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3 signs your diet is causing too much muscle loss – and what to do about it

<div class="theconversation-article-body"><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/nick-fuller-219993">Nick Fuller</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a></em></p> <p>When trying to lose weight, it’s natural to want to see quick results. So when the number on the scales drops rapidly, it seems like we’re on the right track.</p> <p>But as with many things related to weight loss, there’s a flip side: rapid weight loss can result in a significant loss of muscle mass, as well as fat.</p> <p>So how you can tell if you’re losing too much muscle and what can you do to prevent it?</p> <h2>Why does muscle mass matter?</h2> <p>Muscle is an important factor in determining our metabolic rate: how much energy we burn at rest. This is determined by how much muscle and fat we have. Muscle is more metabolically active than fat, meaning it burns more calories.</p> <p>When we diet to lose weight, we create a calorie deficit, where our bodies don’t get enough energy from the food we eat to meet our energy needs. Our bodies start breaking down our fat and muscle tissue for fuel.</p> <p>A decrease in calorie-burning muscle mass slows our metabolism. This quickly slows the rate at which we lose weight and impacts our ability to maintain our weight long term.</p> <h2>How to tell you’re losing too much muscle</h2> <p>Unfortunately, measuring changes in muscle mass is not easy.</p> <p>The most accurate tool is an enhanced form of X-ray called a dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) scan. The scan is primarily used in medicine and research to capture data on weight, body fat, muscle mass and bone density.</p> <p>But while DEXA is becoming more readily available at weight-loss clinics and gyms, it’s not cheap.</p> <p>There are also many “smart” scales available for at home use that promise to provide an accurate reading of muscle mass percentage.</p> <p>However, the accuracy of these scales is questionable. <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8122302/">Researchers found</a> the scales tested massively over- or under-estimated fat and muscle mass.</p> <p>Fortunately, there are three free but scientifically backed signs you may be losing too much muscle mass when you’re dieting.</p> <h2>1. You’re losing much more weight than expected each week</h2> <p>Losing a lot of weight rapidly is one of the early signs that your diet is too extreme and you’re losing too much muscle.</p> <p>Rapid weight loss (of more than 1 kilogram per week) results in <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5702468/">greater muscle mass loss</a> than slow weight loss.</p> <p>Slow weight loss better preserves muscle mass and often has the added benefit of <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0195666312000153">greater fat mass loss</a>.</p> <p>One study compared people in the obese weight category who followed either a very low-calorie diet (500 calories per day) for five weeks or a low-calorie diet (1,250 calories per day) for 12 weeks. While both groups lost similar amounts of weight, participants following the very low-calorie diet (500 calories per day) for five weeks lost <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26813524/">significantly more muscle mass</a>.</p> <h2>2. You’re feeling tired and things feel more difficult</h2> <p>It sounds obvious, but feeling tired, sluggish and finding it hard to complete physical activities, such as working out or doing jobs around the house, is another strong signal you’re losing muscle.</p> <p><a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3648712/">Research</a> shows a decrease in muscle mass may negatively impact your body’s physical performance.</p> <h2>3. You’re feeling moody</h2> <p>Mood swings and feeling anxious, stressed or depressed may also be signs you’re losing muscle mass.</p> <p><a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26228522/">Research</a> on muscle loss due to ageing suggests low levels of muscle mass can negatively impact mental health and mood. This seems to stem from the relationship between low muscle mass and proteins called neurotrophins, which help regulate mood and feelings of wellbeing.</p> <h2>So how you can do to maintain muscle during weight loss?</h2> <p>Fortunately, there are also three actions you can take to maintain muscle mass when you’re following a calorie-restricted diet to lose weight.</p> <h2>1. Incorporate strength training into your exercise plan</h2> <p>While a broad exercise program is important to support overall weight loss, strength-building exercises are a surefire way to help prevent the loss of muscle mass. A <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29596307/">meta-analysis of studies</a> of older people with obesity found resistance training was able to prevent almost 100% of muscle loss from calorie restriction.</p> <p>Relying on diet alone to lose weight will reduce muscle along with body fat, slowing your metabolism. So it’s essential to make sure you’ve incorporated sufficient and appropriate exercise into your weight-loss plan to hold onto your muscle mass stores.</p> <p>But you don’t need to hit the gym. Exercises using body weight – such as push-ups, pull-ups, planks and air squats – are just as effective as lifting weights and using strength-building equipment.</p> <p>Encouragingly, moderate-volume resistance training (three sets of ten repetitions for eight exercises) <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/sms.14237">can be as effective</a> as high-volume training (five sets of ten repetitions for eight exercises) for maintaining muscle when you’re following a calorie-restricted diet.</p> <h2>2. Eat more protein</h2> <p>Foods high in protein play an essential role in building and maintaining muscle mass, but <a href="https://europepmc.org/article/MED/19927027">research</a> also shows these foods help prevent muscle loss when you’re following a calorie-restricted diet.</p> <p>But this doesn’t mean <em>just</em> eating foods with protein. Meals need to be balanced and include a source of protein, wholegrain carb and healthy fat to meet our dietary needs. For example, eggs on wholegrain toast with avocado.</p> <h2>3. Slow your weight loss plan down</h2> <p>When we change our diet to lose weight, we take our body out of its comfort zone and trigger its survival response. It then counteracts weight loss, triggering <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25896063/">several physiological responses</a> to defend our body weight and “survive” starvation.</p> <p>Our body’s survival mechanisms want us to regain lost weight to ensure we survive the next period of famine (dieting). <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5764193/">Research</a> shows that more than half of the weight lost by participants is regained within two years, and more than 80% of lost weight is regained within five years.</p> <p>However, a slow and steady, stepped approach to weight loss, prevents our bodies <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/38193357/">from activating defence mechanisms</a> to defend our weight when we try to lose weight.</p> <p>Ultimately, losing weight long-term comes down to making gradual changes to your lifestyle to ensure you form habits that last a lifetime.</p> <hr /> <p><em>At the Boden Group, Charles Perkins Centre, we are studying the science of obesity and running clinical trials for weight loss. You can <a href="https://redcap.sydney.edu.au/surveys/?s=RKTXPPPHKY">register here</a> to express your interest.</em><!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/223865/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/nick-fuller-219993"><em>Nick Fuller</em></a><em>, Charles Perkins Centre Research Program Leader, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock </em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/3-signs-your-diet-is-causing-too-much-muscle-loss-and-what-to-do-about-it-223865">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

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Neighbours fan favourite leaving Ramsay Street after 30 years

<p>After 30 years on Ramsay Street, a fan favourite actor is saying goodbye to <em>Neighbours</em>. </p> <p>Ryan Moloney, known for his longstanding role as Jarrod ‘Toadfish’ Rebecchi, announced that he would be leaving the show in an announcement video posted to the <em>Neighbours</em> Instagram page. </p> <p>The 44-year-old actor introduced himself as “formerly Jarrod ‘Toadfish’ Rebecchi" before clarifying, "That’s right, I did say formerly, because after 30 years playing Toadie, I will be leaving Ramsay Street.”</p> <p>“I can’t tell you what is happening to the character – maybe I could be the next Jim Robinson. Or maybe I’ll be the next Harold Bishop and just keep popping back over the years.”</p> <blockquote class="instagram-media" style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/reel/C8tUG1GScZq/?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/C8tUG1GScZq/?utm_source=ig_embed&utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank" rel="noopener">A post shared by Neighbours (@neighbours)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p>Moloney hinted at his career change saying he wanted to spend more time behind the camera and start working as a director. </p> <p>As part of his new career move, he shared that he’d just finished on his first <em>Neighbours</em> episode as a director.</p> <p>“Thank you all so much for all the love that you have shown me and Toadie over the years. For three decades, in fact. I’m going to miss you, I’m going to miss him, and I’m going to miss Erinsborough. But whatever you do, make sure you do not miss what is going to happen on Ramsay Street,” he said. </p> <p>The sudden news sent fans into a tizzy, with many sharing emotional reactions to the news as they prepared to farewell a character who has been with them since the 90s. </p> <p>“Omg What?! Toadie is iconic. Won’t be the same. Hopefully he comes back to Erinsborough for a visit,” wrote one viewer.</p> <p>“This is so sad! I hope he keeps ‘popping back’ to the street rather than die. I am going to miss toadie,” said another.</p> <p>Moloney made his <em>Neighbours</em> debut in 1995 as a teenager and stayed with the show until it was axed in 2022.</p> <p>He was then one of the returning cast members when the show was rebooted a year later.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Andy Barnes / FameFlynet.uk.com/Shutterstock Editorial </em></p> <p> </p>

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How to sign up for energy bill relief

<p>In the face of rising living costs, thousands of Australians have turned to their energy providers for financial assistance, highlighting the community spirit and support available during these challenging times. Energy companies like AGL Australia and Energy Australia are stepping up to help their customers manage their bills and find relief.</p> <p>AGL Australia has seen a significant increase in its financial hardship program, with 10,000 customers joining in the past year. Energy Australia receives 1,000 calls every weekday from customers seeking bill relief. These numbers reflect the proactive measures Australians are taking to manage their expenses and the readiness of energy providers to offer support.</p> <p>Crystal Noronha, who has worked at the AGL call centre for 11 years, has witnessed firsthand the growing need for assistance. "There's a lot of distress in their voice, there's anxiety," Noronha <a href="https://www.9news.com.au/national/thousands-of-customers-signing-up-for-energy-bill-relief-with-millions-more-eligible/9dc9535b-f94b-42f4-aeaf-6534dc898df2" target="_blank" rel="noopener">shared with 9NEWS</a>. "Some hide away from sharing their difficulties, but we're here to help them."</p> <p>Customers need not face extreme financial hardship to seek help, as everyone is eligible for some form of assistance.</p> <p>Gavin Dufty, from the charity St Vincent De Paul, underscores the commitment of energy companies to support their customers. "Every energy company has a legal obligation to provide support for all households regardless," Dufty explains. The assistance offered varies based on the provider and individual circumstances, ranging from bill extensions and more manageable payment plans to, in some cases, complete debt waivers.</p> <p>Adding to this support, the federal government is taking significant steps to ease the burden on households. Starting July 1, every household will receive a $300 credit into their energy account, providing substantial relief. Additionally, a free government website is available for customers to compare energy plan prices and find the most cost-effective options.</p> <p>These measures reflect a collaborative effort between energy providers and the government to ensure Australians can navigate the financial challenges of today's world. By offering practical solutions and financial relief, they are making a positive impact on the lives of many, ensuring that no one is left to face these difficulties alone.</p> <p><em>Image: Getty</em></p>

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Racist street name set to change

<p>The name of a street in northern NSW is set to be changed after an Uber driver stumbled across it and alerted locals to its racist background. </p> <p>Byron Shire Council announced that Hottentot Crescent in Mullumbimby, will soon be renamed Moonlight Close, after the council deemed Hottentot - a racist term for Indigenous South Africans - no longer appropriate for use. </p> <p>Jonny Simons, a local man who moved to Australia from South Africa in the 1980s, was the first person to petition for the name change back in November, after the Uber driver tipped him off. </p> <p>He garnered 383 signatures in the petition, but not all residents and community members supported the change. </p> <p>Last year, there were 12 submissions from past and present residents objecting to the council's name change proposal. </p> <p>One resident insisted on keeping the name saying: “My understanding is that our street name was chosen decades ago, after a tree, the Hottentot Bean Tree (Schotia Brachypetala). Never in my time as a resident here, have I heard another person ever relate the street name in regards to a racial slur." </p> <p>“While I appreciate the concerns raised, it is essential to acknowledge that names can change in meaning and connotation over the years.</p> <p>“Altering the street name would greatly impact residents and the council long term with endless administrative changes and potential financial costs.”</p> <p>However, five other submissions were in favour of the change, with one writing: “a racial slur is a racial slur even if a tree is named after it. As much as I loved the sound of the name, it has to go.” </p> <p>A few other names were put forward, including Drunken Parrot Place - named after a nearby tree full of lorikeets getting drunk in spring and summer - but the council ultimately decided on Moonlight Close. </p> <p>In November, following community consultation, the council’s director of infrastructure services Phillip Holloway, recommended the name change “on the basis that there is more lasting value in trying to minimise the type of hurt this particular name could cause some people over the long term", over avoiding costs to the residents in the short term.</p> <p>He added that many of the residents were unaware of the racist connotation of the name "beyond naming the relevant tree", and that "the tree name itself is racially loaded" because it is linked to the slur used towards the Khoisan people "who used the tree for food during South Africa’s colonisation.”</p> <p>Simons, who petitioned for the change, said he doesn't hold anything against the residents who were against the name change as "they didn't know what it meant". </p> <p>"They thought it was the name of a tree, but that tree was named as such because the Khoisan people of South Africa ate the fruit of that tree," he said. </p> <p><em>Image: Google Maps</em></p>

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Hollywood legend targeted on the street in unprovoked attack

<p>During an increase in unprovoked attacks in New York City, a Hollywood A-lister has been targeted in broad daylight. </p> <p>Actor Steve Buscemi was strolling through Kips Bay in mid-town Manhattan last Wednesday when a man walked up and struck the actor in an attack just before midday.</p> <p>The attack on the 66-year-old star is one of the latest unprovoked assaults in the five boroughs, law enforcement sources told <a href="https://nypost.com/2024/05/12/us-news/boardwalk-empire-star-steve-buscemi-attacked-by-rock-wielding-maniac-in-nyc/" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><em>The New York Post</em></a>.</p> <p>The actor, who starred in <em>Fargo</em> and <em>Boardwalk Empire</em>, suffered swelling to his face and left eye and was taken to Bellevue Hospital for treatment.</p> <p>His attacker fled the scene and is still at large, according to police. </p> <p>“Steve Buscemi was assaulted in Mid-Town Manhattan, another victim of a random act of violence in the city,” Buscemi’s publicist said in a statement to <em>The Post</em>.</p> <p>“He is OK and appreciates everyone’s well wishes, though incredibly sad for everyone that this has happened to while also walking the streets of New York.”</p> <p>A worker in the area who witnessed part of the assault told the publication, “I saw he was with a woman, and then through the corner of the window I saw him trip and fall backwards.”</p> <p>“He right away got up and ran in the opposite direction. I didn’t see who hit him."</p> <p>“It worries me for when we close because we close at 11 and it can get scary around that time,” said the woman.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock / NYCPD</em></p>

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"Welcome home, Harold": Iconic Neighbours actor returns to Ramsay Street

<p>More than 15 years after his departure, Harold Bishop is returning to Ramsay Street. </p> <p>Ian Smith's character has long been a fan favourite on <em>Neighbours</em>, after originally starring on the soap between 1987 and 1991, before he returned in 1996 until his departure in 2009. </p> <p>Since then, Harold has made multiple guest appearances, including in the 2022 finale.</p> <p>When Amazon picked up the Aussie show, Smith rejoined the cast for a short time but quickly left after a health scare.</p> <p>But now, Harold is making another comeback. </p> <blockquote class="instagram-media" style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/C5fVoAlvJEJ/?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/p/C5fVoAlvJEJ/?utm_source=ig_embed&utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank" rel="noopener">A post shared by Neighbours (@neighbours)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p>The official <em>Neighbours</em> Instagram shared the exciting news of his return, writing, “After 15 years of living away, the legendary Harold Bishop is returning to Erinsborough."</p> <p>“We are thrilled to welcome Ian Smith back to the show and the opening titles, where he belongs.”</p> <p>Fan were quick to flood the comment section with excitable messages, rejoicing in the fact that a fan favourite character was returning. </p> <p>“The best news. The show misses an elder character like Harold,” one person wrote.</p> <p>Another commented, “Absolutely amazing news to wake up too. Welcome home, Harold.”</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images / YouTube </em></p>

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Fresh signs that ANOTHER royal pic was manipulated

<p>Ah, the royal family – the gift that keeps on giving, especially when it comes to Photoshop mishaps. It seems like they've developed a knack for stirring up a digital storm every time they release a photo.</p> <p>The latest kerfuffle involves a seemingly innocent snapshot released to celebrate what would have been Queen Elizabeth II's 97th birthday. But oh, what a tangled web of pixels it turned out to be!</p> <p>The photo, featuring a gaggle of royal offspring including the adorable trio of Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis, quickly became the centre of attention, and not for the right reasons.</p> <p>According to the eagle-eyed sleuths at <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2024/mar/17/people-question-everything-now-how-kates-photo-scandal-rips-up-the-rules-for-royals-and-the-media" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><em>The Guardian</em></a>, the photo looked more like a game of digital whack-a-mole than a family portrait. Prince Louis apparently decided to play hide-and-seek within the frame, magically teleporting to a new position. And let's not forget the hair-raising revelation that some locks on one of the granddaughters seemed to have been copy-pasted with reckless abandon. Maybe they were going for a stylish asymmetrical look?</p> <p>"The photograph taken by Catherine at Balmoral and released last year to mark what would have been the 97th birthday of the late Queen bears similar signs of digital alteration," reported <em>The Guardian</em>. "Prince Louis appears to have been moved back into the frame, while locks of a great granddaughter’s hair show telltale repetitions. Back then, though, the image was not urgently 'killed' by the leading international photo agencies, like the latest one, because it didn’t matter so much."</p> <p>But the fun didn't stop there. Oh no, Twitter had a field day with this one too. Allegations flew left and right faster than a royal corgi chasing a squirrel. The Queen's skirt? Edited. The green sofa? Definitely edited. Heck, there were probably bets being placed on whether the corgis were even real or just digital creations.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">Did the late Queen ever pose with her grandchildren and great-grandchildren? Seems like no. 🤔 This photo, taken by Kate Middleton, was edited at least in 9 places. Now the mass media are reporting about it too.<br />A little thread👇 <a href="https://t.co/Sx9XjOBr1J">pic.twitter.com/Sx9XjOBr1J</a></p> <p>— Katerina 🇺🇦 (@Le__Katerina) <a href="https://twitter.com/Le__Katerina/status/1769399269365088335?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">March 17, 2024</a></p></blockquote> <p><span style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;">"People need to understand that it's not 'just a family photo'," wrote Twitter sleuth Katerina. "It's made for historical record. I don't think you'd want to see doctored photos in your history books."</span></p> <p>Meanwhile, in the land of hashtags and filters, speculation about the health of the Princess of Wales, Kate, reached a fever pitch, with <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/health/caring/princess-kate-s-post-surgery-pic-ignites-even-wilder-conspiracy-theories" target="_blank" rel="noopener">a Mother's Day photo</a> that looked like it had been through more edits than a celebrity's Instagram post. Kate, surrounded by her adorable brood, found herself at the centre of yet another digital debacle. Who knew a simple family photo could cause such a stir?</p> <p>In a rare move, <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/lifestyle/family-pets/princess-kate-sensationally-speaks-out-over-photo-fiasco" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Kate herself stepped forward</a> to offer an apology, blaming her newfound love for amateur photography. Note to self: stick to selfies, Kate.</p> <p>But fear not, royal watchers, for this tale of Photoshop folly is far from over. With a family as unpredictable as the British weather, who knows what digital delights await us in the next instalment?</p> <p><em>Image: Twitter (X)</em></p>

Technology

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Aussie street crowned "world's coolest"

<p>Global media company <em>Time Out</em> have released their official list of the world's coolest streets, with one busy street in Melbourne's inner north coming in first place. </p> <p>What makes a street cool? Well, according to the publication, each street's food offerings, drink options, cultural delights, nightlife and overall sense of community are the main factors that were taken into consideration when they made their list. </p> <p>To create the 2024 lineup, the publication had their global team of local expert editors and contributors each make a case for the coolest street in their city. </p> <p>Melbourne's High Street claimed the top spot local Time Out Melbourne editor Leah Glynn praising the road's "epic restaurants, hidden bars, live music venues and boutique shops". </p> <p>Glynn said that the street’s “bona fide cool status” comes down to one thing - “its unique, something-for-everyone local businesses”.</p> <p>The street itself is easily accessible from the CBD via the 86 tram line and criss-crosses the suburbs of Northcote, Thornbury and Preston. </p> <p>Hollywood Rd, one of the oldest streets in Hong Kong came in second. Pre-dating LA's famous entertainment district, the street itself is home to incredible restaurants including Michelin-starred Tate Dining Room.</p> <p>It's also home to the Man Mo Temple and the Mid-Levels Escalators, the world's longest outdoor covered escalator system.</p> <p>East Eleventh in Austin came in third, as it "encapsulates the city's spirit" for packing so many venues in a short quarter-mile. </p> <p>One other Australian street made it into the list of the top 30 coolest streets and that street is Sydney’s Foster St, which came in 23rd. </p> <p>“Along with neighbouring Campbell St, it’s part of the inner city precinct known as the Hollywood Quarter,” <em>Time Out</em> said. </p> <p>“Despite the dazzling name, the quarter brings low-key cool vibes, and is bordered by Central, Thai Town, and cool suburbs Surry Hills and Darlinghurst.”</p> <p><strong>Here is Time Out's Top 10 coolest streets: </strong></p> <ol> <li>High St, Melbourne</li> <li>Hollywood Rd, Hong Kong</li> <li>East Eleventh, Austin</li> <li>Guatemala St, Buenos Aires</li> <li>Commercial Dr, Vancouver</li> <li>Jalan Petaling, Kuala Lumpur</li> <li>Rua da Boavista, Lisbon</li> <li>Arnaldo Quintela, Rio de Janiero</li> <li>Chazawa-dori, Tokyo</li> <li>Consell de Cent, Barcelona</li> </ol> <p><em>Images: </em><em>South China Morning Post via Getty Images</em></p>

Domestic Travel

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12 signs that you’re borderline diabetic

<p><strong>Do you have diabetes?</strong></p> <p>If you are a borderline diabetic, it means you have prediabetes. Your blood sugar levels are higher than normal, but not enough to be diagnosed with full-blown type 2 diabetes. Maybe you’ve noticed that you’re losing weight or more tired than normal. Or perhaps you’re thirsty or have vision issues. Here’s a look at some of the more common signs that you could be a borderline diabetic.</p> <p><strong>You’re really thirsty and are peeing a lot</strong></p> <p>“Prediabetes is caused when the body is unable to efficiently process blood sugars,” says endocrinologist Dr Jason Ng. “This happens over time as the body builds up resistance to insulin, the hormone that helps the body control blood sugars.” As you become insulin resistant, the body has to produce more insulin to keep blood sugars at a good level.</p> <p>Eventually it can’t keep up, so blood sugars rise. Prediabetes may take you by surprise, as there often aren’t symptoms – though there are a few subtle cues you can look out for. “A patient may feel slightly more thirsty and have to urinate more over time as well as the sugars increase in their body,” Dr Ng says.</p> <p><strong>You're exhausted </strong></p> <p>Borderline diabetes could be one of the medical reasons you’re tired all the time. If you’re one of the 2 million Australians who have prediabetes, according to Diabetes Australia you may notice you’re not feeling up to your normal activity level. “Patients may feel more tired or sluggish,” Dr Ng says. Blood sugar fluctuations can cause fatigue; plus, other factors that often appear with blood sugar problems could be the culprit, such as depression or obesity, according to a study published in 2012 in Diabetes Educator.</p> <p>Physical activity is recommended by the American Diabetes Association to help with prediabetes symptoms, but ironically people with the condition may be too tired to exercise. If that’s the case, see your doctor. “Most of prediabetes is diagnosed by lab work at a doctor’s office,” Dr Ng says. With prediabetes, “fasting sugar is between 100 to 125 mg/dl or a random blood sugar between 140 to 200 mg/dl.”</p> <p><strong>You’re losing weight</strong></p> <p>Among the silent diabetes signs you might be missing is weight loss. Although we associate blood sugar problems with being overweight, once you start becoming borderline diabetic you may actually drop kilos. If you’re going to the bathroom more frequently, you’re excreting extra sugar and losing more kilojoules. Diabetes may also keep sugar in your food from reaching your cells.</p> <p>This might leave you “feeling hungry all the time,” says Dr Deena Adimoolam, assistant professor of medicine, endocrinology, diabetes and bone disease. So if you’re eating more than usual and still losing weight, talk to your doctor.</p> <p><strong>You have blurred vision </strong></p> <p>One of the clear signs you have high blood sugar is actually not seeing clearly. Dr Adimoolam says that blurred vision is a sign that you’re borderline prediabetic. Why? Diabetic eye disease occurs when high blood sugar causes damage to the blood vessels in the eye, which can leak and swell, leading to vision changes. According to the National Eye Institute, one type of eye damage, diabetic retinopathy, is the leading cause of vision loss among people with diabetes and the leading cause of blindness among adults.</p> <p>A study by The Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) found that 8 per cent of prediabetic participants had diabetic retinopathy. It can be addressed if caught early, so bring up blurry vision to your doctor as soon as you notice it.</p> <p><strong>You have dark areas on your skin</strong></p> <p>One body changes that could signal a bigger problem that you are borderline prediabetic are dark patches on your skin called acanthosis nigricans (AN). The condition usually appears in elbows, armpits, knees, or on the neck, has a velvety texture, and likely occurs because excess insulin causes a rapid growth of cells. It’s also more common in people with obesity – another risk factor for prediabetes.</p> <p>But a study published in the Annals of Family Medicine showed that although patients with AN tend to have multiple risk factors for diabetes, AN itself may also be an independent risk factor for the disease. Because of this, AN’s presence may help doctors detect prediabetes sooner.</p> <p><strong>You have PCOS</strong></p> <p>Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a disorder where a woman’s hormones are unbalanced. Studies like one published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism in 2017, have shown that PCOS is a risk factor for diabetes.</p> <p>It’s not known exactly how they are linked, but researchers are looking into the connection between PCOS and insulin. High levels of insulin may contribute to increased production of male hormones called androgens, which is a symptom of PCOS. PCOS is also associated with being overweight, as is prediabetes – but studies have shown that even average-weight women with PCOS are at increased risk of high blood sugar.</p> <p>Also, women with PCOS may be more likely to have gestational diabetes (diabetes while pregnant; more on that later), which also can lead to an increased risk of type 2 diabetes. If you are diagnosed with PCOS, your reproductive endocrinologist may test your glucose level to make sure you’re not borderline prediabetic.</p> <p><strong>You don't get good sleep </strong></p> <p>“When you don’t get enough sleep, less insulin is released in the body,” says Dr Richard Shane, behavioural sleep therapist. “Sleep deprivation can cause insulin-producing cells to fail to use the insulin efficiently or to stop functioning. Your body also secretes more stress hormones, which interfere with insulin’s ability to be effective.”</p> <p>In one study, duration and quality of sleep was shown to be associated with prediabetes. Another factor could be that we tend to crave kilojoules and junk food for energy when we’re tired – plus, we don’t feel like exercising. This can lead to inactivity and weight gain, other risk factors for prediabetes.</p> <p><strong>You have a family history of diabetes</strong></p> <p>Among the medical facts you should know is your family’s health history. “There can be a genetic cause for the development of type 2 diabetes due to certain gene mutations,” Dr Adimoolam says. “Some people may have a genetic predisposition to developing type 2 diabetes due to presence of certain genes than have been passed down from one generation to the next.” One study in Diabetologia found that a family history of diabetes increased the risk for prediabetes by 26 per cent.</p> <p>The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) says that you’re more likely to develop diabetes if you have a family history of the disease. In addition, “Some data suggests that the risk of type 2 diabetes is five times higher in those with diabetes on both the maternal and paternal sides of the family,” Dr Adimoolam says.</p> <p><strong>You're of a certain age </strong></p> <p>There are many reasons why you’ll age better than your parents, including that you know age itself is a risk factor for certain conditions – so you’ll take measures to prevent them. Unfortunately, prediabetes is more likely in older people. “The higher your age, the greater risk for development of diabetes,” Dr Adimoolam says. “This might be related to increased body fat with age, which increases one’s risk for type 2 diabetes.”</p> <p>In addition, Dr Ng says that high blood pressure and high cholesterol are also risk factors for prediabetes. These are all common conditions as we age, and are also associated with metabolic syndrome, a cluster of disorders that can lead to heart disease and stroke.</p> <p><strong>You had gestational diabetes</strong></p> <p>Having had gestational diabetes in the past also puts you at risk for prediabetes now, according to research, including a study in BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth. “Once you have been diagnosed with any form of diabetes, like gestational diabetes, you are at an increased risk for developing this again over time, especially with weight gain,” Dr Adimoolam says.</p> <p>According to the American Diabetes Association, doctors don’t know exactly why gestational diabetes develops, but it could be that pregnancy hormones affect how the body uses insulin. The NIDDK suggests women who’ve had gestational diabetes have their blood glucose tested every three years.</p> <p><strong>You're overweight </strong></p> <p>You can potentially reverse type 2 diabetes if you lose weight – and the same goes for if you are borderline diabetic. “By and large, obesity is the main cause of insulin resistance, as certain fat cells are known to cause and intensify insulin resistance over time,” Dr Ng says. And it’s not just how much you weigh, but where your weight is located on your body. “Waist size is typically proportional to centralised, or abdominal, obesity,” Dr Adimoolam says.</p> <p>“The more centralised abdominal fat, the higher one’s insulin resistance, and the greater the increased risk for the development of type 2 diabetes.” Genetics may also play a role here, as certain body types with more abdominal fat (“apple-shaped”) can run in families and certain ethnic groups, she says.</p> <p><strong>You have an unhealthy lifestyle </strong></p> <p>Whether you are borderline prediabetic or not, there are many science-based reasons to start working out. “Lack of exercise may promote weight gain, which is a risk factor for type 2 diabetes,” Dr Adimoolam says. A study from Johns Hopkins published in the Journal of General Internal Medicineshowed that people with prediabetes who dropped 10 per cent of their body weight dramatically reduced their risk of diabetes – but every little bit helps.</p> <p>Dr Ng suggests losing even 5 to 7 per cent of your body weight, quitting smoking, and adopting a borderline diabetic diet. “Interventions that typically reduce weight include increased exercise, especially aerobic exercise, 150 minutes or more per week, and eating a balanced, low-fat diet that is not heavy on carbs,” he says. “Prediabetes is often thought of as a ‘warning sign,’ which is why lifestyle intervention is so important.”</p> <p>Ultimately, the message is that prediabetes is not irreversible. “Prediabetes is the stage before one develops type 2 diabetes, and in most cases is preventable,” Dr Adimoolam says. “You may not need medications to treat prediabetes if you are able to change your lifestyle, with the goal for treatment focusing on diet changes and exercise.”</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images </em></p> <p><em>This article originally appeared on <a href="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/healthsmart/diabetes/12-signs-that-youre-borderline-diabetic?pages=1" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Reader's Digest</a>. </em></p>

Body

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10 signs of an ulcer you should never ignore

<p><strong>What is a stomach ulcer?</strong></p> <p>Peptic ulcers are painful sores that line the stomach – and they affect about millions people per year. Normally the stomach has a protective layer that keeps the acidic juices in the stomach from getting to sensitive tissue and causing an ulcer. However, some people are at risk of developing stomach ulcers, most often due to long-term use of NSAIDs, the class of pain reliever that includes ibuprofen or aspirin, or an infection with a type of bacteria called H. pylori. The good news is that treatment can help many ulcers to heal.</p> <p>Here are the signs of an ulcer you shouldn’t ignore.</p> <p><strong>You have pain specifically in your upper abdomen </strong></p> <p>One of the most common ulcer symptoms is severe pain in the upper abdomen, according to gastroenterology specialist Dr Neil Sengupta. Ulcers can develop anywhere in the upper digestive tract, he says but we often think about those occurring in the stomach or small intestine, where we feel pain.</p> <p>This ulcer pain usually occurs when your stomach is empty and can come and go for as long as several months, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.</p> <p><strong>You feel nauseous </strong></p> <p>One of the other tell-tale ulcer symptoms is feeling nauseous, says Dr Sengupta. Many patients report that having a little food in your stomach can help ulcer symptoms subside.</p> <p><strong>You've had unexplained vomiting </strong></p> <p>From time to time, nausea brought on by ulcers may become so intense that it could actually cause you to vomit. If that happens, stay away from medications like ibuprofen and aspirin. According to Dr Sengupta, these over-the-counter pain medications actually put you at a higher risk of developing ulcers – or make your current ulcers worse.</p> <p><strong>You bleed when you use the toilet </strong></p> <p>Blood coming from the gastrointestinal tract can signal a variety of underlying health issues. Still, Dr Sengupta says when this bleeding is combined with upper abdominal pain, he’s “highly suspicious” that it’s one of the signs of an ulcer. Many patients notice this blood either when vomiting, or when using the bathroom, as their stools may appear black.</p> <p>If you notice this blood, along with nausea and pain in the stomach or chest, Dr Sengupta says doctors will often perform a blood test and an upper endoscopy – where they use a camera to look into the stomach itself – to check if an ulcer is the culprit. Blood in your stool can also be caused by haemorrhoids, or be a symptom of bowel cancer, so it’s a good idea to get checked out by your doctor.</p> <p><strong>You have chest pain</strong></p> <p>Some patients with ulcers describe chest pain, a term called ‘non-cardiac chest pain’, which refers to pain in the area that’s not caused by a heart attack or heart disease, according to the American College of Gastroenterology. The discomfort is commonly caused by a gastrointestinal problem, though it can also stem from stress or anxiety.</p> <p><strong>You're more bloated than usual </strong></p> <p>If you notice your stomach feeling particularly bloated, it may be more serious than a little bit of gas – it could be one of the signs of an ulcer. Of course, bloating can also be caused simply by eating something your body doesn’t agree with, but when combined with these other symptoms, it’s worth checking out.</p> <p><strong>Your appetite went MIA (missing in action) </strong></p> <p>Another less common, but possible, ulcer symptom is weight loss. You may notice your appetite is off, and stomach discomfort makes it hard to eat. This drop in food intake, combined with occasional vomiting, may lead to unexpected weight loss.</p> <p><strong>You're feeling weirdly hungry </strong></p> <p>You’d think that an ulcer would kill your appetite, but some people feel this burning or gnawing sensation in their stomach weirdly as hunger. The pain may briefly stop after you’ve had something to eat.</p> <p><strong>You've had back pain</strong></p> <p>You might associate ulcers with the stomach and small intestine, but believe it or not, some people report that the pain travels into their upper or mid-back. If that happens, it can make your symptoms all the more confusing.</p> <p><strong>You keep burping </strong></p> <p>Belching is a less common symptom of an ulcer, but your doctor might be suspicious if it’s accompanied by the other symptoms on this list. Talk to your doctor if you’ve been burping more than usual; ulcer or not, it can be a disruptive symptom and your doctor will want to figure out the cause.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em>This article originally appeared on <a href="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/healthsmart/10-signs-of-an-ulcer-you-should-never-ignore?pages=1" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Reader's Digest</a>. </em></p>

Body

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"Your GPS is wrong": Hilarious outback sign causes double takes

<p>In the ongoing battle between technology and good old-fashioned road signs, it seems the good people of Quairading, a tiny town in Western Australia, have taken matters into their own hands. The battleground? Old Beverley Road, a path that might be best described as the Bermuda Triangle of rural routes.</p> <p>A local Facebook post revealed the existence of at least two signs urging drivers to defy their GPS and embark on a detour through the town.</p> <p>The signs don't beat around the bush either, bluntly stating, "Your GPS is wrong, this is not the best route to Perth". It's a brave move, considering most people tend to trust their navigation apps more than their own instincts (or road signs).</p> <p>The post quickly became a social media sensation, garnering over 15,000 likes and hundreds of comments. One person couldn't contain their excitement, proclaiming, "Finally vindicated, I've been telling my GPS they're wrong for years!" </p> <p>Some conspiracy theorists speculated that this was all part of an elaborate marketing scheme by Quairading to boost tourism. "I think it's a clever ploy by Quairading to make tourists drive through their town," one person suggested. "Maybe stop for coffee, etc. Marketing 101."</p> <p>If it is intentional, hats off to Quairading for the creativity; they've managed to turn road safety into a guerrilla marketing campaign.</p> <p>Quairading Shire president Jo Haythornthwaite responded to the comments by setting the record straight, explaining that Google and GPS suggest Old Beverley Road as a shortcut to Perth, but in reality, it's a slippery, gravel-covered disaster waiting to happen.</p> <p>According to her, "What Google does not recognise is that their suggestion of taking the Old Beverley Road leads travellers and tourists onto a low-lying road that has 15kms of gravel, is very slippery when wet, and is prone to flooding."</p> <p>To combat the persistent GPS misguidance, the Shire tried the diplomatic route, requesting that Google update its algorithm to favour the safer alternative. Unfortunately, it seems Google was either too busy directing people to non-existent streets or enjoying a virtual road trip to pay attention. Frustrated but undeterred, the signs were erected as a last-ditch effort to send a clear message: "Turn around! Or prepare for an off-road adventure you didn't sign up for!"</p> <p>The signs, much like a seasoned comedian, delivered the punchline: a noticeable decrease in traffic along Old Beverley Road. While Quairading might not have exact numbers, they've declared victory in their quest to keep road users safe. As Ms Haythornthwaite put it, "So, without knowing specific numbers, we believe that, although some continue to use the less safe route of the Old Beverley Road, many travellers are taking notice and following the signage."</p> <p>And so, the small town of Quairading triumphs in the great GPS versus road sign showdown. Perhaps, in the grand scheme of things, we all need a little more trust in the wisdom of quirky road signs. After all, who knows the terrain better than the locals who've been there, done that, and put up the signs to prove it?</p>

Travel Trouble

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"The time's right": Neil Mitchell signs off

<p>After 34 years on the air, 3AW radio veteran Neil Mitchell is signing off. </p> <p>Neil Mitchell has been a staple of Australian radio for decades, growing a reputation for being fair, decent, honest and sometimes "a bit grumpy".</p> <p><em>A Current Affair</em>'s Ally Langdon joined the 3AW veteran to reflect on a stellar career that earned him a legion of loyal listeners.</p> <p>"I've always wanted to be a journalist from about age 14," he told Langdon.</p> <p>"But not for a moment did I think that I would end up doing something such as I have, editing a newspaper and doing this."</p> <p>His passion as a radio presenter lies in the "real people" who call in each morning, saying, "You can go from a person laughing and telling you jokes and carrying on to great stories."</p> <p>"And then a couple of calls later there's somebody in tears that you need to help. It is real people."</p> <p>"I regularly shed tears on air ... And if we can make a difference, I shed tears again because we've had success."</p> <p>Over his decades on air, Mitchell clashed with many Aussie politicians, sharing how he took it upon himself to be a spokesperson for everyday Australians. </p> <p>"They've established a system where they don't have to be accountable," he said.</p> <p>"And [if] anybody attempts to make them accountable ... they resented it. Accountability is disappearing I'm afraid."</p> <p>While he is stepping back from his flagship show, he has assured listeners he isn't signing off forever. </p> <p>"I'll still be here. I'll be doing podcasts and all sorts of things. I'm really looking forward to it. It's going to be an interesting change."</p> <p>"I'm going to miss it, stepping away. But the time's right."</p> <p><em>Image credits: Nine </em></p>

Music

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8 signs you should be booking a group tour

<p>Not sure if you should take a tour or go it alone? These are the times you’re going to want that expert on hand.</p> <p><strong>1. When you’re on a really tight schedule</strong></p> <p>A tour will help you squeeze in as much as possible in a very short time. It will plan out a sensible itinerary with no backtracking or wasted journeys and will give you a realistic idea of how much you can fit in for a day. Plus you won’t have to puzzle out public transport for yourself.</p> <p><strong>2. When you’re feeling nervous</strong></p> <p>Arriving in a new place can be scary sometimes, so having someone to walk you through it will make all the difference. If a city has a reputation for being unsafe or if it’s just your first time in a foreign country, a tour will give you a great worry-free introduction.</p> <p><strong>3. When there’s a big language barrier</strong></p> <p>We’re lucky in that much of the world speaks English, so we can usually muddle our way around. But in some countries you’ll find there’s a significant language barrier, so having a native speaker is going to make all the difference.</p> <p><strong>4. When you want to meet some locals</strong></p> <p>This might sound counterintuitive, but an organised tour can be one of the best ways to meet some locals. First of all, your guide is likely to be local and can introduce you to their hometown. Secondly, it’s daunting to walk into a crowded bar or cool café when you don’t know anyone. A guide can smooth the way and ensure you don’t get stuck in tourist traps.</p> <p><strong>5. When it’s really busy</strong></p> <p>If you don’t fancy joining the huge line outside a popular museum or waiting hours for tickets, a tour could be the way to go. They can often organise private or after hours visits, get special passes to cut the line or take you to areas that are off limits to the general public.</p> <p><strong>6. When it’s the law</strong></p> <p>Want to visit North Korea? You’re going to need to join a tour. Some governments have restrictions in place that mean foreign tourists can only visit when accompanied by a registered tour guide and independent travel is simply not an option.</p> <p><strong>7. When you’re doing something really adventurous</strong></p> <p>Trekking, white water rafting, canyoning or safaris – for safety reasons you’re going to need to join a tour. These kinds of activities can be dangerous, so you don’t want to be risking them on your own. A tour or private guide will show you the best way to get your heart pumping.</p> <p><strong>8. When you’re going right off the grid</strong></p> <p>Places like Antarctica, the Arctic, remote corners of Africa or tricky countries like Russia are best done on a tour. Often the logistics of simply getting there are impossible for the independent traveller or you will need help navigating the complex visa process. In these instances, it’s a relief to put yourself in someone else’s hands and just concentrate on having fun.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p>

Travel Tips

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Beloved Coronation Street star dies aged 89

<p><em>Coronation Street</em> star Joan Savage has passed away at 89. </p> <p>The actress, known for her role as Celeste Pickersgill in the  ITV soap series, was reported to have passed away peacefully in her home in Twickenham earlier this month. </p> <p>Her cause of death has not been revealed. </p> <p>Tributes have poured in from the star's friends and family. </p> <p>In a touching tribute, her daughter Kelly wrote:  "Mum always used to say 'I'd like to go with my tap shoes on' so the last few years have been extremely difficult for her and us as a family.</p> <p>"I hope she's reunited with her show biz contemporaries and putting on a show up there!" she added.</p> <p>Her friend, Cheryl Forbes paid tribute to the actress on X. </p> <p>"Our dear friend, the remarkable Joan Savage, passed away recently,"  she tweeted. </p> <p>"She was a real star and absolutely brilliant at everything she did," she continued. "An actress, comedienne, singer, impressionist and dancer.</p> <p>"She was truly a very special talent."</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">Our dear friend, the remarkable Joan Savage, passed away recently. She was a real star and absolutely brilliant at everything she did. An actress, comedienne, singer, impressionist and dancer. She was truly a very special talent 💔 <a href="https://t.co/mDtL2YTeX6">https://t.co/mDtL2YTeX6</a></p> <p>— Cheryl Forbes (@mezzocheryl) <a href="https://twitter.com/mezzocheryl/status/1724507318316859598?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">November 14, 2023</a></p></blockquote> <p>Savage has spent over six decades in the show biz industry. She starred in an episode of <em>Dad's Army</em> in 1972, and made multiple appearances in <em>The Arthur Haynes Show</em> between 1956 and 1962. </p> <p>Aside from her glittering career on the screen, she also ventured out  into music, theatre and entertainment.</p> <p>She toured as the leading lady in a George and Alfred Black revue called <em>Music and Madness, </em>where she met performer Ken Morris - who she later on married in 1955 - and the pair performed as a double act. </p> <p>The duo appeared in multiple big shows and advertisements at the time including  <em>Hi Summer, The Black and White Minstrel Show, The Jack Jackson Show</em> and <em>The Arthur Haynes Show.</em></p> <p>In 1960, they welcomed daughter Kelly, but their love story was cut short when Morris tragically passed away on July 3, 1968 following a brain tumour. </p> <p>Four years later, Savage remarried, and tied the knot with husband  Bryan on November 1972.</p> <p>She continued performing and had also established herself as a solo artist, creating popular love songs, comedies and even went on to win the Nordring Radio Prize for her singing in 1974. </p> <p>Savage is survived by her husband Bryan, her daughter Kelly and her two grandkids.</p> <p><em>Images: Getty/ Youtube</em></p>

Caring

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Sir Paul McCartney spreads joy by signing fan's piano

<p>A lucky Adelaide fan's dream came true after getting his piano signed by the one and only Sir Paul McCartney.</p> <p>The former Beatle took to Instagram to share the moment he signed a piano for music enthusiast, Pete. </p> <p>"Alright, here we are signing Pete's piano," the icon said while dressed casually in an all-black outfit with a grey sharpie in one hand. </p> <p>"Pete's from Adelaide, so am I, here we go," the 81-year-old joked as he signed the piano. </p> <p>"To Pete, cheers, Paul McCartney 2023." </p> <p>The former Beatle then said: "you’ll have to look at that every time you play," before playing the intro of one his former band's smash hits <em>Lady Madonna.</em></p> <p>The video was captioned: "Who knew Pete would hit the right keys with Paul? Taking a moment out of his #PaulMcCartneyGotBack tour Paul signs a dedicated fan's piano in Adelaide 🇦🇺".</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/Cy_6zyUv_wX/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="14"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"> </div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <div style="padding: 12.5% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; margin-bottom: 14px; align-items: center;"> <div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(0px) translateY(7px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; height: 12.5px; transform: rotate(-45deg) translateX(3px) translateY(1px); width: 12.5px; flex-grow: 0; margin-right: 14px; margin-left: 2px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(9px) translateY(-18px);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: 8px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 20px; width: 20px;"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 2px solid transparent; border-left: 6px solid #f4f4f4; border-bottom: 2px solid transparent; transform: translateX(16px) translateY(-4px) rotate(30deg);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: auto;"> <div style="width: 0px; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-right: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(16px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; flex-grow: 0; height: 12px; width: 16px; transform: translateY(-4px);"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-left: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(-4px) translateX(8px);"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center; margin-bottom: 24px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 224px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 144px;"> </div> </div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" href="https://www.instagram.com/reel/Cy_6zyUv_wX/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank" rel="noopener">A post shared by Paul McCartney (@paulmccartney)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p>The cover photo of the reel showed Pete holding a sign which said: "Paul please sign my piano" and his dreams finally came true. </p> <p>Fans have expressed their joy for Pete and praised Sir Paul for his kindness. </p> <p>"Pete just had the best day of his life and he knows it ❤️" one wrote. </p> <p>"He's surely gonna treasure that piano for the rest of his life!" another commented.</p> <p>"Sir Paul…. Thank you for being so gracious, and so generous. You were an absolute pleasure to meet!" Pete, the fan whose dreams came true, added. </p> <p><em>Images: Instagram</em></p>

Music

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Streets of purple haze: how the South American jacaranda became a symbol of Australian spring

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/susan-k-martin-107846">Susan K Martin</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/la-trobe-university-842">La Trobe University</a></em></p> <p>Jacaranda season is beginning across Australia as an explosion of vivid blue spreads in a wave from north to south. We think of jacarandas as a signature tree of various Australian cities. Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth all feature avenues of them.</p> <p>Grafton in New South Wales hosts an annual <a href="https://www.jacarandafestival.com/">jacaranda festival</a>. Herberton in Queensland is noted for <a href="https://www.facebook.com/jacarandafestivalherberton/">its seasonal show</a>.</p> <p>There are significant plantings in many botanic, public and university gardens across Australia. <em>Jacaranda mimosifolia</em> (the most common species in Australia) doesn’t generally flower in Darwin, and Hobart is a little cold for it.</p> <p>So showy and ubiquitous, jacarandas can be mistaken for natives, but they originate in South America. The imperial plant-exchange networks of the 19th century introduced them to Australia.</p> <p>But how did these purple trees find their stronghold in our suburbs?</p> <h2>Propagating the trees</h2> <p>Botanist Alan Cunningham sent the first jacaranda specimens from <a href="https://mhnsw.au/stories/general/dream-tree-jacaranda-sydney-icon/">Rio to Britain’s Kew gardens</a> around 1818.</p> <p>Possibly, jacaranda trees arrived from Kew in colonial Australia. Alternately, Cunningham may have disseminated the tree in his later postings in Australia or through plant and seed exchanges.</p> <p>Jacarandas are a widespread imperial introduction and are now a feature of many temperate former colonies. The jacaranda was exported by the British from Kew, by other colonial powers (Portugal for example) and directly from South America to various colonies.</p> <p>Jacarandas grow from seed quite readily, but the often preferred mode of plant propagation in the 19th century was through cuttings because of sometimes <a href="https://mhnsw.au/stories/general/dream-tree-jacaranda-sydney-icon/">unreliable seed</a> and <a href="https://academic.oup.com/histres/article/93/262/715/5938031?login=true">volume of results</a>.</p> <p>Cuttings are less feasible for the jacaranda, so the tree was admired but rare in Australia until either nurseryman Michael Guilfoyle or gardener George Mortimer succeeded in propagating the tree in 1868.</p> <p>Once the trees could be easily propagated, <a href="https://www.woollahra.nsw.gov.au/library/local_history/woollahra_plaque_scheme/plaques/michael_guilfoyle">jacarandas became more widely available</a> and they began their spread through Australian suburbs.</p> <h2>A colonial import</h2> <p>Brisbane claims the earliest jacaranda tree in Australia, <a href="https://blog.qagoma.qld.gov.au/godfrey-rivers-under-the-jacaranda-a-quintessential-image-of-brisbane-queensland/">planted in 1864</a>, but the Sydney Botanic Garden jacaranda is dated at “around” 1850, and jacarandas were listed for sale in <a href="https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/13055858?searchTerm=Jacaranda%20OR%20Jakaranda">Sydney in 1861</a>.</p> <p>These early park and garden plantings were eye-catching – but the real impact and popularity of jacarandas is a result of later street plantings.</p> <p>Jacaranda avenues, in Australia and around the world, usually indicate wealthier suburbs like Dunkeld in <a href="https://www.wisemove.co.za/post/top-10-richest-suburbs-in-johannesburg">Johannesberg</a> and Kilimani in <a href="https://gay.medium.com/hashtag-jacaranda-propaganda-2f20ac6958b9">Nairobi</a>.</p> <p>In Australia, these extravagant displays appear in older, genteel suburbs like Subiaco and Applecross in Perth; Kirribilli, Paddington and Lavender Bay in Sydney; Parkville and the Edinburgh Gardens in North Fitzroy in Melbourne; Mitcham, Frewville and Westbourne Park in Adelaide; and St Lucia in Brisbane.</p> <p>The trend toward urban street avenue plantings expanded internationally in the <a href="https://www.journals.uchicago.edu/doi/abs/10.2307/3983816?journalCode=foreconshist">mid 19th century</a>. It was particularly popular in growing colonial towns and cities. It followed trends in imperial centres, but new colonial cities offered scope for <a href="https://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/whp/eh/2009/00000015/00000003/art00004">concerted planning of avenues in new streets</a>.</p> <p>Early Australian streets were often host to a mix of native plants and exotic imported trees. Joseph Maiden, director of the Sydney Botanic Gardens from 1896, drove the move from mixed street plantings towards avenues of single-species trees in the early 20th century.</p> <p>Maiden selected trees suitable to their proposed area, but he was also driven by contemporary aesthetic ideas of <a href="https://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/whp/eh/2009/00000015/00000003/art00004">uniformity and display</a>.</p> <p>By the end of the 19th century, deciduous trees were becoming more popular as tree plantings for their variety and, in southern areas, for the openness to winter sunshine.</p> <p>It takes around ten years for jacaranda trees to become established. Newly planted jacarandas take between two and 14 years to produce their first flowers, so there was foresight in planning to achieve the streets we have today.</p> <p>In Melbourne, jacarandas were popular in post-first world war plantings. They were displaced by a move to native trees after the second world war. Despite localised popularity in certain suburbs, the jacaranda does not make the list of top 50 tree plantings for <a href="https://www.proquest.com/docview/220356756/714CC7FF6134038PQ/6?accountid=12001">Melbourne</a>.</p> <p>In Queensland, 19th-century street tree planting was particularly ad hoc – the <a href="https://apps.des.qld.gov.au/heritage-register/detail/?id=602440">Eagle Street fig trees</a> are an example – and offset by enthusiastic forest clearance. It wasn’t until the early 20th century street beautification became more organised and jacaranda avenues were planted in areas like New Farm in Brisbane.</p> <p>The popular plantings on the St Lucia campus of the University of Queensland occurred later, in the <a href="https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/queensland-review/article/abs/for-shade-colour-and-in-memory-of-sacrifice-amenity-and-memorial-tree-planting-in-queenslands-towns-and-cities-191555/459CD1E02E7FD581B4B89ADD7073D705">1930s</a>.</p> <h2>A flower for luck</h2> <p>In Australia, as elsewhere, there can be too much of a good thing. Jacarandas are an invasive species <a href="https://weeds.brisbane.qld.gov.au/weeds/jacaranda">in parts of Australia</a> (they seed readily in the warm dry climates to which they have been introduced).</p> <p>Parts of South Africa have limited or banned the planting of jacarandas because of their water demands and <a href="http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&amp;pid=S0006-82412017000200020">invasive tendencies</a>. Ironically, eucalypts have a similar status in South Africa.</p> <p>Writer <a href="https://gay.medium.com/hashtag-jacaranda-propaganda-2f20ac6958b9">Carey Baraka argues</a> that, however beloved and iconic now, significant plantings of jacarandas in Kenya indicate areas of past and present white population and colonial domination.</p> <p>Despite these drawbacks, spectacular jacaranda plantings remain popular where they have been introduced. There are even myths about them that cross international boundaries.</p> <p>In the southern hemisphere – in Pretoria or Sydney – they bloom on university campuses during examination time: the first blooms mark the time to study; the fall of blooms suggests it is <a href="https://mhnsw.au/stories/general/dream-tree-jacaranda-sydney-icon/">too late</a>; and the fall of a blossom on a student bestows <a href="https://newcontree.org.za/index.php/nc/article/view/34">good luck</a>.<!-- 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/214075/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/susan-k-martin-107846"><em>Susan K Martin</em></a><em>, Emeritus Professor in English, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/la-trobe-university-842">La Trobe University</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock</em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/streets-of-purple-haze-how-the-south-american-jacaranda-became-a-symbol-of-australian-spring-214075">original article</a>.</em></p>

Home & Garden

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How to tell if your loved one is depressed

<p>Around one in 10 people suffer from depression and anxiety, meaning it’s likely at some stage in your life someone you know will be suffering and need your help. These are five of the less-obvious signs and symptoms that a friend or family member might be going through a hard time.</p> <p><strong>1. They seem exhausted all the time</strong></p> <p>Changes to a sleeping patterns can be a sign of depression, whether it’s not sleeping enough or sleeping too much.  </p> <p>Tip: Help your loved one by taking them out for the day to re-set their body clock.</p> <p><strong>2. They never want to socialise anymore</strong></p> <p>If your loved one is finding it difficult to leave the house and attend any social events, even for a catch-up over coffee, that they would normally enjoy, it could be a sign</p> <p>Tip: Recognise that at the time it is very hard for your loved one to go out and socialise. Reassure them that you’d love to catch-up with them, and if it does get too much that you’re happy to do something they’d be happy with.</p> <p><strong>3. They get frustrated at everything</strong></p> <p>Does your loved one seem to be losing their patience more than usual? Anger and irritability, more than usual, can be a sign of depression.</p> <p>Tip: Chat to your friend about their feelings of frustration and irritability. You will be better placed to see if it’s a passing mood or longer-term change.</p> <p><strong>4. Their appetite has changed</strong></p> <p>Whether your loved one is constantly and consistently “not hungry” or they’re eating a lot more than usual and gaining weight, changes in appetite are a common sign of depression.</p> <p>Tip: People living with depression are often exhausted, where the thought of making meals or even what to eat, can be an overwhelming decision. Help prepare some meals for your loved one.</p> <p><strong>5. They’ve suddenly lost self-confidence</strong></p> <p>A loss of self-confidence and self-esteem is a common sign of depression. When a loved one starts to feel like everything they do is rubbish, it can be difficult to feel otherwise.</p> <p>Tip: When a loved one says they feel useless, reassure them with specific examples and evidence that it’s not true at all.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p>

Caring

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6 signs you’re low in iron

<p>Feeling constantly tired, looking pale and having heart palpitations? Well you could be one of the two billion people thought to suffer from some degree of iron deficiency.</p> <p>Low iron is the most common and widespread nutritional disorder in the world, and is the only nutrient deficiency that is significantly prevalent in the western world, according to the World Health Organization.  </p> <p>Here's how to know, and what to do if you tick all the low iron boxes</p> <p><strong>1. You suffer from fatigue (aka feel tired ALL of the time)</strong></p> <p>The body uses iron to make haemoglobin, the substance in red blood cells that transports oxygen around the body. When you don't have enough healthy red blood cells, you start to feel pretty exhausted. </p> <p><strong>2. You seem to get out of breath easily – even if you’re fit</strong></p> <p>When the body is not efficiently transporting oxygen to the lungs, you can feel breathlessness after minimal exertion. Low iron levels can also cause your endurance to suffer too.</p> <p><strong>3. You look pale and washed out</strong></p> <p>In addition to looking pale, if the inside of your lips, your gums, and the inside of your bottom eyelids are less red than usual, low iron may be the reason behind this. </p> <p><strong>4. You get sick often</strong></p> <p>Ever felt like you’re fighting an endless cold? Research has shown iron deficiency can affect the immune system, making you more likely to pick up infections and viruses.</p> <p><strong>5. You experience heart palpitations</strong></p> <p>Your heart may feel like it's pounding, fluttering or beating irregularly, often for just a few seconds or minutes. </p> <p><strong>6. You get unusual cravings for non-food substances such as dirt, ice, paint, or clay</strong></p> <p>Yes, this does sound very strange, but it's a real symptom that can occur when your body is low in iron – it's called pica. </p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p>

Body

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5 signs your friend is struggling with serious debt

<p>Money is always going to be a sensitive topic, and part of the reason for this is the fact that so many people willingly suffer in silence. But if you notice the warning signs, you have to take action. Here are five signs your friend is struggling with serious debt.</p> <p><strong>1. They keep cancelling plans</strong></p> <p>Whether you’re talking about dinner, drinks or even just the occasional coffee, if your friend keeps cancelling plans (particularly if they didn’t have a reputation for doing so in the past) that could be a sign that they’re struggling with their finances.</p> <p><strong>2. Unopened bills</strong></p> <p>If you’re visiting your friend’s home and you notice a pile of unopened bills, this is a classic sign of money troubles. Generally these bills are left unopened because the recipient does not want to see what’s inside, or deal with the monetary consequences.</p> <p><strong>3. Sudden changes in behaviour</strong></p> <p>Does your friend seem more fidgety that usual? Do they become cagey or defensive when money matters are mentioned? Are they bitter when discussing other people’s spending habits? This could indicate stress about their own individual financial situation.</p> <p><strong>4. Ignoring calls and knocks on the door</strong></p> <p>If you’ve been staying at your friend’s house and noticed a knock on the door or phone that’s been left unanswered on multiple occasions this could be a very bad sign. Often this is out of fear of dealing with a debt collector who could be on the other side.</p> <p><strong>5. Not adapting to changes in circumstances very well</strong></p> <p>Lifestyle changes generally come with a change in financial circumstances, but if you’ve noticed a sign that your friend is living in the same way that may be a sign that they’re ignoring the demands of their new situation and not putting themselves in a position to succeed.</p> <p><strong>What can I do?</strong></p> <p>Experts recommend taking the following steps if you know a friend who is struggling to deal with debt. That being said, sometimes just providing someone to talk to about it can make all the difference.</p> <ul> <li>Encourage them to talk to their credit provider and discuss payment options.</li> <li>Talk about applying or a hardship variation to help make payments.</li> <li>Direct them to a financial counselling service.</li> <li>Encourage them to take up free legal advice.</li> </ul> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p>

Money & Banking

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Dave Hughes mugged by "big man" on Melbourne street

<p>Comedian Dave 'Hughesy' Hughes has shared an incident on air about a harrowing encounter he had while grabbing dinner in Melbourne for his family on a Tuesday night.</p> <p>The 52-year-old radio host recounted the incident during his appearance on 2DAY FM’s morning show, "Hughesy, Ed &amp; Erin", with fellow comedian and stand-in host, Kate Langbroek.</p> <p>Hughes explained that he had ridden his electric bike to a nearby takeaway restaurant close to his residence to order dinner for his family.</p> <p>Unfortunately, upon his arrival, he discovered that the restaurant he had in mind was closed. Frustrated by the situation, he took out his phone with the intention of calling his wife to discuss alternative dinner plans when, suddenly, his phone was snatched from his hand.</p> <p>While recalling the incident, Hughes expressed how startled he was, saying, "I’m on the bike, and I put my phone up to my ear, and then all of a sudden, someone grabs my phone out of my hand, just grabbed it, yes, stole my phone."</p> <p>He went on to describe the thief as a "big man" who appeared to be under the influence of drugs, suspecting him to be a "meth head": “I look and it’s a man, a big man, and he is off his nut. I’m gonna say he’s a meth head, you know what I'm talking about.”</p> <p>The assailant's erratic behaviour didn't end with the phone theft. Hughes continued, "He tries to talk into the phone and he goes, ‘You weren’t even talking to anyone.’ Like it was my fault, like I was pretending to make a phone call."</p> <p>Rather than pursuing the thief on his bike, Hughes resorted to shouting, "Give me my phone back!"</p> <p>The situation eventually deescalated as the man threw the phone to the ground and stumbled away, eventually confronting a nearby vehicle. "He just staggered off and basically attacked a car,” said Hughes.</p> <p>Langbroek criticised Hughes for not immediately contacting the police after the unsettling incident, expressing concern about tolerating such dysfunction in society.  “I know that we’re all like, that’s sort of how it rolls," she said, "but when you start accepting dysfunction like that, then dysfunction will rule.”</p> <p>Hughes, who had lost his driver's license the previous month due to a series of minor traffic violations that resulted in the loss of his accumulated points, had been relying on his electric bike for transportation. </p> <p><em>Image: 2DAY FM</em></p>

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