Placeholder Content Image

The sad state of Aussie ski resorts ahead of winter holiday season

<p>Ski resorts in Australia have had to get creative ahead of the tourist-heavy ski season after a lack of snowfall, despite plunging temperatures. </p> <p>The ski season begins this year on the June long weekend, running alongside the King’s Birthday on June 8th. </p> <p>Despite expecting a huge influx of keen skiers, there has only been light flurries of snow so far, according to WeatherZone, which melt away quickly and don't settle on the ground for long. </p> <p>In order to accommodate the busy season, Thredbo has had to resort to using fake snow for people to ski on. </p> <p>Manufactured snow happens by combining pressurised air and water through a ‘snow gun’ that gets blasted out into the air.</p> <p>The most ideal time to create the fake snow is on clear nights with low humidity, as the higher the humidity the colder it needs to be to make the flurries.</p> <p>Several photos from ski.com.au's cameras have shown popular ski sites with a disappointing lack of snow, in scenes similar to last year's ski season. </p> <p>“No significant snowfalls are on the horizon for the mainland Australian ski resorts before the official King’s Birthday Long Weekend season opening,” Weatherzone reports.</p> <p>“Snow-making began on the weekend at several resorts and has continued into the working week in the cold dry, air in the wake of the cold front.”</p> <p>According to WeatherZone, high-pressure systems, which have brought constant rain to the east coast recently, have been blocking the snowfall.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Xinhua News Agency / Thredbo</em></p>

Travel Trouble

Placeholder Content Image

Accused mushroom killer moved to protected unit over safety fears

<p>Erin Patterson, accused of poisoning three elderly individuals and attempting to murder several others, finds herself secluded within the confines of a protected unit in a Victorian prison. The move, reportedly necessitated by safety concerns, places Patterson away from the general prison population, reflecting the gravity of the allegations against her.</p> <p>According to sources cited by <a href="https://www.heraldsun.com.au/truecrimeaustralia/the-mushroom-ccok/accused-mushroom-murderer-in-jail-unit-with-pedophile-rapist/news-story/824c4f35c9d9b8f7553af2704836ea82" target="_blank" rel="noopener">the Herald Sun</a>, Patterson now resides in the protected wing of the Dame Phyllis Frost Centre, a correctional facility in Victoria. The decision to relocate her stems from fears that she may face harm from fellow inmates due to the nature of her alleged crimes.</p> <p>The <em>Herald's</em> insider disclosed, "If Erin got out of protection, the girls would hurt her."</p> <p>Allegations of her involvement in the deaths of three elderly individuals have evidently rendered her a target among fellow inmates, necessitating stringent security measures.</p> <p>“She allegedly killed three elderly people," the source continued. “There’s a rule, you don’t touch the elderly and you don’t touch babies so because of that, you go into protection."</p> <p>Patterson stands accused of several crimes, including the murder of her former in-laws, Don and Gail Patterson, alongside Gail's sister Heather Wilkinson. Their deaths, following the consumption of a meal containing deadly mushrooms at Patterson's residence in Leongatha, shook the community.</p> <p>Furthermore, Patterson faces charges of attempted murder, notably targeting her ex-husband Simon and Heather Wilkinson's husband Ian, with the alleged attempts spanning over various dates.</p> <p>As Patterson awaits her court appearance scheduled for May, the case continues to captivate public attention. In the coming months, the court will delve deeper into the intricacies of the case, striving to uncover the truth behind the allegations.</p> <p><em>Image: News.com.au</em></p>

Legal

Placeholder Content Image

What does El Niño do to the weather in your state?

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/kimberley-reid-767059">Kimberley Reid</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/monash-university-1065">Monash University</a></em></p> <p>You’ve probably heard El Niño brings hot and dry weather to the eastern states, but what about the rest of Australia? Are we all in for a scorcher this summer?</p> <p>El Niño is what scientists call a <a href="https://www.climatechangeinaustralia.gov.au/en/overview/climate-system/australian-climate-influences/">climate driver</a>. But it’s just one of many.</p> <p>These climate drivers control year-to-year variations in the weather. Some years are hotter and drier, while others are cooler and wetter.</p> <p>Australia is particularly prone to weather whiplash because our continent is buffeted by climate drivers to our north, south, east and west. The dominant driver in your state may be one of the lesser-known influences.</p> <figure><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/iVhi1wq2sTY?wmode=transparent&amp;start=0" width="440" height="260" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe><figcaption><span class="caption">Understanding Climate Drivers (Bureau of Meteorology)</span></figcaption></figure> <h2>East: El Niño Southern Oscillation</h2> <p>The El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) is the resident climate driver in the Pacific Ocean and the driver with the biggest influence over Australian weather. Differences in sea surface temperatures and winds across the Pacific determine whether we swing towards El Niño (the boy) or La Niña (the girl).</p> <p><a href="http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/about/?bookmark=enso">During the El Niño phase</a>, sea surface temperatures near South America are warmer than normal and they are cooler than normal off the coast of eastern Australia. Additionally, trade winds that blow from east to west across the Pacific weaken.</p> <p>El Niño brings hotter daytime temperatures, but often <a href="http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/enso/#tabs=Pacific-Ocean&amp;pacific=History">cooler nights</a>. That’s because reduced cloud cover allows more heat to escape into space overnight. So the same process that increases the chances of heatwaves can also raise the <a href="https://www.agric.wa.gov.au/climate-weather/historical-frost-and-heat-maps-south-west-land-division">risk of frost</a> in Western Australia, New South Wales, the Australian Capital Territory and Victoria.</p> <p>Australia as a whole is typically drier during an El Niño event. In the tropical regions, El Niño can delay the <a href="http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/updates/articles/a008-el-nino-and-australia.shtml">onset of the monsoon and reduce the likelihood of tropical cyclones</a>. In the southern states, the hot and dry conditions increase the chance of intense bushfires.</p> <p>La Niña is the opposite phase. Waters off eastern Australia are warmer than usual, increasing the <a href="http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/enso/#tabs=Pacific-Ocean&amp;pacific=History&amp;enso-impacts=La-Ni%C3%B1a-impacts">chance of tropical cyclones</a> and an earlier start to the monsoon for WA, the Northern Territory and Queensland.</p> <p>So what does El Niño do to the weather in your state? Hover over your state in the interactive map to find out.</p> <p><iframe id="tc-infographic-1008" class="tc-infographic" style="border: none;" src="https://cdn.theconversation.com/infographics/1008/7f37ae91389db072906b320ffd54d0fefd840c0d/site/index.html" width="100%" height="400px" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <h2>West: Indian Ocean Dipole</h2> <p>The <a href="http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/about/?bookmark=iod">Indian Ocean Dipole</a> is like ENSO’s Indian Ocean cousin. A positive Indian Ocean Dipole is declared when ocean temperatures near Africa are warmer than normal and ocean temperatures off the coast of Sumatra are cooler than usual.</p> <p>A positive dipole tends to bring warmer and drier conditions, particularly to western and central Australia. A negative Indian Ocean Dipole is the reverse and is associated with wetter than normal weather and an increase in <a href="https://pursuit.unimelb.edu.au/articles/why-more-clouds-can-mean-less-rain-in-australia">northwest cloudbands</a>.</p> <h2>North: Madden-Julian Oscillation</h2> <p>The <a href="http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/about/?bookmark=mjo">Madden-Julian Oscillation</a> is a pulse of storms that start in the Indian Ocean, travel over Northern Australia and Indonesia and die in the Pacific Ocean. Ahead of the pulse, the air sinks, causing sunny and dry weather. Under the pulse is high storm activity and typically heavy rainfall.</p> <p>We describe the Madden-Julian Oscillation based on whether the pulse of storms is <a href="http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/mjo/">active or inactive</a> and where the storm activity is located on its path between the Indian and Pacific Oceans. As well as causing rainfall, the Madden-Julian Oscillation can control the timing of the monsoon onset and <a href="http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/about/?bookmark=tc">tropical cyclone formation</a>.</p> <h2>South: Southern Annular Mode</h2> <p>The <a href="http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/about/?bookmark=sam">Southern Annular Mode</a> controls the north and south position of the westerly winds that whizz around the globe in the Southern Ocean. When the winds are further north than usual, we call this the negative phase. But when the westerly wind move towards Antarctica, we call this the positive phase.</p> <p>The phase of the Southern Annular Mode <a href="https://rmets.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/joc.1370">affects how many weather systems</a>, like cold fronts, make landfall over southern Australia. A positive mode may also draw tropical moist air south, which happened in 2022 during the extensive flooding over eastern Australia.</p> <h2>Climate drivers control the odds, but not the result</h2> <p>These four key climate drivers affect the weather on average (over months and seasons), but they do not dictate the exact day-to-day weather we experience. As the Gippsland region of Victoria <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2023/oct/05/victoria-floods-flooding-warnings-gippsland-region-flood-and-fires-evacuation">saw in October</a>, heavy rainfall can still occur during an El Niño.</p> <figure class="align-center zoomable"><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/561494/original/file-20231124-16-ip8fja.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/561494/original/file-20231124-16-ip8fja.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&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/561494/original/file-20231124-16-ip8fja.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=407&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 600w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/561494/original/file-20231124-16-ip8fja.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=407&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1200w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/561494/original/file-20231124-16-ip8fja.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=407&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 1800w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/561494/original/file-20231124-16-ip8fja.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=512&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 754w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/561494/original/file-20231124-16-ip8fja.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=512&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1508w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/561494/original/file-20231124-16-ip8fja.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=512&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 2262w" alt="Map of Australia showing the difference from normal rainfall during October 2023, with a large wet patch around Gippsland, Victoria." /></a><figcaption><span class="caption">Difference from normal rainfall during October 2023, showing defined wet area around Gippsland, Victoria surrounded by drier conditions.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">The Bureau of Meteorology</span></span></figcaption></figure> <p>Climate drivers are like a football coach. They can select the best players and develop ingenious strategies, but that doesn’t guarantee a win every time.</p> <p>Players can get injured on the field or simply have a bad game. These uncontrollable factors are challenging to predict and may change the result from what we would expect. Scientists call this stochasticity. The climate drivers are the football coach, but the day-to-day weather systems are the players.</p> <p>The Bureau of Meteorology <a href="http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/enso/">releases an update</a> on all of these drivers every two weeks. The update explains which drivers are currently active and the forecast for the next few weeks.</p> <p>So, if you are wondering why the weather is cooler during summer, or it’s raining in the middle of the dry season, perhaps take a look at which driver is steering Australia’s weather at the moment.<!-- 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/218257/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/kimberley-reid-767059">Kimberley Reid</a>, Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Atmospheric Sciences, <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/what-does-el-nino-do-to-the-weather-in-your-state-218257">original article</a>.</em></p>

Domestic Travel

Placeholder Content Image

Free tickets up for grabs to Barry Humphries' state memorial

<p>Australians will have the chance to pay their respects to the late Barry Humphries, with limited free tickets to his state memorial available to the public. </p> <p>Humphries died on April 22nd this year at the age of 89, and will be remembered for his legendary comedic characters such as Dame Edna Everage and Sir Les Patterson.</p> <p>His state memorial will be held at the Sydney Opera House at 11am on Friday December 15th, for those who wish to pay their respects to the entertainment giant. </p> <p>"The State Memorial will bring together dignitaries, family, friends and fans of Mr Humphries from across Australia and around the world to celebrate his extraordinary career and achievements," the NSW government said online.</p> <div> <p>Limited free tickets have also been made available to the public through the <a title="Sydney Opera House website" href="https://www.sydneyoperahouse.com/state-memorial-barry-humphries-ac-cbe" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Sydney Opera House website,</a> with fans able to snag a ticket from 2pm AEDT on Friday November 17th.</p> <p>Each person hoping to get a ticket will be allowed two tickets per customer to give everyone a chance to farewell one of Australia's best-loved entertainers. </p> <p>For those who miss out on a ticket, the memorial will be streamed online and broadcast on ABC, providing an opportunity for audiences everywhere to share in the celebration of Mr Humphries' life.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> </div>

Caring

Placeholder Content Image

“England’s greatest ever”: Sir Bobby Charlton’s cause of death

<p>In the early hours of Saturday morning October 21, the footballing world was met with sombre news. England World Cup winner and Manchester United great, Sir Bobby Charlton, described by the club as a "giant of the game", had passed away. Charlton's death marked the end of an era for both English football and Manchester United Football Club, and his legacy will continue to shine as brightly as ever.</p> <p>Charlton had been battling dementia, and his passing came just a week after he celebrated his 86th birthday. His journey through the beautiful game was a storied one, filled with remarkable achievements that will forever etch his name in the annals of football history.</p> <p>Perhaps the pinnacle of Charlton's career was his role in England's victorious 1966 World Cup team. He was a vital cog in the squad that claimed England's first and, so far, only World Cup triumph. His skills, determination, and sportsmanship on the pitch endeared him to fans not only in England but around the world.</p> <p>But his influence didn't stop at the international level. At club level, Charlton enjoyed tremendous success with Manchester United. He played a significant role in the Red Devils becoming the first English club to lift the European Cup in 1968. This victory came a decade after the tragic Munich air crash, which claimed the lives of several members of the United team. Bobby Charlton's resilience and commitment to the club were instrumental in rebuilding and achieving such remarkable heights.</p> <p>Upon hearing the news of Charlton's passing, the footballing community united in mourning. England World Cup winner Geoff Hurst, who scored a historic hat-trick in the 1966 final with Charlton by his side, expressed his sorrow and paid tribute to his "great colleague and friend." The sentiment was echoed by former Manchester United star David Beckham, who revealed that Sir Bobby Charlton had a profound influence on his career, going so far as to say that he was named after the legend himself – with his father giving him the second name "Robert" after his idol at the time.</p> <p>Charlton's impact extended beyond the field, as noted by former England forward Gary Lineker, who dubbed him "England's greatest ever player." Charlton's class and sportsmanship both on and off the pitch made him an enduring symbol of the beautiful game. He represented the essence of what it meant to be a footballing legend.</p> <p>Former Manchester United captain Gary Neville recognised Charlton as the club's "greatest ambassador." His contributions to the Red Devils, both as a player and later as a club director, played a significant role in shaping the club's legacy. He was a constant presence in the dressing room, offering his support and wisdom, win or lose.</p> <p>For Rio Ferdinand, Sir Bobby Charlton was a "true gentleman" and "Mr Manchester United." He recounted a pivotal moment when Charlton shared words with him at the bottom of the stairs in Moscow before lifting the Champions League trophy in 2008. Those words will forever remain with Ferdinand, a testament to the profound impact Charlton had on those around him.</p> <p>Charlton's legacy also reached beyond the United Kingdom, with global football icon Eric Cantona paying his respects, hailing him as "one of the best of all time". Current Manchester United midfielder Casemiro acknowledged Charlton's Ballon d'Or and European Cup victories, highlighting his irreplaceable role in the club's storied history.</p> <p>British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak added his voice to the chorus of tributes, recognising Sir Bobby Charlton's place in history as one of the game's greatest players. He described Charlton as "hugely loved" and offered his condolences, saying, "Rest in peace, Sir Bobby."</p> <p>"Manchester United are in mourning following the passing of Sir Bobby Charlton, one of the greatest and most beloved players in the history of our club," the Premier League club said in a statement. "Sir Bobby was a hero to millions, not just in Manchester, or the United Kingdom, but wherever football is played around the world.</p> <p>"He was admired as much for his sportsmanship and integrity as he was for his outstanding qualities as a footballer. Sir Bobby will always be remembered as a giant of the game."</p> <p><em>Images: Getty Images</em></p>

Caring

Placeholder Content Image

"He leaves a broken state behind him": Aussies react to Dan Andrews' resignation

<p>Victorian premier Dan Andrews has announced he will be resigning from his role after nine years in the job, prompting a very mixed response from Aussies. </p> <p>Andrews made the announcement on Tuesday, describing his time as premier as the “honour and privilege of my life”.</p> <p>For many Aussies, the news of his resignation came as a shock, with the announcement prompting a wave of mixed responses. </p> <p>Victorian Opposition Leader John Pesutto had one of the strongest reactions to the news, saying Mr Andrews had “trashed Victoria’s reputation”.</p> <p>“I wish Daniel Andrews well. But we have to face the facts. He’s leaving because Victoria, under his leadership, is falling apart,” he said. </p> <p>Shadow Immigration Minister Dan Tehan also had little nice to say about the outgoing premier, claiming he made the state of Victoria “poorer” while in the top job.</p> <p>“I think he’ll be remembered as a very good politician, very good at politics, but I think, sadly, over time, his legacy is going to be one in which he made the state of Victoria poorer, and he made Victorians poorer,” Mr Tehan said via <em>Sky News Australia</em>.</p> <p>“While we wish him and his family well, the sad reality is it’s Victorians who are going to have to pick up the pieces of his nine years in charge of this state.”</p> <p>Throughout his time as premier, Andrews attracted his fair amount of controversy, particularly around his harsh stance on Covid lockdowns, which saw Melbourne go through one of the longest continuous lockdowns on the planet.</p> <p>One of Mr Andrews’ biggest critics, <em>3AW</em> host Neil Mitchell, was also thrilled to bid the premier farewell, telling him, “Let’s hope we don’t see you in public life again”. </p> <p>He told <em>3AW</em> Mr Andrews had done “enormous damage to Victoria” and claimed to have been predicting his resignation for months. </p> <p>“I reckon he’s been thinking for some time. He’s been out of sorts for months. He’s been making unusual political errors. He’s seemed disinterested, he’s snappy at press conferences. I’ve said on air for some months, ‘he’s thinking about getting out’,” Mitchell said, adding “It’s time for him to go”.</p> <p>Liberal Party powerbroker Michael Kroger argued that Mr Andrews had over the years “got away with murder”, politically speaking.</p> <p>“Record debt. Small businesses are still broken and have not recovered from these extreme measures during the lockdown,’’ Mr Kroger told <em>Sky News</em>.</p> <p>“He leaves a broken, bankrupt state behind him. That’s his legacy. The financial recklessness of Daniel Andrews is unprecedented. And will take a generation to recover from."</p> <p>“Victoria will be better for Daniel Andrews having left today.”</p> <p>Despite many harsh words from his critics, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese was quick to praise Andrews' time as premier. </p> <p>He wrote in a lengthy post on Facebook that it had been a pleasure working “alongside an old friend”. </p> <p>“Daniel Andrews is a person of deep conviction, great compassion and fierce determination and he brought all those qualities to his time as Premier of Victoria,” Mr Albanese said. </p> <p>“As Prime Minister, it was a pleasure for me to work alongside an old friend – and a leader of such vision and ambition. It made a huge difference to sit at the National Cabinet table with someone who believed so deeply in the power of government to change lives for the better."</p> <p>“Nearly nine years as Premier is a remarkable achievement. Dan Andrews can be proud that he didn’t waste a minute. I wish Dan, Cath and their children all the very best for their future together.”</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p>

Legal

Placeholder Content Image

First state to lock in Matilda's public holiday promise

<p>New South Wales premier Chris Minns has backed Anthony Albanese's proposal to implement a public holiday if The Matildas win the FIFA Women's World Cup.</p> <p>The Prime Minister flagged the idea of a public holiday if the Australian women's team claim the victory, however, the actual decision for the day off will come down to each individual state. </p> <p>NSW Premier Chris Minns has thrown his support behind the idea, and has even put forward the idea of a "ticker tape parade" through the Sydney CBD.</p> <p>"If the Matildas win the semi-final and then win the World Cup final, then yes we will pursue a public holiday in NSW, not just to celebrate the victory but also to have a massive civic celebration and allow the Matildas to celebrate with the people of Sydney what will be an amazing, like, life-changing and unbelievable event in the state's history," Minns told 2GB's Ben Fordham on Monday morning.</p> <p>He said the government was currently working on "contingency plans" in the event of the Matilda's victory.</p> <p>Minns went on to say that any celebrations would happen the week of the winning game, and not the Monday after. </p> <p>Despite the surge of support for the Matildas throughout the tournament, some businesses have opposed the idea of a public holiday, saying they can't afford the expense. </p> <p>"If we did do it in Sydney for a big public holiday, and a massive ticker tape parade, can you imagine the kind of energy and economic excitement," Minns said.</p> <p>The Matildas will be taking on England in the semi-final game on Wednesday night, with the winner going into the final against either Spain or Sweden. </p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p>

News

Placeholder Content Image

How much one man paid to fly First Class forever

<p dir="ltr">One man grabbed the opportunity of a lifetime back in 1990 and is now reaping the benefits of his hard work.</p> <p dir="ltr">69-year-old Tom Stuker who was a car dealership consultant at that time, paid an eye watering $US510,000 — $A770,000 for United Airlines lifetime pass to passengers.</p> <p dir="ltr">The married father of two described this as “the best investment” he’s made and has taken full advantage of his lavish first class travel perks in seat 1B.</p> <p dir="ltr">Stuker has flown a total of 23 million miles according to the <em>Washington Post</em>, with 2019 being his record year where he flew 373 flights covering 1.46 million miles.</p> <p dir="ltr">If converted to cash, those flights would have cost him $2.44 million.</p> <p dir="ltr">Among the unlimited travel miles, Stuker is also treated like a VIP, with a special check-in station that has a door which takes him straight to the security queue.</p> <p dir="ltr">He also has access to VIP airport lounges with free fine dining, spa treatments, showers and sleeping quarters.</p> <p dir="ltr">In 2011 Stuker hit the 10 million mile mark which prompted the airline to name a 747 after him.</p> <p dir="ltr">In 2019 he hit the 20 million mile mark which he celebrated mid-air with a champagne toast that he shared with other passengers aboard the same flight.</p> <p dir="ltr">Stuker remained humble as he talked with all the other passengers and even topped up their glass of bubbles as they congratulated him on this milestone.</p> <p dir="ltr">“It’s not about the places I go, it’s about the people I meet,” he said to the passengers via the plane's intercom.</p> <p dir="ltr">“I wanted to say thank you to all of you who shared this moment with me,” Stuker continued. “To be able to celebrate 20 million on my favourite airline in the whole world, it’s everything.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Stuker initially found out about the lifetime pass when his colleague told him American Airlines was offering it.</p> <p dir="ltr">He then approached United airlines and said: “ ‘you’re going to lose me as a customer’ and they said ‘we have the same thing’,” he told Chicago-based TV station <em>WGN News</em>.</p> <p dir="ltr">Sadly, for others who want to follow in his footsteps that offer doesn’t exist anymore, but there are still similar passes available, Stuker said.</p> <p dir="ltr">“They came out to my office, they presented it and I did the number crunching and made a really good business decision because that’s what I bought the pass for — to save money on my business travel.</p> <p dir="ltr">“They still have programs that do that, just not the unlimited.”</p> <p dir="ltr">It’s been 33 years and Stuker still spends most of his time flying, unable to stay off a plane for more than a week.</p> <p dir="ltr">He has travelled to over 100 countries using his unlimited United pass and is generous enough to share this experience with his wife, taking her on over 120 “honeymoons”.</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image: Instagram</em></p>

International Travel

Placeholder Content Image

"A night in hospital and a trip to the burns unit later”: Concerned mum's warning against popular fruit

<p><em><strong>Warning: This article contains images that some readers may find distressing.</strong></em></p> <p>A mother has taken to the internet and shared photos of her son’s severe burns that came as a result of him playing with a popular fruit. “A night in hospital and a trip to the burns unit later.” She began in her Facebook post.</p> <p>Her son Otis was playing happily outside with a lime in the sunshine, but the next day horror ensued.</p> <p>“It wasn’t until the next day that we noticed a rash appeared.” The mother said.</p> <p>The parents had assumed the rash must’ve been an allergic reaction to the lime juice, however, the rash quickly developed into a “horrific burn,” she added.</p> <p>The parents took Otis to the hospital where they were informed their son was suffering from a condition called phytophotodermatitis.</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/Cku5QH2thxE/?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/Cku5QH2thxE/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank" rel="noopener">A post shared by Tiny Hearts (@tinyheartseducation)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p>Phytophotodermatitis, more commonly known as margarita burn, is a little-known condition which causes burns to the skin when a chemical called furocoumarin reacts to sunlight.</p> <p>The chemical is found in limes, citrus fruit and some plants.</p> <p>“The small lime he had been innocently playing with - had now burnt his skin horrifically!“ The mum said. “If our story can help raise awareness into phytophotodermatitis at least something good has come out of our horrific experience!”</p> <p>The woman has urged parents to be on the lookout for this little-known skin condition.</p> <p>To minimise the risks of phytophotodermatitis, <a href="https://www.healthline.com/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Healthline</a> suggests washing hands and other exposed parts of the skin immediately after being outdoors, wearing gloves when gardening, putting on sunscreen before going outdoors and wearing long-sleeved tops and pants in wooded areas.</p> <p><em>Photo credit: Getty</em></p>

Body

Placeholder Content Image

Tina Turner: an immense talent with a voice and back catalogue that unites disparate music lovers

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/freya-jarman-535397">Freya Jarman</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-liverpool-1198">University of Liverpool</a></em></p> <p>On a few rare occasions (often at the end of a night), I’ve confided to my friends that Tina Turner was one of my biggest celebrity crushes. The revelation has usually been met with some surprise, and not unreasonably. Born in 1939, Tina was older than my mother and nearly 40 years older than me.</p> <p>But to me, she was a complete goddess from the moment I first encountered her. I vividly recall a white button-down shirt and figure-hugging blue jeans (probably the Foreign Affair tour of 1990) and an awakening of teenage desire.</p> <p>Turner has died aged 83. Reflecting now on her 50-year-long career, I can see the threads that made her the perfect icon for the young queer feminist I was in the early 90s. She was a strong and resilient woman who escaped the control of abusive men and went on to forge a stronger solo career afterwards.</p> <p>But her music also pushed boundaries of genre in ways that start to defy categories of gender, race and age, thereby changing the way female performers could be thought of.</p> <p>In 1967, Turner was both the first Black artist and woman to appear on the cover of <a href="https://www.rollingstone.com/music/music-pictures/tina-turner-rolling-stone-covers-916255/">Rolling Stone</a>. She remains the only Black woman to have been inducted twice into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. In 2013, she became the oldest person (at 73) to appear on the <a href="https://www.thecut.com/2013/03/tina-turner-oldest-vogue-cover-model.html">cover of Vogue</a>.</p> <p>Vocally, Turner was raised in the church, Spring Hill Baptist Church in Nutbush, specifically. However, her voice was different from the others she came up alongside.</p> <p>Unlike Dionne Warwick, Aretha Franklin or Diana Ross, Turner’s voice had a grit and a rasp, qualities that always added an unexpected edge to her early work. It was also a sound that enabled her to move beyond soul and blues in her solo career.</p> <h2>A genre-fluid singer</h2> <p>Turner’s first solo album (in 1974) was country, replete with steel guitars and talk of the bayou. The very next year, she performed the role of the <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2rJGX8uqoL8&amp;ab_channel=StevenPrestidge">Acid Queen</a> in film of The Who’s psychedelic operetta fantasy, Tommy. The role gave its name to an album featuring several notable rock covers by Turner, such as Led Zeppelin’s Whole Lotta Love.</p> <p>Famously, she escaped from an abusive relationship with her singing partner Ike Turner, securing the rights to her stage name to her comparative financial detriment in their divorce settlement in 1978. Ike exerted his dominance in plain sight, slipping verbal threats of violence into <a href="https://youtu.be/FqdhfwUd2lk?t=88">a live performance of I’ve Been Loving You Too Long</a> at a concert in Ghana (1971).</p> <p>From the early 1980s, Turner made what has repeatedly been described as one of the most remarkable career comebacks of the century. The chart success of her cover of Al Green’s <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4rFB4nj_GRc&amp;ab_channel=TinaTurner">Let’s Stay Together</a> (1983) came from left of field and the ensuing album, Private Dancer (1984) went platinum five times.</p> <figure><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/d4QnalIHlVc?wmode=transparent&amp;start=0" width="440" height="260" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></figure> <p>Private Dancer represented another musical turn, this time towards the electro-synth pop world inhabited by Heaven 17, whose Rupert Hine and Martyn Ware produced several of the songs.</p> <p>The title song of the album exemplifies the narrative of Tina as a feminist powerhouse. Even 40 years on, the idea of a woman in her mid-40s singing a pop song about sex work is somewhat surprising.</p> <p>It’s not just an allusion to sex work (like, for instance, Blondie’s Call Me). And it’s far from the many songs about female sex workers written and performed by men (take Roxanne by The Police or Killer Queen by Queen for instance).</p> <p>Private Dancer is an explicit and unambiguous declaration of female desire and power in the first person. If anyone were in any doubt that Beyoncé owes a great deal to Turner’s trailblazing, her video for <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pZ12_E5R3qc&amp;ab_channel=Beyonc%C3%A9VEVO">Partition</a> is surely evidence, being a direct descendant of Private Dancer with its cage-dancing sex show.</p> <p>Over her 14 solo albums, Turner developed a remarkable capacity to push through boundaries and exist between categories. Along the way, she also changed how a woman in popular music was positioned for consumption. This magic made her fans in all sorts of music listeners.</p> <h2>A musical uniter</h2> <p>Turner’s musical agility allowed her to inhabit contradictory musical spaces simultaneously. For instance, there is the Tina Turner who makes regular appearances on the setlists of DJs at retro club nights, inspiring inebriated patrons to shake their tail feathers in unison.</p> <p>There is an exuberance here that crosses times and identities to bring a crowd together in the ritual of “rolling on the river”. It’s a song that also invites all shades of <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GLUJz5xrdds&amp;ab_channel=ThatRPDRChannel">drag performance to honour it</a>.</p> <figure><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/GC5E8ie2pdM?wmode=transparent&amp;start=0" width="440" height="260" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></figure> <p>Then there is the Tina Turner who appears – frequently as the only woman, and perhaps uniquely as a Black woman – on compilations targeted at a predominantly male audience.</p> <p>The world of “dad rock” and “driving anthems” is a stronghold of largely white, male baby boomers. Think Robert Palmer, ZZ Top, The Jam and Whitesnake. There alongside them is Turner with songs like The Best, We Don’t Need Another Hero and Nutbush City Limits.</p> <p>Tina Turner’s capacity to transcend these borders of genre, and with them, borders of race, age, and gender, is what made her the absolute legend that she was. To me, it will also always represent a hybridity that calls to my identity as a queer feminist.<!-- 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/206526/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/freya-jarman-535397">Freya Jarman</a>, Reader in the Department of Music, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-liverpool-1198">University of Liverpool</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/tina-turner-an-immense-talent-with-a-voice-and-back-catalogue-that-unites-disparate-music-lovers-206526">original article</a>.</em></p>

Music

Placeholder Content Image

Distraught family faces eviction from Australia after 13 years

<p dir="ltr">A family in Sydney’s Sutherland Shire are facing the threat of deportation after 13 years living in Australia, with the Federal Government reportedly declining every attempt they’ve made at gaining permanent residency. </p> <p dir="ltr">Speaking to 2GB’s Chris O’Keefe, Emma and Nathan Mills explained how they’d left the United Kingdom in 2010 to start a new life down under with their two children, entering Australia on 457 skilled worker visas - visas for skilled migrants.</p> <p dir="ltr">They had plans to care for Emma’s dad, who is an Australian citizen with serious spinal injuries and mental health concerns. </p> <p dir="ltr">The young family settled in Sydney’s Sutherland Shire with their kids, and have spent the past 13 years making a home for themselves, and even welcoming a third child - daughter Daisy, who is now 11. Their eldest son James is now 21 and is considered “a respectable young member of the community”, while their second son Harry is undertaking his HSC.</p> <p dir="ltr">According to Emma and Nathan, they have done everything in their power to secure permanent residency for themselves and their children, but have been declined by the government at every stage. </p> <p dir="ltr">And now, they are facing an unwanted return to the country they left all those years ago. </p> <p dir="ltr">“Are we going to be sent back to a country that is essentially foreign to us all now?” Emma said to O’Keefe. “My children don’t have lives or memories of the UK, they have memories of Australia. This is their home.”</p> <p dir="ltr">She went on to stress that they’d “built a life here”, and that it was hard for any of them to “comprehend that this is even happening.” </p> <p dir="ltr">Emma did explain that changes to the immigration system, and her husband’s employment, were factors in their ability to apply for permanent residency - he works as an employment advisor, while she is a full-time carer to their children and to her father. They’d even tried to apply for a carer visa, but were rejected at that turn, too.</p> <p dir="ltr">And as Emma told O’Keefe, she’d only found out about the rejection when her kid’s schools called to inform her their enrolments had been cancelled due to the visa revocations. </p> <p dir="ltr">"The principal informed me that from the Monday she [Daisy] was not permitted to return to school. I was in shock and disbelief," she said. </p> <p dir="ltr">"I then got a call from Engadine High School with the same news. What shocked me and frightened me the most is my eldest son [still attending school] was due to sit his HSC the following week."</p> <p dir="ltr">And while the family did win an appeal in the Administrative Appeals Tribunal that should have permitted them to stay in Australia, they were never granted visas, and even their Medicare was cancelled. </p> <p dir="ltr">Things took another turn for the worst on April 13, when they received a letter from the Home Affairs Department that gave them 35 days to leave the country, or else they may be detained and deported. </p> <p dir="ltr">Emma revealed that her father was “absolutely devastated” about how the situation was transpiring, and that they’d “tried to do everything the right way” to no avail. </p> <p dir="ltr">Still, they’re determined to keep fighting to stay in their home, and have appealed for Immigration Minister Andrew Giles to reconsider the potentially life-changing decision.</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Images: Drive with Chris O’Keefe / 2GB</em></p>

Legal

Placeholder Content Image

Australia’s “most boring state” is making waves

<p dir="ltr">The South Australian Tourism Commission is in hot water with its own shadow minister after forking out the funds for influencers to come visit the state, only to have them dub it Australia’s “most boring state”. </p> <p dir="ltr">It was an interesting take, but not necessarily one that was all too surprising - it’s a long-running joke plaguing the state, and the content produced by the Tiktokers has been defended as both intentional and ironic.</p> <p dir="ltr">However, Shadow tourism minister Jing Lee does not share that opinion, demanding to know “who has chosen them, why they are here, [and] how they have been selected.”</p> <p dir="ltr">7News have also reported that the opposition are calling for the campaign’s cost to be made public. </p> <p dir="ltr">South Australia’s tourism organisation put their plan into motion in 2022 when they invited 12 social media influencers with millions of followers between them on a fully funded trip to the state. </p> <p dir="ltr">Their itinerary was reportedly designed to highlight “the very best that SA has to offer”, from its “raw beauty” to its “culinary delights”. </p> <p dir="ltr">“What we’re trying to do is demonstrate that people’s perception of Adelaide is patently wrong,” South Australia’s treasurer Stephen Mullighan explained. “That was the whole idea behind it.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Many of the videos that came from the campaign run with captions declaring it to be “the most boring state ever”, or with the influencers asking their followers if they were ready to run amok with them. </p> <p dir="ltr">No matter which tagline the Tiktokers ran with, the content they produced all contained the same hidden message: South Australia was not such a ‘boring’ getaway after all. </p> <p dir="ltr">The clips they featured painted a positive picture of the state, showcasing everything from dolphin cruises to wineries, spectacular dining experiences, and an oyster farm. </p> <p dir="ltr">And as SATC have been happy to report, the campaign has been viewed over 5 million times across TikTok.</p> <p dir="ltr">It still wasn’t enough for Jing Lee, who shared her belief that “the Labor government has an obsession with influencers.”</p> <p dir="ltr">But Stephen Mullighan had his own thoughts on the matter - and more specifically, one of the opposition’s previous attempts at a tourism campaign. </p> <p dir="ltr">“We’re certainly not going to get lectured to by Jing Lee, John Gardner, and the Liberals,” he said, “who were of course responsible for the most humiliating tourism campaign [the 2019 ‘Old Mate’ campaign] that’s been rolled out in our nation’s history in recent times.”</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Images: TikTok</em></p>

Domestic Travel

Placeholder Content Image

“Can we show some respect?”: Outrage over Shane Warne’s state funeral cost

<p>A report detailing the cost of cricket legend Shane Warne’s state funeral has sparked outrage online, with one sports commentator labelling the move as “poor taste”. </p> <p>In the report, published by <em>The Age</em>, it came to light that the Victorian government had spent $2.8 million on state funerals in 2022, with $1.6 million from taxpayers going to Shane Warne’s public memorial.</p> <p>The event - which Eddie McGuire’s production company JAM TV received $1 million to produce - saw more than 50,000 people flock to the MCG to witness two hours of panel talks, speeches from those closest to Shane, and performances from fellow international superstars. </p> <p><em>The Age </em>went on to outline the disparities between Shane’s funeral price tag and that of others in the same year, and that’s where the late cricketer’s supporters drew the line, declaring that it had been worth each and every cent to celebrate his life and career in that way. </p> <p>“What's the point of this story, really? What does it achieve? Poor taste IMO,” journalist and AFL commentator tweeted in the wake of the news breaking. </p> <p>“Agree,” said fellow journalist Jim Wilson, “I was there and more than happy for my taxpayers money going towards this, can we show some respect[?]”</p> <p>Support continued to roll in from there, with one fan stating that the event “lit up the MCG for a night, [and] gave all Australians a chance to say goodbye to an Aussie legend.” </p> <p>“And how much did Warne’s presence in the Australian cricket team bring into the state’s coffers over the years[?]” another asked. “There are certain non-negotiables in Australian life &amp; one of them is that beloved Australian legends who touch so many peoples’ lives are honoured with state funerals.”</p> <p>“Seems very fair considering what this legend gave to our sport and our country,” someone else pointed out. </p> <p>The argument that Shane had brought in far more than $1.6 million to the Australian economy was rampant throughout every comment section relating to the report, with many believing the guest list to be proof alone of the sporting superstar’s international draw. </p> <p>The likes of Elton John, Robbie Williams, Ed Sheeran, and Chris Martin offered their talents in honour of the late Shane’s life. While fellow cricket greats - including but not limited to Allan Border, Michael Clarke, Brian Lara, and Mark Taylor - attended to share in Australia’s night of grief and celebration. </p> <p>"It didn't need to have these things done,” Eddie McGuire explained of the cost and decision to hold the event at the MCG - where a stand was being named in Shane’s honour. “But we did because it went around the world … we put our heart and soul into this because we loved Shane and we love this city."</p> <p>“In a lot of ways, we saw this as being Victoria's funeral," he also said to <em>3AW</em>. "I had to bury my mother with 10 people in the room at the funeral and I got great succour out of the fact that we all came together for a collective funeral in the name of our great mate Shane Warne."</p> <p>And last but certainly not least, as a spokesperson for the Victorian Government explained, “state memorials and funerals honour individuals’ outstanding service to Victoria – they afford Victorians an opportunity to mourn, celebrate, and to recognise extraordinary contributions to our great state.”</p> <p><em>Images: Getty</em></p>

Money & Banking

Placeholder Content Image

Only days left for one Aussie state's residents to make $1000 claim

<p dir="ltr">New South Wales residents who faced the brunt of July 2022’s floods have only one week remaining to claim their $1000 lump sum payment.</p> <p dir="ltr">Prime Minister Anthony Albanese announced the Disaster Recovery Payment [DRA] - of $1000 per adult and $400 per child - as he set off to tour some of the hardest hit regions in July 2022. The news gave some hope to those who had lost everything in the disaster that swept through their homes, and the chance to secure the likes of clothing, food, and temporary shelter.</p> <p dir="ltr">At the peak of the devastation, over 100 evacuation orders - amounting to roughly 85,000 people - had been issued across the state, with thousands of properties inundated, with SES crews responding to over 370 flood rescues, and a frightening 7600 help requests. </p> <p dir="ltr">People living in the local government areas [LGAs] that were directly impacted by the floods are eligible, although certain criteria must be met. Service Australia outlines that you (or a dependent child to whom you’re the principal carer) must be an Australian citizen or hold an eligible visa, be in an eligible LGA, and must be claiming the payment for the first time. </p> <p dir="ltr">Those whose homes suffered major damage due to the floods and required either repair or replacement in certain areas, as well as those whose “major assets” - the likes of caravans, vehicles, water tanks, and sheds - were also in need of repair or replacement are eligible for the payment as well. </p> <p dir="ltr">And residents who were seriously injured, or had an immediate family member (who is/was an Australian citizen) die or go missing in the floods, are also eligible. </p> <p dir="ltr">Furthermore, individuals who lost income as a direct result of the floods may be able to get the Australian Government Disaster Recovery Payment [AGDRP]. If this is the case, they are then also able to claim the DRA.</p> <p dir="ltr">As for which LGAs the payment covers, residents from the following who felt the floods’ impact should look into it: Bayside, Blacktown, Blue Mountains, Camden, Campbelltown, Canterbury Bankstown, Central Coast, Cessnock, Cumberland, Dungog, Fairfield, Georges River, Hawkesbury, Hornsby, Kempsey, Kiama, Lake Macquarie, Lithgow, Liverpool, Maitland, Mid-Coast, Muswellbrook, Nambucca Valley, Narromine, Newcastle, Northern Beaches, Oberon, Parramatta, Penrith, Port Macquarie-Hastings, Port Stephens, Randwick, Shellharbour, Shoalhaven, Singleton, Strathfield, Sutherland, The Hills, Upper Lachlan, Warren, Wingecarribee, Wollondilly, and Wollongong. </p> <p dir="ltr">New South Wales residents who are eligible only have until April 5 to make their claim. To check your eligibility status, <a href="https://www.servicesaustralia.gov.au/who-can-get-new-south-wales-floods-july-2022-australian-government-disaster-recovery-payment?context=62849">head to Service Australia</a>. </p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Images: Getty</em></p>

Money & Banking

Placeholder Content Image

Crackdown on vapes after state records shocking number of toddlers smoking

<p dir="ltr">Victoria has recorded an alarming number of toddlers ingesting nicotine from vapes.</p> <p dir="ltr">In the last year, Health Minister Mark Butler said that 50 children under four were recorded vaping, and that it is now the biggest behavioural issue in primary schools across the country.</p> <p dir="ltr">“The Victorian poisons hotline has reported that in the last 12 months, more than 50 children under the age of four have had to be reported to the hotline because of the dangerous ingestion of nicotine,” Butler told <em>ABC Radio</em>.</p> <p dir="ltr">“This is now the biggest behavioural issue in primary schools,” he added.</p> <p dir="ltr">Health ministers across the country are looking for ways to implement greater import and enforcement controls after the use of vapes has exploded in recent years, despite current regulations.</p> <p dir="ltr">Last year, a new rule was enforced where nicotine vapes were only available with a prescription. However a black market has emerged, and this market primarily targets children.</p> <p dir="ltr">“This is an industry shamelessly marketing, not just to teenagers but to young children. When you look at these things, pink unicorns and bubblegum flavours aren’t marketed to adults,” Butler said.</p> <p dir="ltr">The Health Minister also added that the multi-million dollar industry is threatening to undo all the hard work dedicated to phase out smoking.</p> <p dir="ltr">“This is an industry that is trying to create a new generation of nicotine addicts so they get around all of the hard work our country and other countries have done over recent decades to stamp out smoking,” he said.</p> <p dir="ltr">Butler used the example of a “very young” child who had been found with an “insidious” vape in her pencil case, in an attempt to disguise it as a highlighter.</p> <p dir="ltr">Earlier this month footage of an <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/news/news/jail-them-fury-after-baby-forced-to-vape-while-family-laughs" target="_blank" rel="noopener">11-month-old baby boy smoking a vape</a> went viral, when the distressed child was seen struggling for air as his teenage mother laughed at him.</p> <p dir="ltr">Butler said that when it comes to cracking down on the industry, “all options were on the table,” including better import and sales control.</p> <p dir="ltr">Butler refuses to normalise e-cigarettes, something that has been proposed by David Littleproud, the leader of the Nationals party.</p> <p dir="ltr">Butler said: “We can’t just say oh, well, it’s all too hard, let’s just normalise it because we know why these products exist”.</p> <p dir="ltr">“These products are pushed so hard by the tobacco industry because they want to create a pathway back to cigarettes.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Butler also cited research that showed that those who vape are three times as likely to take up cigarettes.</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image: Getty, Facebook</em></p>

Caring

Placeholder Content Image

Grease star's emotional tribute to Olivia ahead of state memorial

<p>It's been six months since Olivia Newton-John passed away, breaking hearts of entertainment lovers everywhere. </p> <p>Now, her celebrity friends and family have begun arriving in Melbourne for her state memorial on Sunday, with thousands of fans joining to pay their respects. </p> <p>Among those sharing fond memories of Australia's sweetheart is Olivia's long-time friend and <em>Grease</em> co-star Didi Conn, who starred as Frenchy alongside Newton-John as Sandy. </p> <p>In an interview with <em>Today Extra</em>, Didi became emotional while reminiscing on a sweet moment from the set of the hit 1978 musical. </p> <p>"It's not good when you can't talk, you know, on a talk show," Conn said as she tried to compose herself.</p> <p>Didi revealed the first scene she filmed with Newton-John, sharing that the Aussie was actually quite nervous, but that was the moment they became great friends.</p> <p>"We were waiting for them to set up the shot and I just looked at her and she was shaking," she said.</p> <p>"I said 'Oh, Sandy, I'm so happy to have a friend from Australia, tell me all about Australia' and she looked at me like 'is this in the script?'"</p> <p>Olivia then cottoned on that Didi was improvising and by the time the cameras started rolling she was much more comfortable thanks to that little bit of help.</p> <p>"When the scene ended, she hugged me and that was the beginning of our friendship," she said.</p> <p>The women shared over 40 years of friendship and she revealed one of the last sweet moments she got to share with her.</p> <p>"I hadn't spoken to her in a couple of months and I called her and she said, 'why haven't we spoken?'," Conn said.</p> <p>Conn had been unwell recently and Newton-John was in hospital with a broken leg.</p> <p>"The next day I received this gorgeous orchid plant, it was beautiful with so many buds," she said.</p> <p>"The day before she left Earth, one of the buds fell down and I thought, oh no, and sure enough, I heard the news."</p> <p>"But her beauty will last forever, in everyone's heart, because she had the biggest heart, she was the most beautiful person."</p> <p><em>Image credits: Paramount Pictures / Today Extra</em></p>

Caring

Placeholder Content Image

Details of Olivia Newton-John's state funeral finally revealed

<p>A state funeral for the late Olivia Newton-John has finally been confirmed, with fans being given the chance to farewell the internationally acclaimed performer in person.</p> <p>Olivia Newton-John died at the age of 73 in August 2022, after a long battle with breast cancer. </p> <p>Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews on Thursday announced a free, ticketed state memorial service would be held on February 26th to celebrate the life of the cultural icon.</p> <p>At the time of Olivia's death, Andrews remembered the star as a “person of grace ... energy, vitality” who left a lasting legacy through her art and the Olivia Newton-John Cancer Wellness and Research Centre in Heidelberg, Melbourne.</p> <p>“She took her cancer journey and used that to save lives and change lives, and that’s just a deeply impressive thing,” the premier said after her death.</p> <p>“As a lasting testament to her character and her generous spirit, we have the Olivia Newton-John Cancer and Wellness Centre."</p> <p>“The research that’s done there, the treatment, the care, the love and support that is central to that place is a lasting legacy to the person that she was.”</p> <p>Now, Australians will be able to say pay tribute to Olivia at Hamer Hall, Arts Centre in Melbourne later this month.</p> <p>“Her work in cancer research and treatment saved lives and changed lives and her music was the soundtrack to a generation,” Dan Andrews said on Thursday.</p> <p>“We know Victorians are eager to celebrate the life of a driving force in medical research and an icon of film and music, with a service befitting her international acclaim.”</p> <p>The service will be free but ticketed in line with the venue’s capacity and members of the public must register to attend, with ticket registrations <a href="https://www.vic.gov.au/state-service-dame-olivia-newton-john-ac-dbe" target="_blank" rel="noopener" data-link-type="article-inline">open</a> at 12pm on February 10th.</p> <p>The service will also be live-streamed via the <a href="https://www.vic.gov.au/state-service-dame-olivia-newton-john-ac-dbe" target="_blank" rel="noopener" data-link-type="article-inline">state government’s website</a>.</p> <p>According to Dan Andrews, the delay on the state funeral was unavoidable due to the "outstanding issues" that were holding up the planning process. </p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p>

News

Placeholder Content Image

Dan Andrews rejects state funeral proposition for Cardinal Pell

<p>Dan Andrews has rejected the idea of holding a state funeral for the late Cardinal George Pell, saying he "couldn’t think of anything more distressing" for victims of child sexual abuse at the hands of the Catholic Church.</p> <p>Cardinal Pell, Australia's most senior Catholic, died on Wednesday at age 81 in Rome, after suffering heart complications from hip replacement surgery.</p> <p>Speaking in Melbourne on Thursday, Andrews offered his condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of Pell, acknowledging it would be a “sad time” for them.</p> <p>However, he said victims of institutional child sexual abuse remained “foremost” in his thoughts.</p> <p>“We see you, we believe you, we support you and you’re at the centre of not only our thoughts, not only our words, but our actions,” Andrews said.</p> <p>“We should never ever forget that predator brothers and priests were systematically moved around knowingly. It was part of a strategy from one working-class parish to the next."</p> <p>“We should never ever forget that, and we will never ever forget victims, survivors of institutional child sexual abuse at the hands of the Catholic church.”</p> <p>Andrews said there had been no request made for a state funeral service, which is funded by the Victorian government, nor would one be offered to Pell.</p> <p>“I don’t believe that there’s been a request made and these things are normally offered rather than asked for and there will be no offer made,” he said.</p> <p>“There will be no memorial service or state funeral because I think that would be a deeply, deeply distressing thing for every victim-survivor of Catholic church child sexual abuse. That is my view. I will not do that.</p> <p>“I couldn’t think of anything that would be more distressing for victim-survivors than that.”</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p>

News

Placeholder Content Image

Should I invest in a unit or a house?

<p><em><strong>The first tenet of investment is to get the best possible returns, so let’s look at where the money comes and goes when you’re investing in residential real estate.</strong></em></p> <p><strong>Initial cost</strong></p> <p>Units are typically more affordable than houses, so it’s easier for a first-time investor to raise the necessary capital. Houses often have a higher entry pricepoint due to land value. According to the latest Domain Group House Prices Report, the national median house price is $636,315 while units are $476,023. With the surge in Sydney prices, the median price of units in Sydney is now higher than the current median house price in Brisbane, Adelaide, Hobart and Canberra.</p> <p><strong>Ongoing expenses</strong></p> <p>Council rates are usually higher on a house and you’ll be required to pay land taxes on an ongoing basis. With a unit or apartment, you will have to account for strata fees quarterly for the life of the investment, including any special levies that may be raised.</p> <p><strong>Maintenance</strong></p> <p>If you own a house, all maintenance issues are your responsibility (unless you have a property manager), whereas the maintenance and care of an apartment building and surrounds is the responsibility of the body corporate.</p> <p><strong>What do you want from your investment?</strong></p> <p>What sort of investor are you? Are you looking for regular long-term income, or do you plan to renovate and ‘flip’ the property as soon as you can?</p> <p>A house generally offers higher capital growth, due to the land component of the property. There’s also more potential for negative gearing. Units, on the other hand, tend to offer higher rental yields so they are more favourable from a cashflow perspective. Their lower pricepoint may allow you to build a diversified property portfolio more quickly.</p> <p>Older units in smaller blocks might offer better value than swanky new apartments in skyscrapers. You’re less likely to pay ongoing levies for amenities such as gyms, concierges and heated swimming pools; your voice will be louder in owners’ corporation meetings. It’s also easier to find new tenants if there aren’t 20 other vacant properties in the same location.</p> <p><strong>Rentability</strong></p> <p>Both houses and units are in demand right now. To optimise your investment, look for places where rental demand is high, such as around universities, transport or lifestyle areas with easy access to schools, parks, cafes, shops or beaches.</p> <p>Ultimately, there are reasons for and against almost any dwelling type. The right investment choice for you will depend on your financial position, risk profile and investment strategy.</p> <p><em>First appeared on <a href="https://www.domain.com.au/advice/unit-or-house-the-better-first-investment/" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Domain.com.au</span></strong></a>. Republished with permission.</em></p> <p><em>Image: Getty Images</em></p>

Real Estate

Placeholder Content Image

Iran: protesters call for move to a non-religious state. What changes would that bring?

<p>My friend was in Tehran during protests after <a href="https://www.reuters.com/world/middle-east/events-iran-since-mahsa-aminis-arrest-death-custody-2022-10-05/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">the death</a> of Mahsa Amini while in the custody of the morality police (Gasht-e Ershad). My friend went into a grocery shop intending to buy milk. The seller refused to sell anything to her. “Why are you refusing?” she asked. “I can see that you have milk.” “Because you are wearing a hijab,” the seller responded.</p> <p>This is part of a backlash by those who see themselves as oppressed by the Islamic Republic’s discriminatory hijab law, which prosecutes women for not “covering up”. The term hijab is an Arabic word meaning cover. It’s used to refer to different types of covering, from a long-sleeved coat, pants and scarf to the Islamic government’s preferred form of dress, chador, which is a loose-fitting black cloth worn over the entire body. After Mahsa Amini’s killing in September, mass protests broke out over this law and its enforcement.</p> <p>Wearing hijab became obligatory for all Iranian women from April 1983, after the 1979 revolution. Since then, all women have been forced by law to wear hijab (a covering of hair and or body) in public, even non-Muslims and foreigners visiting Iran. If they don’t they face prosecution.</p> <p>The government of Iran, the Islamic Republic, argues that God commands women to wear hijab. This is a government which has leaders who are members of the clergy and merged religious beliefs into state law. But even some Islamic scholars argue that the Qur'an does not suggest that hijab should be <a href="https://yalebooks.yale.edu/book/9780300257311/women-and-gender-in-islam/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">compulsory</a>.</p> <p>Mahsa Amini’s case is polarising Iran: those who rigorously advocate the hijab and religious law are set against those who prefer a <a href="https://time.com/6216024/iran-protests-islamic-republic-response/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">secular state</a>, not run by religious values.</p> <p>This has led the nation to <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/oct/26/iran-at-least-15-killed-after-gunmen-attack-shrine-in-shiraz" target="_blank" rel="noopener">the current upheaval</a>, with <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/oct/08/are-hijab-protests-the-beginning-of-the-end-for-irans-regime" target="_blank" rel="noopener">vast</a> protests across the country, and <a href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-63410577" target="_blank" rel="noopener">people being killed</a>.</p> <p>At many protests the Iranian resistance chant is <a href="https://www.politico.eu/article/iran-protests-women-life-freedom-mahsa-amini-killing/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Zan, Zendegi, Azadi</a> (#WomenLifeFreedom) is heard. The protesters call for life and liberty to be applicable to everyone (religious and non-religious). A big part of <a href="https://theconversation.com/iran-protests-majority-of-people-reject-compulsory-hijab-and-an-islamic-regime-surveys-find-191448" target="_blank" rel="noopener">the motivation</a> behind these protests is to challenge how the current religious law takes away the right of women to choose what to wear.</p> <h2>What is secularism?</h2> <p>Secularism is the idea that states should be <a href="https://academic.oup.com/book/1881/chapter-abstract/141631825?redirectedFrom=fulltext" target="_blank" rel="noopener">neutral about religion</a>. The state should not <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2012/feb/16/what-mean-secular-state-neutral" target="_blank" rel="noopener">back</a> a specific religion over others. A secular state <a href="https://anthrosource.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1548-1360.2011.01117.x" target="_blank" rel="noopener">provides</a> equal opportunity for religious and non-religious citizens to pursue their lives. The state must respect everyone’s values (including minorities), not just some people’s values.</p> <p>Secularism seems reasonable <a href="https://academic.oup.com/book/28394" target="_blank" rel="noopener">to many</a> because it is unusual for an entire nation to believe in a religion as one source of law. Some <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/00263206.2019.1643330" target="_blank" rel="noopener">scholars of Islam</a> disagree with the established interpretation of the Islamic Republic about whether God has commanded a mandatory hijab. As a result, they claim that hijab is not about covering hair but about “modesty”. Some others challenge <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/oct/12/iran-hijab-law-protest-ali-larijani" target="_blank" rel="noopener">the way</a> the morality police treat women in the street.</p> <p>While some people might be railing against women being forced to wear the hijab, others continue to feel strongly about its continued use. <a href="https://www.rferl.org/a/iran-qom-women-hijab/31929986.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Reports</a> say that Iranian authorities have closed some coffee shops because of the “improper” hijab of some female customers. And more <a href="https://english.alaraby.co.uk/news/iran-detains-woman-eating-breakfast-without-hijab" target="_blank" rel="noopener">recently</a>, a woman was arrested for eating breakfast in a café with no hijab.</p> <h2>Iranian history of secularism</h2> <p>Modern debates about secularism in Iran can be traced back to the <a href="https://www.bloomsbury.com/us/irans-constitutional-revolution-9780755649235/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Constitutional Revolution</a> in 1906. It advocated <a href="https://iranicaonline.org/articles/constitutional-revolution-i" target="_blank" rel="noopener">liberalism and secularism</a> and began conversations about a society without religious rules for all.</p> <p>Iranians experienced enforced secularisation shortly after Reza Shah Pahlavi was <a href="https://www.britannica.com/biography/Reza-Shah-Pahlavi" target="_blank" rel="noopener">crowned</a> in 1925. In 1936 he issued a decree <a href="https://www.brookings.edu/opinions/iran-and-the-headscarf-protests/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Kashf-e hijab</a> that any public expression of religious faith, including wearing hijab, was illegal. Again, this was a leader was telling women what to wear. However, his attempt to militantly secularise and westernise Iran faced <a href="https://www.taylorfrancis.com/chapters/mono/10.4324/9780203060636-22/banning-veil-consequences-dr-stephanie-cronin" target="_blank" rel="noopener">resistance</a> from society.</p> <p>The overthrow of the Pahlavi dynasty in 1979 led to the establishment of a militant Islamic government based on <a href="https://www.icit-digital.org/books/islam-and-revolution-writings-and-declarations-of-imam-khomeini-1941-1980" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Shia Muslim teachings</a>. After the hijab became <a href="https://www.mei.edu/publications/irans-headscarf-politics" target="_blank" rel="noopener">mandatory</a>, it became a symbol of compulsory faith. It has also played a significant role in pushing some parts of the Iranian population towards a more secular state.</p> <p>In 2022 Iran is experiencing some dramatic shifts, including what appears to be a shift towards secularism. Some argue that secularism is an <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/1979/05/25/archives/khomeini-terms-secular-critics-enemies-of-islam-dictatorship-of-the.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener">enemy</a> of religion or a product of <a href="https://nyupress.org/9780814795644/democracy-in-modern-iran/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">western colonisation</a>. Despite the majority of Iranians considering themselves <a href="https://gamaan.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/GAMAAN-Iran-Religion-Survey-2020-English.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener">religious</a>, some evidence shows that Iranians are <a href="https://theconversation.com/iran-protests-majority-of-people-reject-compulsory-hijab-and-an-islamic-regime-surveys-find-191448" target="_blank" rel="noopener">less religious</a> than before.</p> <p>Since the Islamic revolution there’s been a lot of research about how Iran could work as a <a href="https://www.routledge.com/Secularization-of-Islam-in-Post-Revolutionary-Iran/Pargoo/p/book/9780367654672" target="_blank" rel="noopener">secular</a> society and about religious <a href="https://brill.com/view/book/9789047400714/B9789047400714_s006.xml" target="_blank" rel="noopener">tolerance</a>.</p> <p>The current protest movement, led mainly by <a href="https://www.mei.edu/publications/irans-rising-generation-z-forefront-protests" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Gen Z in Iran</a>, is growing partly because of its use of the internet and social media to communicate and share information. People can also learn from other nations’ experiences of secularism through social media. This is why the regime is <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/science/audio/2022/oct/06/why-is-the-government-in-iran-shutting-down-the-internet-podcast" target="_blank" rel="noopener">shutting down</a> the internet and censoring YouTube, Instagram and Twitter.</p> <p><a href="https://gamaan.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/03/GAMAAN-Political-Systems-Survey-2022-English-Final.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener">One poll</a> suggests that more than 60% of Iranians now want a non-religious state, the question is whether those in power are willing to give it to them.</p> <p><strong>This article originally appeared on <a href="https://theconversation.com/iran-protesters-call-for-move-to-a-non-religious-state-what-changes-would-that-bring-193198" target="_blank" rel="noopener">The Conversation</a>.</strong></p> <p><em>Image: Sky News</em></p>

Legal

Our Partners