Waterspouts spotted on Lake Zurich and off coast of Corfu

admin   •   August 29, 2018   •   3169

Waterspout seen from boat off coast of Corfu, Greece | Reuters

Waterspouts were spotted in Switzerland on Sunday (August 26) and in Greece on Monday (August 27), eyewitness videos show.

Daniel Gerstgrasser, who lives near Lake Zurich, captured the natural phenomenon in Richterswil at 7.20 am local time (5.20am GMT) on Sunday.

Nicole Kenny was on holiday with her boyfriend when she saw the waterspout off the coast of Corfu on Monday. She said they were on a hydrofoil boat from Corfu port to Gaios on the Greek island of Paxos when she spotted the phenomenon.

“It’s definitely not what you expect to see on the first day of your holiday in Greece,” she told Reuters.

Waterspouts are tornadoes that occur over a body of water but never reach land. They are characterized by a funnel-shaped cloud.

Despite their ominous appearance, waterspouts are often much weaker than their land counterparts. However, they can pose a danger to any planes or boats that travel through them. — Reuters

Coronavirus divides lovers, friends at Swiss-German border fences

UNTV News   •   April 6, 2020

Constance, Germany, and Kreuzlingen, Switzerland, are divided cities these days, with a strip of grass and two fences separating them after the countries closed their borders to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

In a park on Lake Constance’s shoreline residents of both cities normally move freely across an invisible line marking where one nation ends and the other begins. But everything has changed: Most Germans cannot come to Switzerland, most Swiss are barred from Germany.

On Sunday, lovers, brothers and sisters, parents and their children, and old friends pressed against the chain links in the spring sunshine, just close enough to say “I love you”, too far apart to touch.

“This is our only chance to stand across from each other, face-to-face,” said Jean-Pierre Walter, a Swiss who drove an hour from Zurich to see his German partner, Maja Bulic. “We can at least speak to each other. That’s something.”

For weeks, they have telephoned or spoken over FaceTime. But fiber optic is no substitute for flesh and blood.

“At some point, you have to see somebody in person,” said Bulic, who drove 2-1/2 hours from near Heidelberg. “It’s difficult, but I know one day it will be different.”

This is a coronavirus no-man’s land. It traces the route of a barbed wire-topped barrier that split Switzerland and Germany during World War Two and that was removed long ago.

The fences have become a meeting point for people divided by the epidemic – and a reminder of its disruption for Europeans accustomed to traveling where they please. Switzerland is not in the European Union, but agreements allow Swiss and the bloc’s citizens to travel virtually unfettered, in normal times. (REUTERS CONNECT)

Greece elects first female head of state

UNTV News   •   January 22, 2020

Katerina Sakellaropoulou, President of Council of State, reacts to the announcement of the result of voting in the parliament electing her as the new President of the Greek Republic, in Athens, Greece, 22 January 2020. EPA-EFE/ORESTIS PANAGIOTOU

By Ana Mora Segura

Athens
– Greece on Wednesday elected a woman head of state for the first time in the country’s history after the male-dominated parliament voted in favor of appointing well-known judge Katerina Sakellaropoulou as president.

She received the backing of 261 lawmakers in the Hellenic chamber, well above the necessary 200, with the support of almost all members of the conservative New Democracy government and the left-wing opposition Syriza and center-left Movement for Change.

Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said: “Greece enters a new era today, the country enters the third decades of the 21st century with a woman president.”

He described her as a “great personality” who united Greek people.

Although Sakellaropoulouwon a large majority, she couldn’t count on the vote of one of New Democracy’s best knowns faces, former prime minister Andonis Samaras, who was out of the country.

Several names had been mulled for the position of president by Greek media, including Samaras himself.

Parliament’s speaker Konstantinos Tasoulas will formally communicate Sakellaropoulou’s appointment and the new president is expected to take office on 13 March, a day after the first and only term of her predecessor Prokopis Pavlopoulos comes to an end.

In Greece, it is common for leftist governments to propose conservative presidential candidates and vice versa to project an image of institutional consensus.

While never openly campaigning for a political party, Sakellaropoulou is considered as progressive and was the first person to preside over the Greek Council of State after being appointed by the previous Syriza government in 2018.

In addition to the image of institutional cohesion, Mitsotakis achieves three things with his proposed head of state: weakening the narrative from the opposition that he is on the far-right, putting a conservative judge in charge of the Council of State and removing Pavlopoulos from office.

Outgoing presidents are usually chosen for a second term. This is the first time that a government has decided not to propose a candidate from its own ranks.

Sakellaropoulou’s election as president is an indicator of change in a deeply unequal country.

According to the European Union’s agency for equality, Greece has the dubious honor of leading the list in terms of gender disparity.

Only 18 percent of lawmakers and 9 percent of company executives are women, according to the research.

“The time has come for our country to choose a woman as president,” Mitsotakis said when he announced the candidacy. EFE-EPA

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Smoke blankets Athens from wildfire on Evia island

Robie de Guzman   •   August 13, 2019

A large wildfire on Greece’s Evia island on Tuesday (August 13) fanned by strong winds blanketed the capital Athens some 110 kilometers (70 miles) away.

The fire, which generated thick smoke, destroyed tracts of forest on Evia, firefighters said, as authorities prepared to evacuate two villages potentially in the path of the flames.

Wildfires raged uncontrolled in at least four other Greek regions, and the fire brigade said it had been called to put out 182 fires in the last three days.

More than 120 firemen, aided by helicopters and other aircraft, battled the blaze on Evia, the country’s second-largest island, where a monastery had already been evacuated.

No fatalities had been reported, and the winds were expected to subside in the evening, a fire brigade official said.

Greece often faces wildfires during its dry summer months, and authorities have warned of the high risk of blazes this week.

Last year a wildfire killed 100 people in the seaside town of Mati near Athens, and in 2007 devastating fires killed 65, scorched thousands of hectares of forest and farmland and threatened archaeological sites. (REUTERS)

(Production: Vasilis Stogiannis, Phoebe Fronista)

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