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Woman’s “selfish” business class upgrade divides the internet

<p dir="ltr">A woman has divided the internet after telling how she snagged an upgrade on her way home from a holiday, leaving her partner and his child in economy. </p> <p dir="ltr">The 30-year-old woman shared the story of how she landed the controversial upgrade, but explained to her social media followers that there is more to the story than meets the eye. </p> <p dir="ltr">She began by explaining that she had booked a 10-day holiday with her partner, who she called Matt, who she had been dating for one year. </p> <p dir="ltr">The couple wanted to spend some time together, but were joined by Matt’s younger son, who she called Alex, from his previous relationship. </p> <p dir="ltr">“Every now and then I would look after Alex when Matt was at work — we don’t live together but they stay at mine every now and then,” the woman explained.</p> <p dir="ltr">Due to family circumstances, Alex had to join the couple on holiday, as she explained, “The flights were over eight hours long and I have booked the tickets for all of us.”  </p> <p dir="ltr">During the flight to their destination, and throughout their whole holiday, the woman explained that she spent most of the time looking after Alex while Matt had “the time of his life”. </p> <p dir="ltr">While the couple were on holiday, the woman discovered that Matt had been unfaithful, and had been cheating on her through most of their relationship. </p> <p dir="ltr">“Some things came to my attention — he was still seeing his ex — which resulted in us breaking up at the end of our stay,” she said.</p> <p dir="ltr">On the flight back home, the three were sitting together when a flight attendant approached her ex, asking if he wanted an upgrade to business class, but before he could respond, the woman interjected.</p> <p dir="ltr">“I mentioned it was me who bought the tickets and used my own account to pay for them, so an upgrade should go to me,” she said.</p> <p dir="ltr">“The flight attendant was trying to argue at first, as she assumed Alex was my child.”</p> <p dir="ltr">“But I told her that’s not the case, and ended up having an upgrade so I can relax after spending all this time looking after Alex.”</p> <p dir="ltr">When they landed, Matt made comments the woman had been “an a**hole” and “selfish”, while some passengers made similar comments. </p> <p dir="ltr">The woman shared the story to Reddit, asking social media users if she was in the wrong by taking the upgrade and was met with mixed responses. </p> <p dir="ltr">One person said, “Damn that sucks... paying for a flight, in a breakup, taking care of a child on YOUR vacation. You by no means are the a******, hell the audacity of the ex is unbelievable. It just p***es me off so much that I can’t even begin to imagine your frustration.” </p> <p dir="ltr">Another added, “I bet it was nice to put some space between you and your brand new ex with such a long flight, too. What was he going to do, take the upgrade and leave his young kid with the woman who he just broke up with? There’s no world in which that makes any kind of sense.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Others suggested the biggest culprit in the situation was actually the flight attendant.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Why would it be ok to leave the mum with the kid but not the dad? Why did they not first offer it to the person who bought the tickets as that’s where the priority should’ve been?” one said.</p> <p dir="ltr">Meanwhile, one person pointed out: “Let this be a lesson."</p> <p dir="ltr">“Never take care of someone’s kid your whole holiday and let them have the time of their lives. You should have let him handle everything concerning his kid except some play time. I would be fuming.”</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image credits: Shutterstock</em></p>

Travel Trouble

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“Selfish” husband leaves wife behind for first class upgrade on their honeymoon

<p dir="ltr">A woman has shared her frustration over a journey she took with her new husband to their honeymoon destination. </p> <p dir="ltr">The wife’s “selfish” husband was quick to ditch her on their way to Mexico for their honeymoon after he was offered an upgrade to business class. </p> <p dir="ltr">The woman took to Reddit to share the story of what began at the airport shortly after their wedding, while also explaining that as a frequent flyer, she had racked up a hefty amount of points. </p> <p dir="ltr">In comparison, her new husband is an anxious flyer, who often relies on her to keep him calm during take off and landing. </p> <p dir="ltr">“When I booked our flights I requested to use my points if an upgrade to business class became available, but made it clear I only wanted this upgrade if two seats became available... and then I basically forgot about it,” the wife explained in a Reddit thread.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Then comes the day of our flight. I was so excited for this trip, I checked us in online, all is going well, and then when we go to board, the employee scanning our boarding passes stops us.”</p> <p dir="ltr">“She says it seems that my husband was upgraded to business class, but only him and asks if that is okay.”</p> <p dir="ltr">The wife immediately replied, “No, we are on our honeymoon and would like to stay together”, however, her husband interjected, saying, “No it’s fine, I’ll go to business class.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Approximately 500 of her hard earned points went to his upgrade, while she was left alone in economy for the trip. </p> <p dir="ltr">Stunned by his response, she said: “I look at him in complete shock and he tells me that I fly all the time and have been in business class before, but he hasn’t. So he deserves a chance to experience it.</p> <p dir="ltr">“I see we are holding up the line, so I feel like I just need to agree and get on the plane.</p> <p dir="ltr">“To say I am p***ed off is an understatement.”</p> <p dir="ltr">After boarding the flight, the woman became overcome with emotion over her new husband’s actions. </p> <p dir="ltr">“Within maybe five to 10 minutes of sitting there, trying to hold back tears because my husband left me alone on our flight during our honeymoon — and use my points for his upgrade no less, he starts to text me saying he feels anxiety over flying.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Instead of expressing sympathy, she decided to ignore his texts.</p> <p dir="ltr">“I stopped looking at my phone,” the wife said.</p> <p dir="ltr">Just one hour into the flight, her husband began looking for her in economy class.</p> <p dir="ltr">“He comes to the back of the plane to find me, offers me half of his business class breakfast and asks me why I was ignoring him... because he was scared and needed me to tell him it’d be okay since I am such an experienced flyer,” she explained.</p> <p dir="ltr">“I told him maybe he should have thought about that before leaving me alone before our honeymoon even really began.”</p> <p dir="ltr">“He gets angry, tells me that this may be the only time he gets to fly business class and he was giving me half his breakfast to make up for it so I could at least be supportive of his genuine fear.”</p> <p dir="ltr">When they landed in Mexico, she tried to just “move on and forget” about what her husband did so they could enjoy their honeymoon.</p> <p dir="ltr">“But he guilt tripped me about not comforting him via text before take off and now I am wondering if I am being unreasonable and should have just let him enjoy his time in business class and assure him it’d be okay?” she wondered.</p> <p dir="ltr">She asked the internet whether she was being the a**hole for not being supportive of her husband.</p> <p dir="ltr">Many jumped to the wife’s defence, with one suggesting, “Definitely not the a**hole. Tell your husband actions have consequences and since he wanted to be in business class without you, he gets to fly without you. The fact he did this on your honeymoon trip just makes it worse.”</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image credits: Getty Images </em></p> <p> </p>

Travel Trouble

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“The spirit of Australia”: Rival airlines' actions praised after Bonza collapse

<p>Thousands of passengers were left stranded across the country when budget airline Bonza cancelled all their flights and announced that they have entered into voluntary administration. </p> <p>“Bonza has temporarily suspended services due to be operated today, as discussions are currently underway regarding the ongoing viability of the business,” CEO Tim Jordan said. </p> <p>“We apologise to our customers who are impacted by this and we are working as quickly as possible to determine a way forward that ensures there is ongoing competition in the Australian aviation market," he later told news.com.au.</p> <p>Rival airlines, including Jetstar, Qantas and Virgin have all stepped in to help passengers and staff affected by Bonza's sudden collapse. </p> <p>Jetstar and Virgin Australia sprung into action when one passenger, <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/travel/travel-trouble/not-good-enough-karl-takes-aim-at-airline-cancellation" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Tracy Hilbert</a>, revealed her devastation after her morning flight to Melbourne got cancelled on the day that she was planning to be with her family following her father's passing on Monday. </p> <p>The two airlines helped her get to her destination without charging her for a ticket.</p> <p>Jetstar, which is owned by Qantas, also released a statement on Tuesday and said:  “We understand today’s news about Bonza will have a significant impact on many people’s travel plans.”</p> <p>“For Bonza customers who are due to travel today or who are stuck away from home, Jetstar and Qantas will assist by providing flights at no cost where there are seats available.”</p> <p>Qantas also released a statement offering employment support to staff affected by the budget airline's collapse. </p> <p>“We extend our thoughts to our aviation industry colleagues and their families – from pilots and cabin crew to flight planners and operations controllers,” it read.</p> <p>“If Bonza employees would like to discuss recruitment opportunities within Jetstar and Qantas, particularly in specialised fields which are unique to aviation, we’ve set up a dedicated page on the Jetstar careers website.</p> <p>“For any customers with a cancelled Bonza flight on a route we operate, to make sure you’re not further out of pocket, you can fly with us at no cost where we have seats available.”</p> <p>Virgin Australia also extended its hand to staff seeking employment, and offered support to any passengers stranded mid-journey with complimentary seats, where available. </p> <p>“When Bonza started in Australia, we welcomed its launch because competition makes us all better and benefits consumers. We are saddened to hear of Bonza’s current situation and the impacts on its people, customers and partners,” the statement read.</p> <p>“We will do what we can to support Bonza’s employees by prioritising them for any current and future roles at Virgin Australia, and encourage them to contact our careers team at recruitmentteam@virginaustralia.com if they wish.”</p> <p>The three airlines' responses have been applauded by the aviation industry and Aussies alike with many branding it “the spirit of Australia”. </p> <p><em>Image: </em><em>Lachie Millard/ news.com.au</em></p>

Domestic Travel

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Funding for refugees has long been politicized − punitive action against UNRWA and Palestinians fits that pattern

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/nicholas-r-micinski-207353">Nicholas R. Micinski</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-maine-2120">University of Maine</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/kelsey-norman-862895">Kelsey Norman</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/rice-university-931">Rice University</a></em></p> <p>At least a dozen countries, including the U.S., have <a href="https://news.un.org/en/story/2024/01/1145987">suspended funding to the UNRWA</a>, the United Nations agency responsible for delivering aid to Palestinian refugees.</p> <p>This follows allegations made by Israel that <a href="https://www.wsj.com/world/middle-east/at-least-12-u-n-agency-employees-involved-in-oct-7-attacks-intelligence-reports-say-a7de8f36">12 UNRWA employees participated</a> in the Oct. 7, 2023, Hamas attack. The UNRWA responded by <a href="https://www.reuters.com/world/middle-east/un-palestinian-refugee-agency-investigates-staff-suspected-role-israel-attacks-2024-01-26/">dismissing all accused employees</a> and opening an investigation.</p> <p>While the seriousness of the accusations is clear to all, and the U.S. has been keen to <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2024/01/30/us/politics/aid-gaza-israel.html">downplay the significance</a> of its pause in funding, the action is not in keeping with precedent.</p> <p>Western donors did not, for example, defund other U.N. agencies or peacekeeping operations amid accusations of <a href="https://www.hrw.org/news/2020/01/11/un-peacekeeping-has-sexual-abuse-problem">sexual assault</a>, <a href="https://www.justice.gov/usao-sdny/pr/former-un-general-assembly-president-and-five-others-charged-13-million-bribery-scheme">corruption</a> or <a href="https://www.hrw.org/legacy/summaries/s.bosnia9510.html">complicity in war crimes</a>.</p> <p>In real terms, the funding cuts to the UNRWA will affect <a href="https://www.unrwa.org/where-we-work/gaza-strip">1.7 million Palestinian refugees in Gaza</a> along with an additional 400,000 Palestinians without refugee status, many of whom benefit from the UNRWA’s infrastructure. Some critics have gone further and said depriving the agency of funds <a href="https://jacobin.com/2024/01/unrwa-defunding-gaza-israel">amounts to collective punishment</a> against Palestinians.</p> <p>Refugee aid, and humanitarian aid more generally, is theoretically meant to be neutral and impartial. But as experts in <a href="https://www.cambridge.org/core/books/reluctant-reception/558E2A93FF99B8F295347A8FA2053698">migration</a> <a href="https://www.routledge.com/UN-Global-Compacts-Governing-Migrants-and-Refugees/Micinski/p/book/9780367218836">and</a> <a href="https://press.umich.edu/Books/D/Delegating-Responsibility">international relations</a>, we know funding is often used as a foreign policy tool, whereby allies are rewarded and enemies punished. In this context, we believe the cuts in funding for the UNRWA fit a wider pattern of the politicization of aid to refugees, particularly Palestinian refugees.</p> <h2>What is the UNRWA?</h2> <p>The UNRWA, short for the U.N. Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, was established two years after about <a href="https://theconversation.com/the-nakba-at-75-palestinians-struggle-to-get-recognition-for-their-catastrophe-204782">750,000 Palestinians were expelled or fled from their homes</a> during the months leading up to the creation of the state of Israel in 1948 and the subsequent Arab-Israeli war.</p> <p>Prior to the UNRWA’s creation, international and local organizations, many of them religious, provided services to displaced Palestinians. But after <a href="https://cup.columbia.edu/book/refuge-and-resistance/9780231202855">surveying the extreme poverty</a> and dire situation pervasive across refugee camps, the U.N. General Assembly, including all Arab states and Israel, voted to create the UNRWA in 1949.</p> <p>Since that time, <a href="https://www.unrwa.org/what-we-do">the UNRWA has been the primary aid organization</a> providing food, medical care, schooling and, in some cases, housing for the 6 million Palestinians living across its five fields: Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, as well as the areas that make up the occupied Palestinian territories: the West Bank and Gaza Strip.</p> <p>The mass displacement of Palestinians – known as the <a href="https://theconversation.com/the-nakba-at-75-palestinians-struggle-to-get-recognition-for-their-catastrophe-204782">Nakba, or “catastrophe</a>” – occurred prior to the <a href="https://www.unhcr.org/about-unhcr/who-we-are/1951-refugee-convention">1951 Refugee Convention</a>, which defined refugees as anyone with a well-founded fear of persecution owing to “events occurring in Europe before 1 January 1951.” Despite a <a href="https://www.unhcr.org/sites/default/files/legacy-pdf/4ec262df9.pdf">1967 protocol extending the definition</a> worldwide, Palestinians are still excluded from the primary international system protecting refugees.</p> <p>While the UNRWA is responsible for providing services to Palestinian refugees, the United Nations also created the U.N. Conciliation Commission for Palestine in 1948 to seek a <a href="https://www.refworld.org/docid/4fe2e5672.html">long-term political solution</a> and “to facilitate the repatriation, resettlement and economic and social rehabilitation of the refugees and the payment of compensation.”</p> <p>As a result, the UNRWA does not have a mandate to push for the traditional durable solutions available in other refugee situations. As it happened, the conciliation commission was active only for a few years and has since been sidelined in favor of the U.S.-brokered peace processes.</p> <h2>Is the UNRWA political?</h2> <p>The UNRWA has been <a href="https://www.migrationpolicy.org/article/palestinian-refugees-dispossession">subject</a> to political headwinds since its inception and especially during periods of heightened tension between Palestinians and Israelis.</p> <p>While it is a U.N. organization and thus ostensibly apolitical, it has <a href="https://cup.columbia.edu/book/refuge-and-resistance/9780231202855">frequently been criticized</a> by Palestinians, Israelis as well as donor countries, including the United States, for acting politically.</p> <p>The UNRWA performs statelike functions across its five fields – including education, health and infrastructure – but it is restricted in its mandate from performing political or security activities.</p> <p>Initial Palestinian objections to the UNRWA stemmed from the organization’s early focus on economic integration of refugees into host states.</p> <p>Although the UNRWA officially adhered to the U.N. General Assembly’s <a href="https://www.unrwa.org/content/resolution-194">Resolution 194</a> that called for the return of Palestine refugees to their homes, U.N., U.K. and U.S. <a href="https://cup.columbia.edu/book/refuge-and-resistance/9780231202855">officials searched</a> for means by which to resettle and integrate Palestinians into host states, viewing this as the favorable political solution to the Palestinian refugee situation and the broader Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In this sense, Palestinians perceived the UNRWA to be both highly political and actively working against their interests.</p> <p>In later decades, the UNRWA <a href="https://cup.columbia.edu/book/refuge-and-resistance/9780231202855">switched its primary focus</a> from jobs to education at the urging of Palestinian refugees. But the UNRWA’s education materials were <a href="https://cup.columbia.edu/book/refuge-and-resistance/9780231202855">viewed</a> by Israel as further feeding Palestinian militancy, and the Israeli government insisted on checking and approving all materials in Gaza and the West Bank, which it has occupied since 1967.</p> <p>While Israel has <a href="https://cup.columbia.edu/book/refuge-and-resistance/9780231202855">long been suspicious</a> of the UNRWA’s role in refugee camps and in providing education, the organization’s operation, which is internationally funded, <a href="https://www.crisisgroup.org/middle-east-north-africa/east-mediterranean-mena/israelpalestine/242-unrwas-reckoning-preserving-un-agency-serving-palestinian-refugees">also saves</a> Israel millions of dollars each year in services it would be obliged to deliver as the occupying power.</p> <p>Since the 1960s, the U.S. – UNRWA’s primary donor – and other Western countries have <a href="https://cup.columbia.edu/book/refuge-and-resistance/9780231202855">repeatedly expressed their desire</a> to use aid to prevent radicalization among refugees.</p> <p>In response to the increased presence of armed opposition groups, the <a href="https://cup.columbia.edu/book/refuge-and-resistance/9780231202855">U.S. attached a provision</a> to its UNRWA aid in 1970, requiring that the “UNRWA take all possible measures to assure that no part of the United States contribution shall be used to furnish assistance to any refugee who is receiving military training as a member of the so-called Palestine Liberation Army (PLA) or any other guerrilla-type organization.”</p> <p>The UNRWA adheres to this requirement, even publishing an annual list of its employees so that host governments can vet them, but it also <a href="https://www.crisisgroup.org/middle-east-north-africa/east-mediterranean-mena/israelpalestine/242-unrwas-reckoning-preserving-un-agency-serving-palestinian-refugees">employs 30,000 individuals</a>, the vast majority of whom are Palestinian.</p> <p>Questions over the links of the UNRWA to any militancy has led to the rise of Israeli and international <a href="https://cufi.org/issue/unrwa-teachers-continue-to-support-antisemitism-terrorism-on-social-media-un-watch/">watch groups</a> that document the social media activity of the organization’s large Palestinian staff.</p> <h2>Repeated cuts in funding</h2> <p>The United States has used its money and power within the U.N. to block criticism of Israel, vetoing at least <a href="https://www.un.org/depts/dhl/resguide/scact_veto_table_en.htm">45 U.N. resolutions</a> critical of Israel.</p> <p>And the latest freeze is not the first time the U.S. has cut funding to the UNRWA or other U.N. agencies in response to issues pertaining to the status of Palestinians.</p> <p>In 2011, the <a href="https://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE79U5ED/#:%7E:text=WASHINGTON%20(Reuters)%20%2D%20The%20United,grant%20the%20Palestinians%20full%20membership.">U.S. cut all funding to UNESCO</a>, the U.N. agency that provides educational and cultural programs around the world, after the agency voted to admit the state of Palestine as a full member.</p> <p>The Obama administration defended the move, claiming it was required by a 1990s law to defund any U.N. body that admitted Palestine as a full member.</p> <p>But the impact of the action was nonetheless severe. Within just four years, UNESCO was <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/1758-5899.12459">forced to cut its staff in half</a> and roll back its operations. President Donald Trump later <a href="https://www.pbs.org/newshour/politics/u-s-and-israel-officially-withdraw-from-unesco">withdrew the U.S. completely from UNESCO</a>.</p> <p>In 2018, the Trump administration paused its <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/31/us/politics/trump-unrwa-palestinians.html">US$60 million contribution to the UNRWA</a>. Trump claimed the pause would create political pressure for Palestinians to negotiate. President Joe Biden restarted U.S. contributions to the UNRWA in 2021.</p> <h2>Politicization of refugee aid</h2> <p>Palestinian are not the only group to suffer from the politicization of refugee funding.</p> <p>After World War II, states established different international organizations to help refugees but strategically excluded some groups from the refugee definition. For example, the U.S. funded the <a href="https://www.nationalww2museum.org/war/articles/last-million-eastern-european-displaced-persons-postwar-germany">U.N. Relief and Rehabilitation Administration to help resettle displaced persons after World War II</a> but resisted Soviet pressure to forcibly repatriate Soviet citizens.</p> <p>The U.S. also created a separate organization, <a href="https://academic.oup.com/ijrl/article-abstract/1/4/501/1598187">the precursor to the International Organization for Migration</a>, to circumvent Soviet influence. In many ways, the UNRWA’s existence and the exclusion of Palestinian refugees from the wider refugee regime parallels this dynamic.</p> <p>Funding for refugees has also been politicized through the earmarking of voluntary contributions to U.N. agencies. Some agencies receive funding from U.N. dues; but the UNRWA, alongside the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees and the International Organization for Migration, receive the majority of their funding from voluntary contributions from member states.</p> <p>These contributions can be earmarked for specific activities or locations, leading to donors such as the <a href="https://www.peio.me/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/PEIO12_paper_107.pdf">U.S. or European Union dictating which refugees get aid and which do not</a>. Earmarked contributions amounted to nearly <a href="https://unsceb.org/fs-revenue-agency">96% of the UNHCR’s budget, 96% of the IOM’s budget and 74% of UNRWA funding in 2022</a>.</p> <p>As a result, any cuts to UNRWA funding will affect its ability to service Palestinian refugees in Gaza – especially at a time when so many are <a href="https://www.cnn.com/2024/01/30/middleeast/famine-looms-in-gaza-israel-war-intl/index.html">facing hunger, disease and displacement</a> as a result of war.<!-- 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/222263/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/nicholas-r-micinski-207353"><em>Nicholas R. Micinski</em></a><em>, Assistant Professor of Political Science and International Affairs, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-maine-2120">University of Maine</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/kelsey-norman-862895">Kelsey Norman</a>, Fellow for the Middle East, Rice University's Baker Institute for Public Policy, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/rice-university-931">Rice University</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images </em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/funding-for-refugees-has-long-been-politicized-punitive-action-against-unrwa-and-palestinians-fits-that-pattern-222263">original article</a>.</em></p>

Money & Banking

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Flight cancelled after parents demand free upgrade for their child

<p dir="ltr">A flight was delayed for hours before being ultimately cancelled after two parents demanded that their child was upgraded to first class for free. </p> <p dir="ltr">A plane in China was grounded for three hours after the parents caused a ruckus with the cabin crew, and were eventually kicked off the aircraft. </p> <p dir="ltr">According to a fellow passenger, the argument kicked off when an unsupervised child began to sob uncontrollably after boarding a flight from Chengdu to Beijing. </p> <p dir="ltr">As it turned out, the inconsolable toddler’s parents were seated in first class but had only bought their child an economy ticket.</p> <p dir="ltr">It was then that the angry dad confronted the staff, demanding that his son be moved to first class at no extra cost.</p> <p dir="ltr">According to the <em>South China Morning Post</em>, the irate dad explained that because he had already paid for two first class tickets, his child’s upgrade should be free. </p> <p dir="ltr">In the clip shot by a fellow passenger, the outraged dad began berating a group of passengers, crew members, and security guards as they repeatedly explained why his child isn’t entitled to an upgrade.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Stop swearing at me,” fumed the father. “You have no right to do that.”</p> <p dir="ltr">When a security guard attempts to de-escalate the situation, the parent lays into him, shouting: “What gives you the right to order me about?”</p> <p dir="ltr">This prompts a woman to retort: “You’ve wasted too much of our time and we won’t tolerate it any longer.”</p> <p dir="ltr">After three hours of back and forth, the couple were eventually kicked off the plane, while the flight was cancelled. </p> <p dir="ltr">The entitled passenger has since been rinsed on social media with one commenter fuming, “This man is so selfish.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Others suggested solutions for the father that didn’t involve the airline giving the man an extra first-class seat.</p> <p dir="ltr">“He can switch seats,” advised one person. “Let him sit in economy class, and have the mum take care of the child in the first-class cabin.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Some on social media were quick to chastise the airline for their handling of the situation, with one person writing, “Keeping the quarrel going for hours? The problem-solving skills of the crew are poor.”</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image credits: Twitter</em><span id="docs-internal-guid-dd8af609-7fff-7da2-9017-179b6317cd24"></span></p>

Travel Trouble

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Eye-watering price tag for "remarkable" first class Titanic menu

<p>A first class dinner menu from the Titanic has been found and sold at an auction in England for £84,000 (around $162,000 AUD) on November 11. </p> <p>The water-stained menu was dated April 11, 1912 just three days before the ship hit an iceberg, ultimately meeting it's ill-fated end causing over 1500 deaths. </p> <p>Wealthy passengers at the time were spoiled with choice, with oysters, salmon, beef, squab (baby pigeon), spring lamb among other dishes on the menu, and that's not including dessert. </p> <p>Auctioneers Henry Aldridge &amp; Son said it was unclear how the menu made it off the ship intact, but the slight water damage suggests that it was recovered from the body of a victim. </p> <p>The rare artefact, which is over 111 years old belonged to amateur historian Len Stephenson, from Nova Scotia, Canada, who passed away in 2017. </p> <p>No one knew he had it, including his family, who only discovered it after going through his belongings following his death. </p> <p>“About six months ago his daughter and his son-in-law, Allen, felt the time was right to go through his belongings,” auctioneer Andrew Aldridge said. </p> <p>“As they did they found this menu in an old photo album.</p> <p>“Len was a very well thought-of historian in Nova Scotia which has strong connections with the Titanic. The body recovery ships were from Nova Scotia and so all the victims were taken back there.</p> <p>“Sadly, Len has taken the secret of how he acquired this menu to the grave with him.”</p> <p>Stephenson worked at a post office and would talk to people, collect old pictures and write letters for them, which might be how he got the rare artefact. </p> <p>According to the auctioneer, no other first class dinner menus dated April 11, 1912 have been recovered from the titanic making this “a remarkable survivor from the most famous Ocean liner of all time”.</p> <p>“There are a handful of April 14 menus in existence but you just don’t see menus from April 11. Most of them would have gone down with the ship,” Aldridge said. </p> <p>“Whereas with April 14 menus, passengers would have still had them in their coat and jacket pockets from earlier on that fateful night and still had them when they were taken off the ship," he added. </p> <p>A few other items recovered from the Titanic were also sold, including a Swiss-made pocket watch recovered from passenger Sinai Kantor which fetched £97,000 (around $187,000 AUD). </p> <p>A tartan-patterned deck blanket, which was likely used during the rescue operation also sold for £96,000 (around $185,000). </p> <p><em>Images: Henry Aldridge &amp; Son of Devizes, Wiltshire</em></p> <p> </p>

Cruising

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"You've been bumped": Vietnam vet slams Qantas for booting him from business class

<p dir="ltr">Qantas has come under fire for booting a Vietnam war veteran from his paid seat in business class so that a young Qantas "tech" – later revealed to be a pilot – could travel in the luxury seat in his place.</p> <p dir="ltr">Stephen Jones, 78, and his wife were travelling home to Adelaide after a holiday in Christchurch. Their flight was passing through Melbourne on its way to their home in Adelaide, and the pair were enjoying coffee in the Melbourne airport lounge – just 30 minutes before they were set to continue their journey – when they were given the bad news by Qantas staff.</p> <p dir="ltr">"I went up to the desk and the Qantas employee there said, 'I've got some bad news for you, you've been bumped'," Mr Jones told Melbourne’s <em><a href="https://www.3aw.com.au/vietnam-war-veteran-booted-from-business-class-for-younger-qantas-employee/">3AW</a></em> radio program with Ross & Russ. </p> <p dir="ltr">"It didn't register at first," continued Mr Jones. "I wasn't quite sure what 'bumped' meant... I said, 'What?', and she said, 'Yes, I'll have to re-issue your ticket for economy class. We have a tech who's flying to Adelaide and his contract states that he must fly Business Class."</p> <p dir="ltr">Mr Jones then explained that while he retreated to his economy seat, the Qantas employee was seated next to his wife up in business class, and that "he wouldn't even look at her".</p> <p dir="ltr">Mr Jones went on to explain that, after filing a letter of complaint, he was offered 5000 Frequent Flyer points in return for the downgrade and an apology.</p> <p dir="ltr">Mr Jones, who served in Vietnam in a combat unit in the 1960s, claimed he turned down the offer of 5000 points, saying, “I don’t think anything is going to change until there’s ramifications for Qantas, or costs for Qantas when they upset their customers.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Justin Lawrence, Partner at Henderson Ball Lawyers, later told the 3AW radio show hosts that there’s little customers can do about such a move by the airline and said it was “standard operating procedure”.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Unfortunately, their terms of carriage allow them to do this sort of thing – this happens so often they’ve actually got a term for it, buckle up, they call this 'involuntary downgrading,'” he said.</p> <p dir="ltr">“They’ll overprescribe business class or first class, they will need to bump someone out, and they’ll do it almost immediately prior to the flight – not just Qantas, they all do it."</p> <p dir="ltr">“Any time you go to a travel agent or online to Qantas to buy a seat, and we think we’re buying a seat in a particular class, there are no guarantees that when that plane takes off, you’ll be sitting in that class.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Mr Jones said he understood that Qantas pilots were entitled to rest comfortably on their way to another flight, but the ordeal was “unsettling and made me a little irritable”.</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p>

Travel Trouble

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"Impunity for macho actions is over": Why the entire Spanish World Cup team has quit

<p>Luis Rubiales, the head of Spanish soccer, has rejected calls for his resignation despite facing widespread backlash for his actions following Spain's Women's World Cup victory.</p> <p>Rubiales came under fire after he was seen grabbing star player Jenni Hermoso's head and kissing her on the lips during the medal ceremony. The incident has led to a revolt among 56 national team members and condemnation from the government for what they deemed to be "macho actions".</p> <p>A collective statement, issued through their union, was signed by all 23 members of the winning squad, including Hermoso, as well as 32 other team members. In the statement, they declared their refusal to participate in international matches as long as Rubiales remains at the helm of the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF).</p> <p>Within the same statement, Hermoso refuted Rubiales' assertion that the kiss was consensual (see below for the statement in full). The controversial kiss occurred at the medal ceremony after Spain's victory over England in the World Cup final in Sydney.</p> <p>Rubiales' elderly mother, Angeles Bejar, has now taken an extreme stance in support of her son, initiating a hunger strike and seeking refuge in a church, citing a perceived "inhumane witch-hunt" against him. In parallel, the regional presidents of the Spanish football federation have called for Rubiales' resignation.</p> <p>This series of events coincided with Spanish prosecutors' announcement of a preliminary investigation into Rubiales' conduct during the World Cup final, focusing on the kiss with Hermoso. The Spanish national court stated that the investigation would explore whether Rubiales' actions could be considered sexual assault.</p> <p>Despite facing pressure to step down, Rubiales has resisted these calls and maintained that the kiss was just a “little peck” that was “spontaneous, mutual, euphoric and consensual”. He also claimed that he asked Hermoso if he could kiss her and that she said “OK”.</p> <p>The Spanish government, lacking the authority to directly remove Rubiales from his position, has sought legal avenues to suspend him using a sports tribunal. Victor Francos, the head of the state-run sports council, emphasised the government's determination to ensure accountability in this matter, comparing it to a Spanish soccer "Me Too" movement.</p> <p>Criticism of Rubiales' behavior has escalated since Spain's victory, with Acting Labour Minister Yolanda Diaz condemning his actions as "unacceptable." The government has been urged to take swift action against such behaviour and ensure that those responsible are held accountable.</p> <p>“The government must act and take urgent measures: impunity for macho actions is over. Rubiales cannot continue in office,” Diaz wrote on social media. </p> <p>In response, FIFA initiated disciplinary proceedings against Rubiales, prompted by Hermoso's statement expressing her union's commitment to defending her rights and condemning acts like the one she experienced.</p> <p>The situation remains tense as Rubiales continues to face demands for his resignation, while he remains defiant and resolute in his position as the head of Spanish soccer.</p> <p><em><strong>Hermoso’s full statement:</strong></em></p> <p>“After achieving one of the most desired successes of my sports career and after a few days of reflection, I want to wholeheartedly thank my teammates, fans, followers, the media and all of you who have made this dream come true; Your work and unconditional support have been a fundamental part of winning the World Cup.</p> <p>“In reference to what happened today. Although it is true that for my part I do not want to interfere with the multiple legal processes in progress, I feel compelled to denounce that the words of Mr. Luis Rubiales explaining the unfortunate incident are categorically false and part of the manipulative culture that he himself has generated.</p> <p>“I clarify that at no time did the conversation to which Mr. Luis Rubiales referred to take place and that, far from it, his kiss was consented. In the same way I want to reiterate as I did at the time that this fact had not been to my liking.</p> <p>“The situation caused me a shock due to the context of the celebration, and with the passage of time and after delving a little deeper into those first feelings, I feel the need to denounce this fact since I consider that no person, in any area work, sports or social should be a victim of this type of non-consensual behaviour.</p> <p>“I felt vulnerable and the victim of aggression, an impulsive, sexist, out of place act and without any kind of consent on my part. I just wasn’t respected. I was asked to make a joint statement to take the pressure off the president, but at that moment in my head I only had the idea of enjoying the historic milestone reached together with my teammates.</p> <p>“For this reason, at all times I informed the RFEF and its different interlocutors, as well as the media and people I trust that I would not make any type of individual or joint statement on this matter, since I understood that, if I did, I would still remove more prominence to such a special moment for my colleagues and me.</p> <p>“Despite my decision, I have to state that I have been under continuous pressure to come up with a statement that could justify the act of Mr. Luis Rubiales. Not only that, but in different ways and through different people, the RFEF has pressured my environment (family, friends, colleagues, etc.) to give testimony that had little or nothing to do with my feelings.</p> <p>“It is not up to me to evaluate communication and integrity practices, but I am sure that as the World Champion National Team we do not deserve such a manipulative, hostile and controlling culture. This type of incident joins a long list of situations that we players have been denouncing in recent years, so this fact, in which I have been involved, is just the straw that breaks the camel’s back and what everyone has been able to see, but attitudes like this have been part of the day-to-day life of our team for years.</p> <p>“For all these reasons, I want to reinforce the position I took from the beginning, considering that I do not have to support the person who has committed this action against my will, without respecting me, at a historic moment for me and for women’s sport. from this country.</p> <p>“In no case can it be my responsibility to assume the consequences of transmitting something in which I do not believe, which is why I have refused the pressures received. ZERO TOLERANCE with these behaviors. I want to close by making it very clear that although I am the one expressing these words, it is all the players in Spain and the world who have given me the strength to come out with this statement.</p> <p>“Faced with such a show of disrespect and inability to recognise one’s own mistakes and assume the consequences, I have made the decision not to play for the National Team again as long as the current leaders continue. Thank you all for the messages of support and words of encouragement received. I know I am not alone and thanks to all of you we will get ahead more united. I leave this issue to the people I trust TMJ and FUTPRO and they will continue working on the next steps based on recent events.”</p> <p><em>Image: Channel 7</em></p>

Legal

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Qantas slapped with class action lawsuit

<p>Qantas is staring down the barrel of a class action lawsuit, after being accused of prioritising its financial interests over its contractual commitments to customers during the COVID-19 pandemic.</p> <p>The legal action was initiated on Monday August 21 in response to the airline's failure to provide refunds totalling more than a billion dollars to its customers.</p> <p>Echo Law, the plaintiff firm, contends that Qantas deceived customers and essentially held their funds, effectively treating them as interest-free loans.</p> <p>Andrew Paull, a partner at Echo Law, asserts that Qantas acted unlawfully by introducing a flight credit program in response to border closures caused by the pandemic. Instead of promptly refunding customers for cancelled flights, the airline, in numerous instances, retained the funds for an extended period to bolster its financial performance.</p> <p>Paull notes that Qantas' own terms and conditions stipulate refunds when cancellations occur outside their control. He points out that the magnitude of the claim has grown due to Qantas' prolonged inaction in addressing these issues.</p> <p>The class action is not only aiming to secure redress for pending refunds but also seeks compensation for delayed reimbursements. Paull alleges that Qantas has been "unjustly enriched" by withholding money owed to its customers. He equates the interest accrued on these retained funds over the past three years to a substantial sum.</p> <p>This legal action marks the latest episode in a series of challenges faced by Australia's largest airline due to the pandemic's far-reaching repercussions, which severely disrupted its operations. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has expressed concern and pressured the company to simplify the refund process following a surge in customer complaints.</p> <p>Consumer advocates have also criticised Qantas for delays in refunding customers. Choice, a consumer advocacy group, even bestowed a "shonky award" upon Qantas due to reports of customers using credits being required to pay extra.</p> <p>Paull estimates that approximately $400 million in refunds remains outstanding to date. He asserts that Qantas prioritised safeguarding its financial position over honouring its commitments to customers during the pandemic, potentially misleading customers by presenting the travel credits as acts of goodwill rather than a fulfilment of contractual obligations.</p> <p>Responding to the lawsuit, a Qantas spokesperson stated on Monday that the airline had not yet received the lawsuit. The spokesperson categorically rejected the allegations, asserting that Qantas had already processed over $1 billion in refunds arising from COVID-19-related credits for customers impacted by lockdowns and border closures.</p> <p>Moreover, the spokesperson refuted claims that Qantas derived financial gains from delaying refund disbursements, highlighting the substantial revenue loss of $25 billion and $7 billion in losses due to the pandemic. (Qantas has subsequently repaid significant portions of its pandemic debts and recently reported substantial profits after receiving substantial financial support from taxpayers during the pandemic period.)</p> <p>Qantas also dismissed allegations of delayed refund payments to affected customers. The spokesperson emphasised that the airline has consistently communicated the refund process to customers when flights were canceled.</p> <p>However, Paull contends that Qantas has created formidable barriers for customers seeking to exercise their consumer rights, including unfulfilled promises of callbacks and refunds that were granted but never processed.</p>

Legal

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Zoo's upright bear accused of being just a guy in a suit

<p>A Chinese zoo has had to be completely trans-bear-ant about its popular sun bear, following allegations that it was actually a human in disguise.</p> <p>The Hangzhou Zoo in China gained international recognition after video footage of their sun bear standing on its hind legs and waving at visitors caused many to paws and look twice.</p> <p>Many were bear-side themselves with excitement as theories that it was a human in disguise continued to spread.</p> <p>The local Hangzhou Daily first reported on the attention that the four-year-old sun bear named Angela was receiving.</p> <p>“Because of the way they stand, some people online question whether they are ‘humans in disguise’,” they wrote.</p> <p>As Angela gained popularity, experts were summoned and had to confirm that the bear was in fact fur-real.</p> <p>Ashleigh Marshall, an expert from Chester Zoo, told <em>BBC News</em> that the animal “is definitely a real bear,” and affirmed to doubtful visitors that sun bears do often “look a lot like people in costumes”.</p> <p>The animal expert also pointed out that the folds on the sun bear’s back weren’t because the costume was loose, but its actual function is to protect the bear from predators and allow them to “turn around” and fight back if attacked.</p> <p>Various representatives of the zoo have had to come out and release statements addressing the controversy.</p> <p>A spokesperson has reportedly said that the state-run facility would never intentionally deceive people, in an audio clip circulating on popular Chinese social media platform WeChat.</p> <p>“Some people think I stand like a person,” read another social media post, written from the point of view of the bear.</p> <p>“It seems you don't understand me very well.”</p> <p>Another spokesperson for the zoo has also denied the allegations and said that a human in a fur bear suit “would not last more than a few minutes before collapsing” in the 40°C summer temperatures.</p> <p><em>Images: Twitter / WeChat</em></p>

International Travel

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Can’t afford a gym membership or fitness class? 3 things to include in a DIY exercise program

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/lewis-ingram-1427671">Lewis Ingram</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-south-australia-1180">University of South Australia</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/hunter-bennett-1053061">Hunter Bennett</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-south-australia-1180">University of South Australia</a>, and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/saravana-kumar-181105">Saravana Kumar</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-south-australia-1180">University of South Australia</a></em></p> <p>With the rising cost of living, gyms memberships and fitness classes are becoming increasingly unaffordable. But the good news is you can make <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28655559/">just as much progress at home</a>.</p> <p>Cardiovascular endurance, muscle strength and flexibility are the <a href="https://www.acsm.org/docs/default-source/publications-files/acsms-exercise-testing-prescription.pdf?sfvrsn=111e9306_4">most important</a> components of fitness. And each can be trained with little or no equipment. Let’s look at why – and how – to fit them into your DIY exercise program.</p> <h2>1. Cardiovascular endurance</h2> <p>Cardiovascular endurance exercise (or “cardio”) forces the heart and lungs to increase the supply of oxygen to the working muscles. Heart disease is a <a href="https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/the-top-10-causes-of-death">leading cause of death</a> and cardiovascular endurance exercise helps keep the heart healthy.</p> <p>The best thing about cardio is you don’t need any fancy equipment to do it. Walking, jogging and running are great options, as are cycling, skipping rope and swimming.</p> <p>There are two approaches to maximise cardiovascular endurance:</p> <ul> <li> <p><a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/8897392/">high-intensity interval training</a> (HIIT) – short bouts of hard exercise (around 80% to 95% of your maximum heart rate) interspersed with lower intensity recovery periods (around 40% to 50% of your maximum heart rate)</p> </li> <li> <p><a href="http://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26664271/">low-intensity steady-state</a> (LISS) exercise – aerobic activity performed continuously at a low-to-moderate intensity (around 50% to 65% of your maximum heart rate) for an extended duration.</p> </li> </ul> <p>Both are great options. While high-intensity interval training can be more time efficient, low-intensity steady-state training might be more enjoyable and easier to sustain long-term.</p> <p>No matter what you choose, <a href="https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/physical-activity">aim for</a> a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate-intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity cardiovascular exercise each week. For example, you could try 30 minutes, five days per week of low intensity cardio, or 25 minutes, three days per week of high-intensity activity, or a combination of the two.</p> <p>How do you know if you’re exercising at the right intensity?</p> <p>Smart watches that measure heart rate can help to monitor intensity. Or you can rely on the good old-fashioned <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25536539/">talk test</a>. During low-intensity activity, you should be able to speak in full sentences. Conversely, short phrases (initially) or single words (towards the end) should be all that’s manageable during high-intensity exercise.</p> <h2>2. Muscle strength</h2> <p>Next is muscle strength, which we train through resistance exercise. This is important for bone health, balance and metabolic health, especially as we age and our <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30276173/">muscle mass and strength declines</a>.</p> <p>Aim for two days per week of whole-body resistance exercise performed at a moderate or <a href="https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/physical-activity">greater intensity</a>. Try to build two weekly sessions that target the major muscle groups. This could include:</p> <ul> <li>squats – lower to the ground from standing by bending the hips, knees, and ankles while keeping the chest up tall before returning to standing by straightening the hips, knees and ankles</li> </ul> <ul> <li> <p><a href="https://www.physio-pedia.com/Hip_Hinge">hinges</a> – fold forward at the hips by pushing your bottom back to the wall behind you, keeping your back straight. A slight bend in the knees is fine but aim to keep your shins vertical</p> </li> <li> <p><a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7196742/">push-ups</a> – if a full push-up is too difficult, you can place your hands on a raised surface such as a step or a chair</p> </li> <li> <p>horizontal and vertical pull ups – using something like a portable chin up bar, which you can buy from sports supply stores</p> </li> <li> <p>vertical pushes – pushing an object (or weight) vertically from the top of your chest to an overhead position.</p> </li> </ul> <p>Once you have selected your exercises, <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/35873210/">perform</a> 2–3 sets of 8–12 repetitions at a moderate to greater intensity, with about 90 seconds rest between each set.</p> <p>As you progress, continue to challenge your muscles by adding an extra set to each exercise, or including dumbbells, changing body position or wearing a backpack with weights. The goal should be to progress slightly each session.</p> <p>However, if you have any underlying health conditions, disabilities, or are unsure how best to do this, see an exercise physiologist or physiotherapist.</p> <h2>3. Flexibility</h2> <p>Improved flexibility can <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3273886/">increase your range of motion</a> and improve your ability to manage daily life.</p> <p>While we don’t know the <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3273886/">best means of increasing flexibility</a>, the most basic and readily accessible is static <a href="https://www.topendsports.com/testing/flex.htm">stretching</a>. Here, we lengthen the muscle – for example, the hamstrings, until we feel a “stretching” sensation. Hold that position for 15–30 seconds.</p> <p>While the precise intensity of this stretching sensation <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26347668/">remains elusive</a>, <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29506306/">around 5–10 minutes</a> per week per <a href="https://exrx.net/Lists/Directory">muscle group</a>, spread across five days, seems to provide the best results.</p> <h2>How to stick with it?</h2> <p>The best exercise is the one that gets done. So, whatever you choose, make sure you enjoy it. After all, it’s about creating an ongoing commitment to exercise that will deliver long-term health benefits.</p> <p>It’s also important to ensure you’re ready to exercise, especially if you have any underlying health issues, have been previously inactive, or are unsure how to start. A <a href="https://www.ausactive.org.au/apss">pre-exercise screening</a> can help you to determine whether you should see a doctor or allied health professional before starting an exercise program and for guidance on the next steps. <!-- 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/206204/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/lewis-ingram-1427671">Lewis Ingram</a>, Lecturer in Physiotherapy, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-south-australia-1180">University of South Australia</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/hunter-bennett-1053061">Hunter Bennett</a>, Lecturer in Exercise Science, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-south-australia-1180">University of South Australia</a>, and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/saravana-kumar-181105">Saravana Kumar</a>, Professor in Allied Health and Health Services Research, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-south-australia-1180">University of South Australia</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/cant-afford-a-gym-membership-or-fitness-class-3-things-to-include-in-a-diy-exercise-program-206204">original article</a>.</em></p>

Body

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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

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US school teacher sacked after reading Aussie book to class

<p dir="ltr">A US primary school teacher is forced to resign or terminate her contract after reading an Aussie book to her class.</p> <p dir="ltr">Katie Rinderle, from Cobb County, Georgia wanted to teach her fifth graders about inclusion and acceptance through Aussie author Scott Stuart’s book, <em>My Shadow is Purple</em>.</p> <p dir="ltr">The book itself explores this through the theme of “gender beyond the binary” and the story of a child who neither identifies as a boy or girl.</p> <p dir="ltr">Rinderle discussed the main message behind the book before asking them to reflect and write their own poem, which has been praised by some parents.</p> <p dir="ltr">However, not all of them were happy about Rinderle’s initiative and one parent filed a complaint which led to an investigation.</p> <p dir="ltr">Rinderle was sacked for violating the Divisive Concepts law, which disallows teachers from educating about divisive concepts and was given the notice of termination on June 6.</p> <p dir="ltr">Investigators reportedly deemed the book to be “pornographic” material which included “inappropriate topics”.</p> <p dir="ltr">Stuart, the author of the book, responded to the situation and shared his “disgust” on <a href="https://www.tiktok.com/@scott.creates/video/7247741499775995137?lang=en" target="_blank" rel="noopener">TikTok</a>.</p> <p dir="ltr">“A teacher’s just been fired for reading one of my books,” he said in the video.</p> <p dir="ltr">“(She) had parents reaching out saying that this kind of lesson was something that they wanted in the class. This is a teacher who gets phenomenal feedback from the principal, the students, the parents.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Her teaching is described as transformative and key to the school’s success,” he defended Rinderle.</p> <p dir="ltr">“This whole thing just really goes to show how much more interested the school system in the US is in playing politics than they are in educating kids,” he added</p> <p dir="ltr">“It’s gross. It’s disgusting.”.</p> <p dir="ltr">Cobb County School District has responded to the situation in a statement to<em> FOX 5 a</em>nd claimed that any action taken was “appropriate considering the entirety of the teacher’s behaviour and history”.</p> <p dir="ltr">“The District remains committed to strictly enforcing all Board policy, and the law,” the statement concluded.</p> <p dir="ltr">Rinderle will face a termination hearing in August.</p> <p style="box-sizing: inherit; margin: 0px 0px 5px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-size: 16px; vertical-align: baseline; color: #323338; font-family: Figtree, Roboto, Rubik, 'Noto Kufi Arabic', 'Noto Sans JP', sans-serif; background-color: #ffffff; outline: none !important;"><em>Images: TikTok</em></p>

Books

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ABC threatened with legal action over coronation coverage

<p dir="ltr">The Australian Monarchist League have threatened to take legal action against the ABC over their coronation coverage, specifically the comments made on their hour-long special <em>The Coronation: A discussion about the Monarchy in 2023</em>. </p> <p dir="ltr">The programme, focussed on the monarchy’s relevance to Australia, featured <em>The Drum</em>’s Julia Baird and Jeremy Fernandez as hosts, with a panel that included the likes of<em> Q&amp;A </em>host Stan Grant and Australian Republic Movement co-chair Craig Foster. Julian Leeser - a Liberal MP and monarchist - and Teela Reid - a Wiradjuri and Wailwan woman - were also involved.</p> <p dir="ltr">The coverage, which broadcast in Australia three hours before King Charles III’s coronation, faced a wave of criticism from the Australian Monarchist League, as well as <em>3AW</em> radio host Neil Mitchell, ABC audiences, and Liberal MPs.</p> <p dir="ltr">And now, the AML have announced their intention to take their complaints further, with a statement from AML national chair Philip Benwell declaring that their “legal advisers are preparing a formal complaint to the board of the ABC in regard to the production and airing of Saturday's extremely biased pre-Coronation programme specifically designed to attack the Constitution and the Crown. Our Executive and others are meeting this week to formalise our approach.</p> <p dir="ltr">“So vitriolic are their attacks on the King, the monarchy, the British settlement and everything that came thereafter that they forget that they are the very people who want our vote for their Voice to the Parliament.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Brenwell noted that they were inviting “pertinent comments” regarding the broadcast to help compile their formal complaint, specifying that these should “include specific comments made during the programme by interviewers and panellists”.</p> <p dir="ltr">Neil Mitchell, radio host for <em>3AW</em>, had a lot to say about the coverage too, noting his opinion that it had “misread the mood”, as well as his desire for the ABC to see the broadcaster held accountable. </p> <p dir="ltr">“Somebody in the ABC needs to be accountable for this,” he declared, “as the national broadcaster it should have been the place you go to see the coverage of the coronation, instead you see all this bitterness about our Indigenous history.”</p> <p dir="ltr">He also took the opportunity to point out that the panel had featured four individuals, with “three of them republicans”. </p> <p dir="ltr">The fourth - and only monarchist - Julian Leeser agreed that the broadcast had gotten “the balance wrong” when it came to their panel compilation. </p> <p dir="ltr">As Mitchell added, “to have only one of four panellists as supporters of our existing constitutional arrangements meant there was little opportunity for a panel discussion that reflected the warmth and respect Australians have for King Charles.” </p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Images: Q&amp;A</em></p>

TV

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John Travolta’s iconic suit snatches a sweaty sum at auction

<p>John Travolta’s sweat stains have hit the market, snagging a staggering sum, alongside the iconic <em>Saturday Night Fever</em> white three-piece suit.</p> <p>The look rose to international fame when Travolta - as Tony Manero - took to the dancefloor in the 1977 classic, joining Stephanie Mangano for an intense disco dance competition. </p> <p>But it was the film’s promotional imagery that truly immortalised the suit - despite popular, yet incorrect, belief that Travolta had flaunted it during his solo ‘Night Fever’ dance. In posters - as well as on VCR, DVD, and CD covers - Travolta can be seen with his right arm in the air, on a dancefloor, white polyester front and centre. </p> <p>As Costume designer Patrizia von Brandenstein explained to the <em>New York Post</em>, they were looking for “a white, three-piece suit: dressy, inexpensive and polyester. There was a producer who thought a black suit would be more elegant. But heroes wear white; it’s as simple as that. </p> <p>“The pastel suits were nice and pretty, but John’s character is very much a hero. Plus, it needed to be something that a boy who works in a paint store would be able to afford. I think the suit sold for $150 or $200.”</p> <p>Initially purchased off the rack in Brooklyn for $100, the jacket - with matching waistcoat, flared trousers, black shirt, and Travolta’s 45-year-old sweat stains - was expected to fetch up to $250,000 USD (~$374,000 AUD) when it went under the hammer at Los Angeles’ Julien’s Auctions.</p> <p>Despite its distinct lack of a thorough cleaning, the suit did find a new home, with a buyer dishing out a total of approximately $388,692 AUD to call it their own.</p> <p>As a spokesperson for the auction house explained, “This suit is considered to be one of the most iconic costumes in cinema history. It is one of only two known to exist that was used during production. It has never been exhibited or sold at auction before.</p> <p>“It has become emblematic of not only the film but of the whole disco era.”</p> <p>The suit in question was actually one of a few purchased by the film’s costume designer - two were used on set, rotated in and out while the other dried, and another was used for promotional material - and was given to Julien’s Auctions by an anonymous collector who had received it from <em>Saturday Night Fever</em>’s director, John Badham in 1991. </p> <p>As for why the iconic outfit was being sold in its unique condition, the executive director of Julien’s Auctions had a simple explanation. </p> <p>“The sweat is how you know it’s authentic,” Martin J Nolan told <em>The Guardian</em>.</p> <p>“It was incredibly hot during filming, so you can still see the sweat marks around his waist. We never wash memorabilia. People want the stains, the DNA, particularly when a suit like this one hasn’t been auctioned before.”</p> <p><em>Images: Getty</em></p>

Movies

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Resistance to mega-tourism is rising in the South Pacific – but will governments put words into action?

<p>With COVID-19 travel restrictions largely a thing of the past for Australian and <a href="https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/travel/2022/12/fiji-more-popular-with-kiwi-tourists-than-it-was-pre-covid-19.html">New Zealand tourists</a>, Pacific destinations are enjoying the return of visitors – albeit at a <a href="https://devpolicy.org/the-pacific-emerging-from-covid-slowly-20221019/">slower pace</a> than in other parts of the world.</p> <p>Tourism in Fiji, Samoa, Vanuatu and the Cook Islands was <a href="https://www.imf.org/-/media/Files/Countries/ResRep/pis-region/small-states-monitor/pacific-islands-monitor-issue-17-october-2022.ashx">hit hard by the pandemic</a>, but <a href="https://www.massey.ac.nz/about/news/pacific-islands-resilient-as-covid-19-topples-tourism/">patience and resilience</a> are starting to pay off. Foreign dollars are once again circulating in those small economies. Recently, <a href="https://www.mvariety.com/business/kiribati-welcomes-first-cruise-ship-visit/article_30ca4be0-b0f7-11ed-9b9d-93619a4dfba6.html">Kiribati welcomed</a> its first international cruise ship since 2020.</p> <p>But this isn’t a simple case of returning to normal. The past three years have allowed time for reflection, leading to a rising awareness of <a href="https://southpacificislands.travel/pacific-sustainable-tourism-leadership-summit-calls-on-pacific-leaders-to-work-together-to-build-resilient-futures/">possible alternatives</a> to pre-pandemic tourism models.</p> <p>From senior levels within governments to grassroots tourism operators and citizens, there has been serious discussion about the resumption of business as usual, including several <a href="https://southpacificislands.travel/2021-ends-on-a-high-with-pacific-islands-tourism-research-symposium/">regional symposiums</a> hosted by the South Pacific Tourism Organisation.</p> <p>Issues of sovereignty and future resilience have been very much to the fore – quite untypical in a global tourism industry largely focused on <a href="https://etc-corporate.org/news/europes-tourism-rebound-predicted-to-continue-into-2023/">boosting numbers</a> as soon as possible. Questions remain, however, about the gap between rhetoric and reality.</p> <h2>Flipping the narrative</h2> <p>The <a href="https://southpacificislands.travel/2022-pacific-sustainable-tourism-leadership-summit/">Pacific Sustainable Tourism Leaders Summit</a> in November 2022 brought together tourism ministers and industry stakeholders to discuss the future of regional tourism. This led to a <a href="https://southpacificislands.travel/pacific-sustainable-tourism-leadership-summit-calls-on-pacific-leaders-to-work-together-to-build-resilient-futures/">regional commitment</a> signed by 11 countries focused on promoting sustainable tourism.</p> <p>Essentially, the aim is to flip the narrative: rather than Pacific nations being seen as dependent on tourism, regional tourism itself depends on the Pacific and its people surviving and thriving. Accordingly, Pacific countries are calling for fairer and more meaningful relationships with tourism partners.</p> <p>Cook Islands’ associate minister of foreign affairs and immigration, Tingika Elikana, urged other Pacific leaders at the summit to rebuild tourism in a way that was <a href="https://www.fijitimes.com/inclusive-pacific-summit-calls-on-regional-leaders-to-work-together/">equitable and inclusive</a>, "[it] is crucial that lessons are learned from recent crises and that steps are taken to embed long-term inclusivity, sustainability, and resilience into our tourism offering as it faces evolving challenges and risks."</p> <p>Vanuatu has been heading in this direction since early in the pandemic, when it made “destination wellbeing” <a href="https://www.traveldailymedia.com/vanuatu-tourism-adopts-well-being-approach-for-covid-19-recovery/">central to its tourism recovery</a>. The aim of “moving beyond solely measuring visitor arrivals and contribution to GDP” then fed into the country’s <a href="https://tourism.gov.vu/images/DoT-Documents/Presentations/Vanuatu_Sustainable_Tourism_Strategy_2020-2030-2020_.pdf">Sustainable Tourism Strategy</a>, launched at the height of the pandemic.</p> <h2>Push-back on resorts and cruise ships</h2> <p>This reappraisal of scale and priorities has perhaps been most evident in Fiji where there has been <a href="https://www.fijitimes.com/project-unoriginal/">strong opposition</a> to a US$300 million mega-project proposed by Chinese developers.</p> <p>The hotel, apartment and marina complex would be built in an area containing one of the last remaining remnants of mangrove forest near the capital, Suva. Conservationists and local residents have been critical of the <a href="https://www.rnz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/484141/conservationist-calls-on-fiji-govt-to-preserve-rare-mangrove">environmental</a> and <a href="https://www.fijitimes.com/how-can-fiji-supply-water-to-project/">infrastructural</a> impact of the proposed development, as well as the <a href="https://www.fijitimes.com/project-unoriginal/">authenticity of its design</a>.</p> <p>There is <a href="https://www.rnz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/484710/costly-development-of-suva-forest-may-now-not-happen">now doubt</a> about whether the government will renew the developer’s lease, due to expire in June. The minister for lands and mineral resources has said “there’s been a lack of transparency” from the developers, and that he “will continue to monitor the remaining conditions of the development lease”.</p> <p>A leading opponent of the project, Reverend James Bhagwan, <a href="https://www.rnz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/484710/costly-development-of-suva-forest-may-now-not-happen">told Radio New Zealand</a>, "we'’re not anti-development, but what we’re saying is we need to look at development from a perspective that places the environment at the centre, not at the periphery.</p> <p>There is a precedent here: approval for a multi-million-dollar resort and casino development on Malolo island was revoked in 2019 after another Chinese developer, Freesoul Investments, destroyed part of a reef, dumped waste and disrupted traditional fisheries. In 2022, the High Court fined the company <a href="https://www.newsroom.co.nz/resort-developers-found-guilty-over-fiji-island-disaster-1">FJD$1 million</a>. It was the first time a developer had been punished for an “environmental crime”.</p> <p>Environmental concerns are also causing other Pacific countries to resist a return to mass tourism. In Rarotonga, Cook Islands, annual visitor numbers before the pandemic were ten times the island’s local population. The ability to cope with that level of tourism has since been <a href="https://www.rnz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/443141/cook-islanders-considering-how-much-tourism-is-too-much">seriously questioned</a>.</p> <p>And in French Polynesia, the government has <a href="https://www.nzherald.co.nz/travel/french-polynesia-the-latest-country-to-ban-mega-cruise-ships/RXY2PDLCWPAIZRVNENLHJ6Z2N4/">banned port calls</a> for cruise ships with a capacity greater than 3,500 passengers. The decision was based on concerns about air pollution, stress on the marine environment and social impacts. Daily cruise arrivals to Bora Bora are now restricted to 1,200 passengers, much to the <a href="https://www.rnz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/407885/bora-bora-calls-for-ban-on-large-cruise-ships">relief of locals</a>.</p> <h2>A new kind of tourism?</h2> <p>In the face of uncertainties due to climate change and geopolitical tensions in the region, it’s encouraging to hear local voices being heard in debates about the future of Pacific tourism – and political leaders appearing to respond.</p> <p>The Pacific Island Forum leaders’ retreat in Fiji late last month discussed the tourism industry. The forum’s signature <a href="https://www.forumsec.org/2050strategy/">Blue Pacific Strategy</a> for regional co-operation recognises tourism is an important component of national development, and the need to balance economic pressures with environmental and cultural protection.</p> <p>But despite the apparent political will and regional focus on building resilience, tourism development will undoubtedly continue to challenge the desires and initiatives of Pacific peoples seeking more sustainable futures.</p> <p>While the policy rhetoric sounds good, it remains to be seen whether Pacific governments will remain steadfast and united under mounting pressures from major cruise operators, Chinese commercial interests and large hotels looking to maximise occupancy rates.</p> <p>Many Pacific people reported the natural environment – along with social, spiritual, physical and mental wellbeing – <a href="https://www.internationaljournalofwellbeing.org/index.php/ijow/article/view/2539">improved during the pandemic pause</a> in tourism. But the reality of putting local wellbeing ahead of profits and increased tax revenue is yet to be fully tested as tourism bounces back.</p> <p><em>Images: Getty</em></p> <p><em style="box-sizing: border-box; color: #212529; font-family: -apple-system, 'system-ui', 'Segoe UI', Roboto, 'Helvetica Neue', Arial, sans-serif, 'Apple Color Emoji', 'Segoe UI Emoji', 'Segoe UI Symbol', 'Noto Color Emoji'; font-size: 16px; background-color: #ffffff;">This article originally appeared on <a href="https://theconversation.com/resistance-to-mega-tourism-is-rising-in-the-south-pacific-but-will-governments-put-words-into-action-201071" target="_blank" rel="noopener">The Conversation</a>. </em></p>

International Travel

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Let’s dance! How dance classes can lift your mood and help boost your social life

<p>If your new year’s resolutions include getting healthier, exercising more and lifting your mood, dance might be for you.</p> <p>By dance, we don’t mean watching other people dance on TikTok, as much fun as this can be. We mean taking a dance class, or even better, a few.</p> <p>A growing body of <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/17482631.2020.1732526">research shows</a> the benefits of dance, regardless of the type (for example, classes or social dancing) or the style (hip hop, ballroom, ballet). Dance boosts our wellbeing as it improves our emotional and physical health, makes us feel less stressed and more socially connected.</p> <p>Here’s what to consider if you think dance might be for you.</p> <h2>The benefits of dance</h2> <p>Dance is <a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/1077800417745919">an engaging and fun</a> way of exercising, learning and meeting people. A review of the evidence <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/17482631.2020.1732526">shows</a> taking part in dance classes or dancing socially improves your health and wellbeing regardless of your age, gender or fitness.</p> <p>Another review focuses more specifically on benefits of dance across the lifespan. It <a href="https://doi.org/10.1080/17482631.2021.1950891">shows</a> dance classes and dancing socially at any age improves participants’ sense of self, confidence and creativity.</p> <p>Researchers have also looked at specific dance programs.</p> <p>One UK-based dance program for young people aged 14 <a href="https://doi.org/10.1080/14647893.2011.561306">shows</a> one class a week for three months increased students’ fitness level and self-esteem. This was due to a combination of factors including physical exercise, a stimulating learning environment, positive engagement with peers, and creativity.</p> <p>Another community-based program for adults in hospital <a href="https://doi.org/10.1080/17533015.2020.1725072">shows</a> weekly dance sessions led to positive feelings, enriches social engagement and reduced stress related to being in hospital.</p> <p>If you want to know how much dance is needed to develop some of these positive effects, we have good news for you.</p> <p>A useful hint comes from a <a href="https://bmcpublichealth.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12889-015-2672-7">study</a> that looked exactly at how much creative or arts engagement is needed for good mental health – 100 or more hours a year, or two or more hours a week, in most cases.</p> <h2>Dance is social</h2> <p>But dance is more than physical activity. It is also a community ritual. Humans have <a href="https://www.jstor.org/stable/223398">always danced</a>. We still do so to mark and celebrate transitory periods in life. Think of how weddings prompt non-dancers to move rhythmically to music. Some cultures dance to celebrate childbirth. Many dance to celebrate religious and cultural holidays.</p> <p>This is what inspired French sociologist <a href="https://iep.utm.edu/emile-durkheim/">Emile Durkheim</a> (1858-1917) to explore how dance affects societies and cultures.</p> <p>Durkheim <a href="https://archive.org/search?query=external-identifier%3A%22urn%3Aoclc%3Arecord%3A689172179%22">saw</a> collective dance as a societal glue – a social practice that cultivates what he called “collective effervescence”, a feeling of dynamism, vitality and community.</p> <p>He observed how dance held cultures together by creating communal feelings that were difficult to cultivate otherwise, for example a feeling of uplifting togetherness or powerful unity.</p> <p>It’s that uplifting feeling you might experience when dancing at a concert and even for a brief moment forgetting yourself while moving in synchrony with the rest of the crowd.</p> <p>Synchronous <a href="https://www.journals.uchicago.edu/doi/10.1086/529447">collective activities</a>, such as dance, provide a pleasurable way to foster social bonding. This is due to feelings Durkheim noticed that we now know as transcendental emotions – such as joy, awe and temporary dissolution of a sense of self (“losing yourself”). These can lead to feeling a part of something bigger than ourselves and help us experience social connectedness.</p> <p>For those of us still experiencing social anxiety or feelings of loneliness due to the COVID pandemic, dance can be a way of (re)building social connections and belonging.</p> <p>Whether you join an online dance program and invite a few friends, go to an in-person dance class, or go to a concert or dance club, dance can give temporary respite from the everyday and help lift your mood.</p> <h2>Keen to try out dance?</h2> <p>Here’s what to consider:</p> <ul> <li> <p>if you have not exercised for a while, start with a program tailored to beginners or the specific fitness level that suits you</p> </li> <li> <p>if you have physical injuries, check in with your GP first</p> </li> <li> <p>if public dance classes are unappealing, consider joining an online dance program, or going to a dance-friendly venue or concert</p> </li> <li> <p>to make the most of social aspect of dance, invite your friends and family to join you</p> </li> <li> <p>social dance classes are a better choice for meeting new people</p> </li> <li> <p>beginner performance dance classes will improve your physical health, dance skills and self-esteem</p> </li> <li> <p>most importantly, remember, it is not so much about how good your dancing is, dance is more about joy, fun and social connectedness.</p> </li> </ul> <p>In the words of one participant in our (yet-to-be published) research on dance and wellbeing, dance for adults is a rare gateway into fun, "there’s so much joy, there’s so much play in dancing. And play isn’t always that easy to access as an adult; and yet, it’s just such a joyful experience. I feel so happy to be able to dance."</p> <p><em>Images: Getty</em></p> <p><em style="box-sizing: border-box; color: #212529; font-family: -apple-system, 'system-ui', 'Segoe UI', Roboto, 'Helvetica Neue', Arial, sans-serif, 'Apple Color Emoji', 'Segoe UI Emoji', 'Segoe UI Symbol', 'Noto Color Emoji'; font-size: 16px; background-color: #ffffff;">This article originally appeared on <a href="https://theconversation.com/lets-dance-how-dance-classes-can-lift-your-mood-and-help-boost-your-social-life-197692" target="_blank" rel="noopener">The Conversation</a>. </em></p>

Body

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"Mateship in action": NZ survivors of helicopter crash praise Aussie compassion

<p>Two couples from New Zealand who survived the deadly helicopter collision on the Gold Coast have shared their condolences for those who died during the accident.</p> <p>Edward and Marle Swart along with Riaan and Elmarie Steenberg spoke of how the "fun five-minute joy ride on vacation to Australia turned into a nightmare" and said their "hearts are so heavy" for those who died in the other aircraft that fell to the ground.</p> <p>"Our deepest sympathies and sincere condolences to the injured and the deceased and their families," they said in a joint statement released on Wednesday night.</p> <p>"We are grateful and blessed to have been spared but very sad for the people who lost loved ones and the little ones and mum fighting for their lives in hospital.</p> <p>"Our hearts are so heavy for them."</p> <p>The couples also praised the 52-year-old pilot who managed to land their damaged helicopter safely "through all the chaos", while also commending the actions of witnesses who rushed to help on the scene. </p> <p>"Our gratitude goes out to every bystander who ran to help, every police officer and emergency services personnel who helped us with our immediate needs keeping us calm and making us comfortable," they said.</p> <p>"We saw mateship in action. Australians come together to help in time of need."</p> <p>"We would like to extend our great thanks to the hospital staff taking care of us for their kindness and compassion during this traumatic experience."</p> <p>The New Zealand couples, all in their 40s, were among the six people in the second helicopter who all survived the crash with minor injuries.</p> <p><a href="https://oversixty.com.au/news/news/helicopter-crash-victims-identified" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Four people</a> on the first helicopter died while the remaining three survivors remain in hospital.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Nine News</em></p>

Travel Trouble

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The most luxurious presidential suites around the world

<p>You don't need to be the leader of the free world to holiday like one. Feel like the commander-in-chief of your own life when you spend the night in one of these fancy hotel suites.</p> <p><strong>The St. Regis New York</strong></p> <p><strong><img src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/2022/11/1-st-regis-nyc-770.jpg" alt="" width="1024" height="665" /></strong></p> <p>It’s only fitting that in the city that never sleeps, The St. Regis New York offers 24-hour access to English-style butlers to guests in the Presidential Suite. You also get postcard-worthy views of Central Park and Fifth Avenue from its floor-to-ceiling windows. While you pretty much have everything you need within the master suite – bedroom, private sitting area, spa-style bathroom, and expansive dressing room – you’ll want to take advantage of the entire 311 square metre suite, which includes an exquisite wood-panelled library and full kitchen.</p> <p><strong>Conrad Bora Bora Nui</strong></p> <p><img src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/2022/11/2-Conrad-Bora-Bora-Nui-770.jpg" alt="" width="1024" height="665" /></p> <p>How do you make an overwater villa even more extravagant? You add a second floor and call it presidential. At the Conrad Bora Bora Nui, the expansive two-storey Presidential Overwater Villas is the ideal venue for relaxation. Indulge in a massage in your own well-being room, sweat it out in your personal sauna, or simply enjoy unobstructed sunset views from the pool, whirlpool, or daybeds in your private outdoor living area.</p> <p><strong>InterContinental Sydney</strong></p> <p><img src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/2022/11/3-Presidential_Opera_Suite_Piano_Gallery-770.jpg" alt="" width="898" height="583" /></p> <p>Blending old-world wonder with contemporary flair, this five-star hotel’s Presidential Opera Suite lives up to its name, offering unparalleled views of Sydney Harbour and its iconic landmarks – including the Harbour Bridge, Sydney Opera House and Sydney Royal Botanic Gardens – from all rooms, courtesy of its lofty position on the 29th floor. Set across 245 square metres, it has its own private outdoor terrace complete with sumptuous sun bed, while the luxurious interior is meticulously appointed down to a stunning central grand piano.</p> <p><strong>Burj Al Arab in Dubai</strong></p> <p><strong><img src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/2022/11/4-Burj-Al-Arab-Jumeirah-770.jpg" alt="" width="1024" height="665" /></strong></p> <p>You get double the fun in the 667 square-metre Presidential Suite at Burj Al Arab in Dubai. Decorated in royal shades of purple and gold, the two-bedroom suite includes two bars, two loungers, and two full-size Jacuzzis in each master bathroom, not to mention his-and-hers dressing rooms. And to ensure the best night’s sleep you’ve ever had, the hotel offers a selection of 17 types of pillows. You’ll want to tuck yourself into your king bed just as soon as you finish the evening with in-suite cocktails and hors d’oeuvres.</p> <p><strong>The David Citadel Hotel in Jerusalem</strong></p> <p><img src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/2022/11/5-David-Citadel-Hotel-770.jpg" alt="" width="1024" height="665" /></p> <p>Renovated in 2016 by Italian designer Piero Lissoni, the Presidential Suite at The David Citadel Hotel offers modern elegance in historic Jerusalem. Oak parquet flooring connects the bedroom, living room, dining area, and study area of the 89 square-metre suite with a furnished balcony running the entire length of the space. Before you explore the local sights, including the Old City, the Western Wall, Tower of David, and the colourful Machane Yehuda market, grab a few complimentary bottles of mineral water and enjoy the delicacies of a full Israeli buffet breakfast.</p> <p><strong>The InterContinental Presidente Mexico City</strong></p> <p><strong><img src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/2022/11/6-InterContinental-Presidente-770.jpg" alt="" width="1024" height="665" /></strong></p> <p>It’s fitting that one of the world’s largest cities is home to one of the largest presidential suites. Designed by Mexican architect Felipe Ramos, the Diego Rivera is 604-square metres of modern luxury and innovation. It’s hard to decide what feature is most impressive about the suite, but it likely has something to do with water: The master bathroom boasts an enormous walk-in glass shower, a steam bath, and a large standing bath, and the second floor offers an indoor Jacuzzi and pool.</p> <p><strong>Waldorf Astoria Berlin</strong></p> <p><img src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/2022/11/7-Waldorf-Astoria-770.jpg" alt="" width="1024" height="665" /></p> <p>Your Presidential Suite perks begin at the airport with complimentary limousine service to the Art Deco-style Waldorf Astoria. Located high above the city on the 31st floor, the 260 square-metre suite offers panoramic windows at every corner. When you’re not taking in the sights down below, you can relax in front of your fireplace, tickle the ivories of your very own grand piano, and eat like royalty on specially-designed porcelain from the Royal Porcelain Factory.</p> <p><strong>The Hassler in Rome</strong></p> <p><img src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/2022/11/8-Hassler-770.jpg" alt="" width="1024" height="665" /></p> <p>Location, location, location! Enjoy the spectacular view of the Spanish Steps from a chaise lounge on the panoramic terrace of the San Pietro Presidential Suite. A well-designed mix of ancient Roman artefacts and modern amenities, the sixth-floor suite at The Hassler has a living room and dining area, bedroom, and two bathrooms. The master bath in white and grey marble, naturally, features his-and-her sinks plus a separate shower and bathtub.</p> <p><strong>Ashford Castle in Ireland</strong></p> <p><strong><img src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/2022/11/9-Ashford-Castle-770.jpg" alt="" width="1024" height="665" /></strong></p> <p>It’s hard not to feel like European royalty when staying in any room of an 800-year-old castle, but the Reagan Presidential Suite manages to take that experience up a notch. Named after President Reagan, a personal friend of the former owner, the split-level suite is located in the oldest wing of the Irish castle and boasts an original fireplace, an antique George III-style four-poster bed, and original portrait art. It’s easy to pretend you’re a member of the royal family with 24-hour housekeeping, a complimentary bar, and a gift delivered daily.</p> <p><strong>The Beverly Hilton in Los Angeles</strong></p> <p><strong><img src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/2022/11/10-Beverly-Hilton-770.jpg" alt="" width="1024" height="665" /></strong></p> <p>The Presidential Suite at The Beverly Hilton is “presidential” in every sense of the word. The historic three-room suite – master bedroom, living room and dining room – has hosted important guests from all over the world. Did JFK, President Clinton, or President Obama relax on the furnished patio or enjoy the spa-inspired bathrooms in your suite before your visit? More traditionally styled, the space features custom-made European furniture thoughtfully chosen to complement the elegant decor.</p> <p><strong>The Franklin in London</strong></p> <p><strong><img src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/2022/11/11-The-Franklin-770.jpg" alt="" width="1024" height="665" /></strong></p> <p>Just a short walk from Harrods and The Victoria &amp; Albert Museum in London, The Franklin combines the charm of an English townhouse with the opulence of a five-star hotel, thanks to acclaimed British designer Anouska Hempel. Its Presidential Suite is the perfect size for two guests and features a private lounge, walk-in closet, and marble bathroom with double sinks. Decorated in rich shades of grey, brown, and cream with modern herringbone flooring, the suite shines with marbled surfaces and mirrors. Of course, it wouldn’t be a truly British experience without your own electric kettle and assortment of hot beverages.</p> <p><strong>The St. Regis Washington, DC</strong></p> <p><strong><img src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/2022/11/12-The-St.-Regis-DC-770.jpg" alt="" width="1024" height="665" /></strong></p> <p>Let the President have the White House. To feel truly important in the US capital, spend a night in the Presidential Suite at The St. Regis Washington, DC. Recently renovated in clean neutrals and bespoke accents, the 233 square-metre suite features upholstery with Italian beading, handmade French trim and tassels, carved French mirrors, and English furniture. While the suite may offer many of the convenience as your own home, you probably don’t have a St. Regis Butler on hand to draw your shades and deliver your morning coffee or unpack and store your luggage. Enjoy it!</p> <p><em><span id="docs-internal-guid-b7779c5c-7fff-75db-00f8-084f39d16030">Written by PJ Feinstein. This article first appeared in <a href="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/travel/destinations/the-most-luxurious-presidential-suites-around-the-world" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Reader’s Digest</a>. For more of what you love from the world’s best-loved magazine, <a href="http://readersdigest.innovations.com.au/c/readersdigestemailsubscribe?utm_source=over60&amp;utm_medium=articles&amp;utm_campaign=RDSUB&amp;keycode=WRA87V" target="_blank" rel="noopener">here’s our best subscription offer.</a></span></em></p>

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“I am not a villain”: Woman refuses to switch plane seats for a family

<p dir="ltr">A woman from the US has defended her decision to not move from her first class plane seat so a family could sit together. </p> <p dir="ltr">In a series of now-viral videos, Maresa Friedman detailed her awkward experience on a recent Delta airlines flight, in which she was asked to move to a different seat. </p> <p dir="ltr">Maresa said a family of three wanted her to move from her allocated seat so they could all sit closer together. </p> <p dir="ltr">After specifically booking her chosen seat in first class, Maresa politely declined their request. </p> <p dir="ltr">"I am not a villain for not moving from the seat in first class I paid full fare for," Friedman, a mother-of-two, captured her clip on TikTok. "I am also a mum so it's called PLANNING AHEAD."</p> <p dir="ltr">In a series of follow up videos, the frequent traveller said it wasn’t fair to be expected to move just so the family could sit together, especially when they hadn’t planned their seats ahead of time. </p> <p dir="ltr">She also suggested the family should’ve moved to economy class if they all wanted to sit in the same row. </p> <p dir="ltr">"If the airline bumps you or moves you or whatever, totally fair, so the suggestion I gave was basically like, ‘Oh if all of you want to sit in together, in a row, since first class is two seats and two seats, I'm sure you could ask the people behind you, I think they would be super pumped to sit [in first class] so that the three of you could be together'," Friedman said.</p> <p dir="ltr">"To which, of course, I just got 'the look'. The flight attendant just looked at me like… 'That was a good suggestion'."</p> <p dir="ltr">Friedman said the family shot her "side eyes" and "death stares" for the duration of the flight because of her refusal to move.</p> <p dir="ltr">"It didn't stop this mom from [giving me] side eye, I was getting looked at, she was talking about me," she added.</p> <p dir="ltr">"If you book with the airline, because this has happened to us as a family of four who travels together, they will group your reservation together. So, the only time that you might be separated is if you miss a flight or a connection."</p> <p dir="ltr">She then offered a piece of advice to fellow travellers who insist on asking people to switch seats: purchase travel insurance.</p> <p dir="ltr">"Things like travel insurance will not only prevent problems like this, you can actually use travel insurance to file claims to get many back or rebook on another carrier," she added. "So again, all preventable."</p> <p dir="ltr">After sharing her series of videos, Maresa was flooded with comments from people who claimed she was being unfair, to which she doubled down on her position by claiming it’s not her responsibility to “accommodate '' other travellers. </p> <p dir="ltr">"Before you come for me, I have two kids, so I have been there, even in the early stages and I would buy my baby a seat next to me, but when you book with the airlines, you have to tell them to book your reservations together and that you're travelling with a minor," she continued.</p> <p dir="ltr">Friedman added, "And by the way, the few times that I did switch seats in my lifetime, it was horrific, never again."</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image credits: TikTok</em></p>

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