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The Greek president has escalated a campaign for the return of the Elgin Marbles, attacking their home in the British Museum as a “murky prison”.

Speaking in Athens, Prokopis Pavlopoulos challenged British officials to “come here and make the comparison” with the city’s Acropolis Museum, where he suggested the artefacts could alternatively be displayed.

He contrasted the “light” Athens building with the “murky, if I may say, prison” of the British Museum in central London.

DO NOT RECROP - President of Greece Prokopis Pavlopoulos
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Greek president Prokopis Pavlopoulos wants the sculptures back in Athens

Mr Pavlopoulos added the marbles, which are named after Lord Elgin, the 19th century British ambassador to the Ottoman Empire, were being held as “trophies” in the UK.

The 2,500-year-old sculptures are the subject of a centuries-long battle between London and Athens.

Greece claims Lord Elgin removed the marbles from the Parthenon in Athens around 1805, while “acting with the full knowledge and permission of the Ottoman authorities”.

The country has repeatedly requested their return since gaining independence from the Ottoman Empire in 1832.

Signage is pictured outside the The British Museum in central London on August 24, 2018. (Photo by Daniel LEAL-OLIVAS / AFP) (Photo credit should read DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP/Getty Images)
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The British Museum has been branded a ‘murky prison’

It stepped up the campaign in 2009 by opening a new museum at the foot of a hill, atop which sits the ancient Acropolis.

The new building holds the sculptures that Lord Elgin left behind, alongside plaster cast copies of the missing pieces, lit by the sun coming through a glass wall looking over the original site.

“This museum can host the marbles,” Mr Pavlopoulos said, adding: “We are fighting a holy battle for a monument which is unique.”

The Elgin Marbles housed in the British Museum. Pic: Andrew Dunn
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The marbles are displayed in London in a gallery with a skylight. Pic: Andrew Dunn

Those marbles displayed in the British Museum are in a gallery lit by a long skylight.

A museum spokesperson said the sculptures are shown “as the great achievement of ancient Athens and are seen by up to six million visitors from around the world every year, free of charge” – while the Acropolis Museum shows “approximately half of what survives” of the marbles.

They added: “The trustees remain convinced that the current locations of the Parthenon sculptures allow different and complementary stories to be told about the surviving sculptures, highlighting their significance for world culture and affirming the universal legacy of ancient Greece.”

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Unhatched birds can warn other eggs in nest of danger by vibrating | Science & Tech News

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Unhatched baby seabirds can warn each other of impending danger by vibrating within their shells, scientists have discovered.

A study of yellow-legged gull embryos, found they reacted to warning calls from a parent and even passed on the message to siblings who had not heard the call.

The researchers collected gull eggs and divided them into groups of three.

A week before hatching, two of the three eggs in each nest were temporarily removed and exposed to a recording of a predator alarm call.

The noise was delivered four times a day at random intervals for three minutes at a time until hatching.

The third egg from each group remained in the nest in silence.

All three eggs were then reunited and left to hatch.

It was found the embryos responded to the external alarm calls by vibrating more.

This information appeared to be passed on to the third egg which had not been directly exposed to the sounds and it then mimicked the vibrations.

Experts from the Animal Ecology Group at the University of Vigo in Spain discovered all the chicks underwent genetic changes that delayed hatch time.

There was also evidence of increased production of stress hormones which is known to make birds more aware of their surroundings after hatching.

The findings were published in the journal, Nature Ecology and Evolution.

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Bali arrests: Shackled Australians facing jail over ‘cocaine use’ | World News

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Two Australian men have been paraded in front of the media a week after being arrested in Bali on suspicion of cocaine use and possession.

Indonesian police are preparing to charge the pair and are currently searching for a third suspect after a series of drug raids in the village of Canggu, a popular nightclub area on the island of Bali.

The two men, who have been named as William Cabantong, 35, and David Van Iersel, 38, were led out in front of the media in hand and foot shackles, alongside local drug suspects.

Police acted on a tip-off, and said they found 1.12g of cocaine in the pockets of one of the men, as well as drug equipment including a set of broken scales.

The men bought 2g of cocaine for three million rupiahs (£172), according to police.

The pair have undergone days of interrogation and tests while in prison. Police say a blood test revealed that both Mr Cabantong and Mr Van Iersel were cocaine users.

Denpasar police chief Ruddi Setiawan told reporters: “We advise tourists, locals, and foreigners to come here for a holiday, don’t come to have a drugs party or to use drugs.

“We will take firm action if any foreigners resist. We will not be lenient.”

The men are expected to be charged under Indonesian law 112, legislation which covers drug possession. The punishment carries a possible jail term of between four and 12 years, as well as a fine of 800 million rupiah (£45,000).

The men hid their faces as they stood with others arrested on drug charges
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The men hid their faces as they stood with others arrested on drug charges

It is understood that both Mr Cabantong and Mr Van Iersel worked as nightclub promoters whilst they lived in Australia before they travelled to Bali.

Indonesia is known for its strong penalties against those who commit drug offences. In 2017, Indonesian President Joko Widodo told police officers to shoot drug traffickers.

He said: “Be firm, especially to foreign drug dealers who enter the country and resist arrest. Shoot them because we indeed are in a narcotics emergency position now.”

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Drug-resistant malaria strains spread through south east Asia | World News

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Strains of drug-resistant malaria are becoming more dominant in Vietnam, Laos and northern Thailand after spreading rapidly from Cambodia.

Malaria is caused by parasites which are carried by mosquitoes and spread through their blood-sucking bites.

And scientists have discovered a growing number of cases where the parasite has mutated making it resistant to drugs.

“We discovered (it) had spread aggressively, replacing local malaria parasites, and had become the dominant strain in Vietnam, Laos and northeastern Thailand,” said Roberto Amato, from the Wellcome Sanger Institute.

Malaria can be successfully treated with medicines if it is caught early enough, but resistance to anti-malarial drugs is growing in many parts of the world, especially in south east Asia.

The first-line treatment for malaria in many parts of Asia in the last decade has been a combination of dihydroartemisinin and piperaquine, also known as DHA-PPQ.

Researchers found in previous work that a strain of malaria had evolved and spread across Cambodia between 2007 and 2013 that was resistant to both drugs.

This latest research, published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases journal, found it has crossed borders and tightened its grip.

“The speed at which these resistant malaria parasites have spread in south east Asia is very worrying,” said Olivo Miotto, who co-led the work.

“Other drugs may be effective at the moment but the situation is extremely fragile and this study highlights that urgent action is needed.”

Almost 220 million people were infected with malaria in 2017, according to World Health Organisation estimates, and the disease killed 400,000 of them.

The vast majority of cases and deaths are among babies and children in sub-Saharan Africa.

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