European News

From rival fighters to side-by-side bikers

BBC News

Marwan and Elie fought for rival militias in Lebanon’s civil war, which divided Beirut into two isolated districts – east and west.

However, their common passi

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Technology giants’ power to be probed in US

BBC News

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The US Justice Department has announced an investigation into leading online platforms, examining whether they are unfairly restricting competition.

The DoJ did not name any firms, but companies such as Facebook, Google, Amazon and Apple are likely to be scrutinised in the wide-ranging probe.

It was sparked by “widespread concerns” about “search, social media, and some retail services online,” the DoJ said.

It marks the latest scrutiny of tech firms’ power over the US economy.

The US Federal Trade Commission is already looking into similar concerns, while there are also investigations taking place in the European Union.

Last month, the Justice Department was reported to be preparing an investigation of Google to determine whether the search engine giant had broken anti-trust law.

The US Department of Justice said its anti-trust review would consider “whether and how market-leading online platforms have achieved market power and are engaging in practices that have reduced competition, stifled innovation or otherwise harmed consumers”.

It is likely to examine issues including how the largest tech firms have grown in size and power, and expanded into additional businesses

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Nasa Mission Control creator, Chris Kraft, dies

BBC News

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Chris Kraft: A pioneer in a pioneering field

The first flight director of US space agency Nasa has died at the age of 95 – days after 50th anniversary celebrations of the first Moon landing.

Chris Kraft, who joined Nasa in 1958, developed the planning and control processes for crewed space missions.

He set up Nasa’s Mission Control operations to manage America’s first manned space flight and the subsequent Apollo missions to the Moon.

“His legacy is immeasurable,” Nasa chief Jim Bridenstine said.

“America has truly lost a national treasure today with the passing of one of Nasa’s earliest pioneers,” he said in a statement announcing Kraft’s passing.

“Chris was one of the core team members that helped our nation put humans in space and on the Moon.”

The 1969 Moon landing was marked last Saturday with a series of events by the agency, as well as broadcasters and space enthusiasts around the world.

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Media captionRelive the tense moments as Neil Armstrong manually pilots the lunar module towards the surface of the Moon.

Kraft was born on 28 February 1924 in Phoebus, Virginia, where he attended school and developed

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Ivory from nearly 300 elephants seized in haul

BBC News

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Media captionThe haul was Singapore’s largest ivory seizure to date

Singapore authorities have seized 8.8 tonnes (8,800kg) of elephant ivory, its largest ever seizure to date.

Authorities estimate that the tusks, valued at $12.9m (£10.4m), have come from nearly 300 African elephants.

Some 11.9 tonnes of pangolin scales valued at $35.7m were also seized. It is believed to have belonged to about 2,000 of the mammals.

The illegal cargo was found in containers after a tip-off from China’s customs department.

Authorities discovered the animal parts on Sunday after they inspected a shipment from the Democratic Republic of Congo that was passing through Singapore on its way to Vietnam.

The containers were falsely declared to contain timber.

“Upon inspection, sacks containing pangolin scales and elephant ivory were found in one of the containers,” the National Parks Board said

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What’s the best way to stay awake in meetings?

BBC News

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US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross is reportedly prone to dozing off in meetings. He’s not the only one. So is there a trick to stopping those eyelids from suddenly feeling so, so heavy?

Meeting-induced sleepiness – it happens to the best of us.

Former vice-presidents Joe Biden and Dick Cheney; Former Speaker of the House of Representatives Newt Gingrich; Supreme Court Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Clarence Thomas – all famous faces who have made headlines for being caught napping during speeches and meetings.

Mr Ross is the latest politician to be criticised for being reportedly unable to “stop falling asleep in meetings” at his department, according to Politico. But his staff denied his focus was so erratic that long meetings were avoided.

So how can you avoid the tempting pull of sleep during your next meeting – and how might you keep everyone awake the next time you have to lead one?

1. The right time…

Elise Keith, founder of Lucid Meetings, a US-based meeting coaching company, says that while time preferences may vary among individuals, research indicates that some periods may be better for achieving certain goals.

“Things like status updates and logical thinking – you want to do those earlier in the morning,” she says. When impressing people is important – like status updates, sales demos, interviews – the morning, “when sharpness and enthusiasm are at their height”, is best.

“Closer to the end of the day is a really good time for brainstorming… because the energy that you had in the morning has started to wear off,” she says. “People loosen up, which is also what you want when you’re trying to illicit cool ideas.”

And of course, never do meetings in the “dead zone” period – right after lunch.

UK-based author and workplace culture expert Judi James, however, says the exact time “matters less than we think” and ensuring a meeting has a clearly stated end time is more important.

“We often fall asleep in meetings out of boredom, not tiredness.”

2. … and right place

While some sessions must take place wherever the work can get done, meeting in unconventional locations can help boost creativity.

Standing meetings – where, as the name suggests, participants talk without sitting down – have also been praised by many efficiency experts for keeping things efficient.

Ms Keith suggests walking meetings or spaces outside for more creative sessions.

3. Be prepared

“The kind of meeting that leaves people to fall asleep is one where they probably shouldn’t be there in the first place… or where other people

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Ronaldo will not face charges in ‘rape’ case

BBC News

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Football star Cristiano Ronaldo will not face charges after being accused of sexual assault, US prosecutors say.

Kathryn Mayorga, 34, had alleged that the Juventus player raped her at a Las Vegas hotel in 2009.

She reportedly reached an out-of-court settlement with the Portuguese star in 2010, but sought to reopen the case in 2018. He denied the allegations.

In a statement on Monday, Las Vegas prosecutors said the claims could not “be proven beyond reasonable doubt”.

The Clark County District Attorney’s office said the victim reported an assault in 2009, but refused to state where it had happened or w

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‘China’s Nasdaq’ board starts trading

BBC News

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Trading on China’s new Nasdaq-style technology board began on Monday and got off to a solid start.

Most shares on the so-called Star market, operated by the Shanghai Stock Exchange, surged on debut.

Last year China said it would launch the technology-focused trading board, as it sought to build on Shanghai’s role as a global financial hub.

It marks a significant step in the country’s bid to open its economy and markets.

Some 25 companies began trading on the new tech board.

Semiconductor firm Anji Microelectronics Te

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Australian swimmer refuses to join rival on podium

BBC News

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Mack Horton (left) refused to join rival Sun Yang on a medal podium

Australian swimmer Mack Horton has publicly reignited his feud with Chinese rival Sun Yang, years after accusing him of being a “drug cheat”.

Sun pipped Horton to claim gold in the 400m freestyle at the World Aquatics Championships in South Korea on Sunday.

Horton later refused to share the medal podium with Sun – who has faced fresh claims of violating doping protocols.

Afterwards, Sun told reporters: “Disrespecting me was OK, but disrespecting China was unfortunate.

“I feel sorry about that.”

Horton, the defending Olympic champion, had also declined to shake hands with Sun or pose for photos with him. He happily posed beside Italian bronze medallist Gabriele Detti.

Sun served a three-month suspension in 2014 for testing positive for a banned stimulant trimetazidine, which he said had been for a heart complaint.

Horton ‘frustrated’

The pair’s enmity goes back to the 2016 Rio Olympics when Horton accused Sun of deliberately splashing him in a training session, saying: “I ignored him, I don’t have time or respect for drug cheats.”

Later, he added: “I just have a problem with athletes who have tested positive and are still competing.”

Horton won gold in Rio, but Sun has otherwise dominated the event in recent years – his win on Sunday in Gwangju is his fourth con

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Humanitarian group resumes Med migrant rescues

BBC News

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Migrants making the journey often travel in poorly maintained and overcrowded vessels

Migrant rescue charity SOS Méditerranée has resumed operations off the coast of Libya with a new ship, after the last one was forced to stop its work by European governments.

Its new vessel, the Ocean Viking, is flying the Norwegian flag.

The crew of 31 includes nine health workers from the charity’s partners, Medecins Sans Frontières (MSF).

SOS Méditerranée suspended operations by its previous vessel, the Aquarius, after it was denied entry to Italy.

Thousands of migrants attempt to cross the Mediterranean to Europe every year, and Libya is a key departure point. Those who make the journey often travel in poorly maintained and overcrowded vessel

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Chancellor denies ‘major failure’ over tanker

BBC News

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Media captionA Royal Navy frigate can be heard warning Iranian armed forces, before the oil tanker is seized

The UK government did not take its “eye off the ball” over the seizure of a UK-flagged oil tanker in the Gulf on Friday, the chancellor told the BBC.

Philip Hammond said the UK has been working closely with US and European partners in response to Iran’s actions.

But ex-Tory party leader Iain Duncan Smith said the Stena Impero’s capture was a “major failure” for the UK.

Iran’s foreign minister said only “prudence and foresight” would reduce tensions between Iran and Britain.

The 23 crew members, who are Indian, Russian, Latvian and Filipino, have now been taken off the ship for “questioning”, Iran’s Press TV has reported.

Charts showing the ship was in Omani waters when it was captured prove its seizure was in “clear violation of international law”, the UK Chamber of Shipping said.

The UK has accused Iran of “unacceptable and highly escalatory” action, in a letter to the president of the United Nations Security Council.

What have UK politicians said?

Speaking on the BBC’s Andrew Marr programme, Mr Hammond said the UK would pursue “every possible diplomatic route” to resolve the situation.

He said sanctions, including financial, against Iran are already in place, and it was unclear what more could be done.

Mr Hammond, who announced his intention to resign if Boris Johnson becomes prime minister, added: “We are of course looking at all the options.”

But Mr Duncan Smith told the BBC there are questions to be raised about the British government’s behaviour.

He said the detention of a tanker carrying Iranian oil two weeks earlier ought to have served as a warning British vessels in the Gulf needed protection.

The MP said he understood the US had offered the UK “assets” to support its shipping and they were not taken up.

“This is a major failure and the government has to answer that charge very quickly indeed.”

Defence minister Tobias Ellwood told Sky the Royal Navy was too small to manage the UK’s interests around the globe but had not been negligent in protecting its ships.

Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt earlier said Iran viewed this as a “tit-for-tat situation” but “nothing could be further from the truth”.

Labour shadow justice minister Richard Burgon said the UK should avoid becoming Donald Trump’s “sidekicks” and warned a US-backed conflict with Iran could be worse than the Iraq War.

What happened?

On Friday, the Stena Impero was seized by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard in the Strait of Hormuz after Tehran said it was “violating international maritime rules”.

A second tanker, the British-owned MV Mesdar, was also boarded by armed guards but released.

Video released by Iran’s Revolutionary Guard-affiliated Fars news agency appeared to show the moment the tanker was raided.

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Media captionFootage released by Iran’s Revolutionary Guard-affiliated Fars news agency appears to show Stena Impero being seized

HMS Montrose was alerted but it was too far away to stop the seizure.

eA recording of radio exchanges between a Royal Navy frigate and Iranian armed forces vessels moments before the tanker was seized was also released.

In the recording, an Iranian vessel tells HMS Montrose it wants to

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