International Travel

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Inside what happens at the annual Royal Family gift exchange

<p>Members of the royal family may have to follow strict guidelines and traditions throughout the year, but the annual Christmas gift exchange is said to hold a light, formal tone with the Queen.</p> <p>It is no secret either that the Windsor’s’ love a good wind up and in doing so, have been known to hand each other cheeky gifts to celebrate the annual holiday.</p> <p>Each year on Christmas eve, members of the royal family gather together at the Sandringham Estate where they give each other gifts following an intimate family afternoon tea.</p> <p>Queen Elizabeth, Prince Philip and their children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren reportedly take part in their gift exchange on Christmas Eve over Christmas Day, in a nod to their German ancestry.</p> <p>The family is believed to gather in the red drawing room at 6 p.m., where gifts have been secretly laid out for each family member.</p> <p>However, that is where any stale, old family traditions are thrown out the window because the Windsors like a gift with an admittedly silly tone.</p> <p><em><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/royal-christmas-traditions-meghan-markle-13618812" target="_blank">T</a><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/royal-christmas-traditions-meghan-markle-13618812" target="_blank">he Mirror</a></em> reported Prince Harry gifted his grandmother – The Queen – a shower cap that had "Ain't Life a B****" emblazoned across the front.</p> <p>It has also been reported that before Prince Harry was dating Meghan Markle, his sister-in-law Duchess Kate handed him a "Grow Your Own Girlfriend" gift as a gag.</p> <p>Other silly presents that have been exchanged over the years according to <em><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/royal-christmas-traditions-meghan-markle-13618812" target="_blank">The Mirror</a> </em>include a leather toilet seat, which Princess Anne once gave her older brother, Prince Charles, and a leopard print bath mat, a gift for Fergie from her sister in law, Princess Diana.</p> <p>Scroll through the gallery above to see the Royal Family during Christmas throughout the years.</p>

International Travel

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Federer breaks the internet after becoming first person to receive historic honour

<p>Iconic tennis legend Roger Federer, 38, has made history and become the first living man in Switzerland to be recognised with a commemorative coin.</p> <p>The 20-time grand slam winner has now been honoured with the historical achievement in his home country, which he says is an “incredible honour and privilege”.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en-gb"> <p dir="ltr">Thank you Switzerland🇨🇭and Swissmint for this incredible honour and privilege. 🙏<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/DankeSchweiz?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#DankeSchweiz</a><a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/MerciLaSuisse?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#MerciLaSuisse</a><a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/GrazieSvizzera?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#GrazieSvizzera</a><a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/GraziaSvizra?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#GraziaSvizra</a> <a href="https://t.co/gNs6qYjOh6">pic.twitter.com/gNs6qYjOh6</a></p> — Roger Federer (@rogerfederer) <a href="https://twitter.com/rogerfederer/status/1201455063941566464?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">2 December 2019</a></blockquote> <p>The Federal Swiss Mint announced that he would be on the 20-franc coin, which shows Federer lining up his iconic backhand.</p> <p>“The Federal Mint Swissmint is honouring Roger Federer and, for the first time in its history, dedicating a Swiss commemorative coin to a living person,” the website read.</p> <p>The demand for the coin, which was released on the 2nd of December, broke the website.</p> <p>“We had 2.5 million clicks. It was too much for the shop to handle,” said Swissmint CEO Marius Haldimann to<span> </span><em><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.atptour.com/en/news/demand-for-roger-federer-coin-crashes-swissmint-website" target="_blank">ATP Tour.</a></em></p> <p>“We expected and planned for high demand, but we never imagined it would be this big. When Roger posted a link on his social media channels the website immediately had problems due to all the traffic. Some fans could access the shop but could not finish the order. Others could not get onto the website.”</p> <blockquote 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);" class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-captioned="" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/B5kOeTyFceI/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="12"> <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> <p style="margin: 8px 0 0 0; padding: 0 4px;"><a style="color: #000; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none; word-wrap: break-word;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/B5kOeTyFceI/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank">Thank you Switzerland🇨🇭and Swissmint for this incredible honour and privilege. 🙏 #dankeschweiz #mercilasuisse #graziesvizzera #GraziaSvizra</a></p> <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 post shared by <a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/rogerfederer/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank"> Roger Federer</a> (@rogerfederer) on Dec 2, 2019 at 2:05am PST</p> </div> </blockquote> <p>Out of the 35,000 20-franc silver coins that were offered in the pre-sale window, 15,000 have been ordered. The remaining 20,000 coins are expected to sell quickly once the Mint has recovered from the dramatic spike in traffic.</p> <p>Another 40,000 coins will be released in May, when a 50-franc gold coin will be released.</p> <p>Federer is currently the oldest person to finish a season as the World No 3 at the age of 38. </p>

International Travel

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Three-Michelin-starred chef bans meat from her restaurants

<p><span>When you walk into any of Dominique Crenn’s San Francisco eateries, do not expect to find any pork or chicken.</span></p> <p><span>The three-Michelin-starred chef has announced that her restaurants – Atelier Crenn, Petit Crenn, Bar Crenn and the forthcoming Boutique Crenn – will no longer serve land-based meat. </span></p> <p><span>“Meat is insanely complicated – both within the food system and the environment as a whole – and, honestly, it felt easier to just remove it from the menus all together,” the chef said in a statement.</span></p> <p><span>“Local and sustainable fish and vegetables are just as, if not more, versatile – and delicious.”</span></p> <p><span>Crenn said some of her restaurants have been meat-free for years. </span></p> <p><span>“What people haven’t talked about is [since] I opened Petit Crenn in 2015, it’s been fully vegetarian and pescatarian, we didn’t have any meat there,” Crenn told <a href="https://edition.cnn.com/travel/article/dominique-crenn-michelin-star-chef-meat-ban/index.html"><em>CNN Travel</em></a>. “But I never advertised it. And then Atelier has been meat free for the last two years.”</span></p> <p><span>The chef said while she is not a pescatarian or vegetarian, she hopes to “effect real environmental change” through her dining group. </span></p> <p><span>“I know the impact of the way that we fix meat nowadays is not good. It’s killing us, it’s killing the planet,” she said.</span></p> <p><span>“I’m trying to make the best decision for my surroundings and the planet and myself. But I’m not forcing anybody to do that.</span></p> <p><span>But what am I asking is -- I really want people to think about their actions and their behavior and what they can impact on their own. And it’s pretty easy. You know, the little things will go such a long way.”</span></p> <p><span>A reduction in worldwide beef and lamb consumption would help reduce carbon emissions and stave off dangerous climate change, a <a href="https://time.com/5646787/ipcc-climate-change-land-report/">UN report</a> released in August found.</span></p> <p><span>Another study published in the journal <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-018-0594-0.epdf?referrer_access_token=XZVziR7TomkKxdcQPHzQztRgN0jAjWel9jnR3ZoTv0M2ZckU8PFAjFp2beHrcOXhMGtzE8nzrDqubMx9ONW9ULSbbQ_WUw8pvU9o1FaesDGn7Yyqm7rBefxpvX03Wpn9fVoWCmNUMPUJaksaTZag7YHqVuReazO6_biSFBudf0fo2_DKzyNTaIKyTK4Iuxp7tpl7fPwJrWv85CogEUuSnsQ9AdQHF4LkpZHfMiYl558qP0i6uGuTstvERNFrGr3v_E1KpZK84cX4qaGEUh5_IiX_HQ7lH9hoEbY6vHOB4Bh893_N1hZK2CL4CocbFg00&amp;tracking_referrer=www.theguardian.com"><em>Nature</em></a> found that to keep global warming under 2C, an average world citizen needs to eat 75 per cent less beef and 90 percent less pork. The average world citizen also needs to halve their consumption of eggs, and replace them with <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/oct/10/huge-reduction-in-meat-eating-essential-to-avoid-climate-breakdown">five times as many legumes.</a> </span></p>

International Travel

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Passengers boarding airplanes: We're doing it wrong

<p>‘Tis the season for airplane travel. We may be looking forward to getting where we’re going, but most aspects of the travel itself are merely endured. There’s stressful security, the madding crowd and the scrum at boarding, where people and their myriad belongings clog the gate area, standing between you and your departure.</p> <p>But take heart: there are scientifically proven ways to improve the boarding process or at least speed it up so that it can be over and done with more quickly.</p> <h2>What’s going wrong now</h2> <p>Currently, it feels like you could have walked to your destination by the time you’ve waited through boarding calls for all the various levels of travelers, from elite down to the dregs of refundable coach. Moreover, once you scan your pass and enter the jetway, you find it’s packed with all those who were crammed up around the ticket scanner a few minutes before – affectionately called “gate lice.”</p> <p>One big contributor to this logjam is the common airline policy to charge for checked baggage, leading passengers to bring aboard more, and more fully packed, luggage. All these carry-ons take time to stow. The fuller the plane becomes, the longer it takes to put the luggage away – like a not-very-fun version of Tetris.</p> <p>Another cause is the boarding process itself: the way and order that passengers are asked to board.</p> <p>You might assume the fastest way to load a plane is from the back to the front, so that no passenger needs to pass anyone in the aisle or hop over anyone in their row. This logic forms the basis of standard boarding procedures. But what would really happen if you boarded in precisely this way? The passengers would rush into the cabin, proceed toward the back – and come to a screeching halt as the first one or two passengers stow their luggage. The first 30 passengers (the back five rows) would take up nearly the entire length of the cabin. The rest of the line has simply moved from the airport gate into the jetway or cabin – and it moves no faster.</p> <h2>The leap from serial to parallel</h2> <p>The problem is that boarding from the back to the front is a serial process: only one action at a time is completed. It’s like deleting a page of text just using the delete key instead of selecting the entire page. In this case, only one passenger at a time is seated. The aisle in the airplane isn’t used effectively.</p> <p>A more efficient way to board would have only as many passengers in the airplane as can put their luggage away without interfering with each other. Those passengers should also be ordered so as to eliminate the need to pass by anyone either in the aisle or in the rows. In other words, it is better to make passenger boarding a parallel process where multiple actions occur simultaneously, instead of a serial process.</p> <h2>An optimum method</h2> <p>Virtually all scientific or industrial fields have optimization problems: finding the best way to complete different tasks. A classic example is the “traveling salesman” problem: what’s the shortest route that connects a number of cities?</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><iframe width="440" height="260" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/SC5CX8drAtU?wmode=transparent&amp;start=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><span class="caption">The “traveling salesman” is another mathematical problem that can be solved using the same optimization routine.</span></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/65384/original/image-20141124-19618-9kjeel.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/65384/original/image-20141124-19618-9kjeel.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=237&amp;fit=clip" alt="" /></a> <span class="caption">Seating map showing the order that passengers board using the Steffen method.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">Jason Steffen</span>, <span class="license">Author provided</span></span></p> <p>The same optimization routine that can solve the traveling salesman problem can be applied to airplane boarding. Drawing from its results, I’ve <a href="http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jairtraman.2008.03.003">proposed</a> an optimum boarding method. In this approach, often called the Steffen method, adjacent passengers in line will be seated two rows apart from each other. The first wave of passengers would be, in order, 30A, 28A, 26A, 24A, and so on, starting from the back. (For a typical airplane there would be 12 such waves, one for each seat in a row and for odd and even rows.)</p> <p><a href="http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jairtraman.2011.10.003">In field tests</a>, this method has outperformed all others. In a test with 72 passengers it was nearly twice as fast as boarding back-to-front or in rotating blocks of rows, methods commonly used in the industry. It was 20-30% faster than more optimized boarding methods such as random boarding, when people get on without regard to where their assigned seats are. It also beat boarding windows-middle-aisle. My method even outperformed the industry gold standard of open seating, used by Southwest airlines. That’s when passengers don’t have assigned seats at all.</p> <h2>Can we make the switch?</h2> <p>So, why isn’t this optimum method of airplane boarding being adopted by any carrier in the industry? One significant reason may be the challenge of its implementation – lining passengers up in such a rigid order. While this obstacle may not be insurmountable, the question itself overlooks one of the primary benefits of the Steffen method: it allows an airline to measure how much room there is for improvement and identifies where that improvement is to be found.</p> <p>A head-to-head comparison between an existing strategy and the Steffen method (incorporating all of the different elite and special-needs passengers) might show that a 30% reduction in boarding time is possible. Then, the powers-that-be can weigh the cost of changing to a more efficient, yet still practical process – one that more effectively uses the aisle – against the benefit of recovering only a portion of that potential savings. Those are the kinds of numbers that decisions can be based upon – and it eliminates the common, but utterly useless, defense of “there’s always room for improvement.”</p> <p>Cold comfort on your flight this week, perhaps. Maybe spend some of your time standing in line spreading the word that a better way is possible.<!-- 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; text-shadow: none !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/33615/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: http://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em>Written by <span>Jason Steffen, Research Assistant Professor of Physics and Astronomy, Northwestern University</span>. Republished with permission of </em><a rel="noopener" href="https://theconversation.com/passengers-boarding-airplanes-were-doing-it-wrong-33615" target="_blank"><em>The Conversation</em></a><em>. </em></p>

International Travel

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Prince William follows in royal elder’s footsteps

<p>Prince William is due to take a solo trip to two countries that while he has not visited yet, his parents and grandparents have.</p> <p>The royal heir is dutifully following in the footsteps of his father and Her Majesty who both visited Kuwait and Oman for their royal duties.</p> <p>According the royal’s website, Prince William’s time in both countries will be jampacked with engagements that are meant to “pay tribute to the historic ties Britain shares with Kuwait and Oman, and will highlight strong links and cooperation in many areas, including education, the environment, and defence”.</p> <p>So far, the Duke has paid a visit to Jahra Nature Reserve, where he learned from Sheikh Abdullah Ahmad Al-Humoud Al-Sabah, director of Kuwait's environment public authority, about the environmental work being done in the area.</p> <p> "We have made a difference to the way we live. We've made sure when traveling here we only take our metal bottles with us. Lots of metal bottles," the royal said he examined bits of rubbish strewn on the floor, per the <em><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7748191/Prince-William-wages-war-plastic-bottles-views-piles-litter-Kuwait.html" target="_blank">Daily Mail</a></em>.</p> <p>"You see a plastic bottle and I'm like 'eugh!' Horrible, isn't it?"</p> <p>He also paid a visit to the Sheikh Abdullah Al Salem Cultural Centre, where the Duke learned about the institution's youth education programs.</p> <p>Scroll through the gallery to see royal’s visiting the Middle East throughout the years.</p>

International Travel

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The slow coach

<p><em>Justine Tyerman can’t resist a hiking trip to Switzerland, so she develops a convenient case of myopia.</em></p> <p>Warning bells (the kind that hang around the necks of Swiss cows) began clanging inside my head when Birgit invited me on a hiking expedition in the Bernese Alps. Having met a few Swiss people and witnessed their superior hiking prowess, I should have known better than to believe that she was ‘unfit having not hiked for 14 years’. </p> <p>But yearning to revisit the alps and walk again amid majestic mountain kings, I conveniently snipped the donger out of the bell and lulled myself into believing I could ‘foot it’ with Swiss tour leader Birgit. After all, it was only three days and I would just be carrying a light day pack. Eurotrek was taking care of luggage transfers, transport and accommodation. All quite manageable, I decided in my blinkered, myopic state . . . so off I went to Switzerland. </p> <p>Our hiking group met up in Meiringen, a tranquil little resort town in the Hasli Valley known as ‘a nursery of first class alpine guides’. There’s an impressive bronze statue there depicting the ‘King of the Alpine Guides’ Melchior Anderegg with English mountaineer Sir Leslie Stephen. The jagged teeth of the Engelhörner Range, described as a climbers’ paradise, provide a stunning backdrop to the statue.</p> <p>Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was a regular visitor to Meiringen. His famous fictional sleuth, Sherlock Holmes spent his last night at the hotel where we stayed – the Park Hotel du Sauvage - before his apparently fatal encounter in 1891 with arch foe Professor Moriarty at nearby Reichenbach Falls. Holmes’ fans refused to accept this death so Doyle was forced to resurrect him three years later.</p> <p>I visited Meiringen’s fascinating Sherlock Holmes museum which tells all about the life of the master detective and his sidekick Dr John Watson. You can travel by funicular to the Reichenbach Falls where Holmes and Moriarty struggled and supposedly fell to their deaths. The falls flow into the glacier-fed Aare River which has carved a deep gash into limestone rock over millions of years. A platform leads through the narrow gorge suspended from a perpendicular rock face just above the icy, green river.</p> <p>Over dinner that evening, we studied the detailed information and maps provided by Eurotrek. Day one of the Bear Trek from Meiringen to Grindelwald covered 22.9km, ascending 1530m and descending 1095m, a total hiking time of eight hours, 30 minutes - a formidable start to our expedition.</p> <p>Eurotrek included suggestions for shortening the hike by a couple of hours and shaving off a few hundred vertical metres by taking a Post Auto bus to the Hotel Rosenlaui.</p> <p>Birgit endorsed the idea and I wholeheartedly agreed, trying not to sound too enthusiastic.</p> <p>Disembarking at the graceful Hotel Rosenlaui overlooking the Aare River, we were confronted with spectacular peaks rising abruptly above a dark green tree-line splodged with fiery autumn foliage.</p> <p>We set off and all went well . . . for the first six minutes. And then the naturally-athletic Birgit hit her stride. Even 14 years in Australia could not dilute her Swissness. Mountains are to Swiss what rugby is to Kiwis. It’s part of their psyche, their DNA. They can no more walk slowly uphill than a Kiwi can cheer for the Aussies! </p> <p>The teller-of-tall-tales strode ahead at a steady pace, the same speed up as on the flat. </p> <p><strong>One foot after the other</strong></p> <p>Meanwhile, the slow coach brought up the rear, grateful for frequent photo stops which allowed me to catch my breath and catch up. I remembered the mantra of my hiking mate on our very first tramp many years ago. One foot after the other and you’ll get there . . . eventually. </p> <p>The beauty of the surroundings kept my spirits buoyed. The trail led us through forests of tall conifers, across lush green meadows sprinkled with wild flowers grazed by friendly, bell-wearing cows, and alongside meandering streams.</p> <p>We climbed to a beautiful alpine plateau where we walked in awed silence in the shadow of the magnificent, mystical Wetterhorn whose sheer grey rock face wept glacier tears.</p> <p>There were no other hikers on this relatively remote part of the Bear Trek . . . and the bears that once roamed these high alpine pathways had long since disappeared. The only sounds were the ding-dong of cow bells and the conversational gurgling of mountain streams.</p> <p>We came across barns and chalets with self-service fridges stocked with local cheeses. Some were beautifully decorated with flowers and pin-up photos of award-winning dairy cows whose rich milk made the products therein.</p> <p>Among Switzerland’s multifarious delights are her mountain restaurants found in the most unlikely places. The Berghotel, located at the summit of the Grosse Scheidegg Pass, 1962m, is one such establishment. The hotel served hearty fare for hungry hikers - barley soup with spicy sausages and crispy bread followed by mouth-watering desserts.</p> <p>On the long downward track to Grindelwald, the Eiger’s forbidding North Face loomed into view, along with the breath-taking Mönsch and Jungfrau.</p> <p>The lovely Hotel Kirchbühl, our resting place for the night, was a welcome sight at the end of a long day’s hiking. And a treat was in store for us on the terrace. Birgit introduced us to ‘Hugo’ which became our favourite cocktail on the trek – made with prosecco, elderflower syrup, mint and lime juice, it was seriously refreshing. There was magic in the air that evening as sunset cast surreal shafts of light on the mountains, and long shadows over the picturesque village of Grindelwald.</p> <p>Encircled by a necklace of mountains, Grindelwald emerged as a popular holiday resort in the late 18th century. The 3967m Eiger became a magnet for mountaineers, the first ascent taking place in 1858. However, the 1800m sheer rock and ice Nord Wand (North Face) was not conquered until 1938. The Eiger has since claimed 64 lives.</p> <p>In 1912, a railway reached the Jungfrau and today still holds the distinction of being Europe’s highest train station at 3454m. The Sphinx Terrace at the ‘Top of Europe’ sits at 3571m.</p> <p>With outstanding skiing and hiking trails, Grindelwald is a popular year-round destination. A few years ago, I hiked to Lake Bachalp. The lake’s stunning reflections of the mountains make it one of the region’s most exquisite walks.</p> <p>After a delicious dinner of local venison, fresh vegetables, salads and apple fritters, sleep came easily to the slow coach, thanks to a comfy bed, fluffy duvet and soft pillow. I was so thankful I’d survived day one . . . but day two looked even more daunting.</p> <p><em>To be continued...</em></p> <p><strong>Factbox:</strong></p> <ul> <li>The Bear Trek is part of the Via Alpina, a network of five international trails, covering 5000km through eight countries. Established in the year 2000, the Via Alpina has 342 stages on clearly-marked paths from zero to 3000m above sea level. In Switzerland, mountain restaurants and hotels provide meals and accommodation along the way. Eurotrek organised our accommodation and luggage transfers so we just carried a light day pack.</li> </ul> <p><em>Justine Tyerman was a guest of <a href="https://www.myswitzerland.com/en-nz/">Switzerland Tourism</a>, travelled courtesy of <a href="https://www.myswitzerland.com/en-nz/planning/transport-accommodation/tickets-public-transportation/">Swiss Travel Pass</a> and hiked in the <a href="https://jungfrauregion.swiss/en/winter/">Jungfrau Region</a> with <a href="https://www.eurotrek.ch/en">Eurotrek.</a></em></p>

International Travel

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Nationals MP George Christensen under scrutiny over Philippines adult bar claims

<p>Nationals MP George Christensen has denied claims that he was a regular at an adult entertainment bar in the Philippines.</p> <p>The claim came as Christensen blocked the release of information about the Australian Federal Police probe into his frequent travels to the Philippines between 2014 and 2018.</p> <p>Christensen was revealed to have taken 28 trips and spent almost 300 days in the Philippines over the four-year period.</p> <p>The manager of bar Ponytails, which identifies itself as an “adult entertainment service”, said the federal politician was a “very regular visitor” and a “big spender” at the venue.</p> <p>“It was well known that he went to other bars in the areas,” manager Marjorie Lamsen told <span><a href="https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/george-christensen-a-regular-at-philippines-adult-entertainment-bar-manager-20191202-p53g57.html">Nine News, <em>The Age </em>and <em>The Herald</em></a><em>.</em></span></p> <p><span>“The weakness of George is women. He would usually give allowances to these people.”</span></p> <p><span>The joint investigation by the outlets also alleged that Christensen’s wife April Asuncion, whom he met in the Philippines in 2017, was an employee at the Ponytails bar.</span></p> <p>In a statement to Nine News, a<span> spokesperson for Christensen said the allegations were “highly defamatory”.</span></p> <p>“Your allegation made about my client’s wife is denied and the so-called documentary proof that you refer to, is therefore either false or fabricated,” the spokesperson said.</p> <p>“Slandering the wife of a sitting member of parliament, who is not in the public eye, is highly defamatory and needless to say the damages would be substantial.</p> <p>“If you should publish anything that is false about my client or his wife, we are instructed to commence defamation proceedings.”</p> <p>The AFP had previously briefed former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull six times on the matter and advised Christensen that his travel could put him at risk of blackmail. However, the organisation’s probe into Christensen’s overseas travel found “no evidence of wrongdoing” and “no evidence of criminal behaviour”.</p>

International Travel

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How much does flying contribute to climate change?

<p><strong>How much does our use of air travel contribute to the problem of climate change? And is it more damaging that it is being created higher in our atmosphere?</strong></p> <p>The <a href="https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20190909-why-flight-shame-is-making-people-swap-planes-for-trains">flight shaming movement</a> has raised our awareness of air travel’s contribution to climate change. With all the discussion, you might be surprised to learn that air travel globally <a href="https://www.ipcc.ch/site/assets/uploads/2018/02/ipcc_wg3_ar5_chapter8.pdf">only accounts for about 3% of the warming</a> human activities are causing. Why all the fuss?</p> <p>Before I explain, I should come clean. I am writing this on the train from Christchurch to Kaikoura, where I will give a talk about my recent book <a href="https://www.bwb.co.nz/books/hashtag-no-fly">#NoFly: walking the talk on climate change</a>. I have some skin in this game.</p> <h2>Staying grounded</h2> <p>Taking a train around New Zealand is no mean feat. In the North Island, the <a href="https://www.greatjourneysofnz.co.nz/northern-explorer/">train between Auckland and Wellington</a> runs only every second day. If you get off at a stop along the way, you have to wait another two days to continue your journey. You can catch a bus, but you’ll spend that bus journey fantasising about the possibility of an overnight train service.</p> <p>So why do it? A good deal of global carbon emissions come from <a href="https://www.epa.gov/ghgemissions/sources-greenhouse-gas-emissions">industrial processes or electricity generation</a> under the control of governments and corporations, rather than individual citizens. For many of us, a decision not to fly might be the most significant reduction in emissions we can make as individuals.</p> <p>As Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg has shown, <a href="https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-49349566">refusing to fly</a> also sends a powerful signal to others, by showing that you are willing to change your own behaviour. Politicians and corporate sales departments will take note if we start acting together.</p> <h2>Impacts of aviation</h2> <p>Aviation affects the climate in a <a href="https://books.google.co.nz/books?id=LIvEZkURpcMC&amp;lpg=PR11&amp;ots=VFhTKL5oG-&amp;dq=aviation%20and%20climate%20change&amp;lr&amp;pg=PR10#v=onepage&amp;q=aviation%20and%20climate%20change&amp;f=false">variety of ways</a>.</p> <p>Because any carbon dioxide you emit stays in the atmosphere for hundreds of years, it doesn’t matter much whether you release it from the exhaust pipe of your car at sea level or from a jet engine several kilometres high. Per passenger, a flight from Auckland to Wellington will put a similar amount of carbon dioxide into the air as driving solo in your car. Catching the train will <a href="https://calculator.toitu.co.nz/?calculator=travel">cut your carbon emissions seven-fold</a>.</p> <p>When aircraft burn jet fuel, however, they also emit short-lived gases like nitrogen oxides, which can react with other gases in the air within a day of being released. When nitrogen oxides are released at altitude they can react with oxygen to put more ozone into the air, but can also remove methane.</p> <p>Ozone and methane are both greenhouse gases, so this chain of chemical reactions can lead to both heating and cooling effects. Unfortunately the net result when these processes are added together is to <a href="https://www.repository.cam.ac.uk/bitstream/handle/1810/263217/Dessens_TransPol_2014_accepted.pdf?sequence=1">drive more warming</a>.</p> <p>Depending on the atmospheric conditions, aircraft can also create <a href="https://science-edu.larc.nasa.gov/contrail-edu/science.html">contrails</a>: clouds of tiny ice crystals. The science is not as clear cut on how contrails influence the climate, but <a href="https://www.atmos-chem-phys.net/19/8163/2019/">some studies suggest</a> they could have an effect as significant as the carbon dioxide released during a flight.</p> <p>There is also considerable uncertainty as to whether aircraft exhaust might affect cloud formation itself - this could be a further <a href="https://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/2014JD021914">significant contribution to warming</a>.</p> <h2>Growing demand for air travel</h2> <p>Offsetting, by planting trees or restoring natural wildlands, will take carbon dioxide back out of the atmosphere. But we would have to do this on a massive scale to feed our appetite for flight.</p> <p>Emissions from international air travel are not included in the <a href="https://unfccc.int/process-and-meetings/the-paris-agreement/the-paris-agreement">Paris Agreement</a>, although the United Nations has been working on the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (<a href="https://www.icao.int/environmental-protection/CORSIA/Pages/default.aspx">CORSIA</a>), which may begin to deal with these. Initially, the scheme will be voluntary. Airlines flying routes between countries that join the scheme will have to offset any emissions above 2020 levels from January 2021.</p> <p>Emissions from flying <a href="https://www.icao.int/Meetings/a38/Documents/WP/wp026_en.pdf">stand to triple by 2050</a> if demand for air travel continues to grow. Even if air travel became carbon neutral through the use of biofuels or electric planes, the effects from contrails and interactions with clouds mean that flying may never be climate neutral.</p> <p>With no easy fixes on the horizon, many people are thinking hard about their need to fly. This is why I <a href="https://theconversation.com/costly-signals-needed-to-deliver-inconvenient-truth-82380">took a year off air travel</a> (alongside my colleague Quentin Atkinson) in 2018.</p> <p>I have been back on planes in 2019, but I have learned how to reduce my flying, by combining trips and making better use of video conferencing.</p> <p>Fly if you must, offset if you can, but – if you are concerned about climate change – one of the best things you could choose to do is to fly less.<!-- 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; text-shadow: none !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/127707/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: http://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em>Written by <span>Shaun Hendy, Professor of Physics, University of Auckland</span>. Republished with permission of </em><a rel="noopener" href="https://theconversation.com/climate-explained-how-much-does-flying-contribute-to-climate-change-127707" target="_blank"><em>The Conversation</em></a><em>. </em></p>

International Travel

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Prince William shows off secret talent! Did you know he could do this?

<p>Prince William, 37, has shown he knows how to capture an audience’s attention, and managed to shock an attendee when he began speaking in Swahili. </p> <p>The Duke of Cambridge met with 20 recipients of Princes Diana’s legacy awards for a special tea at Kensington Palace, and left Erick Benant, 25, from Tanzania, “gobsmacked” when the royal began speaking to him in his native language.</p> <p>The moment was described as “truly special” by Tessy Ojo, chief executive of the Diana Award charity, who suggested the young man felt comfortable and special when the Duke struck up a conversation in his tongue.</p> <p>“One of the young people is from Tanzania, and he started talking to him in Swahili,“ Ojo told<span> </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://people.com/" target="_blank">People Magazine. </a></p> <p>“It wasn’t just one sentence. This was not something he had just read out of a book.”</p> <p>The event celebrated winners of the Princess Diana Awards, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year and honours the memory of Prince William and Prince Harry's mother.</p> <p>Ojo revealed Prince William had “read up” on all of the recipients before the event, and had taken his time to meet and speak with each person at the afternoon tea.</p> <blockquote 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);" class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-captioned="" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/B5VpmCQlsjT/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="12"> <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> <p style="margin: 8px 0 0 0; padding: 0 4px;"><a style="color: #000; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none; word-wrap: break-word;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/B5VpmCQlsjT/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank">As our Legacy recipients begin to arrive to @oldroyalnavalcollege for #2019LegacyAwards, let’s take a moment to recall why we do what we do. Princess Diana believed that young people have the power to change the world. She also believed in the power of kindness and selfless service to those in need. Our mission is to continue her legacy and in just a couple of hours we will honor and celebrate the new Legacy recipients, who serve their communities tirelessly inspiring new generations.</a></p> <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 post shared by <a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/dianaaward/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank"> The Diana Award</a> (@dianaaward) on Nov 26, 2019 at 10:13am PST</p> </div> </blockquote> <p>Erick was among a group of young people who are this year’s Legacy Award recipients.</p> <p>They have come from all across the UK and Commonwealth countries including Canada, Nigeria, Tanzania and India.</p> <p>Each recipient has received the award on the condition they’ve had a significant impact on society. </p> <p>He was awarded after leading a nationwide antimicrobial resistance campaign in 23 administrative regions of Tanzania, which educated over 49,000 students and teachers in 114 secondary schools. </p> <p>Ojo revealed that Prince William told the group Princess Diana “would be so proud” of them all and their achievement. </p> <p>Diana's brother Earl Spencer went on to present the prestigious awards during a ceremony at the Old Royal Naval College in Greenwich, south-east London. </p> <p>While he is not believed to be fluent, The royal taught himself Swahili during his time at university.</p> <p>Prince William showed off his extensive language skills last year while on a royal visit to Tanzania, where he was spotted on camera speaking the native language with Tanzanian President John Magufuli. </p> <p>The Duke of Cambridge is believed to speak five languages in total, including French, Welsh, Gaelic and a little Spanish. </p> <p>Scroll through the gallery to see Prince William meeting with winners of the Princess Diana Awards.</p>

International Travel

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Could electric planes solve flying's CO2 problem?

<p>The UK government plans to ban the sale of new conventional petrol and diesel cars <a href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-40726868">by 2040</a>. Clearly the plan is for all citizens to be driving electric or hybrid-electric cars, or – better still – riding bicycles. But can electrification help cut emissions from that other carbon-intensive form of passenger transport, flying?</p> <p>This is a complex question and one where size matters. It is possible for small aircraft to be powered by electricity. In fact several companies are already developing small electric aircraft and they could come on the market within <a href="https://theconversation.com/get-set-for-take-off-in-electric-aircraft-the-next-transport-disruption-114178">the next few years</a>.</p> <p>But for the large aircraft we all use more frequently it is unlikely to happen anytime soon. The problem isn’t the propulsion technology but the energy storage. Jet fuel contains around 30 times more energy per kilogram than the most advanced lithium-ion battery currently available.</p> <p>The world’s largest passenger plane, the Airbus A380, can fly 600 passengers 15,000 kilometres in a single flight. But, according to my calculations, with batteries it could only fly a little over 1,000 kilometres. Even if all the passengers and cargo were replaced with batteries, the range would still be less then 2,000 kilometres. To keep its current range, the plane would need batteries weighing 30 times more than its current fuel intake, meaning it would never get off the ground.</p> <p>This trade-off is particularly bad for long-haul flights because the fuel makes up half of the aircraft’s weight at take-off. What’s more, a conventional plane gets lighter as the fuel is consumed, but an electric aircraft would have to carry the same battery weight for the entire flight. As I said, size matters.</p> <p>For a five- to ten-seat light aircraft, fuel is likely to make up 10% to 20% of the aircraft’s weight. Simply swapping the fuel for batteries might still reduce the distance the plane can fly by an impractical amount. But replacing two or three passengers with additional batteries would give a range of 500 kilometres to 750 kilometres, compared to a fuel-powered range of over 1,000km.</p> <h2>First commercial model</h2> <p>However, there could be another option. Israeli firm <a href="https://www.eviation.co/alice/">Eviation</a> recently revealed a prototype version of what it claims will be the world’s first commercial all-electric passenger aircraft. The aircraft, named Alice, doesn’t just swap jet fuel for batteries but is a whole new design concept that improves the way the propulsion system is integrated into the airframe. Carrying nine passengers with a range of 1,000km, Alice is expected to enter service in 2022.</p> <p>Alice may be a practical alternative for small, regional journeys but not for most scheduled passenger flights, even short-haul ones. So how can electrification help here? Improving battery technology is one option. A new technology known as <a href="https://theconversation.com/lithium-air-a-battery-breakthrough-explained-50027">lithium-air batteries</a> can theoretically reach the same energy density as jet fuel. However, they are still at the laboratory stage. Given the extremely safety conscious nature of the aviation industry, it is unlikely to plan future aircraft on unproven technology.</p> <p>What we are more likely to see for short-haul flights in the next 20 to 30 years is hybrid aircraft that combine current turbofan engines with new electric propulsor systems. This more flexible hybrid system could be optimised to provide the high thrust required for take-off and the energy density needed for a long cruise.</p> <p>This is an area being actively pursued in the <a href="https://www.airbus.com/innovation/future-technology/electric-flight/e-fan-x.html">E-FanX</a> project, which involves Airbus, Rolls-Royce and Siemens teaming up to develop a hybrid-electric propulsion flight demonstrator. Using a BAe 146 aircraft, which usually carries around 100 passengers, they plan to replace one of the aircraft’s four Honeywell turbofan engines with a propulsor fan driven by a two-megawatt electric motor.</p> <p>In the project’s initial phases, the electricity will actually be supplied by a Rolls-Royce AE2100 gas turbine housed in the aircraft’s fuselage (main body). But the E-FanX will still be an important step in the evolution of hybrid electric technology. <a href="https://www.airbus.com/innovation/future-technology/electric-flight.html">Airbus says</a> it wants to make this technology available for 100-seat aircraft by the 2030s.</p> <p>It’s also possible to equip a plane with multiple small electric propulsors in a so-called distributed propulsion system that is more efficient than traditional designs that use two large turbofans. This idea can be taken further by combining the separate fuselage and wings into a single “<a href="https://www.nasa.gov/centers/langley/news/factsheets/FS-2003-11-81-LaRC.html">blended-wing-body</a>”, more efficiently integrating the propulsors with the airframe in a more aerodynamic design. This could reduce the amount of energy the aircraft would need by 20%.</p> <p>But neither of the world’s two main aircraft manufactures, Boeing and Airbus, are actively pursuing blended wing technology. Such a major design shift has too many technical challenges <a href="https://leehamnews.com/2018/04/03/dont-look-for-commercial-bwb-airplane-any-time-soon-says-boeings-future-airplanes-head/">to make it commercially viable</a> right now. For example, most airports wouldn’t be able to accommodate a blended-wing aircraft.</p> <h2>No alternative</h2> <p>Unfortunately, for the type of flights most of us make there is currently no practical alternative to jet-fuelled turbofans. For this reason, the main aircraft engine manufacturers are investing heavily in improving their current engine technology. The International Air Transport Association <a href="http://www.iata.org/policy/environment">estimates that</a> each new generation of aircraft is on average 20% more fuel-efficient than the model it replaces, and that airlines will invest US$1.3 trillion in new planes over the next decade.</p> <p>For example, Rolls-Royce’s most recent engine, the <a href="https://www.rolls-royce.com/products-and-services/civil-aerospace/airlines/trent-xwb.aspx#section-overview">Trent XWB</a> that powers the new <a href="https://www.airbus.com/aircraft/passenger-aircraft/a350xwb-family.html">Airbus A350</a>, is marketed as “the world’s most efficient large aero-engine”. Airbus claims the engine will help the A350 to achieve “25% lower operating costs, fuel burn and CO₂ emissions when compared with previous-generation aircraft”.</p> <p>The next generation of Rolls-Royce engine, the <a href="https://www.rolls-royce.com/products-and-services/civil-aerospace/future-products.aspx#/">UltraFanTM</a>, will offer a further 20% to 25% reduction in fuel consumption and CO₂ emissions and is due to enter into service in 2025.</p> <p>But it’s worth remembering that aviation currently contributes only 2% to 3% of global CO₂ emissions. This compares to about 30% to 35% for the whole transport sector, and another 30% to 35% for electricity generation.</p> <p>The number of air passengers is <a href="https://www.iata.org/pressroom/pr/Pages/2018-10-24-02.aspx">expected to double</a> over the next two decades but so are total emissions so this is unlikely to make aviation a bigger part of the problem. Reducing aviation emissions by 20% per generation of aircraft probably might not a sustainable improvement. But if hybrid aircraft are made a reality then flying really could become even less of a contributor to total emissions than it is today.</p> <p><em>Written by <span>Duncan Walker, Senior Lecturer in Applied Aerodynamics, Loughborough University</span>. Republished with permission of </em><a rel="noopener" href="https://theconversation.com/electric-planes-are-here-but-they-wont-solve-flyings-co-problem-125900" target="_blank"><em>The Conversation</em></a><em>.</em></p> <p><!-- 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: http://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p>

International Travel

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Rome considers extreme measures to protect Trevi Fountain

<p>The Trevi Fountain is considered one of the must-see attractions in Rome, and many tourists flock there yearly to throw a coin into the fountain.</p> <p>Bad behaviour from tourists though may be responsible for a heavy-handed response from Rome’s city council to protect the iconic structure which could ruin the experience for others.</p> <p>In 2019, an American tourist was caught bathing in the fountain, another woman was stopped from carving the fountain with a key and three drunk Australians were caught pouring their drinks into the fountain.</p> <p>The fountain, which was built in 1762, is one of the most popular spots in Rome and is surrounded by tourists following the tradition of tossing three coins over their shoulders into the water.</p> <p>One politician has an idea on how to protect the icon: barriers.</p> <p>"Rome is one of the richest cities for culture in the world, and a heritage like this must be respected and protected," Andrea Coia, president of the business committee of Rome’s city council motion reads.</p> <p>"We need to favour a more respectful kind of tourism in the city's symbolic places."</p> <p>He has suggested that a “protective barrier” that would “prohibit people sitting on the edge of the fountain”.</p> <p>"I put forward the motion because the symbolic places of our city need more control and attention," Coia told<span> </span><em><a rel="noopener" href="https://edition.cnn.com/travel/article/trevi-fountain-barrier-overtourism/index.html" target="_blank">CNN Travel</a></em>, adding that his suggested Trevi Fountain checkpoints would be on the access roads "to safeguard decorum and security."</p> <p>He said that the measures would "safeguard one of the world's most beautiful places and assure a better experience for those who want to enjoy it."</p> <p>Scroll through the gallery to see why the barriers around the fountain might not be such a bad idea.</p>

International Travel

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Prince Charles transition to king underway

<p>The latest royal scandal that has plagued the media has proven one thing – Prince Charles is taking the lead.</p> <p>The royal has been waiting for the throne as heir his entire life, and now at age 71, the Prince of Wales is stepping up as he prepares to eventually take the main stage as King.</p> <p>Former BBC correspondent Peter Hunt says the royal shift is becoming more and more apparent.</p> <p>“(Prince) Andrew’s departure reminds us of the inevitable shift in power from monarch to ‘Shadow King’,” he said.</p> <p>A royal source also confirmed Prince Charles’ accession to the throne has been going for “some time,” and is only just being highlighted by the Prince Andrew saga, as reported by<span> </span><em><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/10430396/prince-charles-andrew-run-the-firm-queen-retire/" target="_blank">The Sun</a>.</em></p> <p>“A transition is plainly already underway. Her majesty is in her nineties and can understandably only do so much,” the source said.</p> <p>“The scandal surrounding Andrew and (Jeffrey) Epstein gave Charles an opportunity to step in to show that he can run The Firm. No-one is bigger than the institution of the royal family. Not even Andrew, the Queen’s favourite son.</p> <p>“Charles recognised that and acted decisively — like the king he may well soon be. This was the moment when Charles stepped up as prince regent, the Shadow King.”</p> <p><img style="width: 500px; height: 281.25px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7832863/prince-charles-2.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/1483b2c3549446e2a996f72c199a0ad3" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><em>Prince Charles kneels before Queen Elizabeth as she crowns him Prince of Wales at the Investiture at Caernarvon Castle on July 1, 1969 in Wales.</em></p> <p>As the Queen is 93-years-old, she is nearing the age her husband Prince Philip was when he retired from his royal duties and took a permanent step back.</p> <p>The Duke of Edinburgh was 95-years-old when he stood down in 2017.</p> <p>However, she hasn’t completely let her son take the reigns just yet and is continuing to carry on with her job.</p> <p>On December 3, Her Majesty will host a reception for NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organisation) leaders and their partners at Buckingham Palace, with US President Donald Trump being one of the guests due to be in attendance.</p> <p>The extravagant affair will mark 70 years of the alliance and will welcome 29 member states from North America and Europe.</p> <p>Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall will formally be there to receive the leaders next to the Queen.</p> <p>“The Queen, the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall, the Duchess of Cambridge, the Earl of Wessex, the Princess Royal, the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester and Princess Alexandra will welcome the guests in the State Rooms of Buckingham Palace,” a statement said.</p>

International Travel

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A world unseen: Why India should be on your travel bucket list

<p><a href="http://www.incredibleindia.org/"><span data-contrast="none">India</span></a><span data-contrast="auto"> is not only a country bursting with rich culture, divine cuisines and an abundance of invigorating experiences</span><span data-contrast="auto"> </span><span data-contrast="auto">–</span><span data-contrast="auto"> </span><span data-contrast="auto">travelling there</span><span data-contrast="auto"> is an opportunity to learn about one of the world’s oldest civilisations and why it is the ultimate bucket list destination. </span><span data-ccp-props="{&quot;201341983&quot;:0,&quot;335559739&quot;:160,&quot;335559740&quot;:259}"> </span></p> <p><span data-contrast="auto">Those looking to fulfil their appetite for a country jampacked with adventure and curiosity will be </span><span data-contrast="auto">thrilled</span><span data-contrast="auto"> to learn about India with its breathtaking landscapes, picturesque monoliths at every turn and historical roots </span><span data-contrast="auto">dating back </span><span data-contrast="auto">to the </span><span data-contrast="auto">1</span><span data-contrast="auto">st</span><span data-contrast="auto"> century.</span><span data-ccp-props="{&quot;201341983&quot;:0,&quot;335559739&quot;:160,&quot;335559740&quot;:259}"> </span></p> <p><span data-contrast="auto">A home to almost 1.3 billion</span><span data-contrast="auto"> people</span><span data-contrast="auto">, India is one of the most ethnically diverse and colourful places </span><span data-contrast="auto">you can imagine</span><span data-contrast="auto">. With a spirituality so enthralling, curious travellers have made it their mission to </span><span data-contrast="auto">visit</span><span data-contrast="auto"> the aged country to learn what makes India an encounter unlike any other. </span><span data-ccp-props="{&quot;201341983&quot;:0,&quot;335559739&quot;:160,&quot;335559740&quot;:259}"> </span></p> <p><span data-contrast="auto">A feature that makes India particularly unique is </span><span data-contrast="auto">the fact that </span><span data-contrast="auto">it is home to one of the </span><span data-contrast="auto">world’s </span><span data-contrast="auto">largest wildlife sanctuaries.</span><span data-contrast="auto"> </span><span data-contrast="auto">The Dampa Tiger reserve spans an area of </span><span data-contrast="auto">more than </span><span data-contrast="auto">500 </span><span data-contrast="auto">square kilometres </span><span data-contrast="auto">and exists as a respite for Bengal tigers on the verge of extinction. Dampa’s project aims to ensure a viable population of the ferocious creatures continues on and gives the </span><span data-contrast="auto">species</span><span data-contrast="auto"> a habitat to exist in peacefully. </span><span data-ccp-props="{&quot;201341983&quot;:0,&quot;335559739&quot;:160,&quot;335559740&quot;:259}"> </span></p> <p><span data-contrast="auto">Whether you fully enwrap yourself in the lifestyle changes that </span><span data-contrast="auto">captivating</span><span data-contrast="auto"> India has to offer</span><span data-contrast="auto"> or simply breeze through the wonderous cities like a true tourist, there is something for everyone to see and </span><span data-contrast="auto">experience</span><span data-contrast="auto">. </span><span data-ccp-props="{&quot;201341983&quot;:0,&quot;335559739&quot;:160,&quot;335559740&quot;:259}"> </span></p> <p><span data-contrast="auto">Here is why India </span><span data-contrast="auto">is your ultimate travel bucket list destination</span><span data-ccp-props="{&quot;201341983&quot;:0,&quot;335559739&quot;:160,&quot;335559740&quot;:259}"> </span></p> <p><strong>The ancient city of Dimapur </strong></p> <p><a href="https://www.incredibleindia.org/content/incredible-india-v2/en/destinations/dimapur.html"><span data-contrast="none">Dimapur</span></a><span data-contrast="auto">, </span><span data-contrast="auto">meaning “the city of the great river”</span><span data-contrast="auto">,</span><span data-contrast="auto"> holds a lush landscape and the promise of a holiday captured by intriguing history, incredible monoliths and a mellow serenity </span><span data-contrast="auto">unlike anything else throughout the</span><span data-contrast="auto"> </span><span data-contrast="auto">tumultuous</span><span data-contrast="auto"> cities of stunning India. </span><span data-ccp-props="{&quot;201341983&quot;:0,&quot;335559739&quot;:160,&quot;335559740&quot;:259}"> </span></p> <p><span data-contrast="auto">While parts of the historic city are bound by bustling centres and </span><span data-contrast="auto">other hallmarks of </span><span data-contrast="auto">modernisation, there is a special solace found in its </span><span data-contrast="auto">n</span><span data-contrast="auto">orth-east region</span><span data-contrast="auto">,</span><span data-contrast="auto"> as it is a place </span><span data-contrast="auto">that </span><span data-contrast="auto">remains thronged by its ancient past and natural wonders. </span><span data-ccp-props="{&quot;201341983&quot;:0,&quot;335559739&quot;:160,&quot;335559740&quot;:259}"> </span></p> <p><span data-contrast="auto">Adventures should take the trek and wander through the untampered tropical jungle known as Triple Falls, located near the village of Chumukedima on the outskirts of Dimapur. Its most enchanting feature is the three glistening streams </span><span data-contrast="auto">that </span><span data-contrast="auto">cascade from a height of </span><span data-contrast="auto">85 metres</span><span data-contrast="auto">.</span><span data-ccp-props="{&quot;201341983&quot;:0,&quot;335559739&quot;:160,&quot;335559740&quot;:259}"> </span></p> <p><span data-contrast="auto">The falls </span><span data-contrast="auto">are renowned as </span><span data-contrast="auto">a tranquil </span><span data-contrast="auto">destination </span><span data-contrast="auto">for its pin</span><span data-contrast="auto">-</span><span data-contrast="auto">drop silence that has remained unchanged centur</span><span data-contrast="auto">y upon century</span><span data-contrast="auto">. </span><span data-ccp-props="{&quot;201341983&quot;:0,&quot;335559739&quot;:160,&quot;335559740&quot;:259}"> </span></p> <p><span data-contrast="auto">Solace seekers hoping to adopt a new sense of enlightenment will find Dimapur to be a captivating city, holding roots to the 13</span><span data-contrast="auto">th</span><span data-contrast="auto"> century AD. </span><span data-contrast="auto">One of the their more well-known attractions include</span><span data-contrast="auto">s</span><span data-contrast="auto"> </span><a href="https://www.incredibleindia.org/content/incredible-india-v2/en/destinations/dimapur/intanki-national-park.html"><span data-contrast="none">Intanki</span><span data-contrast="none"> National Park in Nagaland</span></a><span data-contrast="auto">, an equatorial forest </span><span data-contrast="auto">in which</span><span data-contrast="auto"> travellers may have the opportunity to catch a glimpse of the cit</span><span data-contrast="auto">y’s</span><span data-contrast="auto"> unique feature</span><span data-contrast="auto">:</span><span data-contrast="auto"> </span><span data-contrast="auto">h</span><span data-contrast="auto">oolock gibbons. </span><span data-ccp-props="{&quot;201341983&quot;:0,&quot;335559739&quot;:160,&quot;335559740&quot;:259}"> </span></p> <p><span data-contrast="auto">The mighty little ape is a unique part of </span><span data-contrast="auto">n</span><span data-contrast="auto">ortheast India and can hold a swing at a speed of 55km per hour. It is not the only distinctive creature that w</span><span data-contrast="auto">a</span><span data-contrast="auto">nders through the dense</span><span data-contrast="auto">,</span><span data-contrast="auto"> lush greenery of Intanki, which includes other rare species like the great hornbill, clouded leopard, barking deer, sambar and sloth bear. </span><span data-ccp-props="{&quot;201341983&quot;:0,&quot;335559739&quot;:160,&quot;335559740&quot;:259}"> </span></p> <p><span data-contrast="auto">The entire forest is covered in semi</span><span data-contrast="auto">-</span><span data-contrast="auto">tropical trees, and</span><span data-contrast="auto"> has </span><span data-contrast="auto">a thick, dense </span><span data-contrast="auto">selection</span><span data-contrast="auto"> of greenery and flora including mahogany, bamboo and rattan. </span><span data-ccp-props="{&quot;201341983&quot;:0,&quot;335559739&quot;:160,&quot;335559740&quot;:259}"> </span></p> <p><span data-contrast="auto">The stunning</span><span data-contrast="auto"> site</span><span data-contrast="auto"> was declared a national park in 1993, and in 2005 it went further to be listed as an elephant reserve. </span><span data-ccp-props="{&quot;201341983&quot;:0,&quot;335559739&quot;:160,&quot;335559740&quot;:259}"> </span></p> <p><span data-contrast="auto">Keep in mind, if</span><span data-contrast="auto"> you do travel to the </span><span data-contrast="auto">national park</span><span data-contrast="auto"> to spot its exotic creatures for yourself, remember it’s</span><span data-contrast="auto"> unique wonders </span><span data-contrast="auto">may</span><span data-contrast="auto"> elude you</span><span data-contrast="auto"> </span><span data-contrast="auto">–</span><span data-contrast="auto"> </span><span data-contrast="auto">so</span><span data-contrast="auto"> stay sharp. </span><span data-ccp-props="{&quot;201341983&quot;:0,&quot;335559739&quot;:160,&quot;335559740&quot;:259}"> </span></p> <p><strong>The untouched paradise of Lachung </strong></p> <p><span data-contrast="auto">A Himalayan village nestled perfectly into the </span><span data-contrast="auto">n</span><span data-contrast="auto">ortheast region of India, </span><a href="https://www.incredibleindia.org/content/incredible-india-v2/en/destinations/lachung.html"><span data-contrast="none">Lachung</span></a><span data-contrast="auto"> is the epitome of a secret best kept hidden.</span><span data-ccp-props="{&quot;201341983&quot;:0,&quot;335559739&quot;:160,&quot;335559740&quot;:259}"> </span></p> <p><span data-contrast="auto">At the confluence of the quaint town rests the Lachen Chu rivers and is just one of the </span><span data-contrast="auto">many </span><span data-contrast="auto">glorious experiences available for curious travellers looking to add a spiritually enlightening pitstop to their trip. The rock </span><span data-contrast="auto">that </span><span data-contrast="auto">spills out the mineral water that flows into the river is believed to be blessed by the patron saint of Sikkim, Guru Padmasambhava. Holy devotees will tell any listening ear about the visible imprints of his palm and foot implanted on the </span><span data-contrast="auto">l</span><span data-contrast="auto">iving rock. </span><span data-ccp-props="{&quot;201341983&quot;:0,&quot;335559739&quot;:160,&quot;335559740&quot;:259}"> </span></p> <p><span data-contrast="auto">The rivers are both tributaries of the River Teesta and translates to “small pass”</span><span data-contrast="auto">.</span><span data-ccp-props="{&quot;201341983&quot;:0,&quot;335559739&quot;:160,&quot;335559740&quot;:259}"> </span></p> <p><span data-contrast="auto">Not too far away </span><span data-contrast="auto">is</span><span data-contrast="auto"> a peaceful retreat by the water,</span><span data-contrast="auto"> </span><span data-contrast="auto">the hallowed </span><a href="https://www.incredibleindia.org/content/incredible-india-v2/en/destinations/lachung/lachung-monastery.html"><span data-contrast="none">Lachung Monastery</span></a><span data-contrast="auto"> foun</span><span data-contrast="auto">d at a height of about 2,750m. Forming at the base of the Green Lake trek, the colourful and bright structure has become a symbol of cultural and religious heritage. While it is small in size, it is mighty in its significance to the small town. </span><span data-ccp-props="{&quot;201341983&quot;:0,&quot;335559739&quot;:160,&quot;335559740&quot;:259}"> </span></p> <p><span data-contrast="auto">Nowadays, travellers may be lucky to find stray sightseers or locals touring around the mostly closed monastery, which remains as a small tribute to history for the Himalayan village. </span><span data-ccp-props="{&quot;201341983&quot;:0,&quot;335559739&quot;:160,&quot;335559740&quot;:259}"> </span></p> <p><strong>A city to marvel in, Jorhat </strong></p> <p><span data-contrast="auto">The breathtaking</span><span data-contrast="auto"> artistic</span><span data-contrast="auto"> city of </span><a href="https://www.incredibleindia.org/content/incredible-india-v2/en/destinations/jorhat.html"><span data-contrast="none">Jorhat</span></a><span data-contrast="auto"> </span><span data-contrast="auto">is beloved among veteran travellers for its cultural excellence, numerous tombs and mosques, expansive gardens and most of all, its tea plantations. </span><span data-ccp-props="{&quot;201341983&quot;:0,&quot;335559739&quot;:160,&quot;335559740&quot;:259}"> </span></p> <p><span data-contrast="auto">The tea capital of India attracts </span><span data-contrast="auto">significant visitor numbers </span><span data-contrast="auto">with its natural charm and has </span><span data-contrast="auto">more than </span><span data-contrast="auto">135 tea gardens in the agricultural town. Spread across a profuse green landscape, Jorhat is the major hub for not only tea but a number of experienced craftsmen </span><span data-contrast="auto">whose</span><span data-contrast="auto"> art has taken generations to perfect. The city is not just a major resource for the country, it has become a powerhouse as one of the oldest and most influential centres of commerce and trade in Assam. </span><span data-ccp-props="{&quot;201341983&quot;:0,&quot;335559739&quot;:160,&quot;335559740&quot;:259}"> </span></p> <p><span data-contrast="auto">Built around two major markets, </span><span data-contrast="auto">Chowkihat</span><span data-contrast="auto"> and </span><span data-contrast="auto">Macharhat</span><span data-contrast="auto">, Jorhat was the capital of the Ahom </span><span data-contrast="auto">kingdom</span><span data-contrast="auto"> – a tai</span><span data-contrast="auto">-</span><span data-contrast="auto">speaking province which migrated from China around the 1</span><span data-contrast="auto">st</span><span data-contrast="auto"> century CE. </span><span data-ccp-props="{&quot;201341983&quot;:0,&quot;335559739&quot;:160,&quot;335559740&quot;:259}"> </span></p> <p><span data-contrast="auto">The modern-day district of Jorhat was created in 1983 when it was split from </span><span data-contrast="auto">Sibsagar</span><span data-contrast="auto"> district</span><span data-contrast="auto">. It has since </span><span data-contrast="auto">developed a distinctive mark of its own that has become a beloved fixture of the city almost 40 years later. </span><span data-ccp-props="{&quot;201341983&quot;:0,&quot;335559739&quot;:160,&quot;335559740&quot;:259}"> </span></p> <p><span data-contrast="auto">Just 140km away from Jorhat is the quaint but bustling </span><span data-contrast="auto">city</span><span data-contrast="auto"> of </span><a href="https://www.incredibleindia.org/content/incredible-india-v2/en/destinations/jorhat/dibrugarh.html"><span data-contrast="none">Dibrugarh</span></a><span data-contrast="auto"> that will touch the spiritual and cultural itch of every traveller. Filled with opportunities to explore breathtaking rainforests, </span><span data-contrast="auto">w</span><span data-contrast="auto">ildlife sanctuaries and temples</span><span data-contrast="auto">,</span><span data-contrast="auto"> it</span><span data-contrast="auto">’</span><span data-contrast="auto">s no wonder </span><span data-contrast="auto">adventurers </span><span data-contrast="auto">have flocked to this popular travel destination for decades upon decades. </span><span data-contrast="auto">Renowned as the “Tea City of India”</span><span data-contrast="auto">,</span><span data-contrast="auto"> the major city has become a booming enterprise for its tea, oil and tourism. </span><span data-ccp-props="{&quot;201341983&quot;:0,&quot;335559739&quot;:160,&quot;335559740&quot;:259}"> </span></p> <p><span data-contrast="auto">The city’s most popular temple is the </span><a href="https://www.incredibleindia.org/content/incredible-india-v2/en/destinations/agartala/jagannath-temple.html"><span data-contrast="none">Jagannath Temple</span></a><span data-contrast="auto">, which is a replica of the famous temple of </span><span data-contrast="auto">Jagannath</span><span data-contrast="auto"> in </span><span data-contrast="auto">Puri</span><span data-contrast="auto">. The mesmerising dagoba took over three generations to assemble and interestingly enough is reported to have no shadow at all – at any time of the day from any direction possible. </span><span data-ccp-props="{&quot;201341983&quot;:0,&quot;335559739&quot;:160,&quot;335559740&quot;:259}"> </span></p> <p><span data-contrast="auto">A marvel to behold, the architectural genius has been interpreted by holy devotees and visitors as Lord Jagannath’s message to humanity. </span><span data-ccp-props="{&quot;201341983&quot;:0,&quot;335559739&quot;:160,&quot;335559740&quot;:259}"> </span></p> <p><span data-contrast="auto">Now travelling to </span><a href="http://www.incredibleindia.org/"><span data-contrast="none">India</span></a><span data-contrast="auto"> is a definite no-brainer. Come experience the lush greenery, kindness of locals and immersive culture for yourself. </span><span data-ccp-props="{&quot;201341983&quot;:0,&quot;335559739&quot;:160,&quot;335559740&quot;:259}"> </span></p> <p><em>This article was written in partnership with India Tourism.  </em></p> <p><span data-ccp-props="{&quot;201341983&quot;:0,&quot;335559739&quot;:160,&quot;335559740&quot;:259}"> </span></p>

International Travel

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Andy Murray opens up about UK mass shooting

<p>Tennis legend Andy Murray has opened up about his traumatic past in a new Amazon documentary called<span> </span><em>Andy Murray: Resurfacing</em>.</p> <p>The film documents his long journey back from injury, but also touches on a certain incident in his childhood that has impacted his life.</p> <p>Murray revealed in the documentary that he knew the man who shot 16 children and their teacher dead at his primary school in 1996.</p> <p>The 32-year-old said that the shooting had been “difficult” for him and that tennis was a way he could “escape”.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en-gb"> <p dir="ltr">Excited and proud to announce that for last two years I've been filming my (long) journey back from injury. Andy Murray: Resurfacing hits <a href="https://twitter.com/primevideouk?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@primevideouk</a> on Friday the 29th of November and I look forward to hearing what you all think about the film.<br /><br />😄🎾🎥<a href="https://twitter.com/primevideosport?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@primevideosport</a> <a href="https://t.co/IJe8QZ9YAy">pic.twitter.com/IJe8QZ9YAy</a></p> — Andy Murray (@andy_murray) <a href="https://twitter.com/andy_murray/status/1192442231795453952?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">7 November 2019</a></blockquote> <p>Murray was a student at Dunblane Primary School in Scotland when gunman Thomas Hamilton stormed into the gym, carrying four handguns and 743 rounds of ammunition.</p> <p>Hamilton opened fire and teacher Gwen Mayor and 15 of her kindergarten students were killed instantly. Another child passed away later in hospital.</p> <p>Another 15 were wounded in the massacre, which took just five minutes, before Hamilton turned the gun on himself.</p> <p>Hamilton had been an assistant Boy Scouts leader but asked to leave due to complaints about his behaviour towards some of the boys. He then organised several boys’ clubs, which Murray attended as a child.</p> <p>“You asked me a while ago why tennis was important to me. Obviously, I had the thing that happened at Dunblane when I was around nine,” Murray says in the documentary.</p> <p>“I am sure for all the kids there it would be difficult for different reasons. The fact we knew the guy, we went to his kids club, he had been in our car, we had driven and dropped him off at train stations and things,” he said.</p> <p>“My feeling towards tennis is that it’s an escape for me in some ways. Because all of these things are stuff that I have bottled up,” he revealed.</p> <p>The conversation was much too painful for Murray to have in person, as he left his thoughts in a voicemail for director Olivia Cappuccini instead of a face-to-face interview.</p> <p>Murray is hoping to make a full comeback at the Australian Open next year after undergoing hip resurfacing surgery in January.</p> <p>The injury had threatened to end his career, and Murray was planning to retire after Wimbledon.</p> <p>He told reporters before the release of the documentary that he was working on building up his fitness and hoped soon to be able to endure five-set matches.</p> <p>“I know I’ll be able to compete in major tournaments without having to worry about it,” he said, according to <em><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.news.com.au/sport/sports-life/andy-murray-opens-up-about-uk-mass-murderer-in-new-amazon-documentary/news-story/3d385c20253ba8e4eee10f205239aabe" target="_blank">news.com.au</a></em></p> <p>“I’ve played three-set matches and some long ones recently, but the best of five is an extra hour, hour-and-a-half on top of that so I’ll find out in Australia.”</p>

International Travel

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How to stay in this Japanese hotel room for $1 a night

<p><span>How far would you go to cut costs during your travel? A hotel in Fukuoka, Japan allows guests to stay the night at its room at the bargain price of $1 – but there is a catch.</span></p> <p><span>Visitors to Asahi Ryokan could pay just ¥100 (about $1) per night – but only if they agree to have their entire stay live-streamed.</span></p> <p><span>According to owner Tetsuya Inoue, the feed – which is aired on his YouTube channel One Dollar Hotel – is video-only and does not include bathroom use. Guests are also permitted to turn out the lights during sleep. </span></p> <p><span>“Our hotel is on the cheaper side, so we need some added value, something special that everyone will talk about,” Inoue told <a href="https://edition.cnn.com/travel/article/livestream-hotel-room-japan-intl-hnk/index.html"><em>CNN</em></a>. </span></p> <p><span>“Young people nowadays don’t care much about the privacy … Some of them say it’s OK to be [watched] for just one day.”</span></p> <div class="embed-responsive embed-responsive-16by9"><iframe class="embed-responsive-item" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/k_D6eaNz6fU"></iframe></div> <p><span>Guests at the live-streaming room are requested to follow certain rules and precautions, such as concealing private information like passports and credit card numbers as well as refraining from “lewd acts”.</span></p> <p><span>Only one room out of the 10 in the guesthouse comes with the live-streaming option. When the streaming room is unoccupied, Inoue turns the camera on himself working in the office.</span></p> <p><span>Guests who would rather not have their night broadcasted to the world may book other rooms for ¥3,000. </span></p>

International Travel

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Prince Charles gears up for showdown with Prince Andrew

<p>Prince Charles is reportedly furious with his brother Prince Andrew as the scandals surrounding the Duke of York continue to grow.</p> <p>As the Prince of Wales is flying back to the United Kingdom after his tour of New Zealand and the Solomon Islands, he is reportedly furious about his brother’s disastrous BBC interview.</p> <p>According to insiders, the Prince of Wales is furious that the BBC interview overshadowed his royal tour and is planning to speak to the Duke of York when he returns on Tuesday.</p> <p>This comes after Buckingham Palace confirmed that Prince Andrew would be “standing back” from all his patronages as well as his royal duties.</p> <p>“The Duke has over 230 patronages. He will be stepping back from public duty and temporarily standing back from all his patronages,” a spokeswoman told the PA news agency.</p> <p>However, Prince Andrew will continue to work on his Pitch@Palace program, which is a program designed to help young entrepreneurs. The program was dropped by several Australian universities last week after the interview.</p> <p>“(The Duke) will look at how he takes this forward outside of his public duties, and outside of Buckingham Palace. We recognise there will be a period of time while this transition takes place,” the spokeswoman said.</p> <p>A royal insider told<span> </span><em><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/news/prince-andrew-election-fears-made-charles-call-for-duke-to-be-removed-39xfn0ntn" target="_blank">The Times</a></em><span> </span>that questioning whether or not Prince Andrew was “fit for purpose” on<span> </span><em>IITV<span> </span></em>was the final straw for Prince Charles.</p> <p>The questions were posed to Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn during their first election debate.</p> <p>“Prince Charles and his private secretary were determined that this should not be allowed to drag on and on. The question of the election was critical,” they said.</p> <p>Former BBC correspondent Peter Hunt says that the Queen had no choice but to make her son step down after the scandal.</p> <p>“After her error of judgment when she let Andrew do the interview, the palace are keen to show a decisive Queen,” former BBC correspondent Peter Hunt said on Twitter.</p> <p>“But it’s Charles and his people who are increasingly pulling the strings.”</p>

International Travel

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“Insidious”: Former ASIO boss warns about China’s interference in Australia

<p>Retired ASIO chief Duncan Lewis has reportedly accused the Chinese government of using “insidious” foreign interference operations to “take over” the Australian political system.</p> <p>In the only interview Lewis has given since retiring in September, he has urged Australia’s Chinese community to help security agencies in the same way that Muslim communities have identified threats of terrorist activity.</p> <p>When asked by the<span> </span><em><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/insidious-former-asio-boss-warns-on-chinese-interference-in-australia-20191121-p53cv2.html" target="_blank">Sydney Morning Herald</a></em><span> </span>as to what the Chinese government wanted from Australia, Lewis had a chilling answer.</p> <p>"They are trying to place themselves in a position of advantage," Lewis said.</p> <p>"Espionage and foreign interference is insidious. Its effects might not present for decades and by that time it's too late. You wake up one day and find decisions made in our country that are not in the interests of our country," Lewis explained.</p> <p>"Not only in politics but also in the community or in business. It takes over, basically, pulling the strings from offshore."</p> <p>Lewis was the director-general of security for five years as head of ASIO, the intelligence agency whose primary job to guard Australia against foreign interference.</p> <p>Covert foreign intrusion in the middle of Australian politics is “something we need to be very, very careful about”, he said in the interview.</p> <p>"One spectacular case in NSW was Sam Dastyari. It's quite clear to me that any person in political office is potentially a target. I'm not trying to create paranoia, but there does need to be a level of sensible awareness,” Lewis said.</p> <p>"When people talked about [how to define foreign interference in] our political system, I used to get the comment, 'We will know it if we see it'. But not necessarily. Not if it's being done properly. There would be some I don't know about."</p> <p>Sam Dastyari, former Labor senator, quit Parliament in 2017 after it was revealed he had links to Chinese Communist Party-aligned interests in Australia.</p> <p>Lewis’ remarks come after Liberal MPs Andrew Hastie and Senator James Paterson were denied visas to travel to China after the MPs criticised its human rights record.</p> <p>In an opinion piece published in<span> </span><a href="https://www.theaustralian.com.au/nation/politics/beijing-envoy-wang-xining-attacks-narrow-view-of-china/news-story/6e99b17cf9e117e597e5da369b6cf3d4"><em>The Australian</em></a>, senior Chinese diplomat Wang Xining accused the MPs of having double standards and showing disrespect.</p> <p>"It is cynical that in a country boasting freedom of speech, different views from another nation are constantly and intentionally obliterated," Mr Wang wrote.</p> <p>"Understanding truth succumbs to being politically right. A people said to be audacious and adventurous like kangaroos are scared of stepping out of the comfort zone of ideas and thinking."</p>

International Travel

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121-year-old photo convinces people Greta Thunberg is a time traveller

<p><span>The internet is abuzz with a new conspiracy theory about Greta Thunberg after a 121-year-old photograph made the rounds online.</span></p> <p><span>The black-and-white photo – which was shared recently by researchers at the University of Washington – shows three children working a gold mine in northwest Canada in 1898, with one of them bearing a striking resemblance to the Swedish teen.</span></p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"> <p dir="ltr">Is Greta Thunberg a time traveler sent from 1898? The 1898 photo shows a girl almost identical to Greta extracting water from a well in Canada. <a href="https://t.co/x5UrWXXWl5">pic.twitter.com/x5UrWXXWl5</a></p> — History Tribune (@HistoryTribune) <a href="https://twitter.com/HistoryTribune/status/1197140353796788227?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">November 20, 2019</a></blockquote> <p><span>The picture led many to claim that the young environmental activist is a “time traveller”.</span></p> <p><span>“Greta’s a time traveller, from the future, and she’s here to save us,” one Twitter user wrote.</span></p> <p><span>“How eerie is it that they both wear their hair the same way... A side plait, worn on same side! Time traveller or Greta in a past life? My mind is literally blown,” one posted.</span></p> <p><span>“Maybe she is from the future who was sent back in time to key moments in history to stop climate change,” another commented.</span></p> <p><span>Thunberg, 16, first captured the world’s attention after her 2018 climate strike outside of the Swedish Parliament inspired school walkouts around the globe. This year, she spoke at the UN Climate Action Summit and reprimanded policymakers for their inaction in climate change. </span></p>

International Travel

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The restaurant that sells $270 sandwich

<p><span>It’s a restaurant chain that boasts famous names such as David Beckham and Ed Sheeran as its patrons. </span></p> <p><span>And now Wagyumafia is ready to expand beyond Asia.</span></p> <p><span>The company, which currently has five restaurants spread across Japan and Hong Kong, has made waves around the world with its selection of Kobe beef cuts.</span></p> <p><span>The most famous dish is the 20,000 yen (AU$270) “sando” Chateaubriand sandwich, which consists of Chateaubriand from Tajima cattle coated in panko breadcrumb mix, complemented with lightly toasted milk bread and special tangy steak sauce made with 20-year aged Kamebishi soy sauce from Kagawa and Fuji vinegar from Kyoto. </span></p> <blockquote 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);" class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/B4Ud5p1BqFQ/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="12"> <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> <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;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/B4Ud5p1BqFQ/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank">A post shared by HISATO HAMADA (@wagyumafia)</a> on Nov 1, 2019 at 3:40am PDT</p> </div> </blockquote> <p><span>There is a reason behind the high price. Today, only pure-blood Tajima cattle bred, raised and slaughtered in Japan’s Hyogo prefecture can be called Kobe beef. Just about 4,500 cattle are certified each year.</span></p> <p><span>Wagyumafia co-founder Hisato Hamada said he buys around 100 full Kobe cattle each year for his business.</span></p> <p><span>Those looking for more affordable options may opt for other cuts at different price points.</span></p> <p><span>Meat enthusiasts in other countries could anticipate more stores opening, as more Wagyumafia outposts are coming. Hamada told <a href="https://edition.cnn.com/travel/article/wagyumafia-restaurants-japan/index.html"><em>CNN</em></a> that he is looking to open a Manila branch soon and set up four more restaurants around the world, including in the United States.</span></p>

International Travel

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Our nearest neighbour invites us to explore its sublime wilderness

<p>So close. Worlds away. Discover the incomparable beauty that lies just beyond our shores. The Land of the Long White Cloud, draped in breathtaking landscapes, waits to be discovered; its abundant mountain peaks and fiords seeming almost at odds with the modest size of its twin islands. From its largest city, Auckland, and the subtropical Bay of Islands to the geothermal wonders of Rotorua, the North Island showcases the country’s unique culture and landscapes. Crossing Cook Strait to the South Island, witness the striking Marlborough Sounds, as well as a host of other natural wonders, including Franz Josef glacier, Milford Sound and the World Heritage-listed Aoraki Mt Cook National Park.</p> <p>Its proximity to Australia means New Zealand is ideal for those wanting the benefits of an overseas adventure without the hassle of sitting on a plane for the better part of a day. You’ll enjoy the country’s finest destinations, which are to be found brimming with natural beauty, on an engaging <a href="https://www.aptouring.com.au/trips/newzealand/ncc17?utm_source=over%2060%27s&amp;utm_medium=native&amp;utm_content=20191122_nz2021_over60s_nativearticle_ncc17&amp;utm_campaign=newzealand2020">APT 17-day tour</a>. And with the flexibility to choose experiences that peak your own interests, you’ll reap the benefits of experiencing New Zealand your way, with a wide selection of cultural, culinary, historical and adventurous experiences available.</p> <p><span>Following a relaxing introduction to New Zealand’s largest city, Auckland, you’ll become acquainted with an enthralling local history. The Kauri Museum grants insights into the region’s pioneering days, while at the Waitangi Treaty Grounds, you’ll be brought to the spot where the original treaty was signed between the British and Māori people. A place of great cultural, spiritual and historical significance, Waitangi brings together the diverse stories of the people, events and places that paved the way in creating the New Zealand we have come to know. From here, the vast beauty of the Bay of Islands is revealed as a catamaran delivers you to Cape Brett. Here, an historic lighthouse looks out over the legendary Hole in the Rock. As you chart a course alongside the many islands here, serene views of spectacular rocky outcrops and sandy beaches are to be enjoyed.</span></p> <p><span>Heading south to Rotorua, relish the chance to deepen your understanding of Māori culture as you enjoy a traditional HāngīFeast and performance. The opportunity to visit a few of the sets from the Lord of the Rings movies also presents itself. Afterwards, head to the Wairakei Steam Valley, followed by a visit to the impressive Huka Falls, which is sustained by the gushing waters of the Waikato River. At the midpoint between Auckland and Wellington, the World Heritage-listed Tongariro National Park reveals its vast volcanic landscape. Renowned for being <a href="https://www.aptouring.com.au/destinations/new-zealand?utm_source=over%2060%27s&amp;utm_medium=native&amp;utm_content=20191122_nz2021_over60s_nativearticle%20&amp;utm_campaign=newzealand2020">New Zealand’s</a> oldest national park, it features three active volcanoes: Mount Ruapehu, Mount Ngauruhoe and Mount Tongariro. Arriving in Wellington, the capital’s myriad sights are yours to discover, with ample time allocated for you to explore at your own pace.</span></p> <p><span>Turn your attention now to the South Island, as the Interislander ferry takes you across Cook Strait. Along the way, take in stunning views of Marlborough and Queen Charlotte Sounds, with sharply rising hills lining the water’s edge on either side. Back on land, head south from the coastal town of Picton, before making a stop in the charming fishing town of Kaikoura. A short drive along the coast brings you to Christchurch in time to board the TranzAlpine train for one of the great rail adventures. Crossing the Canterbury Plains, striking views of the Southern Alps are afforded as you make your way to Arthur’s Pass National Park. In the small coastal town of Hokitika, witness the locally sourced stone, pounamu, carved into jewellery. Also known as New Zealand jade, the stone is only found on the South Island of New Zealand. The striking topography of Franz Josef then becomes evident for all to see. Surrounded by lush rainforest and snow-capped mountains, as well as the glacier that shares it name, the region is blessed with an abundance of flora and fauna, while close by, one of the rarest species of New Zealand’s native kiwi can be found. Retiring to your distinctive forest retreat, enjoy the feeling of inhabiting the treetops in this unique environment, before waking to the soothing sound of birdsongs.</span></p> <p><span><a href="https://www.aptouring.com.au/destinations/new-zealand?utm_source=over%2060%27s&amp;utm_medium=native&amp;utm_content=20191122_nz2021_over60s_nativearticle%20&amp;utm_campaign=newzealand2020">New Zealand’s</a> adventure capital, Queenstown, awaits. Here, a range of activities include a scenic gondola ride, a cruise aboard a vintage steamship, and a river safari. From Queenstown, a short journey by road brings you to the otherworldly Milford Sound. With its series of cliffs rising majestically from the water to tower above you, a discernible contrast between the landscapes of our respective nations becomes clear. As your vessel steers a course across the tranquil waters of this majestic fiord, you’ll get up close to several of the surrounding cliffs, including the epic Mitre Peak. In the evening, local authentic flavours will tantalise your palate during a special Taste of Fiordland dinner.</span></p> <p>Further north, arrive at Aoraki Mt Cook National Park and witness the lofty peak of New Zealand’s highest mountain. The Sir Edmund Hillary Alpine Centre then shines a light on the region’s place within the wider universe – the jump across the Tasman has never seemed shorter.</p> <p>Moving further inland, Lake Tekapo turns on the charms with its Church of the Good Shepherd, built of stone and oak. Delightful rural scenes further paint the landscape on the drive back to Christchurch.</p> <p>Your visit to our cousins across the water concludes in Christchurch; our countries’ cultural, historic and geographical distinctions making for a captivating experience, while their relative nearness to one another proves especially convenient.</p> <p>New Zealand’s incomparable beauty is abundant and waiting to be explored. <a href="https://www.aptouring.com.au/destinations/new-zealand?utm_source=over%2060%27s&amp;utm_medium=native&amp;utm_content=20191122_nz2021_over60s_nativearticle%20&amp;utm_campaign=newzealand2020">Learn more here</a>.</p> <p><em>This is sponsored content brought to you in conjunction with <a href="https://www.aptouring.com.au/destinations/new-zealand?utm_source=over%2060%27s&amp;utm_medium=native&amp;utm_content=20191122_nz2021_over60s_nativearticle%20&amp;utm_campaign=newzealand2020">APT Luxury Travel</a>.</em></p>

International Travel