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Jose Mourinho
Mourinho’s tenure off to a flying start at Spurs
23 November 2019, 5:03 PM

Jose Mourinho got off to the best possible start as Tottenham Hotspur manager as his new side beat West Ham United 3-2 at London Stadium on Saturday, their first Premier League away win in 10 months.

First-half goals from Son Heung-min and Lucas Moura and another after the break from Harry Kane, his 175th for the club,  inflicted West Ham’s fifth league defeat in seven games and piled more pressure on manager Manuel Pellegrini whose side sit close to the drop zone.

Mourinho, however, will not be happy with the way Spurs conceded two late goals as substitute Michail Antonio and Angelo Ogbonna capitalised on familiar errors in a defence that has kept just one league clean sheet all season.

After Kane had an early effort ruled out for offside, Son put the visitors ahead on 36 minutes, sweeping by Papa Diop and firing past West Ham’s unconvincing keeper Roberto for his sixth goal in as many games.

Mourinho, returning to English football after 11 months, punched the air in celebration and his mood improved further before the break when an outrageous scooped pass from Dele Alli freed Son on the left.

The South Korean’s inviting cross was forced home at the back post by Moura, who was one of three changes on Mourinho’s first teamsheet.

Kane was completely unmarked to head home Tottenham’s third on 49 minutes and move third on Spurs’ list of all-time scorers, behind Jimmy Greaves (266) and Bobby Smith (208).

Declan Rice had a late effort disallowed for offside by VAR as West Ham rallied, although the result was never in doubt, Ogbonna netting their second deep into stoppage-time.

Jerry Chun Shing Lee
Former CIA case officer sentenced for being spy
23 November 2019, 4:46 PM

A former CIA case officer was sentenced by a federal judge in Virginia on Friday to serve 19 years in prison, after he pleaded guilty in May to conspiring to become a spy for China, federal prosecutors announced.

Jerry Chun Shing Lee, 55, left the CIA in 2007 and moved to Hong Kong. A few years later, in 2010, he was approached by two Chinese intelligence officers who offered to pay him $100,000 and to take care of him for life for information he had acquired as a CIA officer.

Hundreds of thousands of dollars were subsequently paid into Lee’s personal bank account between 2010 and 2013, in exchange for his services.

“Instead of embracing that responsibility and honouring his commitment to not disclose national defence information, Lee’s sold out his country, conspired to become a spy for a foreign government, and then repeatedly lied to investigators about his conduct,” Zachary Terwilliger, the US Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, said in a statement.

According to the Justice Department, the FBI conducted a search of Lee’s hotel room in Hawaii in August 2012 and discovered he had an address book and day planner containing handwritten notes he had made during his time as a CIA case officer prior to 2004.

The notes included highly sensitive intelligence, such as the names of CIA assets, operational meeting locations, phone numbers and details on covert facilities.

He later lied to the FBI when he was confronted.

He pleaded guilty in May with conspiring to deliver national security defence information to aid a foreign government.

WHO sounds alarm on Ebola due to Congo insecurity
22 November 2019, 6:39 PM

About 360 people are at potential risk of Ebola after contact with an infected person in eastern Congo yet many of them are out of reach due to clashes and insecurity, the World Health Organization said on Friday.

Dr Michael Ryan, executive director of the WHO Health Emergencies Programme, urged the government and all sides to enable aid workers to access several areas where the deadly virus may be spreading.

Islamist militiamen killed at least 19 people in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, stepping up attacks on civilians in response to a military campaign against them in border areas with Uganda, local officials said on Wednesday.

The assailants, who the officials said belong to the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), a Ugandan Islamist group, burned down a Catholic church near the city of Oicha.

Ryan said that although only 7 cases of Ebola were recorded in the past week, it was unable to stamp out the deadly virus due to insecurity.

“The difficulty we collectively face at the moment is just when we need that unlimited and unfettered access to communities we have lost that access in key areas,” he told a news briefing.

“This is a very dangerous and alarming development,” he said.

A male driver died of Ebola in Oicha, North Kivu province, after visiting three health care centers, Ryan said, adding that many other drivers had handled the body at the funeral.

“That one case has generated over 360 contacts – which is a large number of contacts for any case. We know that person was highly infectious at the moment of death. That is why we are so concerned,” Ryan said.

At least 62 of the 200 contacts in Oicha were deemed at “extreme high risk”, he said, but aid workers had only located 19 of them. About 159 had fled to Kalunguta where most were being monitored.

“Certainly I don’t believe we are going to see an explosive transmission of Ebola just because of this incident,” Ryan said.

“What I am highlighting is the fact that we are so close to finishing, that if we lose this opportunity we are going to be dealing with that reality for months to come,” he said.

There have been 3,298 Ebola cases including 2,195 deaths since the outbreak was declared in August 2018, Ryan said.

“By the time this Ebola outbreak in Congo is over the international community will probably have spent $1 billion.”

Shattered glass: Futuristic design questioned after Tesla Cybertruck launch
22 November 2019, 6:09 PM

Tesla Inc’s launch of its futuristic Cybertruck pickup suffered a setback when its “armoured glass” windows shattered but it was the overall look of the car that worried Wall Street on Friday, sending the company’s shares down 6% on Friday.

In the much-anticipated unveiling to cheering fans late on Thursday, Tesla boss Elon Musk had taken aim at the design, power and durability of mainstream trucks, only to be shaken when his boast about his new vehicle’s windows backfired.

“Oh my f**g God, well, maybe that was a little too hard,” Musk said, when his head of design, Franz von Holzhausen, cracked the driver’s side window with a metal ball in a series of pre-planned tests for the crowd.

He allowed von Holzhausen another throw to the rear passenger window, only to see that crack as well. “It didn’t go through, so that’s a plus side,” Musk said, adding: “Room for improvement”.

Musk singled out the Ford F-150, the top-selling vehicle in the United States, to highlight the capabilities of the Cybertruck, showing an edited video of the two trucks in a back-to-back “tug-of-war” in which the Tesla truck wins.

Some Wall Street analysts praised the launch on Friday but others doubted the futuristic design’s mass appeal and shares in the electric car-maker were last down 5.7% at $334.68.

Ford shares rose around 1%. “Musk has been enthusiastic about his Blade Runner inspired design for months, but we were still surprised how futuristic he went with this one and believe it may shatter his dreams,” Cowen analysts wrote in a note.

“While we are pleased to see Tesla enter the most profitable segment of the North American passenger car market, we do not see this vehicle in its current form being a success.”

“UGLY” Critics online also made fun of the space-craft style look. “I wish Elon Musk hadn’t blocked me on Twitter after I said his Mars colonization idea was dumb, so I could tell him how ugly his new #Cybertruck is,” author @MarkDice, who has 1.5million YouTube followers, tweeted. “Just make a normal truck,” added another user.

With a starting price of $39,900, the Cybertruck takes aim at the heart of Detroit automakers’ profits, while drawing familiar support from Tesla watchers online.

“Yes, it looks like a retro version of the future. It’s supposed to. The incredibly simple body lines will lead to incredibly simple manufacturing, while keeping the focus on its performance,” said @AElchamaa “Electric powertrains are not cheap, but this truck is giving you a lot of it for its money.”

To show off the robust design of the new pickup, Musk asked von Holzhausen to take a sledgehammer to the side of the vehicle, whose exterior will be made from the same stainless steel used in the Starship rocket developed by Musk’s SpaceX aerospace company.

The crowd cheered when the hammer bounced off the surface without leaving a mark.

But the supposedly tough windows shattered with just one hit. “Never demonstrate something in a live audience, that you haven’t tried repeatedly backstage,” wrote another Twitter user,@DrBenH.

A poster of presidential candidate Domingos Simoes Pereira covers side of building under construction in Bissau, Guinea-Bissau.
Guinea-Bissau hopes elections will calm political turmoil
22 November 2019, 7:31 AM

After weeks of political turmoil including violent protests, an alleged coup attempt and the emergence of two competing prime ministers, Guinea-Bissau is holding a presidential election on Sunday that many hope will usher in a semblance of calm.

The vote will pit President Jose Mario Vaz against old rival and former Prime Minister Domingos Simoes Pereira, and 10 other candidates seeking to draw a line under five years of turbulence under Vaz characterised by high-level sackings and a barely functioning parliament.

“As soon as a new president is elected, Bissau will turn one of the gloomier pages of its history,” said homemaker Virginia Mendes on her way to the shops in the capital Bissau this week.

Pereira, who has styled himself as a moderniser, is seen as the front-runner by political observers in Guinea Bissau and internationally.

Whatever the result, the vote represents a milestone of sorts for Guinea Bissau, which has suffered nine coups or attempted coups since independence from Portugal in 1974. The West African country’s scattered Atlantic islands, mangrove mazes and un-policed waters have made it a paradise for adventurous tourists and cocaine traffickers en route from South America to Europe.

Vaz will be the first democratically elected president to have completed a full term in the country of 1.6 million.

“It used to be coups and assassinations and now it’s the busy politics of coalition and all sorts of political maneuvering,” said Vincent Foucher of the French National Centre for Scientific Research.

The next president will inherit difficulties caused in part by the political system, in which the majority party or coalition appoints the government but the president has the power to dismiss it in certain circumstances.

A pre-election crisis arose from a long-running power struggle between Vaz and the ruling party that has led to a carousel of seven prime ministers since he took over in 2014.

In the latest round of prime-ministerial musical chairs, Vaz fired premier Aristides Gomes on October 29, and appointed a successor to him, but Gomes refused to step down. For around 10 days the country had two prime ministers until Vaz backed down under pressure from the international community, which said his moves were illegal.

Regional bloc ECOWAS had warned of the threat of civil war and urged the authorities not to allow the election to be derailed.

ECOWAS has played a prominent role in trying to resolve the crisis, imposing economic sanctions on people it judged to be undermining efforts to end the impasse in 2018, including members of Vaz’s faction and his son.

In late October, Prime Minister Gomes accused presidential candidate Umaro Cissoko Embalo of planning a coup. Embalo denied the charge. Meanwhile one protester was killed in a violent anti-government demonstration in early November.

The African Development Bank says the protracted instability has muddied the outlook for the economy, which despite annual growth of around 5% is already hostage to the volatile price of cashew nuts that are the main income source for over two-thirds of households.

“There is a hope that this election, which comes after the legislative election earlier this year, will bring some stability… with a more solid ruling coalition,” Foucher said.

Drugs and corruption remain a problem, however. There have been high-profile busts this year, including the discovery in September of a record 1.8 tonnes of cocaine hidden in flour bags.

In the past the army has been quick to intervene in politics. Most recently, the 2012 leadership race was abandoned after soldiers stormed the presidential palace.

But the military has not picked sides in the current crisis and has said it will support the police in safeguarding Sunday’s vote.

Apart from Vaz and Pereira, main contenders in the race include former prime ministers Umaro Sissoco Embalo and Carlos Gomes Junior, and Nuno Nabiam who is supported by the country’s large Balanta ethnic group. There are 750,000 registered voters.

Embalo and Nabiam have used the campaign trail to accuse ECOWAS of overreach and threatening Guinea-Bissau’s sovereignty.

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