UK woman rescued 10 hours after falling from cruise ship in Adriatic

A British woman has been rescued after spending 10 hours in the Adriatic Sea at night, having fallen from a cruise ship, according to Croatia’s coastguard.

The 46-year-old, who gave her name as Kay to local media and was later named Kay Longstaff in UK reports, was taken to hospital in Pula, Croatia, and is understood to be out of danger.

It is understood she fell from the Norwegian Star cruise ship about 60 miles (100km) off Croatia’s coast shortly before midnight on Saturday as the vessel was making its way from the port of Vergarola to Venice in Italy.

The liner raised the alarm and was joined by coastguard and civilian vessels, plus a PC-9 aircraft, at about 6.30am on Sunday. The woman was spotted at 9.40am and reached by a rescue swimmer from a patrol boat minutes later, Croatian media reported, saying she was about 1.3km away from the spot where she fell in.

The rescued passenger told the Croatian news channel HRT: “I am very lucky to be alive. ... I fell off the back of the Norwegian Star and I was in the water for 10 hours, so these wonderful guys rescued me.

“I was sitting at the back of the deck and, yeah ... it was bad,” she said before being taken into an ambulance.

An unnamed rescuer told the Sun: “She said the fact that she practises yoga helped her as she was fit. And she said she was singing to not feel cold in the sea overnight.”

David Radas, a spokesman for the Croatian ministry of maritime affairs, said that by checking CCTV rescuers knew the exact moment Longstaff fell in the water. “Because they knew the time, they were able to know the exact position of the ship,” he told the Sun.

The rescue ship’s captain, Lovro Orešković, said the woman was exhausted, adding: “We were extremely happy for saving a human life.”

A Norwegian Cruise Line spokesperson said: “On the morning of 19 August a guest went overboard as Norwegian Star made her way to Venice. The coastguard was notified and a search and rescue operation ensued.

The rescued passenger told the Croatian news channel HRT: “I am very lucky to be alive. ... I fell off the back of the Norwegian Star and I was in the water for 10 hours, so these wonderful guys rescued me.

“I was sitting at the back of the deck and, yeah ... it was bad,” she said before being taken into an ambulance.

An unnamed rescuer told the Sun: “She said the fact that she practises yoga helped her as she was fit. And she said she was singing to not feel cold in the sea overnight.”

David Radas, a spokesman for the Croatian ministry of maritime affairs, said that by checking CCTV rescuers knew the exact moment Longstaff fell in the water. “Because they knew the time, they were able to know the exact position of the ship,” he told the Sun.

The rescue ship’s captain, Lovro Orešković, said the woman was exhausted, adding: “We were extremely happy for saving a human life.”

A Norwegian Cruise Line spokesperson said: “On the morning of 19 August a guest went overboard as Norwegian Star made her way to Venice. The coastguard was notified and a search and rescue operation ensued.

The rescued passenger told the Croatian news channel HRT: “I am very lucky to be alive. ... I fell off the back of the Norwegian Star and I was in the water for 10 hours, so these wonderful guys rescued me.

“I was sitting at the back of the deck and, yeah ... it was bad,” she said before being taken into an ambulance.

An unnamed rescuer told the Sun: “She said the fact that she practises yoga helped her as she was fit. And she said she was singing to not feel cold in the sea overnight.”

David Radas, a spokesman for the Croatian ministry of maritime affairs, said that by checking CCTV rescuers knew the exact moment Longstaff fell in the water. “Because they knew the time, they were able to know the exact position of the ship,” he told the Sun.

The rescue ship’s captain, Lovro Orešković, said the woman was exhausted, adding: “We were extremely happy for saving a human life.”

A Norwegian Cruise Line spokesperson said: “On the morning of 19 August a guest went overboard as Norwegian Star made her way to Venice. The coastguard was notified and a search and rescue operation ensued.

 

  • Published in World

Europe's record temperature of 48C could be beaten this weekend

Britain is basking in 31C heat, three people have died from heatstroke in Spain as the mercury reached the mid-40s, and a mountain glacier in Sweden has melted so much that its peak is no longer the country’s highest point.

Alex Burkill, a Met Office meteorologist, said that despite the cooler temperatures of recent days “it is not the end of the hot weather for the summer” as sunshine returns to most of the country.

A yellow severe warning for thunderstorms was in place for some parts of England and Scotland until 9pm on Friday.

The Met Office said: “Some flooding of a few homes and businesses is possible, leading to some damage to buildings or structures. There is a good chance driving conditions will be affected by spray, standing water and/or hail, leading to longer journey times by car and bus. Some short-term loss of power and other services is likely.”

Sun-drenched British holidaymakers are enjoying record temperatures on the continent during their summer breaks. Tourists are being urged to avoid the sun during the hottest part of the day and remember that children are particularly susceptible to the heat.

People cool off at the beach in Benidorm, Spain.People cool off at the beach in Benidorm, Spain. Photograph: Heino Kalis/Reuters

Eight places in Portugal broke local temperature records on Friday as a wave of heat from North Africa swept across the Iberian peninsula and officials predicted the scorching temperatures could get even worse over the weekend.

Temperatures built to around 45C (113 F) in many inland areas of Portugal, and were expected to peak at 47C (116.6F) in some places on Saturday. Large sections of Portugal are on red alert on the country’s civil protection agency’s danger scale.

The highest temperature recorded on Thursday, when the heat began to rise, was 45.2 C (113.4 F) near Abrantes, a town 150km (93 miles) north-east of the capital, Lisbon, the country’s weather agency IPMA said.

In Spain three men died of heatstroke. A middle-aged man in Barcelona was found collapsed on a street and taken to hospital where he later died. Two other men – a roadworker in his 40s and a 78-year-old pensioner – also died from heatstroke.

 

  • Published in World

Cuba receives 2,5 Mln tourists in first half 2018

Cuba is on track to meet its target of drawing 5 million foreign visitors by the end of 2018, with 2.5 million international tourists arriving in the first half of the year, local media reported on Saturday.

The latest tourism figures were released during a cabinet meeting presided over by President Miguel Diaz-Canel, state daily Granma said.

Cuba's Tourism Ministry was lauded for its efforts to recover tourism flows in the wake of the devastation caused by Hurricane Irma, which lashed northern Cuba in 2017.

The strongest storm ever recorded in the Atlantic, Irma caused damage to some resorts, but officials moved quickly to rebuild and renovate them since tourism is one of Cuba's leading economic engines.

In 2017, 4.7 million foreign visitors traveled to Cuba, an 11.6-percent increase from the year before.

Considered a strategic industry for the Caribbean island nation, tourism generates annual revenues of more than 2.5 billion U.S. dollars, the second-biggest foreign revenue-earning industry after exports.

The industry has contributed 10 percent of Cuba's national budget and provided half a million jobs.

  • Published in Cuba

European Film Festival in Cuba to Screen 18 Films from 16 Countries

The third European Film Festival in Cuba will show, from June 5 to 17, in this capital, 18 films from 16 countries of the so-called old continent, organizers of the event announced today.

The programmer of the Cinematheque of Cuba, Antonio Mazón, commented in a press conference the presentation of 14 fiction feature films, a documentary and three co-productions made by Latin American filmmakers that would have been impossible without the contribution of European companies.

Most of the works are premieres in Cuba and can be seen at three venues: 23 y 12 cinema, Multicine Infanta and the Center for the interpretation of Cuba-Europe cultural relations, located at the Palacio del Segundo Cabo.

According to Mazón, the films come from member states of the European Union such as Germany, Austria, Belgium, Spain, France, Greece, Hungary, Denmark, Italy, Bulgaria, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, the United Kingdom, the Czech Republic and Sweden.

Among the titles on the program are works recognized in international festivals such as The Emigrants, Different Worlds, Notes on Blindness, Magical Mystery, Rosita, Beautiful Youth and Winter.

  • Published in Culture

Europe Can No Longer Rely On US To "Protect" It: Angela Merkel

Aachen:  Europe can no longer rely on the United States to protect it, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Thursday, urging the bloc to take its destiny in its own hands.

"It is no longer such that the United States simply protects us, but Europe must take its destiny in its own hands, that's the task of the future," she said, after US President Donald Trump left traditional allies scrambling by ditching the landmark Iran nuclear deal.

  • Published in World

Cuba increases charcoal exports to Europe

Charcoal production was considered sometime before as a rough, poorly paid work done by the poorest countrymen in Cuba, nowadays it has changed the panorama and it has turned into an important, well-paid export that brings profits to the country and those who produce it.

With the Revolutionary triumph Cuban countrymen started to work harder on charcoal production, and there became sadly well known people devoted to this task in Cienaga de Zapata, swampy area in Cuba located in the south of the central province of Matanzas, visited by Fidel Castro almost every day with his arrival to power in 1959.

Nowadays,it has been carried out charcoal production based on Marabu (a plant from the Mimosacea family) which invaded thousands of land hectares devoted to farming.

The national campaign devoted to Marabu elimination made possible to enhance charcoal production through co-ops and state enterprises that profit the low-cost, natural raw material.

One Cuban caballeria (equal to 134202 m2) of Marabu produces 140 tons of charcoal for export, which becomes a minimum amount of 46.00 dollars, calculated on the the international market selling price near 330 and 380 dollars each.

More than 130 thousand tons of charcoals are yearly exported to Europe by the Groupo Agroforestal from the Agricultural Ministry of Cuba, which introduces new technologies to offer a higher product quality.

Such sales allow income of about 32 million dollars, said the Group Development manager, Anaiisis Zulueta, who participated at the XXI International Fair of Food and Agriculture Fiagrop 2018, which opened on Monday in Havana.

Zulueta also added that the Group is currently taking steps to introduce two bioelectric plants, oriented to the production of electricity from forest biomass and the waste from sawmills.

According to its organizers, Fiagrop 2018 aims to promote the portfolio of foreign investment opportunities and businesses in the agro-industrial sector.

(Translated by Yeney Perez Corona)

  • Published in Cuba

EUROPOL Warns About the Radicalization of 30,000 Persons in Europe

Sofia, Mar 19 (Prensa Latina) The executive director of the European Police Office, Europol, Rob Wainwright reported today about the radicalization of some 30,000 persons in the region, which currently represent a potential threat of terrorism.

The information released today by the Bulgarian broadcaster 'bTV' quoted Wainwright, who explained that the estimated figure refers to radicalized people through the Internet.

The majority of these individuals are inspired by groups such as the Islamic State (ISIS); however, it does not mean that they act under their direct command, the official added.

He also insisted on the need to stay alert, because at any moment these people 'can rent a truck and kill innocent people.'

Wainwright cautioned that it is a new form of terrorist activity difficult to fight by the European and world security services.

Adding to this situation the threats after the return to Europe of people who travelled to Syria and Iraq to join the ranks of the ISIS and other terrorist groups.

According to the executive director of EUROPOL, the comeback of these foreign terrorist fighters is a danger and represents a huge menace to the entire region.

An annual report from the European Police Office, in 2017, indicated a growth in recent years of terrorist groups.

Among the presumed radicals imprisoned, one out of four were women and one third were under 25 years old.

In addition to the arrests, EUROPOL reported on the increase in the number of judgments in the courts of the European Union, mainly in countries such as Spain and France.

  • Published in World

Habanos Festival returns to celebrate Cuban cigar industry

Cuba's annual celebration of its cigar-making industry, the Habanos Festival, will kick off on Feb. 26 in Havana, drawing cigar aficionados and buyers from around the globe.

The glamorous week-long festival features launchings of new premium brands, including this year's much-anticipated line of Cohiba Robusto Reserva, from the 2014 harvest.

Cuba's best-known brand, Cohiba was popularized by the legendary revolutionary leader Fidel Castro, who was rarely seen without a cigar until he quit in his later years to encourage a healthier lifestyle among the people.

The festival, organized by Habanos S.A., a joint venture between state-owned Cubatabaco and Altadis, a French-German subsidiary of the British multinational Imperial Tobacco, which markets the cigars worldwide, also features gala dinners, tours of cigar factories and tobacco farms, and a renowned auction of custom-made humidors, with funds going to support the country's free healthcare system.

Habanos spokesperson Daymi Difurniao said this year participants will learn about the most diverse aspects of the cigar industry, and tour plantations in western Cuba's Pinar del Rio province, home to the world's best tobacco leaf.

"It is an opportunity to appreciate the beautiful plantations in San Juan y Martinez, recognized as having the best soil for attaining the leaves used to make renowned Cuban cigars," said Difurniao.

San Juan y Martinez, along with San Luis, Guane and the city of Pinar del Rio, make up the region of Vueltabajo, Cuba's prime tobacco-growing region.

In Vueltabajo, some 18,000 hectares of different tobacco varieties are planted each year. This year, production is expected to surpass 20,000 tons of leaves, more than previous harvests.

Another festival highlight is the traditional Habanosommelier International Contest, a culinary event that pairs cigars with a gourmet dish or cocktail.

This year, organizers are introducing the first-ever Habanos World Challenge, where cigar lovers from around the world will compete to test their knowledge about the world of cigars.

There will also be an evening dedicated to the history and success of the festival, now in its 20th edition.

In the past, the Habanos Festival has been attended by celebrities such as the late author and Nobel laureate Gabriel Garcia Marquez; American actor and politician Arnold Schwarzenegger; and British model Naomi Campbell, among others.

  • Published in Cuba
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