Retirement Life

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Scary red or icky green? We can’t say what colour coronavirus is and dressing it up might feed fears

<p>Images of the latest coronavirus have become instantly recognisable, often vibrantly coloured and floating in an opaque background. In most representations, the shape of the virus is the same – a spherical particle with spikes, resembling an alien invader.</p> <p>But there’s little consensus about the colour: images of the virus come in red, orange, blue, yellow, steely or soft green, white with red spikes, red with blue spikes and many colours in between.</p> <p>In their depictions of the virus, designers, illustrators and communicators are making some highly creative and evocative decisions.</p> <p><strong>Colour, light and fear</strong></p> <p>For some, the lack of consensus about the appearance of viruses confirms fears and <a href="https://www.cjc-online.ca/index.php/journal/article/view/2738/2481">increases anxiety</a>. On March 8 2020, the director-general of the World Health Organisation <a href="https://www.who.int/dg/speeches/detail/director-general-s-remarks-at-the-media-briefing-on-2019-novel-coronavirus---8-february-2020">warned</a> of the “infodemic” of misinformation about the coronavirus, urging communicators to use “facts not fear” to battle the flood of rumours and myths.</p> <p>The confusion about the colour of coronavirus starts with the failure to understand the nature of colour in the sub-microscopic world.</p> <p>Our <a href="https://www.pantone.com/color-intelligence/articles/technical/how-do-we-see-color">perception of colour</a> is dependent on the presence of light. White light from the sun is a combination of all the wavelengths of visible light – from violet at one end of the spectrum to red at the other.</p> <p>When white light hits an object, we see its colour thanks to the light that is reflected by that object towards our eyes. Raspberries and rubies appear red because they absorb most light but reflect the red wavelength.</p> <p>But as objects become smaller, light is no longer an effective tool for seeing. Viruses are so small that, until the 1930s, one of their scientifically recognised properties was their <a href="https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10739-018-9530-2">invisibility</a>. Looking for them with a microscope using light is like trying to find an ant in a football stadium at night using a large searchlight: the scale difference between object and tool is too great.</p> <p>It wasn’t until the development of the electron microscope in the 1930s that researchers could “see” a virus. By using electrons, which are vastly smaller than light particles, it became possible to identify the shapes, structures and textures of viruses. But as no light is involved in this form of seeing, there is no colour. Images of viruses reveal a monochrome world of grey. Like electrons, atoms and quarks, viruses exist in a realm where colour has no meaning.</p> <p><strong>Vivid imagery</strong></p> <p>Grey images of unfamiliar blobs don’t make for persuasive or emotive media content.</p> <p>Research into the representation of the Ebola virus outbreak in 1995 <a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0392192107087919">revealed</a> the image of choice was not the worm-like virus but teams of Western medical experts working in African villages in hermetically sealed suits. The early visual representation of the AIDS virus focused on the emaciated bodies of those with the resulting disease, often younger men.</p> <p>With symptoms similar to the common cold and initial death rates highest amongst the elderly, the coronavirus pandemic provides no such dramatic visual material. To fill this void, the vivid range of colourful images of the coronavirus have strong appeal.</p> <p>Many images come from stock photo suppliers, typically photorealistic artists’ impressions rather than images from electron microscopes.</p> <p>The Public Health Library of the US government’s Centre for Disease Control (CDC) provides one such illustration, created to reveal the morphology of the coronavirus. It’s an off-white sphere with yellow protein particles attached and red spikes emerging from the surface, creating the distinctive “corona” or crown. All of these colour choices are creative decisions.</p> <p>Biologist David Goodsell takes artistic interpretation a step further, using watercolour <a href="https://pdb101.rcsb.org/sci-art/goodsell-gallery/coronavirus">painting</a> to depict viruses at the cellular level.</p> <p>One of the complicating challenges for virus visualisation is the emergence of so-called “colour” images from electron microscopes. Using a methodology that was originally described as “<a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2451945616303579">painting</a>,” scientists are able to add colour to structures in the grey-scale world of imaging to help distinguish the details of cellular micro-architecture. Yet even here, the choice of colour is arbitrary, as shown in a number of coloured images of the coronavirus made available on Flickr by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID). In these, the virus has been variously coloured yellow, orange, magenta and blue.</p> <p><strong>Embracing grey</strong></p> <p>Whilst these images look aesthetically striking, the arbitrary nature of their colouring does little to solve WHO’s concerns about the insecurity that comes with unclear facts about viruses and disease.</p> <p>One solution would be to embrace the colourless sub-microscopic world that viruses inhabit and accept their greyness.</p> <p>This has some distinct advantages: firstly, it fits the science that colour can’t be attributed where light doesn’t reach. Secondly, it renders images of the virus less threatening: without their red spikes or green bodies they seem less like hostile invaders from a science fiction fantasy. And the idea of greyness also fits the scientific notion that viruses are suspended somewhere between the <a href="https://theconversation.com/are-viruses-alive-giant-discovery-suggests-theyre-more-like-zombies-75661">dead and the living</a>.</p> <p>Stripping the coronavirus of the distracting vibrancy of vivid colour – and seeing it consistently as an inert grey particle – could help reduce community fear and better allow us to continue the enormous collective task of managing its biological and social impact.</p> <p><em>Written by Simon Weaving. Republished with permission of <a href="https://theconversation.com/scary-red-or-icky-green-we-cant-say-what-colour-coronavirus-is-and-dressing-it-up-might-feed-fears-134380">The Conversation. </a></em></p> <p><em> </em></p>

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Royal sign off: Harry and Meghan's last message EVER to social media accounts

<p>Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have posted their last message to royal fans on their social media accounts before they officially leave The Firm to pursue new heights in the career without their HRH titles.</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/B9b43tdnzgC/?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/B9b43tdnzgC/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank">A post shared by Meghan Markle 🔵 (@meghanmarkle_official)</a> on Mar 7, 2020 at 6:27am PST</p> </div> </blockquote> <p>The couple shocked the world, including their grandmother The Queen and the royal family, when they hastily announced their intention to depart from their role as senior royals and instead seek an “independent” income.</p> <p>A deal was then brokered by Her 93-year-old Majesty and Prince Harry where they both decided the pair would go their own way beginning from April.</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/B9C0fs0HsZI/?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/B9C0fs0HsZI/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank">A post shared by Meghan Markle 🔵 (@meghanmarkle_official)</a> on Feb 26, 2020 at 12:48pm PST</p> </div> </blockquote> <p>“While you may not see us here, the work continues,” the couple wrote in their last ever message to their Sussex Royal Instagram page.</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/B-XTsETJsU0/?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/B-XTsETJsU0/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank">A post shared by The Duke and Duchess of Sussex (@sussexroyal)</a> on Mar 30, 2020 at 9:17am PDT</p> </div> </blockquote> <p>“Thank you to this community, for the support, the inspiration and the shared commitment to the good in the world. We look forward to reconnecting with you soon. You've been great.</p> <p>“Until then, please take good care of yourselves, and of one another.”</p>

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Buckingham Palace furiously denies Prince Philip death rumours

<p>Buckingham Palace has been forced to furiously deny claims regarding the whereabouts of Prince Philip.</p> <p>Since stepping out the limelight, the 98-year-old royal has often been targeted by cruel fake rumours, including one that came out this week that Prince Philip had fallen victim to the coronavirus and died.</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/B97DLwtnesa/?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/B97DLwtnesa/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank">A post shared by TheRoyalist (@_britishroyals_)</a> on Mar 19, 2020 at 9:54am PDT</p> </div> </blockquote> <p>However, Buckingham Palace insiders have found the claim laughable, and told the<span> </span>Express<span> </span>that the royal is “absolutely fine”.</p> <p>“Sources close to Buckingham Palace tells me he’s absolutely fine,” Gareth Davies, editor of the UK’s<span> </span>Telegraph<span> </span>told the publication.</p> <p>“I don't know what would possess someone to start a lie like that, but stop. It's weird and incites panic. We don't need that right now,” Gareth also wrote on Twitter.</p> <p>Sources also seemed to confirm the same news as Gareth to ET Canada, that Prince Philip is alive and well.</p> <p>According to reports, the hoax news story was created on messaging application, WhatsApp, where it was shared around that the royal had died before it was shared to Twitter and spread like wildfire.</p> <p>However, it appears the Queen or her royal staff have taken no notice of the vicious cycle of rumours, as she carried out a private reception at Buckingham Palace with Commanding Officer of the HMS Queen Elizabeth, Commodore Steve Moorhouse, on Wednesday evening.</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/B94ecUxndDU/?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/B94ecUxndDU/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank">A post shared by Cam Brunner (@brunnercam)</a> on Mar 18, 2020 at 9:54am PDT</p> </div> </blockquote> <p>Since the Duke of Edinburgh retired in 2013, the royal has kept a low profile. Although sometimes, royal watchers are able to catch a photo of him keeping active and have even seen him carriage riding his beloved horse on the grounds of Windsor Castle a number of times.</p> <p>At the beginning of 2019, Prince Philip underwent a shocking car crash which he surprisingly came out of with little to no injuries.</p> <p>The royal was also hospitalised over Christmas break and photographed leaving a medical facility.</p>

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Why are older people more at risk of coronavirus?

<p>As we learn more about COVID-19, it’s increasingly clear that your risk of severe illness and death increases with age.</p> <p>Children under nine years of age seem to be <a href="https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/coronavirus-age-sex-demographics/">largely unaffected</a>, either with no or mild symptoms. None have died as a result of the infection.</p> <p>People over the age of 80 years and those with chronic diseases are the most vulnerable. For those over 80, approximately 15% of those infected will die.</p> <p>The <a href="https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/coronavirus-age-sex-demographics/">death rate</a> starts to increase for those over 50 years of age. Those under 50 years who are infected have a death rate of 0.2-0.4%, while for those 50-59 years it’s 1.3%.</p> <p>For those 60-69 years it’s 3.6%, for 70 to 79 year olds it’s 8.0% and for those over 80 years of age it is 14.8%.</p> <p>A <a href="https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/coronavirus-age-sex-demographics/">similar picture is emerging</a> when looking at the increased risk of severe illness and death of those with underlying conditions.</p> <p>The death rate for those with no underlying chronic conditions is approximately 1%.</p> <p>For those with cardiovascular (heart) disease the death rate is 10.5%, for diabetes it’s 7.3%. Chronic respiratory disease (such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) has a 6.3% death rate, for hypertension (high blood presure) it’s 6.0% and cancer is 5.6%.</p> <p><strong>Why are older people at greater risk?</strong></p> <p>The likelihood of having chronic conditions increases markedly as you age. <a href="https://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/Lookup/by%20Subject/4364.0.55.001~2017-18~Main%20Features~Chronic%20conditions~25">Four in five Australians aged 65 years and over</a> have at least one chronic condition.</p> <p>But the presence of chronic conditions only partially explains the high death rate in older people.</p> <p>As we age, our immune system weakens. This makes us more vulnerable to infections of all types. And any sort of challenge to the body can do more damage.</p> <p>When the immune system gears up in older people, there is also a higher likelihood of a phenomenon called a <a href="https://www.vox.com/2020/3/12/21173783/coronavirus-death-age-covid-19-elderly-seniors">cytokine storm</a>. This is where the immune system overreacts and produces too many of the chemicals to fight an infection.</p> <p>So you get a severe inflammatory reaction which has the potential to cause significant damage in the body, including organ failure.</p> <p><strong>What about specific chronic diseases?</strong></p> <p>The biggest risk factor for dying of coronavirus is cardiovascular (heart) disease, with a death rate of 10.5%. But we <a href="https://www1.racgp.org.au/newsgp/clinical/examining-factors-that-worsen-coronavirus-severity">don’t yet know why</a>.</p> <p>This doesn’t mean that infection necessarily causes a heart attack, just that people with underlying heart problems are more likely to become seriously ill and die from complications of coronavirus.</p> <p>The increased risk of severe disease for those with diabetes, such as actor Tom Hanks, may be easier to understand. Diabetes depresses immune function and makes it harder to fight off viral infections.</p> <p>Elevated glucose (blood sugar) levels in people with diabetes <a href="https://www.health.com/condition/infectious-diseases/coronavirus/tom-hanks-covid-19-diabetes">may also provide</a> a more ideal environment for viruses to thrive.</p> <p>The increased risk of severe disease from COVID-19 in people with chronic respiratory illness such as asthma and lung disease (known as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD) is perhaps the <a href="https://time.com/5802423/coronvirus-asthma-high-risk/">clearest</a>, especially if your illness is not well controlled.</p> <p>Respiratory conditions – such as uncontrolled asthma, which causes causes inflammation of the airways – are likely to be exacerbated by infection with COVID-19, which also targets the airways.</p> <p><strong>How can you reduce your risk?</strong></p> <p>If you fall into a vulnerable group, or have close contact with someone who does, be vigilant with hygiene. The <a href="https://www.health.gov.au/sites/default/files/documents/2020/03/coronavirus-covid-19-information-on-social-distancing.pdf">government reccomends</a>:</p> <ul> <li>sanitising your hands wherever possible, including entering and leaving buildings</li> <li>using “tap and pay” to make purchases rather than handling money</li> <li>travelling at quiet times and trying to avoid crowds</li> <li>asking public transport workers and taxi drivers to open vehicle windows where possible</li> <li>regularly cleaning and disinfecting surfaces that are touched a lot.</li> </ul> <p>You may even want to limit your public transport use and non-essential travel to reduce your chance of coming into contact with the virus.</p> <p>It’s also reasonable to ask family or friends not to visit you when they’re ill.</p> <p>Even if you’re young and healthy and not feeling particularly at risk of coronavirus, remember you play an important role in stopping the spread of the virus to those more vulnerable.</p> <p><strong>What can governments do?</strong></p> <p>Some government are implementing additional measures to reduce the risk of older people becoming infected.</p> <p>In the United Kingdom, the government <a href="https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-51895873">has indicated</a> that in the coming weeks people aged over 70 could be asked to self-isolate, or reduce their social contact, for <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/mar/15/coronavirus-uk-over-70s-to-be-asked-to-self-isolate-within-weeks-hancock-says">up to four months</a>.</p> <p>The UK government has <a href="https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-on-social-distancing-and-for-vulnerable-people/guidance-on-social-distancing-for-everyone-in-the-uk-and-protecting-older-people-and-vulnerable-adults">also asked</a> that no one visits aged care facilities unnecessarily, and that people visiting elderly relatives for essential reasons keep their distance.</p> <p>In the United States, president Donald Trump has <a href="https://time.com/5804402/white-house-coronavirus-guidelines/">urged older Americans to stay home</a> for the next 15 days.</p> <p>In Australia, the government <a href="https://www.health.gov.au/news/health-alerts/novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov-health-alert/coronavirus-covid-19-advice-for-public-gatherings-and-visits-to-vulnerable-groups#limits-on-visits-to-vulnerable-groups">has recommended</a> limiting visits to residential care facilities and is likely to announce new measures <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-03-17/coronavirus-health-advice-mass-gatherings-stimulus/12062224">tomorrow</a>.</p> <p>For now, asking older people in the community to take precautionary measures appears to be sensible advice, rather than imposing rules around self-isolation which come with logistical and social consequences.</p> <p><em>Written by Hassan Vally. Republished with permission of <a href="https://theconversation.com/why-are-older-people-more-at-risk-of-coronavirus-133770">The Conversation.</a></em></p>

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A simpler life begins at home – key tips from people who’ve done it

<p>Voluntary simplicity focuses on doing more with less. People who choose this way of life seek other riches, like personal fulfilment, free time, community and environmental benefits. They see limiting their consumption as a way to improve their quality of life and flourish.</p> <p>We wanted to learn about people who choose this path. What lessons do they have to share? In particular, how can housing be designed to support simplicity?</p> <p>We talked in depth to 14 householders and 25 housing industry professionals. As well as the householders, 11 of the professionals had made housing changes to simplify their own lives. Our conversations focused on life stories and beliefs, thoughts on voluntary simplicity, and ways to overcome the challenges they faced.</p> <p>Our <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/02673037.2020.1720614">recently published research</a> shows it is possible, with a bit of work and planning, to live a simple <em>and</em> fulfilling life. We focused on housing, because housing choices are at the heart of such a life. Our social connections, incomes, transport needs and energy and water usage all link to where and <em>how</em> we live.</p> <p>Despite <a href="https://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs%40.nsf/mediareleasesbyCatalogue/6496B4739650C270CA2581F3000E3B4D?OpenDocument">continuing increases</a>, house and land prices are lower in Tasmania than on mainland Australia, but so are incomes. Just as elsewhere, housing practices here can lock householders into complicated consumption practices with negative consequences for society and the environment. Needing to work more to pay off bigger mortgages is one aspect of this.</p> <p><strong>Compromises are inevitable</strong></p> <p>Some participants wanted housing that encompassed environmental best practice and closeness to nature. Some wanted to connect with like-minded people. Some wanted smaller or no mortgages.</p> <p>But “you can’t have it all”, we were told. Compromises are inherent in striving for voluntary simplicity in housing.</p> <p>For example, you might want an off-grid eco-haven, but that’s unlikely in the inner city. You might need public transport, but that could rule out retrofitting a bush block home.</p> <p>The ethically sourced building materials you select from interstate or overseas might involve supply chains using multiple transport modes and all the fossil fuel these use. Locally sourced materials might not meet your ethical standards. And are you happy to buy your solar panels using credit from a Big Four bank that invests in fossil fuels?</p> <p>So, know your deal-breakers and accept that you cannot be “a model of simplicity” in every way all the time. “Do what you can for the context you’re in.”</p> <p>A resounding piece of advice from the professionals was “smaller is better”.</p> <p><strong>Do your homework</strong></p> <p>To find palatable compromises you must do your homework. For example, many people wanted to save money or have meaningful experiences of creating house and home.</p> <p>That level of engagement takes a lot of work, which surprised several participants. It requires project-management skills and familiarity with regulations <em>beforehand</em>.</p> <p>You might need specialist professionals on board from the start. A building designer told us:</p> <p><em>You’re doing something different from the norm, so your standard industry professional might not be experienced with the regulations for composting toilets, on-site greywater systems, or even smaller-than-average houses.</em></p> <p>Situations might change mid-project. Participants emphasised how important it is to be prepared for regulatory reforms, technological change and unexpected costs. Communication is crucial – with family, professionals and tradespeople, councils and suppliers.</p> <p>One owner-builder told us:</p> <p><em>It’s like a little treasure hunt. Ask lots of questions but gather them all together because professionals charge per hour or part thereof. Find people who have experience with a similar build or project. We asked friends for basic info, then asked the experts once we had some background.</em></p> <p>Options and requirements might not be obvious. Finding professionals with similar values who have a talent for project administration, regulations and time management can be hugely helpful. Another building designer told us:</p> <p><em>It’s becoming increasingly hard to build a home without professional help. If you don’t know the order in which to do things, and how one influences the other, it can become very stressful and costly and time-consuming.</em></p> <p>Confidence and patience are useful attributes. Another owner-builder said:</p> <p><em>You’ll be talking with people who know their stuff (or think they do) and are used to working with other professionals. It’s hard to call someone about a product not knowing what you’re talking about, but do it anyway and don’t be scared. At the end of the day, we were responsible for every aspect of our place, so why not take control? It gets easier once you start doing it.</em></p> <p><strong>Be patient and know your limitations</strong></p> <p>Since everything seems to “take so much longer than planned”, remember you are there for the long haul.</p> <p>If you want to move faster, you often have to pay experts for the privilege. As one owner-builder said: “We could have gotten away without the loan if time weren’t a factor.”</p> <p>The more you do yourself as a non-expert the more you learn. But even if you are careful, you might make mistakes that cost time and money. So “be guided by your emotions and values but don’t let them get the best of you”.</p> <p><strong>The project of a lifetime</strong></p> <p>The voluntary simplicity housing journey also affects professionals. One building designer told us:</p> <p><em>I hope to see myself as an interpreter of what people want. It might be the project of a lifetime for someone who has spent their life savings on it, so I feel a responsibility to provide some sort of pastoral care. For owner-builders, the house becomes a part of the family in some ways.</em></p> <p>That means being friendly, patient, communicative and paying attention to how clients experience the whole system from planning regulations to the philosophies of sustainability.</p> <p>In practice, simple living is a huge journey. But with thought, planning and hard work, it can be extremely satisfying and rewarding.</p> <p>Committing to voluntary simplicity in housing (or anything else) is never a complete response. But, as part of a suite of positive responses to contemporary challenges, from climate change to community cohesion, it’s worth working for as individuals and as professionals.</p> <p><em>Written by Marisa McArthur and Elaine Stratford. Republished with permission of <a href="https://theconversation.com/a-simpler-life-begins-at-home-key-tips-from-people-whove-done-it-132081">The Conversation.</a> </em></p> <p><em> </em></p> <p> </p>

Retirement Life

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Thousands of Seniors have made the discovery!

<p>While millions of people have a Seniors Discount card or the Senior Savers Card, it can be confusing and overwhelming to figure out just how many perks and savings we can be getting.</p> <p>All over Australia and New Zealand, thousands of businesses offer serious savings for those who hold a senior discount card, but do you know just HOW many companies there are that want you to get more bang for your buck?</p> <p>From big brands and national retailers to local businesses and smaller vendors, there are over 36,000 discounts throughout Australia and New Zealand that seniors have the opportunity to tap into quickly and easily.</p> <p>The key to getting all that you possibly can with your discount card is by using the <a href="https://www.seniorsdiscounts.com.au/download">Senior Cards Discounts App</a> – an application that allows older Australians and New Zealanders to tap into perks and savings across the two nations.</p> <p>Already the app has helped thousands of seniors find all of the different place where they can use their discount card.</p> <p><img style="width: 0px; height: 0px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7835168/senior-discount-card-app-1.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/30b35f2ff3e34c289f0f00cc77812738" /></p> <p>Whether you are wanting to save on changing a tyre or scrape a few dollars off of your morning coffee, the <a href="https://www.seniorsdiscounts.com.au/download">Senior Cards Discounts App</a> shows you the helpful savings across both everyday items and special purchases.</p> <p>The new free smartphone app is not just a gamechanger in your local community – it lets users get great deals and discounts wherever they go.  </p> <p>Along with a number of helpful services and products you can save on, there are also gorgeous and adventurous attractions you can get for a reduced price – so your retirement fund can be stretched out just that little bit further.</p> <p><img style="width: 500px; height: 281.25px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7835163/senior-discount-card-app-2.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/77f0476694ae4d1184631673a4bb736c" /></p> <p>Founder Lane Prowd created the <a href="https://www.seniorsdiscounts.com.au/download">Senior Cards Discounts App</a> when he realised just how little his friends and family knew about their discount card.</p> <p>“They didn’t want to always be referring to a big book, nor did they want to be constantly asking in shops and being told no,” he explained.</p> <p>“So the app really started out as a way they could have access to all those discounts right from their smartphone.</p> <p>“I wanted to make it easier for people to find the discounts all around them.”</p> <p>The <a href="https://www.seniorsdiscounts.com.au/download">Senior Cards Discounts App</a> has proven to be a helpful tool for Seniors  who believe the new application has created a way for them to take advantage of all the incredible savings around them.</p> <p>Melbourne-based Sandra Gould says since finding the app, discounts she was not aware of have become accessible to her.</p> <p>“I’ve used it in cafés, restaurants, and in some of my favourite retail shops that I never even thought about for receiving a discount,” Ms Gould said. “I even discovered my hairdresser offers Seniors Discounts!”</p> <p>She added: “It’s quite amazing the huge variety of businesses and discount offers that are out there rewarding us seniors.”</p> <p>Take advantage of your opportunity to live a lifestyle you deserve, for a reduced cost that you have earned.</p> <p><img style="width: 500px; height: 281.2142038946163px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7835182/senior-discount-card-app-3-1.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/4a8e57668d494f148256ea2d583e8f45" /></p> <p><em>Download the <a href="https://www.seniorsdiscounts.com.au/download">Senior Cards Discounts App</a> here.</em></p>

Retirement Life

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Dining with Dolly Parton: Sir Billy Connolly shares his bucket list

<p>Sir Billy Connolly has revealed the people he would like to have at his dream dinner party.</p> <p>In a recent interview with <em><a href="https://www.sundaypost.com/fp/dining-with-dolly-parton-sir-billy-connolly-reveals-his-fantasy-dinner-party-guests/">The Sunday Post</a></em>, the Scottish comedian said his fantasy guest list, featuring both alive and deceased figures, includes country musician Dolly Parton.</p> <p>“I had a brilliant experience seeing Dolly in Glasgow, being swept along with thousands in the crowd and no one recognised me,” he said.</p> <p>“No one could see me until a little girl shouted: ‘Look! Its Billy Connolly!’ She came and gave me a big cuddle. She was wonderful. I met her again in a shop and she did the same thing.”</p> <p>Another singer he would like to invite is Bob Dylan, who created his favourite album <em>Blonde On Blonde</em>.</p> <p>Other famous figures in Connolly’s wish list are authors Charles Dickens and Iris Murdoch as well as artists John Byrne and David Hockney.</p> <p>Byrne, who is an old friend of the Big Yin, paid tribute to the comedian with <a href="https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-scotland-39947883">a portrait in the 1970s and another in 2017</a>.</p> <p>The 77-year-old went public with his Parkinson’s diagnosis in 2013 and <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/news/news/billy-connolly-quits-stand-up-comedy-amid-parkinson-s-diagnosis">retired five years later</a>. He is now working as an artist.</p>

Retirement Life

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Central Coast's changing face attracts Sydney downsizers - would you retire here?

<p><strong>In Australia, NSW's Central Coast region’s natural beauty, improved transport access and shift to high-quality new housing are helping to attract downsizers from Sydney.</strong></p> <p>Downsizing.com.au spoke to a local agent to understand more about the region’s growing appeal.</p> <p><strong>Attractive lifestyle and transport access</strong></p> <p>Michelle Tucker, a Central Coast-based McGrath agent, says there are several drivers enticing downsizers to ‘The Coast’ (as locals prefer to call the region).</p> <p>Ms Tucker said the picturesque Brisbane Waters and the region’s magnificent beaches are key attractors. “The lifestyle of the Central Coast has always been an attractive proposition for downsizers,” Ms Tucker said. </p> <p>Ms Tucker also says transport access is also about to improve, with the <a href="https://northconnex.com.au/">North Connex roadway project</a> close to completion. This project is expected to make the trip from the Central Coast to the centre of Sydney some 30 minutes faster. </p> <p>“Downsizers want to stay connected to the city’s amenities, and this is particularly so for those originating from Sydney,” Ms Tucker explains. </p> <p>“They want everything at their fingertips. They still want to go to shows in Sydney and meet their friend for lunch. They don’t want to give up their Sydney lifestyle.”</p> <p>In addition, Central Coast residents have the choice of two major airports, Sydney’s Kingsford Smith and Newcastle Airport at Williamtown. It is also possible to take a train from Gosford to Central Station in 70 minutes.  </p> <p><strong>Relative value for money</strong></p> <p>Ms Tucker says the downsizer market on the Central Coast is split between locals and those moving from Sydney. </p> <p>“We recently sold a beautifully appointed penthouse with sweeping views of Brisbane Waters to downsizers from Killara, a northern Sydney suburb, for $1.6 million,” she says.  </p> <p>“To find an apartment like this on the North Shore with sweeping water views of say Middle Harbour or Sydney Harbour, you could expect to double and even triple the price.</p> <p>“Not only has this couple bought into a fantastic lifestyle but downsizing to the Central Coast leaves money in the bank.”</p> <p>However, Ms Tucker said that the Central Coast hasn’t always offered the housing product matching the region’s lifestyle delights. </p> <p>“It’s only in the last few years we’ve seen an increase in brand new luxury apartments come onto the market,” she said.</p> <p><strong>Changing face of Gosford</strong></p> <p>With more residential towers in various stages of development in Gosford and Point Frederick, the local restaurant, café and bar scene is improving with a bullet.</p> <p>“You come out of your apartment, and you’re on the waterfront, go to a restaurant or café in town. Gosford is starting to happen, and there are places to go,” Ms Tucker says.</p> <p>In addition, both of the region's major hospitals are <a href="http://www.gwhr.health.nsw.gov.au/">currently undergoing a major redevelopment.</a> </p> <p><strong>Properties on the Central Coast</strong></p> <p>Ms Tucker is currently marketing the luxury <a href="https://www.downsizing.com.au/property/sale/47280/ravello-luxury-apartments">Ravello</a> residential apartment project, being developed by veteran media industry figure John Singleton at Point Frederick.</p> <p>Located on the former site of the iconic Monti’s Ashore fish and chip shop, Ravello includes 40 apartments and has largely uninterrupted views over Brisbane Water.</p> <p>The project will be completed in 2021 and includes one, two and three-bedroom apartments, and three penthouses. </p> <p>There is only a limited number of one-bedroom apartments available from $460,000, while two-bedroom apartments begin at $830,000. </p> <p>“Central Coast downsizers love large apartments with big terraces as they still want space for the Christmas lunch and in this respect, developments such as Ravello tick these boxes,” Ms Tucker says.</p> <p>Another new Central Coast project currently on offer is Retire Australia’s <a href="https://www.downsizing.com.au/property/sale/44418/expect-a-lifestyle-thats-second-to-none">Rise at Wood Glen</a> project at Erina. </p> <p>The Rise at Wood Glen will comprise 58 purpose-built two and three-bedroom independent living apartments against a backdrop of award-winning gardens and bushland views in the existing Wood Glen retirement living community.</p> <p>Independent living apartments in Stage 1 range from $650,000 to $1,050,000.</p> <p>The Central Coast also continues to offer more affordable property in existing retirement villages and land lease communities.</p> <p><em>Republished with permission of </em><a href="https://www.downsizing.com.au/news/664/Central-Coasts-changing-face-attracts-Sydney-downsizers"><em>Downsizing.com.au.</em></a></p>

Retirement Life

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Woman celebrates 100th birthday in jail cell

<p>Ruth Bryant celebrated her centennial birthday by crossing off a wish on her bucket list: to be arrested and sent to jail.</p> <p>The US woman was celebrating her 100<sup>th</sup> birthday on Wednesday at her assisted living community in North Carolina when deputies from the Person County Sheriff’s Office showed up and served her a warrant for “indecent exposure” at a fire department.</p> <p>Friends and family members present at Bryant’s birthday celebrations weren’t aware of the plan, <em>WRAL </em>reported.</p> <p>“I know that she is a hundred years old, but I didn’t know ... they’d be going this far,” the 100-year-old’s daughter Marian Oakley told the outlet.</p> <p><iframe src="https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2FKATVChannel7%2Fvideos%2F2729937517059685%2F&amp;show_text=1&amp;width=560" width="560" height="445" style="border: none; overflow: hidden;" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" allowtransparency="true" allow="encrypted-media" allowfullscreen="true"></iframe></p> <p>Police handcuffed Bryant to her walker and loaded her into the front seat of the police car before driving her to prison.</p> <p>She spent a few minutes inside a cell and was given a free phone call, a mug shot and an orange jail t-shirt.</p> <p>“I’m in the jailhouse now! I finally got here!” she said.</p> <p>She was released after paying bail in the form of a hug to the chief jailer and returned to her residence for cakes with friends.</p>

Retirement Life

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5 question you should be asking your pharmacist NOW

<p>People often seem to care more about whether their fast-food order is mixed up than if they get the wrong prescription medication, according to pharmacist Matthew Grissinger, RPh, FISMP, FASCP.  They just want to get in and out fast, and never have any questions.</p> <p>“People aren’t asking questions as it is, that itself has to change,” says Grissinger, the director of error reporting programs at the Institute for Safe Medication Practices (ISMP), a non-profit devoted to preventing medication errors.</p> <p>But by asking questions – starting in the prescriber’s office – people can help prevent rare but potentially deadly medication errors, and make sure they’re using their medication in the safest and most effective way. In fact, the ISMP calls patients “the last line of defence in preventing medication errors.”</p> <p>If pharmacists seem too busy to answer questions, that should be a big red flag, says Michael T. Rupp, PhD, FAPhA, a professor of pharmacy.</p> <p>“Find a pharmacy that is well-organised, well-managed and is adequately staffed for the volume of prescriptions it does,” Dr Rupp says. “It should run like a well-oiled machine and staff should never appear frazzled, frantic or fatigued. Even a competent and conscientious pharmacist is challenged to provide quality care in a flawed practice setting.”</p> <p><strong>May I speak with the pharmacist?</strong></p> <p>Whenever you’re prescribed a new medication, ask your physician to confirm the name and strength of the prescription, how and when to take it, and the name of the drug, Grissinger says.</p> <p>And when you pick up a prescription, always ask to speak with the pharmacist to review how to take the medication. This is a safety check that could save your life, or the <a href="https://consumermedsafety.org/medication-safety-articles/item/863-great-catch-with-newborn-s-medicine">life of a family member</a>, as a recent case reported to ISMP illustrates. (Pharmacist should provide or offer to provide counsel to a customer whenever a medicine is supplied.)</p> <p>One father noticed that the dosage of a seizure medication for his newborn son seemed too high. Because he’d reviewed the dosage and information with the baby’s doctor, he noticed that something wasn’t right.</p> <p>However, ISMP points out, “had the father talked to the pharmacist when he picked up the filled prescription, the error would likely have been caught in the pharmacy before going home.”</p> <p><strong>Why am I taking the medication?</strong></p> <p>You should also ask your doctor why he or she is prescribing the medication, and request that they record the indication on your prescription, Grissinger advises.</p> <p>And at the pharmacy, always confirm the name of the pills and the reason you are taking them with your pharmacist. For refills, safety experts advise taking a look inside the bottle to see if the tablets look the same as those in the last prescription before accepting the medication.</p> <p>“If anything does not seem right, speak up, either there in the pharmacy or call back later,” says Rupp. “As someone who does expert witness work in pharmacy malpractice cases, it is distressing to see how often the patient saw something that didn’t seem right but did not mention it to the pharmacist.”</p> <p>He adds: “That medication that looks different than it did last time might just be a new generic (although the pharmacist should have alerted you if that were the case), but it also might be the wrong medication entirely. If you see something, say something.”</p> <p><strong>How should I take the medication?</strong></p> <p>Confirm how much of the medication you should be taking and how often with your physician and your pharmacist, and whether you should be taking doses at a particular time of day, Grissinger says.</p> <p>Also, ask about whether you should be taking the medication with food or on an empty stomach, he adds.</p> <p>“There is real value in establishing a relationship with individual pharmacy staff – both pharmacists and technicians – who get to know you and are familiar with your medication therapy,” Rupp notes.</p> <p>This is particularly important for people who must take multiple medications or are on other types of complex therapy, Rupp says. “Ideally, patients would have their prescriptions filled and dispensed during days and times when the staff they know are on duty.”</p> <p><strong>Should I avoid certain foods, or alcohol, while on this medication?</strong></p> <p>Drinking alcohol can make some drugs less effective; it can also exacerbate<a href="https://www.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/brochures-and-fact-sheets/harmful-interactions-mixing-alcohol-with-medicines"> liver damage</a> due to certain medications, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. Some drugs, on the other hand, can intensify alcohol’s effects.</p> <p>Certain foods can also change the effects of drugs in the body in potentially harmful ways. For example, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warns that <a href="https://www.fda.gov/consumers/consumer-updates/grapefruit-juice-and-some-drugs-dont-mix">grapefruit juice</a> interferes with an enzyme in the small intestine and liver, CYP3A4, that normally helps clear certain medications from the body, including some cholesterol-lowering medications and blood pressure medications. This can lead to the drug accumulating in the blood, potentially reaching toxic levels.</p> <p>Grapefruit can have the opposite effect with some drugs, the FDA notes, diluting their effectiveness by blocking transporters that would normally shuttle the active ingredient into cells.</p> <p><strong>What should I do if I forget to take the medication?</strong></p> <p>Knowing what to do if you miss a dose of prescribed medication – before you leave the pharmacy – can save a lot of aggravation and worry, Gissinger says.</p> <p>And getting the details from your pharmacist is essential, because different drugs and dosing schedules may require different <a href="https://www.pharmacy.ca.gov/publications/miss_dose.pdf">catch-up strategies</a>, according to the University of California-San Francisco School of Pharmacy Center. For some medications, you can skip a dose and just wait until the next. With others, for example, birth control pills, you may need to take the missed dose even if it means doubling up.</p> <p><span><em>Written by Anne Harding. This article first appeared in </em></span><a href="http://www.readersdigest.com.au/true-stories-lifestyle/think-your-sex-life-over-after-40-hardly"><span><em>Reader’s Digest</em></span></a><span><em>. For more of what you love from the world’s best-loved magazine, </em></span><a href="http://readersdigest.innovations.com.au/c/readersdigestemailsubscribe?utm_source=over60&amp;utm_medium=articles&amp;utm_campaign=RDSUB&amp;keycode=WRA87V"><span><em>here’s our best subscription offer.</em></span></a><span><em> </em></span></p> <p><img style="width: 100px !important; height: 100px !important;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7820640/1.png" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/f30947086c8e47b89cb076eb5bb9b3e2" /></p>

Retirement Life

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World’s oldest man at 112 reveals secrets for a long life

<p>A retired Japanese farmer was named the world’s oldest man on the 12th of February 2020 at the age of 112 years and 344 days.</p> <p>Grinning Chitetsu Watanabe was given a certificate by the Guinness World Records at his care home in Niigata, the city in northern Japan where he was born in in 1907.</p> <p>The father of five was thrilled with his award and says he still has his sweet tooth despite not having any. He also loves custard pudding and cream puffs as they don’t need to be chewed.</p> <div class="embed-responsive embed-responsive-16by9"><iframe class="embed-responsive-item" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/WCGWuH51Irk"></iframe></div> <p>Chitetsu returned to his home town after 18 years in Taiwan, where four out of five of their children were born there. Taiwan was also where he married his wife, Mitsue.</p> <p>According to Yoko Watanabe, wife off Tetsuo, the first son of Chitetsu, moving back was the one of the most difficult times for the family.</p> <p>"Both Chitetsu and Tetsuo told me that getting to places and sourcing food was a struggle. Having to live under that circumstance with four young children must have been tough", Yoko said to the<span> </span><em><a rel="noopener noreferrer" href="https://www.guinnessworldrecords.com/news/2020/2/japans-chitetsu-watanabe-confirmed-as-the-worlds-oldest-man-living-at-112-years-607687?fbclid=IwAR0UfHi2am1kCSihd9LnxAuCoTWWQ9uVPHDBXm6dykE8JeG5ZbQgVEN2NNw" target="_blank">Guinness World Records.</a></em></p> <p>However, Chitetsu hasn’t let anything get him down in his long life. When he spoke to a local paper, he explained that the secret to his long life was “not to get angry and keep a smile on your face”.</p> <p>Yoko explained his temperament to the local paper.</p> <p>"I've lived together with him for over 50 years, and I've never seen him raise his voice or get mad,” she said.</p> <p>“He's also caring. When I was working on my patchwork hobby, he was the one who praised my work the most. I think having lived with a big family under one roof, mingling with his grandchildren and great-grandchildren helped keep a smile on his face as well."</p> <p>Chitetsu now lives in a rest home and is not as active as he was before. However, up until last summer, his daily activity included exercises as a part of rehabilitation, origami, calligraphy and math exercises.</p> <p>He is just four years shy of the record for the oldest man ever, which was held by Jiroemon Kimaru who was born on 19th April 1897 and passed away at the age of 116 and 54 days on the 12th of June 2013</p>

Retirement Life

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A hero no more? Why princess Anne's kidnapping saviour must give up his medal

<p><span>The man who aided in helping Princess Anne from being kidnapped has been forced to give up a medal he received in recognition of his incredible bravery over 46 years ago. </span><br /><br /><span>The Queen’s daughter was only 23 at the time and on her way to Buckingham Palace after s charity event when her car was suddenly cut off in the middle of the road by another vehicle. </span><br /><br /><span>Jumping out of a car, stepped Ian Ball, gun in hand, who proceeded to shoot the royal's chauffeur and security officer before telling Princess Anne she had to go with him.</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/B8OG-MBHe1U/?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/B8OG-MBHe1U/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank">A post shared by Dix Noonan Webb (@dixnoonanwebb)</a> on Feb 6, 2020 at 1:30am PST</p> </div> </blockquote> <p><br /><span>In a 1980s interview about the kidnapping attempt, the Royal Princess revealed she took a surprisingly no-nonsense approach with her attacker.</span><br /><br /><span>"He opened the door, and we had a sort of discussion, hah, about where or where not we were going to go," she admitted calmly in the interview as she recalled details. </span><br /><br /><span>"He said I had to go with him, can't remember why. I said I didn't think I wanted to go. I was scrupulously polite, because I thought 'it's silly to be too rude'.</span><br /><br /><span>"We had a fairly low-key discussion about the fact that I wasn't going to go anywhere, and wouldn't it be much better if he moved away and we'd all forget about it?"</span><br /><br /><span>Interestingly enough, Princess Anne was not rude until Ball accidentally tore her gown when she was stepping out of the vehicle and Anne got angry. </span><br /><br /><span>However, he was not forced to face the wrath of the royal as out of nowhere, 6'4 former boxer Ronald Russell took a swing at the back of Ball's head and distracted him.</span><br /><br /><span>Ball took off running as more police arrived and was later arrested in part thanks to Russell's well-timed punch.</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/B8OYRRAnDll/?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/B8OYRRAnDll/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank">A post shared by Dix Noonan Webb (@dixnoonanwebb)</a> on Feb 6, 2020 at 4:01am PST</p> </div> </blockquote> <p><br /><br /><span>Princess Anne left the incident without a scratch on her and Russell was later awarded the George Medal from bravery by the Queen, who was beyond grateful that her daughter was safe.</span><br /><span>"The medal is from the Queen, but I want to thank you as Anne's mother," Her Majesty told Russell as she presented him with the medal.</span><br /><br /><span>Sadly, 46 years later Russell is being forced to let go of the medal, something he said he “would never ever do”. </span><br /><br /><span>Following years of declining health, the 72-year-old has decided to sell the royal memento, which could go for as much as $38,000.</span><br /><br /><span>However, he has a simple request for the person who buys the keepsake. </span><br /><br /><span>"What I would like is whoever does eventually buy the medal, I would hope they might invite me somewhere to tell them about what happened on the night," he told the <em>BBC.</em></span><br /><br /><span>Russell recalled Princess Anne remained calm and collected when Ball confronted the royal with a gun, telling her assailant: "Just go away and don't be such a silly man."</span><br /><br /><span>Moments later Russell made a move to protect the princess, and squared up against Ball despite the danger he’d be putting himself in. </span><br /><br /><span>"Ball stood there glaring at me with the gun and I hit him," Russell said. </span><br /><br /><span>"I hit him as hard as I could, and he was flat on the floor face down."</span></p>

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Muslim minorities are facing genocide in Asia

<p>Developments involving <a href="https://www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au/blog/muslim-australians-increasingly-victimised/">Muslim populations</a> in India have echoes of the fate that’s recently befallen Islamic minorities elsewhere in the region. There are now fears that a new humanitarian crisis could unfold in India, similar to those involving the Uyghurs and the Rohingyas.</p> <p>Following its return to office last May, the Hindu nationalist BJP government published an updated version of the National Register of Citizens <a href="https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/politics-and-nation/nrc-timeline-through-the-years/articleshow/70921378.cms?from=mdr">in August</a>. It’s a census that was created in 1951 in the north-eastern state of Assam to track illegal immigrants. And it’s <a href="https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-49520593">the first time</a> it’s been updated.</p> <p>The BJP distanced itself from the register, after the 1.9 million mainly Bengali people left off it were found to be not just Muslims. Indeed, a sizable number of those unable to provide documents revealing they’ve been in the country since Bangladeshi independence in 1971 are Hindus.</p> <p>Some unregistered Assam residents <a href="https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-49520593">have since been</a> detained in temporary camps set up in the state’s correctional facilities. They have a right to appeal, although it’s an expensive process. And no one knows where those awaiting deportation are meant to be sent, as Bangladesh isn’t taking them.</p> <p>But, as of <a href="https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/12/india-anti-muslim-citizenship-bill-191209095557419.html">mid-December</a>, those non-Muslim people left off the register have been saved, because the government passed new legislation that protects certain illegal immigrants from neighbouring Islamic countries. And it provides them with a fast-tracked path to citizenship.</p> <p><strong>Solidifying Hindu supremacy</strong></p> <p>Indian parliament passed the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2019 <a href="https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/12/india-table-controversial-citizenship-bill-parliament-191209041402071.html?utm_source=website&amp;utm_medium=article_page&amp;utm_campaign=read_more_links">on 9 December</a>. It provides citizenship to illegal immigrants from persecuted religious minorities – Hindus, Buddhists, Christians, Parsis, Jains and Sikhs – from neighbouring Muslim nations, such as Bangladesh and Pakistan.</p> <p>So, immigrants who are followers of those six religions are able to apply for citizenship after they’ve been in the country for six years. And the legislation is stark in that it doesn’t allow Muslims fleeing dangerous situations those same protections.</p> <p>This is especially so in India, as Muslims not only make up the <a href="https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2015/08/hindus-drop-80-percent-india-population-muslims-census-150826052655585.html">largest minority in the country</a>, but the Islamic population – which is close to 15 percent of 1.3 billion people – is the second <a href="https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2019/04/01/the-countries-with-the-10-largest-christian-populations-and-the-10-largest-muslim-populations/">largest Muslim populace on the planet</a>. And it’s estimated to be the biggest by 2060.</p> <p>The bill is widely criticised for enshrining religious discrimination into law in a secular nation that’s no stranger to sectarian violence erupting between the Hindu majority and Muslim minority. In fact, current PM Narendra Modi was chief minister of Gujarat during that state’s <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/apr/07/narendra-modi-massacre-next-prime-minister-india">2002 Muslim pogroms</a>.</p> <p>And in November last year, Indian home minister Amit Shah <a href="https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/12/india-anti-muslim-citizenship-bill-191209095557419.html">announced</a> that the country would undergo a citizenship registry process – similar to that carried out in Assam – so as to weed out undocumented immigrants. And those found to be illegal and Muslim will have no protection.</p> <p><strong>Mass incarceration in China</strong></p> <p>Meanwhile, in the far western region of China known as the Xingang Uyghur Autonomous Region, the Chinese Community Party (CCP) has been detaining – without criminal charge or trial – <a href="https://www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au/blog/stop-the-mass-detentions-an-interview-with-world-uyghur-congress-president-dolkun-isa/">over one million Uyghurs</a> and other central Asian Muslim minorities in political re-education camps.</p> <p>There’s no dispute as to whether the Uyghur people should be living in the area – that many refer to as East Turkistan – but rather, it’s Indigenous locals, who question whether they should be ruled by Beijing.</p> <p>And hence, the political indoctrination many are undergoing within the new detention camps.</p> <p>In 1949, as the CCP took power <a href="https://www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au/blog/stop-the-mass-detentions-an-interview-with-world-uyghur-congress-president-dolkun-isa/">in China</a>, its troops rolled into Urumqi: the capital of Xinjiang. And from there, Beijing began its tense occupation of the region, which has involved the gradual deconstruction of Uyghur culture, via the passing of laws and the application of brute force.</p> <p>These tensions spilled over in 2009, when huge Uyghur demonstrations in the capital, turned into civil unrest, which was then followed by a number of violent reprisals perpetrated by Uyghur people, both in the local area and elsewhere in China <a href="https://www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au/blog/beijing-launches-all-out-offensive-against-uyghur-minority/">over 2013 and 2014</a>.</p> <p>World Uyghur Congress president Dolkun Isa told Sydney Criminal Lawyers <a href="https://www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au/blog/beijing-launches-all-out-offensive-against-uyghur-minority/">in March 2017</a> that CCP secretary Chen Quanguo had implemented a huge security and surveillance program in the region, after he’d cut his teeth in monitoring Tibetans. And by the next month, the gulags began operating.</p> <p>As the reports of mass incarceration began to make their way to the outside world, Beijing denied its camps were prisons, stating they were merely training centres. However, leaked documents obtained by the New York Times <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2019/11/16/world/asia/china-xinjiang-documents.html">in November</a>reveal a purposeful indoctrination operation.</p> <p><strong>A stateless people</strong></p> <p>And while similarities can be seen between the incarceration of those of Islamic faith in China, with the Muslims who have been detained in northern India, the aim of deporting those undocumented people in Assam is similar to the pushing out of the Rohingya population in Myanmar.</p> <p>The plight of the Rohingya people came to international attention when <a href="https://www.vice.com/en_uk/article/vdxba4/inside-sittwe-the-point-of-no-return-for-myanmars-displaced-rohingya">an estimated 25,000</a> fled their homelands in rickety boats in early 2015, which led to a situation where many were left stranded at sea, as various countries turned back the boats.</p> <p>At that time, in Myanmar’s north-western state of Rakhine, around 140,000 Rohingyas were living in internally displaced persons camps, following 2012 sectarian riots that saw members of the Rakhine Buddhist population violently attack and burn down Muslim villages.</p> <p>Then in August 2017, Myanmar security forces began <a href="https://www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au/blog/myanmar-cuts-off-aid-to-devastated-rohingya-populations/">a huge crackdown</a> on the Rohingyas – who are denied citizenship – in response to some incidents at police posts. This disproportionate attack involved mass killings and burnings, which led 740,000 locals to flee across the border.</p> <p>Today, there are around <a href="https://www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au/blog/inside-the-worlds-largest-refugee-camp-conversations-with-rohingya-refugees/">900,000 Rohingyas</a> living in government-run refugee camps in southern Bangladesh. The largest of their kind in the world, these camps have an air of permanency about them, even though the people long to return to their homelands with their rights installed.</p> <p>And it’s a situation similar to this, that critics fear may be the outcome of developments taking place in India right now, as people without citizenship documents are pushed into detention camps and told they’re no longer welcome, as they belong somewhere else.</p> <p><em>Written by Paul Gregoire. Republished with permission of </em><a href="https://www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au/blog/muslim-minorities-are-facing-genocide-in-asia/"><em>Sydney Criminal Lawyers.</em></a></p> <p><em> </em></p>

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10½ commandments of writing

<p>Every author is asked by new writers for advice. There is, however, no all-encompassing, single answer that also happens to be correct. Quite a lot of commonly offered suggestions (“write every day”) don’t work for everyone and must be approached with caution.</p> <p>A few years ago, I set out to create a list that will benefit all new writers. I put ten commandments through the wringer of my peers, who suggested modifications and noted that this list applies not just to new writers but to writers at every stage of their career. Indeed, I’ve needed reminding of more than one myself.</p> <p>Here, then, are the 10½ commandments of writing – with an extra one for free.</p> <p><strong>1. Read widely</strong></p> <p>To succeed as a writer, you must occasionally read. Yet there are wannabe-novelists who haven’t picked up a book in years. There are also, more tragically, writers too busy to engage with the end-product of our craft. If the only thing you’re reading is yourself you are bound to miss out on valuable lessons.</p> <p>The same applies to reading only within a favourite genre. A varied diet will strengthen your literary muscles.</p> <p><strong>2. Write</strong></p> <p>No need to thrash out 1,000 words a day or pen a perfect poem before breakfast, but you do have to write. The fundamental qualification for being a writer is putting words on the page.</p> <p>If you aren’t doing that now, it’s possible you never will.</p> <p><strong>3. Follow your heart</strong></p> <p>When you really want to write literary fiction, but the market wants paranormal romance, write literary fiction. Chasing paranormal romance will be futile. Writing well is hard enough without cynicism getting in the way.</p> <p>Passion doesn’t always pay, but it increases the odds of your work finding a home.</p> <p><strong>4. Be strategic</strong></p> <p>But the choice is never between just literary fiction and paranormal romance. You might have poetry and narrative non-fiction passion projects as well, and it’s possible narrative non-fiction will appeal to the widest audience. If a wider audience is what you want, narrative non-fiction is the one to choose.</p> <p>If, however, you don’t give two hoots about your audience, write what you like.</p> <p>There are lots of different kinds of writers and lots of different paths to becoming the writer you want to be.</p> <p><strong>5. Be brave</strong></p> <p>Writing is hard, intellectually and physically. It also takes emotional work, dealing with exposure, rejection, fear and impostor syndrome. It’s better you know this upfront, in order to fortify yourself.</p> <p>These crises, however, are surmountable. We know this because there are writers out there, leading somewhat normal lives, even healthy and happy ones. You can too, if you don’t give up.</p> <p>The ones who persist are the ones who prevail.</p> <p><strong>6. Be visible</strong></p> <p>Many writers would prefer they remain hidden in a dark cave for all eternity. But stories demand to be communicated, which means leaving that cave. Whether it’s you or your written word, or both, broaching the bubble of self-isolation is important.</p> <p>This doesn’t mean assaulting every social platform and attending every festival and convention. Find the kind of engagement that suits you and embrace it, and don’t overdo it. Remember: you still have to write.</p> <p><strong>7. Be professional</strong></p> <p>Don’t lie. Don’t belittle your peers and don’t steal from them. Keep your promises. Communicate. Try to behave like someone people will want to work with – because we all have to do that, at some point.</p> <p><strong>8. Listen</strong></p> <p>Heed what people you’re working with are saying, because you never know what gems of knowledge you might glean – about craft, about the market, about something you’re working on – among the knowledge you (think you) already possess.</p> <p><strong>9. Don’t settle</strong></p> <p>Every story requires different skills. You’ll never, therefore, stop learning how to write. The day you think you’ve worked it out is the day the ground beneath you begins to erode, dropping you headlong into a metaphorical sinkhole – and nobody wants that. Least of all your readers.</p> <p>Readers can tell when you’re getting lazy, just like they can tell when you’re faking. You’re one of them. Deep down, you’ll be the first to know.</p> <p><strong>10. Work hard</strong></p> <p>Put in the hours and you’re likely to get some return on your investment. How many hours, though?</p> <p>There’s a wonderful saying: “Even a thief takes ten years to learn her trade.” Writing is no different to any other career. Hope for overnight success; plan for being like everyone else.</p> <p><strong>The bonus commandments</strong></p> <p>When I put this list to my friends, several raised the importance of finding your people. Although I agree this is an important principle, I would argue it is implicit in commandments 6-8: these have no meaning without engaging. I decided to encapsulate this as <strong>10.5. Embrace community</strong></p> <p>After I’d been teaching and giving talks on this topic for several years, someone suggested another commandment that lies beneath the rest. It is so fundamental none will work unless you have this in spades. It is <strong>0. Really want it</strong>, which sounds so obvious that it barely needs stating – except it does.</p> <p>One day, I may no longer want to write. If that happens, I will take every mention of writing from this list and substitute the name of a new vocation – because this list applies to everything.</p> <p><em>Written by Sean Williams. Republished with permission of <a href="https://theconversation.com/10-commandments-of-writing-129069">The Conversation.</a></em></p>

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Inside the story: The Trauma Cleaner - a beautiful meditation on death and decay

<p>Sarah Krasnostein’s <a href="https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/34964868-the-trauma-cleaner">The Trauma Cleaner</a> has won many awards since it was published in 2017, including the Victorian Prize for Literature and the Australian Book Industry Award General Non-Fiction Book of the Year.</p> <p>While the title may speak of a provocative premise – <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/books/2017/sep/28/i-started-dry-retching-the-compassion-of-a-trauma-cleaner">what is a trauma cleaner</a>? Are there really jobs like this? – it’s not just the content that makes it a wonderful read, it’s also the writing style. Every word, every sentence, is carefully considered, re-considered and re-considered some more, resulting in what can only be described as beautiful language.</p> <p>I was truly blown away by the power and precision of the prose. Sounds, tastes and smells emanate from the page, creating a visceral experience of protagonist Sandra’s extraordinary, often traumatic, life.</p> <p><strong>Orchestration of words</strong></p> <p>Krasnostein uses exquisite turns of phrase. Language is used to excavate facts and polish ideas that are hard to get rid of – things that stick. As Krasnostein writes, the book is “a catalogue of the ways we die physically and emotionally, and the strength and delicacy needed to lift the things we leave behind”.</p> <p>Introducing her subject, Krasnostein writes:</p> <p><em>During my time with Sandra, I met a bookbinder, a sex offender, a puppeteer, a cookbook hoarder, a cat hoarder, a wood hoarder […] I heard Sandra bend and flex language into words and idioms she made her own: “supposably”, “sposmatically”, “hands down pat!”</em></p> <p>It is this careful and playful orchestration of words – facts transformed into a scintillating narrative – that makes the book hard to put down. Every page lures you in, making you hungry for more.</p> <p>Beneath the beautiful language, resonance strikes and asks us to think of our own lives. Expressions hit like a sudden gust of wind. They bring tears to your eyes. We are not asked to feel sad, but to feel what was, and still is, being experienced by these people – to feel the complexity of the circumstances.</p> <p><em>Imagine Ailsa, the girl who loves to bake, the woman whose cakes are light and high and whose dark religion tells her to fear her effeminate son […] Imagine that baby as a boy frozen in his bed, straining to read the sound of a motor in the driveway over the noise of his own racing heart.</em></p> <p>Krasnostein’s language evokes in us the visceral aspects of a situation – the pain and pleasure of those involved. She says of Sandra, then still Peter, practising his female voice in the shower when wife Linda is out: “the refrain of thrumming along his veins that signifies his only certainty and which says: you don’t belong here”.</p> <p>Later, of his eventual parting from wife and children towards a new life as Sandra:</p> <p><em>When he steps around the food flung on the floor or smells the milk turning in bottles in the sink, or when cries momentarily shatter his sleep like a glass flung against a wall, he doesn’t really notice because in his mind he is dancing at [gay club] Annabel’s with Joe.</em></p> <p>Krasnostein is adept at laying out facts with no judgement or flourish, allowing their trauma to speak to us individually. She refuses to manipulate her readers, instead touching the facts lightly with a sense of perspective: “she will never fear what is ahead of her, only what is behind her”.</p> <p>From one trauma to the next, we learn of the murder of Sandra’s girlfriend, Maria, by a nightclub bouncer. Krasnostein uses repetition to speculate on his motives:</p> <p><em>Maybe he has it in for her. Maybe he has it in for dykes. Maybe he’s jealous of her. Maybe he’s jealous of the girlfriend. Maybe he’s repulsed that he’s jealous of either of them […] Maybe he just wants to feel the force of bone on muscle.</em></p> <p>Krasnostein gives us story perspective in a light, non-manipulative way. That last line is sparse yet stark, simple yet powerful.</p> <p>And then this, which winds all the facts into a clean knot that represents the very core of Sandra’s life journey: “Sandra does not need a physics lesson to understand that time dilates; life taught her early that some seconds are cruelly quick and others are tortuously slow”.</p> <p>Krasnostein pores over language, refining it until it says the most it can in the fewest words possible. “Something you might try to ignore, like a full bladder on a cold night”. “What chips some people like a mug cracks others, like an egg”. “The couch is a grave”.</p> <p><strong>Writing of writing</strong></p> <p>The Trauma Cleaner also speaks about the process of its being written, with authority and poignancy:</p> <p><em>I scrap draft after draft of my timeline and even when I am assisted in my task by Sandra’s recollection, the narrative remains a tangled necklace. Events link into one another only so far before they halt, abruptly, as some great knot where they loop over each other so tightly that some seem to disappear altogether.</em></p> <p>In some ways, the narrative arc of the book is not Sandra’s own journey, but Krasnostein’s understanding of Sandra and what she represents for all of us. This is achieved with a lightness of touch, the author never getting in the way of the reader’s own interpretations.</p> <p>Krasnostein writes at the start of the book:</p> <p><em>And here it hits me what it is we are doing by telling this story. It is something at once utterly unfamiliar and completely alien to Sandra: we are clearing away the clutter of her life out of basic respect for the inherent value of the person beneath.</em></p> <p>And then at the end of the book, after we have witnessed all of Sandra’s trauma, humour and resilience, an ordaining of our protagonist in language that is at once beautiful and beatific: “Sandra, you exist in the Order of Things and the Family of People; you belong, you belong, you belong”.</p> <p><em>Written by Craig Batty. Republished with permission of <a href="https://theconversation.com/inside-the-story-the-trauma-cleaner-a-beautiful-meditation-on-death-and-decay-127436">The Conversation.</a></em></p>

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3 quotes that defined the first Democratic debate of 2020

<p><strong>Dennis Jett, Pennsylvania State University</strong></p> <p><em>“I was part of that deal to get the nuclear agreement with Iran, bringing together the rest of the world, including some of the folks who aren’t friendly to us. And it was working.” - Joe Biden</em></p> <p>The Iran nuclear deal took two years to negotiate and <a href="https://apps.washingtonpost.com/g/documents/world/full-text-of-the-iran-nuclear-deal/1651/">runs to over 20,000 words</a>.</p> <p>Joe Biden no doubt had a part in selling the agreement, as it was one of the <a href="https://obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/issues/foreign-policy/iran-deal">Obama administration’s top foreign policy</a> objectives. The agreement placed strict and verifiable limits on Iran’s nuclear program and even Trump, during his first year in office, <a href="https://www.cnbc.com/2018/05/08/trump-to-announce-he-will-withdraw-us-from-iran-nuclear-deal.html">certified Iran was complying</a> before he came up with <a href="https://www.pbs.org/newshour/world/key-moments-in-the-unraveling-of-the-iran-nuclear-deal">additional demands</a>. He then <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/08/world/middleeast/trump-iran-nuclear-deal.html">withdrew from the deal</a>.</p> <p>That move convinced American allies that U.S. leadership had <a href="https://www.the-american-interest.com/2018/06/05/the-trump-effect-in-europe/">become as erratic as it was unreliable</a>. It also removed the incentive for Iran to limit its ability to develop nuclear weapons and relied on sanctions to force Iran to capitulate.</p> <p>Since the U.S. withdrew, Iran has responded by continuing to develop its nuclear capability, making the time it would need to construct a bomb increasingly shorter. The recent killing <a href="https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2020/01/08/soleimani-killing-assassination-legitimate-act-war-terror/2831498001/">of senior Iranian military commander Qassem Soleimani</a> by U.S. drone strike will only encourage Iran to reconsider the steps it must take to defend itself. That <a href="https://nationalinterest.org/blog/buzz/israel-heading-towards-preventive-war-against-iran-98987">may prompt Israel</a> to again contemplate a preemptive strike.</p> <p>In his speech on Jan. 8, Trump explained his rationale for killing Soleimani – a speech that included <a href="https://www.factcheck.org/2020/01/factchecking-trumps-iran-address/">several dubious claims</a>. I predict that his effort to force Iran to its knees will have no more success than his attempt to negotiate with North Korea to get them to give up their weapons.</p> <p>If Trump then resorts to military action against Iran, he will likely find it impossible to convince anyone that his justification for acting is either credible or legitimate.</p> <p>And if Biden – or any of the others on the stage tonight – become president a year from now, putting the deal back together again will be difficult if not impossible.</p> <p><strong>Amy K. Dacey, American University</strong></p> <p><em>“We should stop asking our military to solve problems that cannot be solved militarily.” - Elizabeth Warren</em></p> <p>The final debate before the Iowa caucus is a challenging one for candidates. The strategic question at hand is: Do they fight with other primary candidates – or deescalate the differences that exist between them, even if small?</p> <p>While the first six debates focused on domestic policy, <a href="https://www.cbsnews.com/live-updates/iran-news-rouhani-says-us-caused-plane-strike-today-over-donald-trump-killing-qassem-soleimani-2020-01-14/">the recent conflict between the U.S. and Iran</a> was at the forefront of voters’ and candidates’ minds on Jan. 15.</p> <p>This debate shined a light on the candidates’ foreign policy experience, in contrast with the policies of the sitting president. Most recently, Biden has been seen by Democratic primary voters as <a href="https://www.cnbc.com/2020/01/14/democrats-trust-biden-sanders-on-foreign-policy-amid-iran-tensions.html">the candidate most trustworthy on foreign policy</a>.</p> <p>President Donald Trump’s administration has <a href="https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/2019-12-03/trump-didnt-shrink-us-military-commitments-abroad-he-expanded-them">expanded U.S. military commitments abroad</a>. Even after declaring <a href="https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefings-statements/remarks-president-trump-cabinet-meeting-15/">“I got elected on bringing our soldiers back home,”</a> <a href="https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/2019-12-03/trump-didnt-shrink-us-military-commitments-abroad-he-expanded-them">Trump has kept 174,000</a> active military deployed overseas.</p> <p>The focus on foreign policy in the early minutes of the debate opened a door for candidates to remind voters that their positions reinforce the Obama administration’s commitment to only send troops into harm’s way when it was necessary and with <a href="https://time.com/4622417/president-obama-armed-forces-speech-transcript/">a strategy and defined goals</a>, while at the same time openly questioning the military decisions of the Trump administration, especially in recent days.</p> <p>Warren’s comments sent a clear message that diplomacy and other means, such as international alliances and negotiation, are to be considered.</p> <p><strong>Pearl K. Dowe, Oxford College, Emory University</strong></p> <p><em>“We are not going to have a shortage of MBAs, we are going to have a shortage of plumbers.” - Amy Klobuchar</em></p> <p>During the debate, moderators raised the question about Pete Buttigieg’s opposition to free public college access for the wealthiest 20% in the country.</p> <p>Klobuchar attempted to pivot the conversation to the economic value of education, saying that there should be an emphasis on filling blue collar jobs that are currently vacant.</p> <p>This statement echoes a question in today’s society about the value of higher education and who should be able to access it. This <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/16/opinion/college-useful-cost-jobs.html">public debate</a> has resulted from rising tuition costs, increased student loan debt and stagnation of wages.</p> <p><a href="https://www.bls.gov/careeroutlook/2018/data-on-display/education-pays.htm">Bureau of Labor Statistics data</a> confirms that, in every state, those with college degrees earn more than those without degrees. College graduates average a weekly income of US$1,173, compared to $712 for those with only a high school diploma. A high school diploma no longer offers a career path that can lead to a middle-class life.</p> <p>Key members of the Democratic voting block – <a href="https://www.brookings.edu/blog/social-mobility-memos/2017/12/04/black-women-are-earning-more-college-degrees-but-that-alone-wont-close-race-gaps/">women and people of color</a> – face significant barriers to closing the income and wealth gap with white men.</p> <p>In my view as <a href="https://app.oxford.emory.edu/WebApps/Directory/index.cfm/view/9635">someone who studies African American political behavior</a>, Klobuchar was correct that the conversation about jobs should be broader. But careers with limited mobility and low wages do not offer an effective avenue to economic prosperity. Her comments did not fully acknowledge why people are willing to go into debt in order to receive education beyond high school.</p> <p>African Americans often view education not only as an avenue to a career that allows for the potential of upward mobility, but also to <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2014/07/30/stop-blaming-black-parents-for-underachieving-kids/">a greater sense of freedom for oneself and one’s family</a>. Klobuchar’s comment dismisses this long history of deep commitment to earning a freer life.</p> <p><em>Written by Dennis Jett, Amy Dacey and Pearl Dowe. Republished with permission of The Conversation. </em></p>

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One thing Prince Harry will be barred from doing after stepping down

<p>Since Prince Harry stepped down from being a senior royal, he will no longer be allowed to wear his military uniform as part of the regulations for retired service personnel.</p> <p>While Prince Harry will be able to wear medals that he received for his service, this does not include his uniform.</p> <p>Prince Harry was commissioned in 2006 and left the Army in 2015, having undergone two operational tours of Afghanistan twice in that time. In the Army he was referred to as ‘Captain Wales’.</p> <p>However, under the terms of the deal to step away from his royal duties, he gave up all military appointments.</p> <p><img style="width: 0px; height: 0px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7834044/prince-harry-military-1.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/b1bbaefe31a24dcd9f072057f6aa31a1" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><em>Members Of The Royal Family Attend The 91st Field Of Remembrance At Westminster Abbey</em></p> <p style="text-align: left;">Under the new agreement, his resignation from three honorary roles in the military will prevent him from wearing his uniform in a public setting and events such as Trooping the Colour and Remembrance Sunday at the cenotaph.</p> <p>Lord West of Spithead, the former First Sea Lord, said: “The next time he [the Duke of Sussex] is at a military event he should be in civilian clothes because he is no longer involved with any military units. It is very unfortunate. It is very sad to be losing him from the military.”</p> <p>Prince Harry’s highest military title was as Captain General of the Royal Marines, a role which was handed to him by the Queen in December 2017, in succession of his grandfather, the Duke of Edinburgh.</p> <p>He was also made Honorary Air Force Commandant of the Royal Air Force Base Honington and honorary Commodore-in-Chief of The Royal Navy’s Small Ships and Diving Operations.</p> <p>The Duke will still be able to don his medals but unlike his brother, Prince William, who did not serve in a conflict zone and has also retired from the Armed Forces, he is not able to wear his uniform as he no longer has any military honorary appointments.</p> <p><img style="width: 500px; height: 281.25px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7834045/prince-harry-military-2.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/184882f7d4674644860f0182795c2044" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><em>Members Of The Royal Family Attend The 91st Field Of Remembrance At Westminster Abbey</em></p> <p>The choice made by Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan to spend more time abroad in north America and to step down from their position as ‘senior’ Royals caused alarm within the Royal Marines.</p> <p>It is not clear who will now take on the role of Captain General.</p> <p>Lord West said: “A number of people in the Royal Marines had expressed concerns that they didn’t want a part-timer carrying out such an important role. It will be interesting to see who the next captain general will be.</p> <p>“The Duke of Edinburgh took it very seriously and he was delighted to pass it on to Harry. The Royal Marines will be sad to see Harry go but they were not happy to have a Captain General who was going to be only part-time in the UK.”</p>

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Expert weighs in: In this new world of bushfire terror, I question whether I want to have kids

<p>As fires continue to burn along Australia’s south-east, it’s impossible to ignore how climate change can wreak devastation and disrupt lives.</p> <p>Australia has always experienced bushfires. However, climate change <a href="https://theconversation.com/weather-bureau-says-hottest-driest-year-on-record-led-to-extreme-bushfire-season-129447">means</a> this year’s bushfires were so extreme in their ferocity and spread they could be <a href="https://www.space.com/australia-wildfires-space-station-astronaut-photo.html">seen from space</a>. And this is just a taste of what’s to come.</p> <p>I’m a marine scientist, and research the effects of climate change on coral reefs. Aside from bushfires, coral bleaching is one of the most severe manifestations of climate change in Australia. Watching corals turn white and die is just another daily reminder of the disasters our children will be up against.</p> <p>Until now, my partner and I have both wanted to be parents one day. Now I’m not so sure. Here are the things I’m weighing up.</p> <p><strong>The forces at play</strong></p> <p>I am not alone in these family planning concerns. In September last year I hosted a Women in STEM seminar and photography <a href="https://www.emergingcreativesofscience.com/women-in-steam">exhibit</a> showcasing female scientists at the University of New South Wales. One of the major points of discussion was how to plan for a family, knowing how climate change will affect the quality of life of the next generation.</p> <p>Cases of “<a href="https://theconversation.com/the-rise-of-eco-anxiety-climate-change-affects-our-mental-health-too-123002">eco-anxiety</a>” when it comes to family planning are on the rise. <a href="https://www.smh.com.au/lifestyle/life-and-relationships/it-doesn-t-feel-justifiable-the-couples-not-having-children-because-of-climate-change-20190913-p52qxu.html">Many couples</a> in my generation are rethinking what it means to start a family. Even Prince Harry and Meghan Markle <a href="https://www.news.com.au/entertainment/celebrity-life/royals/prince-harry-reveals-how-many-kids-he-and-meghan-will-have/news-story/1f6acaf856c50b6e613cd882aa0d9f74">said last year</a> they’ll have only two children at most, for the sake of the planet.</p> <p>But other factors also affect family planning decisions, such as religious, cultural and societal expectations. And of course there are the views of partners and spouses to take into account.</p> <p>In my case, I come from a large Italian-American, Catholic family. My family expects me to settle down and have babies as soon as possible. But my partner and I both agree the planet cannot sustain a growing population that results from these traditional religious expectations.</p> <p><strong>Would going childless make a difference?</strong></p> <p>Studies show having fewer children is one of the most effective ways an individual can mitigate climate change. Choosing to have one less child prevents <a href="https://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/1748-9326/aa7541#erlaa7541f1">58.6 tonnes of carbon emissions</a> entering the atmosphere each year, according to a 2017 study. That’s like 25 Australians going car-free for the rest of their lives.</p> <p>In fact, even if you do your bit to reduce emissions in your lifetime, such as riding a bike and using energy-saving lightbulbs, having two children means your <a href="https://theconversation.com/how-family-planning-could-be-part-of-the-answer-to-climate-change-32667">“legacy” of carbon emissions could be 40 times greater</a> than that saved through lifestyle changes.</p> <p>But having one less child is not a quick fix for climate change. <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4246304/">As research in 2014 pointed out</a>, even one-child policies imposed worldwide, coupled with events causing catastrophic numbers of deaths, would still leave the world population at 5–10 billion people by 2100 – enough to cause stress on future ecosystems.</p> <p>So it’s critical we, as consumers, start now in making our lifestyles more environmentally friendly if the world’s population continues to grow.</p> <p>The above research concluded the most immediate and effective way to keep the planet’s warming at bay is policies and technologies to reign in global emissions.</p> <p><strong>The planet our children will inhabit</strong></p> <p>On our current business-as-usual trajectory, we’re on track for at least a <a href="https://climateactiontracker.org/global/temperatures/">4℃</a>temperature increase by 2100. Even if the temperature increase was limited to 2.8℃ (now an optimistic scenario) major changes in <a href="https://www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/2019/07/major-us-cities-will-face-unprecedente-climates-2050/">weather patterns would occur by 2050</a>.</p> <p>These changes would bring more <a href="https://www.climatecouncil.org.au/resources/climate-change-and-drought-factsheet/">severe droughts</a>, <a href="http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/updates/articles/a023.shtml">flooding</a>, <a href="https://time.com/5627355/climate-change-heat-waves/">heatwaves</a>, <a href="https://www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/global-warming/sea-level-rise/">sea level rise</a> and <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2019/nov/11/what-are-the-links-between-climate-change-and-bushfires-explainer">bushfires</a>. This is not a future I want for my children.</p> <p>Already, <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41558-018-0315-6">climate hazards have been implicated</a> in pre- and post-natal health problems for children. Children whose mothers were exposed to floods while pregnant exhibited increased bedwetting, aggression towards other children and below-average birth weight, juvenile height and academic performance.</p> <p>What’s more, exposure to smoke from fires during pregnancy may have affected brain development and resulted in premature birth, small head circumference, low birth weight and foetal death</p> <p>This season’s bushfires caused a <a href="https://www.theage.com.au/national/victoria/spike-in-ambulance-calls-for-help-before-smoke-haze-worsens-20200107-p53pea.html">51% spike</a> in people needing help for respiratory issues on one of the most extreme days in Melbourne. Children are among the most vulnerable to respiratory issues stemming from poor air quality.</p> <p>But it’s not just physical health in question – mental health is also at risk.</p> <p>Today’s children already know that without major change, the world they were born into will limit their quality of life. It’s not only affecting their <a href="https://www.smh.com.au/environment/climate-change/the-dread-and-worry-keeping-young-australians-up-at-night-20191115-p53aw5.html">mental health</a>, but also their process of identity formation, with children experiencing an “<a href="https://theconversation.com/the-terror-of-climate-change-is-transforming-young-peoples-identity-113355">existential whiplash</a>”.</p> <p>They’re caught between two forces: the belief held by previous generations that if you work hard you’ll have a high quality of life, and knowledge that climate change will make parts of the planet inhabitable.</p> <p><strong>Weighing it all up</strong></p> <p>Of course, improvements in family planning are not solely a matter for the developed world. As <a href="https://www.bmj.com/content/353/bmj.i2102">experts have stated</a>, family planning has the potential to empower women in developing nations, giving them the basic human right to choose whether to have children.</p> <p>Policies to support this – such as better access to contraception and giving more girls a quality education – <a href="https://www.who.int/bulletin/volumes/87/11/08-062562/en/">would be a “win-win”</a>, improving reproductive rights and slowing the population growth to combat climate change.</p> <p>As for my own situation, my mind isn’t yet made up. I am seriously considering not having kids altogether. Or perhaps my partner and I will have only one child, or adopt.</p> <p>But one thing is clear. Whether you want to create a healthier planet or you’re concerned about the Earth your children will inherit, climate change should weigh heavily on your family planning decisions.</p> <p><em>Written by Melissa Pappas. Republished with permission of <a href="https://theconversation.com/in-this-new-world-of-bushfire-terror-i-question-whether-i-want-to-have-kids-126752">The Conversation.</a> </em></p>

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From scandal to true love: All the royals who gave up their titles

<p>Ahead of the bombshell announcement from the Duke and Duchess of Sussex saying they have the intention to step back from the duty of being “senior royals” this January, there has been growing speculations that they might go as far to let go of their titles altogether.</p> <p>However, the act of renouncing a title is not new for royals all across the world. Whether by choice, law, request, punishment or scandal, there are a number of kings, queens, princes and princesses that have forgone their privileges and given up their titles for a different life.</p> <p><strong>1936: King Edward VIII</strong></p> <p>While it had been his birth right to ascend the throne, he gave it up after just 11 months and chose to abdicate in order to marry divorcée Wallis Simpson.</p> <p>An infamous speech he gave to the British public explained that he had “found it impossible” to remain king without Wallis betrothed to him.</p> <p>"I have found it impossible to carry the heavy burden of responsibility and to discharge my duties as king as I would wish to do without the help and support of the woman I love,” he said.</p> <p>While he was allowed to keep his title of His Royal Highness, Duke of Windsor following his abdication, the scandal followed him for the rest of his life and drove him out of England as punishment. They lived their lives as celebrities and travelled all across the globe throwing expensive, lavish parties. Not only that, but they sympathised with the Nazis.</p> <p>They were both buried side by side at Windsor Castle as Duke and Duchess.</p> <p><strong>1947: Prince Philip</strong></p> <p>Just a mere ten years after his uncle-in-law, Philip renounced his own right ot the throne. This time however, it was so that he could join the British Royal Family rather than leave it.</p> <p>Philip was born a prince of both Denmark and Greece, so in him choosing to marry Princess Elizabeth, he gave up not one but two thrones.</p> <p>Always seen walking a few steps behind his Queen, the prince went on to father four children, his eldest Prince Charles who is the next in line to the British throne behind his mother.</p> <p>Prince Philip gave up his regular royal duties and appearances at the tender age of 96.</p> <p><strong>1972: Ubolratana Rajakanya</strong></p> <p>Asia has its own secret scandals and royal family to gossip about, and in this case it was Thai Princess Ubolratana Rajakanya who gave up everything she knew for love. In choosing to marry Peter Ladd Jensen, a fellow student at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, she left behind her father King Bhumibol Adulyadej and Queen Sirikit in Thailand. After moving to the US to live with Jensen, she went on to give birth to three children and maintained a strong relationship with her parents.</p> <p>When the pair divorced in 1998, the former princess of Thailand returned home with her children. After losing her royal title and marriage, Ubol was dealt another tragic blow when she lost her autistic son Bhumi in the deadly 2004 tsunami.</p> <p><strong>1981: Peter and Zara Phillips</strong></p> <p>While Princess Anne is the daughter of the Queen of England, it doesn’t mean she didn’t want a normal, unobtrusive and private life for her two children. Surprisingly, her kids were not automatically given a royal title when they were born and unlike her brothers, Charles, Edward and Andrew, she required the Queen to offer the titles as a gift.</p> <p>However, the offer was promptly declined for Peter and Zara. Peter remains 14th in line for the throne whilst Zara is behind his two daughters at 17th.</p> <p><strong>2014: Princess Srirasmi</strong></p> <p>After marrying into the royal family of Thailand’s Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn and nearly a decade later, Princess Srirasmi became embroiled in a family scandal. Seven of her family members were charged with serious criminal charges, including defamation of the monarchy. Under her husband’s orders, Princess Srirasmi was stripped of her title receiving 200 million baht ($5.5m/£4.3m) as a divorce settlement.</p> <p>Now she watches on as her son and ex-husband continue their lives in the royal household, without her. Since the pair’s divorce, her parents have also been arrested and later admitted to misusing their royal connections.</p> <p>2015: Princess Cristina</p> <p>The sister of King Felipe VI, Princess Cristina, married Iñaki Urdangarín in 1997. Together they were appointed as the Duke and Duchess of Palma de Mallorca and enjoyed their lavish royal lifestyle together and with their four children. That was, until Urdangarin was convicted of embezzling €6 million ($6.6m/£5m) of public funds and using his title of Duke for political corruption. </p> <p>Cristina was charged with tax fraud and became the first member of the Spanish royal family to stand trial. Due to this, the King had no choice but to strip his little sister of her titles. Urdangarin received a six-year prison sentence and, in 2017, Cristina was acquitted of all charges. </p> <p>Scroll through the gallery to see all the royal family members who gave up their titles.</p>

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A life of long weekends is alluring but not practical

<p>When Microsoft gave its 2,300 employees in Japan <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2019/nov/04/microsoft-japan-four-day-work-week-productivity">five Fridays off in a row</a>, it found productivity jumped 40%.</p> <p>When financial services company Perpetual Guardian in New Zealand trialled <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/money/2019/feb/19/four-day-week-trial-study-finds-lower-stress-but-no-cut-in-output">eight Fridays off in a row</a>, its 240 staff reported feeling more committed, stimulated and empowered.</p> <p>Around the world there’s renewed interest in reducing the standard working week. But a question arises. Is instituting the four-day week, while retaining the eight-hour workday, the best way to reduce working hours?</p> <p>Arguably, retaining the five-day week but cutting the working day to seven or six hours is a better way to go.</p> <p><strong>Shorter days, then weeks</strong></p> <p>History highlights some of the differences between the two options.</p> <p>At the height of the Industrial Revolution, in the 1850s, a 12-hour working day and a six-day working week – 72 hours in total – was common.</p> <p>Mass campaigns, vigorously opposed by business owners, emerged to reduce the length of the working day, initially from 12 hours to ten, then to eight.</p> <p>Building workers in Victoria, Australia, were among the first in the world to secure an eight-hour day, <a href="https://www.parliament.vic.gov.au/publications/research-papers/download/36-research-papers/13812-heritage-note-no-1-2017-the-origins-of-the-eight-hour-day-in-victoria">in 1856</a>. For most workers in most countries, though, it did not become standard until the first decades of the 20th century.</p> <p>The campaign for shorter working days was based largely on worker fatigue and health and safety concerns. But it was also argued that working men needed time to read and study, and would be <a href="http://ergo.slv.vic.gov.au/explore-history/fight-rights/workers-rights/origins-8-hour-day">better husbands, fathers and citizens</a>.</p> <p>Reducing the length of the working week from six days came later in the 20th century.</p> <p>First it was reduced to five-and-a-half days, then to five, resulting in the creation of “the weekend”. This occurred in most of the industrialised world from the 1940s to 1960s. In Australia the 40-hour five-day working week became the law of the land <a href="https://www.smh.com.au/national/70-years-ago-today-the-40hour-five-day-working-week-began-20180101-h0c3dd.html">in 1948</a>. These changes occurred despite two world wars and the Great Depression.</p> <p><strong>Stalled campaign</strong></p> <p>In the 1970s, campaigns for reduced working hours ground to a halt in most industrialised countries.</p> <p>As more women have joined the paid workforce, however, the total workload (paid and unpaid) for <a href="https://theconversation.com/grappling-with-the-time-bomb-of-australias-work-rest-and-play-5330">the average family increased</a>. This led to concerns about “time squeeze” and overwork.</p> <p>The issue has re-emerged over the past decade or so from a range of interests, including feminism and environmentalism.</p> <p><strong>Back on the agenda</strong></p> <p>A key concern is still worker fatigue, both mental and physical. This is not just from paid work but also from the growing demands of family and social life in the 21st century. It arises on a daily, weekly, annual and lifetime basis.</p> <p>We seek to recover from daily fatigue during sleep and daily leisure. Some residual fatigue nevertheless accumulates over the week, which we recover from over the weekend. Over longer periods we recover during public holidays (long weekends) and annual holidays and even, over a lifetime, during retirement.</p> <p>So would we be better off working fewer hours a day or having a longer weekend?</p> <p>Arguably it is the pressure to fit family and personal commitments into the few hours between getting home and bedtime that is the main source of today’s time-squeeze, particularly for families. This suggests the priority should be the shorter working day rather than the four-day week.</p> <p>Sociologist Cynthia Negrey is among those who suggest reducing the length of the workday, especially to mesh with children’s school days, as part of the feminist enterprise to alleviate the “sense of daily time famine” she writes about in her 2012 book, <a href="http://politybooks.com/bookdetail/?isbn=9780745654256">Work Time: Conflict, Control, and Change</a>.</p> <p><strong>Historical cautions</strong></p> <p>It’s worth bearing in mind the historical fall in the working week from 72 to 40 hours was achieved at a rate of only about 3.5 hours a decade. The biggest single step – from six to five-and-half days – was a reduction of 8% in working hours. Moving to a six-hour day or a four-day week would involve a reduction of about 20% in one step. It therefore seems practical to campaign for this in a number of stages.</p> <p>We should also treat with caution results of one-off, short-term, single-company experiments with the four-day week. These typically occur in organisations with leadership and work cultures willing and able to experiment with the concept. Employees are likely to see themselves as “special” and may be conscious of the need to make the experiment work. Painless economy-wide application cannot be taken for granted.</p> <p><em>Written by Anthony Veal. Republished with permission of <a href="https://theconversation.com/a-life-of-long-weekends-is-alluring-but-the-shorter-working-day-may-be-more-practical-127817">The Conversation.</a> </em></p>

Retirement Life