Europe

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Europe

Post-Soviet strongmen prescribe vodka, hockey and folk medicine against coronavirus

Take, for instance, Belarus, a small country sandwiched between Russia and European Union member Poland: President Alexander Lukashenko has shrugged off concerns about Covid-19, telling his people that hockey, vodka, and banya — a traditional sauna — are the best cures.Lukashenko, who has ruled the country of 9.5 million people for more than a quarter of a century, has imposed few restrictions to prevent coronavirus from spreading further.Restaurants, parks and bars remain open. Mass sporting events go on as scheduled and attract hundreds of spectators, in defiance of the World Health Organization's social distancing recommendations. The Belarussian Premier League is now the only soccer competition on the continent. And Lukashenko himself hasn't limited public appearances, opting to play in a hockey match on Saturday. "It's better to die standing than to live on your knees," he said, rinkside in full hockey gear, in an interview with state television. "This is a fridge, ..

Europe

Coronavirus deals blow to Putin’s plans to stay in power until 2036

In a televised address to the nation Wednesday, Putin announced a sweeping array of measures to cope with the spread of the virus and its widening economic effects."Let's not rely on our Russian luck," he said. "Please do not think, as we often do: 'Oh, this will not touch me.' It can touch everyone. And then what is happening today in many Western countries, both in Europe and overseas, could become our immediate future."Some of the measures were meant to soften the economic blow. Starting on March 28, Russians will have a week's paid leave — to stay home. Russians will see a moratorium on mortgage payments, and enterprises will be given credit holidays. And families entitled to government payments to support multiple children will receive extra monthly payments.But coronavirus has taken on a political dimension for the Russian leader: Putin also announced that a nationwide referendum on constitutional amendments scheduled for April 22 has been postponed until furt..

Europe

Spain turns ice rink into a morgue as coronavirus deaths pile up

Bodies of people who have died of Covid-19 are now being transported by the country's emergency military unit to the Palacio de Hielo, or Ice Palace, in Madrid's Hortaleza neighborhood, the Madrid regional president's office told CNN on Tuesday. The regional government said this was a "temporary and extraordinary measure" designed to "lessen the pain of the families of the victims and the situation that's being recorded in Madrid's hospitals."Spain has the fourth highest number of confirmed cases worldwide — after China, Italy and the US — and the third highest number of deaths. The country has confirmed 39,673 cases and 2,696 deaths, the prime minister's office said Tuesday. The Madrid municipal funeral service, a major provider in the city, announced in a statement on Monday it would stop collecting the bodies of Covid-19 victims, because its workers don't have sufficient protective material. The service manages 14 cemeteries, two funeral parlors an..

Europe

Netflix and YouTube are slowing down in Europe to keep the internet from breaking

Both companies said the measures will affect all video streams for 30 days."We estimate that this will reduce Netflix traffic on European networks by around 25% while also ensuring a good quality service for our members," a Netflix spokesperson said in a statement.A spokesperson for Google (GOOGL), which owns YouTube, said: "We will continue working with member state governments and network operators to minimize stress on the system, while also delivering a good user experience."The changes follow appeals from EU officials for streaming services and individual users to ditch high definition video to prevent the internet from breaking. With so many countries on forced lockdowns to fight the spread of the virus, hundreds of millions working from home and even more children out of school, the officials were concerned about the huge strain on the internet.European Commissioner Thierry Breton, who is responsible for the EU internal market covering more than 450 million people, spoke to Netf..

Europe

The world’s biggest carmaker is shutting down in Europe

The German carmaking giant said Tuesday that production at its plants in Spain, Setubal in Portugal and Bratislava in Slovakia will be halted before the end of the week. Factories in Italy that make Lamborghini super cars and Ducati motorcycles will also be idled. Most of the group's other German and European plants are preparing to suspend production, probably for two weeks, Volkswagen (VLKAF) CEO Herbert Diess told reporters on Tuesday."Given the present significant deterioration in the sales situation and the heightened uncertainty regarding parts supplies to our plants, production is to be suspended in the near future at factories operated by group brands," said Diess.Volkswagen, which owns brands including Skoda, Audi, Porsche and Bugatti, delivered 10.8 million vehicles to customers in 2019, more than any other carmaker. Roughly 44% of the group's 668,000 employees live in Germany, where the company is a leading force in the country's huge manufacturing sector.It&#..

Europe

Caroline Flack, ‘Love Island,’ and industry of outrage surrounding star’s death

Flack, the 40-year-old former host of the hit UK reality show "Love Island," died by suicide at her northeast London apartment as she awaited trial for an alleged assault of her boyfriend. Mental health organizations urge against assuming a single factor in cases of suicide. But reaction was nonetheless swift and often definitive.Social media, the British press and the Crown Prosecution Service have all been blamed for their treatment of the star, while celebrity well-wishers have been attacked for hypocrisy and politicians have mooted a reform of the media.Meanwhile, the same media cycle that aided Flack's rise to fame was condemned for tearing her down in her final months, and many reacted with fury as tabloids like The Sun moved swiftly to delete previous negative articles about the star.What's clear is that the reverberations from the death of Flack, a longtime staple of Britain's raucous tabloid press, are being widely felt — with fundamental questions raised about ..

Europe

Are cell phone calls on airplane flights inevitable?

(CNN) — Ah, holiday travel. Between huge crowds and weather delays, flying during this time of year is hectic. Now close your eyes and imagine the entire scenario with one additional annoyance: Loud talkers yammering into their cell phones at 35,000 feet.Don't worry — this potentially ear-splitting scenario isn't a reality yet. At least not in the United States. But it could be soon. Some even say it's just a year or two away. The technology to support midair cell phone calls exists right now. Just about every plane that offers WiFi has the bandwidth to support voice over the internet, and several international airlines allow voice calls on certain routes already. Still, at least on domestic US flights, voice calls are forbidden for four distinct reasons: flight attendants, public perception, concerns about safety and US law. Airline officials won't even consider in-flight cell-phone calls until or unless they feel there is overwhelming demand from customers to ..

Europe

Britain’s most prolific rapist sentenced to life in prison for 159 sexual offenses

Reynhard Sinaga was found guilty of 159 counts of sexual offenses against 48 different men, and must serve 30 years before he is considered for release.Sinaga, 36, approached men in the early hours of the morning outside nightclubs in Manchester, offering them somewhere to sleep or more alcohol at his home.Once there he would drug them, then film himself raping them while they slept. Police found evidence linking him to assaults against as many as 190 different people. They said victims were often unaware they had been assaulted.Sinaga's attacks only came to light in 2017, when a victim woke up and fought him off before going to the police. Police believed he had been carrying out similar attacks for 12 years by that point.He was found guilty in four separate trials, the details of which can only now be published."Reynhard Sinaga is the most prolific rapist in British legal history," Ian Rushton, North West Deputy Chief Crown Prosecutor, said. "His extreme sense of sexual entitlem..

Europe

‘Hamlet’ in the skies? The story behind Taiwan’s newest airline

(CNN) — Debuting its first flights in January 2020, Taiwanese start-up STARLUX Airlines could be the first new player in 30 years to upend the island's duopoly aviation market. And even before the carrier, dubbed Taiwan's first luxury boutique airline, set its first aircraft into the air, it's been creating a stir. Eleven minutes after opening ticket sales online on December 16, the Taipei-based carrier sold out all seats on its first three flights — Taipei-Macau, Taipei-Penang and Taipei-Danang. But both aviation watchers and the general public are abuzz for another reason: A succession drama involving STARLUX founder Chang Kuo-wei that's so juicy he's being referred to as the aviation industry's "Prince Hamlet" by local media. Chang Kuo-wei founded STARLUX Airlines after being ousted from his family business, EVA Airways. courtesy Starlux Airlines This Shakepearean tale took root in 2016, when Chang Yung-fa, founder of Taiwan's Evergreen G..

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