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Huge drop in international economy airfares revealed

<p>Airfares to some of the most popular tourist destinations have dropped over the past year according to new data released by Flight Centre. </p> <p>The Australian agency revealed that average price of an international economy airfare sold in Australia has dropped by 12.8 per cent.</p> <p>The top three destinations with the most significant drop in prices include Indonesia at 21.01 per cent, New Zealand with 13.03 per cent and the US at 12.45 per cent. </p> <p>The UK has seen a decrease of 8.05 per cent and popular European destinations like France, Germany and Spain down 7.91 per cent, 6.9 per cent and 6.03 per cent, respectively.</p> <p>The cost of flights to Thailand has also gone down by 3.84 per cent. </p> <p>The figures are based on a comparison of the cost of flights between January and March last year and the same period this year. </p> <p>“In fantastic news for travellers the latest data shows the average cost of an international airfare is down almost 13 per cent when compared to this time last year,” Flight Centre global managing director Andrew Stark told news.com.au.</p> <p>“What that means in real figures is that an economy return airfare between Sydney and Bali would’ve cost on average $1010 this time last year, now it will now set you back under $800.”</p> <p>He attributed these changes to the increased competition and capacity. </p> <p>“It’s vital that there is active competition between the airlines and the more we see of it, the more likely we are to see cheaper airfares, more destination options and a better experience for consumers.”</p> <p>Qantas has also recently announced that they will be increasing the number of flights to Singapore and India, with flights from Sydney to Singapore set to increase from 14 to 17 return flights a week, and Sydney to Bengaluru from five a week to seven. </p> <p><em>Image: Shutterstock</em></p>

Money & Banking

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Catriona Rowntree shares her Europe travel hacks she picked up from locals

<p dir="ltr">After decades of hosting <em>Getaway</em>, Catriona Rowntree has learned a thing or two about travelling. </p> <p dir="ltr">Along the way, the 52-year-old has picked up some must-know secrets from locals that every traveller should know before heading to Europe.</p> <p dir="ltr">While in Mallorca in Spain, Rowntree quizzed locals on how to make the most out of her experience, and what faux pas to avoid. </p> <p dir="ltr">She was given advice on the best way to start a day at the markets, told why you should never rent an Airbnb or buy seafood on a Monday, why takeaway coffee is a bad idea and the secret to a longer, healthy life. </p> <p dir="ltr">The TV host shared a little known secret when it comes to buying fresh fish, and said travellers should not buy fish on Monday, because fishermen don’t fish on Sundays, meaning fish purchases on Mondays won’t be fresh. </p> <p dir="ltr">“The life expectancy of a Spaniard is 84, they're a healthy lot, loving a Mediterranean diet, a dollop of sun and a good climate,” she added. </p> <p dir="ltr">The presenter also discovered that all the locals she has spoken to don't like Airbnb accommodation and prefer for tourists to stay in hotels. </p> <p dir="ltr">“All the locals I've spoken to say that's what's pushing them out of their apartments as the town centres are slowly gentrified,” she said. </p> <p dir="ltr">“The average wage is low, most locals rent, sadly landlords prefer the higher fee of an Airbnb. Not cool!”</p> <p dir="ltr">Catriona's final tip is not to get your coffee takeaway, but rather sit down in a cafe, enjoy your coffee and take it slow. </p> <p dir="ltr">“People sit down to enjoy their coffee, they don't get a takeaway: 'If you can't sit for five minutes and talk to a person what's wrong with you!',” she said. </p> <p dir="ltr">Catriona said she was told by a local that the best way to start your day is to explore the markets by getting a hot chocolate and some churros. </p> <p dir="ltr">“Not every day as you'll be round, but market day for sure," she said.</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image credits: Instagram </em></p>

Travel Tips

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Australians are having fewer babies and our local-born population is about to shrink: here’s why it’s not that scary

<div class="theconversation-article-body"><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/amanda-davies-201009">Amanda Davies</a>, <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/the-university-of-western-australia-1067">The University of Western Australia</a></em></p> <p>Australians are having fewer babies, so many fewer that without international migration our population would be on track to decline in just over a decade.</p> <p>In most circumstances, the number of babies per woman that a population needs to sustain itself – the so-called <a href="https://www.who.int/data/gho/indicator-metadata-registry/imr-details/123">total fertility rate</a> – is 2.1.</p> <p>Australia’s total fertility rate dipped below 2.1 in the late 1970s, moved back up towards it in the late 2000s (assisted in part by an improving economy, better access to childcare and the introduction of the <a href="https://theconversation.com/what-the-baby-bonus-boost-looks-like-across-ten-years-81563">Commonwealth Baby Bonus</a>), and then plunged again, hitting a low of <a href="https://www.abs.gov.au/statistics/people/population/population-projections-australia/2022-base-2071#assumptions">1.59</a> during the first year of COVID.</p> <hr /> <p><iframe id="CHdqj" class="tc-infographic-datawrapper" style="border: none;" src="https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/CHdqj/3/" width="100%" height="400px" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <hr /> <p>The latest population projections from the Australian Bureau of Statistics assume the rate remains near its present 1.6% for <a href="https://www.abs.gov.au/statistics/people/population/population-projections-australia/2022-base-2071#assumptions">the next 50 years</a>.</p> <p>An alternative, lower, set of assumptions has the rate falling to 1.45 over the next five years and staying there. A higher set of assumptions has it rebounding to 1.75 and staying there.</p> <p>A comprehensive study of global fertility trends published in March in the medical journal <a href="https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(24)00550-6/fulltext#%20">The Lancet</a> has Australia’s central case at 1.45, followed by a fall to 1.33 by the end of the century.</p> <p>Significantly, none of these assumptions envisages a return to replacement rate.</p> <p>The bureau’s central projection has Australia’s population turning down from 2037 in the absence of a boost from migration.</p> <hr /> <p><iframe id="oi55c" class="tc-infographic-datawrapper" style="border: none;" src="https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/oi55c/3/" width="100%" height="400px" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <hr /> <p>It’s easy to make guesses about reasons. Reliable contraception has been widely available for 50 years. Rents, mortgages and the other costs facing Australians of child-bearing age appear to be climbing. It’s still <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2023-12-17/career-or-baby-michelle-battersby-pregnancy-gender-/103186296">difficult to have a career</a> if you have a child, and data show women still carry the substantive burden of <a href="https://theconversation.com/mind-the-gap-gender-differences-in-time-use-narrowing-but-slowly-191678">unpaid work around the home</a>.</p> <p>The US fertility rate has fallen <a href="https://ourworldindata.org/grapher/children-per-woman-un?tab=chart&amp;time=1950..latest&amp;country=OWID_WRL%7EUSA%7EAUS">much in line with Australia’s</a>.</p> <p>Reporting on <a href="https://theconversation.com/us-birth-rates-are-at-record-lows-even-though-the-number-of-kids-most-americans-say-they-want-has-held-steady-197270">research</a> into the reasons, Forbes Magazine succinctly said a broken economy had “<a href="https://fortune.com/2023/01/12/millennials-broken-economy-delay-children-birthrate/">screwed over</a>” Americans considering having children.</p> <p>More diplomatically, it said Americans saw parenthood as “<a href="https://fortune.com/2023/01/12/millennials-broken-economy-delay-children-birthrate/">harder to manage</a>” than they might have in the past.</p> <h2>Half the world is unable to replace itself</h2> <p>But this trend is widespread. The <a href="https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(24)00550-6/fulltext#%20">Lancet study</a> finds more than half of the world’s countries have a fertility rate below replacement level.</p> <p><a href="https://theconversation.com/chinas-population-shrinks-again-and-could-more-than-halve-heres-what-that-means-220667">China</a>, which is important for the global fertility rate because it makes up such a large share of the world’s population, had a fertility rate as high as 7.5 in the early 1960s. It fell to 2.5 before the start of China’s <a href="https://www.scmp.com/economy/china-economy/article/3135510/chinas-one-child-policy-what-was-it-and-what-impact-did-it">one-child</a> policy in the early 1990s, and then slid further from 1.8 to 1 after the policy was abandoned in 2016.</p> <hr /> <p><iframe id="idC4X" class="tc-infographic-datawrapper" style="border: none;" src="https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/idC4X/3/" width="100%" height="400px" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <hr /> <p>South Korea’s fertility rate has dived further, to the world’s lowest: <a href="https://time.com/6488894/south-korea-low-fertility-rate-trend-decline/">0.72</a>.</p> <p>The fertility rate in India, which is now <a href="https://www.un.org/development/desa/dpad/publication/un-desa-policy-brief-no-153-india-overtakes-china-as-the-worlds-most-populous-country/">more populous than China</a>, has also fallen <a href="https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/SP.DYN.TFRT.IN?page=&amp;locations=IN">below replacement level</a>.</p> <p>Most of the 94 nations that continue to have above-replacement fertility rates are in North Africa, the Middle East and Sub-Saharan Africa. Some, including Samoa and Papua New Guinea, are in the Pacific.</p> <p>Most of Asia, Europe and Oceania is already below replacement rate.</p> <h2>A changing world order</h2> <p>The largest high-fertility African nation, <a href="https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2020/09/the-world-population-in-2100-by-country/">Nigeria</a>, is expected to overtake China to become the world’s second-most-populous nation by the end of the century.</p> <p>But even Nigeria’s fertility rate will sink. The Lancet projections have it sliding from 4.7 to <a href="https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(24)00550-6/fulltext#%20">1.87</a> by the end of the century.</p> <p>The differences mean the world’s population growth will increasingly take place in countries that are among the most vulnerable to environmental and economic hardship.</p> <p>Already economically disadvantaged, these nations will need to provide jobs, housing, healthcare and services for rapidly growing populations at a time when the rest of the world does not.</p> <p>On the other hand, those nations will be blessed with young people. They will be an increasingly valuable resource as other nations face the challenges of an ageing population and declining workforce.</p> <h2>An older world, then a smaller world</h2> <p>Global fertility <a href="https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(24)00550-6/fulltext">halved</a> between 1950 and 2021, shrinking from 4.84 to 2.23.</p> <p>The latest projections have it sinking below the replacement rate to somewhere between 1.59 and 2.08 by 2050, and then to between <a href="https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(24)00550-6/fulltext">1.25 and 1.96</a> by 2100.</p> <p>The world has already seen peak births and peak primary-school-aged children.</p> <p>In <a href="https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(24)00550-6/fulltext">2016</a>, the world welcomed about 142 million live babies, and since then the number born each year has fallen. By 2021, it was about 129 million.</p> <p>The global school-age population aged 6 to 11 years peaked at around 820 million in <a href="https://www.un.org/development/desa/dpad/publication/un-desa-policy-brief-no-152-population-education-and-sustainable-development-interlinkages-and-select-policy-implications/">2023</a>.</p> <p>The United Nations expects the world’s population to peak at 10.6 billion in <a href="https://www.smh.com.au/national/the-planet-s-population-will-get-to-10-4-billion-then-drop-here-s-when-we-reach-peak-human-20231213-p5er8g.html">2086</a>, after which it will begin to fall.</p> <p>Another forecast, produced as part of the impressive <a href="https://www.healthdata.org/research-analysis/gbd">Global Burden of Disease</a> study, has the peak occurring two decades earlier in <a href="https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(20)30677-2/fulltext">2064</a>, with the world’s population peaking at 9.73 billion.</p> <h2>Fewer babies are a sign of success</h2> <p>In many ways, a smaller world is to be welcomed.</p> <p>The concern common <a href="https://theconversation.com/a-long-fuse-the-population-bomb-is-still-ticking-50-years-after-its-publication-96090">in the 1960s and 1970s</a> that the world’s population was growing faster and faster and the world would soon be unable to feed itself has turned out to be misplaced.</p> <p>Aside from occasional blips (China’s birth rate in the <a href="https://www.jstor.org/stable/1973601">Year of the Dragon</a>) the fertility trend in just about every nation on Earth is downwards.</p> <p>The world’s population hasn’t been growing rapidly for long. Before 1700 it grew by only about <a href="https://ourworldindata.org/population-growth-over-time">0.4% per year</a>. By 2100 it will have stabilised and started to fall, limiting the period of unusually rapid growth to four centuries.</p> <p>In an important way, lower birth rates can be seen as a sign of success. The richer a society becomes and the more it is able to look after its seniors, the less important it becomes for each couple to have children to care for them in old age. This is a long-established theory with a name: the <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4116081/">demographic transition</a>.</p> <p>For Australia, even with forecast immigration, lower fertility will mean changes.</p> <p>The government’s 2023 <a href="https://treasury.gov.au/publication/2023-intergenerational-report">Intergenerational Report</a> says that whereas there are now 3.7 Australians of traditional working age for each Australian aged 65 and over, by 2063 there will only be 2.6.</p> <p>It will mean those 2.6 people will have to work smarter, perhaps with greater assistance from artificial intelligence.</p> <p>Unless they decide to have more babies, which history suggests they won’t.<!-- 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/228273/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/amanda-davies-201009"><em>Amanda Davies</em></a><em>, Professor and Head of School of Social Sciences, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/the-university-of-western-australia-1067">The University of Western Australia</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: </em><em>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/australians-are-having-fewer-babies-and-our-local-born-population-is-about-to-shrink-heres-why-its-not-that-scary-228273">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

Family & Pets

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Viral pic of illegal camper sparks local outrage

<p>A viral photo capturing an L-plated Mazda hatchback sprawled across two parking spaces with a rooftop tent erected atop has ignited a storm of controversy in Noosa, Queensland.</p> <p>The image, taken at the Woods Bay carpark by Facebook user and Noosa local Martin Doyle, has thrust the issue of illegal camping and parking violations into the spotlight, prompting calls for stricter enforcement from exasperated locals.</p> <p>The uproar stems from a perceived flouting of parking restrictions and an apparent disregard for Noosa's efforts to curb illegal camping. In response to mounting complaints from the community, Noosa Shire Council implemented a trial "no-parking" zone from 10pm to 4am in August 2023. Despite these measures, reports of overnight campers persist, raising concerns about the strain on local infrastructure and the environment.</p> <p>After Martin shared his contentious photo online, lamenting the lack of enforcement, he urged the council to take firmer action. “Come on council get some teeth and get serious about this camping illegally business,” he wrote. “This was not the only one overnight camping in the area and clearly not homeless.”</p> <p>His sentiments echo those of many residents who are frustrated by the sight of carparks resembling makeshift campgrounds, complete with tents and – worst of all – human waste.</p> <p>While some sympathise with the financial burden of traditional camping accommodations, others argue that respecting parking regulations is non-negotiable, particularly in densely populated tourist hubs like Noosa.</p> <p>The issue also extends beyond Noosa's shores. Similar conflicts between locals and visitors occur in tourist destinations nationwide, from Newcastle's Horseshoe Beach to coastal towns in Far North Queensland. The allure of scenic vistas and budget-friendly travel often collides with the need to maintain order and protect fragile ecosystems.</p> <p><em>Image: Martin Doyle | Facebook | Noosa Council</em> </p>

Travel Trouble

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"That was so good!" Pink shocks local theatre group with standing ovation

<p>The magic of theatre collided with the star power of Pink in an unforgettable moment that left the Sydney community buzzing with excitement this week.</p> <p>The community theatre group PACA Sydney received the surprise of a lifetime as the iconic American singer, Pink, graced their final performance of "In The Heights" at Chatswood Concourse.</p> <p>Accompanied by her husband Carey Hart and their kids Willow and Jameson, Pink's presence sent shockwaves of delight through the theatre. What's even more heartwarming is that the global superstar reportedly purchased her own tickets, embodying humility and genuine support for the arts.</p> <p>As the curtains closed, the real show began backstage, where Pink mingled with the performers, leaving them star-struck and overjoyed. A video capturing their ecstatic reactions flooded social media, showcasing the sheer disbelief and elation of the theatre group as Pink showered them with praise and admiration.</p> <blockquote class="instagram-media" style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" data-instgrm-captioned="" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/reel/C3POaWjJ5jg/?utm_source=ig_embed&utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="14"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"> </div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <div style="padding: 12.5% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; margin-bottom: 14px; align-items: center;"> <div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(0px) translateY(7px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; height: 12.5px; transform: rotate(-45deg) translateX(3px) translateY(1px); width: 12.5px; flex-grow: 0; margin-right: 14px; margin-left: 2px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(9px) translateY(-18px);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: 8px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 20px; width: 20px;"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 2px solid transparent; border-left: 6px solid #f4f4f4; border-bottom: 2px solid transparent; transform: translateX(16px) translateY(-4px) rotate(30deg);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: auto;"> <div style="width: 0px; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-right: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(16px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; flex-grow: 0; height: 12px; width: 16px; transform: translateY(-4px);"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-left: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(-4px) translateX(8px);"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center; margin-bottom: 24px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 224px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 144px;"> </div> </div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" href="https://www.instagram.com/reel/C3POaWjJ5jg/?utm_source=ig_embed&utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank" rel="noopener">A post shared by Pan Academies of Creative Arts (@panacademies)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p>Expressing her admiration for the performance, Pink shared her own struggles to stay seated, confessing, "I want to dance too!" </p> <p>In a touching moment, Pink's genuine appreciation for the show was evident as she applauded the cast with a standing ovation. The impact of her visit resonated deeply with the performers, who were left speechless by her kind words and support.</p> <p>Choreographer and event coordinator Janina Hamerlok captured the essence of Pink's visit, <a href="https://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-13077395/Pink-shocks-Sydney-theatre-group-surprise-visit-Australian-tour.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener">describing her as</a> "completely lovely and extremely down to earth". Pink's recognition of the production's homage to the Latino community, on which "In The Heights" is based, really showed her genuine appreciation for the arts.</p> <p>Despite her superstar status, Pink opted for tickets in the upper level dress circle. However, her presence inevitably led to a well-deserved upgrade to house seats.</p> <p>Pink's surprise visit clearly uplifted the spirits of the theatre group. As she continues her Summer Carnival tour across Australia, her impromptu visit shows her unwavering support for the arts and her genuine connection with fans – especially in Australia!</p> <p><em>Images: Instagram</em></p>

Music

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"What an embarrassing effort”: Locals furious over "pathetic" Christmas tree

<p>Locals in the coastal NSW town of Forster are furious over a "pathetic" Christmas tree that was decorated by the council. </p> <p>In an attempt to spread Christmas cheer, the local council haphazardly threw lights over a huge Christmas tree in the middle of town, prompting outrage from the community. </p> <p>One local posted a photo of the tree to Facebook, insinuating the tree looks like it was decorated by "Mr Squiggle", while tagging the council in the post to ensure they saw the complaint. </p> <p>“This is absolutely pathetic, what an embarrassing effort,” they wrote.</p> <p>“Not that I expect anything less from our council, but this needs to stop. Keep in mind before reading — the Mr. Squiggle effort took three days to complete."</p> <p>“There is nothing that screams neglect and lack of interest more than an unthoughtful, rushed, ugly, non-Christmassy, rope light installation on arguably one of the most noticeable trees in the entire Forster-Tuncurry."</p> <p>The poster then compared a Christmas tree from another year with the recent one, and asked whether this is the best that the council could create.</p> <p>“Is that really the best the creative minds at the council can come up with? A bit of rope light dangling out of a tree?” they asked.</p> <p>Other locals flocked to the post and agreed with the sentiment, sharing their disappointment in the Christmas tree.</p> <p>“It honestly would have been better off not being done at all … it’s a hideous mess,” wrote one.</p> <p>“Our beautiful paradise deserves a lot more so ugly such a disaster effort,” a local wrote.</p> <p>“How embarrassing for the town.”</p> <p>The local council caught wind of the disappointment from locals and posted a response to the matter on its website a day later.</p> <p>It said its staff were not “professional tree decorators” and pointed out that this “comes at a cost”.</p> <p>“MidCoast Council is aware of the community comment on social media on the Christmas decorations installed on an iconic tree in Forster,” the statement read.</p> <p>“Council’s Director of Liveable Communities, Paul De Szell, said that while the lighting might not be appreciated by some in the community, even the small amount of decorating comes at a cost."</p> <p>The council then said that in years to come, locals will be able to have their say for the town's Christmas decorations, with the website stating, "Some sections of the community appear to be very passionate about the lighting and this will give them the opportunity to be involved in the decisions around it."</p> <p>“Providing Christmas lighting is not a core service of Council, or something we have expert skills in, hence the decision to allow the community the opportunity to take ownership of the lighting going forward.”</p> <p><em>Image credits: Facebook</em></p>

Travel Trouble

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Sustainable tourism needs to be built with the help of locals

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/alfonso-vargas-sanchez-1205745">Alfonso Vargas Sánchez</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/universidad-de-huelva-3977">Universidad de Huelva</a></em></p> <p>In the wake of the pandemic, tourism is experiencing a period of transition in which <a href="https://theconversation.com/el-futuro-del-turismo-inteligente-digital-y-sostenible-153965">two trends</a> which were already prevalent pre Covid-19 have gained momentum:</p> <ul> <li> <p>Sustainability, together with climate change, the circular economy and the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN’s 2030 Agenda.</p> </li> <li> <p>Digitalization, together with the new technological revolution.</p> </li> </ul> <p>If we focus on sustainability – whilst still emphasizing that technological ecosystems are essential for the development of tourism – we have to be aware that making sustainable that which has not been designed as such (a destination, a resort, a mode of transport, etc.) is not easy, fast or affordable. This is especially true since, rather than conforming to standards, labels or certifications, we must change our relationship with the environment in order to be sustainable, rather than just appearing to be so.</p> <h2>Sustainability must be economical, environmental and social</h2> <p>When a term is used so frequently, its meaning tends to become diluted. In fact, in this case, the term sustainable tourism is increasingly being replaced by regenerative tourism.</p> <p><a href="https://doughnuteconomics.org/">Not all aspects of sustainability</a> are addressed with equal emphasis. Economic sustainability is taken for granted and environmental sustainability is taken into immediate consideration, while social sustainability is put on the back burner (see, among many others, <a href="https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/is-the-party-over-in-the-balearics-b9qw9j7qp">the case of Ibiza and the cost of housing</a>).</p> <p>If there is to be true social sustainability, which in turn drives economic and environmental sustainability, the governance of tourism has to evolve.</p> <p>Before the pandemic, and in the post-pandemic period, news related to the sustainability of tourism appeared in the media.</p> <p>Negative attitudes towards tourism are once again prevalent, although in reality these are not directed against tourism itself but against certain models of tourism development, the product of a certain governance where it is important to take a look at who makes decisions and how.</p> <p>More than a one-off phenomenon, the problem of mass tourism is being tackled with various types of measures, such as the following:</p> <ul> <li> <p>The use of fiscal measures(e.g. <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Environmental_tax">ecotaxes</a>).</p> </li> <li> <p>Limiting the capacity of certain spaces (or even temporarily closing them).</p> </li> <li> <p>The use of the variable prices to regulate demand.</p> </li> <li> <p>The use of technological tools that assist in redirecting tourist flows, in an attempt to disperse the masses to other attractions that are not overcrowded (assuming that those affected wish to do so).</p> </li> <li> <p>The sanctioning of certain behaviour.</p> </li> <li> <p>Limiting accommodation options.</p> </li> </ul> <p>The case of <a href="https://www.euronews.com/travel/2023/06/22/sardinia-popular-beaches-protected-with-towel-bans-pre-booked-tickets-and-entry-fees">the island of Sardinia and its beaches</a> is perhaps less well known than others, but very telling in this context.</p> <h2>Appreciating tourism</h2> <p>The positive attitude of the population towards the impact of tourism development in their area may change significantly if <a href="https://theconversation.com/saturacion-turistica-un-problema-global-creciente-100778">the negative impact is perceived as outweighing the positive effects of it</a>.</p> <p>This happens when the tolerance level of the local community is exceeded and tourism no longer contributes positively to their quality of life. The problem arises when those who live there permanently begin to feel that friction with tourists disturbs and damages their lives to excess.</p> <p>When no one asks them, listens to them, takes them into account and decisions are made that severely affect their lives, it is not surprising that citizens turn against tourism when, in reality, the problem is not tourism, but the management of it.</p> <p>It is only by involving these communities in decision-making that we will find the missing link in tourism governance.</p> <p>Today, we usually speak of co-governance rather than governance. In other words, public-private partnership: a two-way governance which, although necessary, is not sufficient because they alone are not the only stakeholders involved.</p> <p><a href="https://theconversation.com/como-superar-el-efecto-guggenheim-196421">A partnership with citizens</a>, in a broad sense, is essential to ensure their welfare and to avoid or reverse the trend of disconnection with tourism activities.</p> <p>The point is that tourism is required as an economic activity that affects the entire community, and the latter is something that seems to be missing or unwilling to be addressed. Tourism should not be created by political and business representatives without the local people, but with them. That’s the big difference.</p> <p>There is an added complexity, particularly in terms of legitimacy, in identifying the representatives of stakeholders in the territory and establishing effective participation mechanisms – not only with a voice, but also with a vote in certain decisions. However, this is the best way to support the tourism industry and to overcome mistrust and detachment.</p> <p>We must move towards inclusive and integrative governance, with <a href="https://www.e-unwto.org/doi/pdf/10.18111/9789284420841">a three-pronged approach</a>: public, private and community, whose study and application are virtually unknown fields.</p> <p>The question is not so much of what to do, but how to do it: a new model of shared leadership must include a redistribution of power within the system, which will require an extra effort to break down barriers and overcome resistance.</p> <h2>Co-governance and well-being</h2> <p>To avoid negative attitudes towards tourism, and promote harmonious relationships between locals and visitors as a path to sustainability, tourism must be able to forge a broad alliance with society.</p> <p>It is not about managing a destination, but a community with permanent residents and tourists, the latter being understood as temporary residents. The well-being of both must be at the core of the governance architecture.</p> <p>Although there is usually short-sightedness in political decisions – marked by electoral horizons – and in business decision-making – especially if they are geared towards speculation and immediate returns – the lack of support from the local population will end up generating a boomerang effect.</p> <p>Do we know the type of tourism development desired (or tolerated) by host communities? Are the voices of the local population heard and taken into account in the decision making processes, with a view to their well-being? Local communities have a much more decisive role to play in consolidating democracies. A tourism-oriented society must be geared towards tourism and committed to its development and co-creation.<!-- 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/211296/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/alfonso-vargas-sanchez-1205745"><em>Alfonso Vargas Sánchez</em></a><em>, Catedrático de Universidad, área de Organización de Empresas, Dirección Estratégica, Turismo (empresas y destinos) - Jubilado, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/universidad-de-huelva-3977">Universidad de Huelva</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/sustainable-tourism-needs-to-be-built-with-the-help-of-locals-211296">original article</a>.</em></p>

International Travel

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Heated argument between economy passengers reignites plane etiquette debate

<p>A 12-second clip of two passengers arguing on a plane has reignited the age-old debate of whether it is acceptable to recline your seat on a plane. </p> <p>The viral video which was originally posted on TikTok and then re-shared on X, has racked up over 8 million views since Thursday. </p> <p>In the video, a frustrated woman was calling out another female passenger for pushing her seat the entire flight, right after they landed. </p> <p>“The whole trip she pushed my seat,” the woman said to a male passenger seated next to the female passenger accused of kicking her seat. </p> <p>“You seen it. You know she did.”</p> <p>“I’m allowed to put my seat back," she yelled repeatedly. </p> <p>Ian Miles Cheong, the user who posted the video on X, defended the woman saying: “She’s allowed to put her seat back. You don’t get to kick it repeatedly just because you want more space.”</p> <p>A few were on the woman's side and praised her for standing up for herself. </p> <p>“You are allowed! Period! You want space in front of you instead of pushing the seat, buy a seat with extra space or get your a** to business class. Reclining was put there for a reason,” one person wrote. </p> <p>“She was patient enough to wait till flight landed," they added. </p> <p>“If the seat is reclinable, recline it,” another commented. </p> <p>"What she’s saying is right. The woman has a right to put her seat back without someone kicking it," a third agreed.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">She’s allowed to put her seat back. You don’t get to kick it repeatedly just because you want more space. <a href="https://t.co/WELD7Qh4Re">pic.twitter.com/WELD7Qh4Re</a></p> <p>— Ian Miles Cheong (@stillgray) <a href="https://twitter.com/stillgray/status/1719881310351863952?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">November 2, 2023</a></p></blockquote> <p>However, others claimed that there was an unwritten rule that you shouldn't recline your seat, especially on a short-haul flight, adding that the recline feature should be scrapped from airplanes. </p> <p>“Putting your seat back in coach is an unspoken thing most people don’t do. It’s really the airline’s fault because they’ve made coach so cramped and tight that putting the seat back shouldn’t even be an option,” one commented. </p> <p>“Airline seats simply shouldn’t be able to recline. It intrudes on the already very little space a person has on the plane for the person behind them,” another added. </p> <p>“Really it’s the airline’s fault for cramming so many people in such a small space. They don’t call it cattle class for nothing,” a third wrote. </p> <p>One user understood both sides of the argument, and blamed the airlines for making the seats so cramped. </p> <p>"It can be annoying sometimes to be behind someone with their seat all the way, but if the airlines didn't want to allow that, it wouldn't happen," they wrote.</p> <p>"You don't kick the seat like a baby. Blame the airline, not the person doing what the airline says is fine." </p> <p><em>Images: Twitter</em></p>

Travel Trouble

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How a secret plan 50 years ago changed Australia’s economy forever, in just one night

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/alex-millmow-4462">Alex Millmow</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/federation-university-australia-780">Federation University Australia</a></em></p> <p>At a time when governments are timid, keener to announce <a href="https://www.pc.gov.au/inquiries/completed/productivity/report">reviews</a> than decisions, it’s refreshing to remember what happened 50 years ago today – on July 18 1973.</p> <p>Inflation had surged to <a href="https://www.datawrapper.de/_/vu9by/">14%</a>. Australia’s biggest customer, the United Kingdom, had joined the <a href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/onthisday/hi/dates/stories/january/1/newsid_2459000/2459167.stm">European Economic Community</a>, agreeing to buy products from it rather than Australia. And the newly formed Organisation of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries had <a href="https://advisor.visualcapitalist.com/historical-oil-prices/">doubled</a> the price of oil.</p> <p>The tariffs imposed on imported goods to protect Australian manufacturers from competition were extraordinarily high. For clothing, they reached <a href="https://www.pc.gov.au/inquiries/completed/textile-clothing-footwear-1997/59tcf2.pdf">55%</a>; for motor vehicles, <a href="https://ro.uow.edu.au/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1077&amp;context=commwkpapers">45%</a>.</p> <p>Then, with absolutely <a href="http://andrewleigh.org/pdf/Trade%20liberalisation%20and%20the%20ALP.pdf">no</a> public indication he had been considering anything as drastic, at 7pm on Wednesday July 18, the recently elected prime minister Gough Whitlam made an <a href="https://pmtranscripts.pmc.gov.au/sites/default/files/original/00002971_0.pdf">announcement</a>.</p> <h2>Every tariff cut by one quarter overnight</h2> <p>From midnight, all tariffs would be cut by 25%. As Whitlam put it: “each tariff will be reduced by one quarter of what it is now”.</p> <figure class="align-right "><figcaption></figcaption></figure> <p>If Australian businesses (and the Australian public) were caught by surprise, it was because Whitlam had planned the whole thing in secret.</p> <p>He had given a six-person committee just three weeks to work out the details.</p> <p>Although the committee was chaired by the head of the Tariff Board, Alf Rattigan, and included an official from Whitlam’s own department, the department of industry and the department of trade, it met in an obscure location in Canberra’s civic centre rather than in public service offices, where the project might be discovered.</p> <p>Not included in the committee was a representative of the treasury, which its then deputy head John Stone said “<a href="https://cdn.theconversation.com/static_files/files/2744/Stone__The_Inside_Story_of_Gough%E2%80%99s_Tariff_Cut__in_The_Australian__18_July_2003..pdf">knew nothing</a>” about what was unfolding.</p> <p>But driving the work of the committee were two academic outsiders – Fred Gruen, an economics professor at the Australian National University and adviser to Whitlam, and Brian Brogan, an economics lecturer at Monash University who was advising the trade minister, Jim Cairns.</p> <h2>Outsiders, not treasury insiders</h2> <p>As economists rather than bureaucrats, Gruen and Brogan were able to see benefits where others saw entrenched interests. Going to the tariff board and asking for extra tariffs, whenever it looked as if your prices might be undercut by imports, had become a reflex action for Australian businesses.</p> <p>In the words of <a href="https://esavic.org.au/385/images/2013_GaryBanks.pdf">Gary Banks</a> – later to become head of the successor to the tariff board, the Productivity Commission: “it was not a shameful thing for a conga line of industrialists to be seen wending its way to Canberra”.</p> <p>Tariffs were good for business owners, although bad for their customers, who had to pay much higher prices and often got <a href="https://www.afr.com/opinion/bill-scales-the-rise-and-fall-of-the-australian-car-manufacturing-industry-20171018-gz3ky4">worse goods</a>. They were also good for government – bringing in tax revenue.</p> <p>Whitlam was more interested in bringing down inflation. His announcement said increased competition would "have a salutary effect upon those who have taken advantage of shortages by unjustified price increases which have exploited the public".</p> <p>Any firm seriously hurt by the extra imports could apply to a newly established tribunal for assistance, but the tribunal "should not provide relief as a matter of course – that is, simply because the question of relief had been referred to it".</p> <p>So Whitlam offered “rationalisation assistance” to encourage firms to refocus their operations, and “compensation for closure” where that couldn’t be done and production had to cease.</p> <p>For displaced workers, the 7pm announcement offered anyone who lost their job retraining, as well as "a weekly amount equal to his [sic] average wage in the previous six months until he obtains or is found suitable alternative employment."</p> <p>Over the next seven years, manufacturing employment fell by <a href="https://www.bitre.gov.au/sites/default/files/report_136_CHAPTER_6_WEB_FA.pdf">80,000</a>, but few of those job losses were immediate. Fifteen months after the 25% tariff cut, fewer than <a href="https://www.jstor.org/stable/20634782?seq=10">6,000</a> people had claimed the wage replacement offered on the night of the announcement.</p> <p>When Whitlam went to the polls a year after the cut in the double dissolution election of May 1974, 122 university economists signed an <a href="https://pmtranscripts.pmc.gov.au/release/transcript-3267">open letter</a> of support.</p> <p>The letter said the general thrust of the government’s policy responses had been in the best interests of the nation as a whole, and added, "more importantly, we seriously doubt that the previous government would have had the wisdom or the courage to undertake it. It had certainly given no indication of moving in that direction while it was in power, even though the need for such policies had become obvious".</p> <p>In its later days in office, the Whitlam government was roundly criticised for its irresponsible public spending. Ironically, in its approach to tariffs in the 1970s, it had taken the first steps in a neoliberal direction that characterised western governments of the 1980s.</p> <p>By acting boldly after decades of inaction, Whitlam showed what a government could do. It was a lesson his Labor successor Bob Hawke took to heart a decade later, when he floated the dollar, revamped Australia’s tax system and put in place a series of further cuts that reduced tariffs to near zero.</p> <p>It’s something we see less of today.<!-- 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/209378/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/alex-millmow-4462">Alex Millmow</a>, Senior Fellow, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/federation-university-australia-780">Federation University 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/how-a-secret-plan-50-years-ago-changed-australias-economy-forever-in-just-one-night-209378">original article</a>.</em></p>

Money & Banking

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The 30 best places to explore in London, according to a local

<p><strong>Top things to do in London</strong></p> <p>London ranks high among the best places to travel in the world, attracting millions of visitors from all corners of the globe every year. It may not be one of the cheap places to travel, but there are so many things to do in London that it’s definitely worth a visit. So, once you’ve figured out the best time to visit London and the best time to book a flight – and you’ve watched King Charles’s coronation to get in the mood – where to start?</p> <p>If you’ve never been to London, you’ll want to make sure to see the most important sights, but also some hidden gems we locals enjoy. I have been living in London for more than five years. I planned to just stay for a few weeks, but I fell in love with the city at first sight – and I still schedule in regular time for exploring my adopted home. I love to share my favourite spots as a travel writer, and I am on speed dial for friends, family and friends of friends who are visiting.</p> <p>It’s impossible to fit everything London has to offer into one trip (or even one lifetime!), but it’s easy to make the most of your time if you just know how.</p> <p><strong>Big Ben</strong></p> <p>Big Ben is London’s most famous landmark, so it’s a must-see for all travellers. The name refers to the huge bell inside the clock tower, which first chimed on May 31, 1859, but the whole building at the north end of the Houses of Parliament goes by this nickname. Big Ben was renamed Elizabeth Tower in honour of Queen Elizabeth II‘s Diamond Jubilee in 2012, but most people don’t call it that.</p> <p>The tower underwent extensive renovations from summer 2017, and there was much excitement when the bells first rang again in November 2022. It’s still not possible to climb up Big Ben quite yet, but the big reopening for visitors is scheduled for later in 2023. Your best bet for a picture-perfect view of the tower and the Houses of Parliament is from Westminster Bridge.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>Pro tip</em></span>: If you want to take a selfie with Big Ben, the best spot is just behind the landmark, on Great George Street. When coming from Westminster Bridge, walk past the tower and the tube station (Westminster) toward St James’s Park, Westminster Abbey to your left. While it might be a bit cliché to pose next to a red phone box, the photo will still look great on your Instagram – and many Londoners snap this shot too.</p> <p><strong>Westminster Abbey</strong></p> <p>If you followed King Charles‘s coronation (or other festive royal events such as Prince William and Kate Middleton‘s wedding) you’re probably already familiar with Westminster Abbey. But London’s most iconic church is even more impressive when you step foot inside yourself. Westminster Abbey was founded in 960 AD and has been the coronation church since 1066. It is also the final resting place of no fewer than 17 monarchs (the late Queen Elizabeth is buried in Windsor Castle), scientists such as Sir Isaac Newton and world-famous writers including Charles Dickens.</p> <p>Westminster Abbey is both one of London’s top tourist attractions and a working church with daily services – so be prepared for crowds and parts of the abbey closed. The church is busiest in the mornings, so visit after lunchtime if you can book a time slot.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>Pro tip</em></span>: While it’s perfectly possible to explore the abbey with an audio guide (included in the ticket price), their guided tours are worth a bit of extra money. You will get to see parts of Westminster Abbey that are normally closed to the public, including royal tombs, the Poets’ Corner and Lady Chapel – and you’ll get to hear lots of interesting facts and anecdotes.</p> <p><strong>The London Eye</strong></p> <p>The London Eye is a giant Ferris wheel on the South Bank of the Thames River, and it’s been a London landmark of its own for over 20 years, so no list of the things to do in London would be complete without mentioning it. But is it really worth it? Let’s face it, the 30-minute-ride comes with a big price tag and potentially long queuing times on top. However, on a sunny day (or at night!) the views are truly stunning. If you’re lucky, you’ll not only see all the London sights including Big Ben, the Tower of London, Buckingham Palace and the Tower Bridge but all the way up to Windsor Castle too. So, if you are new to London and don’t mind spending some cash, go for it. Fun fact, the London Eye is also one of the top places in the UK for people on romantic getaways – and, in fact, to get engaged. They even offer special proposal packages with private pods and champagne.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>Pro tip</em></span>: Technically, you can just show up and buy your ticket on-site, but booking online saves you time and money. There are also discounted combination tickets including a river cruise or entry to Madame Tussaud’s.</p> <p><strong>The Tate Modern</strong></p> <p>Museums rank high among the most popular attractions in London – and not just because you can visit them regardless of the weather. If you only have time for one, make it the Tate Modern, which is one of the most popular museums in the world. The massive art space with its iconic tower is housed in the former Bankside Power Station and sits right near the Thames, across from St Paul’s Cathedral.</p> <p>The exhibition spaces spread over seven floors and include original works by the likes of Picasso, Matisse and Warhol. Like most museums in London, the Tate Modern is free to visit, unless you want to see a special exhibition (book well in advance in that case). Should you be keen to see the Tate’s sister gallery Tate Britain as well, hop on the Tate Boat right in front of the building and travel door to door in style. Boats run every 20 to 30 minutes during museum open hours.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>Pro tip</em></span>: Fancy turning your Tate Modern visit into a fun night out? Keep an eye on the monthly Tate Lates, a mix of art workshops and talks, DJs, bars and live music.</p> <p><strong>Buckingham Palace</strong></p> <p>Buckingham Palace has been the official residence of the British monarchs since 1837, and even though all the royal family currently live at other royal estates, it remains the place most associated with the crown. A highlight not to be missed is the Changing of the Guard, a traditional ceremony that sees one detachment of troops taking over from the other, marching along The Mall to Buckingham Palace with musical accompaniment (expect both traditional tunes and pop songs). It takes place on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday and daily during the summer, at 11 AM. It’s one of the best free tourist attractions in London. For a prime spot, arrive at least one hour in advance, as the area gets packed year-round.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>Pro tip</em></span>: The State Rooms inside Buckingham Palace are open to visitors on selected dates during winter and spring, as well as for 10 weeks in summer. Tour tickets sell out quickly, so check dates and book as early as you can.</p> <p><strong>The Tower Bridge</strong></p> <p>Walking across the Tower Bridge is a must-do when in London. But nothing beats watching the landmark lift for tall vessels, including cruise ships, to pass through. River traffic has priority on this stretch of the Thames by law, meaning ships can request a lift any time of the day, bringing the traffic on the bridge to a complete halt. On average, the Tower Bridge opens twice a day. But what’s the secret behind being at the right place at the right time? Luckily, it’s pretty simple, as you can check online to see when the bridge next lifts.  Then, make sure to arrive on time to watch the spectacle unfold.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>Pro tip</em></span>: For a full view of the lift (and great photo opportunities), position yourself on the river banks or a bridge opposite Tower Bridge. For a more close-up experience, stand on either end of the bridge.</p> <p><strong>Portobello Road Market</strong></p> <p>In the 1990s, the movie Notting Hill, starring Julia Roberts and Hugh Grant, made the West London neighbourhood of the same name known around the world as a romantic travel destination. But even if you’re not a fan of rom-coms, Notting Hill and its famous Portobello Road Market – considered the largest antique market on the planet – have a lot to offer. The stalls, fold-out tables and shops are packed with vintage treasures, from lamps and chairs to paintings, jewellery and second-hand clothing, which makes it a great place for souvenir hunting. The market is open six days a week, but Saturday is the main day when all the sellers, antique hunters and street food vendors are out.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>Pro tip</em></span>: Notting Hill’s signature pastel houses are just as famous as the market, and selfies on the steps around the Hillgate Place and Lancaster Road area are high on many visitors’ bucket lists. Please keep in mind though that people actually live in these houses, so don’t stare into their windows or leave trash behind.</p> <p><strong>The West End</strong></p> <p>The West End is the heart of London’s commercial theatre and musical productions in the UK. More than 16 million people watched performances here in 2022, making tickets one of the hottest holiday gifts. Whether you’re into the classics such as Les Miserables (running since 1985) and The Phantom of the Opera (since 1986) or want to see a feel-good musical featuring songs by Tina Turner, ABBA or Queen, this is the place. The Disney musicals are among the most popular things to do in London with kids, but they’re just as fun to watch as an adult. For crime fans, Agatha Christie’s Mousetrap is a must-see.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>Pro tip</em></span>: If you haven’t set your mind on a specific show, you can score excellent last-minute deals on the day using the TodayTix app (look for “rush tickets” at 10 a.m. sharp). I’ve found myself sitting in some of the best seats in the house for around $30, especially on weeknights. Ticket booths around Leicester Square also sell discounted tickets.</p> <p><strong>The Tower of London</strong></p> <p>No list of the best things to do in London would be complete without the Tower of London: an iconic castle, former prison and execution location – as well as the home of the crown jewels. The royals’ precious accessories have been stored here since 1661 and only leave the Tower when used on official occasions. Want to see King Charles’s and Queen Camilla’s crowns? They are right here!</p> <p>The Tower of London is more than 900 years old, and you can feel its history in every corner. Keep in mind that the complex is not only impressive but also huge, so plan at least a few hours to see everything. Besides its exhibitions, historic halls and the guards with their signature fur hats, the Tower is famous for its wild ravens. According to legend, the kingdom will fall if the six resident ravens ever decide to leave.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>Pro tip</em></span>: Tickets to the Tower of London come with audio guides. If you’d rather have a human companion, opt for a tour with a Beefeater, a working guard at the fortress.</p> <p><strong>Borough Market</strong></p> <p>Dating back to the 13th century, Borough Market, on the south side of the Thames, is London’s oldest food market and a great food travel destination with more than 100 stalls and plenty of small restaurants and wine bars where you can enjoy lunch or dinner. While the market originally focused on British produce, you can now get Indian curries, pad Thai, Ethiopian stews, falafel wraps, pasta dishes and, of course, the obligatory fish and chips. There are also plenty of stalls to stock up on bread, veggies, wines and sweets to take home or have later in the day. The market is open Tuesday to Sunday.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>Pro tip</em></span>: Borough Market is a lunch favourite with people working at the nearby offices, so expect long queues around noon. If you can’t find a quiet spot to eat, make yourself comfy at the riverbank a few minutes away by foot.</p> <p><strong>Warner Bros. Studio Tour: The Making of Harry Potter</strong></p> <p>London is full of locations featured in the Harry Potter movies (think St. Paul’s Cathedral, Leadenhall Market, Borough Market or Tower Bridge), which you can explore on your own. But no place gets “muggles” (non-magic people) closer to Harry Potter’s world than the Warner Bros. Studio Tour just outside the city. Here you will walk through Diagon Alley, peek into Harry’s cupboard under the stairs and explore Hogwarts rooms such as the Great Hall or Dumbledore’s office. You can even sample butter beer! The studio decoration changes according to season. I have seen the summer and Christmas versions so far, and Halloween is next on my list.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>Pro tip</em></span>: Advance booking is essential, even during shoulder seasons. Since muggles are, unfortunately, unable to arrive by broom, a shuttle bus from London’s Watford Junction is included in the ticket price.</p> <p><strong>Columbia Road Market</strong></p> <p>Columbia Road Flower Market may be London’s most popular place for flower shopping, and it’s a weekend institution in East London. Rain or shine, the whole street gets packed from 8am every Sunday with dozens of stalls that sell tulips, roses, cacti, spider plants and banana trees. Judging by Instagram posts and people with cameras around their necks, the market might look like a bit of a tourist trap at first glance. But the majority of the visitors are locals who stock up on flowers after coffee or brunch at one of the little cafes in the neighbourhood. The flowers are certainly the main selling point on a Sunday, but Columbia Road is dotted with little art shops and galleries too, so take your time to have a look around.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>Pro tip</em></span>: Columbia Road Market tends to be busy year-round, but if you want to avoid the largest crowds, it pays to show up right when it starts. For the best flower deals, come after lunchtime. The stalls close at around 3pm.</p> <p><strong>Sky Garden</strong></p> <p>London’s highest public garden, Sky Garden, sits on the 35th floor of the “Walkie Talkie,” one of the city’s landmark skyscrapers, and it provides spectacular panoramic views. Sky Garden is an oasis of plants, with an observation deck, an open-air terrace and two restaurants. Entry is free, but advance booking is essential. However, once you’re in, you’re in, so you can technically spend a whole day among the plants.</p> <p>If you can’t get into Sky Garden (or want to shoot more skyline pictures from a different angle), head to The Garden at 120, an open-air rooftop garden on the 15th floor about a five-minute walk away. It might not be as fancy as Sky Garden, but it’s usually a lot quieter. I have had the whole garden to myself on weekday mornings more than once.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>Pro tip</em></span>: Tickets for the Sky Garden are released every Monday, and you can book up to three weeks in advance. If you’re in the area but don’t have a ticket, it’s still worth trying your luck at the door, as they sometimes accept walk-ins.</p> <p><strong>Traditional afternoon tea</strong></p> <p>While Brits are the champions of tea drinking, afternoon tea is a lot more than just sipping on your favourite blend. The ritual dates back to the 19th century, when the ladies of the high society met for a light meal to shorten the time until dinner was served. Today, it’s mainly saved for special occasions, but it also makes one of the most fun things to do in London when on a city break. A traditional afternoon tea menu includes small sandwiches, scones with clotted cream and jam and a selection of pastries and cakes. Earl Grey, Darjeeling and English Breakfast are the classic tea blends. If you really want to treat yourself, book a table at the glamorous salon at Cafe Royal. Oscar Wilde, Winston Churchill, Princess Diana and David Bowie were regulars here. Live piano music and champagne are included too.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>Pro tip</em></span>: Looking for a more casual afternoon tea option that doubles as a sightseeing tour? Hop on the Afternoon Tea Bus for a 90-minute ride.</p> <p><strong>Shakespeare's Globe Theatre </strong></p> <p>While the Globe Theatre on the South Bank of the Thames isn’t the original one from Shakespeare’s time (that one burned down in 1613), it’s still considered the writer’s London home and the closest you could ever get to the original experience. The venue was rebuilt in the same shape and layout, using the original type of wood (green oak) and building techniques. Watch world-famous plays such as A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Macbeth and The Comedy of Errors and fully immerse yourself in the world of Shakespeare.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>Pro tip</em></span>: The cheapest way to see a play (or get into an otherwise sold-out show) is the “5£ Rush Tickets.” These are standing tickets right in front of the stage. While you might miss the comfort of a seat, you’ll be closer to the action than anyone else (and save a lot of money too!). Tickets are released every Friday at 11 am for the following week.</p> <p><strong>Little Venice</strong></p> <p>London is an amazing city to explore on foot, and once you’ve ticked off all the major sights, it’s time to enjoy one of the locals’ favourite walks. When I moved to London, I was amazed at how many locals lived on houseboats – it reminded me of The Netherlands, where I spent my college semester abroad. Regent’s Canal is dotted with colourful narrowboats, and you can often watch their owners navigate them to and from their mooring spots. The most beautiful stretch is from King’s Cross to Little Venice, a beautiful water canal area full of cafés and pubs and framed by willow trees. You will pass Camden and Regent’s Park along the way.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>Pro tip</em></span>: Before you head on your two-hour walk, check out Coal Drop’s Yard right behind the King’s Cross station, with its restaurants, pubs and artsy shops, and Word on the Water, a floating bookstore.</p> <p><strong>Shoreditch</strong></p> <p>East London’s Shoreditch is one of the hippest districts in the city, with little cafes, quirky shops and bars on every corner. It’s also the heart of London’s street-art scene. Living in Shoreditch, I’m continuously amazed by all the murals and graffiti popping up overnight (and, sadly, often disappearing just as quickly). If you are like me and love taking edgy pictures, you will feel right at home. I always recommend Shoreditch Street Art Tours to friends visiting, a fun and comprehensive introduction to the local street-art scene. If you head out on your own, save Brick Lane, Fashion Street, Hanbury Street, Princelet Street, New Inn Yard, Redchurch Street and Shoreditch Highstreet Station on Google Maps.</p> <p>To kill two birds with one stone, visit Shoreditch on a weekend when Brick Lane market (lots of food and some art and clothes stalls) takes place. Truman Brewery on Brick Lane is also home to the biggest indoor vintage market in the U.K., which is open seven days a week.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>Pro tip</em></span>: For a quick and inexpensive snack to go, head to Beigel Bake. The 24-hour shop is the most famous bagel place in London. Attention: They only take cash!</p> <p><strong>Kensington Gardens</strong></p> <p>One of London’s eight royal parks and formerly part of Hyde Park, Kensington Gardens is a popular recreational area where you can take a stroll, have a picnic, check out exhibitions at the Serpentine galleries, visit Kensington Palace or – if you’re traveling with kids – make the most of the Diana Memorial Playground (including a wooden pirate ship and sculptures inspired by Peter Pan).</p> <p>Ring-necked parakeets have spread all over London, but this park is your best bet to see them up close. And while nobody seems to be quite sure how they originally ended up in London, thousands have called it home since the 1990s. Here, the parakeets are so used to people they will land on your outstretched hands (or your shoulders or your head!) when you bring snacks (apples or seeds) – and sometimes even if you don’t. Be aware, though, that the cute birds have surprisingly sharp claws, so your arms might end up looking like you’ve just been scratched by an angry cat.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>Pro tip</em></span>: The parakeets can be found near the Peter Pan statue in Kensington Garden. If you arrive by tube, get off at Lancaster Gate, walk past the lake and follow the squawking.</p> <p><strong>Barbican Conservatory </strong></p> <p>The Barbican Centre is London’s largest multi-arts venue. Movies, live gigs, plays, exhibitions, restaurants – you name it, the iconic complex has it all. One of the lesser known gems is their indoor garden on Level 3, which houses 2000 species of plants and trees as well as three small ponds. It’s a great place if you need a break from sightseeing or want to spend a relaxing hour or two hiding from the rain. Plus, it’s quite romantic – a friend of mine got engaged amidst the plants! Unfortunately, the whole Barbican complex tends to feel like a labyrinth with tons of confusing walkways. Schedule in some extra time just in case you get lost, and don’t sweat it, because it regularly happens to pretty much every Londoner.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>Pro tip</em></span>: The Conservatory is only open on selected days. Entry is free, but book a time slot in advance to make sure you’ll get in. Tickets are released one week in advance on Fridays at 10 am, with a limited number of additional ones available at 9.30am on the day.</p> <p><strong>God's Own Junkyard</strong></p> <p>God’s Own Junkyard is a surreal exhibition place packed with blinking neon signs, old movie props, circus lighting and retro displays. It’s the private collection of the late owner Chris Bracey, who made signs for Soho’s strip clubs before he went on to work with some of our greatest directors, including Tim Burton (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory), Christopher Nolan (Batman) and Stanley Kubrick (Eyes Wide Shut).</p> <p>The gallery-turned-warehouse isn’t exactly close to the city centre, but it ranks high among the best things to do in London. Entry is free, however you might end up taking a neon sign home from their small shop. There’s also a cafe and fully licensed bar, if you want to linger for a bit.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>Pro tip</em></span>: It might be tempting, but God’s Own Junkyard is, unfortunately, not the place to try out your latest camera gear. You are allowed to take pictures with your phone (for personal use and social media) but not with any cameras or professional equipment.</p> <p><strong>Cahoots Underground </strong></p> <p>If you like colourful cocktails and immersive experiences, make sure to check out some of London’s hidden bars. One of the coolest places I’ve been is the 1940s-inspired Cahoots Underground, located in a retired tube station around the corner from Soho’s Carnaby Street. The speakeasy bar is decorated with tube signs and maps, the cocktails (with names like “Winston Churchill” and “Judy Garland”) are listed in a newspaper instead of a regular menu, and the waiters are dressed up as ticket inspectors. What’s more, there’s a live piano player taking requests from guests (everything from Frank Sinatra to Miley Cyrus). Be prepared for spontaneous singalongs and people dancing between the tables.</p> <p>Other hidden bars worth checking out include Nightjar Shoreditch (old-school glamour, candlelit tables and live jazz and swing), Discount Suit Company (in a former suit tailor’s storeroom), Opium in Chinatown (a 1920s Shanghai-themed bar tucked away behind red curtains), Purl (1920s theme, live music and cocktail mixing classes) and Ladies &amp; Gents (in a former public washroom).</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>Pro tip</em></span>: Better safe than sorry – all the above-mentioned bars are very popular, so book a table just in case.</p> <p><strong>Dennis Severs' House</strong></p> <p>If you’ve ever wondered what every day London life looked like in the 18th century, Dennis Severs’ House gives you a first-hand taste. The building was left exactly as when the original owners, a family of silk weavers, lived there. The rooms are lit by fire and candlelight, and visitors are encouraged to tour them in complete silence to “not disturb the family.” You will find yourself wandering around the living room full of faded photographs, old carpets, mugs and books. The kitchen has a fully laid table – bitten apples included! It almost feels like the family is about to return and go on with their daily routine any moment. To make the time-travel experience even more authentic, there are also added scents of food, woodsmoke and chatters of the occupants.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>Pro tip:</em></span> Walk-up tickets are available, but unless you don’t mind standing in line for up to an hour or two, I’d recommend booking a time slot.</p> <p><strong>Camden</strong></p> <p>Talk to any Londoner and they’ll probably tell you that Camden is just not what it used to be. And I’m not going to lie, the North London neighbourhood has dramatically changed in recent years. Its edgy, alternative vibe is pretty much gone. Many of the charming parts of Camden Market were replaced by fancy stalls, food courts and colourful hanging umbrellas. However, Camden is still well worth a visit, you just need to do a bit more digging. Ignore the souvenir shops and look for the small creative sellers that have stood their ground. Then head to The Hawley Arms, my go-to Camden pub and a musician’s hangout. The late, great Amy Winehouse was a regular.</p> <p>Camden’s music scene is legendary, and many pubs have live gigs and open-mic nights. Some of the most iconic venues to check out for gigs include KOKO (frequented by supermodels such as Naomi Campbell and Kate Moss in their heydays), Electric Ballroom, Spiritual Records, Dingwalls and Jazz Cafe.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>Pro tip</em></span>: The annual Camden Rocks Festival sees hundreds of gigs around Camden Town.</p> <p><strong>A pub for Sunday roast</strong></p> <p>Sunday roast is a British meal traditionally consisting of roasted meat of some sort (beef is the most common), mashed and roasted potatoes, Yorkshire pudding, carrots, seasonal greens, gravy and apple or mint sauce. It’s a big, hearty meal typically enjoyed early or late Sunday afternoon. Classic drinks to go with the foodie feast include local beers and ciders.</p> <p>Sunday roasts rank high among the top things to do in London, and luckily there are plenty of options all around the city. One of the most popular is Camberwell Arms, which features five options served for two people to share. Other good choices are the trendy Blacklock Shoreditch (located inside a former furniture factory) and Quality Chop House, which has fed hungry guests since 1869. If you’re a vegan, like me, or just curious about a meat-free option, head to The Spread Eagle, London’s first fully plant-based pub.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>Pro tip</em></span>: All the above pubs (and many others around the city) are packed on Sunday, so booking is essential.</p> <p><strong>Royal Albert Hall</strong></p> <p>pened in 1871 by Queen Victoria (and dedicated to her husband Albert, hence the name), Royal Albert Hall is probably the world’s most famous concert hall. Its annual highlight is The Proms, an eight-week series of classical music organized by the BBC. But even if you’re not a fan of orchestra performances, the venue is worth a visit. It’s stunning inside and out and has the best acoustics you can find in the city.</p> <p>What’s more, the program is a lot more varied than you might expect. They also feature regular pop and rock gigs, and Eric Clapton, Beyoncé and Jay-Z, David Bowie and the Beatles have played here. You can also catch circus performances, movie nights, yoga sessions with live music and the occasional sumo wrestling event. If you go to a live gig, be prepared for the band to leave the stage mid-concert for a mandatory interval. When I saw Bryan Adams in 2022, he apologised for the break, then jokingly explained that even rock stars had to follow the Royal Albert Hall’s strict house rules.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>Pro tip</em></span>: Many of the events at Royal Albert Hall are instant sell-outs, but it’s always worth checking at the box office or their website for last-minute tickets on the day of the event. If you’re interested in a peek behind the scenes, book a backstage tour.</p> <p><strong>Natural History Museum</strong></p> <p>The Natural History Museum in posh South Kensington is one of the best things to do in London with kids. It houses more than 80 million animals, plants and rocks spanning 4.5 billion years that are displayed in about 20 galleries. The main eye-catcher upon arrival is a 25.2-metre-long blue whale skeleton hanging from the ceiling. The female animal died in Ireland more than 120 years ago and was given a name when moved to its new home: Hope. Other highlights include dinosaurs, a giant gorilla, a Moon rock sample from the 1972 Apollo 16 mission, meteorites and an earthquake simulator. The Natural History Museum is free to visit except for special exhibitions.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>Pro tip</em></span>: Watch out for museum events such as yoga and tai chi classes, silent disco nights or sleepovers for grown-ups.</p> <p><strong>Greenwich</strong></p> <p>Greenwich makes a fun day out of the city – without actually leaving the city. Located in the southeast of London, it’s home to an artsy market with lots of food stalls, a beautiful park perfect for taking London skyline pictures, the National Maritime Museum and the Cutty Sark, one of the oldest and best-known tea clipper ships in the world. There’s also the Prime Meridian at the Royal Observatory, where you can stand with one foot in the western hemisphere and the other foot in the eastern. Greenwich can be reached by tube, bus and train, but the most fun way is to take a boat from central London. Hop on board at Westminster Pier and see famous landmarks such as Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament, St Paul’s Cathedral and Tower Bridge from the water.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>Pro tip</em></span>: While it’s possible to buy tickets for the boats from the ticket booths and machines at the pier, the easiest way is to just use your bank or credit card and tap in and out like you would at the bus or tube.</p> <p><strong>Highgate Cemetery </strong></p> <p>Walking around graves might not seem the most obvious choice for a fun day out in London, but Highgate Cemetery is worth making an exception. The Victorian cemetery looks a bit cramped and chaotic, but the sunken headstones, faded engravings and missing names on the tombs make it beautiful and charming at the same time. Highgate is the final resting place of no less than 170,000 people, including many celebrities. The one resident most visitors are looking for is German philosopher Karl Marx. His grave can be found in the east part of the cemetery and is easily recognisable by a giant sculpture of his head.</p> <p><em><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Pro tip</span></em>: To enter the cemetery, you need a ticket, which you can buy online or on site. If you want some background info (and to hear morbid anecdotes), you can also book a guided tour.</p> <p><strong>Hackney City Farm</strong></p> <p>Big cities and farms might not go together well at first glance, but London does have several working farms close to its busiest districts. One of the loveliest is Hackney City Farm in East London, which has pigs, donkeys, ponies, sheep, ducks, a vegetable garden, a small shop that sells homemade produce and a restaurant. The farm opened in 1984 and regularly welcomes local school kids. They also run workshops in animal handling and arts classes including pottery and woodworking.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>Pro tip</em></span>: Visits are free, but donations are welcome. Don’t leave without a drink in their cute backyard garden.</p> <p><strong>Independent cinemas</strong></p> <p>While London’s big-chain movie theatres around Leicester Square all come with XXL screens and the latest technology, the independent ones are where the real magic happens. Just around the corner from Leicester Square towards China Town is Prince Charles Cinema, where both the latest blockbusters and classic movies are shown. They also have movie marathons – from Harry Potter to Terminator and Lord of the Rings – where fans gather for up to 24 hours to watch the whole series. They even encourage singalongs during music-movie marathons by projecting lyrics on the screen for a karaoke vibe.</p> <p>I am a regular at Genesis Cinema in East London, which has been showing movies since 1912 and comes with bar events such as open-mic and comedy nights on top. They also charge only £5 Monday to Thursday, which is less than a third of what you’d pay on Leicester Square. Other great places include Electric Cinema, which has leather armchairs and double beds in the front row; Lexi Cinema, a volunteer-run place supporting charities in South Africa); and Everyman Screen on the Green, where wine and pizza are served to your seat.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>Pro tip</em></span>: London hosts tons of small and large film festivals throughout the year, so watch out for premieres, Q&amp;As and other special events.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em>This article originally appeared on <a href="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/healthsmart/tips/the-30-best-places-to-explore-in-london-according-to-a-local?pages=1" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Reader's Digest</a>. </em></p>

International Travel

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Rod Stewart's ultimate surprise for like-minded hobbyists

<p>Rod Stewart has paid a surprise visit to a local business in Sydney's west, mingling with like-minded hobbyists. </p> <p>On Wednesday night, the 78-year-old rockstar took to the stage of Sydney's Qudos Bank Arena in front of 21,000 adoring fans, performing his classic hits in a signature leopard print jacket. </p> <p>But just hours before, he stopped in at Woodpecker Model Railways, a model train store located in Pendle Hill, in search of model trains to add to his vast collection.</p> <p>"Look who casually walked into our shop," the business shared on their Facebook page, alongside a photo of staff members smiling with the rock legend.</p> <p><iframe style="border: none; overflow: hidden;" src="https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fwoodpeckermodelrailways%2Fposts%2Fpfbid0Nfb2LeEtR5yXAcfCiBW8g4GVLqncdVbNz9AKJnZVwFzB345DUXMDt3C6ZvcGpReyl&amp;show_text=true&amp;width=500" width="500" height="504" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></p> <p>"That's amazing!!!" one follower wrote on Facebook.</p> <p>"WOW how awesome !! Lucky you !!I think I would be in total admiration [and] shock if Rod walked into a shop I owned or was in lol," another said.</p> <p>"A very accomplished modeller..... sings a bit as well....." another wrote.</p> <p>Rod Stewart has long been known as a <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/property/real-estate/rod-stewart-s-hidden-track-inside-his-beverly-hills-home" target="_blank" rel="noopener">keen model train builder</a>, revealing in a 2019 interview with Railway Modeller magazine that he had been working on a giant and intricate model of a United States city at home for the previous 23 years.</p> <p>Following his admission in the interview, BBC Radio 2's Jeremy Vine suggested Stewart did not build the model himself, to which Stewart rebutted as he called into Vine's show to set the record straight himself.</p> <p>"I would say 90 per cent of it I built myself," Stewart insisted to Vine. "The only thing I wasn't very good at and still am not is the electricals, so I had someone else do that."</p> <p>"A lot of people laugh at it being a silly hobby, but it's a wonderful hobby," he said.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Facebook</em></p>

Music

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Award-winning century-old house smashes local records

<p>Despite drastically diminishing market conditions, the century-old mansion in the luxurious suburb of Kingsville, Victoria, has surpassed the local pricing record more than 12 months after first being listed for sale. </p> <p>The four-bedroom property – that even has its own ballroom – lies on 1,578 square metres and was snapped up for $2.7m just one week before Christmas – and that was after being sadly passed-in at an auction in November.</p> <p>Even though it was initially listed with a prospective pricing target of $4m way back in October 2021, the final price of $2.7m was a good $800,000 clear of the previous local pricing record of $1.93m.</p> <p>Leo Dardha from Hockingstuart Yarraville told <a href="realestate.com.au/news/kingston-house-price-record-mansion-smashes-record-by-800000/" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><em>The Herald Sun</em></a> that buyers “loved the history, they loved the character and they loved the size of the land”.</p> <p>“It’s one of a kind in Kingsville,” he said.</p> <p>“It’s won a couple of awards. It won a beautification award in 1991 from Maribyrnong Council and has had only two owners in 100 years.</p> <p>“The first owners who commissioned the build were in the transport industry and the second were a local family who moved from another home on Somerville Rd and enjoyed the past 40 years there; it was their pride and joy, their trophy home and they raised their family there.”</p> <p>The upper level of the home is a ballroom that has been the scene of many functions with family and friends over the years, while the wider house features rich timber throughout.</p> <p>An entrance hall, formal lounge and dining rooms, sitting room, and office or sunroom, are among the other traditional highlights.</p> <p><em>Images: Hockingstuart Yarraville </em></p> <p> </p>

Real Estate

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How zinc batteries could power the sustainable economy

<p>What might it take to get zinc batteries offsetting some of the demand on lithium-ion?</p> <p>According to a <a href="https://dx.doi.org/10.26599/NRE.2022.9120039" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">review</a> in <em>Nano Research Energy,</em> a few avenues of research look set to make rechargeable zinc batteries efficient and long-lasting enough to be competitive.</p> <p>If you want to store electricity, lithium-ion batteries are <a href="https://cosmosmagazine.com/science/physics/long-live-the-power-of-lithium/" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">generally the most powerful</a> and <a href="https://cosmosmagazine.com/technology/precious-metal/" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">energy dense option</a>.</p> <p>But lithium isn’t a <a href="https://cosmosmagazine.com/technology/materials/lithium-ion-battery-supply-chain-australia/" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">super-abundant metal</a>, and it’s very reactive: lithium-ion batteries need <a href="https://cosmosmagazine.com/technology/battery-fire-lithium-ion/" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">elaborate safety systems</a> to lower the risk of fires.</p> <p>As battery demand soars, to shore up the <a href="https://cosmosmagazine.com/technology/energy-crisis-escape-transition/" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">transition to renewable energy</a>, researchers are looking for alternatives to lithium.</p> <p>“Zinc has a strong battery track record, having been used as anode material as early as 1799!” says co-author Dapeng Liu, a battery researcher with the Key Laboratory of Bio-inspired Smart Interfacial Science and Technology at Beihang University, China.</p> <p>“Zinc-based battery technology already accounts for one-third of the world battery market.”</p> <p>Zinc can be used in a range of different types of battery – including <a href="https://cosmosmagazine.com/technology/new-charge-for-old-battery/" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">zinc-air batteries</a>, which are currently available as small disposables, rechargeable <a href="https://cosmosmagazine.com/technology/flow-battery-china/" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">flow batteries</a>, or rechargeable non-flow zinc-bromide batteries.</p> <p>Zinc-based batteries are typically cheaper than lithium-ion, and carry a much lower fire risk.</p> <p>But while their performance has much improved over the past decade, they’re still not good for commercial rechargeable batteries yet. They’re not very energy-dense, and they have shorter life cycles.</p> <p>According to the researchers, there are a few areas of chemistry that should be focused on to improve this.</p> <p>First, say the reviewers, the anodes and cathodes of zinc batteries need to be developed so that they don’t deplete as much over time. They think that changing the surface of the anodes (interface modification), and alloying the zinc with other materials and additives, will yield the best results.</p> <p>Next, better <a href="https://cosmosmagazine.com/science/next-big-thing-catalysts-can-change-the-world/" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">catalysts</a> are needed to speed up zinc-air batteries’ reactions, making them more efficient.</p> <p>Finally, the researchers suggest that new electrolyte mixtures can improve battery performance.</p> <p>“Rechargeable zinc-based batteries have a long way to go before large-scale application in the mobile, power, and other electronic equipment markets,” conclude the researchers in their paper.</p> <p>A zinc-bromide battery factory opened in Australia in late September. Operated by <a href="https://gelion.com/gelion-launches-australian-battery-manufacturing-facility/" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">Gelion</a>, a renewable energy company that spun out from research at the University of Sydney, the facility is currently capable of making two megawatt hours of batteries per year.</p> <p><!-- Start of tracking content syndication. Please do not remove this section as it allows us to keep track of republished articles --></p> <p><img id="cosmos-post-tracker" style="opacity: 0; height: 1px!important; width: 1px!important; border: 0!important; position: absolute!important; z-index: -1!important;" src="https://syndication.cosmosmagazine.com/?id=227531&amp;title=How+zinc+batteries+could+power+the+sustainable+economy" width="1" height="1" data-spai-target="src" data-spai-orig="" data-spai-exclude="nocdn" /></p> <p><!-- End of tracking content syndication --></p> <div id="contributors"> <p><em><a href="https://cosmosmagazine.com/technology/zinc-batteries-improvements-needed/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">This article</a> was originally published on Cosmos Magazine and was written by Ellen Phiddian. </em></p> <p><em>Image: Getty Images</em></p> </div>

Technology

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Troubled TV host Andrew O’Keefe arrested

<p dir="ltr">Troubled TV presenter Andrew O'Keefe has once again been arrested after allegedly breaching his bail conditions.</p> <p dir="ltr">The former <em>Deal or No Deal</em> host was arrested at a home in Vaucluse, in Sydney's eastern suburbs just before 11am on Thursday. </p> <p dir="ltr">NSW Police arrested the 51-year-old before he was taken to Waverley Police Station, where he was charged with breach of bail.</p> <p dir="ltr">The Channel 7 personality was refused police bail on the spot and appeared at Waverely Local Court. </p> <p dir="ltr">The court heard that O’Keefe tested positive for drugs but his lawyer argued the swab was contaminated. </p> <p dir="ltr">He was then released on bail and spoke to the media, furious that he was unable to tell his side of the story. </p> <p dir="ltr">“You don't get to hear the story,” he said outside of court.</p> <p dir="ltr">“The thing about the justice system is that we get no time to prepare as the defendant.</p> <p dir="ltr">“And you're at a distinct disadvantage about getting the facts to even your own people.”</p> <p dir="ltr">O’Keefe’s lawyer argued in court that there was a limited information following the police’s swap test to check his client for drugs. </p> <p dir="ltr">“That's what we discovered in court today. There was a high probability of contempt, erm, contamination (to the sample),” O’Keefe said. </p> <p dir="ltr">Back in January, O’Keefe received six charges, with police alleging he grabbed a sex worker by the throat before punching her and pushing her to the ground.</p> <p dir="ltr">He pleaded not guilty to all six, which included three counts of common assault, intentionally choking a person without consent, and assault occasioning actual bodily harm.</p> <p dir="ltr">In February, he pleaded guilty to a separate charge of drug possession. </p> <p dir="ltr">In June, O’Keefe appeared in court to challenge a charge of breaching an apprehended violence order (AVO) against another complainant, and again in July to examine the evidence relating to the allegations of assault and choking.</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image: Nine News</em></p>

News

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5 ways to embrace ‘Local Boho’ in your home

<p dir="ltr">The laidback, colourful look of the Bohemian style has always been popular, and a modern take on this breezy and relaxed look is set to become the next interior design trend.</p> <p dir="ltr">Along with the nostalgic feel of the original style, this modern version brings with it some extra polish and an emphasis on quality.</p> <p dir="ltr">“We call this look ‘Local Boho’, and it’s a soulful celebration of creativity, nostalgia and unpretentious home style – the very antithesis of harsh minimalism,” interior stylist and Carpet Court ambassador Heather Nette King says.</p> <p><span id="docs-internal-guid-d67b2b26-7fff-cc95-756d-9b2de80cbb74"></span></p> <p dir="ltr">According to trend forecasters from Carpet Court, we can expect to see ‘Local Boho’ come to the fore in 2022 and 2023, bringing with it plenty of colour, simple styling, and natural materials.</p> <p dir="ltr"><img src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/2022/11/local-boho3.jpg" alt="" width="1280" height="720" /></p> <p dir="ltr">“With roots in the slow movement and natural living philosophies, it’s about decorating </p> <p dir="ltr">your home to reflect your personal journey rather than following any prescriptive rules or decorating dos and don’ts,” Nette King says.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Classic boho is often a riot of colour and pattern, whereas this new iteration is more considered. Warm, earthy hues on the floors and walls form a cosy, neutral backdrop. This palette welcomes furniture in natural materials, such as timber and rattan, and fabrics and art in shades of green, blue and coral. Styling is simple – pieces are given room to breathe to showcase their shape and texture.”</p> <p dir="ltr">If you’re looking to embrace ‘Local Boho’ in your own home, Nette King says there are some key things to consider.</p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>1. Forget the rules</strong></p> <p dir="ltr">While replicating trends can come with plenty of rules, pulling off the ‘Local Boho’ style involves unleashing your inner creative.</p> <p dir="ltr">“So many home owners fear getting it wrong or believe these trends won’t work in their homes,” Nette King tells <em>OverSixty</em>.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Remember that ‘supposed to’ can be one of the most restricting phrases when it comes to interior design. So instead, embrace the whimsy and feel confident in creating an interior that’s unique to you.”</p> <p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-0c94a718-7fff-23fb-d806-ef88f46e1025"></span></p> <p dir="ltr">With this flexibility, Nette King says this look can suit any architectural style, from beachy coastal homes to contemporary apartments.</p> <p dir="ltr"><img src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/2022/11/local-boho-look.jpg" alt="" width="1280" height="720" /></p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>2. Choose four or five key colours</strong></p> <p dir="ltr">Even though ‘anything goes’, Nette King says somewhat restricting the colours you’re working can help - but stresses that there is no right or wrong colour scheme to work with.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Loosely limiting your colour palette will give your room a sense of cohesion - but don’t worry if a couple more shades sneak in - anomalies will only add to the magic with this look!” she explains.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Interior colour selections are highly subjective, which means there’s no right or wrong way to select a colour scheme for your space. The most important consideration is finding a palette that feels right to you, using shades that beautifully reflect your personal style.”</p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>3.  Mix vintage and contemporary pieces</strong></p> <p dir="ltr">The boho look is all about personality and an eclectic feel, and mixing pieces from different eras is a perfect way to achieve it - but there is an art to it.</p> <p dir="ltr">“A room full of antiques will look like a museum, so anchor the space with a modern item such as a sofa, desk or dining table, then add layers of character with curated pieces,” Nette King suggests.</p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>4. Play with opposing textures</strong></p> <p dir="ltr">Unlike other looks, boho embraces clashing patterns and textures - think anything from linen and velvet to rattan and metallic touches - which Nette King says add warmth to your interiors.</p> <p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-d6914e23-7fff-64d6-8947-b43e02dde896"></span></p> <p dir="ltr">“Texture adds warmth and a tactile connection to objects in your home,” she explains. “Without it, you’ll find yourself surrounded by a flat room which is why it’s a design trick worth getting on board with. Check that your elements play nice together and you’ll go far in your efforts to create a more multidimensional look.”</p> <p dir="ltr"><img src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/2022/11/local-boho-look1.jpg" alt="" width="1280" height="720" /></p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>5. Add interest to walls</strong></p> <p dir="ltr">While furnishings and floorings are important for achieving this look, you don’t want to overlook the space on your walls either.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Those empty walls are filled with possibilities,” Nette King says.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Photographs from your travels, woven wall hangings and colourful art are perfect for adding character and depth to your modern boho scheme.</p> <p dir="ltr">“With this style you can really amp them up to bring out your personality and taste.”</p> <p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-51a74260-7fff-b8e2-303d-def0537344ed"></span></p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Images: Supplied</em></p>

Home Hints & Tips

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Locals rally after 12-year-old has business shut down

<p dir="ltr">A 12-year-old boy has gained the support of his local community after his snack-selling business was shut down by council.</p> <p dir="ltr">Jesse Lane was earning some tidy profits from selling cold drinks, insect repellent, dog treats and sunscreen in a tent on the Bondi to Coogee walk in Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs.</p> <p dir="ltr">Despite his success, the venture was shut down after two locals complained that he shouldn’t be making profits on public land.</p> <p dir="ltr">The complaints came after Randwick Council rejected Jesse’s trading application because he didn’t have insurance.</p> <p dir="ltr">But even when he acquired insurance months later, the application was rejected again.</p> <p dir="ltr">With his tent stall facing a forced closure, locals have rallied around Jesse.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Jessie is the hard-working kid who sets up and sells a number of things for hot and thirsty walkers and their pets,” one person shared on Facebook.</p> <p dir="ltr">“The world needs more kids to drive to work hard for themselves and not sit around and play video games all day.</p> <p dir="ltr">“His parents must be so proud of him and people should mind their business, if the kid wants to make money and work on his weekends good on him.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Susan Ley, the deputy leader of the Liberal party, chimed in to support the youngster, saying he should be commended for “having a go”.</p> <p dir="ltr">“We won’t have the small businesses and entrepreneurs of tomorrow if we don’t back them today,” she said.</p> <p dir="ltr">“This is a foolish decision @RandwickCouncil and it should be reversed.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Local community (equals) happy, 12-year-old kid having a go … what’s the problem?”</p> <p dir="ltr">In August, <em>Yahoo News</em> reported that Randwick Council confirmed that there had been a “number” of complaints about Jesse’s business.</p> <p dir="ltr">"He was initially selling drinks but has expanded to include a range of products including sunscreen, insect repellent and dog treats," a council spokesperson told <em>2GB </em>radio.</p> <p dir="ltr">“While we admire the innovation and entrepreneurial spirit of the young man, there are restrictions on commercial operations in public parks.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Council received a number of complaints from people concerned about the precedent of commercialisation of the park as well as concern about the safety and welfare of a young boy trading and handling money in a public place.”</p> <p dir="ltr">“Council has carefully considered the application. Unfortunately, it has determined that the activity is not consistent with the primary use of the land and it is not in the public interest for a proliferation of these types of activity along the length of the coastline.”</p> <p><span id="docs-internal-guid-4600703a-7fff-8fd5-8584-58c705a63219"></span></p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image: 7News</em></p>

Money & Banking

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“No it’s not haunted”: Property listing tackles local myths

<p dir="ltr">Old homes are often believed to be haunted, and the listing for a historic NSW home has taken this into account to reassure superstitious buyers.</p> <p dir="ltr">The advertising for the five-bedroom property in Smithtown, on the Macleay River, takes the time to debunk local rumours that it’s haunted.</p> <p dir="ltr">“The land was first selected in 1868, the building came in 1902 and has since served as a home, a General Store, Cash Emporium, Fish and Chip shop, Boarding House and some think a haunted house because it was all boarded up for years – but no, it’s not haunted it’s amazing, oh to sit on those big wrap-around verandahs for dinner and drinks would be amazing,” <a href="https://www.kellyflanaganrealestate.com.au/listings/residential_sale-3360870-smithtown/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">the listing reads</a>.</p> <p dir="ltr">“This majestic, big, hardwood building could become once again a glistening jewel.”</p> <p dir="ltr">The listing also claims that if you don’t know the building, located “round the bend for the pub”, you’re not a local, describing it as one of the icons of the Lower Macleay Valley.</p> <p dir="ltr">Despite its age, the home seems to be in great shape thanks to work done to renew the structure 20 years ago.</p> <p dir="ltr">“The magic big building just needs the make-up and fit-out however you want it to look like – or don’t do much and love it like the previous owner has done for 30 or so past years,” the listing suggests.</p> <p dir="ltr">The two-storey home also boasts several verandahs from which you can enjoy stunning river views, as well as flexible zoning options that allow it to be transformed into more than a home.</p> <p dir="ltr">With a listed price between $550-$600,000 and the assurance it’s ghoul-free, this is a home that’s sure to become someone’s favourite haunt.</p> <p><span id="docs-internal-guid-dbb939f0-7fff-6937-95ef-7ab060ec40a8"></span></p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Images: Kelly Flanagan Real Estate</em></p>

Real Estate

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As countries ranging from Indonesia to Mexico aim to attract digital nomads, locals say ‘not so fast’

<p>Should your community welcome <a href="https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/digital%20nomad">digital nomads</a> – individuals who work remotely, allowing them freedom to bounce from country to country?</p> <p><a href="https://global.oup.com/academic/product/digital-nomads-9780190931780?cc=us&amp;lang=en&amp;">Our research</a> has found that workers are eager to embrace the flexibility of not being tied to an office. And after experiencing economic losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic, cities and countries are concocting ways to entice visitors.</p> <p>One idea involves stretching the meaning of tourism to include remote workers.</p> <p>Today, a growing number of countries offer so-called “<a href="https://nomadgirl.co/countries-with-digital-nomad-visas/">digital nomad visas</a>.” These visas allow longer stays for remote workers and provide clarity about allowable work activities. For example, officials in Bali, Indonesia, are looking to formalize a process for remote workers to procure visas – “<a href="https://coconuts.co/bali/features/the-faster-the-better-bali-tourism-agency-head-tjokorda-bagus-pemayun-talks-digital-nomad-visa-plans-and-what-it-means-for-the-island/">the faster, the better</a>,” as the head of the island’s tourism agency put it.</p> <p>Yet pushback from locals in cities ranging <a href="https://time.com/6072062/barcelona-tourism-residents-covid/">from Barcelona</a> to <a href="https://nypost.com/2022/07/28/mexico-city-residents-angered-by-influx-of-americans-speaking-english-gentrifying-area-report/">Mexico City</a> has made it clear that there are costs and benefits to an influx of remote workers. </p> <p>As we explain in our new book, “Digital Nomads: In Search of Freedom, Community, and Meaningful Work in the New Economy,” the trend of “work tourism” <a href="https://global.oup.com/academic/product/digital-nomads-9780190931780?cc=us&amp;lang=en&amp;">comes with a host of drawbacks</a>.</p> <h2>Wearing out their welcome</h2> <p>For as long as there’s been tourism, locals have griped about the outsiders who come and go. These travelers are usually a welcome boost to the economy – <a href="https://dictionary.cambridge.org/us/dictionary/english/overtourism">up to a point</a>. They can also wear out their welcome. </p> <p>Perhaps the classic example is <a href="https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-06-25/venice-reinventing-itself-as-sustainable-tourism-capital">Venice</a>, where high numbers of tourists stress the canal-filled city’s fragile infrastructure.</p> <p>In the U.S., New Jersey shore residents have long used the term “<a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shoobie">shoobies</a>” to denigrate the annual throng of short-term summer tourists. In our research on digital nomads in Bali, locals referred to digital nomads and other tourists as “bules” – a word that roughly translates as “foreigners.”</p> <p>Generally the terms are used to express minor annoyance over crowds and increased traffic. But conventional tourists come and go – their stays usually range from a couple of nights to a couple of weeks. Remote workers stay anywhere from weeks to months – or longer. They spend more time using places and resources traditionally dedicated to the local residents. This raises the chances that outsiders become a grating presence. </p> <p>Excessive numbers of visitors can also raise sustainability concerns, as waves of tourists tax the environment and infrastructure of many destinations. Many of Bali’s beautiful rice fields and surrounding lush forests, for example, are being converted into hotels and villas to serve tourism.</p> <h2>Digital nomads look to stretch their dollars</h2> <p>Whether they’re lazing around or plugging away on their laptops, privileged tourists ultimately change the economics and demographics of an area. </p> <p>Their buying power increases costs and displaces residents, while traditional businesses make way for ones that cater to their tastes. <a href="https://theconversation.com/how-food-became-the-perfect-beachhead-for-gentrification-167761">Where once there was a neighborhood food stand</a>, now there’s an upscale cafe. </p> <p>This dynamic is only exacerbated by long-term tourists. Services like VRBO and Airbnb make it easy for digital nomads to rent apartments for weeks or months at a time, and <a href="https://www.bbc.com/news/business-45083954">people around the world are increasingly alarmed</a> at how quickly such rentals can change the affordability and character of a place.</p> <p>Living a vacation lifestyle on a long-term basis implies a need to choose lower-cost destinations. This means that remote workers may particularly contribute to gentrification as they seek out places where their dollars go furthest.</p> <p>In <a href="https://travelnoire.com/digital-nomads-see-why-mexicans-are-fed-up-with-them">Mexico City</a>, residents fear displacement by remote workers able to pay higher rents. In response to calls to choose Mexico City as a remote working destination, one local succinctly expressed opposition: “<a href="https://www.vox.com/the-goods/22999722/mexico-city-pandemic-remote-work-gentrification">Please don’t</a>.”</p> <p>And in <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2019/mar/13/new-orleans-airbnb-treme-short-term-rentals">New Orleans</a>, almost half of all properties in the historic <a href="https://nola.curbed.com/2018/5/16/17356630/treme-new-orleans-neighborhood-history-pictures">Tremé district</a> – one of the oldest Black neighborhoods in the U.S. – have been converted to short-term rentals, displacing longtime residents.</p> <h2>Culture becomes commodified</h2> <p><a href="https://suitcasemag.com/articles/neocolonial-tourism">Neocolonialism</a> in tourism refers to the way processes such as overtourism and gentrification create a power imbalance that favors newcomers and erodes local ways of life. </p> <p>“There’s a distinction between people who want to learn about the place they are in and those who just like it because it’s cheap,” one digital nomad living in Mexico City <a href="https://www.latimes.com/world-nation/story/2022-07-27/americans-are-flooding-mexico-city-some-mexicans-want-them-to-go-home">recently told the Los Angeles Times</a>. “I’ve met a number of people who don’t really care that they’re in Mexico, they just care that it’s cheap.”</p> <p>Bali, where <a href="https://www.aseantoday.com/2020/10/balis-economy-struggles-to-survive-without-tourists/">as much as 80%</a> of the island’s economy is estimated to be affected by tourism, offers a stark example. </p> <p>People come to Bali to be immersed in the culture’s spiritual rituals, art, nature and dance. But there’s also resentment over yoga lovers, resortgoers and digital nomads “taking over” the island. And some locals come to see the tourism in and around temples and rituals as the transformation of something cherished – the nuanced and spiritual aspects of their culture – into experiences to be bought and sold. </p> <p>For instance, Balinese dance performances are huge tourist draws and are even featured in global promotions for tourism on the island. Yet these performances also have cultural and spiritual meaning, and the impact of tourism on these aspects of dance is <a href="https://www.researchgate.net/publication/37628994_Authenticity_and_commodification_of_Balinese_dance_performances">debated even among performers</a>.</p> <p>So there is inevitably friction, which can be seen in the high levels of <a href="https://coconuts.co/bali/features/living-in-a-petty-crimes-paradise-balis-unreported-thefts-and-muggings/">petty crime</a>against foreigners. Neocolonialism can also pit people from the same country or culture against one another. For example, <a href="https://www.travelmole.com/news/bali-taxi-wars-flare-again/">conflicts arise</a> between local Balinese taxi cooperatives and taxi services that employ drivers from other parts of Indonesia. </p> <p>Although remote employees still make up a small portion of the overall tourist population, their work-related needs and longer stays mean they’re more likely to use services and places frequented by locals.</p> <p>Whether this leads digital nomads to be welcomed or scorned likely depends on both government policies and tourists’ behavior. </p> <p>Will governments take measures such as protecting locals from mass evictions, or will landlords’ desire for higher rents prevail? Will guests live lightly and blend in, trying to learn the local language and culture? Or will they simply focus on working hard and playing harder? </p> <p>As remote work reaches an unprecedented scale, the answers to such questions may determine whether “<a href="https://coconuts.co/bali/features/the-faster-the-better-bali-tourism-agency-head-tjokorda-bagus-pemayun-talks-digital-nomad-visa-plans-and-what-it-means-for-the-island/">the faster, the better</a>” attitude toward digital nomad visas and other incentives continues.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em>This article originally appeared on <a href="https://theconversation.com/as-countries-ranging-from-indonesia-to-mexico-aim-to-attract-digital-nomads-locals-say-not-so-fast-189283" target="_blank" rel="noopener">The Conversation</a>.</em></p>

Travel Tips

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First local monkeypox case recorded in NSW

<p dir="ltr">The first case of locally-acquired monkeypox has been recorded in New South Wales, with authorities confirming that 42 people have been infected with the virus to date.</p> <p dir="ltr">Although most contracted monkeypox overseas, two people were infected in other parts of Australia.</p> <p dir="ltr">The announcement, made by NSW Health on Sunday, comes as a first for NSW a week after the JYNNEOS vaccination program was launched for those most at risk from the virus.</p> <p dir="ltr">“NSW Health is urging the community, particularly gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men (GBMSM), to continue to be vigilant for the symptoms of monkeypox following local transmission of the virus in NSW,” NSW Health said.</p> <p dir="ltr">Symptoms - which include a rash or lesions around the genital area, headache, body aches and fever - commonly appear between seven to 14 days after prolonged skin-to-skin contact with an infected person.</p> <p dir="ltr">Illness generally lasts for two to four weeks, with most experiencing mild symptoms that can be lessened with regular over-the-counter pain medicines and oral fluids and monitored by their GP, according to <a href="https://www.health.nsw.gov.au/Infectious/factsheets/Pages/monkeypox.aspx" target="_blank" rel="noopener">NSW Health</a>. For those with severe illness, antiviral medications are also available.</p> <p dir="ltr">“It is important that people with these symptoms avoid close contact with others, including sexual activity, as condoms are not effective at preventing the transmission of monkeypox,” NSW Health Executive Director of Health Protection Richard Broome said in a <a href="https://www.health.nsw.gov.au/news/Pages/20220821_00.aspx" target="_blank" rel="noopener">statement</a>.</p> <p dir="ltr">NSW Health also warns that monkeypox can also be transmitted by respiratory droplets during the initial infectious period and from contact with contaminated clothing, linen and other items.</p> <p dir="ltr">The news comes after Victorian authorities reported monkeypox was spreading in Melbourne last week, which was the first widespread example of local transmission in Australia since the global outbreak began.</p> <p dir="ltr">Prior to the 2022 outbreak, cases of monkeypox have mostly been reported in Central and Western African countries, with the <a href="https://doi.org/10.1136/bmjgh-2022-009838" target="_blank" rel="noopener">first human case reported</a> in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 1970.</p> <p><span id="docs-internal-guid-15cbbb5d-7fff-9dfb-3b85-b2a7d35bfde2">According to the <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/poxvirus/monkeypox/response/2022/world-map.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener">CDC</a>, 41,358 confirmed cases of monkeypox have been recorded as of publication, with 40,971 reported in locations without any historical cases of the virus, with a total of 89 in Australia and four in New Zealand.</span></p> <p><em>Image: Getty Images</em></p>

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