Santiago Solari Says Gareth Bale, Real Madrid Ready for Barcelona

Santiago Solari Says Gareth Bale, Real Madrid Ready for Barcelona

Everyone at Real Madrid, it seems, is fully prepared to face Barcelona in the Copa del Rey semi-finals.

Even Gareth Bale.

Bale’s commitment to the team has been called into question since he failed to celebrate his goal over the weekend, pushing teammate Lucas Vazquez away before heading back to midfield. His attitude sparked a wave of criticism, and rumours he was at odds with the rest of the team.

But with two consecutive matches coming up against Barcelona this week – the first on 27 March with a spot in the Copa del Rey final on the line – Real Madrid coach Santiago Solari was quick to diffuse any notion of problems within the squad.

“We are 100 percent focused on tomorrow’s match,” Solari said Tuesday. “Bale and the rest of the players are fully focused. We are all united and we have the same goal, which is to make it to the final.”

Real Madrid coach Santiago Solari was quick to diffuse any notion of problems within the squad.(Photo: AP)

Real Madrid has an away-goal advantage going into the match at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium after a 1-1 draw at the Camp Nou in the first leg three weeks ago.

“We start the match knowing that if we don’t score we won’t be able to advance,” said Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde, who will be taking charge of his 100th match with the team on Wednesday. “We have the obligation to score and we know that we are playing against a great rival, but it’s still open. We hope to advance.”

The upcoming match will be the second of three between the rivals in less than a month. The teams will meet again at the Bernabeu on 2 March in the Spanish league, where Barcelona has a comfortable seven-point lead over Atletico Madrid and a nine-point advantage over Real Madrid.

Barcelona is the defending league champion, and it will be going for an unprecedented fifth straight Copa del Rey title. Madrid won the league in 2017, but hasn’t won the cup competition since 2014, when it beat Barcelona in the final.

Bale hasn’t played often as a starter with Madrid, losing his place on the lineup to young Brazilian forward Vinicius Junior.

Bale appeared to be upset when Solari chose Marco Asensio as the first substitute in the 2-1 win at Levante on Sunday. After seeing he was not picked, the Wales forward stopped warming up and went back to the bench, staying there for a few minutes until Solari finally asked him to enter the match.

He scored the team’s second goal from a penalty kick and did not celebrate, moving Vazquez away from him and only briefly touching hands with other teammates as he returned to midfield.

Gareth Bale hasn’t played often as a starter with Madrid, losing his place on the lineup to young Brazilian forward Vinicius Junior.(Photo: AP)

The image of Bale “escaping” from Vazquez made it on some front pages in Spain the next day, and forced Solari to evade several questions about him in his news conference on Tuesday.

Veteran left back Marcelo recently had talked about how he still can only communicate with Bale in English, and goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois mentioned that the forward recently missed one of the group dinners because he wanted to go to sleep early.

Bale practiced normally with the rest of the squad on Tuesday, though, with nothing indicating he would not be included in the squad for the match. It wasn’t likely he would start, however. In the first leg, Solari began with Vinicius Junior in the lineup and Bale on the bench.

A player certain to start on Wednesday is Lionel Messi, who is coming off a stellar performance in Barcelona’s 4-2 win against Sevilla over the weekend, when he scored a hat trick and set up another goal to rebound from a series of poor performances.

Messi did not play the entire first leg against Madrid because of a right leg injury.

Solari said there was no reason to fear Messi, regardless of how well he was playing.

“That doesn’t exist for those who compete in soccer,” Solari said. “Those who compete are always out there to battle.”

Advertisements

Photos: Malnourished Venezuelans pin hopes on aid blocked at borders

Photos: Malnourished Venezuelans pin hopes on aid blocked at borders

Yaneidi Guzman, holds up an old picture of herself on her phone, at home in Caracas. The United Nations and Red Cross have cautioned against the politicization of aid. The United States, which is pushing Maduro to step down, sent aid for Venezuela to a collection point in neighbouring Colombia in military aircraft, in a show of force. (Carlos Garcia Rawlins / REUTERS)

Yaneidi Guzman combs her daughter’s hair. Guzman dreams of living once more not off foreign aid or government handouts but her own work. “It’s not that I want to be rich, or a millionaire,” she said. “But I do want to give my children a good future, to make sure I can take them to the doctors when they get ill … and that they eat well.” (Carlos Garcia Rawlins / REUTERS)

Yaneidi Guzman poses for a picture at her home in Caracas, Venezuela. Guzman has lost a third of her weight over the past three years as Venezuela’s economic collapse made food unaffordable and she now hopes the opposition will succeed in bringing urgently needed foreign aid to the South American country. (Carlos Garcia Rawlins / REUTERS)

Yaneidi Guzman sits on her mother-in-law’s bed as her husband, Jorge Perez, stands behind her. Guzman’s clothes hang limply off her gaunt frame. The 38-year-old is one of many Venezuelans suffering from malnutrition as the once-prosperous, oil-rich OPEC nation has seen its economy halve in size over the last five years under President Nicolas Maduro. (Carlos Garcia Rawlins / REUTERS)

Jorge Perez looks at a phone in his mother’s home. Growing malnutrition is one of the reasons opposition leader Juan Guaido moved ahead with his plans to bring supplies of food and medicine into Venezuela by land and sea last Saturday, despite resistance from Maduro, who denies there is a humanitarian crisis and has said it was a “show” to undermine him. (Carlos Garcia Rawlins / REUTERS)

Yaneidi Guzman stands in her kitchen at home in Caracas. On the wall of Guzman’s home in the hillside district of Petare in the capital Caracas, hangs a wooden plaque with the psalm “The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.” Yet her fridge is empty except for a few bags of beans. (Carlos Garcia Rawlins / REUTERS)

Yaneidi Guzman prepares sardines in her kitchen. Sometimes she wakes up not knowing what she will feed her family that day. Mostly they eat rice, lentils and cassava. While Guzman says she would welcome the aid, she is concerned the one-off shipment would be a drop in an ocean given Venezuelans’ needs. “You don’t only eat once,” she said. (Carlos Garcia Rawlins / REUTERS)

Yaneidi Guzman works as a street sweeper. “I hope they let the aid in,” said Guzman, who despite holding down two jobs cannot make enough money for the tests, supplements or protein-rich diet that doctors have prescribed her. She and her husband make less than $30 per month and prioritize feeding their three young children. (Carlos Garcia Rawlins / REUTERS)

Yaneidi Guzman shops for groceries. A sign (R) advertises a combo offer of a kilo of rice, pasta, salt, flour respectively and a half kilo of butter for 19500 Bolivars. The minimum monthly wage in Venezuela is 18000 Bolivars. Some political analysts said Saturday’s showdown was more about testing the military’s loyalty towards Maduro, rather than aid. (Carlos Garcia Rawlins / REUTERS)

Some aid agencies like Catholic relief agency Caritas are already on the ground providing what help they can. In San Francisco de Yare, a town 70 km south of Caracas, Maria Guitia’s one-year-old baby’s belly is distended and his arms thin. The pair live with Guitia’s five siblings and parents in a one-room tin shed with a dirt floor and no running water. (Carlos Garcia Rawlins / REUTERS)

Maira Guitia, the grandmother of Yeibe Medina prepares plantains at home. Work is scarce and they live off payments for odd jobs and a monthly government handout of heavily-subsidised basic food supplies. They have taken to inventing meals with what little they have like lentils with plantain from the trees in their backyard. (Carlos Garcia Rawlins / REUTERS)

Maria Guitia holds her one-year old son Yeibe Medina. Guitia, 21, said her son had lost weight over the past five months until Caritas gave them some nutritional supplements. (Carlos Garcia Rawlins / REUTERS)

about the galleryAid has become a proxy war in a battle for control of Venezuela, after opposition leader Juan Guaido in January invoked a constitutional provision to assume an interim presidency, saying President Nicolas Maduro’s re-election last year was fraudulent. In the process, Venezuelans’ diets have become ever more deficient in vitamins and protein, as currency controls restrict food imports and salaries fail to keep apace with inflation that is now above 2 million percent annually.

US asks Pakistan to take ‘meaningful action’ against terrorist groups

US asks Pakistan to take 'meaningful action' against terrorist groups

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. (File | AP)

WASHINGTON: The US on Wednesday firmly asked Pakistan to take “meaningful action” against terrorist groups operating on its soil and underscored the importance of avoiding escalation at any cost after India targeted terrorist camp in Pakistan.

Forty Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel were killed in a suicide attack by Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) in Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama district on February 14, sparking outrage in the country.

Following the incident, India on Tuesday bombed and destroyed JeM’s biggest training camp in Balakot in Pakistan’s restive Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, about 80-km from the Line of Control (LoC) early Tuesday, killing a “very large number” of terrorists, trainers and senior commanders.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in a phone call with the Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi also called for avoiding military action.

In a separate call with External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, Pompeo emphasised the close security partnership between the US and India and shared goal of maintaining peace and security in the region.

Pompeo is currently in Vietnam to attend the second summit between President Donald Trump and the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un on the denuclearsation of the Korean peninsula.

“Following Indian counter-terrorism actions on February 26, I spoke with Indian Minister of External Affairs Swaraj to emphasize our close security partnership and shared goal of maintaining peace and security in the region,” Pompeo said in a statement.

“I also spoke to Pakistani Foreign Minister Qureshi to underscore the priority of de-escalating current tensions by avoiding military action, and the urgency of Pakistan taking meaningful action against terrorist groups operating on its soil,” Pompeo said.

“I expressed to both Ministers that we encourage India and Pakistan to exercise restraint, and avoid escalation at any cost.

I also encouraged both ministers to prioritise direct communication and avoid further military activity,” said the Secretary of State.

Last week, US National Security Adviser John Bolton told his Indian counterpart Ajit Doval that America supports India’s right to self-defence as both sides vowed to work together to ensure that Pakistan ceases to be a safe heaven for JeM and other terror groups.

Macron protests: Yellow vests accused of hurling ‘disgusting’ poop bombs at Paris police

Macron protests: Yellow vests accused of hurling ‘disgusting’ poop bombs at Paris police

Tens of thousands of people marched on Saturday in Paris (Image: Dmitry Orlov\TASS via Getty Images)

Tens of thousands of people marched on Saturday in Paris and other big cities and dozens were arrested as the yellow vest movement staged its 15th straight weekend of demonstrations against President Emmanuel Macron’s government. Although the protests were largely peaceful, scuffles broke out in central Paris in the late afternoon. Police used tear gas to disperse crowds at the Place du Trocadero overlooking the Seine river and across from the Eiffel Tower, the poop bomb was reportedly thrown.

Police used tear gas to disperse crowds at the Place du Trocadero (Image: Mustafa Yalcin/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

The UNSA police union said poop bombs, or faecal cocktails, had been hurled at riot police and warned the tactic posed a serious health risk.

A UNSA spokesperson tweeted on Saturday: “Despicable! The UNSA police union denounces these premeditated and disgusting acts!”

According to UNSA, a police officer was hit by “a jar the size of a 1- or 2-litre bottle of water, which was filled with dog excrement mixed with water”.

The incident is alleged to have occurred while the officer was arresting two yellow vest protesters.

French president Emmanuel Macron (Image: GONZALO FUENTES/AFP/Getty Images)

The Paris Police prefecture and the National Police have both denied any knowledge of the incident, according to the French daily Le Parisien.

The use of faeces, both animal and human, against security forces is controversial, with many slamming it as an unsanitary and inappropriate tactic even in the face of a government people fiercely dislike.

In addition, the use of poop bombs, which some insist is only a minor offence, is considered an act of violence in France, where it is punishable by up to three years in jail and a 45,000 euro (£38,600) fine.

The protests — so-called because of the high-visibility jackets all French motorists have to carry in their cars — began in mid-November over rising fuel prices and a planned carbon tax hike, but quickly ballooned into a broader rebellion against Mr Macron’s perceived elitism and business-friendly reforms.

All weekly protests are now surrounded by a heavy police presence to prevent the return of violence (Image: Mustafa Yalcin/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

The citizen-led revolt has posed the biggest challenge to Mr Macron’s authority since he came to office in May 2017 promising to deeply transform France.

The movement, however, faces increased infighting as some of its most high-profile members have sought to run in the upcoming European elections.

Rallies have generally gotten smaller since a peak in December when the French capital saw some of the worst urban rioting, vandalism and looting in decades.

But over the weekend some 46,600 people joined the protests nationwide, including 5,800 in the capital, the Interior Ministry said. That was up from 41,500 last week, with 5,000 in Paris.

All weekly protests are now surrounded by a heavy police presence to prevent the return of violence.

Mr Macron’s popularity is slowly recovering from record lows reached in the wake of violent clashes (Image: Omar Havana/Getty Images)

Mr Macron’s popularity is slowly recovering from record lows reached in the wake of violent clashes between yellow vests and police in December, mostly thanks to a string of conciliatory measures aimed at boosting consumers’ purchasing power and a series of policy debates across the country aimed at reconnecting with disgruntled voters.

But some French officials have accused the yellow vest movement of triggering a wave of fanatical violence that has encouraged anti-Semitic and racist outbursts.

Earlier this month, a group of around 30 yellow vest demonstrators were filmed hurling abuse at Alain Finkielkraut, a well-known writer and son of a Holocaust survivor, as he walked through Paris during a protest, calling him a “dirty Zionist s**t” and telling him to “go back to Tel Aviv”.

Anti-Semitic acts rose by 74 percent in 2018 to 541 from 311 the previous year, including 81 violent ones, according to the Interior Ministry

United Methodist Church rejects bid to ease bans on same-sex marriage and gay clergy

United Methodist Church rejects bid to ease bans on same-sex marriage and gay clergy

Members of the United Methodist Church in St Louis, Missouri, reacting to the defeat to ease the faith’s ban on same-sex marriage and LGBT clergy. Photograph: Sid Hastings/AP

The United Methodist Church, America’s second-largest Protestant denomination, faces a likely surge in defections and acts of defiance after delegates at a crucial conference Tuesday rejected a move to ease the faith’s ban on same-sex marriage and ordination of LGBT clergy.

Some supporters of greater LGBT inclusion were in tears, while others vented their anger after delegates, on a 449-374 vote, defeated a proposal that would have let regional and local church bodies decide for themselves on gay-friendly policies.

“Devastation,” was how former Methodist pastor Rebecca Wilson of Detroit described her feelings. “As someone who left because I’m gay, I’m waiting for the church I love to stop bringing more hate.”

Delegates then took up a competing measure, known as the Traditional Plan, that would tighten enforcement of the LGBT bans and encourage Methodists who oppose those policies to leave the church. It won majority support in a preliminary vote on Monday.

The Traditional Plan’s success was due to an alliance of conservatives from the US and overseas. About 43% of the delegates are from abroad, mostly from Africa, and overwhelmingly support the LGBT bans.

If the bans were eased, “the church in Africa would cease to exist,” said the Rev Jerry Kulah of Liberia. “We can’t do anything but to support the Traditional Plan _ it is the biblical plan.”

The deep split within the church was evident in several fiery speeches opposing the Traditional Plan.

“If we bring this virus into our church, it will bring illness to us all,” said the Rev Thomas Berlin of Herndon, Virginia. He predicted many Methodist churchgoers and some regional bodies would leave the church, while others would “stay and fight,” performing same-sex weddings even if it meant punishment.

Many supporters of the more liberal plan stood in support as Berlin spoke. Some wore rainbow-motif garments or sat behind rainbow banners.

The Rev Allen Ewing-Merrill, a pastor from Portland, Maine, pledged defiance of the Traditional Plan, tweeting: “I will not participate in your bigotry, sin & violence.”

An association of Methodist theological schools warned that if the Traditional Plan passes, the church “will lose an entire generation of leaders in America”.

Formed in a merger in 1968, the United Methodist Church claims about 12.6 million members worldwide, including nearly 7 million in the United States.

While other mainline Protestant denominations, such as the Episcopal and Presbyterian (USA) churches, have embraced gay-friendly practices, the Methodist church still bans them, though acts of defiance by pro-LGBT clergy have multiplied.

UN chief situation closely, asks India, Pak to exercise “maximum restraint”

UN chief situation closely, asks India, Pak to exercise

UN chief Antonio Guterres | File AP

UNITED NATIONS: UN chief Antonio Guterres is following the situation between India and Pakistan “very closely” and has appealed to the governments of both nations to exercise “maximum restraint” to ensure the situation does not deteriorate further, a top UN official said Tuesday.

The UN Secretary General’s remarks came after Indian Air Force (IAF) carried out a pre-dawn air strike on a terror training camp inside Pakistan. The strike was the first by the IAF inside Pakistan after the 1971 war.

India bombed and destroyed Jaish-e-Mohammed’s (JeM) biggest training camp in Balakot in Pakistan’s restive Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, about 80-km from the Line of Control (LoC) early Tuesday, killing a “very large number” of terrorists, trainers and senior commanders.

“He is obviously following the situation very closely and reiterates his urgent appeal to both the governments of India and the government of Pakistan to exercise maximum restraint to ensure that the situation does not further deteriorate,” UN Spokesman Stephane Dujarric told reporters when asked about the Secretary General’s remarks on the air strike.

Dujarric said Guterres did not have any information on the possible casualties and has seen the news reports.

Guterres is returning to New York from Geneva and Dujarric said he had spoken to the UN chief about the situation between India and Pakistan before he boarded his plane.

The air strike came 12 days after the JeM carried out a suicide attack in Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama district that killed 40 CRPF soldiers.

India launched a major diplomatic offensive against Islamabad after the Pulwama attack and highlighted Pakistan’s role in using terrorism as an instrument of state policy.

The international community led by the US pressed Pakistan to deny safe haven to terror groups operating form its soil and bring the perpetrators of the Pulwama attack to justice.

India has asked Pakistan to take immediate and verifiable action against terrorists and terror groups operating from territories under its control.

New Delhi also announced the withdrawal of the Most Favoured Nation status for Pakistan and hiked the customs duty by 200 per cent on goods originating from Pakistan.

France asks Pakistan to end terror from its soil

France firmly condemns the terrible attack perpetrated on February 14 against Indian security forces in Pulwama.

France asks Pakistan to end terror from its soil

France recognises India’s legitimacy to ensure its security against crossborder terrorism and asks Pakistan to put an end to the operations of terrorist groups established on its territory,” the official said in a statement.

Paris: France has condemned the “terrible” Pulwama terror attack that killed 49 soldiers and asked Pakistan to put an end to the terrorist groups operating from its soil.

“France firmly condemns the terrible attack perpetrated on February 14 against Indian security forces in Pulwama, for which the terrorist group, JeM, has claimed responsibility,” said the acting spokesperson of the ministry of Europe and foreign affairs.

“France recognises India’s legitimacy to ensure its security against crossborder terrorism and asks Pakistan to put an end to the operations of terrorist groups established on its territory,” the official said in a statement.

Iceberg twice the size of New York City is set to break away from Antarctica

Iceberg twice the size of New York City is set to break away from Antarctica

The shear face of the massive B-15A iceberg in McMurdo Sound after it broke off the Ross Ice Shelf in Antarctica. Photograph: Josh Landis/AFP/Getty Images

An iceberg roughly twice the size of New York City is set to break away from an Antarctic ice shelf as a result of a rapidly spreading rift that is being monitored by Nasa.

A crack along part of the Brunt ice shelf in Antarctica first appeared in October 2016, according to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (Nasa). The crack is spreading to the east. This rift, known as a Halloween crack, is set to intersect with another fissure that was apparently stable for the past 35 years but is now accelerating north at a rate of around 2.5 miles a year.

Once these two rifts meet, which could happen within weeks, an iceberg of at least 660sq miles is set to be loosened.

This process, also known as calving, occurs naturally with ice shelves but “recent changes are unfamiliar in this area” and could lead to the destabilization of the Brunt ice shelf, Nasa warned.

“The likely future loss of the ice on the other side of the Halloween Crack suggests that more instability is possible,” said Chris Shuman, a glaciologist with Nasa and the University of Maryland Baltimore County.

While the anticipated iceberg is large by most measures, it is dwarfed by other recent Antarctic breakaways. In July 2017, one of the largest ever icebergs calved from the Larsen C ice shelf. At 2,200sq miles it was nearly twice the size of the US state of Delaware.

The long-term future of Antarctic ice shelves will have a major influence on sea level rise around the world. A report released by US and UK scientists last year stated that ice in Antarctica is melting at a record-breaking rate, posing a major threat to coastal cities.

The study found that melting of the ice sheet has accelerated threefold in the last five years. Unless drastic action is taken to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and limit global warming, scientists estimate that Antarctica’s melting ice should add more than 25cm to total global sea level rise by 2070.

Four D-day veterans awarded France’s highest honour ahead of 75th anniversary

Four D-day veterans awarded France’s highest honour ahead of 75th anniversary

Royal Navy veteran John Nicholls (centre) is welcomed onboard HMS Belfast in London. Photograph: Kirsty O’Connor/PA

The defence secretary, Gavin Williamson, has urged veterans to continue to pass their stories on to future generations as the 100-day countdown to the 75th anniversary of D-day begins.

More than 2,000 troops will take part in the commemorations in logistical and ceremonial support, in military bands, flypasts, and on Royal Navy ships escorting a specially chartered ship carrying D-day veterans to ceremonies in Portsmouth and Normandy.

Parachutists to fill skies over Normandy on 75th anniversary of D-day

Speaking aboard HMS Belfast in London, where four Royal Navy D-day veterans were awarded France’s highest honour, Williamson said the official commemorations on 6 June were “incredibly important”.

The four veterans, all from London, were awarded the Légion d’Honneur in a special ceremony by the French ambassador Jean-Pierre Jouyet.

French ambassador Jean-Pierre Jouyet, Royal Navy veterans Dennis Haley, John Nicholls, Charles Kavanagh and Patrick Reardon with the defence secretary Gavin Williamson and the director-general of the Imperial War Museum, Diane Lees, onboard HMS Belfast in London. Photograph: Kirsty O’Connor/PA

They were piped aboard the vessel, which was the flagship for part of the Allied armada and fired on German positions on D-day. The ship, now a branch of the Imperial War Museum, hosted the medal presentation in its ward room.

Denis Haley, 92, who was a 17-year-old signalman aboard HMS Southward Ho, was one of a team who towed parts of the Mulberry harbours from Portsmouth to Arromanches-les-Bains, then remained off the beach as part of a flotilla of small ships fitted with Esso smoke making equipment until mid-July 1944. Asked what he most remembered, he replied: “Mostly the noise, it was overwhelming, 24 hours a day.

“[The] noise of gunfire. The noise of the ships. You have to hear it to appreciate it.”

The fourth special service brigade makes its way on to Juno beach at Saint-Aubin-sur-Mer on the morning of 6 June 1944. Photograph: War Archive/Alamy Stock Photo/Alamy Stock Photo

Also honoured were Charles Kavanagh, 92, an able seaman who helped land tanks on Sword beach on D-day; Patrick Reardon, 93, a seaman in the RN combined operations aboard HMS Sheffield who landed on Omaha beach on 6 June, and John Nicholls, who served on HMS Argonaut on D-day, fired on and destroyed German gun batteries on Normandy and drove landing craft from ship to shore delivering troops and supplies.

Nicholls remembered only being told of the D-day plan with four hours to go and arriving in France to see “all hell” break loose.

“I looked at some of those troops, and as they were going in, I thought, ‘I wonder how many of them are going to come back.’” He lost 65% of his hearing from the noise of explosions during the battle. “I’ve come out of it with just half of my hearing gone, but those poor devils … they lost their lives. I think of them all the time,” he
said.

Britons who died in D-day landings to be remembered with monument

Jouyet said it was a “very great honour” for him to be on board HMS Belfast to express France’s gratitude. “At a time when Europe was dominated by a terrible dictatorship, France was able – from the first few hours of the war – to count on the support of its closest partner. The commitment to the law and democratic principles on which our societies are based inspired a shared battle for freedom. Long live Franco-British friendship.”

Referring to the 75th anniversary commemorations, Williamson said: “It’s important that we remember the enormous sacrifice that was made, the enormous courage that was shown, the fact that so many people were willing to step up.”

One of the Légion d’Honneur medals given to four Royal Navy veterans who helped liberate Normandy in 1944. Photograph: Owen Cooban/Ministry of Defence/Crown Copyright/PA

The defence secretary added: “As so many nations come together on the 5 and 6 of June, not just in Portsmouth, but also in Normandy, the real people – who are at the centre of those commemorations and celebrations about how we liberated Europe – are going to be those veterans who were willing to give everything for the freedoms that we enjoy today.

“What I think is important to do is to retell the stories that they have, continue to tell the next generation [about] the contribution that they made in fighting for the values that we do hold so dear to our heart today.”

European Union court rules halal meat cannot get organic label

European Union court rules halal meat cannot get organic label

Representational image.

PARIS: The European Union’s top court has ruled that the EU organic food logo cannot be used on meat derived from animals that have been slaughtered in accordance with religious rites without first being stunned.

The EU Court of Justice said Tuesday that such labelling aims to ensure products have been obtained in observance of the highest standards in animal welfare.

The court says the stunning technique significantly reduces animal suffering. A French animal welfare association brought the case in 2012, arguing that halal beef shouldn’t be labelled organic.

The ruling states that the practice of ritual slaughter as part of which an animal may be killed without first being stunned is authorised by an exception to the general rule in the EU to ensure observance of the freedom of religion.