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The Merkel rhombus: How a hand gesture became a brand******

AFP。

This file photo taken on November 10, 2021 shows German Chancellor Angela Merkel (center) forming her typical hand gesture, the so-called "Merkel-Raute" (known in English as Merkel Rhombus, Merkel Diamond or Triangle of Power), as she poses with Queen Margrethe II of Denmark (left) and her son, Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark during a reception at the Chancellery in Berlin.。

Hands resting in front of the stomach, thumbs and fingertips touching to form a diamond shape – Angela Merkel's "rhombus" hand gesture was her most recognizable trademark.。

The gesture has its own Wikipedia page, its own emoticon, "<>", and the longtime German leader has even been immortalized adopting the pose at London's famous Madame Tussauds waxworks museum.。

But the "Merkel-Raute," as it is known in German, became her signature largely by accident – born from a camera-shy Merkel being unsure how to pose during a photo shoot for Stern magazine in 2002.。

Then head of the Christian Democrats (CDU) but still three years away from being elected as chancellor for the first time, Merkel "didn't know what to do with her hands," photographer Claudia Kempf later recalled.。

"She let them hang down next to her, which made her look a bit exposed, or she joined them together. I said to her, 'You look too much like a pastor's daughter'," Kempf told the Rheinische Post newspaper in 2009.。

A few months before German elections in 2013, Merkel offered her own explanation of how the gesture had come about.。

"It's about the question of where to put your arms," said the trained physicist, adding that the rhombus also showed "a certain love of symmetry."

At the time of that interview, Merkel was campaigning for a third term in office.。

AFP。

This file photo taken on September 22, 2013 shows people walking by a giant election billboard featuring German Chancellor Angela Merkel's famous diamond-shape hands gesture also known as Merkel rhombus that is displayed on the construction site of a hotel in Berlin.。

The whole parliament comes up for renewal in German federal elections, but her CDU party had decided on a very personalized campaign.。

A billboard 70 meters wide by 20 meters tall was erected near Berlin's central station featuring a giant image of the Merkel rhombus, made up of over 2,000 photographs of hands, with the slogan "Germany's future in good hands."

The rival Social Democrats (SPD) slammed what they called an "empty personality cult" around Merkel, while the Greens lamented: "If this is politics, we have fallen very low."

But the woman affectionately nicknamed "Mutti" (mummy) won the election by a wide margin a few weeks later, with the Merkel rhombus becoming "probably one of the most recognizable hand gestures in the world," according to Britain's Guardian newspaper.。

The gesture has also been likened to a bridge, a protective roof, and even a sign made between Illuminati members to identify themselves.。

"I believe the Merkel rhombus was initially adopted unconsciously," said Jochen Hoerisch, a communications specialist at the University of Mannheim.。

"But once it had been noticed by the public it was then consciously used by the chancellor as a brand."

AFP。

An employee assembles an incense smoker featuring Angela Merkel making her typical "rhombus" hand gesture.。

Even in the twilight of Merkel's political career, the gesture was once again catapulted into the spotlight during this year's election campaign when SPD chancellor candidate Olaf Scholz adopted it on a magazine cover.。

Scholz used the gesture in a photo shoot for the Sueddeutsche Zeitung – part of his strategy to position himself as the true Merkel continuity candidate, as opposed to Armin Laschet, the challenger from Merkel's party.。

This claim on Merkel's legacy prompted a backlash from the CDU and even from Merkel herself, who was at pains to point out that there were "enormous differences" between herself and Scholz.。

Hosts Uganda defeat Tanzania in CECAFA Women's U******

NJERU, Uganda, Nov. 7 (Xinhua) -- Uganda remain unbeaten at the on-going 2021 CECAFA Women's U-20 Championship soccer event after edging Tanzania 1-0 on Saturday.。

The hosts netted a penalty on 72 minutes to secure their fourth win at the FUFA Technical Center ground in the eastern town of Njeru.。

Tanzania's Christer John Bahera fouled on Shamirah Nalugya in the box. Uganda captain Fauzia Najjemba slotted the penalty kick past Tanzanian goalkeeper Husna Zuberi Mtunda.。

Tanzania's Aisha Elias Masaka and Aisha Juma Mnunka tried to push forward to score, but the Ugandan defenders gave them no room.。

"I am happy that once again we have registered another win against a strong Tanzanian side. We need to keep working hard and make sure we beat Ethiopia in the last match to be able to win the trophy," Uganda head coach Ayub Khalifa Kiyingi told Xinhua after the match.。

Ethiopia, who are also unbeaten in the tournament, defeated Burundi 1-0. Ethiopia now level Uganda on 12 points but are inferior in goal difference.。

Eritrea, who had five of their players disappear a few days ago from the Hotel in Jinja, picked their first victory in the regional tournament, beating Djibouti 2-0.。

Second half goals from defender Rim Gezae Yemane and forward Diana Estifanos Teklemichael were enough to give coach Jemal Ibrahim Suleman his first win in the tournament.。

The regional tournament being played on a round robin basis will climax on November 9 with three games. Enditem。

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WHO special session seeking 'pandemic treaty' amid Omicron concerns******

Xinhua。

A medical worker treats COVID-19 patients in an ICU of the University Emergency Hospital in Bucharest, Romania on November 4, 2021.。

A special session of the World Health Assembly (WHA) kicked off on Monday amid growing concerns over the latest Omicron coronavirus variant, where the participants aim to negotiate a new "pandemic treaty."

Legally binding pandemic treaty。

The WHA May session this year decided to set up a working group to consider the findings and recommendations of a number of panels and committees on global preparedness for and response to COVID-19 before starting their discussions on Monday on the potential new "legally binding agreement between nations."

"COVID-19 has exposed and exacerbated fundamental weaknesses in the global architecture for pandemic preparedness and response," said World Health Organization Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus at the opening of the special session.。

"The best way we can address them is with a legally binding agreement between nations, an accord forged from the recognition that we have no future but a common future," he said.。

According to Tedros, the new "pandemic treaty" is expected to address COVID-19 as "a crisis of solidarity and sharing."

"The lack of sharing of PPE (personal protective equipment), tests, vaccines, technology, know-how, intellectual property and other tools hindered our collective ability to prevent infections and save lives," he said, noting the lack of a consistent and coherent global approach has resulted in "a splintered and disjointed response, breeding misunderstanding, misinformation and mistrust."

Xinhua。

Travelers wait to receive COVID-19 tests at Cape Town International Airport in Cape Town, South Africa on November 29, 2021.。

Get prepared for Omicron。

The WHA special session coincides with the emergence of the highly mutated Omicron virus variant, which was designated by the WHO as a "variant of concern" (VOC) just three days ago.。

Though the WHO has said it is not yet clear whether Omicron is more transmissible or causes more severe disease than the other known variants, including Delta, concerns over its impact on the efficacy of existing vaccines and treatments have been growing.。

A number of countries have already introduced entry bans on travelers from South Africa, where Omicron was first confirmed on November 9 and has been identified in multiple European countries, including Belgium, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Portugal, and Sweden.。

Sweden's Public Health Agency on Monday confirmed its first case of the Omicron variant, found when a traveler who last week returned to Sweden from South Africa was tested.。

Portugal's National Institute of Health Doctor Ricardo Jorge (INSA) on Monday confirmed 13 cases of the Omicron variant in Portugal among players and staff members of the football club Belenenses SAD.。

The INSA said that the samples were collected and analyzed on Sunday, and that one of the players who tested positive had recently returned to the country from South Africa.。

In Germany, the COVID-19 seven-day incidence rate climbed to a new all-time high of 452.4, up from 386.5 a week ago, the Robert Koch Institute for infectious diseases announced on Monday.。

German virologist Christian Drosten told the broadcaster ZDF on Sunday that he was "quite concerned at the moment. I am surprised to see so many mutations in the virus."

In Cyprus, new anti-coronavirus measures relating to young school children came into force on Monday, with most COVID-19 clusters currently being found in schools.。

In addition to banning direct arrival from the eight African countries most affected by the Omicron variant, all travelers coming from other destinations will also be tested for the coronavirus at airports, said Michalis Hadipantelas, Cyprus' health minister.。

Polish Health Minister Adam Niedzielski said on Monday that the country's government is set to announce new restrictions to cope with the new variant, including tightened flight rules on seven southern African nations.。

"Omicron demonstrates just why the world needs a new accord on pandemics: our current system disincentivizes countries from alerting others to threats that will inevitably land on their shores," said Tedros.。

China's coal supplies improve, prices down: NDRC******

BEIJING, Nov. 8 (Xinhua) -- China has been ramping up its coal production since October to boost supplies and cool prices for the winter heating season, the country's top economic planning body said Monday.。

China's average daily coal output hit 11.66 million tonnes from Nov. 1 to 5, increasing more than 1.2 million tonnes from the end of September. The maximum daily output reached 11.93 million tonnes, a record high in recent years, said a statement on the website of the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC).。

The NDRC has urged coal companies nationwide to sign medium and long-term contracts for power and coal to stabilize the market. As of Saturday, all coal companies in 24 provincial-level regions had signed medium and long-term contracts.。

As a tight coal supply eases, the fuel stocks of power plants are accelerating growth.。

Since November, the daily coal supply to power plants has averaged 7.74 million tonnes. Power plants stored over 117 million tonnes of coal on Saturday, up about 40 million tonnes from the end of September.。

Coal stockpiles at the Qinhuangdao port reached 5.39 million tonnes on Sunday, an increase of nearly 1.5 million tonnes from the end of September.。

Coal prices will likely fall steadily in the future, with improving coal supplies and increasing storage at power plants and ports, the NDRC said. Enditem。

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4.孙怡离婚后晒女儿 5岁大福家中狂奔

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