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Saturday, July 20 2019 @ 02:16 pm UTC

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Julia Roberts has been named the 'World's Most Beautiful Woman for 2017'

ENTERTAINMENT NEWS - Julia Roberts has been named the 'World's Most Beautiful Woman' for 2017

The 49-year-old actress is "very flattered" to have picked up People magazine's annual accolade for the fifth time, and joked she'll be bragging to her good friend George Clooney, a double winner of the publication's 'Sexiest Man Alive' title.

She said: "I am very flattered. I'm going to mention that in my Christmas card to the Clooneys this year."

Despite her beauty, the Eat Pray Love star claims she felt "awkward" in her early years

Julia - who has children Hazel and Phinnaeus, 12, and Henry, nine, with husband Danny Moder - first scooped the title in 1991 when she was 23 years old, a year after she shot to fame in Pretty Woman.

Looking back, the actress admits she had no idea how much the film would change her life.

She said: "People say, 'Oh, when Pretty Woman came out it must have really changed your life,' and it's kind of become this joke, but the truth is I was out of town when Pretty Woman came out.

"I was in another movie in this tiny little town that was showing Star Wars in its first run. I remember reading ... ''Pretty Woman came out this weekend and made this much money" and I thought, 'Is that a lot of money? Is that good? Is that great?' I didn't really know."

These days, the actress couldn't be happier with her personal life

She gushed: "I mean every day my husband walks in the door it's like a recurring dream. I'm like, 'Ah, he's back!' "


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It's the first time Ford publicly put a figure on job losses.

MOTORING NEWS - US carmaker Ford said Thursday that it plans to slash a total of 12,000 jobs across Europe as part of a previously announced restructuring.

The overall figure includes 5,400 layoffs already announced in Germany and 1,700 in Wales.

The move comes as the company closes or sells six plants in Britain, France, Russia and Slovakia this year and next.

The job cuts will come "primarily through voluntary separation programmes", said Ford, which employs around 51,000 people and operates 24 factories around Europe.

As well as the factory closure in Wales, three sites in Russia, one in Slovakia and one in France will be shuttered.

Thursday is the first time Ford has publicly stated the jobs impact of its plans.

Group chief executive Jim Hackett announced last autumn a massive restructuring of the American firm, aiming to save $11 billion and turn Ford into a more "agile" group with faster decision-making processes.

The company aims to catch up with the world leaders in the industry's transformation towards autonomous and electric-powered driving, as well as services like car-sharing and ride-sharing.

Ford says that "financial results in Europe are on track to significantly improve for full year 2019", adding that in future it will refocus on electric mobility.

Its European operations will be reorganised into three divisions: commercial vehicles, passenger vehicles, and imports.

"This could be the first step towards a complete or partial sale" of Ford's car business in Europe, industry expert Ferdinand Dudenhoeffer of the University of Duisburg-Essen's CAR institute told AFP.


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President Donald Trump has warned that companies will leave China if a trade deal with the US is not reached.

INTERNATIONAL NEWS - President Donald Trump on Monday warned China not to retaliate after Washington raised punitive duties on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports to 25 percent from 10 percent.

"China should not retaliate-will only get worse!" Trump wrote in a flurry of tweets on trade.

The tariffs were imposed on Friday after two days of talks to resolve the US-China trade battle ended with no deal, however negotiations will continue.

Trump also addressed Chinese President Xi Jinping and warned that companies would leave China if a trade deal was not reached.

"I say openly to President Xi & all of my many friends in China that China will be hurt very badly if you don't make a deal because companies will be forced to leave China for other countries."

"Too expensive to buy in China. You had a great deal, almost completed, & you backed out!" Trump tweeted.

In Trump's view, "Tariffed companies will be leaving China for Vietnam and other such countries in Asia. That's why China wants to make a deal so badly! ... There will be nobody left in China to do business with. Very bad for China, very good for USA!

"But China has taken so advantage of the U.S. for so many years, that they are way ahead (Our Presidents did not do the job)."

Research shows that Americans will bear the brunt of the impact from the tariffs, as the levies are paid by importers and ultimately passed on at least partially to consumers.

Global markets remain on red alert over a trade war between the two superpowers that most observers warn could shatter global economic growth, and hurt demand for commodities like oil.


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Germany's Bosch powers up hydrogen cells for cars

Hydrogen fuel stations are still are rare sight across Germany.
INTERNATIONAL NEWS - The world's biggest auto parts maker Bosch said Monday it would work with a Swedish firm to develop key components for hydrogen fuel cells designed to power cars, after backing off building electric batteries.

Stuttgart-based Bosch and Powercell Sweden AB - formerly a subsidiary of carmaker Volvo - aim to bring the fuel cells to market "in 2022 at the latest".

Hydrogen-powered electric vehicles could prove winners compared with their battery-driven cousins for some applications.

They offer a longer range and can be refuelled about as quickly as a petrol- or diesel-powered vehicle.

At the same time, hydrogen cars boast some of the advantages of battery-electric, including powerful acceleration, silent operation and no emissions at the point of use except water vapour.

But a number of technological hurdles remain to be cleared before mass deployment.

Large amounts of electricity are required to produce hydrogen, and there is a very limited network of fuelling stations.

Just sixty refuelling points are available across Germany.

Bosch did not reveal the financial terms of its deal with Powercell Sweden, but the two firms will work together to develop the so-called "stack" - components at the heart of the cell where the chemical reaction between hydrogen and oxygen takes place to produce electricity.

The group last year decided not to compete with existing Asian industry leaders in producing electric batteries for cars, seeing the rivals' technological advantage as too great to catch up.

By doing so, it turned away from supplying German carmakers like mammoth Volkswagen as they gear up to offer dozens of electric vehicles over the coming decade.

Manufacturers have taken the plunge on electric power faced with looming tougher emissions rules in the European Union, loaded with hefty financial penalties if they are breached.

European carbon dioxide (CO2) reduction targets "can only be reached by electrifying more and more of the powertrain. The fuel cell can play a decisive role here," Bosch said.

At first, "the best opportunities for broad adoption of fuel-cell technology are in the commercial-vehicle market," the firm added, although it expects broader use in passenger cars should follow.

By 2030, Bosch estimates that 20 percent of all electric vehicles worldwide will be powered by fuel cells.


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‘Charity starts at home – and this is my home. What you learn along the way is what you can pass on, in every area,’ she says.

Princess Charlene of Monaco at Turffontein racecourse, 9 April during the draw for the HSH Maiden Plate which will take place at Turffontein on Saturday. Photo: Neil McCartney
NATIONAL NEWS - Back when she was still known as Charlene Wittstock, Princess of Monaco, Her Serene Highness Charlene, already knew what race day meant.

“My father has always been involved with horseracing and has been very passionate about it ever since I was born,” the former Olymic swimmer said yesterday at Turffontein Racecourse in Johannesburg.

“I always went to the racetrack with my father, walk in the stables, be close to the horses. The horses are athletes themselves so it was always interesting to see how the horses were trained, and the attention paid to them.”

The Princess of Monaco is in Johannesburg for The Royal Race Day, a racing event that ensures Gugulesizwe and Lesabe primary schools in Benoni each receive R50,000.

After spending a few weeks in South Africa this year with her family, Princess Charlene seems reinvigorated to continue charitable work in the country.

“Charity starts at home – and this is my home. I always felt proud to represent the country [as an athlete]. What you learn along the way is what you can pass on, in every area,” she says.

That’s exactly what has led her to establish Princess Charlene of Monaco Foundation in South Africa a few years ago.

Programmes run by the foundation are aimed at water safety and education. “We started with the message that we need to pay attention to children around any aquatic facility … 150,000 people drown every year,” she says. “We’re in a climate where people enjoy being outdoors, and we want to feel safe that our children know what to do and the swimming and water safety is important.”

The foundation also works with many other organisations and government.

“Implementing it means working with city councils, working with town councils or individuals or the swimming school on the corner, just to get that education out there.”

But Princess Charlene is also focused on natural heritage.

“My love for animals started at an early age and certainly now, we have problems where some animals face extinction, we could lose entire species,” she says. “I know that I have a platform not just for helping people and educating children but also conserving and preserving our nature – every animal counts.”

But this week all attention is on equines and another successful The Royal Race Day.

After a busy day where she had to draw the final fields for the day, Princess Charlene had a single-word answer to the one South African thing she would like accessible globally – “biltong”.

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- GLOBAL NEWSStray pup emerges top dog in elite Indian sniffer squad

Asha, a rescued stray-turned-sniffer dog, is put through her paces at the West Bengal training school.
INTERNATIONAL NEWS - Some 18 months after been rescued from stone-throwing children, an Indian street mutt has emerged top dog in an elite bomb- and drug-sniffing squad.

"Asha" - meaning "hope" in Hindi - was rescued by West Bengal police when they found her being mistreated outside their training facility.

"The dog was bleeding when she was taken inside the campus," senior West Bengal Police Training Academy official Dipankar Bhattacharya told AFP.

Officers originally intended keeping the mixed-breed stray as a pet, but Asha turned out to have a nose every bit as good as the German Shepherds and Labradors usually trained to sniff out explosives and drugs.

Sajal Mondal, the head of the academy, said she passed the gruelling training with flying colours and that drugs and explosives like TNT were no match for Asha's keen sense of smell.

"She performed better than her pedigree peers, jumping nearly six feet (two metres) high and crossing hurdles," he said.

"She is also our fastest runner."

Asha is the first mixed-breed dog to join the 30-strong unit.


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Denmark's 70-kilometre (45-mile) fence along the border with Germany to keep out infected wild boar is expected to be completed in the autumn.
INTERNATIONAL NEWS - In a bid to protect its pork industry, Denmark began building a fence Monday along its border with Germany to keep out wild boar infected with the African swine fever virus.

The 70-kilometre (45-mile) fence is a precautionary measure and expected to be completed in the autumn.

"The fence and our increased efforts to hunt wild boar will break the chain of infection so there is less risk of African swine fever spreading to Denmark," Environment and Food Minister Jakob Ellemann-Jensen said.

There are "11 billion good reasons to do everything we can to prevent African swine fever reaching Denmark," he added.

The virus is not harmful to humans but causes haemorrhagic fever in pigs and wild boar that almost always ends in death within days.

It was first spotted in Poland in 2014 when infected wild boar entered from neighbouring Belarus.

Belgium reported its first case in September near the borders with Luxembourg and France, prompting it to carry out a preventive pig slaughter and set up an exclusion zone.

No cases have been reported in Germany.

Denmark is one of Europe's main pork exporters, raising 28 million pigs per year across some 5,000 farms.

Pork accounts for five percent of Danish exports, or 30 billion kroner (four billion euros, $4.5 billion) in 2016.

In France, the army was in early January called in to help hunters cull thousands of wild boar near the Belgian border. A fence is also in the process of being raised.

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- GLOBAL NEWS A whole new meaning to 'bucket seat'

The motorist behind the "steering wheel" of this deplorable-looking car was actually sitting on an upside down metal bucket and steering the vehicle with a pair of metal pliers.

MOTORING NEWS - Police caught a man in Norfolk, England, who was driving a battered car using a metal bucket as car seat and pliers for steering.

You might think that this guy was extremely unfortunate to get pulled over by cops, but you'd be wrong. What first caught the attention of police officers patrolling the streets of King's Lynn, was the battered state of the car this man was driving.

It had no front wing, bumper or headlights and to top it off, it also had a flat tyre. Hardly what you'd call a roadworthy vehicle, but this was nothing compared to what awaited the officers inside.

The motorist behind the "steering wheel" of this deplorable-looking car was actually sitting on an upside down metal bucket and steering the vehicle with a pair of metal pliers.

There was no revolutions counter or speedometer to speak of. In fact, the thing barely had any dashboard. But hey, it worked, so who needs that stuff anyway?

As you can imagine, the policemen were quite shocked by the sight, and while their subsequent social media post didn't specify what charges the driver faced, they did say that there were "too many offences to mention".

Police caught a man in Norfolk, England, who was driving a battered car using a metal bucket as car seat and pliers for steering.

Norfolk police tweeted photos of the car in its shocking state on Twitter, and they soon went viral, attracting all kinds of tongue-in-cheek comments. One person wrote that the car "gives a whole new meaning to the word bucket seat", while another called it "ingeniously unbelievable". Jon Parker, an officer from Norfolk police, called the battered vehicle "the most unroadworthy car I've ever seen".

There was no revolutions counter or speedometer to speak of. In fact, the thing barely had any dashboard.

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British minister promotes post-Brexit trade in Israel

Britain's International Trade Secretary Liam Fox in London's Downing Street on November 26, 2018.

INTERNATIONAL NEWS - British International Trade Secretary Liam Fox met Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday as his country prepares to leave the European Union and pursue an independent trade policy.

Britain's exports to Israel already grew by 75 percent in the first half of 2018 compared to the same period last year, Fox's office said, citing Israeli official figures.

Last year saw more than $9 billion in trade between the two nations, a record high, it said.

"And as we leave the European Union and Britain takes up its place as an independent state of (the World Trade Organisation), we want to push our concept of free trade even further," Fox told Netanyahu ahead of their meeting.

"In a world where the siren calls of protectionism are rising, two free-trade nations like ours need to make the case for global free trade because trade spreads prosperity."

Netanyahu said: "Britain is in fact our largest trade partner in Europe - one of our most important trading partners in the world - and we value the friendship."

Israel is notably an import market for British cars, while Scotch whiskey sales in Israel have increased by 300 percent since 2012, according to Fox's office.

Other leading British exports to Israel have included mineral products and machinery and electrical equipment, as well as chemical industry products, according to the British embassy.

British Prime Minister Theresa May is seeking to convince hostile MPs to back her draft deal for future ties with the EU after her country exits the bloc next March. A vote is scheduled for December 11.

Fox arrived in Israel on Monday and met with Palestinian prime minister Rami Hamdallah in Ramallah in the occupied West Bank on Tuesday.


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It is not uncommon for ferries to capsize on Lake Victoria and the number of fatalities is often high due to a shortage of life jackets and the fact many local people cannot swim.
INTERNATIONAL NEWS - Twenty-two people have died and more than 60 are feared drowned after a pleasure boat sank on Lake Victoria, Ugandan police said Sunday.

The vessel carrying close to a hundred revellers sank during bad weather on Saturday in the latest deadly incident to affect passenger boats on Africa's largest lake.

"Twenty-two bodies have been recovered and 26 people rescued," said Asuman Mugenyi, director of operations for the Uganda police. "According to one of the survivors there were more than 90 people on board."

The boat, on which party-goers were drinking, dancing and listening to music, sank a short distance from the shore off Mutima in Mukono District, close to the capital Kampala.

Mugenyi said overloading and bad weather were likely to blame.

"We expect (the number of passengers) is beyond the capacity of the boat. It was overloaded and unfortunately people were drunk," Mugenyi said. "We suspect the mechanical condition of the boat and the weather contributed to the sinking."

"A big storm hit," said local government official Richard Kikongo. "It can be fine on land but bad weather on the lake."

Kikongo said first responders were among the victims. "Fishermen on two small boats could see that the boat was sinking and went to help. People tried to jump onto the boats but they were too many and those sunk. The rescuers died too," he said.

Nearby residents said the vessel was hired out for parties every weekend and often overloaded with revellers.

The Mutima Country Haven resort had been converted to a triage centre and morgue on Sunday morning where police were collecting the swollen bodies of victims

Police spokesman Emilian Kayima said rescue efforts were continuing.

Lake Victoria is the site of many boat disasters. In September, hundreds died when the MV Nyerere passenger ferry sank on the Tanzanian side of Lake Victoria.

With a surface area of 70,000 square kilometres (27,000 square miles), oval-shaped Lake Victoria is roughly the size of Ireland and is shared by Tanzania, Uganda and Kenya.

It is not uncommon for ferries to capsize on the lake and the number of fatalities is often high due to a shortage of life jackets and the fact that many local people cannot swim.

In 1966, more than 800 people lost their lives on Lake Victoria when the MV Bukoba sank off the mainland town of Mwanza, according to the Red Cross.


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