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New artwork appears over existing Banksy art

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">A mysterious artwork has appeared on the wall of a house in Bristol that once showcased an original Banksy work before it was vandalised. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The original artwork, which shows a girl firing a slingshot of flowers, appeared on Valentine’s Day in 2020 and was subsequently vandalised. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The destruction of the piece prompted the owners of the house to cover up the ruined work, and encase the untouched flower explosion in a glass case to prevent any further damage. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Now, a new tag has appeared on the wall that shows a man in a balaclava attempting to pry away the covering with a crowbar.</span></p> <p><img style="width: 500px; height: 281.25px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7846891/banksy-bristol.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/78080f293fda4bbfa32b94145cb127e7" /></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">The original artwork appeared on Valentine’s Day 2020. Image credits: Getty Images</span></em></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Despite the new work being in Banksy’s signature street art style, the work featured a tag of the word “Pouchy”, leaving locals to wonder if the new work is Banksy’s at all, or the work of a copycat artist.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Banksy has yet to claim the piece online. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">After the piece was originally vandalised and covered up, Banksy </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">himself released a statement in which he said he was “kind of glad” the artwork was vandalised as he released a series of “better” sketches of it. </span></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Image credits: Getty Images / Instagram @damianjvcunningham</span></em></p>

Art

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“We were never, ever, ever, going to make it”: White Island survivor shares common question she is asked

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">A survivor of the 2019 Whakaari White Island volcano eruption has spoken about one common question </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/insulting-question-white-island-survivor-stephanie-browitt-is-asked/D37UQKAUVDFZHU7SMUBPQNVSPM/" target="_blank"><span style="font-weight: 400;">she still receives</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">, two years after the tragedy that took her father and sister from her.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Stephanie Browitt, her 21-year-old sister Krystal, and their dad Paul were on the Ovation of the Seas cruise ship visiting the island when it erupted on December 9.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Of the 47 people visiting the island that day, 22 died and 25 - including Stephanie - were severely injured. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">After spending six months in hospital receiving treatment for burns affecting 70 percent of her body, Stephanie has shared her recovery process openly on social media.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">In a recent video she </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.tiktok.com/@stephaniecoral96/video/7051366147697937666?is_copy_url=1&amp;is_from_webapp=v1&amp;lang=en" target="_blank"><span style="font-weight: 400;">shared on TikTok</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">, Stephanie reflected on the most common questions she is asked - including why she, her family, and other victims “couldn’t jump in the water if it’s an island” during the eruption.</span></p> <p><img style="width: 500px; height: 280.90277777777777px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7846894/edwxuvq4xm2y72lse5zkvymoza.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/437ac5f56d4f4e84a2dd4cb29e1e52e5" /></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Stephanie Browitt has taken to TikTok to explain why she and her family couldn’t escape the volcanic eruption that day. Image: TikTok</span></em></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Well as you can see, that’s us, circled, on the island that day, at 2.10pm. And the walls are extremely high up, and we are surrounded by rock,” she explained, with an image of the scene of where she and her family had been standing.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“We’re nowhere near the jetty, and nowhere near the ocean. We are as inland as you can get and under 140 metres from the crater.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“So my family and I were at the back of that line, and it was only about a two-minute walk, we had only just started walking back to the jetty.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">She then showed what the same spot looked like just seconds later. </span></p> <p><img style="width: 500px; height: 281.25px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7846893/dlqbmb5zn7eeztsmlxyhuuld3e.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/25d1aa725dbc4f9985ad36c06cd76439" /></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Up to a minute after the first photo was taken, Stephanie explains that the island was ‘consumed’ by ash. Image: TikTok</span></em></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“This is the same camera only 40 seconds to a minute apart, and as you can see the island was already engulfed in ash and dust,” she said.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“So we were never, ever, ever going to make it to water. There was literally no chance for the group of 21 people I was with.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Browitt <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/health/caring/they-were-taken-from-us-white-island-survivor-marks-second-anniversary-of-tragedy" target="_blank">marked the second anniversary</a> of the disaster in December last year, writing that she had “very mixed emotions” about the event which had “ripped” her family apart.</span></p> <blockquote style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-captioned="" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/CXPVRu8P8c0/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="14"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"></div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"></div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"></div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"></div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"></div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/CXPVRu8P8c0/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank">A post shared by Stephanie Coral Browitt (@stephaniecoral96)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Today’s not only the day I survived the unimaginable, it’s the day I lost my dad, Paul and sister, Krystall. It’s the day that they were taken from us,” she wrote in a candid, lengthy post on Instagram.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“My accomplishments mean nothing to me knowing they aren’t shared with my sister and dad by my side. Every day I question why we couldn’t have gone through this extremely hard journey together, why they couldn’t be here also.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Today marks two years of accomplishments but also loss, pain and never ending grief. I miss and yearn for my family every day.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“I love you so much dad and Krystal, so much it kills me.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">In 2020, 13 parties were charged with failings in relation to the disaster by WorkSafe. All defendants have pleaded not guilty.</span></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Image: @stephaniecoral96 (Instagram/TikTok)</span></em></p>

Caring

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Free to good home: The house that costs zero dollars but comes with a catch

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">In a deal that’s almost too good to be true, a four-bedroom Sydney house is free to a good home. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">But, it comes with a catch: its new owners will need to remove it from the property and find a new patch of land to transport it to.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The home, listed on Facebook and </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.gumtree.com.au/s-ad/cronulla/other-real-estate/house-for-removal-free-/1288343408" target="_blank"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Gumtree</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">, is sure to gain some interest as property prices continue to skyrocket across the city.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">In Kirrawee in Sydney’s south, where the home is currently located, the median house price reached $1.3 million in the year ending last September, coming at an 18.2 percent increase on prices from the year prior.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">In comparison, the new homeowners will only need to pay to remove the home - which can cost </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.smh.com.au/property/news/four-bedroom-house-offered-free-with-just-one-catch-20220117-p59oru.html" target="_blank"><span style="font-weight: 400;">around $70,000</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> on top of reconnection to services and plaster setting at the new site.</span></p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr">Not your usual Facebook marketplace item! Free house - you only need to pay for removal and transport! How does that work out financially? Is that something anyone’s had experience with? Excuse me for being fascinated by any concept that isn’t COVID and/or Djokovic 😂 🏡 <a href="https://t.co/ugD9keuSLV">pic.twitter.com/ugD9keuSLV</a></p> — Lucy Thackray (@LucyThack) <a href="https://twitter.com/LucyThack/status/1482281605163286530?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">January 15, 2022</a></blockquote> <p dir="ltr">According to the ad, which has since been shared on Twitter, the home is about 60 years old and comes with two bathrooms, two living spaces, a modern kitchen and a laundry.</p> <p dir="ltr">Homes have been known to sell without the land they stand on, with the home used as the set for<span> </span><em>The Castle</em><span> </span>selling for $40,000 at auction in 2017 as a relocatable home.</p> <p dir="ltr">In 2018, another house-only sale made headlines when it was listed for just $5,000 - a much cheaper option compared to the $25,000 it may have cost to demolish.</p> <p dir="ltr">As for the Kirrawee house, the deadline to clear the site is at the end of February, with the home able to be picked up at the start of March.</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Images: @LucyThack (Twitter), Gumtree</em></p>

Real Estate

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Patti Newton shares unseen photo of Bert

<p>Three months on from the death of TV legend Bert Newton, his widow Patti continues to mourn from her loss. </p> <p>The 76-year-old shared a never-before-seen photo of Bert smiling in his hospital bed, and left the image to speak for itself without adding a caption. </p> <p>Bert was first hospitalised in November 2020 for an infection in his toe, which later led to a leg amputation in May 2021. </p> <p>Despite his long health battle, he remained positive throughout his stints in hospital. </p> <p><span>"After a couple of complications, Bert is doing well with a little rehab and lots of laughs and love," Patti wrote on Instagram back in July.</span></p> <blockquote style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/CY2VnOfPsA4/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="14"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"></div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"></div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"></div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"></div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"></div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/CY2VnOfPsA4/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank">A post shared by Patti Newton (@pattinewtonofficial)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p><span>Bert died in October 2021 as a result of his health complications at age 83. </span></p> <p><span>Patti's post comes just hours after Lauren Newton, Patti and Bert's daughter, revealed to <a href="https://www.nowtolove.com.au/celebrity/celeb-news/patti-lauren-bert-newton-death-70634">Woman's Day</a> how their family was coping with Bert's death. </span></p> <p><span>"We're falling apart, but we're doing the best we can," Lauren said. </span></p> <p><span>In the joint interview, Patti said her marriage to Bert was like most, as they too had "ups and downs". But their love always remained strong in the 47 years they had together. </span></p> <p><span>"I hate it when people say they never had a cross word — you can't go through life being holier than thou," she said. </span></p> <p><span>"I feel we understood one another, we had great respect for each other. And unlike a lot of other husbands in showbusiness, he included me in everything."</span></p> <p><em>Image credits: Instagram @pattinewtonofficial</em></p>

Caring

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Time to upgrade from cloth and surgical masks to respirators? Your questions answered

<p>With the rapid spread of Omicron, many countries are rethinking their COVID mask advice for the community.</p> <p>Respirators have been mandatory in public places in <a href="https://www.france24.com/en/europe/20210125-austria-makes-ffp2-masks-mandatory-in-shops-public-transport">Austria</a> for a year. Now, the <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/types-of-masks.html">United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention</a> suggests respirators be considered for greater protection, for instance, on public transport or in enclosed crowded spaces. It’s time to rethink and upgrade masks for you and your family.</p> <h2>What is a respirator?</h2> <p>Respirators, often wrongly called “masks” because of their appearance, are personal protective equipment made to a particular standard and designed to prevent inhalation of hazardous airborne contaminants.</p> <p>In the US, respirator standards are managed by the <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/respirators/">National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health</a> (NIOSH), and cover three things: filter efficiency, breathing resistance and fit. A filter that meets the N95 standard (equivalent to Europe’s FFP2) must capture at least 95% of particles in the most penetrating size range at a high flow rate. In Australia, a respirator must meet <a href="https://www.tga.gov.au/publication/guidance-medicalsurgical-face-masks-and-respirator-standards-key-performance-aspects">TGA standards</a>.</p> <p>A respirator that consists entirely of filtering material – rather than having layers, say for waterproofing – is called a filtering facepiece respirator (FFR). An FFR can be worn multiple times but must eventually be thrown away. Research suggests FFRs lose their ability to fit well after <a href="https://www.ajicjournal.org/article/S0196-6553(11)00770-X/fulltext">20 wears</a> – due to stretching of straps or failure of the nose clip or edge components.</p> <p>The filter material is usually a non-woven polypropylene electret, which means the fibres carry an electrical charge to enhance particle collection while ensuring low breathing resistance.</p> <h2>Why were we told to wear cloth masks at first?</h2> <p>It was initially assumed SARS-CoV-2 spread via droplets (in coughs and sneezes) which caused infection when they landed on the mouth, nose or eyes. For such particles, a cloth or surgical mask is an efficient form of <em>source control</em> to protect others from virus emitted by the wearer.</p> <p>Now it’s understood the virus is <a href="https://theconversation.com/covid-how-the-disease-moves-through-the-air-173490">airborne</a>. Virus-laden particles build up in the air over time indoors because of breathing and speaking.</p> <h2>Will a respirator protect me even if others are unmasked?</h2> <p>It depends on the type of exposure and how long you are exposed. It is important to consider your risk depending on <a href="https://theconversation.com/heres-where-and-how-you-are-most-likely-to-catch-covid-new-study-174473">where you are, what you’re doing, with whom and how long you’re there</a>.</p> <p>The <a href="https://www.cidrap.umn.edu/news-perspective/2021/10/commentary-what-can-masks-do-part-1-science-behind-covid-19-protection">safest situation</a>, especially for prolonged contact in crowded settings, is when everyone is wearing well-fitting N95 respirators.</p> <p>It’s hard to show evidence to support respirator use in the community – but lack of randomised controlled trials (RCT) does not mean they are not effective. Studying masks or respirators at a population level is complex and involves many variables. There is <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0020748920301139?via%3Dihub">strong evidence</a> from RCTs in health workers and laboratory studies showing respirators are effective for source control and personal protection.</p> <h2>I really like my cloth mask. Is it OK to keep wearing it?</h2> <p>Probably not. Cloth masks are not made to any particular standard, so their properties and quality vary considerably.</p> <p>In general, they are poor filters of small airborne particles.</p> <h2>Surgical masks are cheaper – can I just switch to those?</h2> <p>Not really. While some surgical masks may have better filtration capacity than cloth masks, they were designed primarily to prevent the emission of large droplets. Some medical-grade surgical masks may also offer protection from body fluid splashes or sprays. No surgical mask will prevent the emission or inhalation of small infectious particles, however.</p> <p>A key deficiency of surgical and cloth masks is their loose fit compared to respirators.</p> <p>While some older, hard-cup style respirators may be uncomfortable, newer styles are <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/2022/01/11/n95-masks-cdc-walensky/">better tolerated</a>. This may be due to their greater surface area, which could contribute to lower breathing resistance.</p> <h2>Should I have my respirator professionally fitted?</h2> <p>No. When respirators are used to protect workers from airborne hazards such as dust or pollution, employers are legally required to undertake fit-testing (see for example the US <a href="https://www.osha.gov/laws-regs/regulations/standardnumber/1910/1910.134">Occupational Safety and Health Administration</a> fit-testing standard). But even non-fit tested respirators will provide <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1750-2659.2011.00198.x">superior protection</a>over cloth or surgical masks.</p> <p>A respirator should rest against your face with no gaps, especially around the nose and chin. To create a tight seal, form the nose clip and place both straps around your head, adjusting them if necessary.</p> <p>If the facepiece collapses a small amount when you inhale, the respirator probably fits well. Get in the habit of doing a <a href="https://youtu.be/pGXiUyAoEd8?t=140">“self seal-check”</a> before each wear.</p> <h2>Shouldn’t respirators be reserved for healthcare professionals?</h2> <p>No. Early in the pandemic, the public were discouraged from buying respirators because of a global shortage of personal protective equipment and the assumption healthcare workers were at higher risk of catching COVID from so-called “aerosol-generating procedures” such as intubation.</p> <p>We now know <a href="https://associationofanaesthetists-publications.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/anae.15475">everyday activities like talking and singing</a> are <em>more</em> likely to generate infectious aerosols than medical procedures.</p> <p>As with vaccines, there are global equity issues and we need to <a href="https://www.statnews.com/2021/01/07/national-hi-fi-mask-initiative-needed-with-vaccine-rollouts/">expand manufacturing capacity</a> to ensure sufficient supply for everyone.</p> <h2>What about the cost and environmental impact?</h2> <p>Compared to cloth masks, respirators (which are not washable) cost more and have a greater environmental impact. But disposable respirators can be used for <a href="https://journals.lww.com/md-journal/fulltext/2020/12110/determination_of_the_optimal_time_for_n95.143.aspx">extended periods</a> if they are not wet or damaged, and there are re-usable options such as <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/elastomeric-respirators-strategy/index.html">elastometric respirators</a>. A respirator should be thrown away when it gets dirty or the straps, nose clip or other components lose their integrity.</p> <p>Costs and environmental concerns need to be weighed against the costs and waste produced by a single COVID hospital admission. In Australia, the average daily cost of an Intensive Care Unit stay has been <a href="https://www.mja.com.au/journal/2019/211/7/financial-cost-intensive-care-australia-multicentre-registry-study">estimated at $4375</a>.</p> <h2>What if I can’t afford or get my hands on a N95 respirator?</h2> <p>The Korean KF94 and Chinese KN95s are cheaper alternatives that provide better protection than a surgical or cloth mask. <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/wirecutter/blog/12-signs-you-have-a-fake-n95-kn95-or-kf94-mask/?smtyp=cur&amp;smid=tw-nytimes">Beware counterfeits</a>, such as those without a GN stamp to show they meet manufacturing standards.</p> <p>If you can’t get hold of a respirator, you can <a href="https://ozsage.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/OzSage-Masks1-4.pdf">improve protection of a surgical or cloth mask</a>.</p> <p>Options include “<a href="https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamainternalmedicine/fullarticle/2778913">double masking</a>” by wearing a tight-fitting cloth mask over a surgical mask. You can also “knot and tuck” a surgical mask by tying the sides and tucking the remainder inside. Finally, a well-designed cloth mask (with three layers) can perform as well as a good quality surgical mask.</p> <p>It’s still true that something is better than nothing. But don’t count on these types of masks to provide the same level of protection for the same amount of time as an N95 respirator.</p> <h2>Respirators should be provided and required</h2> <p>The World Health Organization has stressed the importance of a “vaccines-plus” approach.</p> <p>There is a strong case, when prevalence of COVID is high, for governments to both mandate and fund the provision of respirators for the public, <a href="https://www.cbs58.com/news/500-000-n95-masks-given-away-in-48-hours-more-on-the-way">as some parts of the US</a> are now doing.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em>This article originally appeared on <a href="https://theconversation.com/time-to-upgrade-from-cloth-and-surgical-masks-to-respirators-your-questions-answered-174877">The Conversation</a>. </em></p>

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London’s “worst tourist attraction” closes after just six months

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">A London tourist attraction described as the city’s “worst attraction” </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://travel.nine.com.au/latest/113m-marble-arch-mound-to-close-after-just-six-disappointing-months/5c2b9e30-a534-4724-91a7-c1969dc85c95" target="_blank"><span style="font-weight: 400;">has closed</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> after operating for just six months.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Despite costing a reported $11.3 million (£6 million), the Marble Arch Mound closed its doors on January 9 after becoming a source of widespread mockery online.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Tickets - costing up to $15 (£8) - began to sell for free ahead of its impending closure on the Mound’s official website.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">In a series of posts on Twitter, journalist Jacob Phillips recounted the attraction’s journey from an exciting premise to an underwhelming, unfinished site.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Construction of the ill-fated attraction on the corner of Hyde Park and Oxford Street was overseen by Westminster Council, who hoped it would bring people back to the area, which was struggling due to COVID-19.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">It promised to have sweeping greenery and views of the city, as well as a light exhibition and cafe inside.</span></p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr">In March it was given planning permission with councillors calling the attraction bonkers but it wanted to be bold.<br /><br />Building works started shortly afterwards but by the mound's opening date things weren't looking good <a href="https://t.co/bXKentVISp">pic.twitter.com/bXKentVISp</a></p> — Jacob Phillips (@Jacob_LDR) <a href="https://twitter.com/Jacob_LDR/status/1480501726943887362?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">January 10, 2022</a></blockquote> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">However, the Mound was still unfinished when it opened on July 26. Scaffolding used to construct the attraction was still visible, plants began dying, and the light installation and cafe were noticeably absent.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Visitors soon began sharing their underwhelming experiences online, including a review written by Dan Barker for </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">The Critic</span><span style="font-weight: 400;">, who described the Mound as a little soulless.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Barker also compared The Mound to “that famous Christian Ronaldo statue” - referencing the sculpture of the soccer star which failed to capture any of his features - rather than “Michelangelo’s David”.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Another user shared their experience visiting the Mound, writing that it was “the worst thing I’ve ever done in London”.</span></p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr">Marble arch mound is the worst thing I've ever done in London <a href="https://t.co/njmpOFxrbf">pic.twitter.com/njmpOFxrbf</a></p> — Emma Franklin-Wright (@emmabethwright) <a href="https://twitter.com/emmabethwright/status/1419932605449969665?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">July 27, 2021</a></blockquote> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">According to Phillips, the site closed after just two days after council workers attempted to improve the Mound’s appearance - but their efforts “were in vain”.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“At this stage the mound went viral for being pretty much just a slag heap,” he </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://twitter.com/Jacob_LDR/status/1480503442271576064" target="_blank"><span style="font-weight: 400;">wrote</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">When news of its closure broke, many bid farewell to the Mound while remarking on its cost to taxpayers.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“So farewell then the Marble Arch Mound, / That cost Westminster taxpayers six million pound,” writer and journalist Andrew Scott </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://twitter.com/Otto_English/status/1479462516690497538" target="_blank"><span style="font-weight: 400;">posted</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">, under the pen name Otto English.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Cost £6 million. Attracted 250,000 visitors. (But did even ONE visitor come to London because of it?),” author Edwin Hayward </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://twitter.com/uk_domain_names/status/1479559543885635586" target="_blank"><span style="font-weight: 400;">wrote</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“So that’s £24 a head. Dire expenditure by the local council, despite their protestations.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Despite the many critics, some tried to defend the Mound before its closure.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Tony Devenish, a Conservative Assembly Member for Hammersmith and Fulham and Kensington and Chelsea, said the attraction helped during a dire time.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“The reality of the Marble Arch Mound is that it drove footfall at a time when the West End was trying desperately to protect jobs and recover from the impact of Covid,” he </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://twitter.com/Tony_Devenish/status/1479404291022544908" target="_blank"><span style="font-weight: 400;">said</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">.</span></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Image: @Jacob_LDR (Twitter)</span></em>​</p>

Travel Trouble

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A castle from ‘The Godfather’ is up for grabs

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">A </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.artnews.com/art-news/news/sicilian-castle-art-collection-sale-1234615683/" target="_blank"><span style="font-weight: 400;">200-year-old castle</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> near Sicily’s Ionian coast that remains intact has gone up for sale - giving film buffs a chance to own a piece of cinematic history for just €6 million ($AUD 9.49 or $NZD 10 million).</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The castle - complete with 22 rooms, its own park and commissioned artworks - isn’t the only structure for sale either, with a gothic-inspired chapel filled with art and frescoes also included in the estate, according to representatives for </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.sothebysrealty.com/eng/sales/detail/180-l-86206-ss485l/piazza-agostino-pennisi-acireale-ct" target="_blank"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Sotheby’s International Realty</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">.</span></p> <p><img style="width: 500px; height: 333.33333333333337px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7846907/imagereader-1.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/bcd8f0c0ae8f4fcfad2ac1b9322fd5e5" /></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">The 200-year-old castle has been listed for sale for an eye-watering price. Image: Sotheby’s International Realty</span></em></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">In the 1960s and ‘70s, the Sicilian castle was used as the set for several films, including 1969’s </span><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">That Splendid November </span></em><span style="font-weight: 400;">and Francis Coppola’s </span><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Godfather: Part III</span></em><span style="font-weight: 400;">.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The final instalment in Coppola’s trilogy, released on Christmas Day in 1990, follows Al Pacino’s Michael Corleone as he attempts to fix his failing marriage, connect with his estranged children, and find a successor to pass his criminal enterprise onto so he can leave the life of organised crime for good.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Though it was poorly received by audiences, the film was nominated for seven Oscars and also serves as the source of one of </span><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">The Godfather</span></em><span style="font-weight: 400;">’s iconic lines: “just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in”.</span></p> <p><img style="width: 500px; height: 333.33333333333337px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7846908/imagereader.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/181bcb30d30748c28d9f16aaad21e54e" /></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Movie historians are sure to recognise the property from Godfather: Part III, which featured shots of the interior and exterior. Image: Sotheby’s International Realty</span></em></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The sale of the nearly 4000-square-metre castle comes shortly after </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://oversixty.com.au/property/real-estate/iconic-horror-house-hits-market-with-help-of-freddy-krueger" target="_blank"><span style="font-weight: 400;">the home from </span><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">A Nightmare On Elm Street</span></em><span style="font-weight: 400;"> hit the market</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">, which sold on Halloween 2021.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">However, homes with a history on the silver screen are more likely to be listed for temporary stays through Airbnb and other platforms for special, often exclusive, events, with recent examples including </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://oversixty.com.au/property/real-estate/how-to-stay-in-carrie-bradshaw-s-apartment-from-sex-and-the-city" target="_blank"><span style="font-weight: 400;">a recreation of Carrie Bradshaw’s apartment</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> from </span><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Sex and the City</span></em><span style="font-weight: 400;"> and the </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/property/real-estate/you-can-now-spend-a-night-in-the-original-home-alone-house" target="_blank"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Chicago home</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> that was filled with Kevin’s traps in 1992’s </span><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Home Alone</span></em><span style="font-weight: 400;">.</span></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Image: Getty Images / Sotheby’s International Realty</span></em></p>

Movies

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Why major airlines are flying empty planes

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">In order to keep prized departure and landing times at major airports, some of Europe’s biggest airlines have been forced to fly empty planes. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Europe’s second largest air carrier, Germany-based Lufthansa, reported they had operated over 18,000 “ghost flights” through winter, despite the devastating pollution effects of these flights directly opposing Europe’s climate goals. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg shared news of the “ghost flights” on twitter, adding, “The EU surely is in a climate emergency mode…”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Due to severely decreased demand for air travel, Lufthansa called for more short-term flexibility on airport time slots. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Without this crisis-related flexibility, airlines are forced to fly with planes almost empty, just to secure their slots,” it said. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Still operating in a pre-pandemic mindset, the “use-it-or-lose-it” rule forces airlines to use at least 80% of their allocated slots to keep their flight times. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">These rules ensure major airlines are not able to hog valuable flying times, which boxes out smaller airlines from emerging.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">News of the ghost flights has prompted Stefan De Keersmaecker, a senior spokesperson of the European Commission, to refute these claims online. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Stefan cited data from Eurocontrol which reported the first weeks of traffic in 2022 was at 77% of pre-pandemic rates. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“In addition to the lower slot use rates, companies may also request a ‘justified non-use exception’ – to not use a slot – if the route cannot be operated because of sanitary measures, e.g. when new variants emerge during the pandemic,” he shared on Twitter.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“EU rules therefore do not oblige airlines to fly or to keep empty planes in the air. Deciding to operate routes or not is a commercial decision by the airline company and not a result of EU rules.”</span></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Image credits: Getty Images</span></em></p>

Travel Tips

News

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Vital clue emerges in search for missing nine-year-old

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Five days into their search for missing nine-year-old Charlise Mutten, police have received a vital clue from witnesses.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Police and volunteers have continued to search bushland in the NSW Blue Mountains for signs of the girl, while droves of detectives searched for clues around the Mount Wilson estate where she was last seen.</span></p> <p><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.police.nsw.gov.au/news/news_article?sq_content_src=%2BdXJsPWh0dHBzJTNBJTJGJTJGZWJpenByZC5wb2xpY2UubnN3Lmdvdi5hdSUyRm1lZGlhJTJGOTk1OTYuaHRtbCZhbGw9MQ%3D%3D" target="_blank"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Officers</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> from local police, Police Rescue, the Dog Unit and PolAir are also involved in the search efforts, with assistance from the State Emergency Service (SES), Rural Fire Service (RFS), and NSW Ambulance.</span></p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr">A large scale coordinated search operation continues in the Blue Mountains. Charlise was last seen wearing a pink top w/ a round neck collar, black skirt &amp; pink Nike thongs. <br /><br />Anyone with info regarding the whereabouts of Charlise should contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000. <a href="https://t.co/JHtK9Nsgsb">https://t.co/JHtK9Nsgsb</a></p> — NSW Police Force (@nswpolice) <a href="https://twitter.com/nswpolice/status/1482132460527886343?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">January 14, 2022</a></blockquote> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">On Monday, neighbours provided </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.9news.com.au/national/blue-mountains-missing-girl-charlise-mutten-police-new-south-wales/cbeb653e-c0da-44f4-ac10-80421b64c2fc" target="_blank"><span style="font-weight: 400;">new information</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> about events prior to the reporting of Charlise’s disappearance on Friday, telling police they saw a car driving through the gates of the property at 4.30am.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Charlise’s mother Kallista told police her daughter had disappeared on Thursday, but didn’t make a report until Friday morning.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Her fiance Justin Stein then spent several hours speaking to police at Penrith on Friday afternoon, with his car being towed while he was at the station.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Over the weekend, police seized a white boat from the Mount Wilson property where Charlise was last spotted, before divers searched the Hawkesbury River at Windsor on Sunday.</span></p> <p><img style="width: 500px; height: 281.25px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7846882/mutten.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/fc3a0795d42b4d32bb85138db1553c25" /></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Divers searched the Hawkesbury River for signs of nine-year-old Charlise Mutten, who has been missing since Thursday, January 13. Image: 9News</span></em></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Monday’s search saw crews of volunteers trek across hundreds of kilometres, with NSW Rural Fire Service commander Peter Bennet saying one crew walked 10 kilometres across rough terrain.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“It’s very rough terrain out here with canyons,” he said.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Officers from the Homicide Squad are also heavily involved, though their investigations have been made difficult by conflicting accounts.</span></p> <p><img style="width: 419.46308724832215px; height: 500px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7846881/fjc1b-qacachmk4.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/b998ff4eb1954831b0b62406200e7c72" /></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Charlise is described as being of Caucasian appearance, between 130 and 140cm tall, and has brown hair and brown eyes. Image: NSW Police (Twitter)</span></em></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Acting Superintendent John Nelson said police were working closely with Charlise’s family, including her mother.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“For any parent, it’s a very distressing scenario,” he said.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“She is quite distressed and we are providing her with support.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Charlise was last seen wearing a pink top with a round neck collar, a black knee-length skirt, and pink Nike thongs.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Police are urging anyone with information to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.</span></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Image: NSW Police (Twitter)</span></em></p>

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Manhunt after tragic death from random stabbing attack

<p dir="ltr">A 24-year-old was killed in what police describe as a random stabbing attack while working at a high-end furniture store last Thursday.</p> <p dir="ltr">Brianna Kupfer, a UCLA student, was working at Croft House in Los Angeles when she was stabbed by who police believe to be a homeless man. The suspect stabbed her before fleeing through the back door and down an alley.</p> <p dir="ltr">A customer found Brianna 20 minutes later, and she was pronounced dead on the scene soon after.</p> <p dir="ltr">Police said of the incident, “Detectives have determined the suspect was not known to the victim and [it] was a random walk into the store. The suspect attacked the victim with a knife and fled the scene through the back door.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Dr Jennifer Botelho, who owns a chiropractic practice next door, told CBS LA the attack was “horrifying”, saying, “It’s horrible. She’s such a young girl. … We feel so horrible for Brianna’s family, and hope we can catch this guy.”</p> <p dir="ltr">She added that the suspect visited her business shortly before the attack. “He came in and asked a couple of questions: ‘Do you do orthopaedics here?’ What kind of care we provide, and then he left. So he was just here for a few minutes,” Dr Botelho said.</p> <p dir="ltr">Ms Kupfer’s father told CBS she was “loved by all”. She had been studying architectural design at UCLA and was working at Croft House as a consultant.</p> <p dir="ltr">Police are still searching for the suspect.</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image: Facebook</em></p>

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“Proud of my heritage”: Barty’s emotional speech

<p><em>Image: 9News</em></p> <p>Former tennis star turned commentator Jelena Dokic became emotional and teared up as she spoke to Ash Barty for her on-court interview after defeating Ukrainian qualifier Lesia Tsurenko 6-0 6-1 in just 54 minutes.</p> <p>Much like the rest of the country, Dokic is clearly a big-time Barty supporter, as she found it unmistakably difficult to keep her composure as she chatted on-mic with the superstar on Centre Court after her win, where she immediately recalled another of Barty's victories.</p> <p>“I want to first congratulate you on your Wimbledon win. I think I speak — not I think, I’m sure — I speak for everyone here, everyone in Australia, around the world, particularly myself — thank you,” Dokic said.</p> <p>“You gave us so much joy watching that last year. You made us so proud. I get goosebumps right now. I just want to hug you but I can’t.</p> <p>“There are no words to describe what you’ve done so thankyou for that.</p> <p>“Now I’m going to lose all my questions.”</p> <p>Then it was Barty's turn to speak, as she talked about her Indigenous heritage while three young fans waved the Australian Aboriginal flag from the stands.</p> <p>“I think I’m my most comfortable self when I’m out on the court … I’m a very, very proud Indigenous woman. I love my heritage, I love to celebrate my heritage,” she said.</p> <p>“It’s what connects me to all of you here today. It’s what connects me to the land.”</p> <p>The exchange melted hearts. Tennis writer Prajwal Hegde tweeted: “Jelena Dokic’s on-court interview of Ash Barty — Wimbledon, Indigenous heritage, expression — was outstanding. The world No. 1 is Australia’s and is much loved.”</p> <p>It’s not the first time Dokic has welled up speaking about Barty. After the 25-year-old won Wimbledon last year, Dokic became emotional on live TV as she praised the role the Queenslander’s parents have played in raising her to become such an admirable role model.</p> <p>“I just want to get this out before I fall apart. So give me 15 seconds,” Dokic told Nine in July.</p> <p>“I want to give a shout out to her parents, obviously Josie and Rob, because people underestimate the importance of family. She talks about that all the time.</p> <p>“And as someone who didn’t have that support, it is so important. This will set an example for parents in Australia and around the world, not just how to raise a champion but a genuinely wonderful human being."</p> <p>“This is how you support them. You don’t pressure them, you’re there for them and this is why she is there, so big shout out to them, well done.”</p>

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Has Novak's deportation ruined Australia's global reputation?

<p>The world has turned its attention to the Australian government's handling of Novak Djokovic and his refusal to get vaccinated, in order to compete in the Australian Open. </p> <p>As the tennis champion was <a href="https://oversixty.com.au/news/news/djokovic-escorted-out-of-australia">deported from Melbourne</a> on Monday morning, many spectators of the saga have drawn attention to the Morrison Government's strict border policies. </p> <p>Greg Barns from the Australian Lawyers Alliance said it was “dangerous” and “Orwellian” and “deeply troubling in a society supposedly committed to freedom of speech and freedom of thought”.</p> <p>However, despite the <a rel="noopener" href="https://oversixty.com.au/news/news/serbia-s-reaction-to-djokovic-deportation" target="_blank">growing outrage</a> in Novak's native Serbia, the notion that the tennis player's deportation has harmed Australia's international reputation is a lie Aussie's should not have to face.</p> <p>Readers of international publications such as the New York Times, the BBC and NBC News have all celebrated the decision made by Immigration Minister Alex Hawke to cancel Novak's visa and uphold the strong Australian borders. </p> <p>The Immigration Minister's decision to cancel the visa was supported by the Federal Court of Australia, preventing the tennis champion from competing in the Australian Open. </p> <p>“I am so glad this happened! Australia has worked very hard to keep its citizens safe! Kudos to them,” one commenter wrote on a Times story.</p> <p>“Australia has every single right to enforce their rules and laws, even on celebrities. Get vaccinated,” another wrote.</p> <p>When the BBC shared the news of his deportation on Facebook, the majority of the comments were in support of the government's decision. </p> <p>“Glad they stood their ground, in the end of the day Novak is just another human who should obey the rules,” one person wrote.</p> <div id="ad-block-4x4-1" class="w_unruly ad-block ad-custom unruly_insert_native_ad_here" data-type="unruly" data-ad-size="4x4" data-device-type="web" data-ad-tar="pos=1" data-ad-pos="1" data-google-query-id="CMaTzZ31t_UCFflCnQkdIy4Mow"> <div id="ad-block-2x2-1" data-google-query-id="CLnHxqT1t_UCFZCNjwodfvoFlg"> <div id="" class="story-content tg-tlc-storybody"> <p>Others agreed, writing, “Well done Australia for doing the right thing. You proved once again that you don’t pander to those who try to cheat and lie.</p> <p>“They’ve done the right thing by their citizens, who have had to live under restrictions (like many of us) for some time now. So someone blatantly lying to avoid the rules isn’t OK. He should’ve done the decent things and gone home days ago.”</p> <p>Australian journalist <span>Quentin Dempster wrote that the Morrison Government had no choice to deport Novak, given Australia's rising case numbers and hospitalisations. </span></p> <p><span>“This is a public health crisis,” he wrote on Twitter. “In a democracy free speech also comes with an ethical responsibility not to mislead or incite mass harm. Anti-vaxxers are doing just that. ICUs are clogged, people are dying.”</span></p> <p><span>Djokovic left Australia on a flight to Dubai on Sunday night after the full bench of the Federal Court of Australia ruled unanimously to kick him out of the country. </span></p> <p><span>Due to the visa restrictions, the world number one champion is banned from entering Australia for three years. </span></p> <p><span>Prime Minister Scott Morrison told Ben Fordham on 2GB on Monday that Novak "didn't have" a valid exemption to enter Australia unvaccinated. </span></p> <p>“He was wrong,’’ Mr Morrison said. “As simple as that. “He didn’t have one and that is the bottom line to that.</p> <p>“But the idea that someone could come and not follow those rules was just not on.”</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> </div> </div> </div>

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Travel

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The most trusted cruise operators in Australia

<p><em>Image: Getty</em></p> <p><strong>Most trusted cruise operator: Royal Caribbean</strong></p> <p>According to our data, people love Royal Caribbean for many different reasons. “They have high standards and offer very personal service,” said one respondent.</p> <p>“A hardworking cruise line that ensures your holiday is a relaxing and memorable one,” replied another.</p> <p>Royal Caribbean is bringing world-class, technologically-advanced ships to local waters, with amazing ‘Only On Royal’ activities, such as the North Star observation capsule, sky-diving simulators and bumper cars. With ships sailing from both Sydney and Brisbane from summer 2022-2023, guests have even more choice with departure points.</p> <p>Royal Caribbean has also assembled a taskforce of the world’s leading medical and scientific experts – the Healthy Sail Panel – to help establish measures to keep guests healthy and safe, including upgraded air filtration systems and upgraded onboard medical facilities and medical care.</p> <p><strong>Highly commended cruise operator: Cunard</strong></p> <p>Cunard passengers can travel in luxury on any number of voyages on Cunard’s three magnificent ships: the flagship ocean liner Queen Mary 2, Queen Victoria, and Queen Elizabeth, with guests able to experience a world of freedom and possibility, from learning fencing or tango, listening to an astronaut, or simply relaxing with a cocktail in one of the beautiful atriums.</p> <p>“I think Cunard offer premium quality cruises which makes me think of them as offering a higher quality experience than other operators,” said one happy guest.</p> <p><strong>Highly commended cruise operator: P&amp;O Cruises</strong></p> <p>P&amp;O’s local heritage coupled with an inherent understanding of how Aussies like to cruise is infused into everything it delivers, with the cruise line taking pride in leveraging local Australian talent and entertainment, locally sourced food and beverages, top Aussie chefs and unique live shows. In 2021, P&amp;O Cruises is welcoming two grand class ships, Pacific Adventure® and Pacific Encounter, both with a huge range of signature and new features. Enhanced health measures and protocols, improved impacts on the natural environment, as well as a refresh of onboard experiences including personalised digital applications, all await returning and new guests.</p> <p>“Wonderful experience. Everything that was promised was delivered,” enthused a previous guest.</p> <p>This article originally appeared on <a href="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/travel/cruising/the-most-trusted-cruise-operators-in-australia">Readers Digest</a>. </p>

Cruising

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Why the volcanic eruption in Tonga was so violent, and what to expect next

<p>The Kingdom of Tonga doesn’t often attract global attention, but a <a href="https://www.rnz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/459572/underwater-volcano-hunga-tonga-hunga-ha-apai-erupts-again">violent eruption of an underwater volcano</a> on January 15 has spread shock waves, quite literally, around half the world.</p> <p>The volcano is usually not much to look at. It consists of two small uninhabited islands, Hunga-Ha’apai and Hunga-Tonga, poking about 100m above sea level 65km north of Tonga’s capital Nuku‘alofa. But hiding below the waves is a massive volcano, around 1800m high and 20km wide.</p> <p><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/440948/original/file-20220115-27-82tzyq.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" alt="A map of the massive underwater volcano next to the Hunga-Ha’apai and Hunga-Tonga islands." /> <span class="caption">A massive underwater volcano lies next to the Hunga-Ha’apai and Hunga-Tonga islands.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="license">Author provided</span></span></p> <p>The Hunga-Tonga-Hunga-Ha'apai volcano has erupted regularly over the past few decades. During events in 2009 and 2014/15 hot jets of magma and steam exploded through the waves. But these eruptions were small, dwarfed in scale by the January 2022 events.</p> <p>Our <a href="https://eos.org/science-updates/new-volcanic-island-unveils-explosive-past">research</a> into these earlier eruptions suggests this is one of the massive explosions the volcano is capable of producing roughly every thousand years.</p> <p>Why are the volcano’s eruptions so highly explosive, given that sea water should cool the magma down?</p> <p>If magma rises into sea water slowly, even at temperatures of about 1200℃, a thin film of steam forms between the magma and water. This provides a layer of insulation to allow the outer surface of the magma to cool.</p> <p>But this process doesn’t work when magma is blasted out of the ground full of volcanic gas. When magma enters the water rapidly, any steam layers are quickly disrupted, bringing hot magma in direct contact with cold water.</p> <p>Volcano researchers call this “fuel-coolant interaction” and it is akin to weapons-grade chemical explosions. Extremely violent blasts tear the magma apart. A chain reaction begins, with new magma fragments exposing fresh hot interior surfaces to water, and the explosions repeat, ultimately jetting out volcanic particles and causing blasts with supersonic speeds.</p> <h2>Two scales of Hunga eruptions</h2> <p>The 2014/15 eruption created a volcanic cone, joining the two old Hunga islands to create a combined island about 5km long. We visited in 2016, and discovered these historical eruptions were merely <a href="https://eos.org/science-updates/new-volcanic-island-unveils-explosive-past">curtain raisers to the main event</a>.</p> <p>Mapping the sea floor, we discovered a hidden “caldera” 150m below the waves.</p> <p><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/440944/original/file-20220115-19-nplel8.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" alt="A map of the seafloor shows the volcanic cones and caldera." /> <span class="caption">A map of the seafloor shows the volcanic cones and massive caldera.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="license">Author provided</span></span></p> <p>The caldera is a crater-like depression around 5km across. Small eruptions (such as in 2009 and 2014/15) occur mainly at the edge of the caldera, but very big ones come from the caldera itself. These big eruptions are so large the top of the erupting magma collapses inward, deepening the caldera.</p> <p>Looking at the chemistry of past eruptions, we now think the small eruptions represent the magma system slowly recharging itself to prepare for a big event.</p> <p>We found evidence of two huge past eruptions from the Hunga caldera in deposits on the old islands. We matched these chemically to volcanic ash deposits on the largest inhabited island of Tongatapu, 65km away, and then used radiocarbon dates to show that big caldera eruptions occur about ever 1000 years, with the last one at AD1100.</p> <p>With this knowledge, the eruption on January 15 seems to be right on schedule for a “big one”.</p> <h2>What we can expect to happen now</h2> <p>We’re still in the middle of this major eruptive sequence and many aspects remain unclear, partly because the island is currently obscured by ash clouds.</p> <p>The two earlier eruptions on December 20 2021 and January 13 2022 were of moderate size. They produced clouds of up to 17km elevation and added new land to the 2014/15 combined island.</p> <p>The latest eruption has stepped up the scale in terms of violence. The ash plume is already about 20km high. Most remarkably, it spread out almost concentrically over a distance of about 130km from the volcano, creating a plume with a 260km diameter, before it was distorted by the wind.</p> <p><img src="https://cdn.theconversation.com/static_files/files/1920/2022-01_volcano_jan_13_ash%281%29.gif?1642274062" alt="" width="100%" /></p> <p>This demonstrates a huge explosive power – one that cannot be explained by magma-water interaction alone. It shows instead that large amounts of fresh, gas-charged magma have erupted from the caldera.</p> <p>The eruption also produced a <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/jan/15/tonga-tsunami-warning-as-volcano-erupts-at-sea">tsunami throughout Tonga</a> and neighbouring Fiji and Samoa. Shock waves traversed many thousands of kilometres, were seen from space, and recorded in New Zealand some 2000km away. Soon after the eruption started, the sky was blocked out on Tongatapu, with ash beginning to fall.</p> <p>All these signs suggest the large Hunga caldera has awoken. Tsunami are generated by coupled atmospheric and ocean shock waves during an explosions, but they are also readily caused by submarine landslides and caldera collapses.</p> <p>It remains unclear if this is the climax of the eruption. It represents a major magma pressure release, which may settle the system.</p> <p>A warning, however, lies in geological deposits from the volcano’s previous eruptions. These complex sequences show each of the 1000-year major caldera eruption episodes involved many separate explosion events.</p> <p>Hence we could be in for several weeks or even years of major volcanic unrest from the Hunga-Tonga-Hunga-Ha'apai volcano. For the sake of the people of Tonga I hope not.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important; text-shadow: none !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/175035/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><span><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/shane-cronin-908092">Shane Cronin</a>, Professor of Earth Sciences, <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-auckland-1305">University of Auckland</a></em></span></p> <p>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/why-the-volcanic-eruption-in-tonga-was-so-violent-and-what-to-expect-next-175035">original article</a>.</p>

International Travel

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This WA town just topped 50℃ – a dangerous temperature many Australians will have to get used to

<p>While Australians are used to summer heat, most of us only have to endure the occasional day over 40℃.</p> <p>Yesterday though, the temperature <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-01-13/onslow-in-the-pilbara-equals-australias-hottest-day-on-record/100754082">peaked at 50.7℃</a> in Onslow, a small Western Australian town around 100km from Exmouth.</p> <p>Remarkably, the town sits right next to the ocean, which usually provides cooling. By contrast, the infamously hot WA town of Marble Bar has <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-01-01/marble-bar-christmas-hottest-town-australia/100731946">only reached 49.6℃</a> this summer, despite its inland location.</p> <p>If confirmed, the Onslow temperature would equal Australia’s hottest on record <a href="https://www.news.com.au/technology/environment/climate-change/oodnadatta-holds-the-record-for-australias-hottest-temperature-and-it-looks-set-to-get-even-warmer/news-story/36a0585310acc37be3d14674569526a3">set in Oodnadatta</a>, South Australia, in January 1960. It would also mark only the fourth day over 50℃ for an Australian location since reliable observations began.</p> <p>Unfortunately, this extreme heat is becoming more common as the world heats up. The number of days over 50℃ has <a href="https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-58494641">doubled since the 1980s</a>. These dangerous temperatures are now being <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2018/aug/13/halfway-boiling-city-50c">recorded more often</a> – not just in Australia but in cities in Pakistan, India and the Persian Gulf. This poses real threats to the health of people enduring them.</p> <h2>Where did the heat come from?</h2> <p>Hitting such extreme temperatures requires heat to build up over several days.</p> <p>Onslow’s temperatures had been <a href="http://www.bom.gov.au/jsp/ncc/cdio/weatherData/av?p_nccObsCode=122&amp;p_display_type=dailyDataFile&amp;p_stn_num=005017&amp;p_startYear=">close to average</a> since a couple of heatwaves struck the Pilbara in the second half of December. So where did this unusual heat come from?</p> <p><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/440801/original/file-20220113-19-77sy3.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/440801/original/file-20220113-19-77sy3.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" alt="" /></a> <span class="caption">This weather chart from 13th January 2022 illustrates the conditions just half an hour before the record-equalling 50.7℃ was recorded. The blue dashed line marks the trough which meets the coast close to Onslow and helped bring in the hot air.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">Bureau of Meteorology</span></span></p> <p>In short, from the bakingly hot desert. South to south-easterly winds blew very hot air from the interior of the state up to Onslow. The wind came from an area that has had little to no rainfall since November, so the very hot air was also extremely dry.</p> <p>Dry air kept the sun beating at full intensity by preventing any cloud cover or storm formation. The result? The temperature rose and rose through the morning and early afternoon, and the temperature spiked at over 50℃ just before 2.30pm local time.</p> <h2>Aren’t we in a cooler La Niña period?</h2> <p>Australia’s weather is strongly linked to conditions in the Pacific Ocean. At the moment we’re in <a href="http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/enso/">a La Niña event</a> where we have cooler than normal ocean temperatures near the equator in the central and east Pacific.</p> <p>La Niña is typically associated with cooler, wetter conditions. But its effects on Australian weather are <a href="http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/about/?bookmark=lanina">strongest in spring</a>, when we had unusually <a href="https://theconversation.com/back-so-soon-la-nina-heres-why-were-copping-two-soggy-summers-in-a-row-173684">wet and cool conditions</a> over the east of the continent.</p> <p>During summer the relationship between La Niña and Australian weather usually weakens, with its strongest impacts normally confined to the northeast of the continent.</p> <p>During La Niña we typically see fewer and less intense heatwaves across much of eastern Australia, but the intensity of heat extremes in Western Australia is <a href="https://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/2015JD023592">not very different </a>between La Niña and El Niño.</p> <p>The pattern of extreme heat in Western Australia and flooding in parts of Queensland is fairly typical of a La Niña summer, although temperatures over 50℃ are extremely rare.</p> <p><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/440812/original/file-20220114-23-1b2bb55.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" alt="men pump water from flooded street" /> <span class="caption">Recent flooding in Queensland is also typical of La Nina summers.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">RAPID RELIEF TEAM</span></span></p> <h2>Climate change is cranking up the heat</h2> <p>Should these temperatures be a surprise? Sadly, no. Australia has warmed by <a href="http://www.bom.gov.au/state-of-the-climate/australias-changing-climate.shtml">around 1.4℃ since 1910</a>, well ahead of the <a href="https://www.giss.nasa.gov/research/news/20220113/">global average of 1.1℃</a>.</p> <p>In northern Australia, summer-average temperatures have not <a href="http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/change/#tabs=Tracker&amp;tracker=trend-maps&amp;tQ=map%3Dtmean%26area%3Daus%26season%3D1202%26period%3D1930">risen as much</a> as other parts of the country, because summers in the Top End have also got wetter. That’s in line with climate change models.</p> <p>When the conditions are right in the Pilbara, however, heat is significantly more extreme than it used to be. Heat events in the region have become <a href="https://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1029/2020EF001924">more frequent, more intense, and longer-lasting</a>, just as in most other regions.</p> <p>Most of us have chosen not to live in Australia’s hottest areas. So you might think you don’t need to worry about 50℃ heatwaves. But as the climate continues to warm, heatwave conditions are expected to become much more common and extreme across the continent.</p> <p>In urban areas, roads and concrete soak up the sun’s heat, raising maximum temperatures by several degrees and making for dangerous conditions.</p> <p>Even if we keep global warming below 2℃ in line with the Paris Agreement, we can still expect to see our first <a href="https://science.anu.edu.au/news-events/news/melbourne-and-sydney-should-prepare-50-degree-days">50℃ days in Sydney and Melbourne</a> in coming years. In January 2020 the Western Sydney suburb of Penrith came very close, <a href="https://www.sbs.com.au/news/sydney-s-penrith-the-hottest-place-on-earth-amid-devastating-bushfires/990f7843-278b-4973-90ab-b6dcb01c97aa">reaching 48.9℃</a>.</p> <p><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/440813/original/file-20220114-19-defesm.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" alt="man holds child in front of cooling mist machine" /> <span class="caption">Sydney and Melbourne will experience 50℃ days in coming years.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">Joe Castro/AAP</span></span></p> <p>As you know, it’s going to be very hard to achieve even keeping global warming below 2℃, given the need to urgently slash greenhouse gas emissions in the next decade.</p> <p>As it stands, the world’s actions on emission reduction suggest we are actually on track for around <a href="https://climateactiontracker.org/global/cat-thermometer/">2.7℃ of warming</a>, which would see <a href="https://theconversation.com/theres-no-end-to-the-damage-humans-can-wreak-on-the-climate-this-is-how-bad-its-likely-to-get-166031">devastating consequences</a> for life on Earth.</p> <p>We already know what we need to do to prevent this frightening future. The stronger the action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions globally – including by major carbon emitting countries such as Australia – the less the world will warm and the less Australian heat extremes will intensify. That’s because the relationships between greenhouse gas emissions, <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/nature16542">global temperatures</a> and <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-017-12520-2">Australian heat extremes</a> are roughly linear.</p> <p>You may think Australians are good at surviving the heat. But the climate you were born in doesn’t exist any more. Sadly, our farms, wildlife, and suburbs will struggle to cope with the extreme heat projected for coming decades.</p> <p>Let’s work to make this 50℃ record an outlier – and not the new normal.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important; text-shadow: none !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/174909/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><span><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/andrew-king-103126">Andrew King</a>, Senior Lecturer in Climate Science, <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/the-university-of-melbourne-722">The University of Melbourne</a></em></span></p> <p>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/this-wa-town-just-topped-50-a-dangerous-temperature-many-australians-will-have-to-get-used-to-174909">original article</a>.</p> <p><em>Image: Shutterstock</em></p>

Domestic Travel

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Prince Harry in legal battle to pay for police protection when visiting the UK

<p dir="ltr">Prince Harry is seeking a review of the decision by the Home Office to refuse him the ability to personally pay for police protection when he is in the UK.</p> <p dir="ltr">Harry lost his taxpayer-funded police security after stepping back from royal duties in 2020 and moving to the United States. He argues that his private security team does not have adequate jurisdiction abroad, and wants to be able to ensure his family’s safety when they are visiting the UK.</p> <p dir="ltr">The application for a judicial review follows an incident in London in July 2021 when Harry’s car was chased by photographers as he left a charity event. A representative for Harry says the legal claim was filed in September "to challenge the decision-making behind the security procedures, in the hopes that this could be re-evaluated for the obvious and necessary protection required".</p> <p dir="ltr">The Duke of Sussex wants to personally pay for police protection, “not to impose on the taxpayer”, the representative said. A statement released to the public said, "Prince Harry inherited a security risk at birth, for life. He remains sixth in line to the throne, served two tours of combat duty in Afghanistan, and in recent years his family has been subjected to well-documented neo-Nazi and extremist threats.</p> <p dir="ltr">"The UK will always be Prince Harry's home and a country he wants his wife and children to be safe in. With the lack of police protection, comes too great a personal risk.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Arguing that his private security team could not replicate the work of local police, with their access to local intelligence and legal jurisdiction, Harry offered to cover the costs of police protection when in talks with the Queen over his future role in January 2020, but the offer was dismissed.</p> <p dir="ltr">Harry and Meghan’s seven-month-old daughter Lilibet has yet to meet her great-grandmother, the Queen, her grandfather, Prince Charles, or other members of the Royal Family.</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image: Pool/Samir Hussein/WireImage</em></p>

Travel Trouble

Health

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Lisa Wilkinson delivers tearful message to ‘very dear friend’

<p dir="ltr">Lisa Wilkinson appeared to fight back tears on<span> </span><em>The Project<span> </span></em>as she delivered an emotional and supportive message to a “very dear friend” of the show, Professor Mary-Louise McLaws.</p> <p dir="ltr">Professor McLaws, an epidemiologist who works for both UNSW and WHO, announced over the weekend that she had been diagnosed with a brain tumour after developing a severe headache on Thursday. Taking to Twitter, she wrote, “After a severe headache Thursday, I was diagnosed with a brain tumour. I will now be on a month's sick leave from UNSW and WHO. Thank you media for helping me spread knowledge. Now it is time with my family.”</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr">After a severe headache Thursday, I was diagnosed with a brain tumour. I will now be on a month's sick leave from UNSW and WHO. Thank you media for helping me spread knowledge. Now it is time with my family.<br />Best wishes to you all.</p> — Mary-Louise McLaws (@MarylouiseMcla1) <a href="https://twitter.com/MarylouiseMcla1/status/1482201662387519492?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">January 15, 2022</a></blockquote> <p dir="ltr">Professor McLaws has regularly appeared on<span> </span><em>The Project<span> </span></em>throughout the pandemic. At the end of their show on Sunday evening, Wilkinson said, “Before we go this evening, we wanted to take a moment to send our love to a very dear friend of the show, epidemiologist Mary-Louise McLaws.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Yesterday, Mary-Louise revealed that after suffering a severe headache on Thursday, she was diagnosed with a brain tumour. Understandably, she’s taking a month’s leave from her roles with the University of New South Wales and the WHO to be with her family.”</p> <p dir="ltr">She then appeared to become choked up as she addressed the professor directly, saying, “Mary-Louise, I think it’s fair to say that all of us here at The Project were heartbroken to hear the news.</p> <p dir="ltr">“In these troubled times, your calm, considered information and advice has been invaluable to millions of Australians across the country and we want to thank you so much for being so generous with your knowledge, your time and we wish you and your beautiful family all the strength in the world at this difficult time. Just make sure you put that wonderful husband of yours, aka the pool boy, to good work.”</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr">Everyone at <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/TheProjectTV?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#TheProjectTV</a> sends our best wishes to epidemiologist Professor <a href="https://twitter.com/MarylouiseMcla1?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@MarylouiseMcla1</a>. We want to thank you so much for being so generous with your knowledge, and we wish you and your family all the strength in the world at this difficult time.<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/TheProjectTV?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#TheProjectTV</a> <a href="https://t.co/ywRh6ByMtz">pic.twitter.com/ywRh6ByMtz</a></p> — The Project (@theprojecttv) <a href="https://twitter.com/theprojecttv/status/1482632290412990464?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">January 16, 2022</a></blockquote> <p dir="ltr">Fellow panellist Susie Youssef also appeared to be emotional as she said, “That’s beautifully said Lisa, and we all send our love out to Mary-Louise McLaws. This show is lucky to have such extraordinary guests and experts, we’re so grateful, and during a time when we needed a voice of reason and such a beautiful sense of humour.</p> <p dir="ltr">“We will forever be indebted to you, Mary-Louise McLaws, we love you so much.”</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image: Network Ten</em></p>

Caring

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Your weekly horoscope for January 17th 2022

<p dir="ltr">As this week’s Full Moon occurs in the sign of Cancer, use this power to help normalise your strong emotions.</p> <p dir="ltr">Take care of yourself, and apply your energy into what needs to be changed and re-evaluated in your life.</p> <p dir="ltr">With Aquarius season beginning on Friday, innovation and connection are the theme of the week, challenging meaningful relationships and helping to seek out excitement.</p> <p dir="ltr">♈ <strong>Aries (March 21st - April 19th)</strong></p> <p dir="ltr">This week’s Full Moon will have you feeling extra sentimental, with an emotional pull towards child-like nostalgia.</p> <p dir="ltr">You will feel an irresistible urge to treat yourself to a big purchase, so do what you need to do to scratch that itch, but be wary of reckless impulsivity.</p> <p dir="ltr">♉ <strong>Taurus (April 20th - May 20th)</strong></p> <p dir="ltr">The Full Moon on Tuesday will have your emotions in overdrive and feeling prone to being offended or super sensitive.</p> <p dir="ltr">Showing initiative and innovation at work, while also remembering the importance of being a team player is a balancing act that will have you rewarded.</p> <p dir="ltr">♊ <strong>Gemini (May 21st - June 20th)</strong></p> <p dir="ltr">Take stock of your finances this week to fully recover from the spending of the festive season, to bring more balance into your life.</p> <p dir="ltr">Put yourself out there this week, as rare opportunities will present themselves in the most unlikely of places.</p> <p dir="ltr">♋ <strong>Cancer (June 21st - July 22nd)</strong></p> <p dir="ltr">Be gentle with yourself this week, as the burn out from the festive season and the stress of January will start to catch up to you.</p> <p dir="ltr">Focusing on your relationships will solidify unsure feelings, making you feel more stable in your connections.</p> <p dir="ltr">♌ <strong>Leo (July 23rd - August 22nd)</strong></p> <p dir="ltr">With your imagination and vulnerability super-charged by the Full Moon, it’s important to feel them and then let them go.</p> <p dir="ltr">Expect the unexpected at work this week, as unusual challenges will give you a chance to sink or swim in the corporate world.</p> <p dir="ltr">♍ <strong>Virgo (August 23rd - September 22nd)</strong></p> <p dir="ltr">Be prepared to gently let go of relationships that have reached the end of their line, freeing up space for more meaningful connections.</p> <p dir="ltr">Clear thinking and rational choices will make a big difference this week, so make big decisions with your head instead of your heart.</p> <p dir="ltr">♎ <strong>Libra (September 23rd - October 22nd)</strong></p> <p dir="ltr">After hitting an impressive target, start looking for the next big project to fill your need for a creative outlet.</p> <p dir="ltr">Don’t make impulsive decisions this week, as the Full Moon will pull you to random choices instead of weighing up your options, which could spell disaster.</p> <p dir="ltr">♏ <strong>Scorpio (October 23rd - November 21st)</strong></p> <p dir="ltr">Embrace your vulnerability this week instead of resorting to your natural defensiveness.</p> <p dir="ltr">Instead of keeping your feelings hidden away, confide in someone you trust and realise that the tough exterior you present doesn’t have to be your default.</p> <p dir="ltr">♐ <strong>Sagittarius (November 22nd - December 21st)</strong></p> <p dir="ltr">Let go of situations that aren’t working for you, and realise there is no point in holding onto things that no longer serve a positive purpose.</p> <p dir="ltr">You will feel inspired to learn, teach and talk this week in a way that inspires others to be the best version of themselves, while also showcasing your own individuality in the process.</p> <p dir="ltr">♑ <strong>Capricorn (December 22nd - January 20th)</strong></p> <p dir="ltr">Put extra time and care into your important relationships this week, as the Full Moon will have you feeling extra nurturing.</p> <p dir="ltr">Be prepared to compromise, as the planets’ erratic movement in your sign will bring ups and downs, with the potential for chaos if you don’t keep yourself grounded.</p> <p dir="ltr">♒ <strong>Aquarius (January 21st - February 18th)</strong></p> <p dir="ltr">As the Full Moon sheds its light on your wellbeing zone, you will need to focus on the shortcomings in your self-care routine to keep your mental health in tip top shape.</p> <p dir="ltr">As Aquarius season begins, your independence will be highlighted and your unique take on life will be infectious to those around you.</p> <p dir="ltr">♓ <strong>Pisces (February 19th - March 20th)</strong></p> <p dir="ltr">The Full Moon will have you experiencing very strong emotions, which will open your eyes to what you really want out of life.</p> <p dir="ltr">Use this fragile time to work on your own healing from past traumas, while understanding how difficult situations made you into the untouchable force you are today.</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p>

Caring

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When a smell evokes a memory

<p>In an episode of the popular TV series Black Mirror called <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.vox.com/culture/2017/12/29/16808458/black-mirror-crocodile-recap-season-4-review" target="_blank">Crocodile</a>, an investigator asks a witness to smell a bottle of beer. The aim is to refresh her memory of a crime scene (the crime took place near a brewery).</p> <p>This might not exactly be standard practice, but our sense of smell, or olfaction, is known for its ability to elicit memories. We all know the feeling. A whiff of a particular scent can take you back to your grandmother’s kitchen, the night of your first dance, or the sea shore.</p> <p>And think of “scent marketing”, where brand designers infuse “signature scents”, for example in fashion stores and hotel lobbies, to enhance brand recognition across the globe.</p> <p>Neuroscientists studying olfaction have long wondered about <a rel="noopener" href="https://doi.org/10.1016/s0166-2236(03)00076-6" target="_blank">the connection</a> between our sense of smell and memory. Is this relationship between memory and olfaction a result of the way the brain is wired? A study recently published in the journal <em><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-021-04242-3" target="_blank">Nature</a></em> has broken important ground towards answering this longstanding question.</p> <p>Before we look at the study, some background about how the brain facilitates our sense of smell. Scent molecules are initially detected by receptor neurons in the nose. The neurons send information about these encounters first to the <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.britannica.com/science/olfactory-bulb" target="_blank">olfactory bulb</a>, a brain structure about the size of your fingertip located above the nasal cavity.</p> <p>The olfactory bulb then sends signals to another brain structure called the <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/neuroscience/piriform-cortex" target="_blank">piriformk cortex</a>. It is believed odour recognition happens there – that is, we identify its potential source, like an apple, a banana, or freshly cut grass.</p> <p><strong>What the researchers did</strong></p> <p>To study how the brain combines olfactory and spatial information, Cindy Poo and her colleagues at the Champalimaud Centre for the Unknown in Portugal had six rats complete a navigation task.</p> <p>The rats had to repeatedly navigate a cross-shaped map with four corridors, as shown in the video below from about the two-and-a-half minute mark. At the beginning of each trial a light would point the rat down one of the corridors, where it would be exposed at random to one of four distinct smells (citrus, grass, banana or vinegar). The location of a water reward was dependent on which odour the rat was exposed to.</p> <p>For example, the citrus odour meant the water reward was at the end of the south corridor. If the rat was exposed to the citrus smell in the east corridor, it would need to travel south for the reward. If it received the smell in the south corridor in the first instance, it could stay put and receive the reward. The idea was that with practice, a given smell would signal to the rat the location of the reward.</p> <p><iframe width="440" height="260" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/BunEBiU3MO0?wmode=transparent&amp;start=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe></p> <p>The surroundings of the maze were decorated with visual landmarks so the rats could also orientate themselves based on those landmarks. However, the rats’ starting point was different in each trial. If it had been fixed, they could theoretically just have memorised a sequence of turns to find the correct corridor, and not used any spatial memory at all. This meant that completing the task successfully relied on a combination of spatial navigation and olfaction.</p> <p>After about three weeks of training the rats did quite well; they were able to locate the water reward in roughly 70% of trials. This indicates that the rats were able to combine their internal map of the environment with locations of smells to locate the reward.</p> <p><strong>Looking at neuron activity</strong></p> <p>Neurons in the hippocampus, a part of the brain involved in memory and navigation, are known for functioning as “place cells”. These are cells which <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.nobelprize.org/prizes/medicine/2014/summary/" target="_blank">become active</a> at a specific location in an environment, which allows us to find our way around. Similar cells are also found in another part of the brain called the entorhinal cortex.</p> <p>The most striking finding of the new study is that such location-selective cells are not only present in the hippocampus and entorhinal cortex, but also in a brain area linked primarily to olfactory function, namely the piriform cortex, the place thought to be primarily responsible for odour recognition.</p> <p>The researchers in the study monitored the electrical activity of neurons in this area. Surprisingly, they found that only around 30% of neurons in this region of the rats’ brains responded to specific odours. Another 30% of neurons fired in response to both a particular smell and location.</p> <p>The remaining 40% of active neurons did not respond to specific odours at all, but rather to the locations where the rats had previously smelt the odours. These location-selective neurons would even start to fire when the rats were only just entering the corridor, before encountering any smell.</p> <p>The researchers then wanted to understand whether the hippocampus and piriform cortex “talked” to each other while the rats were solving the puzzle. They found that cells in both regions tended to fire in synchrony while the rats were navigating the maze.</p> <p><strong>So what does this tell us?</strong></p> <p>These results show that the olfactory system may play a role in spatial navigation, and that spatial memory and olfactory information converge in the piriform cortex. But why has the brain evolved to represent location and odour in the same area?</p> <p>The answer could be that odours are very useful clues for finding our way around. For example, a pine forest smells different from a meadow, while a fox’s burrow has a different smell to a rat’s nest. The rule holds even in man-made environments: an underground rail system smells different from a supermarket, an office different from a restaurant.</p> <p>So our brains might be wired to associate smells with places because this has been useful in our evolutionary past.</p> <p>This study was conducted in rats, which rely more on their sense of smell for navigation than humans do, since our perception is dominated by vision. But these findings do give new insights about how olfaction and spatial memory are likely connected in the human brain.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important; text-shadow: none !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/174477/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a rel="noopener" href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/michael-schmuker-175218" target="_blank">Michael Schmuker</a>, Professor of Neural Computation, <a rel="noopener" href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-hertfordshire-799" target="_blank">University of Hertfordshire</a></em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a rel="noopener" href="https://theconversation.com" target="_blank">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a rel="noopener" href="https://theconversation.com/when-a-smell-evokes-a-memory-new-research-offers-clues-about-how-the-two-are-linked-in-the-brain-174477" target="_blank">original article</a>.</em></p> <p><em>Image: Getty Images</em></p>

Mind

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First death of Tonga tsunami tragedy confirmed

<p>An animal welfare charity founder has been confirmed dead after the devastating impact of the Tonga tsunami tragedy. </p> <p>The body of British woman Angela Glover was found on Monday after she was swept away by huge swells that were caused by a massive underwater volcanic eruption. </p> <p><span>The Hunga Tonga-Hunga Haʻapai volcano, which erupted on Saturday, is located 65km from where 50-year-old Angela lived with her husband in the Tongan capital of Nuku’alofa.<br /></span></p> <p><span>Angela moved to the Pacific islands in 2015, after leaving her life in London's advertising industry behind. </span></p> <p><span>Angela's bother Nick, who resides in Sydney, confirmed the news of her death on Monday, saying his sister's body was found "in some bushes" by her husband. </span></p> <p class="css-1316j2p-StyledParagraph e4e0a020">“I’ve not even got the words in my vocabulary to describe how we’re feeling at the moment. This is just a terrible shock, that it’s happened to us,” he said.</p> <p class="css-1316j2p-StyledParagraph e4e0a020">“We’re ordinary people - stuff like this doesn’t happen to people like us, then it does."</p> <p class="css-1316j2p-StyledParagraph e4e0a020">“I understand this terrible accident came about as they tried to rescue their dogs.”</p> <p class="css-1316j2p-StyledParagraph e4e0a020">Angela's "deep love" for canines inspired her to create the Tongan Animal Welfare Society to shelter and rehabilitate stray animals, according to her brother. </p> <p class="css-1316j2p-StyledParagraph e4e0a020"><span>“The uglier the dog, the more she loved it. She just loved them all, she was totally dedicated to it.”</span></p> <p class="css-1316j2p-StyledParagraph e4e0a020"><span>In Angela's final social media post, she shared a picture of the fiery Tongan sunset just hours after the eruption of the volcano, saying "everything's fine".</span></p> <blockquote style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/CYtLkg8PDN4/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="14"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"></div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"></div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"></div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"></div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"></div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/CYtLkg8PDN4/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank">A post shared by Angela Glover (@ifthegloverfits)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p><span>She captioned the picture, "I’m not kidding you, this is the sunset today after the volcano exploded last night. We’ve been under tsunami warnings today. Everything’s fine... a few swells ....a few eerie silences...a wind or two...then silence...sudden stillness... electric storms.... everything looked like I was watching thru an Instagram filter."</span></p> <p class="css-1316j2p-StyledParagraph e4e0a020"><span>Angela is the first known death of the disaster, as the scale of the destruction is still unknown. </span></p> <p class="css-1316j2p-StyledParagraph e4e0a020">Experts<span> say that the volcano, which last erupted in 2014, had been puffing away for about a month before rising magma, superheated to around 1000 degrees Celsius, met with 20-degree seawater, causing an instantaneous and massive explosion.</span></p> <p class="css-1316j2p-StyledParagraph e4e0a020"><span>The impact of the eruption was felt as far away as Australia, New Zealand, Fiji and Japan. </span></p> <p class="css-1316j2p-StyledParagraph e4e0a020"><em>Image credits: Instagram @ifthegloverfits</em></p>

Caring

Lifestyle

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Want to avoid a botched beauty procedure? This is what you need to be wary of

<p>Recent news that more than a dozen cosmetic beauty operators <a href="https://www.theage.com.au/national/victoria/more-than-a-dozen-dodgy-beauty-salons-in-melbourne-shut-down-20190724-p52abl.html">have been shut down</a> across Victoria in the last year will give many people cause for concern.</p> <p>One beauty therapist was allegedly found to be <a href="https://hcc.vic.gov.au/news/288-cosmetic-service-provider-under-investigation-after-allegedly-treating-clients-back">operating at the back of a jewellery store</a>, offering risky procedures including mole removal, facial fillers and skin tightening. In many cases, plastic surgeons and dermatologists have been required <a href="https://www.theage.com.au/national/victoria/plastic-surgeons-forced-to-fix-rising-tide-of-botched-cosmetic-procedures-20190730-p52c5h.html">to treat</a> the damage caused at these rogue salons, including swelling, scarring, and infection.</p> <p>While low-cost procedures can be alluring, there are several things to keep in mind to ensure the treatments you’re getting are safe and reputable.</p> <h2>Regulation</h2> <p>The skin is the <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.3109/17453054.2010.525439">largest</a> and most accessible organ of the body, making skin procedures like laser, dermabrasion, microneedling, skin peels, toxin injections and fillers very common among unqualified or minimally qualified people and clinics.</p> <p>The Medical Board of Australia, supported by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA), are the governing bodies for medical professionals. They register practitioners, and <a href="https://www.medicalboard.gov.au/Codes-Guidelines-Policies/Cosmetic-medical-and-surgical-procedures-guidelines.aspx">enforce guidelines</a> for cosmetic medical and surgical procedures, which serve to protect the community.</p> <p>There have been cases where registered medical practitioners, including general practitioners, have performed procedures <a href="https://www.smh.com.au/national/nsw/push-to-ban-rogue-operators-from-using-cosmetic-surgeon-title-20181120-p50h9e.html">outside their area of expertise</a> or have not conformed with codes of conduct, sometimes with tragic consequences. But in many of these cases, the regulations in place have helped to identify offending practitioners and ensure <a href="https://www.medicalboard.gov.au/News/2018-11-20-Media-release-Former-registered-practitioner-prosecuted.aspx">disciplinary action</a> is taken.</p> <p>Yet for non-medical operators, for the most part, no training or educational requirements need to be met, no uniform national professional standards or codes of conduct exist, and there is no governing body to whom people can direct concerns.</p> <p>Essentially, these beauty salons and non-medical clinics are simply not regulated by an external body or organisation.</p> <h2>The importance of medical training</h2> <p>The skin is an organ, just like the heart or lungs. Its structure and function is complex. In order to practise as a dermatologist, a person needs to first complete their medical degree, and then complete a further six years of specialist training in all matters related to the skin, hair and nails.</p> <p><a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laser">Laser treatment</a> is commonly offered to treat things like redness on the skin, brown spots, and to improve skin texture and tone.</p> <p>In order to deliver safe laser treatments, an accurate diagnosis is important. Is the brown spot on your cheek you want to remove a freckle, <a href="https://www.chromaderm.com.au/services/pigmentation/melasma/">melasma</a> (a discolouring of the skin) or a <a href="https://www.cancer.org.au/about-cancer/types-of-cancer/skin-cancer/melanoma.html">melanoma</a>? A person without a medical background could easily mistake a melanoma for a freckle, which could be deadly.</p> <p>Even if you do have just a freckle, what laser settings will be safe and effective? An intimate understanding of the structure and function of the skin and the physics of the laser is necessary to make these important decisions.</p> <p>The regulations surrounding who can operate a laser differ from state to state. In Western Australia, unless you’re a medical doctor, nurse, or hold a diploma or certificate IV in beauty therapy (or equivalent) with a licence, you cannot operate a laser for the purpose of hair removal. Further <a href="http://www.radiologicalcouncil.wa.gov.au/Pages/FAQ/Lasers.html">restrictions apply</a> to the use of lasers for cosmetic procedures and tattoo removal. In Queensland and Tasmania, only <a href="https://www.health.qld.gov.au/public-health/industry-environment/personal-appearance/laser-licensing">those with relevant licences</a> can operate laser devices.</p> <p>For the rest of the country, no regulation exists. This means <a href="https://www.racgp.org.au/afp/2017/september/navigating-the-disparate-australian-regulatory-minefield-of-cosmetic-therapy/">anyone can offer</a> skin treatments – a person who has done some online training or a weekend course could hang a “laser certificate” on the wall and start using lasers and other devices to treat skin.</p> <p>The same can be said for <a href="https://www.dermnetnz.org/topics/skin-needling/">microneedling</a>, the insertion of very fine, short needles into the skin for the purposes of rejuvenation or to reduce acne scarring. While some states <a href="https://ww2.health.wa.gov.au/Articles/S_T/Skin-penetration-procedures-and-the-law">regulate procedures</a> involving skin penetration, particularly around <a href="https://www2.health.vic.gov.au/-/media/health/files/collections/policies-and-guidelines/i/infection-prevention-control-guidelines---hair-beauty-tattooing-skin-penetration.pdf">infection control</a>, no uniform minimum training requirements exist for providers.</p> <p>The depth of penetration of the microneedling device, the type of needle chosen, and pre- and post-treatment care are critical to maximising the benefits and minimising the risks of the procedure.</p> <p>Similarly, for anti-wrinkle injections and fillers, an intimate understanding of facial anatomy is required to ensure safe and successful treatment. Complications can range from local injection site infection <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5840246/">through to blindness</a>. To have people performing these procedures who are not medically trained is very risky.</p> <p>Medical professionals take precautions to minimise the risk of complications and are trained to recognise and deal with <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11966791">complications</a> that will inevitably occur from time to time. They can also prescribe relevant medications to help with things like infection or pain, if necessary. Non-medical providers cannot.</p> <h2>Equipment and sanitation</h2> <p>There are hundreds of different lasers, microneedling and skin care devices around. There are different brands, different models, and different safety features. So, varying outcomes can be seen with different devices.</p> <p>Any piece of equipment that penetrates the skin needs to be sterilised in a medical-grade steriliser. Sterilising the equipment prevents the transmission of blood-borne infections like hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV. Failing to sterilise properly or not doing so at all places patients and the community at risk.</p> <p>It must be said that there are many trained non-medical practitioners who adhere to infection control measures, understand what is safe and what is not, and who administer treatments in sanitary conditions.</p> <h2>What needs to change?</h2> <p>Regulatory bodies and the government need to work together to safeguard the community. We need to better regulate who can operate lasers and other skin devices, who can inject, cut and treat skin and in what type of environment this can take place. And we even need to regulate advertising – who can use the words “skin specialist”, “medical grade skin peels”, and so on. Because right now, anyone can.</p> <p>So how can a consumer know how to access treatment from a qualified practitioner? Given there are little or no regulations in some parts of the country, it’s very hard to be sure, but these tips can help:</p> <ul> <li>if you want to be treated by a medical practitioner, look up the <a href="https://www.ahpra.gov.au/Registration/Registers-of-Practitioners.aspx">APHRA website</a> to see if the practitioner you are going to consult with is registered</li> <li>you only get what you pay for. If consultations and treatments are very cheap, you may want to look into the quality of the equipment and the experience of the provider</li> <li>don’t believe everything you read online. Medical professionals are <a href="https://www.medicalboard.gov.au/News/2018-0516-New-tool-about-testimonials.aspx">not allowed</a> to have testimonials on their websites, so don’t decide on a provider on this basis</li> <li>trust your gut – if something doesn’t feel right about the place or person, walk away.</li> </ul> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images </em></p> <p><em>This article first appeared on <a rel="noopener" href="https://theconversation.com/want-to-avoid-a-botched-beauty-procedure-this-is-what-you-need-to-be-wary-of-120970" target="_blank">The Conversation</a>.</em></p>

Beauty & Style

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Man slammed online after blaming wife for “embarrassing” state of house

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">A man has been judged unworthy by the online community after complaining that his wife, a stay-at-home mother, didn’t clean the house well enough prior to the last-minute arrival of his guests.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The 36-year-old <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.reddit.com/r/AmItheAsshole/comments/s25jy2/aita_for_telling_my_wife_that_it_was_embarrassing/" target="_blank">took to Reddit’s ‘AmIthe**hole’ section</a> to ask whether he was in the wrong for telling his wife their house was “embarrassing” after inviting guests over at short notice.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">To provide some context, the man wrote that he was the breadwinner of the family, while his wife stayed home and looked after their three children, all of whom are under ten.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“My wife does her best to keep up with the cleaning and keeping the house tidy and I feel for her, I really do, so I told her she doesn’t have to clean up all the time since the kids are running up and down all day and making huge messes,” he wrote.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">He continued to say that the only caveat to their deal was that she had to ensure the house was clean when they had guests visiting, “and she agreed with me”.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Well, the other day I brought over some friends from work and when I opened the door all I could see was an utter mess, food and toys and clutter everywhere,” he recounted.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“I was shocked, I was embarrassed and just mortified that my friends saw my home looking like this.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Also I have a couple of guys who came over for the first time so the first impression must’ve been horrible to them.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The man said he took his friends to the “least messy” part of the house, but they kept “making indirect comments about the state of the home” and giving him “weird looks” during their visit.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“I was livid, I waited til they left then went into the bedroom to see that my wife was actually sleeping, I woke her up to ask why she didn’t tidy up the house knowing I was going to bring friends over,” he continued.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“She said she didn’t know but I sent her a text letting her know and she said she didn’t see it. I told her it seemed like she did see the text but decided to ignore it? She said no but she wasn’t feeling well and had a headache so she thought of getting an hour-long nap.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“I told her that it was so, so embarrassing that the house looked like this when my friends came over and that this was avoidable had she cleaned up and prepared the house for the guests.” </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">His wife said the kids had caused the mess and that he should have double-checked with her about the guests visiting, which he said was blaming him for “her own actions (or lack of)”.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">He continued to say she was partly to blame for the house being “out of control” and in an “embarrassing” state.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">His wife then called him a “jerk” and left the room, and continued not to speak to him about the situation.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Many users were quick to share their judgement that he was in the wrong for multiple reasons.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">However, moderators were forced to lock the thread after commentors violated Reddit’s ‘Be Civil’ clause.</span></p> <p><img style="width: 500px; height: 84.13461538461539px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7846873/reddit.png" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/c14c1dfebd0c4645bb1dafc6f07f8400" /></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">The Reddit thread was eventually locked to prevent more people from commenting after the site’s ‘Be Civil’ rule was violated multiple times.  Image: Reddit</span></em></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“You basically spring this upon her, didn’t check to see if she happened to see the one (1) text where you just casually decided to spontaneously bring home people </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">that day</span><span style="font-weight: 400;">, and showed literally zero care that she wasn’t feeling well,” one user wrote.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“SAHM stands for stay at home </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">mum,</span><span style="font-weight: 400;"> not stay at home maid. Her priority is the children. Not to be on call to make the house look unrealistically tidy in an hour’s time.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The man later clarified that they usually communicate via text, and that it was unusual for her not to check her phone.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">"Even if she saw the text, who's to say that was enough time to do all the cleaning needed? Or that she didn't have another obstacle like being out of the house for the afternoon or being sick, like she was," another user said.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">"[You're the a--hole] for assuming she generally has tons of time to clean while parenting, for giving her inadequate notice about guests, for telling her about guests, not asking if it was okay to have guests over, for not feeling any responsibility to help clean the house the night before if you're planning on asking people over and for generally treating her like your maid and not working to come up with other solutions to keep the house to your desired cleanliness."</span></p> <p><em>Image: Getty Images</em></p>

Relationships

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A no-fuss, delicious chocolate cake for special occasions

<p><em>Image: Readers Digest </em></p> <p>This delicious recipe is sure to be a crowd favorite.</p> <ul> <li>Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F/Gas 4).</li> <li>Lightly grease and flour a 4-cup (1 litre) capacity heart-shaped cake tin or silicone mould.</li> <li>Sift 185 g plain (all-purpose) flour, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 3/4 cup (145 g) caster (superfine) sugar and 1/4 cup (30 g) unsweetened cocoa powder into a medium bowl and mix until well combined.</li> <li>Add 125 g melted butter, 2 eggs, 3/4 cup (180 ml) milk and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, and whisk until smooth.</li> <li>Pour into prepared cake tin or mould.</li> <li>Bake for 1 hour, or until cooked – a skewer inserted in the centre will come out clean.</li> <li>Cool cake in tin on wire rack for 10 minutes, then turn out to finish cooling. If in a mould, cool completely in the mould before turning out.</li> <li>Cover with buttercream (see below).</li> </ul> <p><strong>Chocolate buttercream</strong></p> <ul> <li>Beat 125g softened unsalted butter until light and creamy.</li> <li>Gradually beat in 1 cup (125 g) icing sugar and continue beating until the mixture is light and fluffy.</li> <li>Add 125g melted and slightly cooled dark chocolate and beat until combined.</li> <li>Spread over cake and allow to set.</li> </ul> <p> </p> <p>This article originally appeared on <a href="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/recipes/easy-peasy-chocolate-cake">Readers Digest.</a> </p>

Food & Wine

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Carrie Bickmore's stunning, relaxed look over summer holidays

<p><em>Image: Instagram </em></p> <p>Popular host The Project, Carrie Bickmore appeared to be enjoying a very low-key family holiday before returning to the daily grind of the talk show on Monday night.</p> <p>The Logie winner was almost unrecognisable in the fun-filled snaps as she went make-up free, hiding her face under a baseball cap as she shared with followers how grateful she felt for the break from work.</p> <p>Bickmore, 41, posted alongside partner Chris Walker and her three children Oliver, Evie and Adelaide in the photos. Having grown up in Perth, she explained that she was “still missing many of the people I love badly due to the WA border closure” but was feeling “so lucky to even have some downtime as a fam”.</p> <blockquote style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-captioned="" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/CYzm9VhhFF1/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="14"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"></div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"></div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"></div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"></div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"></div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/CYzm9VhhFF1/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank">A post shared by Carrie Bickmore (@bickmorecarrie)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p>In another post, she said she was relishing the holiday with son Oliver, 14, before he gets too old to want to join family trips.</p> <blockquote style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-captioned="" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/CYyNj5hPFuH/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="14"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"></div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"></div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"></div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"></div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"></div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/CYyNj5hPFuH/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank">A post shared by Carrie Bickmore (@bickmorecarrie)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p>“Savouring the summers with my glorious manchild before his friends become way more fun to holiday with than his fam (outwardly trying to give him independence and freedom while internally being a stage 5 clinger),” she wrote.</p> <p>Bickmore was straight back into work on Monday, co-hosting both<span> </span><em>The Project<span> </span></em>and her radio show with Tommy Little.</p>

Beauty & Style

Finance

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Police release footage of the moment a cop grabbed a female officer by the throat

<p dir="ltr">A Florida police officer is under investigation after he was caught on video grabbing a fellow officer by the throat.</p> <p dir="ltr">Sergeant Christopher Pullease of the Sunrise Police Department was caught on bodycam footage attacking the 28-year-old officer after she tried to pull him away from a handcuffed suspect. The incident took place outside a convenience store on November 19.</p> <p dir="ltr">The incident took place when Pullease and several other officers were arresting a man for aggravated battery after he had hit people outside the Shop &amp; Save convenience store. Body camera footage, released just last week, showed Pullease walking up to the suspect as officers were attempting to get him into the police car. He then allegedly leaned into the car, pulled out his pepper spray, and aimed it at the suspect as he spoke to him.</p> <p dir="ltr">The female officer ran over and tugged on Pullease’s belt in an attempt to get him away from the suspect. The footage then shows Pullease turning around, grabbing her neck, and shoving her against another patrol car. The video does not include audio.</p> <p dir="ltr">Sunrise Police Chief Anthony Rosa described Pullease’s behaviour as “disgusting”, and said that he escalated what should have been an otherwise calm situation. He added, “I find it to be inappropriate and unprofessional, because what he did is he escalated the situation when calm was actually required.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Rosa went on to praise the female officer, who has only been with the department for two and a half years, for stepping in. He said, “I’m very proud of this police officer. She took some definitive action. I can only imagine what she must be feeling. She’s a newer officer, and he’s a very senior sergeant.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Pullease has been assigned to desk work amid an ongoing investigation, and no charges have yet been filed against him.</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image: Sunrise Police Department</em></p>

Legal

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Top CEOs make workers’ yearly salaries in just FOUR days

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Leaders of some of the UK’s biggest companies will have made more money by 9am local time (8pm AEDT) on January 7 than the average UK worker earns in a year.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">A new </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://highpaycentre.org/high-pay-day-2022/" target="_blank"><span style="font-weight: 400;">analysis</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> from the High Pay Centre, a UK think-tank that campaigns for fair pay for workers, suggests that a FTSE 100 chief executive (working at any of the 100 companies listed on the London Stock Exchange) will have earned more than an average full-time UK worker’s annual salary.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The High Pay Centre’s calculations are based on government statistics relating to pay levels across the economy, as well as previous analyses of CEO pay disclosures in annual reports.</span></p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr">Today the median FTSE100 CEO's earnings for 2022 will surpass the median annual wage for a full-time worker in the UK<br /><br />Such extreme inequality is immoral, unacceptable &amp; unsustainable. Wealth in this country has to be shared more fairly &amp; more evenly<a href="https://twitter.com/HighPayCentre?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@HighPayCentre</a></p> — Caroline Lucas (@CarolineLucas) <a href="https://twitter.com/CarolineLucas/status/1479354617167110145?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">January 7, 2022</a></blockquote> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">This year marks the first in the last ten years of reporting by the High Pay Centre where CEOs have made the same amount as average UK workers within the first four working days of the year. In previous reports, CEOs have typically surpassed the average yearly wage by January 6.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">According to data from 2020 - the latest full-year figures - FTSE100 CEOs were paid £2.7 million ($AUD 5.13 million) on average that year, which is nearly 86 times the average salary of £31, 285 ($AUD 29,385), as reported by </span><em><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.theguardian.com/business/2022/jan/07/ftse-bosses-pay-average-9am" target="_blank"><span style="font-weight: 400;">The Guardian</span></a></em><span style="font-weight: 400;">.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The 2020 financial year saw the average wage for CEOs fall, with many bosses taking wage cuts and cancelling their bonuses during the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdown.</span></p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr">Today is <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/HighPayDay?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#HighPayDay</a>. <br /><br />Just prior to 9am today, CEOs' earnings for 2022 will surpass the median UK full time salary. <br /><br />As key workers face a cost of living crisis, we need urgent action to ensure wealth is shared more fairly in our society. <a href="https://t.co/RC5ah2daxs">https://t.co/RC5ah2daxs</a></p> — High Pay Centre (@HighPayCentre) <a href="https://twitter.com/HighPayCentre/status/1479347068330123269?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">January 7, 2022</a></blockquote> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Though most companies are yet to release figures for the financial year ending in 2021, the High Pay Centre’s report found that 57 percent of those who have done so have recorded increased wages for CEOs.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The country’s biggest unions have said the disparity between bosses and ordinary workers was “disgraceful”, demanding that companies be forced to appoint a frontline worker to executive pay committees.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“The pandemic has shown us all who keeps the country going during a crisis,” Frances O’Grady, the general secretary of the Trade Union Congress, said.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“There are millions of hardworking people in Britain - from carers, to delivery drivers, to shop floor staff - who give more than they get back, but greedy executives are taking home millions while ordinary workers face yet another year of pay squeezes.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“As we emerge from the pandemic we need to redesign the economy to make it fair, and that means big reforms to bring CEO pay back down to earth.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Ms O’Grady said committees that set CEO pay must be “required to include workforce representatives who can speak up for a fairer balance of pay with ordinary workers”.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Incentive schemes for company directors should be replaced by profit-share schemes that include the whole workforce,” she added.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Too much wealth is being hoarded at the top.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Top earners in the UK included Pascal Soriot, the CEO of vaccine-maker AstraZeneca, who received £15.5 million ($AUD 29.4 million), Berkeley’s Rob Perrins, who collected £8 million ($AUD 15.2 million), and Experian’s Brian Cassin, who earned £10.3 million ($AUD 19.5 million).</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Meanwhile in Australia, the </span><em><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.afr.com/work-and-careers/leaders/revealed-australia-s-50-highest-paid-ceos-20211117-p599rf" target="_blank"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Australian Financial Review</span></a></em><span style="font-weight: 400;"> found that the paychecks of the country’s top bosses increased on average by 24 percent in the 2020-21 financial year, with Macquarie Group CEO Shemara Wikramanayake topping the list of high-earners with a reported pay of $15.97 million.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">As for New Zealand, a survey conducted by </span><em><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/126432044/bosses-of-our-biggest-companies-can-earn-nearly-40-times-more-than-their-workers" target="_blank"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Stuff</span></a></em><span style="font-weight: 400;"> found that Kiwi CEOs received between 16 and 36 times worker pay, and that only half of the country’s 20 biggest companies were willing to disclose their median pay.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">According to the publication, Fletcher Building CEO Ross Taylor was the country’s highest earner, receiving $7 million ($AUD 6.6 million). Though the company refused to disclose its workers’ median pay, Mr Taylor made nearly 90 times that of his workers if they received the survey’s mean pay of $80,000 ($AUD 75,460).</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Sharon Graham, the general secretary of Unite the Union, took to twitter to criticise the continued heft of CEO salaries despite the pandemic.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Is it the nurse in an intensive care unit saving the lives of those struck by Covid, or an elite investment banker making millions, who contributes most to society?” she wrote on Twitter.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Which of them stood up for all of us during the pandemic?”</span></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Image: Getty Images</span></em></p>

Money & Banking

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The 3 problems with fines for not reporting positive COVID tests

<p>The NSW government this week decreed that anyone returning a positive COVID-19 reading using a rapid antigen test must report their result (through the Service NSW app or <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.service.nsw.gov.au/transaction/register-positive-rapid-antigen-test-result" target="_blank">website</a>). Failing to do so can result in a $1,000 fine.</p> <p>The new rule came into effect on January 12 (there will be a one-week grace period). In the first 24 hours more than 80,000 people registered positive tests (recorded since January 1). In one sense that’s a lot. But since we have no idea of the total number of tests taken – let alone the number with a positive result – it’s hard to calibrate.</p> <p>The fine threat raises a number of questions, with the first being how will the government know if you test positive and don’t record it? On Wednesday, NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet admitted that it would be a hard law to enforce, <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.theage.com.au/national/nsw/massive-surge-spike-in-covid-cases-as-nsw-records-rapid-tests-20220112-p59nq2.html" target="_blank">saying</a>:</p> <blockquote> <p><em>there are obviously areas right across the state where there are laws that are harder to enforce than others, this is clearly one that will be harder to enforce, there’s no doubt about it.</em></p> </blockquote> <p>Given this, it’s hard to know what the point of the announced penalty is. Indeed, both the economic theory and behavioural research research suggests it will achieve the opposite of its intention.</p> <p><strong>1. Fines act as a disincentive</strong></p> <p>Economists view these rules through the lens of the field of “contract theory”.</p> <p>Rules create incentives that encourage or discourage certain behaviours. In this case, suppose you test positive. If you self-isolate as result, because that’s the right thing to do even without rules, then truthfully reporting the result is of no consequence to you (as long as it’s easy to do, which it is for most people).</p> <p>But if you wouldn’t isolate, then truthfully reporting the results is of consequence. In NSW you face a $5,000 fine for failing to comply with <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.nsw.gov.au/covid-19/stay-safe/rules/legislation-penalties" target="_blank">obligations to self-isolate</a> when diagnosed with COVID-19. Your choice is the low probability of a $1,000 fine for not reporting the result or the higher probability of a $5,000 fine for failing to isolate.</p> <p>So there’s an individual disincentive to even taking the test at all – which is, after all, optional for most. This means fewer tests will be taken, the opposite of what authorities want.</p> <p>From the perspective of contract theory, therefore, this $1,000 fine is likely to reduce tests by those who are not willing or not able (perhaps because they have to work for financial reasons) to voluntarily isolate.</p> <p>So you can bet that these folks will be calculating the odds of getting caught. This is the way some people think about parking fines, or thieves think about stealing bicycles. It’s a calculation involving the size of the penalty and the probability of getting caught.</p> <p><strong>2. Fines can turn off good behaviour</strong></p> <p>Some scholars, such as Harvard philosopher Michael Sandel, argue the very act of putting a dollar value on things causes people to think of them in a transactional way. It’s no longer “wrong” to park in a no-standing zone, there’s just a kind of fee for it. In other words, fines can destroy civic virtue.</p> <p><iframe width="440" height="260" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/GvDpYHyBlgc?wmode=transparent&amp;start=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe></p> <p>A classic example of this comes from <a rel="noopener" href="https://rady.ucsd.edu/faculty/directory/gneezy/pub/docs/fine.pdf" target="_blank">a study</a> by behavioural economists Uri Gneezy and Aldo Rustichini on ways to encourage parents to pick up their children from child-care centres on time.</p> <p>Parents being late meant staff had to stay behind. The study involved some centres introducing fines to deter late pickups. But the fines actually led to more late pickups. Parents no longer felt so guilty. Being on time was no longer a social norm but a transaction. They could pay to disregard the expectation.</p> <p>So, too, it might be with this week’s $1,000 fine rule. In the unlikely event of getting caught, some might see the fine as just “the cost of doing business”.</p> <p><strong>3. Fines can make a mockery of the law</strong></p> <p>A final consideration about the $1,000 fine for failing to report a positive RAT tests concerns the problem of laws that cannot be enforced. The NSW government concede the new rule will hard to police and is mostly about <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-01-13/sydney-news-rapid-covid-test-fines-hard-to-police-minister-says/100753328" target="_blank">messaging</a>.</p> <p>“If we didn’t put a fine on it then people would say you’re not taking it seriously,” the minister for customer service said. But this is just turning a law into a bit of a joke. Laws being openly “mocked” damage the rule of law itself.</p> <p><strong>Getting rules right</strong></p> <p>These three complementary perspectives all point to the $1,000 fine for failing to report a positive rapid antigen test being a bad idea.</p> <p>It’s good to make it convenient for people to do the right thing (that’s what the Service NSW app does). It’s good to encourage people to do the right thing. It would be really good if there were lots of RATs available (ideally for free or close to it) so people can have the information to empower and protect themselves, their families and their communities.</p> <p>This does none of these things. It’s bad to enact a rule that makes a mockery of the law and likely to be counterproductive.</p> <!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --> <p><em><a rel="noopener" href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/richard-holden-118107" target="_blank">Richard Holden</a>, Professor of Economics, <a rel="noopener" href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/unsw-1414" target="_blank">UNSW</a></em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a rel="noopener" href="https://theconversation.com" target="_blank">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a rel="noopener" href="https://theconversation.com/vital-signs-the-3-problems-with-fines-for-not-reporting-positive-covid-tests-174774" target="_blank">original article</a>.</em></p> <p><em>Image: Getty Images</em></p>

Money & Banking

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Shoppers left confused by Aldi refund policy

<p dir="ltr">A woman has sparked a heated discussion online after sharing her experience seeking a refund at an Aldi store in the US. Writing in the Aisle of Shame Facebook group, she wrote, “I bought the big tree bag at Aldi for $29.99 on Wednesday. Got it home, and out of the box only to realise it’s much too massive for anything I could ever need so decided to return.”</p> <p dir="ltr">After heading back to the store and enquiring about a refund, she was informed that she was only entitled to half of what she paid for the item as the item had since been marked down.</p> <p dir="ltr">She wrote, “I was unaware that if you buy an... item at full price and days later it’s price gets cut in half, you should expect the half price for the return and not the full price, even though that’s what you paid. Even if it’s still marked in the aisle for full price, and I had a receipt.”</p> <p dir="ltr">This took place at an Aldi store in Ohio, but Aldi customers from all over the globe have weighed in, with one suggesting the incident was “illegal”, writing, “Wait, what?! But you had a receipt showing you paid full price!”</p> <p dir="ltr">Many group members went on to debate the store’s refund policy, with some suggesting that a policy designed to protect the store from after-Christmas returns may have been at play. One user commented, "Was it bought before Christmas and returned after? As someone who has worked retail during Halloween you'd be shocked how many people try to get their money back after the Holiday,” while another wrote, “Usually there is a policy posted about seasonal and clearance items.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Aldi employees even weighed in, with one commenting, “I’m an Assistant Store Manager at an Aldi, policy is with receipt you get back what you paid for! If you don't have a receipt you get what the system says,” and another confirming, I’m an Aldi employee. Whoever did your return did it wrong. You should have gotten what you paid for if you had your receipt.”</p> <p dir="ltr">The customer clarified that she had no hard feelings towards her local Aldi and would be heading back to have the situation rectified by a manager.</p> <p dir="ltr">Fortunately, this would never happen in Australia. An Aldi spokesperson confirmed to Yahoo News Australia that if a customer has a receipt showing they paid the original price, that price would be refunded. Aldi Australia’s money back guarantee covers change of mind, grocery items, and Special Buys. The policy states, “Shop like you’ve got nothing to lose. Because you don’t.”</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image: Dinendra Haria/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images</em></p>

Money & Banking

Entertainment

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When is it better to restart vs. shut down your computer?

<p><strong>Keep calm and shut down</strong></p> <p><span>There are some who believe there’s nothing that can’t be fixed on your computer by shutting it down and starting over. </span></p> <p><span>That may be a stretch, but truly, the shutdown option has always been seen as a cure-all for technical difficulties. </span></p> <p><span>Is it really that simple, though? And can a restart create the same system magic?</span></p> <p><strong>The case for shutting down</strong></p> <p><span>Anh Trinh is the managing editor at Geek with Laptop, a site that helps readers gain knowledge around all kinds of tech subjects. </span></p> <p><span>She explains that shutting down a computer is a way to power down all processes of the machine. </span></p> <p><span>“It’s very similar to a restart but with the exception that your computer won’t turn back on again until someone powers it up,” she explains. </span></p> <p><span>“This is especially useful if you plan to leave your computer for a while.”</span></p> <p><strong>Shut down isn't what it used to be</strong></p> <p>People with newer computers may experience a different kind of shutdown these days, according to ProPrivacy digital privacy expert Ray Walsh.</p> <p>“Although many people assume that a shutdown is a more comprehensive way to ensure that all processes are killed, the reality is that since Windows 8, this is a fallacy,” he says.</p> <p>“In older versions of Windows, both ‘shut down’ and ‘restart’ did exactly the same thing in terms of shutting down processes. However, since Windows 8, a new feature called Fast Startup has altered this considerably.”</p> <p>How has that changed things, exactly? “Shutting down a Windows computer actually creates a deep hibernation file that the PC later leverages to allow for Fast Startup. A restart, on the other hand, completely kills all processes, clears the RAM, and clears the processor cache,” he explains.</p> <p>“This is why a restart is the preferred method when completing a new install or uninstall and why a computer restarts during Windows Operating System updates.”</p> <p>And just so we’re clear, forcible shutdowns are a different story entirely.</p> <p><strong>What about Macs?</strong></p> <p><span>“A Mac is a Unix environment in which everything is cleared during both ‘shut down’ and ‘restart,’” Walsh explains. </span></p> <p><span>“This makes both ‘shut down’ and ‘restart’ identical in that all processes, cache and memory will be cleared, giving the machine a complete refresh.” </span></p> <p><span>In other words, there’s no real difference between a shut down or a restart for Mac users. This means most of the information that follows applies to PC users only unless otherwise stated.</span></p> <p><strong>Which situations call for a restart vs. a shutdown?</strong></p> <p>“When you’re installing new software or hardware, you’re going to need to restart your computer. This will shut off all processes so that the Kernal can be reestablished with the new software or hardware in consideration,” says Shayne Sherman, CEO of TechLoris.</p> <p>For those who aren’t aware, the Kernal is a part of the operating system that manages memory and CPU time.</p> <p>“This is also what you want to use when you’re having problems with your computer, since this will kill all processes and restart them.”</p> <p>And yes, this is different for Macs, according to Walsh. “Due to the fact that a Mac always clears everything during a reboot, Mac users will always clear their machine when they restart or shut down,” he adds.</p> <p><strong>How often should users be performing a restart?</strong></p> <p><span>“Most IT experts recommend doing a restart at least once every two to three days to permit Windows to clean up open files, get rid of temp files, and update itself,” Walsh says. </span></p> <p><span>“This ensures that deleted files and other assets are removed from a PC’s cache and aren’t left hanging around, potentially causing security or privacy issues.”</span></p> <p><strong>How often should users be performing a system shutdown?</strong></p> <p><span>“Shutting down a computer is a more energy-efficient and environmentally friendly way to leave a PC unattended,” Walsh explains. </span></p> <p><span>“Leaving a PC in sleep mode results in some power usage by the RAM and from the storage of open files and programs.”</span></p> <p><strong>Which option is better for battery life?</strong></p> <p><span>“A shut down is a deep hibernation that ensures that your computer is not wasting energy,” Walsh says.</span></p> <p><span> “A restart only momentarily turns the machine off to stop all processes, clear the RAM, and clear the processor cache. Thus, a shut down is better for power consumption and better for prolonging the life of the battery.”</span></p> <p><strong>Which option is better for security?</strong></p> <p><span>This is one area where the answer is the same for both PCs and Macs. “Shutting down a Windows PC or Mac is considered better for security because it means that the machine is completely offline for the period of time that it is off,” Walsh says. </span></p> <p><span>“This removes the potential for that machine to be hacked and stops it from communicating with a command and control server if it has already been infected with an exploit.”</span></p> <p><strong>What about cold temperatures?</strong></p> <p>Believe it or not, temperature should be one of your considerations when deciding whether to shut down or restart.</p> <p>“The cold can be extremely damaging to batteries, which is why it is unwise to switch off a battery-operated device when it is extremely cold,” Walsh explains.</p> <p>“It is better to keep a laptop running rather than switch it off in a cold car.”</p> <p>But that’s not the only reason to avoid a shut down in cold temperatures. “In extremely cold temperatures, it can potentially be unwise to turn off a computer abruptly, particularly if you have been performing intensive CPU/GPU tasks that have made the computer heat up considerably,” Walsh says.</p> <p>“This is because going from hot to cold quickly may adversely affect the PC’s microelectronic components due to thermal contraction.”</p> <p>If you have no choice but to shut down, Walsh advises waiting a little while after the intense processes have ended; that will allow the internal components to slowly cool down first.</p> <p>“However, generally speaking, computers like the cold and will perform better in the cold, where they will not heat up as much performing intensive processes,” he adds.</p> <p><strong>How about hot temperatures?</strong></p> <p><span>“The biggest danger for computers is extreme heat,” Walsh says. </span></p> <p><span>“Anytime that a computer is exposed to extremely hot conditions, it is best to power it down and leave it switched off. Even a relatively hot office can potentially be highly damaging to a computer’s components if the computer is overheating. This will substantially reduce the life span of the computer and is much more of a concern than the cold.”</span></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em>This article originally appeared on <a href="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/true-stories-lifestyle/science-technology/when-is-it-better-to-restart-vs-shut-down-your-computer?pages=1">Reader's Digest</a>. </em></p>

Technology

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Government funds bail out festival cancellations with Event Saver Fund

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">As another year of music festivals and summer events have been cancelled in the eleventh hour by the pandemic, the NSW government has put their hand up to help the arts. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The state government recently announced the Event Saver Fund, which is aimed at financially supporting the state’s music industry that has been devastated by the latest wave of Omicron. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">At a recent press conference, NSW Treasurer Matt Kean revealed that a $43 million fund has been established for organisers of the cancelled events to be financially supported if they've been cancelled or may be affected by changes to public health orders.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“This fund is a $43 million fund that will ensure that we will underwrite sunk costs for the festivals that could be impacted by changes to public health orders,” he said.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The fund will help organisers to pay their staff and suppliers, as well as recoup other costs lost in the event planning that got cancelled or cut short due to lockdowns or border closures. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Minister for the Arts Ben Franklin said the vital funding will give event organisers to continue to plan festivals without the stress of a last-minute cancellation costing them thousands. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Major events provide tremendous social benefits to the community, bringing us together to enjoy live performances,” he said.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“As we look to rebound from the effects of the past two years, this funding will help support local jobs and ensure major event organisers can plan with confidence to safely deliver their events in 2022/23.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Australian Festivals Association chair Julia Robertson welcomed the Event Saver package, and emphasised how much the industry has suffered since the start of the pandemic. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“This package is really great for building confidence,” she said.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“For helping those festivals that have got events coming up — to maintain those festival lineups — but also to those events that have had to be cancelled over the last couple of weeks due to the Omicron variant.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“We will be able to help those events recover some of those costs that they’ve lost. We’ve got a really long way to building that confidence for the festival industry, so thank you.”</span></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Image credits: Getty Images</span></em></p>

Music

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How an unusual art installation from 2016 went viral

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">An art installation created in 2016 by two Chinese artists has been given a new life online, with users on TikTok connecting to the piece. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The artwork, titled </span><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Can’t Help Myself</span></em><span style="font-weight: 400;">, showcases a machine inside a glass cube with a robotic arm that is illuminated by fluorescent lighting. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The robot arm has one task: to sweep up an oozing dark red liquid, made to resemble blood, that slowly spills out in a perfect circle. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The machine works endlessly on a task that is never finished, to showcase the tiring feeling of endless labour. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Every now and then, the task is interrupted when the robotic arm breaks into a series of dance moves, giving the machine scarily human characteristics. </span></p> <p><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/jRjrI42WsH4" title="YouTube video player" frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; clipboard-write; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen=""></iframe></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Created by artists </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">Sun Yuan and Peng Yu for New York’s </span><a href="https://www.guggenheim.org/artwork/34812"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Guggenheim Museum</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">, the piece uses “visual-recognition sensors and software systems to examine our increasingly automated global reality, one in which territories are controlled mechanically and the relationship between people and machines is rapidly changing.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">As the exhibit was first installed in 2016, footage of the machine slowing down has gone viral on TikTok, with many younger audiences finding their own devastating meaning in the piece. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“It looks frustrated with itself, like it really wants to be finally done,” one comment with over 350,000 likes reads. “It looks so tired and unmotivated,” another said.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Another emotional user commented, “This is what trauma feels like. You can sweep it away but it’s always there no matter what you do.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">One Twitter user analysed the work, claiming the piece was about “the hydraulic fluid in relation to how we kill ourselves both mentally and physically for money just in an attempt to sustain life, how the system is set up for us to fail on purpose to essentially enslave us and to steal the best years of our lives.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">With all art, </span><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Can’t Help Myself</span></em><span style="font-weight: 400;"> is open to interpretation by an objective audience, with the artists welcoming people’s thoughts on its greater meaning.  </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Regardless of how it influences each person, the hypnotising installation has cemented itself in the creative zeitgeist, with audiences finding similarities between their own struggles and a programmed bionic machine. </span></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Image credits: Twitter</span></em></p>

Art

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Sunrise hosts on high alert

<p>The hosts of <em>Sunrise</em> are reportedly concerned about a "rat" in the Channel Seven studios, after <a href="https://oversixty.com.au/news/news/caught-out-leaked-audio-as-channel-7-stars-slam-novak">off-air footage went viral</a> of <em>7News</em> reported calling Novak Djokovic an "a**hole".</p> <p>Natalie Barr and David Koch, who are based in the Sydney offices of the Seven Network, are said to be worried that a "rat" could also leak their private conversations, according to the <a href="https://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-10409349/Sunrise-Natalie-Barr-David-Koch-worried-rats-leaking-secrets.html">Daily Mail</a>.</p> <p>“Nat and Kochie would be wondering how many times they've had a private chat about something or someone, and will now be forced to watch every single word they say from here on in,” the source claimed, adding that “there’s a lot of backstabbing… in TV”.</p> <p>“Everyone on TV knows there's banter off-air, and when the cameras are on it's a whole other picture.”</p> <p>The leaked <em>7News</em> video went viral last week, as Channel Seven reporters Rebecca Maddern and Mark Amor discussed whether Novak Djokovic should be detained in Australia, after arriving for the Australian Open with an improper visa and vaccination exemption. </p> <p>In the footage, Rebecca remarked, <span>“Whatever way you look at it, Novak Djokovic is a lying, sneaky, a***hole,” as photos emerged of the tennis champion attending events in his native Serbia after testing positive for Covid-19. </span></p> <p>“It’s unfortunate that everybody else stuffed up around him. To go out when you know you’re Covid-positive - well, I don’t think he was even Covid-positive…”</p> <p>Mike also labelled Djokovic an “a***hole”, saying: “You’ve got a bulls**t f***ing excuse and then he fell over his own f***ing lies, which is what happens right?”</p> <p><span>After investigating how the footage emerged, the source of the leak was identified as an employee at the closed-captions company that works with Channel Seven, Ai-Media. </span></p> <p>“As a result of the investigation, Ai-Media has identified that an employee working remotely due to the COVID-19 outbreak was responsible for the unauthorised distribution of the content,” the company confirmed in a statement to the Australian Stock Exchange.</p> <p>“Appropriate action has been taken with regard to the employee responsible.”</p> <p><em>Image credits: Sunrise</em></p>

TV

Property

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How to permanently holiday at home

<p>Our homes are our havens, and living in a supportive community is more important now than it’s ever been. If you’ve dreamed of finding a ‘forever home’ and always been left feeling like there must be something better out there for you, then it’s time to try something different.</p> <p>Sabine, 63, lived in Western Sydney for years and didn’t know one single neighbour she could say hello to, let alone ask for a helping hand when she needed it.</p> <p>After relocating from the city to the coast and moving to<span> </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://ingenialifestyle.com.au/communities/nsw/central-coast-nsw/sunnylake-shores" target="_blank">Sunnylake Shores</a><span> </span>into an architecturally designed home a few years ago, her life has improved on every level – including her health.</p> <p>She finally decided to move to be closer to her mother and with the hope of improving her lifestyle. “It’s a lot better for me where I am living now,” she says. “I’m so much more relaxed. Here, you have a community, and everyone talks to each other. You’re involved, it’s as simple as that.”</p> <p><img style="width: 500px; height: 281.25px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7846858/dsc07129_o60.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/3386b0d304334a40adce25e1c0b79f69" /></p> <p>It’s a happy story, and one which is heard again and again at<span> </span><a href="https://ingenialifestyle.com.au/communities/nsw/central-coast-nsw/sunnylake-shores">Sunnylake<span> </span></a><a rel="noopener" href="https://ingenialifestyle.com.au/communities/nsw/central-coast-nsw/sunnylake-shores" target="_blank">Shores</a>. There is a welcome togetherness in being around others who are at a similar life stage. Instead of feeling a lack of connection surrounded by a younger crowd, you can be an integral part of a community where people look out for each other. It’s one of the main benefits of being a part of an over-55s lifestyle community.</p> <p>Living in a brand new air-conditioned, light and airy home means you feel comfortable. Being surrounded by likeminded people means you have someone to talk to and do something with. It’s about experiencing both fun and freedom every day. Most importantly, feeling like you belong and are in control of your life.</p> <p><img style="width: 500px; height: 281.25px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7846857/dsc04435_o60.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/6318c9c703c74511b5c33917eaaeae77" /></p> <p>“We’re very happy here,” adds Lorraine cheerfully, from her home in<span> </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://ingenialifestyle.com.au/communities/nsw/central-coast-nsw/sunnylake-shores" target="_blank">Ingenia Lifestyle’s Sunnylake Shores</a><span> </span>community. She and partner Jon were on a road trip a few years ago from Sydney to their home in Brisbane, took one look at the location and decided: “This is where we’d like to be.”</p> <p>Thankfully their instinct was right. “We used to spend a lot of time away, travelling around Australia in our caravan to have a holiday. But what’s lovely here is that we can go for a short walk or drive and be at the lake or the beach.</p> <p>“Everything is on our doorstep. And because of the location of the village, we’ll never be built out either. There’s no way we’d move from here now.”</p> <p>The lifestyle on offer is hard to beat. There’s the option to be included in a variety of activities such as craft groups, shopping outings, trivia nights and activities such as Tai Chi. The Ingenia Activate program means it is your choice how social you are each week. There is always a range of events on offer to help you meet more people, stay active and pursue what interests you. Or if you prefer to sit under a tree and read a good book, then you can just lie back and enjoy the serenity of living life by the lake.</p> <p>There’s also a strong sense of safety and security, community facilities to enjoy with family and friends, and a pet-friendly environment. A dedicated onsite Community Manager is always on hand to assist wherever is needed.</p> <p>Of course, the financial benefits of investing into a land-lease model are huge. At Ingenia Lifestyle there is no stamp duty, no council rates and no exit fees or deferred management fees (DMF). Your home is an owned financial asset, and you keep 100 per cent of any capital gains. With a land-lease model, while you buy your home, you essentially lease the land for 90 years. The benefits are you have access to all the facilities on site which are managed by someone else. Everything to enjoy and nothing to worry about.</p> <p><img style="width: 500px; height: 281.25px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7846859/fishing_o60.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/7d0b0548798f403992ef19d0f4db69e5" /></p> <p>At<span> </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://ingenialifestyle.com.au/communities/nsw/central-coast-nsw/sunnylake-shores" target="_blank">Ingenia Lifestyle Sunnylake Shores</a><span> </span>on the banks of Lake Munmorah, for example, there is a Community Clubhouse which features a billiard table, a library and a lounge area. If you have grandkids or visiting friends or family to entertain, there’s also an outdoor pool, casual BBQ and picnic areas, a boat ramp, jetty and even a playground.</p> <p>Can’t decide between living near the water or bushlands? At<span> </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://ingenialifestyle.com.au/communities/nsw/central-coast-nsw/sunnylake-shores" target="_blank">Ingenia Lifestyle Sunnylake Shores</a>, both the lake and the bush are right on your doorstep. Located between Newcastle and Sydney, both are just one hour away by car.</p> <p>Making a sea change and living waterfront is more attainable than you think.</p> <div style="padding: 56.25% 0 0 0; position: relative;"><iframe src="https://player.vimeo.com/video/665072107?h=e3e56ecdc8&amp;badge=0&amp;autopause=0&amp;player_id=0&amp;app_id=58479" frameborder="0" allow="autoplay; fullscreen; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen="" style="position: absolute; top: 0; left: 0; width: 100%; height: 100%;" title="Ingenia _ Sunnylake Shores TVC 30"></iframe></div> <p><em>This is a sponsored article produced in partnership with<span> </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://ingenialifestyle.com.au/" target="_blank">Ingenia Lifestyle</a>.</em></p>

Downsizing

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Robbie Williams offloads sprawling country estate

<p dir="ltr">Pop icon Robbie Williams appears to have<span> </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.domain.com.au/news/pop-god-robbie-williams-is-selling-his-massive-country-estate-for-12-7-million-1113180/" target="_blank">sold</a><span> </span>his opulent English estate just four months after it hit the market.</p> <p dir="ltr">The 47-year-old made headlines in late September last year after<span> </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.knightfrank.co.uk/blog/2021/09/28/robbie-williams-puts-7bedroom-wiltshire-country-house-compton-bassett-house-on-the-market" target="_blank">listing Compton Bassett House for sale</a><span> </span>with a hefty price tag of $12.7 million.</p> <p dir="ltr">Located in the sleepy village of Compton Bassett, about 170 kilometres away from London’s CBD, Williams’ seven-bedroom, eight-bathroom mansion features some quite lavish features.</p> <p dir="ltr">With 1800 square metres of living space, the home comes with ‘standard’ inclusions such as a chef’s kitchen, vaulted ceilings, chandeliers and luxury fixtures throughout, topped off with a ‘leisure-complex’ on the lower floor of the house which includes a gym, sauna, steam room, and a 22-metre-long pool and spa.</p> <p dir="ltr">The home also boasts a huge wine cellar, while the 28.3-hectate property includes a tennis court and accompanying summer house, a full-size soccer pitch, quad-bike trail, guest cottage, and a one-bedroom apartment that can serve as staff quarters.</p> <p dir="ltr">Since the<span> </span><em>Angels</em><span> </span>singer also owns his own helicopter, it should come as no surprise that his former home also features a helipad and separate hangar.</p> <p dir="ltr">As luxe as the Compton Bassett House is, it is just as historic, with some parts of the building dating back to 1659.</p> <p dir="ltr">Williams bought the home in 2008, spending roughly $2 million more than he received from its sale.</p> <p dir="ltr">Despite the loss, $12.7 million is still a sizable sum that few could complain about.</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Images: @robbiewilliams (Instagram), Frank Knight</em></p>

Real Estate

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The Singapore-inspired idea for using super for housing that could cut costs 50%

<p>During the past four decades in which home ownership among Australians aged 25-34 has sunk from around <a href="https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/australias-welfare/home-ownership-and-housing-tenure">60% to 45%</a>, home ownership among the same age group in Singapore has climbed from around <a href="https://tablebuilder.singstat.gov.sg/table/TS/M810401">60% to 88%</a>.</p> <p>There’s a good chance that’s because Singapore is doing something right.</p> <p>What Singapore has that Australia does not is a public housing developer, the <a href="https://www.hdb.gov.sg/cs/infoweb/homepage">Housing Development Board</a>, which puts new dwellings on public and reclaimed land, provides mortgages, and allows buyers to use their compulsory retirement savings (what Australians call superannuation) for both a deposit and repayments.</p> <p>There’s more to it than that. It limits eligibility by income and age, requires owners to hang on to the property for five years, and limits their resale to only other eligible buyers.</p> <p>Eight in ten of all the dwellings in Singapore today were built over the past half century by the Housing Development Board.</p> <p>In a new paper released this month I suggest an Australian version called <a href="https://osf.io/nxq2u/">HouseMate</a>, that could halve the cost of buying a home.</p> <h2>Introducing HouseMate</h2> <ul> <li> <p>Housemate would build on underutilised crown, council, and federal land, land acquired by compulsory acquisition, or land purchased at market prices, and by tenders from private developers</p> </li> <li> <p>HouseMate would sell the dwellings at a discounted price (A$300,000 on average) to Australian citizens aged over 24 and in a de facto or married relationship and to single citizens aged over 28 and over, where no household member owns property</p> </li> <li> <p>HouseMate would offer loans underwritten by the federal government for up to 95% of the purchase price, charged at one percentage point above the cash rate, which at the moment would be 1.1%</p> </li> <li> <p>HouseMate buyers would be permitted to use their superannuation savings and contributions for both the deposit and ongoing repayments</p> </li> <li> <p>HouseMate buyers would be required to occupy the home, with limits on leasing and resale for seven years. They will own the home freehold, paying council rates, insurances, and having responsibility for maintenance and body corporate representation</p> </li> <li> <p>HouseMate owners could sell after seven years. But if they sell to the private market instead of another eligible HouseMate buyer, that would trigger a waiting period of seven years before the seller became eligible for another HouseMate home, and a fee of 15% of the sale price</p> </li> </ul> <h2>Homes for half price</h2> <p><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/440816/original/file-20220114-25-qr9hwk.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/440816/original/file-20220114-25-qr9hwk.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=237&amp;fit=clip" alt="" /></a> <span class="caption"></span> <span class="attribution"><a href="https://gameofmates.files.wordpress.com/2022/01/housemate_jan2022_vpublish.pdf" class="source">HouseMate, a proposed national institution to build new homes and sell them cheap to any citizen who does not own a home</a></span></p> <p>My calculations suggest building these homes on land that would cost little (perhaps A$50,000 averaged across all types) would by itself cut the price 20-35%.</p> <p>The lower interest rate, and the use of superannuation savings for both the deposit and repayments would cut the “after super” cost saved by as much again, cutting the “after super” cost savings 50-70%.</p> <p>The use of superannuation savings where available makes sense. Home ownership does more for security in retirement than does super.</p> <p>Because the use of super would be quarantined to new HouseMate homes, it would be unlikely to push up the price of existing homes.</p> <p>No other housing policy change would do anything like as much to make homeownership cheaper, or to free up income for families at the times they need it most.</p> <p>The changes to tax arrangements often talked about, including changes to capital gains tax and negative gearing, might on my estimate at most cut prices by as much as 10% - enough to reverse only <a href="https://www.corelogic.com.au/news/housing-values-end-year-221-higher-pace-gains-continuing-soften-multi-speed-conditions-emerge">six months</a> of the past year’s price growth.</p> <h2>There would be critics</h2> <p>Because HouseMate would divert first home buyers away from private markets, private sellers would find reasons to argue it would be bad for the people it helps and somehow financially reckless or unsustainable. Banks would argue the same thing.</p> <p>But because the non-land cost of HouseMate dwellings would be mostly covered by the purchase price (and 15% of private resale prices) and the other costs would mostly be covered by the interest margin, the budget cost would be low - on my estimate peaking at A$1.7 billion after seven years and shrinking to $640 million after 20 years.</p> <p>The $1 billion or so per year would provide 30,000 affordable houses per year. Compared to the A$100 billion spent on the COVID JobKeeper scheme, that cost is a rounding error. Australia spends $125 billion per year on healthcare.</p> <p>Each year about <a href="https://www.fresheconomicthinking.com/2016/06/the-great-australian-town-planning-give.html">$11 billion</a> is given to private landowners through rezoning decisions. Taxing those value gains could fund HouseMate ten times over.</p> <h2>We have got the land</h2> <p><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/440817/original/file-20220114-27-1sf1klu.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/440817/original/file-20220114-27-1sf1klu.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=237&amp;fit=clip" alt="" /></a> <span class="caption">The Australian Capital Territory has developed land for decades.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">Google Maps</span></span></p> <p>The New South Wales Land and Housing Corporation has four times the net assets of Singapore’s Housing Development Board at <a href="https://www.hdb.gov.sg/-/media/doc/CCG/HDB-Financial-Statements-for-the-year-ended-31st-March-2021.pdf">$54 billion</a>. Queensland’s Housing and Public Works has <a href="https://www.hpw.qld.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0013/6160/15financialstatements.pdf">$10 billion</a> in land assets. Victoria’s Department of Families, Fairness and Housing has <a href="https://www.dffh.vic.gov.au/sites/default/files/documents/202110/DFFH%20annual%20report%202020-21.pdf">$17 billion</a>.</p> <p>We could start by upgrading and selling existing public housing to its tenants under HouseMate rules.</p> <p>The Australian Capital Territory has operated this way for decades, developing low or zero cost rural land for housing and selling the homes at cost, although in recent decades it has acted more like a private developer, maximising revenue at the expense of putting people into homes.</p> <h2>To start with, there would be bottlenecks</h2> <p>HouseMate would be overwhelmed at first. I have suggested lotteries to allocate homes until the system ramps up.</p> <p>Just as Medicare didn’t displace but operated alongside the private health system, HouseMate would operate parallel to the private market, adding to overall supply rather than increasing demand in the private market.</p> <p>I’ll finish with a story. I met a Singaporean resident recently who moved to Australia to study social work. She said they don’t really have homeless people in Singapore because the Housing Development Board provided an option for almost everyone.</p> <p>To find homeless people required moving to Australia. I think we ought to try it. What’s the worst that could happen?<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important; text-shadow: none !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/174401/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><span><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/cameron-murray-172480">Cameron Murray</a>, Research Fellow - Henry Halloran Trust, <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a></em></span></p> <p>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/the-singapore-inspired-idea-for-using-super-for-housing-that-could-cut-costs-50-174401">original article</a>.</p> <p><em>Image: Shutterstock</em></p>

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House dust from 35 countries reveals our global toxic contaminant exposure and health risk

<p>Everyone’s home gets dusty, but is yours the same as house dust in China or the US? Researchers around the world have united to capture the <a rel="noopener" href="https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.est.1c04494" target="_blank">world’s first trans-continental data on household dust.</a></p> <p>People from 35 countries vacuumed their homes and sent their dust to universities in different countries, where it was tested for potentially toxic trace metals. Researchers gathered data on the human and household factors that might affect how much humans are exposed to these contaminants.</p> <p>This is the first effort to collect global data of this type in a single <a rel="noopener" href="https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.est.1c04494" target="_blank">study</a>. It shed new light on the sources and risks associated with trace metal exposure, which can lead to concerning neurocognitive effects in people of all ages.</p> <p>The <a rel="noopener" href="https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.est.1c04494" target="_blank">study</a> shows it doesn’t matter whether you live in a high or low income country, are rich or poor – we’re all exposed to contaminants via dust.</p> <p><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/433642/original/file-20211124-19-29ut51.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/433642/original/file-20211124-19-29ut51.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" alt="A man sneezes in a dusty room" /></a> <em><span class="caption">It doesn’t matter whether you live in a high or low income country, we are all exposed to contaminants in dust.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">Shutterstock</span></span></em></p> <p><strong>Differences between countries</strong></p> <p>Local environmental factors and contamination histories can make a difference.</p> <p>In <a rel="noopener" href="https://www-sciencedirect-com.simsrad.net.ocs.mq.edu.au/science/article/pii/S0269749121011751" target="_blank">New Caledonia</a>, elevated chromium, nickel and manganese were evident, due to local rock, soil and nickel smelters. These may be linked to increased <a rel="noopener" href="https://www-jstor-org.simsrad.net.ocs.mq.edu.au/stable/45011245" target="_blank">lung</a> and <a rel="noopener" href="https://www-sciencedirect-com.simsrad.net.ocs.mq.edu.au/science/article/pii/S1877782117301455" target="_blank">thyroid</a> cancers in New Caledonia.</p> <p>In New Zealand, arsenic concentrations are <a rel="noopener" href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.gexplo.2016.05.009" target="_blank">naturally high</a>. One in three New Zealand homes exceeded the acceptable health risk for children under two, set by the US Environmental Protection Agency.</p> <p>Australia has concerning levels of arsenic and lead contamination in house dust. One in six Australian homes exceeded the US Environmental Protection Agency acceptable health risk. Arsenic exposure can increase <a rel="noopener" href="https://www-sciencedirect-com.simsrad.net.ocs.mq.edu.au/science/article/pii/S1382668915300946" target="_blank">cancer risk</a> and cause problems to respiratory health and immune function. <a rel="noopener" href="https://theconversation.com/the-verdicts-in-we-must-better-protect-kids-from-toxic-lead-exposure-41969" target="_blank">Lead</a> can affect children’s brain and nervous system development, causing behavioural and developmental problems.</p> <p><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/439426/original/file-20220104-23-nhnz25.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/439426/original/file-20220104-23-nhnz25.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" alt="A man dusts on top of a shelf." /></a> <em><span class="caption">Frequent vacuuming, mopping and dusting with a damp cloth can reduce your risk.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">Shutterstock</span></span></em></p> <p>It’s clear <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0269749121020443" target="_blank">lead mining</a> and <a rel="noopener" href="https://theconversation.com/children-continue-to-be-exposed-to-contaminated-air-in-port-pirie-113484" target="_blank">smelting</a> activities cause high lead levels in dust for local communities. But the study shows inner city areas are equally affected, commonly from legacy sources like <a rel="noopener" href="https://www-sciencedirect-com.simsrad.net.ocs.mq.edu.au/science/article/pii/S016041201000156X" target="_blank">emissions</a> from the <a rel="noopener" href="https://www-sciencedirect-com.simsrad.net.ocs.mq.edu.au/science/article/pii/S0883292717301300" target="_blank">leaded petrol era</a>, or peeling lead paint in homes.</p> <p>Data from Accra, in Ghana showed homes contained elevated lead concentrations, likely due to nearby electronic recycling operations. Old wiring and circuitry are <a rel="noopener" href="https://greatforest.com/sustainability101/best-recycling-videos-story-electronics/" target="_blank">burned to extract metals</a>, causing trace metals such as lead, nickel and copper to fall out as dust across the city.</p> <p>So where do contaminants in house dust come from?</p> <p>One source reflects lead from past leaded petrol emissions and paints. Another reflects the degradation of building materials, rich in copper and zinc. This was more prevalent in older homes, which have seen more wear and tear and have been exposed to traffic emissions longer.</p> <p>The third common source is soil, which gets blown in from outside and <a rel="noopener" href="https://www-sciencedirect-com.simsrad.net.ocs.mq.edu.au/science/article/pii/S0160412019320021" target="_blank">walked into homes</a> by people and pets.</p> <p><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/433643/original/file-20211124-17-1tfgi8d.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/433643/original/file-20211124-17-1tfgi8d.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" alt="A woman cleans a vent." /></a> <em><span class="caption">Simple home cleaning practices, like frequently vacuuming, mopping and dusting with a damp cloth can reduce your exposure to contaminants in dust.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">Shutterstock</span></span></em></p> <p><strong>What factors affect how risky your dust is?</strong></p> <p>We also gathered global data on building materials, pets, hobbies, habits and home characteristics.</p> <p>What made the most difference to metals in dust were house age, peeling paint, having a garden and smoking.</p> <p>Interestingly, homes with garden access had higher dust concentrations of lead and arsenic.</p> <p>Older homes had higher levels of all metals except chromium, and are likely to have residues from peeling paints, traffic and industrial pollutants, pest treatments and other chemicals.</p> <p>Other factors, such as home type, building material, heating fuel didn’t appear to influence trace metal concentrations in homes.</p> <p>Critically, what’s outside ends up <a rel="noopener" href="https://www-sciencedirect-com.simsrad.net.ocs.mq.edu.au/science/article/pii/S0013935120302504" target="_blank">in our homes</a>, where it can be inhaled and <a rel="noopener" href="https://pubs-acs-org.simsrad.net.ocs.mq.edu.au/doi/abs/10.1021/acs.est.1c01097" target="_blank">ingested</a>.</p> <p>While global averages were within accepted thresholds, many individual homes exceeded these, particularly homes in Australia for lead-related risks, New Caledonia and the US for chromium-related risks, and New Zealand for arsenic-related risks.</p> <p><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/433664/original/file-20211124-21-1czyn4.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/433664/original/file-20211124-21-1czyn4.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" alt="A person wipes dust from a shoe area." /></a> <em><span class="caption">Reduce the amount of dust entering your home by taking your shoes off at the door.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">Shutterstock</span></span></em></p> <p><strong>How to reduce your exposure to contaminants in dust</strong></p> <p>Frequent vacuuming, mopping and dusting with a damp cloth can reduce your risk. Vacuuming reduces contaminants like <a rel="noopener" href="https://theconversation.com/were-all-ingesting-microplastics-at-home-and-these-might-be-toxic-for-our-health-here-are-some-tips-to-reduce-your-risk-159537" target="_blank">microplastics</a> in house dust.</p> <p>If you live in an older home, keep the paint in good condition so it’s not flaking off.</p> <p>When painting or renovating, follow safety <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.epa.nsw.gov.au/your-environment/household-building-and-renovation/lead-safety" target="_blank">guidance</a> from your state’s environmental protection authority – or call a <a href="https://painters.edu.au/Training-Resources/CPCCPD3031-Work-safely-with-lead-painted-surfaces-in-the-painting-industry.htm">professional</a>.</p> <p>Hobbies involving lead, like fishing, shooting and metal work, can affect your trace metal exposure. Choosing not to smoke inside will reduce exposures to chromium and manganese.</p> <p>Cover exposed soil in your garden with mulch or grass, use a dual system of outdoor and indoor mats, take shoes off at the door and towel down muddy pets before letting them inside.</p> <p>Considering we spend most of our lives <a rel="noopener" href="https://doi.org/10.1038/sj.jea.7500165" target="_blank">indoors</a>, there is growing <a rel="noopener" href="https://onlinelibrary-wiley-com.simsrad.net.ocs.mq.edu.au/doi/epdf/10.1111/ina.12722" target="_blank">international interest</a> in setting public health guidelines for chemicals in indoor settled dust.</p> <p>In <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.epa.nsw.gov.au/your-environment/household-building-and-renovation/lead-safety" target="_blank">Australia</a> and the <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.epa.gov/lead/hazard-standards-and-clearance-levels-lead-paint-dust-and-soil-tsca-sections-402-and-403" target="_blank">US</a>, we have guidance for lead dust, but not other contaminants.</p> <p>The best way to know what’s in your house dust is to have it tested by <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.360dustanalysis.com/" target="_blank">DustSafe</a> researchers. <!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important; text-shadow: none !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/172499/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/439427/original/file-20220105-25-mvokjp.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/439427/original/file-20220105-25-mvokjp.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" alt="A man vacuums his house." /></a> <span class="caption"><em>Vacuuming reduces contaminants like microplastics in house dust.</em></span><em> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">Shutterstock</span></span></em></p> <p><em><a rel="noopener" href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/cynthia-faye-isley-602937" target="_blank">Cynthia Faye Isley</a>, Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Environmental Science, <a rel="noopener" href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/macquarie-university-1174" target="_blank">Macquarie University</a>; <a rel="noopener" href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/kara-fry-1274525" target="_blank">Kara Fry</a>, Academic Casual, <a rel="noopener" href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/macquarie-university-1174" target="_blank">Macquarie University</a>, and <a rel="noopener" href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/mark-patrick-taylor-11394" target="_blank">Mark Patrick Taylor</a>, Chief Environmental Scientist, EPA Victoria; Honorary Professor, <a rel="noopener" href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/macquarie-university-1174" target="_blank">Macquarie University</a></em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a rel="noopener" href="https://theconversation.com" target="_blank">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a rel="noopener" href="https://theconversation.com/house-dust-from-35-countries-reveals-our-global-toxic-contaminant-exposure-and-health-risk-172499" target="_blank">original article</a>.</em></p> <p><em>Image: Getty Images</em></p>

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