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Djokovic makes other players ‘look like fools’: Tsitsipas

AFP

Novak Djokovic had put the Australian Open at risk and made other tennis players “look like fools” after travelling to Australia unvaccinated, world number four Stefanos Tsitsipas said Thursday.

The Serbian world number one, top seed and defending champion is looking to secure a 10th Australian Open title at Melbourne Park — it gets underway next Monday — and an unprecedented 21st Grand Slam crown.

But the vaccine-sceptic’s fate remains uncertain with Australia’s government pondering whether to revoke his visa again and throw him out of the country for breaking Covid protocols. 

“For sure he has been playing by his own rules,” Tsitsipas said in an interview with Indian broadcaster WION. 

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“It takes a lot of daring to do and (is) putting a Grand Slam at risk… I don’t think many players would do that.”

Tsitsipas, who lost to Djokovic in last year’s French Open final, said nearly everyone at the Melbourne tournament had been vaccinated.

Others, he said, “chose to follow their own way which kind of makes the majority look like they’re all fools.”

Djokovic flew into Melbourne airport on January 5 carrying a vaccine exemption because of a claimed positive PCR test result on December 16.

Border agents rejected his exemption, saying a recent infection was an insufficient justification, tore up his visa and placed him in a detention centre.

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But Djokovic’s high-powered legal team overturned the visa decision in court on Monday on a procedural matter related to his airport interview.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Thursday no decision had been made on whether to revoke Djokovic’s visa a second time.

Djokovic was nonetheless included in the first round draw of the Australian Open the same day.

Even if he is allowed to stay, there are questions over his preparations and fitness for the gruelling two-week tournament after he was forced to spend four nights in the detention facility.

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Hurricane Beryl leaves at least 6 dead, destruction and “alarming precedent” in the Caribbean

Beryl’s passage through the Caribbean has already left at least six dead, generating concern about the speed in its formation and for reaching the greatest power that a cyclone (category 5) can have at such an early stage in the Atlantic hurricane season, something that is seen as an “alarming precedent.”

On Monday night, Beryl reached category 5 (the maximum on the Saffir-Simpson scale, which measures cyclones by its winds), and dropped to 4 on Tuesday afternoon, according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC), based in Miami.

At least three people died on Tuesday in Granada, in addition to a death recorded on Monday in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, islands of the Eastern Caribbean.

The Prime Minister of Granada, Dickon Mitchell, said that “possibly more” people have lost their lives on this island and neighboring Carriacou.

Mitchell said that efforts are being made to get a helicopter to visit Carriacou since the sea is still very rough and the Coast Guard ships probably won’t be able to arrive.

The cyclone, the first of the Atlantic hurricane season, has left significant destruction of buildings, roads and boats in several countries of the Caribbean Community (Caricom), which suspended its annual meeting and convened a virtual meeting to evaluate the damage and design a collective response.

On the other hand, the Venezuelan authorities reported on Tuesday two deaths, five missing and more than 600 homes affected in the state of Sucre (northeast), due to the overflow of the Manzanares River after the passage of Beryl.

The Minister of Internal Affairs, Remigio Ceballos, reported that medical care was provided to the population and that “reinforcements” were deployed with firefighters and other rescue organizations “for analysis, damage assessment and mitigation work.”

In Puerto Rico, the Department of Natural and Environmental Resources (DRNA) reported the closure of several spas in the north and southwest of the island due to the dangerous maritime conditions caused by the hurricane.

“The conditions are not suitable for bathers,” the DRNA urged in its message, while the National Meteorological Service (SNM) issued warnings of coastal flooding and marine currents, as well as for small boats.

On the other hand, the Dominican Republic began to feel the indirect effects of the hurricane on Tuesday, which remains a dangerous system with maximum sustained winds of 260 kilometers per hour (160 miles per hour).

Faced with this panorama, the Emergency Operations Center (COE) of the Dominican Republic put on alert 24 of the country’s 32 provinces, two of them, Barahona and Pedernales (southwest) in red (maximum), and where the indirect effects of the hurricane are already felt, which led to the start of preventive evacuations and the suspension of classes.

Meanwhile, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador criticized on Tuesday the “sensationalism” around Hurricane Beryl, which at the end of this week may make landfall in southeastern Mexico.

“They will never be helpless, but also do not get upset, because there will also be a lot of sensationalism, too much information about the hurricane, exaggerated,” the president said.

The National Meteorological Service (SMN) warned on Monday of a double impact in Mexico, where between Thursday and Friday it would land in Quintana Roo, the largest tourist state in the country, and between Sunday and Monday in Veracruz, in the Gulf of Mexico.

On the other hand, cruise companies such as Royal Caribbean, Norwegian and Carnival diverted or canceled their itineraries before Beryl’s advance through the Caribbean, justifying the priority of the safety of their guests and crew.

Beryl will be heading to Jamaica – it is expected to pass near this island on Wednesday – and the next day it will affect the Cayman Islands. In addition, it can pass through the coasts of Haiti from the borders with the Dominican Republic to the town of Anse d’Hainault, according to the NHC.

Precisely, the Government of Jamaica announced on Tuesday the closure of the international airport and the non-essential government offices, as part of the preparations for the arrival of the cyclone.

Beryl surprised the small archipelagos of the Eastern Caribbean with its rapid formation and ability to gain power, which according to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) is an “alarming precedent.”

The UN meteorological agency stressed that since it was registered, a hurricane of maximum intensity had never been formed in the Atlantic at this point of the year.

In the current Atlantic season, which runs from June 1 to November 30, three tropical storms have already formed with name: Alberto, Beryl and Chris, the latter that also had a rapid development and wreaked havoc in Mexico.

For the WMO, the arrival of Beryl with this force two weeks earlier than usual could be the anticipation of “a very active season with risks for the entire Atlantic basin.”

Meteorologist José Manuel Galvez told EFE that in recent years there has been a process known as “rapid intensification” of these tropical systems, which “tends to prevail.”

According to the NHC, it is expected that by midweek Beryl will gradually lose intensity, although he will still maintain hurricane winds.

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International

Mexican opposition bloc asks to “abstain” from declaring a winner before the official count

The campaign coordinator of the opposition Xóchitl Gálvez and member of the National Action Party (PAN), Santiago Creel, asked the media to “refrain” from declaring a winner of the Mexican elections before the official count of the National Electoral Institute (INE).

“The parties that make up the Force and Heart for Mexico coalition make an attentive and respectful appeal to the mass media to refrain from being the winner of this contest,” Creel demanded at a press conference.

In a hotel in the Mexican capital, the center of operations of Gálvez’s candidacy, he asked to wait for the INE to offer the quick count around 10:30 p.m. local time (04:30 GMT).

Even so, he stressed that in the internal data of the alliance between the PAN, the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) and the Democratic Revolution (PRD), his “winning trend” is observed in “several” of the states that renew their state government, such as Guanajuato (center) or Mexico City.

“In our measurements, we have numbers that confirm that our candidate and candidates are victorious,” said the president of the PAN, Marko Cortés, who reiterated his request for prudence to the media that have published projections that predict the triumph of the ruling candidate, Claudia Sheinbaum.

In addition, he stressed the perception that the citizen participation provided by his information registers “high percentages”, something that “is not weighing” either.

On the other hand, the leader of the PRD, Jesús Zambrano, again asked the “representatives of booths (voting centers) throughout the country” to stay in their positions, because “the most difficult hours are coming” of the day.

“Anything can happen to distort the electoral result, to disappear minutes or even to supplant electoral packages,” he warned.

The PRI president, Alejandro Moreno, who emphasized the alleged opposition victory in six of the nine states at stake in this contest, maintained a “respectful, but firm” tone before the journalists gathered in the room.

“We are less than two hours away from the counts and the clear information announced by the electoral referee. (…) In the measurements of the counts we have we are consolidated,” he said.

Earlier, the opposition presidential candidate Xóchitl Gálvez said this Sunday that she “has already won,” but asked to “count until the last vote” of the elections, because she is “competing against authoritarianism and power and they are capable of everything.”

“I had told them for months that we were going to win these elections despite all the trap, all the lies, despite all the abuse of power and their millions of deviated pesos,” said the candidate of the Fuerza y Corazón coalition for Mexico in the Mexican capital.

Gálvez said she was the winner “for the very high citizen participation, of more than 80% of many boxes (voting centers), for the energy and enthusiasm of the people,” after the closure of the voting centers at 18:00 local time (00:00 GMT), although the National Electoral Institute (INE) still does not offer official results.

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They reject the request of former Honduran president Juan Orlando Hernández for a new trial in New York

A federal judge in New York rejected on Thursday the motion presented by former President of Honduras Juan Orlando Hernández, between 2014 and 2022, to make a new trial, after finding him guilty in March of conspiracy and drug trafficking while in office.

Hernández used the alleged trough that DEA analyst Jennifer Taul lied in the criminal trial in which she was blamed for working with cartel-backed drug traffickers to transport cocaine through Honduras destined mainly to the United States.

Taul defended in the trial that cocaine trafficking through Honduras increased during Hernández’s two periods, while the former president argued that it actually decreased using as a source a professor from Trinity College who assured that the amount of this drug from Honduras to the United States had fallen by 82% during his government.

The federal district judge P. Kevin Castel questioned that claim and clarified that Hernández was convicted of conspiring with drug traffickers “regardless of whether the total cocaine trafficking in Honduras increased or decreased” while he was president.

“The evidence that cocaine trafficking through Honduras as a whole decreased during the Hernández administration would only be relevant to demonstrate that Hernández promulgated anti-narcotic policies,” he said.

In his motion, Hernández alleged that Manhattan (New York) was not the right place to judge his case, but the South district of Florida for landing for the first time in Fort Lauderdale after being sent from Tegucigalpa (Honduras).

Castel also dismissed this thesis, with the explanation that the time that Hernández spent in South Florida was equivalent to a half-hour stopover en route to a New York airport, who knew the stop and who never before opposed the chosen place.

During the trial against Hernández, the Prosecutor’s Office presented as main witnesses drug traffickers from Honduras who are serving sentence in the United States after reaching an agreement with the authorities for the reduction of his sentence, as well as the DEA agent.

“The accused accepted millions of dollars in bribes from his drug trafficking partners and, in return, he protected his drugs with all the power of the State, including the Honduran police, the military and judicial system,” the Prosecutor’s Office explained during the process.
His sentence is scheduled for June 26 and faces life imprisonment.

 

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