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Novak Djokovic makes Golden Slam decision following spate of Tokyo Olympics withdrawals

Novak Djokovic has confirmed he will compete at the Tokyo Olympics, despite the recent string of high-profile withdrawals. The Games have been hit by a spate of players deciding not to compete in Japan over the past few days, but the world number one will continue his quest for the Golden Slam in the next few weeks.

Djokovic has been completely dominant in 2021, winning the Australian Open, French Open and Wimbledon titles to move onto 20 Grand Slam titles.

The 34-year-old is now level with rivals Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal and has the chance to complete an unprecedented Golden Slam by winning all the Majors and an Olympic gold medal in a single calendar year.

Such an achievement has never been done in men’s tennis, but Steffi Graf – an icon in the women’s game – did complete it in 1988.

Federer is among many players to withdraw from competing at the Olympics, but Djokovic says is still going to Tokyo despite concerns about a spike in coronavirus cases.

“I am very proud to pack for Tokyo and join our national team in the fight for the brightest medals in the Olympic arenas,” he wrote on Twitter.

“For me, the game for Serbia has always been a special joy and motivation and I will do my best to make us all happy! Let’s go.”

Djokovic’s confirmed involvement in the Games comes as a timely boost to the organisers, who have been hit by a succession of withdrawals recently.

While Federer’s announcement was due to a knee injury picked up at Wimbledon, many others have been prevented from travelling because of COVID-19.

British number ones Dan Evans and Johanna Konta are both not competing following positive tests.

Nadal, Nick Kyrgios, Dominic Thiem, Denis Shapovalov and Stan Wawrinka are not competing in the men’s singles.

Meanwhile, 2016 silver medalist Angelique Kerber, 2012 Olympic gold medallist Victoria Azarenka and Serena Williams are among the big names in the women’s game not playing in Japan.

Kerber said her “body needs a rest”, while Azarenka cited the “challenges from the pandemic” as her reason for withdrawing.

The Tokyo Olympics will take place behind closed doors, with no fans allowed to attend due to a spike in COVID-19 cases in Japan.

The Olympics, which will be staged amid a state of emergency in Tokyo, will run from Friday, 23 July to Sunday, 8 August, with 339 events in 33 sports set to take place.

The tennis event runs from Saturday, 24 July to Sunday, 1 August on the hard courts at Ariake Tennis Park.

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This post originally posted here Daily Express :: Sport

Florida Dems to Biden: Don’t blow ‘golden opportunity’ on Cuba

MIAMI — Donald Trump and the GOP dominated Florida’s elections last November in part due to the former president’s hardline Latin America policy and rhetoric.

Now, in Cuba’s historic uprisings, Florida Democrats see what many are calling a “golden opportunity”: a chance for President Joe Biden to help bring democracy to the island and, as a result, attract the Hispanic voters that he hemorrhaged eight months ago.

“This is a ‘Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!’ opportunity,” said state Sen. Annette Taddeo, a Democrat from Miami who represents a district that Trump won. “We need to be the beacon of hope. There are people in Cuba protesting waving the American flag. That has never happened. We need to understand the moment we’re living in.”

Yet there are worries Biden could blow it by being too slow to move, too timid in his actions or by embracing the messaging from progressives who have been reluctant to denounce the Cuban regime in strong, unqualified and moralistic terms.

As the protests erupted across Cuba, Biden sent a message marked by its unambiguous language: the United States stands with those yearning to be free from the island’s “authoritarian regime.”

But others in his administration — and his party — were more circumspect in their choice of words. A State Department official suggested the demonstrations were out of “concern about rising COVID cases/deaths & medicine shortages,” but made no mention of the dictatorship’s repression. The chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, New York’s Gregory Meeks, made a similar statement that also said nothing of the totalitarian government in Cuba, as did Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.).

Those subtle distinctions in language — such as explicitly calling out the dictatorial practices of the Cuban government before anything else — make a world of difference in battleground Florida.

To that end, the Florida Democratic Party’s resolutions committee approved a measure Tuesday night calling for “additional sanctions against the leaders of the failed socialist-communist regime.”

“People are taking to the streets chanting ‘Libertad’ [liberty!]. They’re not chanting ‘Vacuna!’ [vaccines!],” said Javier Fernandez, a son of Cuban exiles and a former Democratic state representative from Miami who authored the resolution, which needs to be approved by the full party’s executive committee.

Fernandez said the party “needs to be clear about what we stand for.”

“There’s a concern by some in the party that if we condemn what happens in Cuba that we’re somehow making a moral judgment on the most progressive elements of our party who have described themselves as Democratic socialists,” he said. “That concern about offending certain progressive elements in the party is why you see statements of the kind from the likes of Congressman Meeks. It’s a false equivalence that only hurts Democrats here in the U.S. and in South Florida, in particular.”

Fernandez saw firsthand how the lack of clear messaging about socialism helped doom his state Senate campaign in November as Trump and down-ballot Republicans attracted an unprecedented percentage of voters with had family ties to Cuba, Venezuela, Nicaragua or Colombia, where nominally socialist governments or movements led to mass migrations to Florida, particularly in its largest county of Miami-Dade.

Biden won once-deep blue Miami-Dade by only 7 percentage points in 2020 compared with Hillary Clinton’s 29-point margin four years before. If Democratic candidates fail to carry Miami-Dade by more than single digits, it’s nearly impossible for them to win the state.

Trump’s performance was so strong in Florida — and he gained so much ground with Hispanic voters — that it led national Democrats to talk in earnest about focusing more in the future on emerging swing states like Arizona and Georgia.

Florida became such an afterthought for Biden’s political operation that his White House didn’t stage a public rally and media blitz in the state to announce its decision in March to grant temporary protected immigration status to Venezuelans who fled the Maduro regime, which is allied with Cuba’s government. In May, when Biden granted TPS to Haitians, Miami Democrats likewise felt his administration should have done more to capitalize on the announcement.

The failure to highlight the administration’s efforts on immigration policy confused and disappointed Florida Democrats, leading some to fear Biden was writing off the state.

“I don’t know why I had to find out about Venezuelan TPS from the news media,” said Taddeo. She said she wanted to make sure that Biden’s administration didn’t repeat the same mistake of underplaying its hand regarding Cuba.

Taddeo and Florida pollster Fernand Amandi, a Democrat and son of Cuban exiles, said Biden needs to come to Miami and articulate a clear policy to stand with the Cuban people and bring non-military international pressure to bear on the island’s government as it cracks down on demonstrators.

Amandi said it was a “golden opportunity” for both countries to change history.

“What happened this past weekend is what 12 previous U.S. presidents were waiting for: the uprising of the Cuban people themselves as they stand up against their communist overlords,” Amandi said. “President Biden’s initial statements on the events in Cuba have captured both the right policy and the right politics. However, the events in Cuba demand more than statements and the president is going to have to engage on this issue.”

So far, Miami Democrats have been pleased to see that the Biden administration remains less aligned with Meeks and more in step with his Democratic counterpart in the Senate, Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Menendez (N.J.), who is also the son of Cuban exiles and has made sure to focus on the totalitarian nature of the Cuban dictatorship that led to the protests on the island.

Biden has privately sought Menendez’s counsel regarding Cuba — a sharp contrast with former President Barack Obama, who secretly hashed out a rapprochement with Cuba that eased restrictions in 2015. Though the U.S. unilaterally eased relations with Cuba, the dictatorship didn’t change its behavior, leading to a backlash among Latin American exile voters in South Florida.

The delicate balancing act for Biden extends beyond the congressional divide within his party and touches on the tricky question of immigration and political asylum for Cubans. Under Obama, the U.S. ended the so-called wet foot/dry foot policy that essentially gave Cubans a pathway to citizenship if they landed on U.S. soil. Officials are now concerned that Cubans could leave en masse from the island — creating a crisis akin to the 1980 Mariel Boatlift.

On Tuesday, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas told Cubans and Haitians to not come to the U.S. — an ironic message from an official who migrated from Cuba himself.

That approach concerned Florida Democrats who fear that the White House still doesn’t consider Cuba or Haiti — which is also in crisis after its president was assassinated — as high priorities. While the administration has been forced to pay more attention now, White House press secretary Jen Psaki on Monday declined to say how Cuba ranks as a priority, or whether the president would make good on his campaign trail promise to roll back Trump-era sanctions on the island.

Biden deputy press secretary Andrew Bates said Biden is in the process of fulfilling his promise to the Cuban people and pointed to Biden’s long record of opposing “the oppression and human rights abuses of Cuba’s communist, authoritarian government. This is about fundamental values that the President has long championed. He’s committed to forming his policies toward Cuba based on two principles: that standing up for democracy and human rights is paramount, and that Americans — especially Cuban-Americans — are the best ambassadors for freedom and prosperity in Cuba.”

The Biden administration also disputes criticisms of U.S. sanctions by noting that the Cuban government is able to get food and medical supplies, and it has refused to make its Covid-19 vaccine available for scientific peer review while also refusing to join an international consortium designed to get more people vaccinated worldwide.

Guillermo J. Grenier, a Florida International University professor who conducts a well-regarded poll of Cuban-American voters, said his research last year showed that a majority supported lifting sanctions on Cuba to help with the pandemic. Grenier said it’s good policy and politics — especially if Biden makes medical supplies and vaccines easier for Cuba’s people to receive.

Grenier and other Cuba experts noticed in the Trump years that new arrivals to America were becoming increasingly and unexpectedly Republican because their relatives on the island were spreading the word that the GOP knew how to fight the regime of Raul Castro and his successor, Miguel Díaz-Canel.

“You wonder why all these new arrivals are crazy for Trump, it’s because it starts there. People in Cuba say you need to go to the Republican Party because they know how to handle the Cuban government,” Grenier said. “But if Biden were to do that — to help the people in their time of need with vaccines, at least — they would remember that and he would immediately raise the profile of the Democratic Party, of himself and dim the bright orange of Trump.”

While Democrats have had mixed messaging in their recent response to Cuba, Republicans have been unified in calling for tougher sanctions and denouncing repression on the island.

Republican Sen. Marco Rubio, a Miami native and son of Cuban immigrants, is up for reelection next year and has turned his Twitter account into a nonstop feed featuring video clips of Cuban protesters being beaten, reports of Venezuelan authorities rounding up political opponents and even the on-air arrest of a Cuban woman being interviewed by a Spanish TV station.

And Miami-based Republican Rep. Carlos Gimenez excoriated State Department Assistant Secretary for Western Hemisphere Affairs Julie Chung for her tweet about Covid-19 that failed to mention the dictatorship. Chung subsequently tweeted critical statements about repression of the Cuban and Venezuelan governments.

“Democrats are dead in the water in Florida, and statements like Meeks’ are why,” said Carlos Trujillo, a son of Cuban exiles and former Republican state legislator who served as ambassador to the Organization of American States. “We’ve labeled them as socialists and communist sympathizers. And they deny it. Well, prove it. They can’t.”

Passion is so intense in Miami’s exile community that people have taken to the streets in solidarity with the Cuban people, and the city’s moderate Republican mayor, Francis Suarez, has said that Biden should consider military options if the repression continues on the island.

“The thing folks who aren’t directly familiar with Miami need to remember — there is a roadmap to winning back Hispanics from exile communities, but it starts with recognizing for most down here, Cuba is an absolute pass-fail test,” said Steve Schale, a veteran of Obama’s presidential Florida campaigns who also leads a pro-Biden super PAC, Unite The Country.

Ric Herrero, executive of the pro-engagement Cuba Study Group, said calls for military action are dangerous and counterproductive. Herrero credited the uprising to the spread of social media and Obama-era engagement policies. He said it’s time for Biden to lead and sell his policy.

“What Trump did so well is show up and make people on the ground feel like they have a direct line to Washington,” Herrero said. “It’s not just adopting the right policy: you have to sell it. Why he won’t do that in South Florida is a mystery … It has been missed opportunity after missed opportunity to change the narrative in South Florida and hold the failures of the Trump policies accountable.”

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This post originally posted here Politics, Policy, Political News Top Stories

‘Put me off for the rest of my life!’ James Martin shares his ‘golden rule’ about weddings

Hitting out at the retro food preparation idea, James exclaimed: “Weddings, cheese in a tube, what was that all about?

“What was going on in England? What was happening?”

James and his TV producer girlfriend Louise Davies have been together for almost 10 years.

However, the chef previously shared that the couple have no plans to tie the knot, telling the Sunday People in 2019: “No, it doesn’t interest me in the slightest, mainly because I’ve catered for so many weddings, really.

“I admire people who do it, that’s fine, but I’m quite happy. I don’t need to spend 60 grand on a day, no, I’m more than happy thanks.”

Author: Kathryn Ingate
Read more here >>> Daily Express :: Celebrity News

LISTEN: Scott Quinnell on the Golden Point

It’s a cross-code special this week as Scott Quinnell joins Sky Sports rugby league pundit Barrie McDermott and host Marc Bazeley to talk British & Irish Lions and his time in the 13-man sport

Last Updated: 09/07/21 1:06pm

Former Wigan forward Scott Quinnell is our podcast guest this week

Former Wigan forward Scott Quinnell is our podcast guest this week

We span the rugby divide again on this week’s episode of the Golden Point Podcast as we are joined by man who starred in both codes, Scott Quinnell.

Currently part of Sky Sports‘ team for the British & Irish Lions rugby union tour to South Africa, Scott sits down with our rugby league expert Barrie McDermott and host Marc Bazeley for a wide-ranging chat.

There is a look at the rugby league influence on the Lions’ 1997 tour to South Africa, Scott and Barrie’s memories from their time as team-mates with Wigan and what the former forward has been up to as he travels the country in the Sky Sports Fanvan.

The former dual-code Wales international explains what makes rugby union’s Lions so special, while he and Barrie share their ideas of how to revitalise the rugby league equivalent.

Plus, Scott picks his top league to union converts, while Barrie lists those from his playing days who starred after making the switch from the 15 to 13-man code.

Don’t miss an episode of the Golden Point Podcast. Subscribe now on: Apple Podcasts | Spotify | Spreaker

Read more here >>> SkySports | News

The Chase contestant's big Golden Mile blunder astounds fans

Viewers of the hit ITV quiz show The Chase were up in arms today when a contestant made a big blunder.

Alan, a Special Educational Needs teacher in Salford, was the first contestant out of Gary, Sue, Kiera and Alan to go forward for the cash builder and then face the chaser.

He chatted to host Bradley Walsh before the cash builder – and revealed that in his spare time the 34-year-old liked to play golf and cook spicy foods like curries and Thai cusine.

If he won some cash Alan said he wanted to buy his other half Gina a car so she could pick him up from the pub.

Alan scored £6,000 in his cash builder and decided to play for that amount in his head to head with The Chaser – revealed as The Governess, Anne Hegerty, tonight, reports the Liverpool Echo.

Alan was doing well with his questions, but on his final question he made a big error which viewers were quick to pick up on.

The question asked which tourist destination was the furthest North and Alan correctly chose ‘The Golden Mile’.

He may have got the question right, but his knowledge of where it is was a bit off, as he remarked: “It’s in Edinburgh isn’t it?”

Bradley looked a bit shocked before he took a second to say “yeah, absolutely” – but not able to tell him how wrong he was.

Alan asked: “Is it Edinburgh?” and Bradley added “oh yeah, 100 per cent” as the audience laughed.

Bradley said once more: “I think it is Edinburgh” as the audience laughed – and revealed Alan had got it right.

After Anne said: “It’s the Royal Mile in Edinburgh, The Golden Mile is in Blackpool.”

Alan commented: “That’s where my other half is from, Blackpool” – to which Anne said: “well, you should have known that,” before he returned to his team with £6,000 in the bag.

And viewers were quick to slam Alan’s answer on Twitter.

Kevin Field said: “The Golden Mile, with the “Edinburgh Tower'”

Gary B said: “The Golden Mile is Blackpool you plank.”

Lois Prior said: “Omg Edinburgh??! #TheChase ”

And Ryan Glendenning said: “Everyone in Blackpool feeling insulted that Alan doesn’t know the golden mile.”

The Chase is on ITV every weekday from 5pm, and you can catch up on ITV Hub

Author: [email protected] (Andrew Stuart)
This post originally appeared on Hull Live – Celebs & TV

NBC drops 2022 Golden Globes; Tom Cruise returns trophies

5/5 NBC drops 2022 Golden Globes; Tom Cruise returns trophies© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: The Hollywood Foreign Press Association’s Golden Globe statuette is seen with its red velvet-lined, leather-bound chest during a news conference in Beverly Hills, California January 6, 2009. REUTERS/Fred Prouser/File Photo 2/5

By Lisa Richwine and Jill Serjeant

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – U.S. television network NBC on Monday dropped its broadcast of the Golden Globes ceremony in 2022 after a Hollywood backlash over the ethics of the group that hands out the annual awards for film and television and its lack of diversity.

Tom Cruise joined a revolt led by streaming platforms and studios, returning the three Golden Globe statuettes he won for his roles in “Jerry Maguire,” “Magnolia” and “Born on the Fourth of July,” Variety and Deadline Hollywood reported.

NBC’s decision came even after the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA), which hands out the awards, agreed to recruit more Black members and make other changes over the next 18 months. The network had initially welcomed the plan but later said it would wait to see if the reforms worked.

HFPA members have also been accused of making sexist and racist remarks and soliciting favors from celebrities and studios.

“Change of this magnitude takes time and work, and we feel strongly that the HFPA needs time to do it right. As such, NBC will not air the 2022 Golden Globes,” NBC said in a statement.

“Assuming the organization executes on its plan, we are hopeful we will be in a position to air the show in January 2023,” NBC added.

After NBC’s announcement, the HFPA said implementing “transformational change” remained an urgent priority “regardless of the next air date of the Golden Globes.”

In a statement, the HFPA reiterated its planned reforms and gave a detailed timetable. It said that by August 2021, it would hire a new chief executive, add 20 new members, approve a new code of conduct and provide diversity and sexual harassment training among other steps.

The annual Golden Globes ceremony, attended by A-list stars and industry executives, has become one of the biggest Hollywood awards shows in the run-up to the Oscars. But it has been under close scrutiny following an investigation published in February by the Los Angeles Times that showed the group of 87 journalists had no Black members.

On Saturday, Scarlett Johansson joined critics including Netflix (NASDAQ:), Amazon (NASDAQ:) Studios, WarnerMedia and dozens of Hollywood’s top publicity companies, who said they would no longer work with the HFPA unless it made far-reaching changes.

WarnerMedia, which includes cable channel HBO and movie studio Warner Bros, said in letter to the HFPA that it was concerned about “racially insensitive, sexist and homophobic questions” at press conferences and events during the Golden Globe nominations and awards process.

“For far too long, demands for perks, special favors and unprofessional requests have been made to our teams and to others across the industry,” the WarnerMedia letter said.

Johansson urged her fellow actors to “take a step back from the HFPA” and Golden Globe events. In a statement, she said that in the past “this has often meant facing sexist questions and remarks by certain HFPA members that bordered on sexual harassment.”

X: Therefore doesn`t .

Author: Reuters
This post originally appeared on Stock Market News

Holiday 2021: Bask in the golden glory of sun-drenched Cyprus

Cyprus: An explainer on why the country is divided

It attracted more than 1.3 million UK visitors in 2019 – a third of the total tourists – and with international travel poised to restart, it’s sure to be in high demand this summer and beyond whenever it gets the green light. Here’s our pick of the cream of Cyprus… As we’ve said, the island is blessed with those 300-plus sunny days and even in winter it can be a mild climate alternative to jetting way for a long-haul break.
But it comes into its own from late spring to early autumn with pretty much wall-to-wall warm sunshine and dazzling blue skies.

The peak holiday season months of July and August are of course the hottest at up to a sizzling 38C, though if that’s a bit too strong a trip into the Troodos Mountains offers some respite at a typical 24C.

Temperatures in the sea are kind too, with the water around 22C from June to November, climbing to 27C in August.


There’s something for all with monasteries, churches, three UNESCO World Heritage Sites and places associated with Greek mythology.

The Theatre of Kourion, just outside Limassol, is one of the island’s most impressive archaeological sites, dating from the 2nd century BC.

It seated up to 3,500 spectators for gladiator and wild animal fights and is still in use today for less gory entertainment including cultural activities and theatrical performances (entry €4.50). Further west, the Archaeological Park of Kato Paphos has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1980 with numerous monuments that date from the 4th century BC to the Middle Ages.

Highlights include the Tombs of the Kings and the intricate mosaic floors of four Roman villas (€4.50).


Cyprus is famous for its stunning beaches (Image: Getty)


Delicious halloumi is a traditional Cypriot dish (Image: Getty)

Aphrodite Adonis when he for a while Kolossi Castle, nine miles west of Limassol, was first built in the 13th century and was used as the Grand Commandery of the Knights of the Order of St John of Jerusalem, then was taken over by the Knights Templar and rebuilt in the 15th century.

During this time, the Knights produced and exported a sweet wine, which became known as the vin de Commanderie.

When to visit: The castle is open all year round but opening hours do vary per month so check before travel. Entry costs €2.50 per person.


The beaches in Cyprus are top-notch, with 64 having the coveted Blue Flag status. Lara Bay on the Akamas Peninsula and Sirena Bay in Protaras are standouts.


Cyprus is forever associated with Aphrodite as the Greek Goddess of Love was said to be born from the foam of the sea around the island.

Aphrodite’s Rock, a large sea stack near Kouklia, is her mythical birthplace and swimming around the rock at midnight is said to make the swimmer younger by a year for every lap (the beach here is excellent too).

The Baths of Aphrodite is an attractive natural grotto with a pool near Latchi on the Akamas Peninsula and it’s here that the goddess bathed in the waters. According to Greek mythology, Aphrodite met her mortal lover Adonis here when he stopped at this lush spot for a drink while hunting.


Tombs of the Kings is near Paphos (Image: Getty)


Cyprus is also a haven for divers (Image: Getty)


Is there anyone out there who doesn’t like halloumi? The semi-soft cheese, made from a mixture of goat’s and sheep’s milk, is the flagship of Cypriot cuisine and served in hotels and restaurants all over the island.

Enjoy it served on a skewer with grilled vegetables and drizzled in grape syrup, or grilled and wrapped in warm pitta bread.


The pine-clad range, home to ancient copper mines, tops out at an impressive 6,404ft and there are ski runs at two sites in the winter.

If conditions are right, it is even possible to ski down the mountain in the morning and go swimming in the sea in the afternoon.

Visitors will find quaint villages, pretty nature trails and fascinating museums, as well as escaping the fierce summer heat.

Must-sees include Agios Nikolaos tis Stegis, a Byzantine church which is unremarkable from the outside but has magnificent interior murals which date back as far as the 11th century. Close by, you’ll find Kakopetria, a pretty village tucked in to the Solea Valley, which has narrow stone-paved alleys and charming two-storey houses with wooden balconies and jars of colourful preserved fruits on sale.

Authentic Cyprus does not get much more authentic than this.


Get away from the crowds in rural Cyprus (Image: Getty)

Aphrodite’s Rock

Aphrodite’s Rock is said to have magical properties (Image: Getty)


Besides its beauty, Lara Bay is a haven for loggerhead and green turtles. A conservation station has for the sea in Lara Bay been set up and local ecologists place aluminium cages to protect turtle eggs from predators. Visit between May and August for a chance to see the turtles arriving on the beach to lay their eggs.


Scuba divers will love MS Zenobia, a Swedish roll-on-roll-off ferry which capsized off Larnaca harbour in 1980.

It is now rated as one of the top 10 wreck dives in the world and is home to species of fish including grouper, barracuda, moray eels and stingrays plus turtles and octopus. Much of the ferry and its cargo of tractors is intact.


A long-standing tradition of winemaking dates back to Ancient Greek, Roman and Egyptian times, though recent archaeological finds of old wine jugs in villages may be as much as 5,500 years old. The Akamas Wine Route runs through rugged coastlines and charming villages where winemakers work with the indigenous Xynisteri (white) grape variety which flourishes in a climate tempered by the sea breeze.

Commandaria is a fabled dessert wine made from two local grapes grown on the southern slopes of the Troodos Mountains, with only 14 villages entitled to give the name to their produce. The name comes from the Grand Commandery at Kolossi Castle as the Knights were renowned for producing it.


Mediterranean food and olive oil have gone hand in hand for millennia. The Oleastro Olive Park and Museum, near Pissouri, is Cyprus’s first such museum and visitors can discover the extraction methods, the role of olive tree in art and the Med diet plus customs, traditions and history. An ecological olive mill allows visitors to watch the oil extraction between mid-October and February (€3).



This article originally appeared on Daily Express :: Travel Feed

‘Vaccinated queen’: Tennis ace Bouchard says jabs will ‘get us back to real life’, likens treatment to a Willy Wonka golden ticket

Tennis favorite Genie Bouchard has proudly displayed the medical evidence of her Covid-19 jab, likening her appointment to winning a golden ticket while being hailed as a “vaccinated queen” by former US Open champ Sloane Stephens.

While the question of being vaccinated has divided figures across tennis, the 27-year-old was unequivocal in her excitement about receiving the treatment – adding that it made her feel as if she had received a hallowed ‘golden ticket’ to visit Willy Wonka’s confectionary production house, as made famous by the film ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’.

Breaking away from her usual displays of modeling stylish clothes and lounging in exotic locations, Bouchard posed with her post-vaccination plaster visible at the top of her left arm and the documentation of her treatment held in place on her chest by a bag strap.

“Got my Willy Wonka golden ticket,” added the Canadian it-girl, having previously told her Instagram following of more than 2.1 million that she was “vaccine-bound” while wearing a mask and looking into the camera.

The topic of vaccinations has been a particularly thorny one in tennis. Many top players and coaches have said they are reluctant to have a jab, explaining that they feel the existing vaccines have not been sufficiently tested.

Last week, former champion Pat Cash claimed that women’s governing body the WTA was encouraging stars to be vaccinated without giving them any information or alternative options, and there has been uproar in some quarters over mooted ‘vaccine passports’ that could dictate whether players, their entourages and fans are allowed to travel and attend events.

Bouchard playfully shared an unverified story from Twitter that was purportedly posted by someone who had vaccinated themselves, and shared a screenshot from dating app Bumble – an issue that may be close to her heart, given her previous insights into her varied love life – that showed a woman offering to “give it a shot” with potential suitors as long as they had been jabbed.

Several cautionary responses inevitably surfaced under Bouchard’s photo. “Walking, talking virtue signaling billboard with not an original thought or action in its empty head,” one viewer said of the snap, while another added: “Good little sheep.”

The Miami-based 2014 Wimbledon finest hit back at one of her respondents while mocking another who warned her that “most of the kids who got the Wonka golden tickets either died or were horribly injured or deformed.”

“Best reply,” laughed Bouchard, adding that a vaccine card “will get us back to real life.”

Ex-world number three Stephens, who won at Flushing Meadows in 2017, was fulsome in her praise for Bouchard’s bravery, receiving a heart emoji in reply.

The top two female players in the world, Ashleigh Barty and Naomi Osaka, have said they would be happy to be vaccinated, while world number three Simona Halep became one of the first to receive the treatment.

World number five Elina Svitolina is among those who has said vaccines for Covid-19 are unproven, joined by players including two-time Grand Slam winner Aryna Sabalenka.
Also on rt.com Tennis icon claims bosses have ‘skirted side effects’ of ‘experimental vaccine’ and FIFA or the IOC could have ‘manipulated virus’


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Phil Collins' ex-wife says she felt 'trapped in golden cage' and 'unhappy' in marriage

The father-of-five, who was previously married to Andrea Bertorelli, share one son together, Simon, who is a singer and drummer.

He also adopted Bertorelli’s daughter Joely, an actress and film producer.

Phil had one daughter with second wife Jill Tavelman, actress Lily Collins, who most recently starred in the Netflix series Emily in Paris.

He later went on to marry his third wife Orianne before their recent split.


Sharon Stone health: The Golden Globe star had 'synthetic heroin' after suffering a stroke

In September 2001, Sharon Stone had a near-fatal stroke and brain haemorrhage. “The pain was still so wildly intense,” she recalled.” I was put on a 24/7 drip of Dilaudid – a kind of synthetic heroin.” The mother-of-three – to her boys Roan, Quin and Laird – was drawn towards the “luminous” light, but “made a choice to survive”. In the days following her admission to hospital, Sharon “was unable to get up, stand up, or think clearly and function”.
After the medics performed an angiogram, they “found that [her] right vertebral artery, which is one of the two connecting your head to your back and spine, was torn to a fine shred”.

“I was bleeding into my face, my brain, my head, and my spine,” she had written.

Sharon was given a one percent chance of survival, but was “one of the lucky few who beat the odds”.

After the brain attack, she had a “tilted walk”, where her right leg would drag along the floor.

READ MORE: Nathaniel Hall health: It’s A Sin actor describes his HIV diagnosis

“The left side of my face [was] distorted,” she remembered, and there was “no feeling from the knee up in [her] left leg”.

“I was talking, not knowing I was stuttering, not realising that the walls didn’t really have blocks of colours on them.

“I’d lost directional hearing in my right ear… my right ear was so f’ed up that I had to turn my head to the left and watch people’s lips to understand what they were saying.

“I had an incomplete sense of what was going on around me… I had lost my short-term memory.”

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The actress whose job it was to read and remember lines wasn’t able to read for another two years.

Her short-term memory issues even meant that’d she wouldn’t remember where she’d put down a teacup.

Sharon questioned if she’d ever be able to work again, but after being diagnosed with a brain seizure condition, she was put on helpful medication.

“As I sit here now, nearly two decades later, the right side of my head still hurts,” she confessed.

“This is where the brain damage is, where the scarring is.” Although her recovery has been lengthy, most of her hearing has returned and she can walk normally again.

“I have all of the feeling again in my left leg,” she said, and she no longer stutters or hallucinates.

Stroke recovery

The NHS warned that a stoke can lead to “widespread and long-lasting problems”.

Examples of the psychological impact include depression and anxiety, but there are a whole range of difficulties one might face.

After effects can include cognitive issues, movement problems, communication troubles, swallowing difficulties, visual impairments, and loss of bladder control.

A stroke

A stroke occurs when the blood supply to the brain is cut off, causing brain cells to die.

This can happen rapidly, so it’s important to call 999 if you see any symptoms of a stroke:

  • F – is one side of the face drooping? Is the person able to smile?
  • A – can the person raise both arms at the same time and keep them there?
  • S – is their speech slurred or garbled? Are they struggling to talk?
  • T – time to call 999 immediately if you notice ANY of these signs

Sharon Stone is a guest on BBC One’s The Graham Norton Show, Friday April 2 at 10.45pm.

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