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“Great initiative”: Airline's world first move to make female travellers safer

<p>A popular airline has introduced a new measure to help female travellers feel safer on their journey. </p> <p>IndiGo will make the change in August, giving female travellers the option to choose not to sit next to a man on their flight. </p> <p>Prior to booking, women will be able to check the gender of the flyer sitting next to them and select if they don't want a male seat mate. </p> <p>However, this change will not apply to men, as male travellers will not be shown the gender of their seat mate when making a booking and instead will only be able to view available seats.</p> <p>The low-cost carrier is a codeshare partner of Qantas, and Australian passengers travel on-board its planes for destinations such as India, as well as within the country. </p> <p>The idea for the change came from an IndiGo survey where the airline asked females what would make travel more comfortable, and many said they would feel safer to have more power over who they spent their journey sitting next to. </p> <p>“IndiGo is proud to announce the introduction of a new feature that aims to make the travel experience more comfortable for our female passengers,” the airline said.</p> <p>“We are committed to providing an unparalleled travel experience for all our passengers, and this new feature is just one of the many steps we are taking towards achieving that goal.”</p> <p>There has been a mixed reaction on social media to to IndiGo’s attempt to make female flyers feel safer, as one commenter wrote on X: “Why can’t they allocate left side for one gender and right side for another gender?"</p> <p>There was also concern about how the good seats could be snapped up, writing, “Almost all seats available will be the middle ones”.</p> <p>Meanwhile a man protested, “What if I don’t want to sit by her? It works both ways”, while many simply praised it as a “great initiative”.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock </em></p>

Legal

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Missing 3-year-old found dead at Walt Disney World

<p>The body of a young boy has been found after he went missing from a resort near Walt Disney World in Florida on Thursday.</p> <p>Rakim Akbari, 3, was reported missing from the Sheraton Vistana Resort Villas at Lake Buena Vista earlier that day, after he had wandered away from the resort that morning. </p> <p>Authorities also said that Rakim had autism. </p> <p>The Orange County Sheriff sent out a missing child alert for the young boy before deputies located his body in the water at the resort on Thursday afternoon. </p> <p>“It is with heavy hearts that we must share that our deputies have found Rakim Akbari deceased in a body of water at the resort where he was reported missing this morning. Our detectives are still looking into how this tragedy occurred,” they shared on X. </p> <p>“We are grieving his loss, and our prayers are with his family,” they added. </p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">It is with heavy hearts that we must share that our deputies have found Rakim Akbari deceased in a body of water at the resort where he was reported missing this morning. Our detectives are still looking into how this tragedy occurred.</p> <p>We are grieving his loss, and our prayers… <a href="https://t.co/3huAOOo0u4">pic.twitter.com/3huAOOo0u4</a></p> <p>— Orange County Sheriff's Office (@OrangeCoSheriff) <a href="https://twitter.com/OrangeCoSheriff/status/1814027480782761996?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">July 18, 2024</a></p></blockquote> <p>They didn't provide further details, but the boy reportedly went missing while wearing pyjama pants and a shirt with no socks or shoes. </p> <p>People on X have also shared their condolences to the boy's family.</p> <p>"Deepest condolences to the family of this beautiful little boy. Prayers for the law enforcement that found him, it's hard for them to process as well," one said. </p> <p>"Heartbreaking. Prayers to his family and all who loved him," added another. </p> <p>"God bless his family. Rest in Peace," added another. </p> <p>"My heart goes out to the family," wrote a third. </p> <p><em>Image: X</em></p>

Caring

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Huge news for Molly the Magpie

<p>The story of the unlikely friendship between Molly the Magpie and Peggy the Staffordshire terrier is set to be immortalised in an adorable new animated series. </p> <p>The wholesome news was announced on the duo's shared Instagram account on Thursday, revealing the first look at their animated characters. </p> <p>“We are so excited to announce Xentrix studios are going to bring to life a wholesome heartwarming animated series about a kind-hearted, animal loving couple and their beautiful staffy girls, a magpie & their friends,” the post read.</p> <p>“We are so grateful they are bringing to life this special friendship, for people of all ages to enjoy around the world”. </p> <p>The animated series will showcase the “heartwarming tales” and “playful escapades” of pair’s unique friendship short 11 minute episodes tailored for children between aged five and 11.</p> <p>An Instagram account dedicated to the series debuted a first look at the additional characters who will be joining Molly and Peggy on their animated adventures, including a trio of alley cats named Jinx, Rascal and Bandit, twin female border collies, Matilda and Tobi and a "big, fat cat" named Shelly. </p> <p>The series is expected to remain in development for the next year.</p> <p>Molly and Peggy first made headline in March after Molly was surrendered to the Department of Environment, Science and Innovation officials following allegations the bird was not being “kept unlawfully”. </p> <p>However, after 42 days in a wildlife reserve and a campaigns led by Premier Steven Miles, Molly was returned to her owners, Juliette Wells and Reece Mortensen, under a series of strict conditions, including that there is no ongoing commercial gain from the bird or its image.</p> <p>Following questions raised about the owners and commercial gain from the series, Xentrix chief executive officer Chelsea Bonner said the Queensland couple have “simply allowed Xentrix to develop an animated series using the pet names of their animals”.</p> <p>“No payments have exchanged hands for this. The series isn’t funded yet and is likely in development for at least another year,” she said.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Instagram </em></p>

Family & Pets

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Abandoned family hit with huge fine by cruise line

<p>A family of nine has been charged a whopping $13,000 for failing to return to their cruise ship after an excursion in Alaska, leaving them stranded by Norwegian Cruise Lines to find their own way home. </p> <p>The Gault family, from Tulsa in Oklahoma, were travelling with six young kids and a 78-year-old grandmother when they disembarked from the Norwegian Encore in Katchikan, a small town in a string of south Alaskan islands, so they could watch a lumberjack show together.</p> <p>All was going well until they went to board a bus back to the ship, when the local tour operator transporting passengers to and from the vessel miscounted and told the family there was no room and that they had to wait for the next bus. </p> <p>“We see the chaos getting onto the buses. We go to get on the bus and one of the attendees is like, ‘The bus is full, and you know you got to wait for the next bus,’” Joshua Gault told <em>2 News</em>.</p> <p>However, the next bus never came, and as the family found other means to rush back to the port, they arrived to see the ship sailing away with all their belongings, including passports and medications, onboard.</p> <p>“Six kids on board, minor children, and a 78-year-old mother-in-law, all on medication. We all had to quit cold turkey medication these last few days because it was all on the cruise ship,” Mr Gault said.</p> <p>From there, things only got worse for the Gault family, who had already spent about $44,500 on the trip, as they were immediately hit an almost $13,000 charge from the cruise line — $1,400 per passenger — for missing the boat.</p> <p>That fee stemmed from the US Customs and Border Protection’s Passenger Vessel Services Act, which they violated by not visiting a foreign port before they returned to the US, as their itinerary planned.</p> <p>Unable to rejoin the ship in Canada, the family decided to cut their losses and head home, arranging new accommodation and flights, making their costs continue to pile up. </p> <p>After days of travel - which included stops in numerous cities, cancelled flights, and more than one overnight airport stay — the family finally arrived home, feeling strung out, tired, and having picked up Covid along the way.</p> <p>“So yeah, we’re beat down right now. We’re unhealthy and beaten down,” Mr Gault said.</p> <p>The family is still working with the cruise line to rectify the situation, as Cailyn Gault said Norwegian Cruises keeps telling them, "We’re still looking into it, we haven’t forgotten about you."</p> <p>“And I was like, ‘No, we feel like you pretty much forgot about us when you left us in port and told us to go figure it out,’” Ms Gault added.</p> <p>Norwegian Cruise Lines told The Post it has begun the process of refunding the Gaults the nearly $13,000 in fees they were charged, and will reimburse them for all their travel expenses once receipts have been received.</p> <p>The cruise line also said it tried to contact the Gaults after they missed their bus due to “a misstep by a local tour operator,” and when they were unable to reach them, worked with the local port authority to help the family arrange lodging for the night before they were able to make a flight to Seattle the next day.</p> <p>“In addition, these guests will be receiving a pro-rated refund for the two cruise days they missed,” a Norwegian Cruise Line representative said.</p> <p>“As a gesture of goodwill, the company will also be providing each of the nine guests with a Future Cruise Credit in the form of a 20 per cent discount of their cruise fare that can be used towards their next voyage,” Norwegian added.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Facebook</em></p>

Travel Trouble

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"They lied": Kerri-Anne Kennerley blasts I’m A Celeb

<p>Kerri-Anne Kennerley has opened up on her dramatic appearance on <em style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;">I’m A Celebrity … Get Me Out Of Here! </em><span style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;"> last year, claiming that she was "lied to" ahead of her decision to sign up. </span></p> <p>Speaking to Tammin Sursok on her podcast, <em>The Sh*t Show</em>, Kennerly alleged that Network Ten made promises they couldn't keep. </p> <p>“[Ten] came to me and promised me this, this and this … and I had nothing else to do at the time,” the TV veteran claimed.</p> <p>“I got promised a bunch of stuff and they lied. And so instead of being in there, the three weeks I committed to, I got out in three days. They lied.”</p> <p>Sursok asked her to elaborate on the promises they made, but Kennerley refused. </p> <p>“I don’t want to go into it now. History. And I’m even dumbfounded that I said to myself after I’ve gone, oh my God. I avoided exactly what happened for 10 years.</p> <p>“ … If I had thought about it for one more nanosecond and the things that were said to me were not said to me, I wouldn’t have done it in a heartbeat.”</p> <p>Kennerley tearfully quit <em style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;">I'm A Celebrity</em><span style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;"> last year after clashing with </span>MAFS star Domenica Calarco, who she claimed called her "the most self-centred b***h” she’d ever met during an eating challenge.</p> <p>The TV veteran added that going on the show was the "dumbest" decision she has ever made. </p> <p>“Comes out as absolutely number one dumb and as backed by several of my friends – especially straight after [I left IAC], them going, ‘You didn’t tell us, we would’ve locked you in a room if you had said you were going’,” she admitted.</p> <p>“But I don’t know … I’ve always thought I was pretty bulletproof, and then you get wounded and move on. But no … dumb, dumb, dumb – and lies. That’s what I put it down to.”</p> <p><em>Images: Ten</em></p>

TV

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Beyond the Barrier Reef: Australia’s 3 other World Heritage reefs are also in trouble

<div class="theconversation-article-body"><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/kate-marie-quigley-1400512">Kate Marie Quigley</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/james-cook-university-1167">James Cook University</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/andrew-hamilton-baird-11285">Andrew Hamilton Baird</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/james-cook-university-1167">James Cook University</a></em></p> <p>The Great Barrier Reef is world famous – it’s the largest coral reef system in the world and home to tens of thousands of species. No wonder it is World Heritage listed.</p> <p>But Australia has three lower profile reefs which are also World Heritage listed –  Ningaloo and Shark Bay in Western Australia, and Lord Howe Island, 600 kilometres off the New South Wales coast, the <a href="https://www.guinnessworldrecords.com/world-records/612288-most-southerly-coral-reef">southernmost coral</a> in the world. Ningaloo has 260km of coral reef, while the reefs of Shark Bay have less coral but are home to ancient stromatolites, vast seagrass beds and iconic species such as dugongs.</p> <p>This month, the World Heritage Committee will meet in New Delhi. On the agenda will be how the world’s natural World Heritage sites are faring. The Australian government will be under increased scrutiny to prove it has upheld its <a href="https://www.dcceew.gov.au/parks-heritage/heritage/about/world/management-australias-world-heritage-listed/managing-world-heritage-australia/protecting-world-heritage#regulation">international commitments</a> to protecting these reefs.</p> <p>Our <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/gcb.17407">new research</a> has found all four of these reefs are in greater danger than we thought – even those in subtropical waters, such as Lord Howe Island. Our two Indian Ocean reefs at <a href="https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/578/">Shark Bay</a> and Ningaloo actually face more species and function loss than the Great Barrier Reef.</p> <p>At 1.5°C of warming, we are likely to lose about 20% of the 400-odd coral species which currently live across these four reefs (equating to about 70 extinctions). At 2°C warming, our modelling of species abundance and ecosystem functions predict an almost complete collapse in reef ecosystems – even for the subtropical reefs. This aligns with <a href="https://www.annualreviews.org/docserver/fulltext/animal/12/1/annurev-animal-021122-093315.pdf?expires=1721002489&amp;id=id&amp;accname=guest&amp;checksum=A9A203CC0F3AEB7D1FE9420F50EDF69A,%20https://backend.orbit.dtu.dk/ws/files/238807594/AGR2020.pdf">predictions</a> by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change for the future of coral reefs.</p> <p>We believe our work adds to the need to consider whether Australia’s four iconic reefs should be <a href="https://whc.unesco.org/en/danger/">on the list</a> of World Heritage sites in danger.</p> <h2>What does it mean when a reef is World Heritage listed?</h2> <p>Declaring a natural or cultural site as World Heritage is done to encourage the preservation of locations of immense ecological and cultural value. Nations have to <a href="https://whc.unesco.org/en/nominations/">nominate sites</a> they think are worthy of protection. Australia has 20 World Heritage sites, <a href="https://www.dcceew.gov.au/parks-heritage/heritage/places/world-heritage-list">of which</a> 12 are natural.</p> <p>When sites are formally listed, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) requires the country’s government to look after it. If the site is degrading, it can be listed as in danger.</p> <p>UNESCO has considered listing the Great Barrier Reef as in danger twice, in 2021 and again in <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/environment/article/2024/jun/24/set-more-ambitious-climate-targets-to-save-great-barrier-reef-unesco-urges-australia">June this year</a>. For the reef to keep its World Heritage status, the government must prove its policies are sufficient to keep the reefs in <a href="https://www.dcceew.gov.au/parks-heritage/heritage/about/world-heritage/outstanding-universal-value">good health</a>.</p> <p>In the debate over the Great Barrier Reef, two things have been missed – first, any mention of Australia’s other World Heritage reefs, and second, whether the federal government’s current policies to cut greenhouse gases are enough to protect the reefs into the future.</p> <h2>What did we find?</h2> <p>Our new results suggest all four reefs are in trouble. Given current warming trends, they will only deteriorate further in the future if we stay on this course.</p> <p>While the Barrier Reef has drawn a great deal of attention, it’s actually the ecosystems at Ningaloo, Shark Bay and Lord Howe Island which are projected to warm the most. When standardised to park boundaries, temperatures here are projected to increase by up to 1.3°C by the end of the century. (This temperature estimate is for sea temperatures, not the overall surface temperature which we use as shorthand when we talk about 1.5°C or 2°C of warming).</p> <p>While that might not sound like much, it will be enough to push many corals to potential extinction. Many coral species already exist within 1-2°C of the maximum temperature they can tolerate.</p> <p>Our modelling shows Shark Bay and Ningaloo actually face a greater risk of species and function loss than the Barrier Reef. It also suggests the ability of our reefs to bounce back will be overcome when warming tips over 1.5°C globally.</p> <p>While these models incorporate the baseline heat tolerance of coral species on these reefs, they don’t yet include their <a href="https://www.annualreviews.org/content/journals/10.1146/annurev-animal-021122-093315;jsessionid=mfIBuwjZ-ru5bkBMhWXDjumNnsvZgxkl02fPAg63.annurevlive-10-241-10-101">potential for genetic adaptation</a>. The question of whether some corals could adapt to this rapid warming is still open. A lot is riding on their ability to do so.</p> <h2>Looming danger</h2> <p>This year, the <a href="https://theconversation.com/sentinels-of-the-sea-ancient-boulder-corals-are-key-to-reef-survival-in-a-warmer-world-223207">Great Barrier Reef</a> and <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2024/mar/06/lord-howe-island-coral-bleaching-moving-south-fears-ocean-temperatures">Lord Howe Island</a> have suffered intense stress from high sea temperatures – the direct result of burning fossil fuels and producing heat-trapping greenhouse gases. This year is <a href="https://www.reuters.com/business/environment/2024-could-be-worlds-hottest-year-june-breaks-records-2024-07-08/#:%7E:text=The%20latest%20data%20suggest%202024,so%20far%2C%20some%20scientists%20said.">on track</a> to again be the hottest year on record, overtaking the previous record holder of 2023.</p> <p>Australia is already in the midst of an extinction crisis. Australia has one of the worst track records for extinctions. Since European colonisation, 34-38 mammal species have <a href="https://www.science.org/doi/abs/10.1126/science.adg7870">gone extinct</a> compared to just one from the contiguous United States, which covers a similar area.</p> <p>You might have read that coral cover – a measure of how much coral there is in an area – <a href="https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00338-024-02498-5">hit historic highs</a> on the Great Barrier Reef last year.</p> <p>Coral cover is a helpful and important metric, but it’s <a href="https://theconversation.com/record-coral-cover-doesnt-necessarily-mean-the-great-barrier-reef-is-in-good-health-despite-what-you-may-have-heard-188233">not perfect</a>. For instance, fast-growing heat tolerant coral species might expand as less heat tolerant species die off. Importantly, relying on coral cover alone can mask significant changes in how the <a href="https://royalsocietypublishing.org/doi/10.1098/rspb.2019.2628">reef is functioning</a>.</p> <p>It’s hard to assess how species in our oceans are doing, given the difficulty of access and the large number of species, including many <a href="https://theconversation.com/the-first-step-to-conserving-the-great-barrier-reef-is-understanding-what-lives-there-146097">unknown to science</a>. If warming continues unabated, we will likely start to lose species before we have even documented them.</p> <p>Our results are based on “moderate” climate models of global surface temperature changes. Australia has committed to cutting emissions by 43% below 2005 levels by 2030. While that sounds good, it’s not enough – this decrease is compatible with <a href="https://environment.govt.nz/what-you-can-do/climate-scenarios-toolkit/climate-scenarios-list/ipccs-ssp-rcp-scenarios/">hitting 3.2ºC by 2100</a>. To limit warming to 1.5ºC or below by 2050, we would need to commit to much greater cuts in emissions – 90% below 2005 levels by 2030.</p> <p>Our results clearly suggest Australia’s four World Heritage reefs will be dramatically affected by warming in the near future. They will no longer qualify as being maintained under “conditions of integrity”. It’s hard to see how they can avoid being added to the in danger list.<!-- 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/234268/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/kate-marie-quigley-1400512"><em>Kate Marie Quigley</em></a><em>, DECRA Research Fellow in molecular ecology, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/james-cook-university-1167">James Cook University</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/andrew-hamilton-baird-11285">Andrew Hamilton Baird</a>, Professorial fellow in coral reef ecology, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/james-cook-university-1167">James Cook 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/beyond-the-barrier-reef-australias-3-other-world-heritage-reefs-are-also-in-trouble-234268">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

Domestic Travel

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"Rest in love": All Blacks legend and Dancing with the Stars winner dies at 55

<p>The sports and entertainment communities are mourning the loss of former All Blacks hooker and <em>Dancing with the Stars</em> winner Norm Hewitt, who has passed away at the age of 55.</p> <p>Hewitt, a beloved figure both on and off the rugby field, succumbed to a lengthy battle with motor neurone disease, as confirmed by his family in a heartfelt statement.</p> <p>"Although rugby dominated his early life, he established a thriving human relations consultancy after retirement, and his services were much in demand both nationally and internationally," his family shared. "He walked confidently in both Māori and Pākehā worlds and was a particular role model for troubled youth, citing his own background, and offering inspirational teachings that one’s present life need not be one’s future."</p> <p>Hewitt leaves behind his wife Arlene and their two children, Elizabeth and Alexander. Born and raised in Pōrangahau, southern Hawke’s Bay, Hewitt's rugby career was nothing short of illustrious. Over 13 seasons, he played 296 representative matches for Hawke’s Bay, Southland and Wellington, earning 23 caps for the All Blacks. Hewitt was also a pivotal member of the Hurricanes during the formative years of Super Rugby, missing only one match in the first five years.</p> <p>The rugby community has been profoundly affected by Hewitt's passing. Former teammate Ofisa Tonu’u posted a touching tribute on Facebook: "I’m just devastated finding out the news today. I will never forget how you always stuck up for me during the Black Tracker days when no one else would, you always look after all the players and we always followed you into battle. No more pain, brother, you can now rest in Love. Fa’afetai tele lava my uso for having my back as I did yours. I know the other boys will be welcoming you with open arms at the gates. Rest in Love, Normy."</p> <p>Beyond his rugby career, Hewitt transitioned into a public speaker and mentor, focusing heavily on violence prevention programmes and advocacy. He worked with the SPCA as an animal cruelty and anti-violence publicity officer, visiting schools to spread his message. In 2005, Hewitt showcased his versatility by winning the first season of<em> Dancing with the Stars</em> alongside professional dancer Carol-Ann Hickmore.</p> <p>Hewitt's life was not without its struggles. In 1999, he made a public apology for a drunken incident in Queenstown, marking a turning point as he renounced alcohol and dedicated himself to helping others facing similar challenges.</p> <p>The outpouring of tributes was immediate, with The All Blacks expressing their sorrow: “We are saddened by the loss of All Black #938 Norm Hewitt who passed away yesterday in Wellington. Hewitt played 9 Tests and 14 Games between 1993 and 1998. Our thoughts are with Norm’s family and loved ones at this time.”</p> <p>Podcaster Martin Devlin shared his personal experience: “RIP Norm Hewitt. Not a lot of people know how kind & generous this man was. A truly wonderful person. Reached out to me and helped me considerably a long time ago when things were very rough. Love & respect.”</p> <p>Richard Hills echoed the sentiments of many: “This is bloody sad. A sad way to lose a kiwi icon so young. He had a really rough childhood and upbringing and faced it and turned his life around to become not only a rugby legend but also helped others who’d been through similar issues.”</p> <p>Norm Hewitt’s legacy will endure through the lives he touched and the positive change he inspired. His story is a testament to the strength of the human spirit and the profound impact one individual can have on the world.</p> <p><em>Image: Radio New Zealand</em></p>

Caring

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Today Show entertainment reporter's cause of death revealed

<p>Beloved <em>Today</em> show and KTLA entertainment reporter Sam Rubin's cause of death has been revealed, two months after his sudden <a href="https://oversixty.com.au/health/caring/legendary-today-show-reporter-dies-unexpectedly" target="_blank" rel="noopener">passing</a>. </p> <p>The 64-year-old died in May with a new report from medical officials finding he died from a heart attack after he suffered a massive blockage to his coronary artery. </p> <p>Just hours after hosting his Hollywood news segment in the morning of May 10th, Rubin was rushed to home after collapsing in his Los Angeles home. </p> <p>The multi-Emmy Award winner was a renowned figure in the news industry on the West Coast, and had covered entertainment, movies and TV for KTLA since 1991.</p> <p>He was also well-known in Australia as a contributor to Channel Nine's <em>Today</em> show and <em>Today Extra</em>, and in the UK where he appeared on <em>This Morning</em>.</p> <p>Following his death, Karl Stefanovic paid tribute to his colleague on Instagram, saying he "adored every second with Sam on air and off over the past two decades".</p> <p>"His spirit. His laugh. His warm caring nature. He was a beautiful man. What a loss. All love to his family, and to his TV family at KTLA5 News."</p> <p><em>Today Extra</em> host David Campbell also paid tribute to Rubin, calling him a "Hollywood great".</p> <p>"He had an encyclopaedic knowledge of the industry," Campbell posted on social media.</p> <p>"For years we would cross to him and gossip and laugh," he said.</p> <p>"He would visit us Down Under, and whenever you were in LA you had to catch up. His loss is profound. My love and condolences to his family whom he adored."</p> <p style="font-size: 16px; box-sizing: border-box; margin-top: 0px; margin-bottom: 1rem; caret-color: #212529; color: #212529; font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, 'Helvetica Neue', Arial, sans-serif, 'Apple Color Emoji', 'Segoe UI Emoji', 'Segoe UI Symbol', 'Noto Color Emoji';">"Also his KTLA team who have lost a brother. We will cross back to you some other time Sam."</p> <p><em>Image credits: Ken McKay/ITV/Shutterstock Editorial </em></p>

Caring

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Julie Goodwin's next move following injury on Dancing With The Stars

<p>Julie Goodwin's highly anticipated debut on Dancing With The Stars has been postponed, following an injury. </p> <p>The 53-year-old was forced to withdraw from the first round on Sunday night after suffering two serious tears to her calf muscles during rehearsal with her dance partner, Andrey Gorbunov. </p> <p>She was taken to hospital and immediately treated. </p> <p>"I was jumping on poor Andrey here and something snapped. Fortunately, it was my leg and not his back," she told DWTS show hosts Sonia Kruger and Dr Chris Brown during the premiere. </p> <p>But on Monday, she appeared in good spirits and vowed to hit the dance floor again. </p> <p>“Despite being told that I probably should withdraw, I’m going to give it everything I’ve got, so I don’t quit easy,” Goodwin told <em>The Morning Show </em>hosts<em>. </em></p> <p>“And the beautiful thing about this production is that they’ve got some marvellous people. They’ve got the dance doctor in Bondi, who is all over this.</p> <p>“So I’m getting acupuncture, homeopathic treatment, massage. I’m swimming, I do healing meditations and listen to healing tones in my headphones.</p> <p>“So, I’m absolutely going hell for leather to get as well as I can in the hope that I can be up and dancing again very soon.”</p> <p>Goodwin is rumoured to return on the show in the third episode. </p> <p>In the interview, she also praised her dance partner, saying: "He’s amazing and he’s also very patient. He’s also very strong. And he’s also just so capable."</p> <p>“He would just be so patient and I’ve loved it. He got me sort of doing steps that I never, ever thought I would do. As you can see from the footage, we have laughed and laughed.”</p> <p><em>Images: Seven</em></p>

TV

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Dr Chris Brown's hilarious dig at Channel 10

<p>The new season of<em> Dancing With The Stars</em> premiered on Sunday night with <span style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;">Chris Brown</span><span style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;"> </span><span style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;">presenting alongside longtime host </span><span style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;">Sonia Kruger</span><span style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;"> for the very first time.</span></p> <p>The former <em>Bondi Vet</em> star left Channel 10 to join Seven a year ago, and while things reportedly ended amicably between them, he couldn't help but take a dig at his former employer on<em> Dancing With The Stars.</em></p> <p>At the beginning of the episode, Sonia explained that all contestants were safe and “no one’s going home tonight”. </p> <p>Chris feigned relief that he was also "safe" and couldn't be fired on the first night of his new gig, to which Sonia quipped that only the dancers could be voted off and that she and Chris were "as safe as anyone can be in entertainment”.</p> <p>“Shout out to Channel 10,” he quickly remarked, eliciting laughter from the audience. </p> <p>The comment could be in reference to Channel 10 axing a handful of shows over the past few months, leaving several high-profile TV personalities out of work. </p> <p>Yahoo Lifestyle reported that the reboot of <em>Gladiators</em> had been cancelled after one season, and the network confirmed in May that both <em>The Bachelor </em>and <em>The Masked Singer </em>won't be returning this year. </p> <p>In another part of DWTS, Chris also joked abut how his previous role on Channel 10’s <em>The Living Room</em> made him “rivals” with<em> Better Homes and Gardens</em> presenter Adam Dovile.</p> <p>“Now Adam, we do need to address the elephant in the room,” he said.</p> <p>“We were TV rivals for many, many years in the cutthroat vicious world of Friday night lifestyle television.</p> <p>“It’s hard to even look you in the eye, the fury is so deep. But I can’t stay angry at you, look at that smile!”</p> <p><em>Images: Channel 10</em></p>

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Still fab after 60 years: how The Beatles’ A Hard Day’s Night made pop cinema history

<div class="theconversation-article-body"><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/alison-blair-223267">Alison Blair</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-otago-1304">University of Otago</a></em></p> <p>I first saw A Hard Day’s Night at a film festival over 20 years ago, at the insistence of my mum. By then, it was already decades old, but I remember being enthralled by its high-spirited energy.</p> <p>A Beatles fan, mum had introduced me to the band’s records in my childhood. At home, we listened to Please Please Me, the band’s 1963 single, and the Rubber Soul album from 1965, which I loved.</p> <p>Television regularly showed old black-and-white scenes of Beatlemania that, to a ten-year-old in the neon-lit 1980s, seemed like ancient history. But then, I’d never seen a full-length Beatles film. I had no idea what I was in for.</p> <p>When the lights went down at Dunedin’s Regent Theatre, the opening chord of the film’s title song announced its intentions: an explosion of youthful vitality, rhythmic visuals, comical high jinks and the electrifying thrill of Beatlemania in 1964.</p> <p>This time, it didn’t seem ancient at all.</p> <p>Since that first viewing, I’ve returned to A Hard Day’s Night again and again. I now show it to my students as a historically significant example of pop music film making – visually inventive cinema, emblematic of a fresh era in youth culture, popular music and fandom.</p> <h2>Beatlemania on celluloid</h2> <p>A musical comedy depicting a chaotic 36 hours in the life of the Beatles, A Hard Day’s Night has now reached its 60th anniversary.</p> <p>Directed by <a href="https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0504513/">Richard Lester</a>, the film premiered in London on July 6 1964, with its first public screening a day later (incidentally, also Ringo Starr’s birthday), and the <a href="https://www.discogs.com/master/24003-The-Beatles-A-Hard-Days-Night">album of the same name</a> released on July 10.</p> <p>The band’s popularity was by then reaching dizzying heights of hysteria, all reflected in the film. The Beatles are chased by hordes of fans, take a train trip, appear on TV, run from the police in a Keystone Cops-style sequence, and play a televised concert in front of screaming real-life Beatles fans.</p> <p>Side one of the album provides the soundtrack, and the film inspired pop music film and video from then on, from the <a href="https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0060010/">Monkees TV series</a> (1966–68) to the Spice Girls’ <a href="https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0120185/">Spice World</a> (1997) and music videos as we know them today.</p> <h2>The original music video</h2> <p>Postwar teen culture and consumerism had been on the rise since the 1950s. In 1960s Britain, youth music TV programmes, notably <a href="https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0196287/">Ready Steady Go!</a> (1963–66), meant pop music now had a developing visual culture.</p> <p>The youthful zest and vitality of ‘60s London was reflected in the pop-cultural sensibility, modern satirical humour and crisp visual impact of A Hard Day’s Night.</p> <p>Influenced by <a href="https://nofilmschool.com/french-new-wave-cinema">French New Wave</a> film making, and particularly the early 1960s work of <a href="https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000419/">Jean-Luc Godard</a>, A Hard Day’s Night employs <em><a href="https://indiefilmhustle.com/cinema-verite/">cinéma vérité</a></em>-style hand-held cinematography, brisk jump cuts, unusual framing and dynamic angles, high-spirited action, and a self-referential nonchalance.</p> <p>The film also breaks the “fourth wall”, with characters directly addressing the audience in closeup, and reveals the apparatus of the visual performance of music: cameras and TV monitors are all part of the frame.</p> <p>Cutting the shots to the beat of the music – as in the Can’t Buy Me Love sequence – lends a visual rhythm that would later become the norm in music video editing. Lester developed this technique further in the second Beatles film, <a href="https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0059260/">Help!</a> (1965).</p> <p>The closing sequence of A Hard Day’s Night is possibly the film’s most dynamic: photographic images of the band edited to the beat in the style of stop-motion animation. Sixty years on, it still feels fresh, especially as so much contemporary film making remains hidebound by formulaic Hollywood rules.</p> <figure class="align-center "><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/604790/original/file-20240704-17-ov77mn.jpg?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" sizes="(min-width: 1466px) 754px, (max-width: 599px) 100vw, (min-width: 600px) 600px, 237px" srcset="https://images.theconversation.com/files/604790/original/file-20240704-17-ov77mn.jpg?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=453&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 600w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/604790/original/file-20240704-17-ov77mn.jpg?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=453&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1200w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/604790/original/file-20240704-17-ov77mn.jpg?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=453&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 1800w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/604790/original/file-20240704-17-ov77mn.jpg?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=569&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 754w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/604790/original/file-20240704-17-ov77mn.jpg?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=569&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1508w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/604790/original/file-20240704-17-ov77mn.jpg?ixlib=rb-4.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=569&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 2262w" alt="A Hard Day's Night movie poster" /><figcaption><span class="caption">A new pop aesthetic: original film poster for A Hard Day’s Night.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">Getty Images</span></span></figcaption></figure> <h2>Slapstick and class awareness</h2> <p>As with much popular culture from the past, the humour in A Hard Day’s Night doesn’t always doesn’t land the way it would have in 1964. And yet, there are moments that seem surprisingly modern in their razor-sharp irony.</p> <p>In particular, the band’s Liverpudlian working-class-lad jibes and chaotic energy contrast brilliantly with the film’s upper-class characters. Actor Victor Spinetti’s comically over-anxious TV director, constantly hand-wringing over the boys’ rebelliousness, underscores the era-defining change the Beatles represented.</p> <p>Corporate pop-culture consumerism is also satirised. John Lennon “snorts” from a Coca-Cola bottle, a moment so knowingly silly it registers as more contemporary than it really is. George Harrison deflects a journalist’s banal questions with scathingly witty answers, and cuts a fashion company down to size by describing their shirt designs as “grotesque”.</p> <p>And there is Paul McCartney’s running joke that his grandfather – played by Wilfred Brambell from groundbreaking sitcom <a href="https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0057785/">Steptoe and Son</a> (1962–74) – is “very clean”.</p> <p>Even the film’s old-fashioned visual slapstick still holds up in 2024. Showing the film to this year’s students, I didn’t expect quite as much laughter when Ringo’s attempts to be chivalrous result in a fall-down-a-hole mishap.</p> <p>In 2022, the <a href="https://www.criterion.com/">Criterion Collection</a> released a high-resolution restoration of the film, so today A Hard Day’s Night can be seen in all its fresh, black-and-white, youthful vigour.</p> <p>Happy 60th, A Hard Day’s Night. And happy 84th, Ringo. Both still as lively and energetic as ever.<!-- 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/228598/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/alison-blair-223267"><em>Alison Blair</em></a><em>, Teaching Fellow in Music, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-otago-1304">University of Otago</a></em></p> <p><em>Image </em><em>credits: THA/Shutterstock Editorial </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/still-fab-after-60-years-how-the-beatles-a-hard-days-night-made-pop-cinema-history-228598">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

Movies

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"Double the joy": Red Wiggle welcomes twin daughters

<p>Caterina Mete has finally welcomed her "two little miracles" into the world. </p> <p>The Red Wiggle announced the arrival of her twin girls in a statement shared on Thursday morning. </p> <p>"Double the joy, double the love!", she said. </p> <p>"I am so thrilled to announce the arrival of my precious twin girls, Dolly and Gigi."</p> <p>"My heart is overflowing with happiness as I welcome to the world my two little miracles," she concluded her statement. </p> <p>She also took to Instagram to share a series of photos straight from the hospital, of her holding both girls in her arms. </p> <p>The new mum also shared a video of the twin bond, with the two girls cuddling up to each other. </p> <p>Fellow Wiggles also shared a statement, saying: "We are absolutely thrilled for Caterina and the arrival of her beautiful twin girls."</p> <p>"Her journey to motherhood has been truly inspiring, and we can't wait to meet these adorable new additions to The Wiggles' family." </p> <p>Mete welcomed her twin girls month's after revealing her <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/lifestyle/family-pets/two-little-miracles-wiggles-star-announces-pregnancy" target="_blank" rel="noopener">pregnancy via IVF</a> to her fans in February. </p> <p>Fellow Wiggles and fans took to the comments to congratulate the new mum. </p> <p>"Congratulations Kitty! Can’t wait to meet Dolly and Gigi soon," wrote Red Wiggle Simon Pryce. </p> <p>"Yahhhh Kitty……. How beautiful. Double happy," added Purple Wiggle Lachy. </p> <p>"CONGRATULATIONS!! MORE MEMBERS OF THE WIGGLES FAMILY" wrote one fan. </p> <p>"MASSIVE congratulations Caterina! Welcome to the world Dolly and Gigi! Wishing you a smooth recovery and great start to raising your precious girls," added another. </p> <p><em>Images: Instagram</em></p>

Family & Pets

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Olympian and former world champ shot dead at 42

<p>South African police have found the body of former Olympian and high jump world champion Jacques Freitag after he was reported missing. </p> <p>Local authorities say that they found the body of the 42-year-old in a field near a cemetery in the city of Pretoria with fatal gunshot wounds, and are treating his death as murder. </p> <p>South African news Netwerk24 reported that a source claims Freitag was allegedly executed, as one of the gunshot wounds was allegedly located in the back of his head.</p> <p>Freitag's sister, Chrissie Lewis, had appealed for help on social media to find her brother, who went missing in the early hours of June 17th after leaving his mother's house.</p> <p>Lewis said he had struggled with drug addiction after his athletics career ended.</p> <p>He was then not seen again until his body was discovered. </p> <p>Freitag won the 2003 world title in Paris and competed at the 2004 Olympics, representing South Africa in high jump.</p> <p>He was among a select group of athletes to win world titles at youth, junior and senior level, as World Athletics called Freitag “a prodigious athlete”. </p> <p>He won the high jump at the 1999 Youth World Championships in Poland, the Junior World Champs in Chile in 2000 and the Senior's in France in 2003.</p> <p>In 2003, he cleared 2.35m at the Stade de France in Paris to win the gold medal at the IAAF World Championships.</p> <p>He retired from sport in 2013 and was said to have in recent times been sleeping on the streets or friends' couches, having been unable to hold down a full-time job.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Hahn Lionel/ABACA/Shutterstock Editorial </em></p>

Caring

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Young woman exposes "hate" response to Origin's Welcome to Country

<p>The young woman who delivered the Welcome to Country at the State of Origin has opened up on the "overwhelming" response to it, revealing how she has "received a lot of hate".</p> <p>Savannah Fynn, 22, was invited to deliver the Welcome to Country and while it was generally well received, it also led to radio host Kyle Sandilands slamming the practice in general, saying the practice had become “overused and lost its impact”.</p> <p>Since then, Fynn revealed that she has received an overwhelming amount of hate online, with some even jumping to criticise her appearance. </p> <p>“I was just so worried I would stutter or mess up my words because I’d never spoken in front of that many people,” Fynn told <em><a title="www.dailytelegraph.com.au" href="https://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/lifestyle/stellar" target="_blank" rel="noopener" data-tgev="event119" data-tgev-container="bodylink" data-tgev-order="stellar" data-tgev-label="lifestyle" data-tgev-metric="ev">Stellar</a></em>.</p> <p>“But once I finished, I felt a moment of relief. I ran straight over to my nan, obviously one of my Elders, and I gave her a big hug and a cuddle. It’s definitely an overwhelming feeling, getting all this attention. It’s not something I’m used to at all."</p> <p>“I’m a very quiet person so this is a big change. Even though it’s all positive, I struggle with taking compliments and I get a bit shy. I’m kind of ready for it to die down!”</p> <p>“As sad as it is, being a lighter skin colour, I’ve received a lot of hate for that,” the 22-year-old university student said.</p> <p>“A lot of people have picked on the way I look, the way I speak, even coming down to having blonde hair. My hair is actually dark, I’ve just dyed it blonde."</p> <p>“I think people also get very confused as to what an Acknowledgement and Welcome actually is. We’re not welcoming you to Australia; obviously you live here."</p> <p>“We’re welcoming you to the traditional owners of that land and acknowledging the traditional land. And in terms of comments about overuse, I feel you have to respect everyone’s opinions, even if you may not agree."</p> <p>“Being a First Nations person, I find it wonderful seeing my culture embraced. But obviously you can’t please everyone.”</p> <p>Fynn is aiming to be a young role model and hopes to show “young Indigenous people that we can get up and speak”.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Nine </em></p> <p style="box-sizing: inherit; margin: 0px 0px 24px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: inherit; font-family: 'Helvetica Neue', HelveticaNeue, Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; font-size-adjust: inherit; font-kerning: inherit; font-variant-alternates: inherit; font-variant-ligatures: inherit; font-variant-numeric: inherit; font-variant-east-asian: inherit; font-variant-position: inherit; font-feature-settings: inherit; font-optical-sizing: inherit; font-variation-settings: inherit; font-size: 18px; vertical-align: baseline;"> </p> <p> </p>

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What it's like to play the baddest opera villain in the world

<p>As we mark the 100th anniversary of Giacomo Puccini’s passing, Opera Australia is pulling out all the stops to celebrate the legendary Italian composer with two of his most celebrated works at the iconic Sydney Opera House this winter. Kicking off the season is Edward Dick’s five-star production of <em>Tosca</em>, which had its opening night on June 25.</p> <p>This electrifying new take on Puccini’s action-packed thriller is captivating audiences with its compelling narrative and intense emotional depth. <em>Tosca</em> unfolds over a swift 24-hour period, weaving a tale of passion and power, jealousy and betrayal, love and tragedy. It's a perfect introduction to opera for newcomers and a beloved classic for seasoned fans, promising an edge-of-your-seat experience.</p> <p>Renowned for his ability to breathe fresh life into classic works, Director Edward Dick has assembled an award-winning creative team to deliver a visually stunning production. Tom Scutt's set design brilliantly juxtaposes Renaissance grandeur with contemporary elegance, featuring a suspended gilded dome revealing a breathtaking Renaissance fresco. BAFTA-winning costume designer Fotini Dimou dresses the performers in chic, modern attire, while Lee Curran's stadium-style lighting adds a dramatic flair.</p> <p>The cast is equally stellar. Making her Opera Australia debut, Northern Irish soprano Giselle Allen has taken on the titular role of Tosca, sharing the stage with OA favourite Karah Son, who received critical acclaim for her performance in Melbourne.</p> <p>Joining them is Korean tenor Young Woo Kim, debuting at the Sydney Opera House as the love-struck painter Cavaradossi. The role of the villainous Scarpia will be portrayed for the first half of the show's run by Armenian dramatic baritone Gevorg Hakobyan, also making his OA debut, until award-winning local baritone Warwick Fyfe takes over the role for the second half of the run, beginning on July 31 until the run's conclusion on August 16.</p> <p>Over60 was thrilled to be given the chance to interview Fyfe in the lead-up to his Sydney performance. </p> <p><em><strong>O60: Firstly, by way of an introduction to Warwick Fyfe the Australian Helden bass baritone – can you summarise your career?</strong></em></p> <p><strong>Fyfe: </strong>“In <em>Yes, Minister</em>, Sir Humphrey once – referring to Bernard – used the expression “a low flyer supported by occasional gusts of hot air”. I suppose I’m a bit like that. But I have a single major achievement, to wit: I’m still here! Over several decades I’ve seen hot shots come and go and change careers but I’m still earning a living at singing. Moreover, I think I might at last be getting the hang of it.” </p> <p><strong><em>O60: What is your history with this opera Tosca by Puccini?</em></strong></p> <p><strong>Fyfe: </strong>“I sang the Sacristan in the 1995 Victoria State Opera production. That was the start. The director John Copley was very supportive and taught me a lot. Also, I got to know the great John Wegner, having previously only seen him from the auditorium. He was a great influence even though he and I were very different. I’d watch him every night from the wings during Act 2. Then years later, having done countless Sacristans, I did a Scarpia of my own, taking over from John at the tail end of a season. Then in 2022 I was to sing Scarpia for West Australian Opera. Alas, the season was severely damaged when I caught Covid. I only did the first and last shows and not very well. This current production allows me at last to put my stamp on the role and do it properly. It went well in the Melbourne run.” </p> <p><em><strong>O60: How do you approach learning the role of Scarpia and connecting with a villainous character?</strong></em></p> <p><strong>Fyfe: </strong>“Tosca is very standard repertoire and additionally I was the Sacristan early in my career so that I had an osmotically acquired sense of the thing from early on. Also, the donkey work of learning and memorising the notes and words is a task of only moderate proportions with this role. So one just sits down at the piano and starts hacking away at it. </p> <p>“The other two bits of the equation (which can’t actually be separated) are the singing of the role and the inhabiting of the character. Vocally, it requires that I be at peak form. I can sing it much better than when I was young but it requires much more conscious effort to sustain it. My teacher Christina Henson Hayes has helped me enormously on that front. </p> <p>“Dramatically, it’s almost always possible to find in some dark recess of oneself something which is reflected in the character. Having found this way in, one can push it and stretch it and eventually pop out like a newborn into the new fictional world where that person lives. But equally important, especially for the in-the-round, creaturely and not at all stylised characters of verismo, one needs to have lived and absorbed that which is around one. Read good books, watch great actors – not in an ad hoc sense but generally. Be a cultural sponge. Make reading good books and watching great actors as constant and inevitable a part of life as eating. Read everything, listen to everything, observe everything. If the singer has no cultural hinterland, it is to be hoped that the director is a magician!” </p> <p><em><strong>O6O: You recently performed in this production in Melbourne’s Margaret Court Arena – the first opera to be staged on the tennis court. How did you find that experience and will anything about your performance be different for the Sydney season?</strong></em></p> <p>“Well, it was lovely because all my colleagues were lovely. As well as all my Opera Australia chums, there were people new to me such as Nadine Benjamin and Young Woo Kim – people so warm and friendly, not to mention talented, that one feels almost abashed and instinctively tries in response to be the best colleague one knows how to be. </p> <p>“Nevertheless, I’m a traditionalist who believes that opera will always be better for all concerned in a conventional, properly appointed theatre. Opera singers do not like being miked. For me, however good the technicians, the sense of one’s sound being only partially in one’s own control is uncomfortable. On the other hand, feeling one’s voice commanding a huge space as if one were a Rabelaisian giant is quite thrilling and of course it opens up possibilities for the company commercially.” </p> <p><em><strong>O60: Opera Australia is presenting several Puccini works this year in celebration of the legendary composer as 2024 marks the 100th anniversary of Puccini’s death, so let’s chat about Puccini’s contribution to the world of opera. He was a champion of verismo; can you explain what that means? What should audiences expect from the performance?</strong></em></p> <p>“Verismo is simply realism. Characters presented in the round rather than as two-dimensional types or figures of heightened allegory. In place of a stylised, artificial or high-flown approach, the composers wished to present real people in plausible dramatic settings. Of course this presents an apparent contradiction because in real life we don’t sing at each other. However, in practice you can have your cake and eat it because the genius of Puccini, from a starting point of a verisimilitudinous situation and story, can take it to another plane of intensity and power. But the roots in reality are unbroken. That reality is in the DNA of every cell of the artwork which rises majestically from those roots. Hence the opera feels real despite the built-in artificiality of the art form. By contrast, a composer of another era and school might take his subject away from reality to a more rarefied place. Audiences should expect an intense, purely human drama.” </p> <p><em><strong>O60: Puccini is known for his innovative use of the orchestra and an expansive use of instruments; what should audiences be listening for when they come to Tosca?</strong></em></p> <p>“Different composers have their preferred palettes. This also varies on national as well as individual lines. As Puccini is the supreme figure in verismo, he IS the archetype so that I can answer the question in a circular way by saying that it will sound very Italian, very verismo. Lush, yes, but a Puccinian version thereof rather than a Straussian one. </p> <p>“There are also exquisite touches, sort of musical special effects used judiciously and sparingly enough so as not to seem gimmicky. For example, the bells and spoken Latin of the Te Deum or the distanced effect of the oratorio in Act 2. The arias are of course high points but much of the interest lies in the meat connecting those moments.” </p> <p><em><strong>O60: Which of Puccini’s works is your preferred or do you find one most revolutionary?</strong></em></p> <p>“For brutal intensity, <em>Tosca</em> represents the high-water mark, especially Act 2. I love the kaleidoscopic richness of <em>Turandot</em>. The story is horrible but this is not a negative if one accepts it as a fable which has different rules from those applying to a pungently realistic tale. Also, <em>Turandot</em> is structurally flawed because he didn’t finish it. It is, however, musically astonishingly good. If you said I had to see a Puccini opera tonight but I could choose which one, I’d definitely choose <em>La Fanciulla del West</em>. Not only is it a masterpiece, it doesn’t get done nearly enough.”</p> <p>---</p> <p>Don't miss this extraordinary celebration of Puccini's legacy. Whether you're an opera aficionado or a first-time attendee, this production of <em>Tosca</em> is set to be an unforgettable highlight of the cultural calendar. Get ready to be swept off your feet by the sheer drama, passion, and beauty of Puccini’s masterpiece. Visit <a href="https://opera.org.au/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">https://opera.org.au/</a> for more info.</p> <p><em>Images: Opera Australia</em></p>

Music

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Lion King at 30: the global hit that Disney didn’t believe in

<div class="theconversation-article-body"><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/joel-gray-1539770">Joel Gray</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/sheffield-hallam-university-846">Sheffield Hallam University</a></em></p> <p>Thirty years ago audiences were introduced to the epic story of one little lion’s journey to find himself and his family. Little did Disney know what a roaring success the Lion King would be when it was released in 1994. In fact, they fully expected it wouldn’t be.</p> <p>In the 80s and 90s, the movie studio experienced huge hits with the animated films The Little Mermaid (1989) and Beauty and the Beast (1991). This left many of the creatives at the Disney studio keen to <a href="https://www.theringer.com/movies/2019/7/19/20699678/the-lion-king-original-animation-1994">continue making princess stories</a>. Disney executive and Hollywood stalwart Jeffrey Katzenberg was banking on Pocahontas (1995) to be their next hit.</p> <p>Therefore, the Lion King’s development was undertaken by artists and storytellers who were expected to produce something that would only ever be second best. It’s this underdog feeling that resulted in a hungry and competitive creative team producing this original hit story (it’s <a href="https://www.oprahdaily.com/entertainment/tv-movies/a28376309/the-lion-king-hamlet-comparison/">not a direct retelling of Hamlet</a>, as some might think).</p> <p>Taking heed of its immediate film predecessors, Disney ensured the movie put music at the forefront of its storytelling, teaming up film scorist Hans Zimmer (Rain Man, Gladiator) with lyricist Tim Rice (Aladdin, Jesus Christ Superstar) and acclaimed international pop star Elton John. This combination of talent resulted in a soundtrack that won the film two Oscars in 1995 (<a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uB5k_flnqf0">best score</a> and <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KjgWWjkNbhU">best original song for Can You Feel The Love Tonight?</a>). The songs and music have played a critical role in the cultural and commercial impact of The Lion King. While some elements might change, in nearly every adaptation the songs have remained.</p> <p>The measure of success often used for movies is box office revenue, and the film’s 1994 total was <a href="https://www.boxofficemojo.com/title/tt0110357/">US$763 million</a> (£603 million) worldwide. Compare that with Disney’s previous great successes, The Little Mermaid <a href="https://www.boxofficemojo.com/title/tt0097757/">US$84 million</a> worldwide and Beauty and the Beast <a href="https://www.boxofficemojo.com/title/tt0101414/?ref_=bo_se_r_2">US$249 million</a>. Pocahontas, the great hope, also failed to outperform The Lion King bringing in <a href="https://www.boxofficemojo.com/title/tt0114148/?ref_=bo_se_r_1">US$142 million</a>.</p> <p>Its success spawned direct-to-video sequels, including The Lion King 2: Simba’s Pride. In 1997, the film was adapted into a <a href="https://www.thelionking.co.uk/about-the-show">musical theatre production</a>, which, as well as touring globally, is a permanent fixture in the West End of London and on Broadway in New York. Then in 2019, Disney released <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7TavVZMewpY">a live-action remake</a>. And now, as the original celebrates its 30th anniversary, the prequel, <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MjQG-a7d41Q">Mufasa: The Lion King</a>, will hit cinemas.</p> <figure><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/lFzVJEksoDY?wmode=transparent&amp;start=0" width="440" height="260" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></figure> <p>Disney has cleverly followed the fans with these iterations. The 1997 stage adaptation tapped into the late <a href="https://www.onstageblog.com/columns/2017/4/13/the-50-best-musicals-of-the-1990s">90s resurgence in live musical theatre</a>. Since its debut the musical has received 70 major arts awards, including the 1999 Grammy for best musical show album and the 1999 Laurence Olivier awards for best choreography and best costume design.</p> <p>Then 25 years after the original’s release, Disney decided to remake The Lion King (following other hits such as Beauty and the Beast remake in 2017) – but the social environment had changed. In 2019, the “live action” remake of the movie ensured that this story set in Africa was rightly <a href="https://toofab.com/2019/07/04/original-lion-king-had-35-percent-black-main-cast/">cast with majority Black performers</a>. The cast introduced new names, but also attracted huge stars, including Beyoncé Knowles-Carter who voiced the character Nala.</p> <figure><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/MjQG-a7d41Q?wmode=transparent&amp;start=0" width="440" height="260" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></figure> <p>After The Lion King’s early success, Disney’s subsequent movies (including Pocahontas) did not live up to commercial expectations. From the mid-90s, Disney’s dominance at the animated movie box office was overtaken by Pixar and their hits, including Toy Story.</p> <p>Disney experienced inconsistent success until 2010 when they embraced CGI 3D animation as the primary production technique for their movies. This new style was applied to their tried-and-tested format of retelling classic fairytales and placing music at the heart of the storytelling, leading to hits such as Tangled (2010) and Frozen (2013).</p> <p>The Lion King’s enduring success should be a stand-out moment of clarity for Disney: with a focus on good quality animation and solid music storytelling, even the unexpected can become a roaring success.<!-- 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/233024/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/joel-gray-1539770">Joel Gray</a>, Associate Dean for Teaching and Learning, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/sheffield-hallam-university-846">Sheffield Hallam University</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Walt Disney Pictures </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/lion-king-at-30-the-global-hit-that-disney-didnt-believe-in-233024">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

Movies

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World's best airline for 2024 revealed

<p>The world's best airline has been revealed for 2024, with the winning airline being voted above the rest for quality, customer service and overall flying experience. </p> <p>Qatar Airways, the Doha-based airline, reclaimed the title in the annual Skytrax’s World Airline Awards dubbed “the Oscars of the aviation industry”, returning to the top for an unprecedented eighth time.</p> <p>The 2023 winner, Singapore Airlines, fell back a spot to second place, while Emirates came third.</p> <p>Coming in next on the list was  ANA All Nippon Airways, Cathay Pacific Airways, Japan Airlines, Turkish Airlines, EVA Air, Air France and Swiss International Air Lines in 10th spot.</p> <p>Qatar also took home three other awards: World’s Best Business Class, World’s Best Business Class Airline Lounge and Best Airline in the Middle East.</p> <p>It’s also become the first aviation group to win Best Airline, Best Airport and Best Airport Shopping, in the same year in Skytrax history.</p> <p>“This is a proud moment for Qatar Airways. I am honoured to share this award with my dedicated team,” Qatar Airways group chief executive officer, Badr Mohammed Al-Meer, said at the Skytrax event in London on Monday.</p> <p>“This award is a testimony to our relentless commitment to providing unparalleled service and innovation. We look forward to continuing to serve our customers with the highest level of excellence.”</p> <p>The Skytrax awards are based on the votes of travellers across over 100 nationalities, with any airline in the world eligible to be nominated.</p> <p>In terms of Aussie airlines, Qantas plummeted seven spots to be ranked 24 this year, while Virgin Australia fell from 46 to 54 and Jetstar from 69 to 75. </p> <p>However, Australian regional airline REX climbed from spot 56 to 50.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock </em></p>

International Travel

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The world’s longest cruises

<p dir="ltr">If you’re looking for your next cruising adventure, there are a multitude of time frames you can pick from for your next holiday. </p> <p dir="ltr">While many cruise-goers tend to opt for just a week or two at sea, there are other voyages that can see you spend months travelling the world. </p> <p dir="ltr">Here are ten of the longest cruise journeys that are available for the most dedicated travellers. </p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>Queen Anne - 107 days</strong></p> <p dir="ltr">In 2025, new Cunard ship Queen Anne will embark on her maiden World Voyage which includes her first visit to Australia and New Zealand.</p> <p dir="ltr">The 107-day journey starts with a transatlantic crossing before sailing to destinations in the Americas, Australasia, Asia, the Arabian Gulf and finally the Mediterranean.</p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>Crown Princess - 113 days </strong></p> <p dir="ltr">The Crown Princess is set to embark on an epic around the world cruise next year, and you can get on in Australia or New Zealand.</p> <p dir="ltr">From there, the voyage will visit 49 destinations in 28 countries over 113 days, crossing the equator twice, and sailing 33,500 nautical miles.</p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>MSC Magnifica - 119 days</strong></p> <p dir="ltr">MSC's World Cruise 2026 lasts 119 days, with options to book the entire round-the-world itinerary for the most dedicated travellers. </p> <p dir="ltr">The trip starts in Italy, and takes in the Mediterranean before heading across the Atlantic to the Caribbean and South America, before it then sails to California before crossing the Pacific for Hawaii, New Zealand and Australia.</p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>Seabourn Sojourn - 129 days </strong></p> <p dir="ltr">Seabourn's 2026 World Cruise sets sail on January 6th 2026 from LA, before taking in Hawaii, South Pacific islands, New Zealand, Australia and the Far East and Asia before heading Alaska and concluding in Vancouver, Canada.</p> <p dir="ltr">That's a total of 63 ports in 14 countries with seven overnight stays.</p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>Volendam - 133 days</strong></p> <p dir="ltr">Holland America’s lengthy journey, titled Pole to Pole, takes a round trip from Fort Lauderdale in Florida it visits spots as diverse as Costa Rica, Antarctica, Morocco, France and Canada.</p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>Crystal Serenity - 135 days</strong></p> <p dir="ltr">Crystal's 2026 World Cruise is an epic 135-day journey travelling to 72 destinations throughout 27 countries.</p> <p dir="ltr">Departing Los Angeles, Crystal Serenity will traverse the waters of the Pacific taking in the Marquesas Islands, Bora Bora, New Zealand and Sydney, as well as travelling to Hong Kong, Mumbai and Dubai.</p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>Seven Seas Splendour - 140 days </strong></p> <p dir="ltr">Guests onboard the Regent Seven Seas Cruises will visit 40 countries over six continents, spending 140 nights onboard the luxurious ship. </p> <p dir="ltr">The voyage visits locations such as Panama, Sri Lanka and Spain, visiting 71 ports around the world. </p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>Silver Dawn - 149 days</strong></p> <p dir="ltr">Silversea Cruises' Silver Dawn will explore 80 destinations, covering 35 countries on five continents, including 11 overnight stays. </p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>Viking Sky - 163 days </strong></p> <p dir="ltr">The cruise ship Viking Sky will sail for an impressive 163 days on its World Voyage II, taking in 34 countries, with 79 guided tours. </p> <p dir="ltr">Ports of note include Rarotonga in the Cook Islands, Darwin Australia, Colombo Sri Lanka, Cape Town, South Africa and the Shetland Islands in Scotland.</p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>Oceana Vista - 197 days</strong></p> <p dir="ltr">The 2026 World Odyssey voyage of Vista will circumnavigate the world, visiting over 100 ports across 43 countries.</p> <p dir="ltr">The voyage visits over 80 UNESCO World Heritage sites across 101 destinations, with 11 overnight stays.</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image credits: Shutterstock</em></p>

Cruising

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Winner of the World's Ugliest Dog Contest announced

<p>The annual World's Ugliest Dog contest has unearthed some true diamonds in the ruff, with one long-tongued frizz-ball being honoured with the title of the ugliest dog in the world. </p> <p>At the Sonoma-Marin Fair in Petaluma, California, an eight-year-old Pekingese called Wild Thang was crowned the winner and collected the $5,000 cash prize, after failing to take home the prize five years in a row. </p> <p>"He was a fan favorite … he's kind of like the bridesmaid and never the bride," judge Fiona Ma told the <em>Associated Press</em>.</p> <p>"He really tugged at our heart strings and deserved to win."</p> <p>Wild Thang's strange looks stem from a virus he contracted as a puppy that almost killed him, but instead left him with permanent damage.</p> <p>As a result, his teeth never developed, so his tongue flops out, and his right front leg paddles all the time.</p> <p>"He's never had a hair cut so that is the way he is and [his owner] shaves his stomach and he likes to sleep on ice packs," Ma added.</p> <p>"He is just a sweet dog – I was just holding him and he loves to be held and cuddled. That's part of it, these rescue dogs, they just need forever homes, so please adopt, don't shop."</p> <p>Organisers stressed that the contest is not about making fun of the unusual looking dogs, "but having fun with some wonderful characters and showing the world that these dogs are really beautiful!"</p> <p><em>Image credits: JOHN G MABANGLO/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock Editorial </em></p>

Family & Pets

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Ignite your inspiration with multi-use makeup that won’t break the bank

<p dir="ltr">As cost of living pressures continue to tug at our wallets, we’re all looking for things we can cut back on.</p> <p dir="ltr">For many people, indulgent beauty practices are the first to go when trying to save money, with many people dialling back their hair appointments and only getting their nails done as a one off treat. </p> <p dir="ltr">However, when looking to cut out non-essentials to ease the strain on your bank account, you don’t have to give up everyday makeup and beauty products that make you feel good. </p> <p dir="ltr">Instead, it’s about doing some research and buying smart, branching out to try new things, and even finding new holy grail products that work in multiple ways. </p> <p dir="ltr">Thankfully, <a href="https://www.thekindcollectiveaustralia.com/">The KIND Collective</a>’s new High Achievers range is here to save the day. </p> <p dir="ltr">With a multitude of products for lips, eyes, cheeks and skin for both everyday wear and bold evening glam, this new collection welcomes playfulness, self-expression, sustainability, and affordability to suit any generation.</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/p/C7TWh-OtgqL/?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/p/C7TWh-OtgqL/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank" rel="noopener">A post shared by The KIND Collective (@thekindcollectiveaustralia)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p dir="ltr">From lip oils and skin tints, to 3-in-1 complexion trios and eyeshadow sticks, The KIND Collective have something for every occasion. </p> <p dir="ltr">For Beauty lovers looking to lean into the growing trend of incorporating multi-use products into your everyday routine, with this new range of multi-use, easy to apply products, KIND is putting the emphasis on quality over quantity.</p> <p dir="ltr">Alongside the plus of being a multi-use range, KIND has listened to the masses, with 74% of beauty consumers agreeing that makeup and beauty products from affordable brands work just as well as products from premium brands, with nothing in the new range exceeding a $30 price point. </p> <p dir="ltr">This female-founded business is on a mission to add consciously driven, multi-purpose cosmetic products to everyone’s beauty repertoire, with a reasonable budget in mind. </p> <p dir="ltr">The KIND Collective is available online or in-store at <a href="https://www.bigw.com.au/brands/kind-collective">Big W</a> and <a href="https://www.priceline.com.au/brand/kind-collective">Priceline</a>.</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image credits: Shutterstock</em></p></p>

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