AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREGift Box shows no rust in San Antonio Stakes win at Santa Anita160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! JERUSALEM (AP) – Strains of Mozart filled the hospital room where Ariel Sharon moved his limbs for the first time since suffering a massive stroke five days earlier. The small movements were responses to pain. Doctors hoped he would respond to the pleasure of classical music as well. On Monday, doctors cut down on sedatives that have kept Sharon in a medically induced coma and began extensive tests to determine how much damage the stroke caused. In the coming days, doctors must discern whether Sharon will ever be lucid enough to return to power, with experts expressing doubts. If not, Israel’s Cabinet would have to choose a successor to serve as premier until March 28 elections, and the campaign, on hold because of Sharon’s illness, could get underway. Acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert – Sharon’s loyal ally and a proponent of unilateral withdrawals from more Palestinian-claimed lands – is seen as the most likely heir. The Palestinians’ political future, which was to be decided in Jan. 25 parliamentary elections, also appeared in limbo. Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas reiterated Monday that the vote would take place on time, but Palestinian Interior Minister Nasser Yousef warned his security forces would not be able to protect polling stations against gunmen. Abbas’ Fatah Party fears it will be embarrassed by the Islamic militant Hamas in the election, and there is concern Fatah-linked gangs will attack polling stations if defeat becomes apparent. Before Sharon’s stroke last week, he had been expected to handily win re-election, then use his third term to try to draw Israel’s final borders by pulling out of large parts of the West Bank and completing a separation barrier with the Palestinians. Former President Clinton said Sharon’s stroke is a blow to peace efforts. “All of us who believe in peace in the Middle East are in his debt, and so more than anything else, I pray for his health,” he said. On Monday, doctors at Hadassah Hospital began gradually reducing Sharon’s sedatives to rouse him from the induced coma he has been in for five days so they can assess brain damage. They are also hoping Sharon, a classical music aficionado, will respond to the music playing in his room. Dr. David Liebeskind: an associate neurology director of the UCLA Stroke Center who is not involved in Sharon’s treatment, said it was “relatively unusual” to try to stimulate response of a stroke patient or someone coming out of a medical coma through music but he noted that there is no specific protocol “for how to rouse such a patient.” “This is not a standard approach but as the brain is quite complex, it might respond to various types of input,” he said. “There are specific parts of the brain that may respond more so to musical stimuli.” Doctors said Sharon’s chances of survival have improved, but he is not out of danger. They said they will not have a full picture for several days. “We are just at the beginning of a very long way,” said his chief surgeon, Dr. Felix Umansky, briefing reporters for the first time. “It’s too early to talk about the cognitive issue.” After the level of sedatives dropped, Sharon started breathing on his own, though he remains hooked up to a respirator and unconscious. He also lifted his right hand and leg slightly in response to pain stimulation, said Dr. Shlomo Mor-Yosef, the director of Hadassah. Sharon’s response is a “very important” sign and indicated his brain stem is working, but it’s still too early to assess what impact the massive bleeding he suffered in his right brain would have on his cognitive abilities or on the left side of his body, Umansky said. Doctors will continue lowering the level of sedatives in Sharon’s body over the next several days, he said. Sharon has not yet opened his eyes – doctors were hoping he would do so when the sedative levels dropped further – and outside experts cautioned there is no assurance he will wake up at all. “His chances of survival are better than if the respiratory center had been damaged, but that still doesn’t mean he’s going to survive,” said Dr. John Martin, a professor of cardiovascular medicine at University College in London. Martin said Sharon’s weight and age work against him. Doctors had kept Sharon in an induced coma and on a respirator since Thursday to give him time to recover from the stroke and three brain surgeries. Umansky said the doctors could put Sharon under again if his condition worsens. If it is determined that Sharon is permanently incapacitated, the Cabinet would have to elect a new prime minister within 24 hours, from among the five sitting Kadima Cabinet ministers who are also lawmakers. Olmert, who is among the five, was named acting prime minister after Sharon’s stroke. The uncertainty over Sharon’s condition has unsettled Israelis. At the entrance to the hospital Monday, three Jerusalemites hung up a white sheet with blue lettering in English and Hebrew that read, “Ariel Sharon, there is more to do, please wake up.” In the Gaza Strip, where Sharon is reviled for his tough policies on Palestinians, 40 masked gunmen from the Al Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades militant group held a demonstration against the Israeli prime minister. One held a gun to a photo of Sharon that was labeled “the killer of children” and then burned the picture. And Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said Monday that Sharon’s death would be a serious defeat for United States policy in the Middle East, state-run radio reported. “The Americans have been defeated in Palestine since the butcher of the Palestinians, who intended to destroy the Palestinian Intifada, has come to his end,” the radio quoted Khamenei as saying to a group of visitors. Amid uncertainty over Sharon, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was sending two envoys to the Middle East, to try to resolve an Israeli-Palestinian dispute over the participation of Arab residents of Jerusalem in the Palestinian parliament election. Abbas said Monday he has received U.S. assurances Palestinians will be able to vote in the city, despite Israeli opposition.
RelatedWorld’s cheapest ski resorts: where to ski cheap this seasonWorld’s cheapest ski resorts: where to ski cheap this season10 of best cheap ski resorts in the worldLooking for the cheapest places to ski in Europe? Amidst the £10 beers in Zermatt and the fine dining in France, you can still ski the same slopes for a fraction of the price – in the French Alps, Italy, the US, and a few hidden ski fields in Europe!…Skiing on the cheap: real value resortsSerbian skiing costs less than a third of some French resorts; Skyscanner reveals three secrets to cheap ski holidays. Piste off with paying £210 just for a lift pass? Don’t want to spend £7 on an après-ski beer? If you want cheap skiing, then forget France, avoid Austria, and be sure to shun Switzerland altogether.Global snow-chaser and Skyscanner Travel Editor Sam Baldwin reveals the best value ski resorts this winter, where the snow is deep, lift passes are cheap and a beer still costs £1 a pint.Welcome to where the bargain-hunter snowboarders and savvy skiers are heading this season – watch the videos below and see what these excellent underrated resorts can offer!Poiana-Brasov, RomaniaThe pistes of popular Poiana-Brasov are perfect for beginners and intermediates, and the recently added eight-seater gondola has improved the somewhat dated lift system. The resort may be small and somewhat rough round the edges, but it’s cheap and cheerful and has been popularised by budget package holidaymakers. Advanced skiers won’t find much to challenge them here, but away from the piste you can relax in a horse-drawn sleigh, or hit the numerous bars and restaurants.6 day lift pass: £877 nights’ accommodation in Poiana Brasov:from £51Flights to Bucharest from: £89 returnTOTAL: £227tp://www.youtube.com/embed/-uRQcwhUigIVogel, SloveniaVogel, like Slovenia itself, is small but perfectly formed. Sat on a plateau high above the majestic Bohinj Lake, a modern cable car whisks skiers up from the valley in minutes, to where numerous chair lifts fan out over undulating terrain. Vogel caters well for beginners, and good skiers could cover the pistes quite easily in a day or two. More experienced riders will find plenty of off-piste exploring to do, and there is also the option of heading to Kobla, another ski area which is just fifteen minutes down the valley. Nightlife is very low key here with just a handful of lakeside restaurants, so this place is ideal for a romantic winter break, rather than your stag do. Take a look at the video below, you might be suprised about what’s on offer here!6 day ski pass: £1137 nights’ accommodation in Bohinj: from £92Flights to Ljubljana from: £24 returnTOTAL: £229tp://www.youtube.com/embed/eP0-nAluDqsPopova Shapka, MacedoniaPopova Shapka is a major winter destination for Macedonians; many of the lifts are antiquated but the area has a healthy snow record and for those looking to try somewhere a little different, it’s an adventurous alternative to ski resorts in the Alps. Perhaps Popova’s biggest draw is that it’s the base for Europe’s only cat-skiing operation: Eskimo-freeride. A converted piste-groomer takes you deep into the backcountry where you can glide through perfectly-spaced pines in pure Popova powder.6 day ski pass: £527 nights’ accommodation in Popova Shapka: from £141Flights to Skopje: from £88 returnTOTAL: £281tp://www.youtube.com/embed/No22JGUlJocBorovets, BulgariaThe oldest ski resort in Bulgaria, Borovets is huddled in pine forests among the highest mountain range on the Balkan Peninsula. The largest Alpine resort in the country, it boasts the wide, open pistes, which become tree-lined as you descend. The town is lively with bars generally catering to a mass-market crowd, (there’s plenty of happy hours and ‘two for ones’). Overall, Borovets is cheap and cheerful; a ski resort that will appeal most to beginners and early intermediates – along with those who enjoy a good knees-up after dark.6 day ski pass: £129 (including skis and poles)7 nights’ accommodation in Borovets: from £109Flights to Sofia: from £54 returnTOTAL: £292tp://www.youtube.com/embed/B4JjbjwPdlcSpindleruv Mlyn, Czech RepublicThe Czech Republic may be better known for beer and boozy stag groups, but it’s also got some not-half bad skiing on offer too. Spindleruv Mlyn, in the Krkonoše Mountains, has 23 lifts and 20 runs with the highest at 1310m. This terrain is unlikely to excite advanced skiers and snowboarders (although there is a terrain park) but for learners, why pay twice as much in The Alps when Czech snow will do just fine?6 day ski pass: £967 nights’ accommodation in Spindleruv Mlyn: from £145Flights to Prague: from £56 returnTOTAL: £297tp://www.youtube.com/embed/LIIZlygUga4Cairngorm, ScotlandDon’t forget that we have ski areas in the UK too! Scottish ski areas may not be as popular as they were before budget airlines offered easy access to the European Alps, but a fine day on the slopes of Scotland is just as fun as anywhere else. Cairngorm is the most developed area, with a funicular railway in addition to numerous surface lifts. The terrain is a mix of gentle, wide runs, good intermediate cruisers, and also some steep walls if you’re prepared to do a little walking. Due to the unpredictable weather, it’s best to keep an eye on the snow forecast and be prepared to head to The Highlands when conditions look good.6 day lift pass: £1357 nights’ accommodation in Aviemore: from £126Flights to Edinburgh: from £52 returnTOTAL: £313tp://www.youtube.com/embed/2-M5AfRrw4MKopaonik, SerbiaKopaonik in Serbia has one of Eastern Europe’s most modern lift systems which delivers skiers and snowboarders to its selection of forest-lined runs. There are numerous off-piste opportunities for those who prefer to get off the beaten piste, and extensive cross-country trails if you want to try something different. Despite its hi-tech infrastructure, Kopaonik has managed to maintain its rural charm; traditional thatched huts dot the slopes and offer cosy open fires and lashings of ‘hot wine’. Be warned: every night is party night in Serbia, so be sure to pack your dancing shoes (especially if you like TurboFolk!).6 day ski pass: £637 nights’ accomodation in Kopanonik: £168Flights to Belgrade from £87 departing LondonTOTAL: £318tp://www.youtube.com/embed/OIk1gOfkdTIJasna, SlovakiaFor several years now Jasna has been attracting savvy skiers and snowboarders who want great snow, cheap food, and even cheaper beer. British-run holiday outfit Propaganda Snowboards, who spotted the area’s potential and set up shop here almost 10 years ago, has been sharing this Slovakian secret ever since.New for this season is the Funitel cable car which connects both sides of Chopok, increasing the uplift capacity of this medium-sized resort to 30,000 people an hour. There’s a respectable 1,000m of vertical drop here and plenty of forest riding on offer, so Jasna is big enough to keep intermediates and even experts happy if you’re prepared to do a little off-piste exploration. Though the après-ski is relatively low-key, there are a selection of after-dark bars and restaurants in the nearby town of Liptovsky Mikulas.Pricewise, Slovakia is excellent value; a pint of beer still costs just £1 and you can grab a three course meal for under £10 – try doing that in France!6 day Ski Pass: £1437 nights’ accommodation in Jasna from £202Flights to Bratislava: from £41 returnTOTAL: £383tp://www.youtube.com/embed/ZSqwqcYGtsUJahorina, Bosnia and HerzegovinaJahorina is one of the larger ski resorts in the Balkans and boasts a proud Olympic legacy. Most of the skiing here is intermediate level, with around 20km of pistes, efficient lifts and lovely views towards the city of Sarajevo. Jahorina also offers night skiing and has a lively après-ski scene with great value food. You can stay on and around the slopes, but as it’s less than 30 minutes’ drive to Sarajevo, it’s more fun to base yourself there so you can combine a city and ski break in one.6 day ski pass: £747 nights’ accommodation in Sarajevo: £147Flights to Sarajevo: from £182 returnTOTAL: £403tp://www.youtube.com/embed/U0GbK0UVty4 Notes:Flights and hotels found on SkyscannerNon-GBP currencies converted to approx GBP value using XE.com.Lift pass and accommodation prices for high season (January-March).Not included: equipment rental, airport transfers, insurance.Prices correct at time of writing but may be subject to change.ReturnOne wayMulti-cityFromAdd nearby airports ToAdd nearby airportsDepart14/08/2019Return21/08/2019Cabin Class & Travellers1 adult, EconomyDirect flights onlySearch flights Map