could face tougher rules and penalties in Europe if they failed to adequately curb hate speech and disinformation.

European Industry Commissioner Thierry Breton remarks followed talks with Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg, who was in Brussels urging officials to not go too far in punishing platforms for carrying hate speech.

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"If all the platforms operating on the European continent do not respect the conditions that I have just outlined, yes, we will be forced to intervene in a stricter way," Breton told reporters.

But Breton, who leads up EU digital policy along with Commission Executive Vice President Margrethe Vestager, warned that new legislation by the end of the year could be much tougher on big tech.

These new rules "can be binding to avoid this kind of abuse, because it is abusive, when totally illegal content is massively disseminated to our fellow citizens," Breton said.

The former French finance minister said a proposal for a Digital Services Act by the end of the year could carry real consequences for companies like Facebook that had so far self regulated.

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In the meetings, the founder of the world's biggest social media network that also owns Instagram and Whatsapp, emphasised the importance of better controlling hate speech and disinformation on platforms — but without muzzling free speech.

He raised the topic with European Commission Vice President Vera Jourova, a top Brussels official who became an outspoken critic of Facebook after the Cambridge Analytica data scandal in 2018.

Good regulation of hate speech would require a new type of regulator for the EU, Zuckerberg argued to Jourova.

'NOT ENOUGH'

In a paper submitted to the commissioners, Facebook stressed that the way to limit unwanted speech was to make sure that platforms put the right systems in place, not by holding them liable for the speech itself.

"Publisher liability laws that punish the publication of illegal speech are unsuitable for the internet landscape," the paper said.

Breton said the proposals by Facebook were "interesting" but "not enough: too slow, too low in term of responRead More – Source

World News

BRUSSELS: International donors on Monday (Feb 17) pledged 1.15 billion euros (US$1.25 billion) to help Albania recover from a powerful earthquake last year, the EU chief announced, more than double the sum expected by Tirana.

Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama said the sum – which exceeds the total recovery bill of 1.08 billion euros assessed by the UN – was "beyond my wildest imagination", having begun the day hoping for pledges of only 400 million euros.

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The money will help the impoverished Balkan state rebuild and recover after the 6.4-magnitude quake which hit in November, killing 51 people and leaving 17,000 homeless.

"Good news for the people of Albania: We've surpassed our target for the reconstruction of Albania and reached a total of 1.15 billion euros, incl. 400 million euros in EU contributions," European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen tweeted.

"I'm overwhelmed by the support. Once again Europe stands together when it matters most!"

European states and institutions contributed, along with other countries including Turkey and the United Arab Emirates as well as international financial institutions.

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"I am so happy and I am so so humbled by all of this," Rama said.

"We need now not to fail our friends and to make reconstruction in Albania a stunning example."

TRANSPARENCY PLEDGE

Given Western concerns about rife corruption in Albania, Rama said he had asked the United States to put its contribution into an "academy of transparency" to ensure the reconstruction money was not misused.

"We'll go through the necessary pains to make sure every penny of European taxpayers… will be spent well," he said.

Part of the reason the quake caused so much damage, experts say, was the scourge of illegal construction, which has seen builders and engineers in the former communist state flout safety codes for decades.

Rama said "what we reconstruct should be better than what we lost", suggesting that new earthquake resistance and environmental standards could be imposed.

Before the pledge meeting, Albanian expectations had been dampened by what Rama called a "political earthquake" in October, when three EU states blocked Tirana from starRead More – Source

World News

The federal government is expected to support international measures that would reduce the environmental impact of Arctic shipping but would cost northern families hundreds of dollars a year.

On Monday, the International Maritime Organization is to begin considering how to eliminate the use of heavy fuel oil in ships sailing Arctic waters.

Arctic countries have already agreed to the move in principle, but the meeting is to set terms for the fuels phaseout. Heavy fuel oil, or HFO, is considered a major spill risk and a source of black carbon, which hastens the melting of sea ice.

“HFO constitutes the bottom of the barrel when it comes to shipping fuel,” said Dan Hubbell of the Ocean Conservancy. “Its cheap, its dirty and its very persistent.”

Hubbell said a moderate spill in Russia in 2003 had big impacts still visible more than a decade later on marine mammals. The fuel is already banned in the Antarctic.

But replacement fuels are more expensive. Transport Canada has analyzed what higher costs would mean for Arctic communities, which depend on supplies ranging from dry goods to construction materials that arrive by sea.

It concluded the average Nunavut household would see an increase of up to $649 a year. Sealifts used by families to bring in bulk supplies of non−perishable commodities from the south would cost an extra $1,000 for a six−metre shipping container.

More than half of Eastern Arctic households are already considered severely food insecure, meaning they cant always count on having enough food for their next meal.

Transport Canada says higher fuel prices will also affect mining companies and governments.

“A ban on HFO in the Arctic resulting in higher shipping costs passed on to the consumer would have a significant impact on households and communities,” the report says. “This could include direct and indirect effects on the health and quality of life of Indigenous and Inuit peoples living in the Arctic.”

Six out of eight Arctic countries currently support the ban. Russia is opposed and Canada has said it wont announce its position until the meeting begins.

But in a telephone call with stakeholders last week, officials said Canada will side with the majority.

“They did confirm that they would be supporting the ban,” said Andrew Dumbrille of the World Wildlife Fund, who was on the call.

Read More – Source

World News

The Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions is warning that the federal public health agencys guidelines to protect front-line health care workers from outbreaks of diseases like the Novel Coronavirus dont go far enough, and might be putting them and patients at risk.

The standards, which the Public Health Agency of Canada updated last week, layout the precautions health care workers should take when assessing and treating a patient with a possible case of the coronavirus, including what protective equipment should be used.

The public health agency has committed to updating the guidelines as they learn more about the new coronavirus the World Health Organization (WHO) has named COVID-19, which has sickened tens of thousands.

Deadly Wuhan Coronavirus Spreads To Hong Kong
Deadly Wuhan Coronavirus Spreads To Hong Kong
Travelers wearing protective masks wait in line for taxi after arriving at Hong Kong High Speed Rail Station in Hong Kong, China, on Jan. 29, 2020. (Anthony Kwan/Getty Images)

Linda Silas, president of the labor organization, says the safety protocols are inadequate compared to those in Ontario and some other countries.

Silas said the standards assume the coronavirus cant spread through the air—rather than through droplets—but she contends the science isnt settled on that front and the government should be taking greater care until they can be 100 percent sure.

“When we do not know, we have to go for the best precautions for workers,” said Silas.

Nurses, doctors, and other medical staff who come into contact with patients must be protected, not only for their own health but to stop the potential spread of the virus, she said.

“We need to make it clear that if health care workers are not safe, then patients are not safe,” said Silas, who has written to federal Health Minister Patty Hajdu about her concerns.

The Ontario government released its own guidelines calling for constant use of disposable respirators when interacting with a potential coronavirus patient, while the federal guidelines require only a surgical mask unless certain medical procedures are being done.

The federal protocols are in line with the World Health Organization, but the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and its European counterpart have also recommended higher standards and a greater degree of precaution.

“In Canada the protection is much lower, and we will not accept that,” Silas said.

She recommends all health care workers, regardless of where they are, follow the CDC or Ontario standards rather than the federal ones.

Other provinces are still developing their own protocols to respond to a potential coronavirus outbreak in Canada while others, like Manitoba, have opted to rely on the federal recommendations, leaving some health care providers more protected than others, Silas said.

Theresa Tam, chief public health officer at the Public Health Agency of Canada, said on Saturday there are eight people in Canada who have tested positive for the virus, following news on Feb. 14 that a new case was discovered in British Columbia.

There have been three cases in Ontario and five in British Columbia, pending confirmation of the latest case by a laboratory.

CANADA-CHINA-HEALTH-VIRUS
CANADA-CHINA-HEALTH-VIRUS
Passengers disembark an airplane carrying Canadian citizens flown out from the coronavirus zone in Wuhan, China, after arriving at CFB Trenton in Trenton, Ontario, Canada, on Feb. 7, 2020. (Chris Wattie/ARead More – Source