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‘Lost Caravaggio’ set for big London unveiling

The mystery of the ‘missing Caravaggio’ may be about to be solved when a London gallery reveals the restored version of what some think is the Renaissance master’s great lost work.

The naked warrior looks plaintively up into the averted eyes of a graceful woman methodically slicing off his head with a sword.It is a burst of violence painted in haunting tones by a Renaissance master worth at least $100 million or yet another fake distressing the art world.The mystery may be about to be solved when a London gallery on Thursday reveals the restored version of what some think is Caravaggios great lost work.
The canvas discovered in a Toulouse attic in 2014 was very important and must be fully investigated, Frances culture ministry cautiously noted in 2016.Caravaggio referred to the paintings existence in letters written to a friend.
Hot-tempered genius Caravaggios mastery elevated Europes understanding of art by the time he died from what some scientists think was gradual poisoning from the lead in his paint at the age of 38 in 1610.His arresting interplay of shadows and radiant light heralded the onset of the brooding Baroque style that flourished for 150 more years and produced the likes of Rubens and Rembrandt.
Caravaggios best works resemble scenes on a macabre theatre stage. The Biblical heroes are played by models he picked off the street mostly beggars and street kids and cast against dark backgrounds in a candle-lit glow.But he was a hot-tempered genius who was wanted for murder and hiding from the Rome authorities in his final years of life.He was notorious for brawling, even in a time and place when such behaviour was commonplace, the Caravaggio Foundation writes.
The 144 centimetres by 175 cms (57 inches by 69 inches) canvas depicts the moment the chaste widow Judith beheads the Assyrian general Holofernes to defend the city of Bethulia.She decapitates him after plying him with drink.The more risque takes depict Judith as a seducer who first tempts him to bed the path also chosen by Caravaggio in a similar work he painted eight years earlier that now hangs in Rome.The generals head is then taken away in a basket or on a silver platter for display.
The old maid in the scene from what could be Caravaggios missing work is disfigured by bulbous goitres a condition affecting the thyroid gland that compete for the eyes attention with the streams of blood gushing down the warriors chest. Inveterate copyist But what if this is not a Caravaggio but an admittedly fine copy by one of his Flemish disciples?Louis Finson was a recognised artist in his own right who both owned and reproduced Caravaggios work.
Finson was also an art dealer who may have had an ulterior motive in making Caravaggio duplicates and then selling them off to wealthy merchants in his native Bruges and Amsterdam.Finsons death in 1617 would still make the canvas discovered in the Toulouse attic by a family working on a leaky pipe more than four centuries old.Caravaggio expert John Gash told The New York Times in 2016 that Finson was an inveterate copyist.But I think the quality here looks better, Gash said.French art expert Eric Turquin who has the backing of Caravaggio specialist Nicola Spinosa and has been entrusted with the painting is also sure that this is the missing depiction of the graphic scene.The French Judith captures an energy that radiates, Turquin told AFP in 2017.

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Wagner’s five-wicket barrage counters Tamim’s ton

HAMILTON (AFP) – Neil Wagner finished with a five-wicket haul as New Zealand ripped through the Bangladesh tail to counter Tamim Iqbal’s virtuoso century on day one of the first Test in Hamilton on Thursday.
Despite Tamim’s heroic 126, New Zealand claimed the first-day honours when they reached stumps at 86 without loss in reply to Bangladesh’s 234.
Tamim, Bangladesh’s most prolific scorer, laid the foundations for a potentially huge total when he laid into the bowling after being sent in to bat on a typically green-tinged New Zealand wicket.He cracked 21 fours and a six as he feasted on fruitless New Zealand efforts, led by strike bowlers Tim Southee and Trent Boult, to find the edge of his bat.
But there was minimal support, and after Tamim had steered Bangladesh to 180 for four, his dismissal triggered a collapse where the last six wickets fell for 54 runs.Liton Das, the last man out, had the second highest score of 29.
New Zealand had an anxious moment at the start of their reply when Ebadat Hossain, on debut, saw his third ball in Test cricket fly from Tom Latham’s bat direct to second slip, but Soumya Sarkar spilled the straightforward chance.From there Latham and Jeet Raval knuckled down to bat unruffled through to stumps with Raval on 51, his eighth half-century, and Latham on 35.

In a productive morning session, Bangladesh went to lunch at 122 for two with Tamim contributing 86, including 15 fours, as he showed that despite the green hue the wicket held no dangers.Wagner in that period took one for 13 off six overs, while Southee had none for 40 off six.One session later and Bangladesh went to tea at 187 for seven with Wagner’s figures improving to three for 29 while Southee was still being caned at one for 71.The pair cleaned up the last three wickets immediately after tea with Wagner taking five for 47 with his relentless short-ball barrage, while Southee had three for 76.Colin de Grandhomme only took one wicket but it was the key dismissal of Tamim who clipped a wide delivery to Kane Williamson at gully.It made up for de Grandhomme’s earlier error when he dropped a regulation caught and bowled opportunity from Tamim on 65.

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Solskjaer admits his demands contributing to Man Utd injury pile-up

MANCHESTER (AFP) – Ole Gunnar Solskjaer believes the privilege of playing for Manchester United should be about the “survival of the fittest” as he deals with a mounting injury crisis.
Solskjaer had to make three first-half substitutions during Sunday s 0-0 draw with Liverpool as Ander Herrera, Juan Mata and Jesse Lingard all hobbled off injured.The Norwegian could be without 10 players in total for Wednesday s trip to Crystal Palace and acknowledged that at least some of the muscle problems suffered by his squad may be a result of the rising physical demands he is placing on them.United s running statistics have increased significantly since Solskjaer replaced Jose Mourinho in December.
That has been a factor in a huge upturn in results, with 14 matches under Solskjaer bringing 11 wins and just one defeat.It s probably linked, yes, said Solskjaer.But when do you make that change? Do you wait until pre-season and think you will change results by just not asking them to run?Or do we start now and show them demands of intensity and how we want to play?The caretaker manager has made a point of getting United to play the fast-paced attacking game for which they were renowned during much of Alex Ferguson s 26-and-a-half years in charge at Old Trafford.You have seen what I have chosen, he added.
We need to play as a Manchester United team. If you want to be a part of Manchester United, it s a survival of the fittest isn t it?Solskjaer acknowledged that the physical demands of a hard-running style may take its toll on some of the more experienced members of his squad.But he stressed the importance of professionalism off the pitch, saying his players could prolong their careers.They are getting older aren t they, Juan, Nemanja (Matic), Ander.So it s about the preparation, the standards that you have to live up to on and off the pitch as a Manchester United player, and as a professional player in the Premier League.It s not just turning up, playing and training and then going home and doing all these little out-of-football activities that we have all seen too many players doing.
I m pleased with the way my lads have responded in that way, that we don t see too much of them outside football.That was a big part of my career — as long as you are a footballer and you play in the Premier League, make the most of it because suddenly you get these injuries and you are done.
Solskjaer, meanwhile, is confident that Romelu Lukaku will get himself into the right shape to rediscover his best form.The striker, who has gone 10 games without scoring, admitted in December that the muscle mass he put on to help Belgium finish third at last year s World Cup has hampered his form at club level.I can understand why, when you go to a World Cup and see the teams you play, the physicality might take over in terms of your preparation.We ask our forwards to work at a higher intensity, to run in behind, but that s what he likes, so I m sure he ll be fine.Muscle is not so difficult to get rid of. He s lean, but he s muscly.

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Big Tobacco’s push for Big Vape

Citizens’ initiative calls for vaping to be treated differently from traditional smoking – and is backed by industry associations.
By Katie Jennings2/26/19, 7:58 PM CET2/27/19, 10:01 AM CETAll major tobacco companies are moving into vaping | Niklas Hallen/AFP via Getty ImagesAll major tobacco companies are moving into vaping | Niklas Hallen/AFP via Getty ImagesLinkedInWhatsAppCommentPrintBig Tobacco has a new lobbying tactic in Brussels — people power.
A petition calling for vaping products to be treated differently from tobacco was this month registered with the European Commission, using a process that’s designed to give the public a say in decision-making.However, the campaign received a €10,000 contribution from U.K.-based Imperial Brands, one of the world’s largest tobacco companies, and the individuals listed on the application include Imperial’s head of EU corporate affairs and representatives from national vaping industry lobbies.
As EU rules put the squeeze on cigarette sales, tobacco companies are expanding into vaping products and the industry is making huge efforts to ensure they avoid the regulatory fate of traditional smoking.The petition, which calls for looser controls on vaping products by having them treated separately from tobacco products, is part of that drive.Under the rules of the European Citizens’ Initiative process, the petition’s organizers have a year to collect 1 million signatures from at least seven EU countries. If that happens, the Commission must consider their request (although it can reject it).
The involvement of individuals with direct ties to the tobacco and vaping industries “reduces the [citizens’ initiative] tool to absurdity” — Olivier Hoedeman, researcher The Commission declined to name those behind the initiative — called “Let’s demand smarter vaping regulation” — when it was announced on February 12.But the subsequent registration listed Dustin Dahlmann and Mosè Giacomello, representatives of the German and Italian vaping industry associations, and Valerio Forconi, head of EU corporate affairs and a registered lobbyist for Imperial Brands.Also On Politico  Amsterdams Brexit bonanza Naomi OLearyAlso On PoliticoCancer and corruption: In Romania, its the same fightSarah Wheaton Forconi said Imperial is supporting grassroots activism by funding the campaign, and the individuals that registered the initiative said they are acting in a personal capacity.However, a corporate watchdog group called the petition an “abuse” of the system.
Tobacco companies are taking a different approach toward regulators with e-cigarettes than they did with traditional cigarettes | Fabrice Coffrini/AFP via Getty Images“Imperial Brands has vested commercial interests in getting vaping products excluded from the Tobacco Products Directive and is abusing a democratic tool for citizen participation,” he said.Imperial Brands (which used to be Imperial Tobacco Group and sells Gauloises cigarettes and Montecristo cigars) expanded into vaping through its subsidiary Fontem Ventures, which makes the brand Blu.
The U.S.and U.K.are its two biggest markets, and the company has also introduced the products in France, Germany and Italy.The petition argues the Commission needs to come up with a vaping policy that ensures “access to tobacco-free less harmful alternatives,” through “bespoke, evidence-based legislation” that takes vaping products away from the shadow of Big Tobacco.
A Commission spokesperson said that while companies cannot launch citizens’ initiatives, there is nothing in the rules to prohibit employees doing so in a personal capacity.Organizations “can promote or support initiatives provided that they do so with full transparency,” the Commission said.Flipping the playbook From the 1950s onward, tobacco companies worked to emphasize scientific uncertainty and downplay links between smoking and lung cancer, and nicotine and addiction.With vaping they are flipping the playbook.
All major tobacco companies are moving into vaping, including Altria (parent company of Philip Morris), British American Tobacco and Japan International Tobacco. In tandem with vaping industry associations, tobacco companies are relying on public health arguments to make the case that electronic cigarettes are “less harmful” than traditional ones.
“What [tobacco companies] were doing in the past was saying that there was no real evidence. In fact, it’s almost .
turning on its head at the minute,” said Martin McKee, a professor of European public health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.“We want to reduce the health impact of tobacco by encouraging smokers to switch to products with lower health risks like vaping ones” — Valerio Forconi, head of EU corporate affairs at Imperial BrandsVaping devices contain nicotine but not tobacco, heating a tank of liquid containing the addictive chemical to create a vapor that can be inhaled.
The EU cracked down on both tobacco and nicotine products as part of the 2014 Tobacco Products Directive, which limited the size and strength of e-cigarette tanks, restricted advertising and set rules on packaging.The Commission is scheduled to review the directive before May 2021.One of the aims of the citizens’ initiative is to repeal Article 20 of the Tobacco Products Directive, which outlines the regulations on vaping products, and have them dealt with under separate rules.“We want to reduce the health impact of tobacco by encouraging smokers to switch to products with lower health risks like vaping ones.
We support proportionate evidence-based regulation that encourages smokers to use alternative products that have the potential for reduced harm,” Forconi said.Several scientific studies have found vaping to be less harmful than traditional smoking.While England’s public health body has strongly endorsed e-cigarettes to reduce health harm, other researchers and officials, including European Health Commissioner Vytenis Andriukaitis, are urging caution.European Commissioner for Health Vytenis Andriukaitis | John Thys/AFP via Getty ImagesThe industry bolsters its argument by citing a 2015 review by Public Health England that found e-cigarettes are “around 95 percent safer” than traditional cigarettes.
“That figure has no credibility whatsoever,” said McKee, who co-authored a commentary in medical journal The BMJ challenging the methodology of the national health body’s review. “England is completely out of line with the rest of the world,” he said.Australia and Singapore have banned e-cigarettes and the cracking down on flavored products, saying they appeal to kids.Vaping may not bring the same risk of lung cancer as smoking “but there are serious questions about cardiovascular disease and there are enough questions there that I think the precautionary principle should be adopted,” McKee said.An alternative, McKee said, would be to regulate e-cigarettes as a medicine, if there is evidence to show they could get people off nicotine completely.“I see no justification for rolling them out as consumer goods, that’s a completely different ballpark,” McKee said.Industry opposes this route, since it would mean much stricter regulatory scrutiny. The petition states that vaping should be considered separately from pharmaceutical products.‘Time is money’Imperial’s €10,000 has gone toward building a website on which people can add their signature to the petition, and which is expected to launch in a few weeks, according to Brandon Mitchener, a managing partner for consultancy Instinctif Partners, based in Brussels.The tobacco company contracted the consultancy to provide “monitoring and strategic advice on a number of issues but mainly related to vaping,” according to Imperial’s Forconi.
That contract was worth between €50,000 and €99,000 in 2018, according to an entry in the EU’s transparency registerImperial spent more than £700 million investing in next generation products through 2018, according to a company report.“Time is money and everyone is contributing a significant amount of time to ensure the success of this initiative” — Dustin Dahlmann and Mosè Giacomello, vaping association representativesForconi said it is “hard to predict” how much money Imperial would spend promoting the petition, adding the campaign “will mainly run through social media instead of using the traditional communication touchpoints.”Giacomello and Dahlmann, who represent national vaping industry associations in Italy and Germany, said they expect their associations and others from Ireland, the United Kingdom, Czech Republic and France “will contribute to the campaign according to [their] individual means.” “Time is money and everyone is contributing a significant amount of time to ensure the success of this initiative,” Giacomello and Dahlmann said in a joint statement, adding that their associations’ investments would likely be more than €10,000, and would meet the EU’s transparency requirements.Andriukaitis’ office declined to comment on the petition or the involvement of the tobacco and vaping industries. The health commissioner has previously said e-cigarettes should be included in smoke-free legislation, and branded the argument that e-cigarettes should be freed from regulation because they help people quit smoking as “ridiculous.
”This article is part of POLITICO for a complimentary trial.

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‘Anybody can beat anybody’: Test upsets keep Black Caps wary

HAMILTON (AFP) – New Zealand captain Kane Williamson said Wednesday recent Test upsets mean “anybody can beat anybody” and the world number two ranked side can have no room for complacency against minnows Bangladesh.
The Black Caps made history this week when they were elevated to second in the ICC Test team rankings for the first time following South Africa’s shock 2-0 defeat at home to Sri Lanka, the only time an Asian team has won a series in South Africa.It came hot on the heels of the eighth-ranked West Indies also enjoying a stunning result at home by winning a Test series against England for the first time since 2009.Sri Lanka over in South Africa was a fantastic effort, said Williamson when naming his team for the opening match of a three-match Test series against Bangladesh which begins in Hamilton on Thursday.
It’s so hard to beat a side like South Africa anywhere, let alone in their backyard, but anybody can beat anybody.Ninth-ranked Bangladesh, who have enjoyed home Test wins against England and Australia in recent years, say Sri Lanka’s victory in South Africa stands as a beacon for them.What Sri Lanka did was remarkable, said Bangladesh coach Steve Rhodes.When the boys look at those results it definitely will be an inspiration for them and I will use it in the team talk.
If we play anything like we can do, we will surprise the New Zealanders.New Zealand dominated Sri Lanka before Christmas, leaving Williamson to suggest it was best to shut the rankings out of the conversation.It’s all about winning the series, as in every series that is sort of the goal you take into it, he said.As we’ve seen, the rankings are sometimes in your control and sometimes outside your control so it’s a very difficult thing to focus on.We know if we are playing good cricket day in and day out then perhaps those things will lean your way.New Zealand have made one change from the side that played their last Test, a victory over Sri Lanka two months ago by 423 runs, with Todd Astle coming in for Ajaz Patel.The Seddon Park wicket is usually regarded as a good batting strip but Williamson said it looks a little different this year and he was undecided on what he would do should he win the toss.

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Dunya News

NEW DELHI (AFP) – An Indian snooker tournament has been indefinitely postponed in a row over visas for Pakistani athletes following a suicide bomb attack New Delhi has blamed on Pakistan.
The 10 Reds Asian Tour event, scheduled to be held in Bangalore next month, looks likely to be cancelled after organisers said they could not guarantee Pakistani competitors would be allowed into the country.It follows the International Olympic Committee’s suspension of talks with India on holding major sports events last week after New Delhi refused to issue visas to two Pakistani shooters to take part in a World Cup event.Tensions between the nuclear-armed rivals have risen following a February 14 suicide attack in Kashmir in which 40 Indian paramilitaries were killed.It might be moved out, it has already been postponed, a senior Asian Confederation of Billiards Sport (ACBS) official said of the tour event, speaking on condition of anonymity.Read Also: India fears Olympic isolation over Pakistan visa rowThe participation of every member nation is paramount and is the responsibility of the host country.
After legs in Qatar and China, the Bangalore tournament was to be the third on the Asian tour.But Billiards and Snooker Federation of India (BSFI) secretary S.Subramaniam told AFP six of the 24 proposed competitors were of Pakistani origin.Since their visas will be an issue we informed the Asian body and they postponed the event.They are looking for venues elsewhere, he said.The IOC has also told individual sports federations not to award events to India until it can guarantee visas for all competitors.The Kashmir attack sparked nationwide outrage in India where there have been calls to boycott the India-Pakistan cricket World Cup match in England in June.India’s captain Virat Kohli said at the weekend the team will stand by any decision taken by the government and Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).

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Saudi crown prince meets Chinese president, bags oil deal

BEIJING (AFP) – Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman met China’s President Xi Jinping on Friday and bagged a $10-billion oil deal, pressing on with his diplomatic charm offensive in Asia following a global outcry over the Khashoggi killing.
Mohammed arrived in Beijing on Thursday following visits to Pakistan and India, showing the world that his country still has allies after the grisly murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the kingdom’s Istanbul consulate.
China is a good friend and partner to Saudi Arabia, Xi told Mohammed in a meeting in the Great Hall of the People.Saudi Arabia’s relations with China can be traced back a very long time in the past, the crown prince said.
Over such a long period of exchanges with China, we have never experienced any problems with China.He met with Chinese Vice Premier Han Zheng earlier on Friday.Is the crown prince’s tour symbolic of Saudi Arabia’s pivot to the East? Yes, Najah al-Otaibi, a senior analyst at the pro-Saudi think-tank Arabia Foundation, told AFP.Riyadh wants to strengthen alliances in Asia — especially now with the continuing fallout with the United States over Khashoggi’s murder and other issues, and attempts by the EU to put Riyadh on a blacklist over money laundering allegations.
Khashoggi, a fierce critic of the prince, was killed at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in October, a murder that tarnished the image of the kingdom and of the crown prince in particular.Riyadh initially denied the murder, then gave several conflicting accounts of Khashoggi’s death, and now claims he was killed in an unauthorised operation that did not involve Mohammed.
The murder sparked global indignation, with US lawmakers pushing for Washington to distance itself from the crown prince, but the White House has maintained close relations with Riyadh, a major ally in the Middle East.Separately, the European Commission wants to add Saudi Arabia to a money-laundering blacklist of governments that do too little to thwart the financing of terrorism and organised crime.
But China is looking to strengthen its economic ties with the kingdom, as Beijing pursues its ambitious Belt and Road trade infrastructure initiative, while Riyadh rolls out Saudi Vision 2030 — the crown prince’s major programme to diversify the national economy away from oil.Mohammed told the Chinese President they could join the two projects to realise more progress and jointly confront challenges.
Vice Premier Han suggested during his meeting with the crown prince that the two countries deepen partnerships in energy, infrastructure construction, finance, and high-tech.Trade and securityRiyadh’s national oil giant Saudi Aramco said it had signed an agreement to form a Saudi-Chinese joint venture — worth more than $10 billion — to develop a refining and petrochemical complex in northeastern Liaoning province.
The Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority also announced the signing of 35 non-binding memorandums of understanding, including deals related to energy, mining, transportation and e-commerce.China is Saudi Arabia’s largest trading partner.
As the kingdom diversifies its non-oil economy, it needs a variety of other investors with technical expertise, including the Chinese, Otaibi said.China steadfastly supports Saudi Arabia pushing a diversification of its economy and societal reforms, Xi told Mohammed, according to state broadcaster CCTV, adding he supported the hard work the kingdom has undertaken to promote stability and safety at home.National security is a potential area of cooperation between the Gulf state and China.The two countries should boost partnerships in counterterrorism and law enforcement, and exchange experience on combating extremism, Han said in his meeting with Mohammed, according to a report by the official Chinese news agency Xinhua.
The Saudis said they firmly supported Beijing’s efforts to keep the country secure, and opposed interference by external forces in China’s internal affairs, Xinhua added, paraphrasing remarks by the crown prince.Riyadh has remained silent over China’s treatment of Uighurs and other mostly Muslim minorities in the far-western region of Xinjiang.Up to one million Uighurs and other minorities are being held in internment camps in Xinjiang as part of a draconian anti-terror and anti-separatist campaign, according to estimates cited by a UN panel.China has the right to take anti-terrorism and de-extremization measures to safeguard national security, Mohammed told Xi, according to CCTV.

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