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"These can't be real": Boomers' Olympic uniform sparks instant outrage

<p>Australia’s basketball uniforms for the Paris Olympics have hit a new low, or should we say a new “high jump” with the kit’s release on social media sparking a full-blown hoopla.</p> <p>Designed by Asics, these uniforms have quickly become the butt of jokes faster than a basketball rolling down a court.</p> <p>The “outfit” features a bright yellow singlet with “Australia” across the chest, an Asics logo on one shoulder, and the coat of arms on the other – and the reactions have been nothing short of a slam dunk of disdain.</p> <p>Daniel Moldovan, a basketball player manager with a flair for theatrics, didn’t hold back. “Let’s just call a spade a spade," he wrote on X, "yet another embarrassment for a team full of NBA players at the peak of their sport. Our guys are going to be dressed like marathon runners. If the old adage ‘Look good, feel good’ has any truth to it, then our guys are going to feel like trash.”</p> <p>He even suggested that whoever approved these “marathon runner uniforms” for the Boomers should have their citizenship revoked. “What the f*** is this abomination?” he asked. Even past and present Boomers players chimed in.</p> <p>Josh Giddey, Oklahoma City Thunder’s rising star, simply commented “lol absolute joke”. Jock Landale of the Houston Rockets humorously mused, “Looks like we are off to throw a javelin.” And Andrew Bogut, never one to mince words, quipped that the Australian Olympic Committee had Stevie Wonder design the uniforms. Ouch.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">Let’s just call a spade a spade. This is a fucking DISGRACE. Yet another embarrassment for a team full of NBA players at the peak of their sport. </p> <p>Our guys are going to be dressed like marathon runners. </p> <p>If the old adage of “Look good feel good” has a modicum of truth to it,… <a href="https://t.co/mSxlLeHvGl">https://t.co/mSxlLeHvGl</a></p> <p>— Daniel Moldovan (@AgentMoldovan) <a href="https://twitter.com/AgentMoldovan/status/1800659140022595903?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">June 11, 2024</a></p></blockquote> <p>The social media backlash was swift and savage. Benyam Kidane of NBA Australia tweeted, “Nah, this disrespectful. Boomers gonna bring home the gold in the decathlon.” Sam Vecenie from The Athletic added, “Pumped to see the Australian basketball team compete in the high jump at the Olympics. Probably not the optimal use of their skill, but will be fun to see them in these track-and-field-ass uniforms.”</p> <p>NBA Straya was in on the joke too: “Great to see we’re following in a hallowed Aussie tradition and getting Bali knockoff jerseys for the national team.” And one user couldn’t believe their eyes: “Is April Fools Day a different day? These can’t be real!!”</p> <p>The ASICS website, in its defence, claims the design incorporates Indigenous Australian artwork and Japanese design features. They boasted about the recycled fabrics and the artworks by Paul Fleming and David Bosun. While noble, it seems like they may have missed the mark on “aesthetic appeal”.</p> <p>The Boomers are set to kick off their Paris Olympics campaign on July 27, with warm-up matches against Japan, China, Serbia and the USA. Let’s just hope they’re not mistaken for a track-and-field team when they step onto the court. After all, no one wants to see them dribble with a javelin.</p> <p>In the end, perhaps the real win would be for the Boomers to win gold while sporting these “unique” threads. It might just prove that in the world of fashion, sometimes the ugliest outfits make for the most unforgettable moments.</p> <p><em>Images: Asics</em></p>

Beauty & Style

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Australia's most trusted brands for 2024 revealed

<p>Despite the rise in cost-of-living, there are some brands that Aussies continue to have confidence in, and are willing to spend their money on. </p> <p>Over 4,000 Australians were surveyed by market research agency Catalyst, who were commissioned by Reader's Digest, and they were asked to choose the brands they trusted the most across nearly 70 different categories. </p> <p>"It's been a very challenging few years, but ultimately our category winners share a key common trait," Catalyst Research director Cameron Gentle said.</p> <p>"They consistently deliver on their promise. People have an expectation of what they're going to get, and the particular product or organisation delivers what they're after. Time and again."</p> <p>The survey, now in its 25th year, has crowned Bunnings as the ‘most iconic’ retailer and the fourth most trusted brand. </p> <p>Other noteworthy winners include Singapore Airlines for the most trusted brand to fly with, Panadol for pain relief, and Toyota for cars. </p> <p>Dettol was ultimately crowned the most trusted brand, earning the number one spot. </p> <p>"Since its humble beginnings in 1935, when Dettol Antiseptic Liquid was used as a post-surgery antiseptic skin wash in hospitals, Dettol has evolved to become the trusted brand in germ protection around the home," Readers Digest wrote.</p> <p><strong>Check out the list of Australia's top 20 most trusted brands below: </strong></p> <p>20. Yates</p> <p>19. Finish</p> <p>18. Lipton</p> <p>17. Woolworths</p> <p>16. Weet-bix</p> <p>15. Selleys</p> <p>14. Glen 20</p> <p>13. Dairy Farmers</p> <p>12. Royal Flying Doctors Service</p> <p>11. Weber</p> <p>10. Bega</p> <p>9. Toyota</p> <p>8. Panadol</p> <p>7. Bridgestone</p> <p>6. Cancer Council</p> <p>5. Dulux</p> <p>4. Bunnings</p> <p>3. Cadbury</p> <p>2. Band-Aid</p> <p>1. Dettol</p> <p><em>Image: Trusted Brands</em></p>

Money & Banking

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Biggest winners and losers of the 2024-25 Federal Budget

<p>The unveiling of the federal budget by Treasurer Jim Chalmers was marked by a dual focus on addressing cost-of-living pressures and strategically investing in Australia's future – and was predictably met with <span style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;">both praise and criticism. </span></p> <p>Reflecting a delicate balancing act between providing immediate relief to vulnerable segments of society and ensuring long-term fiscal sustainability, the measures to alleviate cost-of-living pressures and support key sectors appear commendable, yet concerns persist regarding the adequacy of support for welfare recipients and the potential implications of immigration policies on international education. </p> <p>Read on for the high points, the low points, and all the biggest winners and losers of the federal budget for 2024-25.</p> <p><strong>BIGGEST WINNERS:</strong></p> <p><strong>Low and Middle-Income Earners:</strong></p> <p>At the core of the budget lies a commitment to alleviate the financial strain on low and middle-income earners. With the implementation of stage three tax cuts, Australians can anticipate a welcome increase in their take-home pay. These cuts, announced earlier in the year, are projected to inject an average of $36 per week into taxpayers' pockets by 2024-25. Notably, this initiative is expected to benefit 84% of taxpayers and 90% of women, signalling a targeted effort to support those most in need.</p> <p><strong>Parents:</strong></p> <p>In a move towards greater gender equality and financial security, the government has extended superannuation payments to parents on paid leave. This initiative aims to bridge the superannuation gap and provide approximately 180,000 families annually with additional financial support during crucial early parenting stages.</p> <p><strong>Households and Small Businesses:</strong></p> <p>Acknowledging the escalating energy costs, a $300 rebate on energy bills was announced for more than 10 million households. It was this facet of the budget that drew ire from Jacqui Lambie, Federal Senator for Tasmania, who was furious over the "bizarre" decision, which sees funds being spent on high-income earners such as herself at a time of rising inflation. 'We don't need $300, I can assure you,' she said to a post-budget panel on <em>ABC's Insiders</em> on Tuesday night. "That [funding] should have been passed forward. I find it bizarre."</p> <p>Additionally, small businesses stand to benefit from a $325 boost to alleviate power bill pressures. The extension of the instant asset write-off and the abolishment of 457 nuisance tariffs signal the government's commitment to supporting small businesses and fostering economic growth.</p> <p><strong>Aged Care Workers, Renters, Women, Last-Minute Travellers, Music Festivals, and PBS Patients:</strong></p> <p>The budget also addresses various sectors of society, including aged care workers, renters, women, last-minute travellers, music festivals and Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme patients. Measures such as wage increases, rent assistance, healthcare subsidies and support for cultural events underscore the government's multifaceted approach to addressing societal needs.</p> <p><strong>Students:</strong></p> <p>Recognising the financial challenges faced by students, the government has taken steps to ease the burden of student debt. By wiping out $3 billion in student debt and overhauling the indexation of HECS debt, thousands of Australian students stand to benefit. Moreover, the introduction of payments for compulsory work placements acknowledges the financial strain faced by students pursuing vocational and tertiary education.</p> <p><strong>BIGGEST LOSERS:</strong></p> <p><strong style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;">International Students:</strong></p> <p>In response to concerns about housing shortages and migration pressures, the government has signaled a crackdown on the influx of international students. Universities will be required to match enrolment growth with adequate housing infrastructure, potentially limiting opportunities for international students seeking education in Australia.</p> <p><strong style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;">Welfare Recipients:</strong></p> <p>Despite calls for a significant increase in JobSeeker and Youth Allowance payments, the budget falls short of implementing substantial changes in welfare support. While some targeted assistance is provided to individuals facing barriers to employment, broader calls for income support reform remain unaddressed.</p> <p><strong>High-Income Earners:</strong></p> <p>While the budget aims to provide relief to low and middle-income earners, high-income earners may experience a less substantial boost to their incomes compared to previous projections. This recalibration reflects the government's commitment to a fair and equitable distribution of resources.</p> <p><em>Image: ABC</em></p>

Money & Banking

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All the head-turning looks from the 2024 Met Gala

<p>Known as "fashion's biggest night out", the Met Gala 2024 has kicked off in spectacular style with A-listers from all over the world gracing the carpet at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. </p> <p>The event, which is a fundraising event for the Met, is held every year on the first Monday of May, to celebrate the Costume Institute’s new exhibition, “Sleeping Beauties: Reawakening Fashion”.</p> <p>The dress code this year, The Garden of Time, is said to be inspired by a short story of the same title written by JG Ballard in 1962. </p> <p>The who's who of Hollywood hit the carpet at the Met this year, led by actress Zendaya, who is this year's co-chair of the event after returning to the Gala for the first time in five years. </p> <p>Many Aussie superstars walked the carpet, such as Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban, Naomi Watts, Troye Sivan, Chris Hemsworth and Kylie Minogue, who attended for the first time since 2014.</p> <p>Hugh Jackman also graced the Met carpet solo for the first time, last attending alongside his now ex-wife Deborra Lee-Furness in 2023. </p> <p>The Aussie actor took to Instagram to share that his dapper Tom Ford tuxedo was the very same outfit that he wore to his first Met Gala in 2004 that had been "refitted and repaired". </p> <p>Other Hollywood legends that graced the carpet included Sarah Jessica Parker, Meg Ryan, Jennifer Lopez, Uma Thurman, Penelope Cruz and many more. </p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images </em></p>

Beauty & Style

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There are new flu vaccines on offer for 2024. Should I get one? What do I need to know?

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/allen-cheng-94997">Allen Cheng</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/monash-university-1065">Monash University</a></em></p> <p>Influenza is a common respiratory infection. Although most cases are relatively mild, flu can cause more severe illness in young children and older people.</p> <p>Influenza virtually <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33243355/">disappeared</a> from Australia during the first years of the COVID-19 pandemic when public health restrictions reduced contact between people. Since 2022, it has returned to a seasonal pattern, although the flu season has started and peaked a few months earlier than before 2020.</p> <p>It’s difficult to predict the intensity of the flu season at this point in the year, but we can sometimes get clues from the northern hemisphere. There, the season <a href="https://www.who.int/tools/flunet">started</a> <a href="https://gis.cdc.gov/grasp/fluview/flu_by_age_virus.html">earlier</a> than usual for the third year running (peaking in early January rather than late February/March), with a similar number of reported cases and hospitalisations to the previous year.</p> <p>Influenza vaccines are recommended annually, but there are now an increasing number of different vaccine types. Here’s what to know about this year’s shots, available from <a href="https://www.health.gov.au/topics/immunisation/vaccines/influenza-flu-vaccine">this month</a>.</p> <h2>What goes into a flu vaccine?</h2> <p>Like other vaccines, influenza vaccines work by “training” the immune system on a harmless component of the influenza virus (known as an antigen), so it can respond appropriately when the body encounters the real virus.</p> <p>Influenza strains are constantly changing due to genetic mutation, with the pace of genetic change <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC10421855">much higher</a> than for SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID). The strains that go into the vaccine are <a href="https://www.who.int/teams/global-influenza-programme/vaccines/who-recommendations">reviewed</a> twice each year by the World Health Organization (WHO), which selects vaccine strains to match the next season’s predicted circulating strains.</p> <p>All current influenza vaccines in <a href="https://www.tga.gov.au/resources/publication/meeting-statements/aivc-recommendations-composition-influenza-vaccines-australia-2024">Australia</a> contain four different strains (known as quadrivalent vaccines). One of the strains appeared to <a href="https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMp2314801">disappear</a> during the COVID pandemic, and the WHO has recently <a href="https://cdn.who.int/media/docs/default-source/influenza/who-influenza-recommendations/vcm-southern-hemisphere-recommendation-2024/202309_qanda_recommendation.pdf?sfvrsn=7a6906d1_5">recommended</a> dropping this strain from the vaccine. It’s expected trivalent (three strain) vaccines will become available in the near future.</p> <h2>What’s different about new flu vaccines?</h2> <p>There are eight brands of flu vaccines <a href="https://www.health.gov.au/resources/publications/atagi-statement-on-the-administration-of-seasonal-influenza-vaccines-in-2024?language=en">available</a> in Australia in 2024. These include egg-based vaccines (Vaxigrip Tetra, Fluarix Tetra, Afluria Quad, FluQuadri and Influvac Tetra), cell-based vaccines (Flucelvax Quad), adjuvanted vaccines (Fluad Quad) and high-dose vaccines (Fluzone High-Dose Quad).</p> <p>Until recently, the process of manufacturing flu vaccines has remained similar. Since the development of the influenza vaccine in the <a href="https://www.who.int/news-room/spotlight/history-of-vaccination/history-of-influenza-vaccination">1940s</a>, influenza viruses were grown in chicken eggs, then extracted, inactivated, purified and processed to make up the egg-based vaccines that are still used widely.</p> <p>However, there have been several enhancements to influenza vaccines in recent years.</p> <p>Older people’s immune systems tend not to respond as strongly to vaccines. In some flu vaccines, adjuvants (components that stimulate the immune system) are included with the influenza antigens. For example, an adjuvant is used in the Fluad Quad vaccine, recommended for over 65s. Studies <a href="https://ncirs.org.au/sites/default/files/2021-02/Adjuvanted%20influenza%20vaccine%20vs%20standard%20dose%20influenza%20vaccine%20SoF%20EP%20E2D%20tables_26%20Feb%202021_Final.pdf">suggest</a> adjuvanted influenza vaccines are slightly better than standard egg-based vaccines without adjuvant in older people.</p> <p>An alternative approach to improving the immune response is to use higher doses of the vaccine strains. An example is Fluzone High-Dose Quad – another option for older adults – which contains the equivalent of four doses of a standard influenza vaccine. Studies <a href="https://ncirs.org.au/sites/default/files/2022-05/HD%20vs%20sIV%20SoF%20EP%20E2D_March%202022_Final.pdf">suggest</a> the high dose vaccine is better than the standard dose vaccine (without an adjuvant) in preventing hospitalisation and complications in older people.</p> <p>Other manufacturers have updated the manufacturing process. Cell-based vaccines, such as Flucelvax Quad, use cells instead of eggs in the manufacturing process. Other vaccines that are <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/flu/prevent/advances.htm">not yet available</a> also use different technologies. In the past, <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31151913/">manufacturing issues</a> with egg-based vaccines have reduced their effectiveness. Using an alternative method of production provides some degree of insurance against this in the future.</p> <h2>What should I do this year?</h2> <p>Given indications this year’s flu season may be earlier than usual, it’s probably safest to get your vaccine early. This is particularly <a href="https://www.health.gov.au/resources/publications/atagi-statement-on-the-administration-of-seasonal-influenza-vaccines-in-2024?language=en">important</a> for those at highest risk of severe illness, including older adults (65 years and over), those with chronic medical conditions, young children (six months to five years) and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Influenza vaccines are also recommended in pregnancy to protect both the mother and the baby for the first months of life.</p> <p>Influenza vaccines are widely available, including at GP clinics and pharmacies, while many workplaces have occupational programs. For high-risk groups, <a href="https://www.health.gov.au/topics/immunisation/vaccines/influenza-flu-vaccine">four of the vaccines</a> are subsidised by the Australian government through the <a href="https://www.health.gov.au/our-work/national-immunisation-program">National Immunisation Program</a>.</p> <p>In older people, a number of vaccines are now recommended: <a href="https://www.health.gov.au/sites/default/files/2024-03/atagi-statement-on-the-administration-of-covid-19-vaccines-in-2024.pdf">COVID</a> and influenza, as well as one-off courses of <a href="https://www.health.gov.au/sites/default/files/documents/2020/06/national-immunisation-program-pneumococcal-vaccination-schedule-from-1-july-2020-clinical-advice-for-vaccination-providers.pdf">pneumococcal</a> and <a href="https://www.health.gov.au/topics/immunisation/vaccines/shingles-herpes-zoster-immunisation-service">shingles</a> vaccines. In general, most vaccines can be given in the same visit, but talk to your doctor about which ones you need.</p> <h2>Are there side effects?</h2> <p>All influenza vaccines can <a href="https://www.health.gov.au/topics/immunisation/vaccines/influenza-flu-vaccine">cause</a> a sore arm and sometimes more generalised symptoms such as fever and tiredness. These are expected and reflect the immune system reacting appropriately to the vaccine, and are mostly mild and short-term. These side effects are slightly more common in <a href="https://ncirs.org.au/sites/default/files/2021-02/Adjuvanted%20influenza%20vaccine%20vs%20standard%20dose%20influenza%20vaccine%20SoF%20EP%20E2D%20tables_26%20Feb%202021_Final.pdf">adjuvanted</a> and <a href="https://ncirs.org.au/sites/default/files/2022-05/HD%20vs%20sIV%20SoF%20EP%20E2D_March%202022_Final.pdf">high dose</a> vaccines.</p> <p>As with all medications and vaccines, allergic reactions such as anaphylaxis can occur after the flu vaccine. All vaccine providers are trained to recognise and respond to anaphylaxis. People with egg allergies should discuss this with their doctor, but in general, <a href="https://www.allergy.org.au/patients/food-allergy/egg-allergy-flu-vaccine">studies suggest</a> they can safely receive any (including egg-based) influenza vaccines.</p> <p>Serious side effects from the influenza vaccine, such as Guillain-Barré syndrome, a neurological complication, are very rare (one case per million people vaccinated). They are <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23810252/">thought</a> to be less common after influenza vaccination than after infection with influenza.<!-- 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;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/226623/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 href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/allen-cheng-94997">Allen Cheng</a>, Professor of Infectious Diseases, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/monash-university-1065">Monash University</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock</em></p> <p><em>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/there-are-new-flu-vaccines-on-offer-for-2024-should-i-get-one-what-do-i-need-to-know-226623">original article</a>.</em></p>

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The best of the 2024 Oscars

<p>Hollywood’s night of nights is back in full force this year and it's more glamorous and chaotic than ever.</p> <p>Jimmy Kimmel, who returned as a host at the annual Academy Awards for the fourth time, kicked off the festivities by addressing the <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/entertainment/movies/margot-robbie-snubbed-as-oscar-nominations-announced" target="_blank" rel="noopener">controversial snubs </a>of Margot Robbie for best actress and Greta Gerwig for best director. </p> <p>“Barbie, what a film. What an achievement. To take a plastic doll nobody even liked any more, now Barbie is an icon thanks to Greta Gerwig, who many people believe should be nominated for Best Director,” he began. </p> <p>“I know you are clapping, but you’re the ones who didn’t vote for her, by the way. Don’t act like you had nothing to do with this," he added. </p> <p>While he did compliment Robbie “putting this giant hit together”, his joke about her and co-star Ryan Gosling's appearance fell flat. </p> <p>Despite the awkward joke, Gosling pulled off one of the most memorable moments in Oscars history, as he belted-out an energetic and fabulously pink performance of <em>I’m Just Ken</em>, a <em>Barbie</em> original song, with other Kens including co-star Simu Liu. </p> <p>Gosling began his dazzling performance by serenading co-star Margot Robbie in the audience, who could not hold in her laughter. </p> <p>British-American musician Slash also made a surprise cameo on the electric guitar and everyone in the room could feel the Kenergy. </p> <p>In another unforgettable moment, John Cena caused the audience to erupt with laughter when he slowly emerged from side stage without clothes on, as Kimmel referenced the 1974 Oscars moment when a streaker infamously ran across the stage.</p> <p>“I changed my mind, I don’t want to do the streaker bit anymore,” Cena told Kimmel.</p> <p>“I just don’t feel right about it. This is an elegant event.”</p> <p>Cena then presented the Best Costume Design award while concealing his private parts with a piece of paper. </p> <p>“Costumes... They are so important,” he said, as the audience exploded in laughter. </p> <p><em>Poor Things</em> won the Best Costume Design award and snagged three other awards including  Best Production Design, Best Hair and Makeup, and Emma Stone winning Best Actress.</p> <p>In a more wholesome moment, Messi, a seven-year-old border collie, who starred in <em>Anatomy of A Fall </em>was being a very good boy and could be seen sitting amongst A-list and "clapping" his paws for all the winners. </p> <p>Oppenheimer snagged seven awards, including the Best Picture award, the Best Director award and Cillian Murphy winning his first ever Oscar for Best Actor.</p> <p>“We made a film about the man who created the atomic bomb. For better or worse we’re all living in Oppenheimer’s world, so I would really like to dedicate this to the peace makers everywhere,” Murphy said when he accepted his award. </p> <p>The film landed its first ever honour of the night when Robert Downey Jr also won his first ever Oscar for Best Supporting Actor. </p> <p>The full list of winners can be found <a href="https://www.oscars.org/oscars/ceremonies/2024" target="_blank" rel="noopener">here</a>. </p> <p>Of course, the Oscars aren't just about who takes home what award, but who looked like tens during the red carpet. </p> <p>Check out some of our favourite looks and highlights below: </p> <p><em>Images: Getty/ news.com.au</em></p>

TV

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Line-up clues revealed for 2024 I'm A Celeb cast

<p>With just a few weeks to go before a group of celebrities are dropped in the jungle, Network Ten have dropped a series of clues alluding to this year's <em>I'm A Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here!</em> lineup. </p> <p>Premiering in late March and hosted by veteran Julia Morris and newcomer Robert Irwin, the 10th season of the show will see celebrities thrown into the South African jungle and go head-to-head in daring challenges.</p> <p>At the end of the weeks long challenge, the winner will take home $100,000 in prize money for the charity of their choice.</p> <p>With the full line-up of celebs still unknown, Network Ten have dropped a few hints about some of this year's contestants, with online sleuths dedicated to deciphering the clues. </p> <p>So far, it's been revealed that a "controversial TV star" will be heading into the jungle, alongside a Gold medallist who is “diverting from Paris” to take part in the competition. </p> <p>Another celeb joining is an "international comedian loved by the royals", with many online believing this clue is alluding to UK comic Michael McIntyre.</p> <p>Fans believe a former contestant of <em>The Bachelor</em> or <em>MAFS</em> could be joining the line-up, with one celeb teased as a “bad boy” who “breaks hearts”.</p> <p>Also joining the 2024 line-up is an AFL legend with a premiership win under their belt, and a stage performer who is “ditching his famous family” to head into the jungle.</p> <p>Lastly, a celebrity cook is joining the cast, with diehard fans already ruling out Miguel Maestre, Colin Fassnidge and Poh Ling Yeow who have competed on the show in previous years. </p> <p>The 2024 season of <em>I'm A Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here!</em> will premiere on Ten on March 27th.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Ten </em></p>

TV

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Most popular Aussie city to visit in 2024 revealed

<p>The most popular city in Australia for 2024 travellers has been revealed, with locals and international visitors alike all adding the capital city to their destination bucket lists. </p> <p>In new research commissioned by the Tourism and Transport Forum (TTF), Melbourne has shot to the top the list of most popular cities to travel this year, beating out Sydney, the Sunshine Coast and Adelaide for the top spot. </p> <p>In the TTF report, a sample of 2,000 travellers between the age of 18-65 revealed where they plan on visiting both domestically and abroad in 2024.</p> <p>While Queensland came out on top as the most popular state or territory to visit, followed by NSW and Victoria, Melbourne beat the other capital cities as the most sought after city across the country.</p> <p>“It’s not surprising more Australians are planning to head to Melbourne for a holiday this year, with its thriving music and arts scene and world-famous events year-round,” TTF CEO Margy Osmond told <a href="https://www.news.com.au/travel/travel-ideas/best-of-travel/australian-city-named-best-in-the-country-outweighing-sydney-and-brisbane/news-story/6e69272d37b62eada10b6bedf2bb88f5" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><em>news.com.au</em></a>.</p> <p>“Already this year Melbourne has hosted Taylor Swift and the Australian Open and will draw thousands more visitors for the upcoming Melbourne International Comedy Festival, Fringe Festival and much more.”</p> <p>Known for the delicious coffee, abundance of shopping options, thriving food scene and bustling culture and nightlife, Melbourne has long been a hotspot destination for many travellers. </p> <p>The crown is another win for Victoria, with the city of Bendigo walking away with the top prize of ‘best town’ in the annual <a href="https://oversixty.com.au/travel/domestic-travel/why-disbelief-as-best-aussie-towns-crowned-for-2024" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Wotif travel awards</a>.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images </em></p>

Domestic Travel

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Experience the magic of Ireland down under: A Taste of Ireland 2024 Australian Tour

<p>Get ready to immerse yourself in the rich culture, captivating music and mesmerising dance of Ireland as <a href="https://www.atasteofirelandshow.com/" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><em>A Taste of Ireland</em></a> returns to enchant audiences across Australia in 2024. </p> <p>Featuring World Champion dancers from <em>Lord of the Dance</em> and <em>Riverdance</em>, prepare to be transported to the rolling green hills and vibrant streets of the Emerald Isle, right in your hometown!  </p> <p><strong>What is <em>A Taste of Ireland</em>?</strong></p> <p><em>A Taste of Ireland</em> is not just a performance; it's an unforgettable journey through the heart and soul of Ireland. Combining traditional and contemporary Irish music and dance, this spectacular show showcases the incredible talent and passion of some of Ireland's finest performers.</p> <p><strong>What to expect</strong></p> <p>From the moment the first note is struck, and the first step is danced, you'll be captivated by the energy and artistry on stage. Feel the rhythm of the bodhrán drum reverberate through your bones, and let the fiddles whisk you away to a land of ancient myths and legends.</p> <p>Prepare to be dazzled by the lightning-fast footwork and intricate choreography of the dancers as they weave tales of love, loss and triumph through their movements. Each step tells a story, each leap a celebration of life itself.</p> <p><strong>Why attend?</strong></p> <p>Whether you're a die-hard fan of Irish culture or simply looking for a night of entertainment unlike any other, <em>A Taste of Ireland</em> offers something for everyone. It's an opportunity to witness the magic of Ireland's rich heritage brought to life before your very eyes.</p> <p>Forget your troubles for an evening and let the music and dance sweep you away on a journey you won't soon forget. Whether you're tapping your feet to the lively jigs and reels or wiping away tears during a poignant ballad, <em>A Taste of Ireland</em> is an experience that will touch your heart and soul.</p> <p><strong>Tour dates and locations</strong></p> <p>The 2024 Australian Tour of <em>A Taste of Ireland</em> will be making stops across Australia for 80 shows from March to July, bringing the magic of Ireland to a venue near you. <a href="https://www.atasteofirelandshow.com/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Check the tour schedule</a> to find out when this unforgettable experience will be coming to your area.</p> <p><strong>Get your tickets now!</strong></p> <p>Don't miss your chance to experience the beauty and excitement of <em>A Taste of Ireland</em>. Tickets are selling fast, so book yours today and get ready for a night of music, dance, and memories that will last a lifetime. </p> <p>Witness the show that has received rave reviews across the globe. Don't rely on the luck of the Irish – <a href="https://www.atasteofirelandshow.com/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">book now</a>, because tickets are selling out fast!</p> <p><em>Images: Supplied.</em></p> <p><em>This is a sponsored article produced in partnership with Pace Live.</em></p>

Music

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"WHY?!": Disbelief as "Best Aussie towns" crowned for 2024

<p>The top ten Aussie towns to visit in 2024 have been revealed, with some locals surprised to see their hometowns at the top of the list. </p> <p>Each year travel experts at Wotif release the top spots to visit across the country, narrowing down destinations based on the platform’s data index of accommodation affordability, quality and traveller feedback.</p> <p>This year’s top 10 list featured a number of regional towns over coastal escapes, with Bendigo in Victoria taking out the top spot. </p> <p>The small Victorian town, home to plenty of paddock-to-plate cafes, vintage trams and the famous regional Art Gallery, has been praised by visitors for its cultural experiences, and lively food and beverage scene.</p> <p>Also making the top 10 list are Katherine in the Northern Territory and Coober Pedy in South Australia, alongside Broken Hill and Bathurst in New South Wales. </p> <blockquote class="instagram-media" 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);" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/reel/C3RO7pDycQX/?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> <div style="padding: 12.5% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; margin-bottom: 14px; align-items: center;"> <div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(0px) translateY(7px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; height: 12.5px; transform: rotate(-45deg) translateX(3px) translateY(1px); width: 12.5px; flex-grow: 0; margin-right: 14px; margin-left: 2px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(9px) translateY(-18px);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: 8px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 20px; width: 20px;"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 2px solid transparent; border-left: 6px solid #f4f4f4; border-bottom: 2px solid transparent; transform: translateX(16px) translateY(-4px) rotate(30deg);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: auto;"> <div style="width: 0px; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-right: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(16px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; flex-grow: 0; height: 12px; width: 16px; transform: translateY(-4px);"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-left: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(-4px) translateX(8px);"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center; margin-bottom: 24px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 224px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 144px;"> </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;" href="https://www.instagram.com/reel/C3RO7pDycQX/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank" rel="noopener">A post shared by Wotif.com (@wotifcom)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p>Despite their top ten rankings, one savage local commented on the official top ranking video on social media writing, "Have ya’ll ever been to Katherine &amp; Coober Pedy? Because they aren't on anyone’s top 10 list," while one confused Bathurst local simply asked, "Why?"</p> <p>Wotif travel expert Sarah King said trends of heading away from the coast this year indicate a demand for “inland educational experiences”, meaning the top 10 towns in this year’s awards feature a diverse mix of regional towns not typically included in “best of” listings.</p> <p>“Aussie travellers are driven by a curiosity to experience the world around them and it’s fantastic to see that pursuit of discovery leading many to find culture close to home,” Ms King said in a statement.</p> <p>Check out the entire top 10 list below. </p> <p>1. Bendigo, VIC</p> <p>2. Broken Hill, NSW</p> <p>3. Stanthorpe, QLD</p> <p>4. Katherine, NT</p> <p>5. Bathurst, NSW</p> <p>6. Tanunda, SA</p> <p>7. Griffith, NSW</p> <p>8. Stanley, TAS</p> <p>9. Exmouth, WA</p> <p>10. Coober Pedy, SA</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p>

Domestic Travel

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Jock Zonfrillo and Cal Wilson receive posthumous awards at 2024 AACTAs

<p>The Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts (AACTA) awards have honoured late icons Jock Zonfrillo and Cal Wilson with posthumous awards. </p> <p>Zonfrillo's wife, Lauren Fried spoke about her late husband after <em>MasterChef</em> won Best Reality Series.</p> <p>"I'd love to thank Andy Allen," she began her tribute referring to Zonfrillo's fellow judge on the show, who was on the stage with her at the time. </p> <p>Fried continued, sharing that when her eldest daughter Ava had to deliver her father's eulogy, "she chose Andy to stand by her side and that says everything about the very special place that he has in our family."</p> <p>"Without Jock, the days seemed like they'd been drained of colour, but today is one of pride and celebration for the kids and I."</p> <p>Zonfrillo, tragically <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/news/news/shattered-hearts-culinary-world-mourns-tragic-death-of-jock-zonfrillo" target="_blank" rel="noopener">passed away</a> on April 30, 2023 at age 46, with his body found in a Melbourne hotel following a welfare check. </p> <p>Cal Wilson also received a posthumous award for the Best Comedy Performer for hosting <em>The Great Australian Bake Off, </em>which her husband Chris Woods, and their 14-year-old son, Digby accepted for her. </p> <p>Woods said that his late wife would have "bursting with pride" at her achievement and that it was a "dream gig" for her. </p> <p>"This award was a lovely way to recognise Cal's talent and persistence in the industry," he said.</p> <p>"Tomorrow will be four months since I lost my wife, four months since Digby lost his mum and four months since the world lost an amazing and talented woman."</p> <p>The beloved New Zealand- born comedian died on October 11, 2023 after a <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/health/caring/cal-wilson-s-cause-of-death-revealed" target="_blank" rel="noopener">short battle</a> with cancer. </p> <p><em>Image: Getty/ Instagram</em></p> <p> </p>

TV

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The cheapest places to travel in 2024

<p dir="ltr">With the cost of living continuing to rise, many people are looking for cost-friendly ways to travel the world in 2024. </p> <p dir="ltr">Some destinations are more economic than others, with these somewhat overlooked holiday hotspots showcasing the best of travelling without breaking the bank.</p> <p dir="ltr">If you’re looking for a new adventure this year, these corners of the globe are the cheapest places to travel in 2024.</p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>The Philippines</strong></p> <p dir="ltr">The underrated gem located only a few hours northeast of Australia is one of the cheapest destinations in Asia, it's a wonder why more tourists don’t visit. </p> <p dir="ltr">Not only is it home to over 7,500 picturesque islands, six UNESCO World Heritage Sites and an endless chain of pristine beaches, it's also very affordable with resort accommodation under $100 a night is not hard to find.</p> <p dir="ltr">On top of accommodation, day tours and activities (snorkelling, for example) will set you back around $30 to $40.</p> <p dir="ltr">Flights are also reasonable in cost, with return flights from Sydney to Manila coming in around $600 per person. </p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>Turkey</strong></p> <p dir="ltr">Travellers can get to Istanbul from Melbourne and back for approximately $1,300 per person, to visit some of the world’s most historical sites. </p> <p dir="ltr">Turkey is a paradise for those travelling on a budget, with mouthwatering meals can be found regularly for as little as $5, and even less for street food.</p> <p dir="ltr">To make it even better, striking accommodation in the historic Galata region can be as low as $50 a night. </p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>Hungary</strong></p> <p dir="ltr">Hungary is regularly dubbed one of Europe’s cheapest tourist destinations, with  accommodation, dining and entertainment costs significantly lower than the neighbouring countries.</p> <p dir="ltr">Expect to part with $60 to $100 a night for a pretty-as-a-picture hotel in the city centre, around $10 to $15 for meals in restaurants, and anywhere between $7 to $30 for activities. </p> <p dir="ltr">There are also tourist passes available that make these costs even cheaper. </p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>Albania</strong></p> <p dir="ltr">Located on the western part of the Balkan peninsula, this destination is often overlooked by tourists, making it an ideal budget-friendly destination. </p> <p dir="ltr">The stunning country is home to UNESCO World Heritage sites and turquoise beaches, all while keeping your budget in mind. </p> <p dir="ltr">Beachside accommodation can be found for as little as $70 a night, with prices comparable to Turkey for restaurant meals. </p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p> </p>

International Travel

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The best diet for 2024

<p>Over years of research and diet rankings, there is one regimen that scientists have crowned the "Best Diet Overall" for seven years in a row. </p> <p>The Mediterranean diet has topped the list in <a href="https://health.usnews.com/best-diet/best-diets-overall" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><em>US News and World Reports’</em></a> annual ranking for 2024, followed by the DASH diet, and the MIND diet coming in third.  </p> <p>The ranking is based off the findings of a panel of leading medical and nutrition experts, who analyse the nutritional completeness, health risks and benefits, long-term sustainability and  effectiveness of the diet in addressing its goals. </p> <p><strong>What sets it apart from other diets? </strong></p> <p>The Mediterranean diet emphasises multiple servings of fruits and vegetables daily, alongside whole grains, legumes, nuts, olive oil and seafood. </p> <p>Red meats, dairy and poultry are consumed occasionally and in moderation, and highly processed foods and added sugars are generally avoided. </p> <h4><strong>What are its benefits?</strong></h4> <p>The experts found that following the diet long term can increase the odds of living a longer, healthier life, with a few other studies suggesting it lowers the risk of heart disease and Type 2 diabetes, while potentially slowing cognitive decline.</p> <p>“It’s a way of life, it’s a cuisine, it dates back thousands of years, and in the last five to six decades, it is the most highly researched cuisine in the world,” said Dr Catherine Itsiopoulos, a professor of nutrition and dietetics at RMIT University in Melbourne.</p> <p><strong>Lowers risk of heart disease</strong></p> <p>A 2021 research review found that the diet has been shown to reduce the risk of coronary heart disease in women by 29 per cent and stroke by 13 per cent. </p> <p>A 2017 analysis found that on average it lowers the risk of coronary heart disease, heart attacks and strokes by 40 per cent. </p> <p>Experts suggest that this may be because  the fats in olive oil, seeds, fish and nuts are monounsaturated or polyunsaturated fats aka healthy fats. </p> <p>Additionally, because of its emphasis on fruits, vegetables and legumes, which contain antioxidants and other beneficial compounds, it is believed to combat chronic inflammation. </p> <p><strong>Lowers chances of developing type 2 diabetes </strong></p> <p>Because this diet relies heavily on honey and cinnamon as sweeteners, and fruits as a primary source of sugar, it reduces the risk of developing this disease. </p> <p>One study conducted on 300,000 participants found that those who were on the Mediterranean diet had a nearly 30 per cent lower risk of Type 2 diabetes. </p> <p><strong>Good for your gut</strong></p> <p>The diet contains a lot of fibre which are associated with more regular bowel movements, lower blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels, according to the Food and Drug Administration.</p> <p>This is because good bacteria in our stomachs feed off fibre, which creates a stronger lining in the intestines. </p> <p>There are a few other potential health benefits including reducing risk of dementia among seniors by almost 25 per cent, and lowering the risk of death from cancer including breast, colorectal, head and neck and lung cancers. </p> <p>See the full list <a href="https://health.usnews.com/best-diet/best-diets-overall" target="_blank" rel="noopener">here</a>. </p> <p><em>Image: Getty</em></p> <p> </p>

Body

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Mortgage and inflation pain to ease, but only slowly: how 31 top economists see 2024

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/peter-martin-682709">Peter Martin</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/crawford-school-of-public-policy-australian-national-university-3292">Crawford School of Public Policy, Australian National University</a></em></p> <p>A panel of 31 leading economists assembled by The Conversation sees no cut in interest rates before the middle of this year, and only a slight cut by December, enough to trim just $55 per month off the cost of servicing a $600,000 variable-rate mortgage.</p> <p>The <a href="https://theconversation.com/au/topics/conversation-economic-survey-81354">panel</a> draws on the expertise of leading forecasters at 28 Australian universities, think tanks and financial institutions – among them economic modellers, former Treasury, International Monetary Fund and Reserve Bank officials, and a former member of the Reserve Bank board.</p> <p>Its forecasts paint a picture of weak economic growth, stagnant consumer spending, and a continuing per-capita recession.</p> <p>The average forecast is for the Reserve Bank to delay cutting its cash rate, keeping it near its present 4.35% until at least the middle of the year, and then cutting it to <a href="https://cdn.theconversation.com/static_files/files/3028/The_Conversation_AU_February_2024_Economic_Survey.pdf">4.2%</a> by December 2024, 3.6% by December 2025 and 3.4% by December 2026.</p> <hr /> <p><iframe id="xV821" class="tc-infographic-datawrapper" style="border: none;" src="https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/xV821/4/" width="100%" height="400px" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <hr /> <p>The gentle descent would deliver only three interest rate cuts by the end of next year, cutting $274 from the monthly cost of servicing a $600,000 mortgage and leaving the cost around $1,100 higher than it was before rates began climbing.</p> <p>Six of the experts surveyed expect the Reserve Bank to increase rates further in the first half of the year, while 20 expect no change and three expect a cut.</p> <p>Former head of the NSW treasury Percy Allan said while the Reserve Bank would push up rates in the first half of the year to make sure inflation comes down, it would be forced to relent in the second half of the year as unemployment grows and the economy heads towards recession.</p> <p>Warwick McKibbin, a former member of the Reserve Bank board, said the board would push up rates once more in the first half of the year as insurance against inflation before leaving them on hold.</p> <p>Former Reserve Bank of Australia chief economist Luci Ellis, who is now chief economist at Westpac, expects the first cut no sooner than September, believing the board will wait to see clear evidence of further falls in inflation and economic weakening before it moves.</p> <hr /> <p><iframe id="ZQgno" class="tc-infographic-datawrapper" style="border: none;" src="https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/ZQgno/7/" width="100%" height="400px" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <hr /> <h2>Inflation to keep falling, but more gradually</h2> <p>Today’s <a href="https://www.rba.gov.au/">Reserve Bank board meeting</a> will consider an inflation rate that has come down <a href="https://theconversation.com/the-7-new-graphs-that-show-inflation-falling-back-to-earth-220670">faster than it expected</a>, diving from 7.8% to 4.1% in the space of a year.</p> <p>The newer more experimental monthly measure of inflation was just <a href="https://theconversation.com/the-7-new-graphs-that-show-inflation-falling-back-to-earth-220670">3.4%</a> in the year to December, only points away from the Reserve Bank’s target of 2–3%.</p> <p>But the panel expects the descent to slow from here on, with the standard measure taking the rest of the year to fall from 4.1% to 3.5% and not getting below 3% until <a href="https://cdn.theconversation.com/static_files/files/3027/The_Conversation_AU_2024_economic_survey.pdf">late 2025</a>.</p> <p>Economists Chris Richardson and Saul Eslake say while inflation will keep heading down, the decline might be slowed by supply chain pressures from the conflict in the Middle East and the boost to incomes from the <a href="https://theconversation.com/albanese-tax-plan-will-give-average-earner-1500-tax-cut-more-than-double-morrisons-stage-3-221875">tax cuts</a> due in July.</p> <hr /> <p><iframe id="buC9f" class="tc-infographic-datawrapper" style="border: none;" src="https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/buC9f/6/" width="100%" height="400px" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <hr /> <h2>Slower wage growth, higher unemployment</h2> <p>While the panel expects wages to grow faster than the consumer price index, it expects wages growth to slip from around <a href="https://www.abs.gov.au/statistics/economy/price-indexes-and-inflation/wage-price-index-australia/latest-release">4%</a> in 2023 to 3.8% in 2004 and 3.4% in 2025 as higher unemployment blunts workers’ bargaining power.</p> <p>But the panel doesn’t expect much of an increase in unemployment. It expects the unemployment rate to climb from its present <a href="https://www.datawrapper.de/_/w9h9f/">3.9%</a> (which is almost a long-term low) to 4.3% throughout 2024, and then to stay at about that level through 2025.</p> <p>All but two of the panel expect the unemployment rate to remain below the range of 5–6% that was typical in the decade before COVID.</p> <p>Economic modeller Janine Dixon said the “new normal” between 4% and 5% was likely to become permanent as workers embraced flexible arrangements that allow them to stay in jobs in a way they couldn’t before.</p> <p>Cassandra Winzar, chief economist at the Committee for the Economic Development of Australia, said the government’s commitment to full employment was one of the things likely to keep unemployment low, along with Australia’s demographic transition as older workers leave the workforce.</p> <hr /> <p><iframe id="pAioo" class="tc-infographic-datawrapper" style="border: none;" src="https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/pAioo/2/" width="100%" height="400px" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <hr /> <h2>Slower economic growth, per-capita recession</h2> <p>The panel expects very low economic growth of just 1.7% in 2024, climbing to 2.3% in 2025. Both are well below the 2.75% the treasury believes the economy is <a href="https://treasury.gov.au/speech/the-economic-and-fiscal-context-and-the-role-of-longitudinal-data-in-policy-advice">capable of</a>.</p> <p>All but one of the forecasts are for economic growth below the present population growth rate of 2.4%, suggesting that the panel expects population growth to exceed economic growth for the second year running, extending Australia’s so-called <a href="https://theconversation.com/were-in-a-per-capita-recession-as-chalmers-says-gdp-steady-in-the-face-of-pressure-212642">per capita recession</a>.</p> <hr /> <p><iframe id="TO8bP" class="tc-infographic-datawrapper" style="border: none;" src="https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/TO8bP/4/" width="100%" height="400px" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <hr /> <p>The lacklustre forecasts raise the possibility of what is commonly defined as a “technical recession”, which is two consecutive quarters of negative economic somewhere within a year of mediocre growth.</p> <p>Taken together, the forecasters assign a 20% probability to such a recession in the next two years, which is lower than in <a href="https://theconversation.com/two-more-rba-rate-hikes-tumbling-inflation-and-a-high-chance-of-recession-how-our-forecasting-panel-sees-2023-24-208477">previous surveys</a>.</p> <p>But some of the individual estimates are high. Percy Allen and Stephen Anthony assign a 75% and 70% chance to such a recession, and Warren Hogan a 50% chance.</p> <p>Hogan said when the economic growth figures for the present quarter get released, they are likely to show Australia is in such a recession at the moment.</p> <p>The economy barely grew at all in the September quarter, expanding just <a href="https://www.abs.gov.au/statistics/economy/national-accounts/australian-national-accounts-national-income-expenditure-and-product/latest-release">0.2%</a> and was likely to have shrunk in the December quarter and to shrink further in this quarter.</p> <p>The panel expects the US economy to grow by 2.1% in the year ahead in line with the <a href="https://www.imf.org/en/Publications/WEO/Issues/2024/01/30/world-economic-outlook-update-january-2024">International Monetary Fund</a> forecast, and China’s economy to grow 5.4%, which is lower than the International Monetary Fund’s forecast.</p> <h2>Weaker spending, weak investment</h2> <p>The panel expects weak real household spending growth of just 1.2% in 2014, supported by an ultra-low household saving ratio of close to zero, down from a recent peak of 19% in September 2021.</p> <p>Mala Raghavan of The University of Tasmania said previous gains in income, rising asset prices and accumulated savings were being overwhelmed by high inflation and rising interest rates.</p> <p>Luci Ellis expected the squeeze to continue until tax and interest rate cuts in the second half of the year, accompanied by declining inflation.</p> <p>The panel expects non-mining investment to grow by only 5.1% in the year ahead, down from 15%, and mining investment to grow by 10.2%, down from 22%.</p> <p>Johnathan McMenamin from Barrenjoey said private and public investment had been responsible for the lion’s share of economic growth over the past year and was set to plateau and fade as a driver of growth.</p> <h2>Home prices to climb, but more slowly</h2> <p>The panel expects home price growth of 4.6% in Sydney during 2024 (down from 11.4% in 2024) and 3.1% in Melbourne, down from 3.9% in 2024.</p> <p>ANZ economist Adam Boyton said decade-low building approvals and very strong population growth should keep demand for housing high, outweighing a drag on prices from high interest rates. While high interest rates have been restraining demand, they are likely to ease later in the year.</p> <hr /> <p><iframe id="syk8x" class="tc-infographic-datawrapper" style="border: none;" src="https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/syk8x/6/" width="100%" height="400px" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <hr /> <p>In other forecasts, the panel expects the Australian dollar to stay below US$0.70, closing the year at US$0.69, it expects the ASX 200 share market index to climb just 3% in 2024 after climbing 7.8% in 2023, and it expects a small budget surplus of A$3.8 billion in 2023-24, followed by a deficit of A$13 billion in 2024-25.</p> <p>The budget surplus should be supported by a forecast iron ore price of US$114 per tonne in December 2024, down from the present US$130, but well up on the <a href="https://budget.gov.au/content/myefo/index.htm">US$105</a> assumed in the government’s December budget update.</p> <p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/peter-martin-682709"><em>Peter Martin</em></a><em>, Visiting Fellow, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/crawford-school-of-public-policy-australian-national-university-3292">Crawford School of Public Policy, Australian National University</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images </em></p> <p><em>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/mortgage-and-inflation-pain-to-ease-but-only-slowly-how-31-top-economists-see-2024-218927">original article</a>.</em></p>

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How to maintain a healthy gut microbiome in 2024

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/rosie-young-1491751">Rosie Young</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/quadram-institute-5557">Quadram Institute</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/mariam-gamal-el-din-1492103">Mariam Gamal El-Din</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/quadram-institute-5557">Quadram Institute</a>, and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/yang-yue-1391869">Yang Yue</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/quadram-institute-5557">Quadram Institute</a></em></p> <p>We all know by now that the pillars of a healthy lifestyle are regular exercise, eating enough fruit and vegetables, a good night’s sleep and staying hydrated. All of these things also support the gut microbiome – all the microbes that live in your digestive system – but there are some extras to consider if you want to optimise your gut health.</p> <p>It’s widely accepted among those of us who study the gut microbiome that a healthy gut is one that contains a <a href="https://theconversation.com/diverse-gut-microbiomes-give-better-protection-against-harmful-bugs-now-we-know-why-219734">diverse range of microbes</a> and has an effective gut barrier (the lining between your intestine and bloodstream).</p> <p>Let’s look at diet first. It probably has the biggest influence on your gut health. Diets high in fibre, unsaturated fatty acids (found in fish and nuts), and polyphenols (chemicals found in plants) will <a href="https://www.annualreviews.org/doi/full/10.1146/annurev-physiol-031522-092054">promote a healthy gut</a>, while those high in saturated fats, additives (such as “E numbers”) and sugar can harm gut health. So avoid consuming a lot of ultra-processed foods.</p> <p>Emulsifiers, a common additive in ultra-processed foods, have been found to cause <a href="https://www.mdpi.com/2072-6643/14/15/3049">intestinal inflammation and a leaky gut</a>. The most common ones to look out for on packaging are lecithin, polysorbates (such as E433) and carrageenan.</p> <p>These additives are also common in protein supplements, whose popularity has steadily been increasing since the <a href="https://theconversation.com/decades-of-hype-turned-protein-into-a-superfood-and-spawned-a-multibillion-dollar-industry-163711#:%7E:text=Global%20retail%20sales%20of%20protein,around%20half%20of%20the%20market.">early 2000s</a>, especially among gym goers looking to bulk up.</p> <h2>Prebiotics and probiotics</h2> <p>It would be unreasonable and unrealistic to tell you to avoid foods with additives, but trying to limit consumption, while increasing your consumption of prebiotic and probiotic foods, could help protect your gut.</p> <p>Dietary fibre is a good example of a prebiotic, which is defined as a non-digestible food ingredient that can stimulate the growth of good bacteria <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41575-020-00375-4">in the colon</a>. As the main food source of your gut microbes, it is important to consume enough if you want your microbiome to flourish. Government guidelines suggest around 30g of fibre a day for adults and 15-25g for children.</p> <p>Most prebiotics come from plant foods, so getting a high diversity of plant products in your diet will keep your gut healthy. The latest recommendation is to include 30 plant species in your <a href="https://journals.asm.org/doi/10.1128/msystems.00031-18">diet per week</a>. This may sound hard to achieve but bear in mind that both good-quality coffee and dark chocolate count.</p> <p>Probiotics, the live bacteria and yeasts themselves, can be easily consumed through fermented food products, drinks or supplements. Choosing a high-quality probiotic is important. While there is an increasing amount on the market in supplement, powder and tablet form, they can be expensive. Fermented foods can be just as effective, but a whole lot cheaper.</p> <p>Yoghurts, cheese, sauerkraut, kimchi and fermented soy products, such as tempeh and miso, are examples of fermented foods that not only support the healthy balance of your gut bacteria but provide a good source of fibres, vitamins and <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5425481/">other nutrients</a>.</p> <p>To get the most benefit from these products, look for those in the fridge section labelled as containing “live cultures” or “live bacteria”, with minimal ingredients and no heating or pasteurisation processing.</p> <p>Aside from what you eat, how often you eat could also affect your gut health. Fasting can allow repair of the gut lining and <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0966842X23000574?via%3Dihub#s0085">reduce inflammation</a>.</p> <h2>Medication and the microbiome</h2> <p>Medications can directly and indirectly affect our gut health. You may have heard that antibiotics are bad for your gut microbiome, especially those which are “broad spectrum” and will kill off not only harmful bacteria but beneficial ones too. This can be associated with <a href="https://www.mdpi.com/1422-0067/24/4/3074">gastrointestinal problems and decreased immunity</a>, especially after prolonged use.</p> <p>Of course, doctors do not prescribe antibiotics lightly, so it is important to take them as instructed. If you are concerned, discuss the potential effects on your gut health with your GP.</p> <p>Although you may not have much say over which medications you take, there are a few strategies to support your gut during and after medication.</p> <p>Staying healthy by prioritising good sleep and managing stress levels is also important, but increasing your intake of both <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-023-40553-x">prebiotics</a> and <a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/20499361231154443">probiotics</a> at this time may <a href="https://www.mdpi.com/1422-0067/24/4/3074">lessen the blow</a> of medication on your microbiome.</p> <p>It is always recommended you check with your doctor before introducing a probiotic supplement in the rare case that it may not be suitable alongside the treatment.</p> <p>Microbiome research is continuously shedding new light on the intricate connections between the microbes that live in our gut and our wellbeing. So watch this space. In the meantime, follow the above advice – it will help you maintain a healthy gut microbiome in 2024 and beyond.</p> <p><em>Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that guar and xantham gum are emulsifiers.</em><!-- 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;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/218744/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 href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/rosie-young-1491751">Rosie Young</a>, PhD Candidate, Gut Microbes in Health and Disease, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/quadram-institute-5557">Quadram Institute</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/mariam-gamal-el-din-1492103">Mariam Gamal El-Din</a>, Visiting Postdoctoral Scientist, Food Microbiome Interactions, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/quadram-institute-5557">Quadram Institute</a>, and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/yang-yue-1391869">Yang Yue</a>, PhD Candidate in Plants, Food and Health, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/quadram-institute-5557">Quadram Institute</a></em></p> <p><em>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/how-to-maintain-a-healthy-gut-microbiome-in-2024-218744">original article</a>.</em></p>

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14 best places to travel in 2024

<p>If you’ve been to an airport recently, what we’re about to tell you will come as no surprise: Travel is back in a BIG way. Travellers are hitting the skies – and the rails, roads and seas – in record numbers, looking for the best places to travel.</p> <p>So what does that mean for 2024? “We’re looking at a wave of excitement over travelling with family and friends,” according to Heather Heverling, managing director of Audley Travel. “One thing we’re seeing a lot of is ‘skip-gen’ travel,” when grandparents take their grandkids on holidays but leave the parents at home. (We say: Those are some lucky kids!)</p> <p>And while domestic travel will certainly be popular, people are also looking to expand their horizons. Interest in Japan is booming, says Heverling. And there’s a desire to leave the crowds behind and find hidden gems in spots like France, where many people will be headed to watch the Olympics this summer.</p> <p>We know – there are so many amazing places to go and cool things to see, and it’s hard to narrow things down! To help you pick the perfect spot, we’ve rounded up some of the best places to visit in 2024, whether you’re looking for quick trips, beach getaways, cheap places to travel, city experiences or far-flung adventures. Read on to get a whole year’s worth of inspiration!</p> <p><strong>South Island, New Zealand</strong></p> <p>Wondering which hot spot to visit first? Our pick for 2024 is South Island, New Zealand. Christchurch is considered the base camp for South Island explorations. During the day, kayak in the emerald waters of Abel Tasman National Park, bike or hike to gorgeous hot springs, or sample New Zealand’s best pours at spots like Tussock Hill Vineyards (where you can also spend the night in new luxury suites nestled in the vineyard). When the sun goes down, it will be time for spectacular stargazing at Aoraki Mackenzie International Dark Sky Reserve, which recently became the first Dark Sky Reserve in New Zealand.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>Where to stay:</em></span> Find a hotel that puts you right in the heart of Christchurch and within walking distance of restaurants, shops and the Botanical Gardens.</p> <p><strong>Paris, France</strong></p> <p>Everyone is talking about visiting France this year, and for good reason. Paris will be hosting the Summer Olympics, with events held throughout the City of Lights and the surrounding area – including boating and swimming events on the Seine River and dressage events at Versailles. (According to France’s tourism office, 95 per cent of the Olympic and Paralympic events will be held in existing locations for a more sustainable world event.) The city is in full-throttle preparation mode, with new hotels opening, art exhibits launching and plenty of projects underway to make Paris shine even brighter than usual.</p> <p>And that’s not all France has going on. June 6, 2024, is the 80th anniversary of D-Day, when Allied forces stormed the beaches of Normandy. To get the most context out of a visit, it helps to go with a guide who can take you through the area and bring the past to life through storytelling and interactive exhibits.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>Where to stay:</em></span> If possible, base yourself in the ever-popular Left Bank neighbourhood in the 6tharrondissement of the city, where you’ll be able to enjoy views right across the river of the stunning Notre Dame Cathedral, which is set to reopen in late 2024 after its devastating 2019 fire. Like we said, it’s a big year!</p> <p><strong>Cambodia</strong> </p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>Why you should go:</em></span> More ways to explore and two new airports to reach the country</p> <p>Cambodia is a bucket-list destination for many travellers. “With the addition of luxury lodges and resorts, travellers can now enjoy a true luxury immersion in Cambodia – blending ancient ruins and culture, cuisine and handicrafts, rainforest and jungle, and ending with a sublime beach stay,” says Brady Binstadt, CEO of GeoEx, an adventure-travel company. In the little-visited Cardamom Forest Protected Area, options for hiking, mountain biking, boating and bird-watching abound, says Binstadt, who also recommends boating through lush forest to Tatai village, where visitors can walk by the river, kayak through mangroves and listen to the symphonic sounds of wildlife from a floating lodge.</p> <p>You’ll also want to visit Angkor Wat, famed for its glorious temples. Happily, reaching Angkor Wat just became a lot easier with the brand-new, $1 billion Siem Reap-Angkor International Airport, which is just a short drive from the UNESCO Heritage Site temple complex. Later in 2024, the capital of Cambodia, Phnom Penh, will also unveil a new $1.5 billion airport, providing even more ways to reach the country.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>Where to stay:</em></span> Shinta Mani Wild in the Cardamom Mountains is a luxury jungle retreat about three hours from Phnom Penh; it boasts its own zip line over the waterfalls and river where the remote lodge is located. Another unique option is Six Senses Krabey Island off the southern coast, where 40 glass-front villas are tucked into the dense foliage of this romantic resort. Indulge in a treatment at the luxe spa after exploring the nearby Kbal Chhay waterfalls and the waterways of Ream National Park.</p> <p><strong>Los Angeles, California </strong></p> <p>Yes, we know, you hear “LA” and think beach and sand. But for 2024, replace that with cool art and culture, since Los Angeles will be hosting two awesome openings. When it opens in February, Destination Crenshaw will be the largest Black art program in the US, with a two-kilometre stretch of Crenshaw Boulevard in South LA, containing 100 commissioned works by Black artists displayed within beautifully landscaped community spaces.</p> <p>And September will see the launch of Getty’s colossal PST ART: Art &amp; Science Collide. The latest edition of the initiative (previously known as Pacific Standard Time) will include more than 50 exhibitions across the Los Angeles area, including iconic spots like the Griffith Observatory, the LA County Museum of Art (LACMA) and the Getty Center. The exhibits aren’t just paintings and sculptures. They are intersections of art, science and the natural world – including “Color in Motion: Chromatic Explorations of Cinema” at the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures; “From Fire We Are Born,” which explores Native American culture at the Fowler Museum at UCLA; and “Seeing the Unseeable: Data, Design, Art” at the ArtCenter College of Design.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>Where to stay:</em></span> No matter which room or suite you book at the InterContinental Los Angeles, you’ll be greeted with what feels like a never-ending view. You’ll see everything from the Pacific Ocean to the Hollywood sign and downtown skyscrapers. And not only is it the tallest building west of Chicago, but the location puts you right in the middle of all the arts action.</p> <p><strong>Okavango Delta, Botswana </strong></p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>Why you should go:</em></span> Sustainable new safari camps deep in the Delta.</p> <p>Always dreamed of going on safari? Botswana should be at the top of your 2024 travel list. A decade after being designated the 1000th site on UNESCO’s World Heritage List, Botswana’s watery Okavango Delta remains a captivating marvel of nature that differentiates it from other safari destinations. The intricate network of waterways, lush greenery and diverse ecosystems presents amazing opportunities to observe animals like elephants, impala, kudu, zebra and more from a mokoro, or dugout boat, as you float silently through the area.</p> <p>For an intimate stay in the wilderness areas, try the new tented camps. If that’s not your thing, there are also fancy, all-inclusive hotels that wrap game drives into their included offerings.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>Where to stay:</em></span> First, there’s the Natural Selection’s Tawana Camp, which is set to open in May 2024 in the Moremi Game Reserve. It will combine modern luxury (think: multi-bedroom, free-standing suites with private pools) with intimate safari experiences. Bonus: This corner of Botswana is known for its high population of lions and leopards.</p> <p>Atzaro Okavango from African Bush Camps opens in March 2024, offering sustainable luxury in the heart of the Delta. This eco-friendly property is made from recycled materials and powered entirely by solar energy. Guests stay in air-conditioned suites with their own plunge pools and will be treated to year-round sightings of elephants, buffalo, lions, leopards, giraffes, hippos and other African wildlife.</p> <p><strong>Turks and Caicos </strong></p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>Why you should go:</em></span> Because kiteboarding will be the thing to do in 2024 – and Turks and Caicos is also heaven on earth.</p> <p>We’re calling it: When kiteboarding makes its official Olympic debut in 2024, the sport will surge in popularity. But don’t go to Paris to do it. Instead, head to Turks and Caicos, a fabulous warm-weather winter getaway that offers some of the best kiteboarding conditions in the world. “The island’s consistent trade winds, shallow warm waters and large areas of flat, uncrowded riding make it an ideal destination for this thrilling water sport,” says Vasco Borges, the owner of Beach Enclave Turks and Caicos and a passionate kiteboarder.</p> <p>Swimming and snorkelling are popular activities on the island as well, and avid divers love the mammoth undersea coral wall off Grand Turk. Plus, Turks and Caicos is home to some of the most gorgeous beaches in the world. In other words, it’s always one of the best places to travel!</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>Where to stay:</em></span> New for 2024, Beach Enclave will offer new beach houses with privacy, tranquility and an oceanfront private pool on the North Shore. The Grace Bay location of the multi-location resort is introducing contemporary villas with a blend of indoor and outdoor living, called the Reserve at Grace Bay. And finally, at the resort’s Long Bay location, which is known as a kiteboarder’s haven, you’ll find new beach houses along the pristine white-sand beachfront, ideal for families and water-sports enthusiasts.</p> <p><strong>Belize</strong></p> <p>Have you heard of the Great Barrier Reef? We thought so. How about Belize’s Barrier Reef? Not so much, right? We’re here to tell you that in 2024, it’s time to put this natural wonder on your must-visit list. The world’s second-largest barrier reef (behind Australia’s), it is actually the biggest reef in both the northern and western hemispheres. The snorkelling here is magnificent, and so is the diving – plus, it’s not as crowded as the better-known Australian alternative.</p> <p>If you’re looking for the perfect home base while visiting, consider Belize’s largest island, Ambergris Caye. The Belize Barrier Reef is just a 400-metres offshore, and you’ll definitely want to check out the protected Hol Chan Marine Reserve, which is just a 10-minute boat ride from the main town of San Pedro. When you’re not snorkelling or swimming, spend your days popping into Belizean art galleries and souvenir shops or just lounging on the white sand.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>Where to stay:</em></span> Try the Alaia Belize, an Autograph Collection hotel in the island’s historic town of San Pedro. This beachfront hotel is just 600 metres from the Belize Barrier Reef Reserve and has stunning views of the Caribbean Sea. Plus, it has an on-site dive shop and three pools, including Belize’s first-ever suspended rooftop pool and a lounge with 360-degree views.</p> <p><strong>Paros, Greece</strong></p> <p>Have you heard of destination dupes? According to Expedia, these are “places that are a little unexpected, sometimes more affordable and every bit as delightful as the tried-and-true destinations travellers love.” One of our favourites on Expedia’s list is this stunning Greek island that usually sails under the most travellers’ Mediterranean radars in uncrowded bliss while the hordes of tourists head to Mykonos and Santorini.</p> <p>Visiting the island, which is about a two-hour ferry ride south of well-known party island Mykonos and right next to Naxos, is one of the best things to do in Greece, since it means enjoying idyllic beaches framed by the azure waters of the Aegean Sea. While you’re here, explore the winding streets and charming villages of Naoussa and Lefkes, and sip whipped coffee frappes or ouzo at the picturesque port of Parikia (the island’s capital), home to whitewashed houses adorned with vibrant bougainvillea.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>Where to stay:</em></span> You can’t go wrong at the newly opened Minois hotel, where the whitewashed walls hold luxurious touches, such as decadent dining at Olvo and pampering spa treatments. But the best part may be simply floating in the infinity pool with views of the sea spread out in front of you.</p> <p><strong>Kyoto, Japan</strong></p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>Why you should go:</em></span> An array of new luxury hotels and the opening of the first Nintendo Museum.</p> <p>“One thing we can say for sure is that interest in visiting Japan is not slowing down,” says Audley Travel’s Heverling. Japan finally welcomed visitors back in 2023, and the numbers are soaring. And for 2024, we’re seeing cool new openings and numerous developments that will make your trip even easier. Kyoto, especially, will be the city to watch in the new year, when the world’s first Nintendo Museum opens in spring 2024 in the former Nintendo Uji Kokura factory site in Kyoto. This will be a big draw for pop-culture lovers and gamers.</p> <p>Even if you don’t know a controller from a cruller, though, Kyoto will enthral you with ancient temples and beautiful architecture that make it look like a real-life fairy-tale town. Plus, there are four amazing new hotels opening in Kyoto in 2024, where you can happily rest, relax and enjoy.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>Where to stay:</em></span> Luxury brand Banyan Tree Higashiyama Kyoto will feature a private onsen bath; elegant Six Senses Kyoto will have a spa and zen-like rooms situated around seasonal gardens; and the 313-room Hilton Kyoto will be the brand’s first flagship hotel in Kyoto. Finally, the new Regent Kyoto (an IHG property) is opening a resort-like property in a hundred-year-old garden complex that’s also home to a Michelin-starred restaurant.</p> <p><strong>Northern Territories, Canada </strong></p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>Why you should go:</em></span> An almost-guaranteed opportunity to see the northern lights during the “solar max”.</p> <p>There are two truths about seeing the northern lights: They’re beautiful, and they’re elusive. Unlike the solar eclipse, there’s no date or time that you’re guaranteed to see the night-time spectacular. You do need, however, to go north… in winter… and then wait. That’s why we’re so excited about the news from the Northern Territories of Canada, where a “solar max” cycle is going to make it possible to see the aurora borealis with new ease. According to the Canada Tourism Board, in the Northwest Territories, “travellers have a 98 per cent chance of witnessing the spectacle” during a three-night stay November through March, when longer hours of darkness each day and clear nights make it easier to spot the lights.</p> <p>The jewelled green, purple and gold lights can be seen due to the perfect combination of clear nights, flat landscape, low humidity and the location beneath the earth’s auroral oval. Even better, 2024 is the peak of the 11-year solar cycle, which means the light show will be even more dramatic than usual.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>Where to stay: </em></span>The main gateway to the area is Yellowknife, the location of Aurora Village, an entirely Indigenous-owned experience that leads guided night-time tours and where you can go dog sledding and snowshoeing. You can also spend the evening in a cosy teepee, complete with a wood stove, which makes it easy to pop out and see the aurora borealis when it lights up the sky.</p> <p><strong>Mexico City</strong></p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>Why you should go:</em></span> Tour tourism for live-music lovers – and Madonna fans!</p> <p>Expedia predicts that “tour tourism,” following a favourite artist on their headlining tour, will thrive in 2024. “In 2023, the cultural impact of the Eras and Renaissance tours was undeniable, driving ticket sales but also travel and tourism,” according to Expedia Brands travel expert Melanie Fish. Perhaps driven by ticket prices, 30 per cent of travellers told Expedia they would travel outside of their home city for a concert because tickets were cheaper elsewhere, with Mexico City coming out near the top of that list. We’re totally in on the trend, especially since Madonna will play four dates the Palacio de los Desportes in 2024, making Mexico City a live-music hot spot for the coming year.</p> <p>And as an extra bonus, Mexico City is an affordable warm-weather destination, not to mention a hub for art, culture and cuisine. Translation: There’s plenty to do and see when you’re not rocking out. Check out the Colonia Roma neighbourhood, called CDMX – often referred to as “the Williamsburg of Mexico City” for its hipster vibe and cool architecture, art galleries and restaurants.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>Where to stay:</em></span> The new boutique hotel Colima 71 features hundreds of authentic Mexican art pieces, a craft coffee bar with an on-site barista and plenty of communal spaces perfect for mingling with fellow travellers. Located in the heart of artsy CDMX, it’s also a super convenient and central location.</p> <p><strong>Washington, D.C.</strong></p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>Why you should go:</em></span> To watch democracy at work during an election year… and visit some cool museums, too.</p> <p>Following a record year of tourism to the US capital, 2024 will likely see visits continue to rise, thanks to the upcoming presidential election in November. But even if you’re not a pollster, there are plenty of other attractions in the nation’s capital that make it one of the best places to travel year-round. First, travellers will be happy to hear that it’s easier to get into the heart of the city now that the Metro added service to Dulles International Airport with direct service on the Silver Line of the underground train system – and it’s never more than $6!</p> <p>While you’re in town, check out the newly renovated and reopened National Museum of Women in the Arts, which spotlights women artists from the 17th century to the present. And in 2024, the Smithsonian’s contemporary art museum, the Hirshhorn, will be celebrating its 50th anniversary with a collection of new exhibits. Also, remember: Nearly all D.C. museums are free, so the sightseeing part of your trip will be super affordable.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>Where to stay:</em></span> Book a room at The Dupont Circle, a hotel that successfully walks the line between feeling luxurious and homey. It’s steps away from dozens of art galleries and museums, and it boasts an impressive art collection of its own. Don’t miss brunch and dinner at the delicious new American on-site Pembroke restaurant.</p> <p><strong>The Pekoe Trail, Sri Lanka</strong> </p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>Why you should go:</em></span> To check out amazing new hiking trails and old cultures.</p> <p>The newly opened Pekoe Trail in Sri Lanka is a fantastic way to explore the country’s varied landscapes. Ten years in the making, the Pekoe Trail is the first collection of destination-based walking trails that aims to support remote communities, promote cultural heritage and showcase Sri Lankan scenery. Most of the trails opened in the fall of 2023, with a few more opening at the beginning of 2024.</p> <p>The 300-kilometre route starts in the central city of Kandy, famous for the Temple of the Tooth, and meanders through to stunning mountain views of Ella. Audley Travel, says Heverling, can arrange treks to the most scenic parts of the Sri Lanka trail. Hikers will walk on the region’s famed tea trails, as well as through forests, jungle and remote towns and villages.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>Where to stay:</em></span> The experts at Audley recommend Mountain Heavens for its fantastic infinity pool that will make you feel like you’re literally floating over the valley. Big, comfy beds and modern amenities, not to mention a delicious included breakfast, all add up to a very luxurious end to a hike.</p> <p><strong>Ras Al Khaimah, United Arab Emirates </strong></p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>Why you should go:</em></span> Seaside vibes in Dubai’s under-the-radar neighbour to the north.</p> <p>Dubai is always popular, and always full of flashy new attractions and frenetic energy. But if you want an Emirates vacation that’s a little more relaxing, head 40 minutes north of the city to this under-the-radar gem. Well, under the radar until 2024, that is, when the luxury Anantara Mina Al Arab Ras Al Khaimah Resort opens and more people realise that it’s one of the best places to travel. It’s set amid the area’s stunning mountains and mangroves in the seaside neighbourhood of Mina Al Arab, which is quickly becoming a trendy destination, with new openings and plenty of sunshine.</p> <p>Ras Al Khaimah is a great spot for outdoorsy types, who can snorkel or swim in the crystal-clear turquoise waters, then head off for a quad biking adventure in the desert or soar over the desert on the world’s longest zipline. And speaking of world records: If you get a chance to spend New Year’s Eve here, don’t miss it. The Emirate holds multiple Guinness World Records for its spectacular fireworks performances held during its New Year’s celebrations.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>Where to stay: </em></span>The Anantara Resort here is more than just a getaway from the bustling city. It also boasts Bali-style overwater bungalows for an over-the-top romantic getaway.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images </em></p> <p><em>This article originally appeared on <a href="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/flightstravel-hints-tips/14-best-places-to-travel-in-2024?pages=1" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Reader's Digest</a>. </em></p>

International Travel

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Nostradamus’ 2024 predictions revealed

<p>Nostradamus, a 16th-century French astrologer known as “the prophet of doom,” has a warning about the potential upcoming events of 2024. </p> <p>The astrologer's visions and predictions in the past have credited with foreseeing the rise of Adolf Hitler, the assassination of John F. Kennedy, the September 11 attacks and Covid, to name a few. </p> <p>Now, according to his 1555 text Les Propheties (The Prophecies), 2024 is set to bring continued global strife, including war on the seas, royal turmoil and humanitarian disaster.</p> <p>One of the passages in the text mentions that a “King of the Isles” will be “driven out by force”, with many taking this to mean King Charles III will be ousted from the throne. </p> <p>A following passage reads “soon afterwards [a disastrous war] a new King shall be anointed / Who, for a long time, will appease the earth,” with British author and Nostradamus commentator Mario Reading deciphering this to mean Prince Harry will become King. </p> <p>According to the <em>Daily Mail</em>, Reading analysed that King Charles III would be abdicating due to “persistent attacks on both himself and his second wife,” and Harry would replace him instead of William because he — the “Spare” heir — has “no mark of a king.”</p> <p>Nostradamus predicted “combat and naval battle” and said that a “red adversary will become pale with fear, putting the great ocean in dread”.</p> <p>Many have guessed the "red adversary" is in reference to China, with suggestions the global superpower could wage war on the rest of the world, given the growing tensions between China and Taiwan. </p> <p>For many years, climate change has been a topic at the front of people's mind, with Nostradamus predicting global warming will get worse over the next 12 months. </p> <p>“The dry earth will grow more parched, and there will be great floods when it is seen,” he wrote.</p> <p>He also predicted extreme weather events and world hunger, writing about a “Very great famine through pestiferous wave”.</p> <p>While some of Nostradamus’ doomsday predictions seem bleak, fear not, for his most terrifying 2023 predictions have yet to come true with just a few weeks left before the new year. </p> <p>This year, Nostradamus predicted the coming of the antichrist as well as a full-blown World War III.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images </em></p>

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Scott Cam to host new show as Nine reveals 2024 line-up

<p>Nine has unveiled its lineup of TV programs for the remainder of 2023 and on into 2024 at its annual Upfronts event – with several standouts sure to grab viewers' attention.</p> <p>While confirming new seasons for popular shows like <em>The Block</em>, <em>LEGO Masters</em> and <em>Travel Guides,</em> that news served as the backdrop for one of the world's most significant sporting events: the 2024 Olympic Games.</p> <p>Nine boasts exclusive broadcasting rights for both the Olympics and Paralympics, and in 2024, Australia will say "bonjour" to Paris as Wide World of Sports brings the most innovative and captivating Olympics experience to the country. The festivities will commence with the Opening Ceremony on July 26, followed by the Paralympics on August 28.</p> <p>Nine's extensive coverage will encompass 32 sports and 329 events, featuring Australia's most respected athletic talents as commentators and experts.</p> <p>In addition to the exciting 2024 programming, there's a wealth of captivating entertainment still in store for the remainder of this year. Upcoming highlights include <em>My Mum Your Dad</em> and <em>Gordon Ramsay's Food Stars</em>, as well as festive Christmas specials and thrilling new dramas to close out the year.</p> <p>Here's a sneak peek at what to expect:</p> <p><strong>Still to come in 2023:</strong></p> <p><em><strong>Gordon Ramsay's Food Stars:</strong></em> A brand-new series where Aussies aspiring to turn their culinary dreams into reality will compete for a chance to secure mentorship and a $250,000 investment from Gordon Ramsay and Australian business mogul Janine Allis. Contestants will pitch their innovative food and drink ideas to win a spot on the show and battle through high-pressure challenges to prove their business acumen.</p> <p><em><strong>My Mum Your Dad:</strong></em> In Season 2, Kate Langbroek assists a new group of single parents in their quest for love. This time, the adult children take charge of their parents' dating lives with their blessings, leading to cringeworthy and amusing dating moments. Romance, drama, and truth bombs ensue as the parents and offspring navigate the path to the ultimate test – the Blessing Ceremony.</p> <p><em><strong>Love Island Australia:</strong></em> Hosted by Sophie Monk, Season 5 returns to Mallorca with new singles looking for love. Islanders must form and maintain couples to secure their place in the Villa, even when new contestants arrive to stir up trouble. Risky challenges, date nights, and plenty of drama promise an unforgettable season.</p> <p><em><strong>Australia's Most Identical:</strong></em> This two-part special features 100 sets of twins competing in tests and challenges to determine the nation's most identical pair. Hosted by <em>The Block's </em>Scott Cam and Dr. Jana Pittman, the show delves into the nature versus nurture debate with the help of twin experts and challenges set by Dr. Xand and Dr. Chris van Tulleken.</p> <p><em><strong>The Hundred with Andy Lee: Christmas:</strong></em> Returning in December, this show features Andy Lee and 100 everyday Aussies sharing their thoughts on the festive season. Panellists include Sophie Monk, Rhys Nicholson, Kate Langbroek, and a special seasonal guest.</p> <p><em><strong>Australian Crime Stories: The Investigators:</strong></em> A new series, narrated by the investigators themselves, focuses on one case per episode. It provides unprecedented insights into the investigations, including interviews with detectives, families, journalists, and authors who have closely followed these cases.</p> <p><em><strong>Million Dollar Murders:</strong></em> Hosted by retired Detective Superintendent Deborah Wallace, this series explores unsolved murders in Australia, offering a one-million-dollar reward for information leading to a conviction. Wallace interviews detectives, witnesses, and family members to shed light on these chilling mysteries.</p> <p><em><strong>Christmas with Delta:</strong></em> Delta Goodrem returns to host a festive night of musical magic featuring Australian and international entertainment stars.</p> <p><strong>New in 2024:</strong></p> <p><em><strong>Tracy Grimshaw's Return:</strong></em> Tracy Grimshaw returns to Channel 9 in 2024, with details about her new project yet to be revealed.</p> <p><em><strong>Tipping Point Australia: </strong></em>Hosted by Aussie sporting legend Todd Woodbridge, this Australian version of the popular international quiz show invites contestants to answer general knowledge questions to win counters, which they can use on a coin pusher arcade-style machine. With mystery prizes and a jaw-dropping jackpot at stake, it's a test of wits and luck.</p> <p><em><strong>Human Error:</strong></em> Inspired by real events, this drama series follows Detective Holly O'Rourke and her homicide team as they investigate a murder case that threatens to jeopardize her career, family, and faith in justice. As they dig deeper, they uncover a criminal conspiracy that will change their lives forever.</p> <p><em><strong>Blood On The Tracks - The Platform Killer:</strong></em> Detective Kate Fletcher investigates a suspicious train commuter's death, uncovering links to other 'accidental' deaths on the rail network. Pressure mounts as she tries to solve the case while potentially becoming the killer's target herself.</p> <p><em><strong>Do You Want To Live Forever?</strong></em>: Dr. Nick Coatsworth guides six Aussies on a journey to explore the possibilities of reversing aging, ending disease, and extending human lifespans. The series delves into scientific breakthroughs and examines the secrets of living younger longer.</p> <p><em><strong>Beyond The Dream:</strong></em> This documentary series captures the untold stories behind some of the greatest Olympic and Paralympic moments, offering unprecedented access to the athletes' journeys and achievements.</p> <p><em><strong>Jeopardy! Australia:</strong></em> Australia gets its own version of the iconic quiz show, hosted by Stephen Fry. Contestants must respond in the form of a question to accumulate cash prizes, making it a test of general knowledge and quick thinking.</p> <p><em><strong>The Garden Hustle:</strong></em> Hosted by Lisa McCune and garden landscaper Dave Franklin, this gardening makeover program showcases everyday homeowners and renters as they transform their outdoor spaces into garden oases. The series offers practical gardening tips and heartwarming stories.</p> <p><em><strong>Listing Melbourne: </strong></em>Six elite real estate agents navigate Melbourne's property market while balancing their personal lives. The show provides a glimpse into the glamorous real estate market in Melbourne.</p> <p><em><strong>Budget Battlers:</strong></em> Norm and Jess from "The Block" take on incredible renovations for unsung heroes, demonstrating how viewers can renovate their homes on a budget.</p> <p>Nine's upcoming lineup promises a diverse range of entertainment, from thrilling dramas and heartwarming documentaries to exciting game shows and captivating reality programs. Viewers can look forward to a year filled with engaging and memorable television experiences.</p> <p><em>Images: Getty / Nine</em></p>

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