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Anatomy of a heatwave: how Antarctica recorded a 20.75°C day last month

<p>While the world rightfully focuses on the COVID-19 pandemic, the planet is still warming. This summer’s Antarctic weather, as elsewhere in the world, was unprecedented in the observed record.</p> <p>Our research, published today in <a href="https://doi.org/10.1111/GCB.15083">Global Change Biology</a>, describes the recent heatwave in Antarctica. Beginning in late spring east of the Antarctic Peninsula, it circumnavigated the continent over the next four months. Some of our team spent the summer in Antarctica observing these temperatures and the effect on natural systems, witnessing the heatwave first-hand.</p> <p>Antarctica may be isolated from other continents by the Southern Ocean, but has worldwide impacts. It drives the <a href="https://oceanservice.noaa.gov/facts/conveyor.html">global ocean conveyor belt</a>, a constant system of deep-ocean circulation which transfers oceanic heat around the planet, and its melting ice sheet adds to global sea level rise.</p> <p>Antarctica represents the simple, extreme end of conditions for life. It can be seen as a ‘canary in the mine’, demonstrating patterns of change we can expect to see elsewhere.</p> <p><strong>A heatwave in the coldest place on Earth</strong></p> <p>Most of Antarctica is ice-covered, but there are small ice-free oases, predominantly on the coast. Collectively 0.44% of the continent, these unique areas are <a href="http://www.antarctica.gov.au/news/2019/ice-free-areas-are-hot-property-in-antarctica">important biodiversity hotspots</a> for penguins and other seabirds, mosses, lichens, lakes, ponds and associated invertebrates.</p> <p>This summer, Casey Research Station, in the Windmill Islands oasis, experienced its first recorded heat wave. For three days, minimum temperatures exceeded zero and daily maximums were all above 7.5°C. On January 24, its highest <a href="http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/averages/tables/cw_300017.shtml">maximum of 9.2°C</a> was recorded, almost 7°C above Casey’s 30-year mean for the month.</p> <p>The arrival of warm, moist air during this weather event brought rain to Davis Research Station in the normally frigid, ice-free desert of the Vestfold Hills. The warm conditions triggered extensive meltwater pools and surface streams on local glaciers. These, together with melting snowbanks, contributed to high-flowing rivers and flooding lakes.</p> <p>By February, most heat was concentrated in the Antarctic Peninsula at the northernmost part of the continent. A new Antarctic <a href="https://public.wmo.int/en/media/news/new-record-antarctic-continent-reported/">maximum temperature of 18.4°C</a> was recorded on February 6 at Argentina’s Esperanza research station on the Peninsula - almost 1°C above the previous record. Three days later this was eclipsed when <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/world/%202020/feb/13/antarctic-temperature-rises-above-20c-firsttime-record/">20.75°C was reported</a> at Brazil’s Marambio station, on Seymour Island east of the Peninsula.</p> <p><strong>What caused the heatwave?</strong></p> <p>The pace of warming from global climate change has been generally slower in East Antarctica compared with West Antarctica and the Antarctic Peninsula. This is in part due to the <a href="https://theconversation.com/after-30-years-of-the-montreal-protocol-the-ozone-layer-is-gradually-healing-84051">ozone hole</a>, which has occurred in spring over Antarctica since the late 1970s.</p> <p>The hole has tended to strengthen jet stream winds over the <a href="https://theconversation.com/the-ozone-hole-leaves-a-lasting-impression-on-southern-climate-34043">Southern Ocean</a> promoting a generally <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-020-00787-x">more ‘positive’ state</a> of the Southern Annular Mode in summer. This means the Southern Ocean’s westerly wind belt has tended to stay close to Antarctica at that time of year creating a seasonal ‘shield’, reducing the transfer of warm air from the Earth’s temperate regions to Antarctica.</p> <p>But during the spring of 2019 a <a href="https://theconversation.com/the-air-above-antarctica-is-suddenly-getting-warmer-heres-what-it-means-for-australia-123080">strong warming of the stratosphere</a> over Antarctica significantly reduced the size of the ozone hole. This helped to support a more ‘negative’ state of the Southern Annular Mode and weakened the shield.</p> <p>Other factors in late 2019 may have also helped to warm Antarctica. The Indian Ocean Dipole was in a strong ‘positive’ state due to a <a href="https://theconversation.com/a-hot-and-dry-australian-summer-means-heatwaves-and-fire-risk-ahead-127990">late retreat of the Indian monsoon</a>. This meant that water in the western Indian Ocean was warmer than normal. Air rising from this and other warm ocean patches in the Pacific Ocean provided energy sources that altered the path of weather systems and helped to disturb and warm the stratosphere.</p> <p><strong>Is a warming Antarctica good or bad?</strong></p> <p>Localised flooding appeared to benefit some Vestfold Hills’ moss banks which were previously very <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41558-018-0280-0">drought-stressed</a>. Prior to the flood event, most mosses were grey and moribund, but one month later many moss shoots were green.</p> <p>Given the generally cold conditions of Antarctica, the warmth may have benefited the flora (mosses, lichens and two vascular plants), and microbes and invertebrates, but only where liquid water formed. Areas in the Vestfold Hills away from the flooding became more drought-stressed over the summer.</p> <p>High temperatures may have caused heat stress in some organisms. Antarctic mosses and lichens are often dark in colour, allowing sunlight to be absorbed to create warm microclimates. This is a great strategy when temperatures are just above freezing, but heat stress can occur once 10°C is exceeded.</p> <p>On King George Island, near the Antarctic Peninsula, our measurements showed that in January 2019 moss surface temperatures only exceeded 14°C for 3% of the time, but in 2020 this increased fourfold (to 12% of the time).</p> <p>Based on our experience from previous anomalous hot Antarctic summers, we can expect many biological impacts, positive and negative, in coming years. The most recent event highlights the connectedness of our climate systems: from the surface to the stratosphere, and from the monsoon tropics to the southernmost continent.</p> <p>Under climate change, extreme events are predicted to increase in frequency and severity, and Antarctica is not immune.</p> <p>If you’ve been let go and then retrospectively un-sacked, you are also guaranteed to get at least $1,500 per fortnight, which in that case might be less than you were being paid, but will be more than the $1,115 you would have got on Newstart (which has been renamed JobSeeker Payment).</p> <p>If you remain employed, and are on more than $1,500 per fortnight, the employer will have to pay you your full regular wage. Employers won’t be able to cut it to $1,500 per fortnight.</p> <p>To get it, most employers will have to have suffered a 30% decline in their turnover relative to a comparable period a year ago. Big employers (turnover of $1 billion or more) will have to have suffered a 50% decline. Big banks won’t be eligible.</p> <p>Self-employed Australians will also be eligible where they have suffered or expect to suffer a 30% decline in turnover. Among these will be musicians and performers out of work because large gatherings have been cancelled.</p> <p><strong>Half the Australian workforce</strong></p> <p>The payment isn’t perfect. It will only be paid in respect of wages from March 30, and the money won’t be handed over until the start of May – the Tax Office systems can’t work any faster – but it will provide more support than almost anyone expected.</p> <p>Its scope is apparent when you consider the size of Australia’s workforce.</p> <p>Before the coronavirus hit in February, 13 million of Australia’s 25 million residents were in jobs. This payment will go to <a href="https://ministers.treasury.gov.au/ministers/josh-frydenberg-2018/media-releases/130-billion-jobkeeper-payment-keep-australians-job">six million</a> of them.</p> <p>Without putting too fine a point on it, for the next six months, the government will be the paymaster to almost <a href="https://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/mf/6202.0">half</a> the Australian workforce.</p> <p>Announcing the payment, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said unprecedented times called for unprecedented action. He said the payment was more generous than New Zealand’s, broader than Britain’s, and more comprehensive than Canada’s, claims about which there is dispute.</p> <p>But for Australia, it is completely without precedent.</p> <p><em>Written by Dana M Bergstrom, Andrew Klekociuk, Diana Kind and Sharon Robinson. Reviewed by Emma Kucelj. Republished with permission of </em><a href="https://theconversation.com/anatomy-of-a-heatwave-how-antarctica-recorded-a-20-75-c-day-last-month-134550"><em>The Conversation.</em></a></p> <p><em> </em></p>

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Why marine protected areas are often not where they should be

<p>There’s no denying the grandeur and allure of a nature reserve or marine protected area. The concept is easy to understand: limit human activity there and marine ecosystems will thrive.</p> <p>But while the number of marine protected areas is increasing, so too is the number of threatened species, and the health of marine ecosystems is <a href="https://ipbes.net/global-assessment">in decline</a>.</p> <p>Why? <a href="https://conbio.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/cobi.13429">Our research</a> shows it’s because marine protected areas are often placed where there’s already low human activity, rather than in places with high biodiversity that need it most.</p> <p><strong>Not where they should be</strong></p> <p>Many parts of the world’s protected areas, in both terrestrial and marine environments, are placed in locations with no form of manageable human activity or development occurring, such as fishing or infrastructure. These places are often remote, such as in the centres of oceans.</p> <p>And where marine protected areas have been increasing, they’re placed where <a href="https://conbio.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/cobi.13429">pressures cannot be managed</a>, such as areas where there is increased ocean acidification or dispersed pollution.</p> <p>But biodiversity is often highest in the places with human activity – we use these locations in the ocean to generate income and livelihoods, from tourism to fishing. This includes coastal areas in the tropics, such as the Coral Triangle (across six countries including Indonesia, the Philippines and Malaysia), which has almost <a href="https://ccafs.cgiar.org/publications/marine-protected-areas-coral-triangle-progress-issues-and-options">2,000 marine protected areas</a>, yet is <a href="https://theconversation.com/why-seagrass-in-indonesias-marine-protected-areas-is-still-under-threat-125875">also home</a> to one of the largest shipping routes in the world and high fishing activity.</p> <p>What’s more, many marine industries are already regulated through licences and quotas, so it’s hard to establish a new marine protected area that adds a different type of management on top of what already exists.</p> <p>This leaves us with an important paradox: the places where biodiversity is under the most pressure are also the places humanity is most reluctant to relinquish, due to their social or economic value. Because of those values, people and industry resist changes to behaviour, leaving governments to try to find solutions that avoid conflict.</p> <p><strong>Lessons from the fishing industry</strong></p> <p>How can we resolve the paradox of marine protected areas? A strategy used in the fishing industry may show the way.</p> <p>Fisheries have had experience in going beyond the limits of sustainability and then stepping back, changing their approach to managing species and ecosystems for better sustainability, while still protecting economic, social and environmental values.</p> <p>In the past, many of the world’s fisheries regularly exceeded the sustainable limit of catches, and many species such as <a href="https://www.ccsbt.org/en/content/latest-stock-assessment">southern bluefin tuna</a> declined significantly in number. But <a href="https://www.pnas.org/content/117/4/2218">strong rules around how a fishery should operate</a> mean declines have since been reversed.</p> <p>So how did they do it? In recent decades, many of the world’s large-scale fisheries implemented formal “harvest strategies”. These strategies can flip downward trends of marine species in places not designated a marine protected area.</p> <p>Harvest strategies have three steps. First is pre-agreed monitoring of species and ecosystems by fishers, regulators and other stakeholders. Second, regulators and scientists assess their impact on the species and ecosystems. And last, all stakeholders agree to put management measures in place to improve the status of the monitored species and ecosystems.</p> <p>These measures may include changing how fishing is done or how much is done. It’s a commonsense strategy that’s delivered <a href="https://theconversation.com/marine-parks-and-fishery-management-whats-the-best-way-to-protect-fish-66274">successful results</a> with many fished species either recovering or recovered.</p> <p>In Australia, the federal government introduced a <a href="https://www.agriculture.gov.au/sites/default/files/sitecollectiondocuments/fisheries/domestic/harvest-strategy-policy.docx">formal harvest strategy policy</a> to manage fisheries in 2007. It was evaluated in <a href="https://academic.oup.com/icesjms/article/71/2/195/788673">2014</a>, and the report found many (but not all) fish stocks are no longer overfished. This includes species such as orange roughy and southern bluefin tuna in Australia, which were overfished but are no longer so.</p> <p>But unfortunately, this positive trend has not been replicated for biodiversity hit by the combinations of other human activities such as coastal development, transport, oil and gas extraction and marine debris.</p> <p><strong>A consistent strategy</strong></p> <p>We need to adapt the experience from fisheries and apply a single, formal, transparent and agreed <em>biodiversity</em> strategy that outlines sustainable management objectives for the places we can’t put marine protected areas.</p> <p>This would look like a harvest strategy, but be applied more broadly to threatened species and ecosystems. What might be sustainable from a single species point of view as used in the fisheries might not sustainable for multiple species.</p> <p>This would mean for our threatened species, we would be monitoring their status, assessing whether the <em>total</em> population was changing and agreeing on when and how we would change the way that they are impacted.</p> <p>Such a strategy would also allow monitoring of whole marine ecosystems, even when information is limited. Information on trends in species and ecosystems often exists, but is hidden as commercial-in-confidence or kept privately within government, research or commercial organisations.</p> <p><strong>Looking ahead</strong></p> <p>Still, a lack of data shouldn’t limit decision making. Experience in fisheries without much data shows even rules of thumb can be <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.fishres.2014.11.005">effective management tools</a>. Rules of thumb can include simple measures like gear restrictions or spatial or temporal closures that don’t change through time.</p> <p>Moving forward, all stakeholders need to agree to implement the key parts of harvest strategies for all marine places with high biodiversity that aren’t protected. This will complement existing marine protected area networks without limiting economic activity, while also delivering social and environmental outcomes that support human well-being.</p> <p>Our marine ecosystems provide fish, enjoyment, resources and and simple beauty. They must survive for generations to come.</p> <p><em>Written by Piers Dunstan, Natalie Downing, Simone Stevenson and Skipton Woolley. Republished with permission of <a href="https://theconversation.com/why-marine-protected-areas-are-often-not-where-they-should-be-133076">The Conversation.</a> </em></p> <p><em> </em></p>

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Coronavirus RNA found on cruise ship 17 days after passengers abandoned liner

<p>Coronavirus RNA has been determined to have the ability to live for up to 17 days among surfaces after health authorities studies the <em>Diamond Princess</em> cruise ship.</p> <p>The disease can survive longer than research has previously shown, new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has shown to us on Monday in new data.</p> <p>The study sought out to show how the Japanese and U.S government’s efforts to contain the COVID-19 outbreaks on the Carnival-owned <em>Diamond Princess</em> ship in Japan and the <em>Grand Princess</em> ship in California has been.</p> <p>RNA is the genetic material of the virus that causes COVID-19, and was “identified on a variety of surfaces in cabins of both symptomatic and asymptomatic infected passengers up to 17 days after cabins were vacated on the D<em>iamond Princess</em> but before disinfection procedures had been conducted,” the researchers wrote.</p> <p>The CDC added the genetic material of the virus that specifically causes COVID-19 revealed that there was no indication that the virus can “spread by surface”.</p> <p>They also added researchers were unable to  “determine whether transmission occurred from contaminated surfaces,” and that more studies focussing on whether COVID-19 can be spread through touching surfaces on cruise ships was warranted.</p> <p>“COVID-19 on cruise ships poses a risk for rapid spread of disease, causing outbreaks in a vulnerable population, and aggressive efforts are required to contain spread,” the data report read.</p> <p>The CDC has urged people to stay away from cruise ships at this time if they are part of the more vulnerable population.</p> <p>Researchers at the national Institutes of Health, CDC, UCLA and Princeton University previously found that COVID-19 can last up to three days on plastic and stainless steel.</p> <p>The study also determined the RNA of the virus decreases over time on plastic and stainless steel.</p> <p>The new study set out to understand just how “transmission occurred across multiple voyages of several ships.” It noted at least 25 cruise ship voyages had confirmed cases of COVID-19 as of March 17.</p> <p>All of these cases where either detected during or after the cruise trip ended.</p> <p>Almost half, 46.5%, of the infections aboard the <em>Diamond Princess</em> were asymptomatic when they were tested.</p> <p>The study revealed it partially explaining the “high attack rate” of the virus among passengers and crew.</p> <p>On February 4, all 3,700 passengers and crew of the <em>Diamond Princess</em> were quarantined at a Japanese port after a passenger had been diagnoses with COVID-19 after returning to Hong Kong.</p> <p>What resulted was the largest cluster of confirmed coronavirus cases outside of China at the time, with more than 800 passengers and crew eventually going on to become infected.</p> <p>Nine people died due to the outbreak after disembarking the ship. Research revealed that 712 of 3,711 people on the <em>Diamond Princess</em>, or 19.2% were infected by COVID-19.</p> <p>78 cases were also found on the <em>Grand Princess,</em> which was force to moor off the coast of California after two passengers tested positive when they disembarked the vessel.</p> <p>The 78 cases tied back to the ship across separate voyages. California officials allowed the ship to remove all passengers from the vessel at the Port of Oakland.</p> <p>The <em>Diamond Princess and Grand Princess</em> has accounted for more than 800 total COVID-19 cases, including 10 deaths.</p>

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The end of global travel as we know it: an opportunity for sustainable tourism

<p>Saturday, March 14 2020, is “The Day the World Stopped Travelling”, in the words of <a href="https://skift.com/2020/03/15/the-day-the-world-stopped-traveling-a-letter-from-skift-founder/">Rifat Ali</a>, head of travel analytics company Skift.</p> <p>That’s a little dramatic, perhaps, but every day since has brought us closer to it being reality.</p> <p>The COVID-19 crisis has the global travel industry – “the most consequential industry in the world”, says Ali – in uncharted territory. Nations are shutting their borders. Airlines face bankruptcy. Ports are refusing entry to cruise ships, threatening the very basis of the cruise business model.</p> <p>Associated hospitality, arts and cultural industries are threatened. Major events are being cancelled. Tourist seasons in many tourist destinations are collapsing. Vulnerable workers on casual, seasonal or gig contracts are suffering. It seems an epic disaster.</p> <p>But is it?</p> <p>Considering <a href="https://edition.cnn.com/2020/03/01/world/nasa-china-pollution-coronavirus-trnd-scn/index.html">human activities need to change</a> if we are to avoid the worst effects of human-induced climate change, the coronavirus crisis might offer us an unexpected opportunity.</p> <p>Ali, like many others, wants recovery, “even if it takes a while to get back up and return to pre-coronavirus traveller numbers”.</p> <p>But rather than try to return to business as usual as soon as possible, COVID-19 challenges us to think about the type of consumption that underpins the unsustainable ways of the travel and tourism industries.</p> <p><strong>Tourism dependency</strong></p> <p>Air travel features prominently in discussions about reducing carbon emissions. Even if commercial aviation accounts “only” for about 2.4% of all emissions from fossil-fuel use, flying is still how many of us in the industrialised world blow out our carbon footprints.</p> <p>But sustainability concerns in the travel and tourism sectors extend far beyond carbon emissions.</p> <p>In many places tourism has grown beyond its sustainable bounds, to the detriment of local communities.</p> <p>The <a href="https://theconversation.com/why-australia-might-be-at-risk-of-overtourism-99213">overtourism</a> of places like Venice, Barcelona and Reykjavik is one result. Cruise ships disgorge thousands of people for half-day visits that overwhelm the destination but leave little economic benefit.</p> <p>Cheap airline fares encourage weekend breaks in Europe that have inundated old cities such as Prague and Dubrovnik. The need for growth becomes self-perpetuating as tourism dependency locks communities into the system.</p> <p>In a 2010 paper <a href="https://www.jstor.org/stable/23745318?seq=1">I argued</a> the problem was tourism underpinned by what sociologist Leslie Sklair called the “<a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/0263276410374634">culture-ideology of consumerism</a>” – by which consumption patterns that were once the preserve of the rich became endemic.</p> <p>Tourism is embedded in that culture-ideology as an essential pillar to achieve endless economic growth. For instance, <a href="https://www.tourism.australia.com/en/markets-and-stats/tourism-statistics/the-economic-importance-of-tourism.html">the Australian government</a> prioritises tourism as a “supergrowth industry”, accounting for almost 10% of “exports” in 2017-18.</p> <p><strong>Out of crisis comes creativity</strong></p> <p>Many are desperate to ensure business continues as usual. “If people will not travel,” said Ariel Cohen of California-based business travel agency <a href="https://www.calcalistech.com/ctech/articles/0,7340,L-3800229,00.html">TripActions</a>, “the economy will grind to a halt.”</p> <p>COVID-19 is a radical wake-up call to this way of thinking. Even if Cohen is right, that economic reality now needs to change to accommodate the more pressing public health reality.</p> <p>It is a big economic hit, but crisis invites creativity. Grounded business travellers are realising virtual business meetings work satisfactorily. Conferences are reorganising for virtual sessions. Arts and cultural events and institutions are turning to <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/13/arts/music/coronavirus-pandemic-music-streaming.html">live streaming</a> to connect with audiences.</p> <p>In Italian cities under lockdown, residents have come out on their balconies to create music as a community.</p> <p>Local cafes and food co-ops, including my local, are reaching out with support for the community’s marginalised and elderly to ensure they are not forgotten.</p> <p>These responses challenge the atomised individualism that has gone hand in hand with the consumerism of travel and tourism. This public health crisis reminds us our well-being depends not on being consumers but on being part of a community.</p> <p>Staying closer to home could be a catalyst awakening us to the value of eating locally, travelling less and just slowing down and connecting to our community.</p> <p>After this crisis passes, we might find the old business as usual less compelling. We might learn that not travelling long distances didn’t stop us travelling; it just enlivened us to the richness of local travel.</p> <p><em>Written by Freya Higgins-Desbiolles. Republished with permission of <a href="https://theconversation.com/the-end-of-global-travel-as-we-know-it-an-opportunity-for-sustainable-tourism-133783">The Conversation.</a></em></p> <p><em> </em></p> <p> Winter is coming: Simple ways to keep energy costs down</p> <p>Winter is coming: Simple ways to keep energy costs down. It has been a sweltering Australian summer and for most retirees, this means that they are likely to endure one final summer blow: a high energy bill. Read more:</p> <p><strong>It has been a sweltering Australian summer and for most retirees, this means that they are likely to endure one final summer blow: a high energy bill.</strong></p> <p>According to recent Mozo research, households were<a href="https://mozo.com.au/energy/articles/australians-set-to-waste-2-billion-on-bad-energy-habits-this-summer"> expected to waste a jaw dropping $774</a> on bad energy habits this summer, with the biggest culprit - leaving the air conditioner on overnight.</p> <p>So if you’ve been stung with a high summer energy bill, now is the time to get prepped in time for winter - below are some helpful tips.</p> <p><strong>Switch on smarter bulbs</strong></p> <p>Did you know that lighting accounts for seven per cent of a household’s annual energy usage?</p> <p>What’s even more surprising is that according to Red Energy, standard incandescent light bulbs use the majority of its energy to heat up a bulb and only 10% is then converted into light, making them highly inefficient. </p> <p>You can get smarter with your lighting by switching to more energy efficient light bulbs, like compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs).</p> <p>These bulbs use up to 80 per cent less electricity and last up to 20 times longer than regular light bulbs, which can come in handy if you spend most of your time at home.</p> <p><strong>Take advantage of rebates in your state</strong></p> <p>Whether you live in New South Wales or Tasmania, most Australians dread the day their energy bill arrives in the mail.</p> <p>New research has even shown that<a href="https://mozo.com.au/energy/savings-tips/is-your-energy-bill-your-household-s-biggest-financial-stressor"> electricity costs is one of the top two financial stressors</a> for Australian households.</p> <p>So to ease the pinch of high bill, it’s worth looking into various government energy rebates you may be eligible for.</p> <p>There are a range of rebates available from solar battery storage to owning energy efficient appliances, so it shouldn’t be hard to find one you can apply for. </p> <p>For instance,<a href="https://www.moneymag.com.au/state-energy-rebate"> the Seniors Energy Rebate</a>, which is available in NSW, provides independent retirees with a $200 rebate on their electricity bill every year, while pensioners or veterans may be eligible for a $285 low-income household rebate.</p> <p>Just keep in mind that you may need to supply relevant documentation to confirm your eligibility, like your Commonwealth Seniors Health Card, so be sure to have these handy when you apply.</p> <p><strong>Get picky with your plan</strong></p> <p>From picking up a new toaster to locking down a good deal on your phone bill, there’s no denying<a href="https://www.downsizing.com.au/news/630/New-report-shows-how-retirement-village-consumers-can-save-thousands-by-shopping-around"> the value of shopping around</a> for the best price.</p> <p>And as deregulated energy markets, like New South Wales and Victoria continue to grow, the result can only mean competitive pricing and more options for customers.</p> <p>Following a Mozo number crunch of 427 electricity plans from 37 retailers, our data revealed that households have the potential to save an average of $554 a year, just by shopping around.</p> <p>So once you’re ready to start shopping around on energy plans, be sure to have your most recent bill nearby to make the process smoother.</p> <p>It’s important to look beyond flashy discounts and incentives many retailers offer new customers and instead consider whether the plan provides long term benefits and savings.</p> <p>Making sure there are no lock-in contracts or exit fees is also important because it can give you the flexibility to move between plans if better offers become available.</p> <p><strong>Go heavy with your sheets</strong></p> <p>As the seasons change, many Australians use it as an opportunity to give their bedroom a facelift with some new decor.</p> <p>But during winter, it’s also the chance to give your space an energy efficient upgrade.</p> <p>There’s nothing worse than a bad nights sleep or waking up in a with frozen fingers and toes, so it might be best to start with switching out your thinner bedsheets for thicker and heavier fabrics, like fleece.</p> <p>This will keep you warm during colder nights, without having to resort to the switching on the heating or electric blanket.</p> <p>Aside from being somewhat inexpensive, fleece sheets are great at insulating heat, are more durable and can absorb water or moisture faster than regular sheets.</p> <p><em>This is a guest post from <a href="https://mozo.com.au/">Mozo</a>, a trailblazer in energy comparison, providing Australians with practical energy saving tips and expert analysis.</em></p> <p><em>Mozo believes that getting a better deal on energy doesn’t have to be complicated and that no Australian should be paying more than they have for the same service.</em></p> <p><em>Written by Ceyda Erem. Republished with permission of Downsizing.com.au.</em></p> <p><em> </em></p>

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Can I take my children overseas without my partner’s permission?

<p>If you want to take your children overseas without their other parent, it’s important to understand how the law works, especially if you are separated or getting divorced.</p> <p>There are certain legal protections which are in place to prevent children being abducted by a parent and taken out of the country without the other parent’s permission.</p> <p>Even if you are just going for a holiday, it’s important to make sure you aren’t going to get into legal trouble for taking your children overseas without your partner or ex-partner’s permission.</p> <p><strong>Why do I have to get my partner’s permission?</strong></p> <p>In recent years, there have been a number of high profile cases where one parent has taken a child out of Australia to another country.</p> <p>According to the <a href="http://www.australianmissingpersonsregister.com/ParentalAbductions.htm">Australian Missing Persons Register</a>, over 150 children are abducted by a parent every year and many of them are never found.</p> <p>Children can be taken out of the country for a number of reasons. Sometimes it’s due to <a href="https://www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au/criminal/offences/apprehended-violence-order/">domestic violence</a>, other times it’s because of a custody dispute or because a parent wants to move and take their children with them, but doesn’t want to go through the usual processes in order to do so legally.</p> <p><strong>What does the law say about taking children overseas?</strong></p> <p>Although currently there is no law in place making it a crime, there are a number of provisions in place designed to prevent parents from taking children overseas without the other parent’s permission.</p> <p>If one parent takes a child away without the permission of the other parent, the other parent can apply for a recovery order from the court.</p> <p>A recovery order is a court-issued document which requires one parent to return a child or children.</p> <p>If you are served with a recovery order, it’s important to comply with any terms laid out as you can face further legal action if you don’t.</p> <p>Can my partner stop me taking the children overseas?</p> <p>If your partner is concerned that you may take the children overseas without their permission they can apply to have the names of your children placed on the airport watch list.</p> <p>The airport watch list is held by airports in Australia and is updated by the AFP. If any parent tries to remove a child who is on the airport watch list from the country they will not be allowed to leave.</p> <p>This applies to both parents, so if your partner has requested your children be listed, they won’t be able to take them out of the country until the court order is lifted (which can only be done by the AFP).</p> <p>As well as the airport watch list, your partner can also apply for a restraint for removal from Australia order.</p> <p>This is a formal court order which prohibits you from removing the children listed on the order from the country.</p> <p><strong>What if my partner won’t give permission?</strong></p> <p>If you want to take your children overseas and your partner won’t give you permission, you can apply to the <a href="http://www.familylawcourts.gov.au/wps/wcm/connect/FLC/Home/Publications/Family+Law+Courts+publications/Children+and+international+travel+after+family+separation">Federal Circuit Court</a> in Australia.</p> <p>You will need to sign an affidavit and provide information about where you are going, your itinerary, any links you have with the country you are travelling to and any other relevant factors.</p> <p>You may also be required to pay a sum of money as security which will be refunded on your return.</p> <p><strong>Can I get a passport for my child?</strong></p> <p>Passport applications for children require the signature of each person with parental responsibility for the child.</p> <p>This is usually the parents named on the child’s birth certificate, but it can also include grandparents or other relatives who may have parental responsibility, or welfare organisations who have assumed responsibility for the child.</p> <p>Without the signature of both parents (or those with parental responsibility), a passport won’t be issued.</p> <p>However, it is possible to apply to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade for <a href="https://www.passports.gov.au/web/brochureswebpages/brochurechildenparentalconsent.aspx">special consideration</a> to have a passport issued without the signature of both parents.</p> <p>Although it is difficult to take your children overseas without your partner’s permission it is possible under certain circumstances.</p> <p>The law exists to protect children and families from unlawful child abduction, so it’s important to seek legal advice if you are planning to take your children out of the country against your partner’s wishes.</p> <p><em>Written by Ugur Nedim. Republished with permission of <a href="https://www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au/blog/can-i-take-my-children-overseas-without-my-partners-permission/">Sydney Criminal Lawyers.</a></em></p>

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The world may lose half its sandy beaches by 2100: It’s not too late to save most of them

<p>For many coastal regions, sea-level rise is a looming crisis threatening our coastal society, livelihoods and coastal ecosystems. <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41558-020-0697-0">A new study</a>, published in Nature Climate Change, has reported the world will lose almost half of its valuable sandy beaches by 2100 as the ocean moves landward with rising sea levels.</p> <p>Sandy beaches comprise about a third of the world’s coastline. And Australia, with nearly 12,000 kilometres at risk, could be hit hard.</p> <p>This is the first truly global study to attempt to quantify beach erosion. The results for the highest greenhouse gas emission scenario are alarming, but reducing emissions lead to lower rates of coastal erosion.</p> <p>Our best hope for the future of the world’s coastlines and for Australia’s iconic beaches is to keep global warming as low as possible by urgently reducing greenhouse gas emissions.</p> <p><strong>Losing sand in coastal erosion</strong></p> <p>Two of the largest problems resulting from <a href="https://www.ipcc.ch/srocc/">rising sea levels</a> are coastal erosion and an already-observed increase in the frequency of coastal flooding events.</p> <p>Erosion during storms can have dramatic consequences, particularly for coastal infrastructure. We saw this in 2016, when <a href="https://theconversation.com/sydneys-wild-weather-shows-home-owners-are-increasingly-at-risk-60621">wild storms</a> removed sand from beaches and damaged houses in Sydney.</p> <p>After storms like this, beaches often gradually recover, because sand from deeper waters washes back to the shore over months to years and in some cases decades. These dramatic storms and the long-term <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S002532271630010X">sand supply</a> make it difficult to identify any beach movement in the recent past from sea-level rise.</p> <p>What we do know is that the rate of sea-level rise has <a href="https://theconversation.com/contributions-to-sea-level-rise-have-increased-by-half-since-1993-largely-because-of-greenlands-ice-79175">accelerated</a>. It has increased by half since 1993, and is continuing to accelerate from ongoing greenhouse gas emissions.</p> <p>If we continue to emit high levels of greenhouse gases, this acceleration will continue through the 21st century and <a href="https://theconversation.com/what-does-the-science-really-say-about-sea-level-rise-56807">beyond</a>. As a result, the supply of sand may not be able to keep pace with rapidly rising sea levels.</p> <p><strong>Projections for the worst-case scenario</strong></p> <p>In the most recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) <a href="https://www.ipcc.ch/srocc/">report</a>, released last year, the highest greenhouse gas emissions scenario resulted in global warming of more than 4°C (relative to pre-industrial temperatures) and a likely range of sea-level rise between 0.6 and 1.1 metres by 2100.</p> <p>For this scenario, this new study projects a global average landward movement of the coastline in the range of 40 to 250 metres if there were no physical limits to shoreline movement, such as those imposed by sea walls or other coastal infrastructure.</p> <p>Sea-level rise is responsible for the vast majority of this beach loss, with faster loss during the latter decades of the 21st century when the rate of rise is larger. And sea levels will continue to rise for centuries, so beach erosion would continue well after 2100.</p> <p>For southern Australia, the landward movement of the shoreline is projected to be more than 100 metres. This would damage many of Australia’s iconic tourist beaches such as Bondi, Manly and the Gold Coast. The movement in northern Australia is projected to be even larger, but more uncertain because of ongoing historical shoreline trends.</p> <p><strong>What happens if we mitigate our emissions</strong></p> <p>The above results are from a worst-case scenario. If greenhouse gas emissions were reduced such that the 2100 global temperature rose by about 2.5°C, instead of more than 4°C, then we’d reduce beach erosion by about a third of what’s projected in this worst-case scenario.</p> <p>Current global policies would result in about <a href="https://climateactiontracker.org/global/cat-thermometer/">3°C of global warming</a>. That’s between the 4°C and the 2.5°C scenarios considered in this beach erosion study, implying our current policies will lead to significant beach erosion, including in Australia.</p> <p>Mitigating our emissions even further to achieving the Paris goal of keeping temperature rise to well below 2°C would be a major step in reducing beach loss.</p> <p><strong>Why coastal erosion is hard to predict</strong></p> <p>Projecting sea-level rise and resulting beach erosion are particularly difficult as both depend on many factors.</p> <p>For sea level, the major problems are estimating the contribution of melting Antarctic ice flowing into the ocean, how sea level will change on a regional scale, and the amount of global warming.</p> <p>The beach erosion calculated in this new study depends on several new databases. The databases of recent shoreline movement used to project ongoing natural factors might already be influenced by rising sea levels, possibly leading to an overestimate in the final calculations.</p> <p><strong>The implications</strong></p> <p>Regardless of the exact numbers reported in this study, it’s clear we will have to adapt to the beach erosion that we can no longer prevent, if we are to continue enjoying our beaches.</p> <p>This means we need appropriate planning, such as beach nourishment (adding sand to beaches to combat erosion) and other soft and hard engineering solutions. In some cases, we’ll even need to retreat from the coast to allow the beach to migrate landward.</p> <p>And if we are to continue to enjoy our sandy beaches into the future, we cannot allow ongoing and increasing greenhouse gas emissions. The world needs urgent, significant and sustained global mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions.</p> <p><em>Written by John Church. Republished with permission of <a href="https://theconversation.com/the-world-may-lose-half-its-sandy-beaches-by-2100-its-not-too-late-to-save-most-of-them-132586">The Conversation.</a> </em></p> <p> </p>

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Australians on board the Diamond Princess need to go into quarantine again: It’s time to reset the clock

<p>The evacuation of about 180 passengers pm February 20<sup>th</sup> from the cruise ship Diamond Princess to serve another period of quarantine back in Australia has raised questions about the best way to control spread of the coronavirus.</p> <p>The passengers had already spent 14 days quarantined on board the ship, which had been docked in Japan, and now face another 14 days at the Howard Springs quarantine facility close to Darwin.</p> <p>By contrast, Japan’s health ministry is allowing <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/19/world/asia/japan-cruise-ship-coronavirus.html">hundreds of people</a> to leave the ship without being subject to further quarantine.</p> <p>So what’s behind Australia’s announcement to impose a second quarantine period? And what were conditions like on board to prompt this decision?</p> <p><strong>What’s quarantine?</strong></p> <p>Quarantines have been put in place around the world as part of the global public health response to COVID-19 – the disease caused by a new coronavirus, now named SARS-CoV-2.</p> <p>The idea is to limit the spread of the virus within and between countries.</p> <p>Formal measures designed to limit contact between infected (or potentially infected) people are called “social distancing”. And they have been used to control communicable diseases for <a href="https://www.bible.com/bible/116/LEV.13.NLT">at least 2,500 years</a>.</p> <p>Today, the term <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm5229a2.htm">quarantine refers to</a> the separation or restriction of movement of people who are not ill but are believed to have been exposed to an infectious disease.</p> <p>This differs to isolation, which is the term used for the separation or restriction of movement of people who are ill, thereby minimising onward transmission.</p> <p><strong>How long should quarantine last?</strong></p> <p>Quarantine periods are determined by certain characteristics of the infectious agent, most notably the incubation period. This is the period between being exposed to it and symptoms appearing.</p> <p>For COVID-19, the <a href="https://www.eurosurveillance.org/content/10.2807/1560-7917.ES.2020.25.5.2000062">average incubation period</a> is thought to be around six days, and can range from two to 11 days.</p> <p>While a <a href="https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.02.06.20020974v1.full.pdf">preliminary report</a> has suggested a longer incubation period of up to 24 days, this is <a href="https://doi.org/10.1002/jmv.25708">considered unlikely</a>.</p> <p>People who have been in close contact with someone confirmed to have COVID-19 are considered to have been potentially exposed to the virus. As a precaution, these people are placed in quarantine, essentially to “sit out” their potential incubation period.</p> <p>The quarantine period of 14 days currently being used in Australia and elsewhere for COVID-19 takes into account the maximum known incubation period for this disease, plus a few extra days as a reasonable precaution.</p> <p>In quarantine, people will either develop the disease and have symptoms or they will remain well. In theory, if a person remains well after their period of quarantine, they are deemed uninfected and restrictions are lifted.</p> <p>Another factor that influences how long someone needs to be quarantined is the infectious period. That’s the period during which the infection can be transmitted from one person to another.</p> <p>If the infectious period starts before the symptoms (from asymptomatic or minimally symptomatic individuals), the virus can be transmitted silently. This can substantially complicate disease prevention and control.</p> <p>When a new virus emerges – as with SARS-CoV-2 – the infectious period is largely unknown. While the proportion of asymptomatic or minimally symptomatic COVID-19 cases is not clear, it is increasingly apparent people can be infected <a href="https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMc2001899?query=RP">without having any symptoms</a>. However, further evidence is needed to see if these people can infect others.</p> <p><strong>When is it best to extend the quarantine period?</strong></p> <p>Crucial to quarantine is ensuring that best possible infection control practices are put in place to prevent ongoing transmission.</p> <p>It is also essential to assess real-time data about newly diagnosed cases, which tells us how effective quarantine measures have been.</p> <p>In some circumstances, it may be necessary to extend a person’s period of quarantine, as in the case of the Australian citizens on board the cruise ship Diamond Princess.</p> <p><strong>So, what happened on board the Diamond Princess?</strong></p> <p><a href="https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/situation-reports">Data from the World Health Organisation</a> (WHO) give us clues to what’s behind Australia’s decision to impose a second period of quarantine.</p> <p>The graph below shows there may have been up to four possible waves of infections on board, including an initial undetected wave before quarantine measures were imposed.</p> <p>Evidence of ongoing transmission during the quarantine period supports the decision by several countries to evacuate their citizens from the Diamond Princess, including Australia, to “reset the clock” and to impose a further 14-day quarantine period.</p> <p>This additional measure – while causing considerable and understandable frustration to those affected – is designed to limit transmission of COVID-19 within Australia.</p> <p><strong>The rights of individuals versus public good</strong></p> <p>Implementing public health measures, such as isolation and quarantine, requires decision-making that <a href="https://www.who.int/healthsystems/topics/health-law/chapter10.pdf">balances the rights</a> of individuals and public good.</p> <p>When appropriately designed and implemented, quarantine and isolation work. Even when quarantine is not absolutely adhered to, it can still be effective at reducing the likelihood of large-scale outbreaks.</p> <p>With <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK92450/">SARS</a> (severe acute respiratory syndrome), these strategies were thought to have been an important part in <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1691853/">controlling the epidemic</a>, though they were <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm5229a2.htm">resource and labour intensive</a>.</p> <p><em>Written by Stacey L Rowe and Benjamin Cowie. Republished with permission of </em><a href="https://theconversation.com/yes-australians-on-board-the-diamond-princess-need-to-go-into-quarantine-again-its-time-to-reset-the-clock-131906"><em>The Conversation.</em></a></p>

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"Raw with grief": White Island volcano victim finally wakes from coma to find husband and stepdaughter died

<p>Adelaide mother and engineer Lisa Dallow woke from a coma and received the heartbreaking news that her daughter and husband passed away in the White Island volcano tragedy.</p> <p>Lisa, 48, told relatives how she and other tourists fled for their lives as rocks rained down on them during the eruption on December 9.</p> <p>She woke in Melbourne’s The Alfred Hospital burns unit and was given the news that her daughter Zoe, 15, and Gavin, 53 had passed.</p> <p>Relatives told<span> </span><em><a rel="noopener noreferrer" href="https://www.adelaidenow.com.au/news/south-australia/sa-woman-lisa-dallow-wakes-from-coma-to-hear-her-husband-gavin-and-daughter-zoe-died-in-the-white-island-volcano-tragedy/news-story/81e97399ddf87c0b4006d2a51933bcb9" target="_blank">The Advertiser</a></em><span> </span>that she was devastated.</p> <p>“Lisa is awake and has been told about Zoe and Gavin, so she now knows what has happened,” a family spokeswoman said.</p> <p>“It took a while for it to sink in and then she just kept saying she can’t believe they had died.”</p> <p>The family spokesman also said that Lisa had some memories of the volcano erupting.</p> <p>“She remembers it exploding and then telling everyone to run,” she said. “She then recalled how rocks were falling everywhere and hitting her on the back.</p> <p>“She remembers thinking: ‘When are they going to come and rescue us?’ The next thing she knows is she is in hospital wondering where she was.”</p> <p>After Lisa missed Gavin’s funeral at Adelaide Oval last month, her family has delayed Zoe’s memorial in the hopes that Lisa can attend as she undergoes intensive rehab.</p> <p>“She wasn’t able to go to Gavin’s funeral, but we are hoping she could make Zoe’s, so they have delayed it until she is a bit better,” the spokesperson explained.</p> <p>“It will be Lisa’s decision, so we all just have to wait and see. It is so devastating for everyone. We are still raw with grief.”</p> <p>Lisa was critically injured after suffering life-threatening burns to almost 60 percent of her body and is currently receiving high-level care from Australia’s top trauma doctors.</p> <p>“It really is a slow road to recovery, Lisa has been up and down,” the spokesman said.</p> <p><em>Photo credits:<span> </span><a rel="noopener noreferrer" href="https://www.adelaidenow.com.au/news/south-australia/sa-woman-lisa-dallow-wakes-from-coma-to-hear-her-husband-gavin-and-daughter-zoe-died-in-the-white-island-volcano-tragedy/news-story/81e97399ddf87c0b4006d2a51933bcb9" target="_blank">Adelaide Now</a><span> </span> <span> </span></em></p>

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Blue Acceleration: our dash for ocean resources mirrors what we’ve already done to the land

<p>Humans are leaving a heavy footprint on the Earth, but when did we become the main driver of change in the planet’s ecosystems? Many scientists point to the 1950s, when all kinds of socioeconomic trends began accelerating. Since then, <a href="https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2016/09/the-countries-with-the-biggest-populations-from-1950-to-2060/">the world population has tripled</a>. Fertiliser and water use expanded as <a href="https://theconversation.com/can-the-earth-feed-11-billion-people-four-reasons-to-fear-a-malthusian-future-43347">more food was grown than ever before</a>. The construction of motorways sped up to accommodate rising car ownership while international flights took off to satisfy a growing taste for tourism.</p> <p>The scale of human demands on Earth grew beyond historic proportions. This post-war period became known as the “<a href="https://theconversation.com/anthropocene-began-in-1965-according-to-signs-left-in-the-worlds-loneliest-tree-91993">Great Acceleration</a>”, and many believe it gave birth to the Anthropocene – the geological epoch during which human activity surpassed natural forces as the biggest influence on the functioning of Earth’s living systems.</p> <p>But researchers studying the ocean are currently feeling a sense of déjà vu. Over the past three decades, patterns seen on land 70 years ago have been occurring in the ocean. We’re living through a “<a href="https://www.cell.com/one-earth/fulltext/S2590-3322(19)30275-1">Blue Acceleration</a>”, and it will have significant consequences for life on the blue planet.</p> <p><strong>Why is the Blue Acceleration happening now?</strong></p> <p>As land-based resources have declined, hopes and expectations have increasingly turned to the ocean as a new engine of human development. Take deep sea mining. The international seabed and its mineral riches have excited commercial interest in recent years due to soaring commodity prices. According to the <a href="https://data.imf.org/commodityprices">International Monetary Fund</a>, the price of gold is up 454% since 2000, silver is up 317% and lead 493%. Around 1.4 million square kilometres of the seabed has been leased since 2001 by the International Seabed Authority for exploratory mining activities.</p> <p>In some industries, technological advances have driven these trends. Virtually all offshore windfarms were installed <a href="https://www.irena.org/Statistics">in the last 20 years</a>. The marine biotechnology sector scarcely existed at the end of the 20th century, and over <a href="https://advances.sciencemag.org/content/4/6/eaar5237">99% of genetic sequences from marine organisms</a> found in patents were registered since 2000.</p> <p>During the 1990s, as the Blue Acceleration got underway, <a href="https://www.infoplease.com/world/population-statistics/total-population-world-decade-1950-2050">the world population reached 6 billion</a>. Today there are around <a href="https://www.worldometers.info/world-population/">7.8 billion people</a>. Population growth in water-scarce areas like the Middle East, Australia and South Africa has caused a <a href="https://www.desaldata.com/">three-fold growth in volumes of desalinated seawater</a> generated since 2000. It has also meant a nearly <a href="https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/IS.SHP.GOOD.TU">four-fold increase</a> in the volume of goods transported around the world by shipping since 2000.</p> <p><strong>Why does the Blue Acceleration matter?</strong></p> <p>The ocean was once thought – even among prominent scientists – to be too vast to be changed by human activity. That view has been replaced by the uncomfortable recognition that not only can humans change the ocean, but also that the current trajectory of human demands on the ocean simply isn’t sustainable.</p> <p>Consider the coast of Norway. The region is home to a multi-million dollar ocean-based oil and gas industry, aquaculture, popular cruises, busy shipping routes and fisheries. All of these interests are vying for the same ocean space, and their demands are growing. A five-fold increase in the number of salmon grown by aquaculture is expected by 2050, while the region’s tourism industry is predicted to welcome a five-fold increase in visitors by 2030. Meanwhile, <a href="https://www.offshorewind.biz/2019/06/19/norway-ponders-3-5gw-offshore-wind-move/">vast offshore wind farms</a> have been proposed off the southern tip of Norway.</p> <p>The ocean is vast, but it’s not limitless. This saturation of ocean space is not unique to Norway, and a densely populated ocean space runs the risk of conflict across industries. Escapee salmon from aquaculture have <a href="https://www.regjeringen.no/en/topics/food-fisheries-and-agriculture/fishing-and-aquaculture/1/farmed-salmon/fish-healthsalmon-lice/id607091/">spread sea lice in wild populations</a>, creating tensions with Norwegian fisheries. An industrial accident in the oil and gas industry could cause significant damage to local seafood and tourism as well as the seafood export market.</p> <p>More fundamentally, the burden on ocean ecosystems is growing, and we simply don’t know as much about these ecosystems as we would like. An ecologist once quipped that fisheries management is the same as forestry management. Instead of trees you’re counting fish, except you can’t see the fish, and they move.</p> <p>Exploitation of the ocean has tended to precede exploration. One iconic example is <a href="https://theconversation.com/sea-pangolin-the-first-ever-species-endangered-by-potential-deep-sea-mining-120624">the scaly-foot snail</a>. This deep sea mollusc was discovered in 1999 and was on the IUCN Red List of endangered species by 2019. Why? As far as scientists can tell, the species is only found in three hydrothermal vent systems more than 2,400 metres below the Indian Ocean, covering less than 0.02 square kilometres. Today, two of the three vent systems fall within exploratory mining leases.</p> <p><strong>What next?</strong></p> <p>Billionaires dreaming of space colonies can dream a little closer to home. Even as the Blue Acceleration consumes more of the ocean’s resources, this vast area is every bit as mysterious as outer space. The surfaces of Mars and the Moon have been mapped in <a href="https://www.ncei.noaa.gov/news/mapping-our-planet-one-ocean-time">higher resolution than the seafloor</a>. Life in the ocean has existed for two billion years longer than on land and an estimated <a href="https://journals.plos.org/plosbiology/article?id=10.1371/journal.pbio.1001127">91% of marine species have not been described by science</a>. Their genetic adaptations could help scientists develop the <a href="https://theconversation.com/nature-is-a-rich-source-of-medicine-if-we-can-protect-it-107471">antibiotics and medicines of tomorrow</a>, but they may disappear long before that’s possible.</p> <p>The timing is right for guiding the Blue Acceleration towards more sustainable and equitable trajectories. The <a href="https://en.unesco.org/ocean-decade">UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development</a> is about to begin, a new <a href="https://www.un.org/bbnj/">international treaty on ocean biodiversity</a> is in its final stages of negotiation, and in June 2020, governments, businesses, academics and civil society will assemble for the <a href="https://oceanconference.un.org/">UN Ocean Conference</a> in Lisbon.</p> <p>Yet many simple questions remain. Who is driving the Blue Acceleration? Who is benefiting from it? And who is being left out or forgotten? These are all urgent questions, but perhaps the most important and hardest to answer of all is how to create connections and engagement across all these groups. Otherwise, the drivers of the Blue Acceleration will be like the fish in the ecologist’s analogy: constantly moving, invisible and impossible to manage – before it is too late.</p> <p><em>Written by Robert Blasiak. Republished with permission of </em><a href="https://theconversation.com/blue-acceleration-our-dash-for-ocean-resources-mirrors-what-weve-already-done-to-the-land-130264"><em>The Conversation.</em></a></p>

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The coronavirus will hit the tourism and travel sector hard this 2020

<p>The spread of infectious diseases is invariably linked to travel. Today, tourism is a huge global business that accounts for <a href="https://www.wttc.org/-/media/files/reports/economic-impact-research/regions-2019/world2019.pdf">10.4 per cent of global Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and 10 per cent of global employment.</a></p> <p>Nothing seems to slow its growth as year-over-year <a href="https://unwto.org/world-tourism-barometer-n18-january-2020">increases outpace the economy</a>. The United Nations World Tourism Organization is predicting further <a href="https://unwto.org/world-tourism-barometer-n18-january-2020">growth of three per cent to four per cent in international tourist arrivals for 2020</a>, with <a href="https://unwto.org/world-tourism-barometer-n18-january-2020">international departures worldwide particularly strong</a> in the first quarter of this year.</p> <p>But that was before a new coronavirus (formally known as 2019-nCoV) hit China and then very rapidly started spreading to the rest of the world with <a href="https://gisanddata.maps.arcgis.com/apps/opsdashboard/index.html#/bda7594740fd40299423467b48e9ecf6">20 countries and counting</a> isolating cases.</p> <p>Officials in China and those in the rest of world have been much quicker to take more drastic action after learning bitter lessons from the SARS outbreak in 2003, which also started in China.</p> <p>The impact on travel to and from China of this new coronavirus, however, has been devastating. Airlines, including <a href="https://www.cbc.ca/news/business/coronavirus-air-travel-1.5444326">Air Canada</a>, <a href="https://www.cnn.com/2020/01/29/business/british-airways-coronavirus/index.html">have cancelled all flights</a> or <a href="https://www.cnn.com/2020/01/29/business/american-airlines-suspends-china-flights-coronavirus/index.html">significantly reduced the number of flights</a> in and out of China. <a href="https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-01-30/russia-closing-border-with-china-to-affect-people-not-goods">Russia closed its land border to passenger travel</a> with China and <a href="https://www.vice.com/en_ca/article/n7jebz/hong-kong-is-closing-its-borders-to-keep-coronavirus-out">Hong Kong shut down its borders, cross-border ferries and railways</a>.</p> <p>How does the impact of 2019-nCoV differ from that of SARS, which also affected tourism dramatically?</p> <p><strong>SARS has higher death toll so far</strong></p> <p>The <a href="https://www.who.int/csr/sars/country/en/">World Health Organization</a> confirmed 8,096 cases and 774 deaths in 26 countries as a result of the SARS coronavirus. First detected in late February 2003, it had run its course five months later.</p> <p>The coronavirus first appeared in December 2019 but has already <a href="http://doi.org/10.1056/NEJMoa2001316">surpassed the total number of SARS cases in just two months</a>, albeit with a much lower death rate. Infectious disease experts expect it <a href="https://www.straitstimes.com/asia/east-asia/wuhan-virus-experts-say-outbreak-will-last-months-at-least">to last for several months</a> yet with tens of thousands afflicted before it runs its course.</p> <p>SARS accounted for a <a href="https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/ST.INT.ARVL">drop in international tourist arrivals of almost 9.4 million</a>and a loss of between US$30 billion and $50 billion. But in 2002, China’s role as both a travel destination and a source country was relatively minor, receiving fewer than 38 million tourists and sending about 17 million tourists abroad.</p> <p>Compare that to 2019 when it is estimated China received <a href="https://www.china-mike.com/china-travel-tips/china-tourism-statistics/">142 million inbound tourists and the Chinese made 134 million trips abroad and 5.5 billion trips domestically</a>.</p> <p>The severe travel restrictions imposed by the Chinese government on its citizens and the stern warnings from Foreign Affairs offices, <a href="https://travel.gc.ca/destinations/china">including Canada’s</a>, to avoid all non-essential travel to China and all travel to Hubei province (Wuhan is its capital and largest city) means that the economic impact of this coronvirus will be felt in every corner of the world and almost every sector of the economy.</p> <p>The market response has been swift, with <a href="https://www.cbc.ca/news/business/coronavirus-economic-impact-1.5437393">share prices of major airlines, cruise lines and tourism companies dropping several percentage points</a>.</p> <p>With the World Health Organization declaring the coronavirus <a href="https://www.who.int/">a public health emergency of global concern</a>, Gloria Guevara, president and CEO of the World Travel and Tourism Council (<a href="https://www.wttc.org/search-results/?query=coronavirus">WTTC</a>) fears that this escalation could have a damaging and lasting economic impact on the sector. She’s <a href="http://www.travelweekly.co.uk/articles/356089/wttc-issues-coronavirus-economic-impact-warning">expressed serious concerns</a> that airport closures, flight cancellations and shuttered borders often have a greater economic impact than the outbreak itself.</p> <p><strong>Hundreds of thousands die from seasonal flus</strong></p> <p>These concerns are well justified when one considers that <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2017/p1213-flu-death-estimate.html">between 291,000 and 646,000 people worldwide die from seasonal influenza-related respiratory illnesses each year</a>, which does not lead to any of these warnings or drastic measures.</p> <p>Canada saw <a href="https://www.who.int/csr/sars/country/en/">251 SARS cases and 43 deaths</a>, but it cost the Canadian economy an estimated <a href="https://www.cbc.ca/news/business/coronavirus-economic-impact-1.5437393">$5.25 billion and 28,000 jobs</a>. At the time, China was a Canadian tourism market of less than <a href="https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/t1/tbl1/en/tv.action?pid=2410000301">100,000 visitors annually; that dropped by 25 per cent due to SARS</a>.</p> <p>Today, China is Canada’s second-largest overseas market, accounting for close to <a href="https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/t1/tbl1/en/tv.action?pid=2410000301">800,000 arrivals</a>, and its highest spending market with more than<a href="https://www.destinationcanada.com/sites/default/files/archive/869-Market%20Highlights%20-%20China%20-%202019/MarketHighlights-CN_EN%5B1%5D.pdf">$2,800 per trip</a>.</p> <p>Depending on how long the restrictions and warnings are in place, losses could easily double of those in 2003. The pain will be felt in every industry as tourism’s supply chain involves everything from agriculture and fishing to banking and insurance. The hardest hit will be its core industries of accommodation, food and beverage services, recreation and entertainment, transportation and travel services.</p> <p>While Air Canada will <a href="https://www.aircanada.com/ca/en/aco/home/book/travel-news-and-updates/2020/china-travel.html">refund fares for cancelled flights</a> to and from China, other airlines may only <a href="https://www.cnn.com/2020/01/28/business/delta-american-united-coronavirus-wuhan-china/index.html">extend change fee waivers</a> or provide credit towards future flights.</p> <p>But this may not be the case for connecting flights from Beijing or Shanghai, the cities most commonly served by North American airlines.</p> <p>A growing number of hotels are also waiving changes and cancellation fees for bookings in China scheduled for the next few weeks. But many travellers to or passing through China may not be able to recover all their money, even if they bought insurance. That’s because most basic travel insurance plans do not cover <a href="https://www.aarp.org/travel/travel-tips/safety/info-2020/insurance-coronavirus-coverage.html">epidemics as a reason for cancellation</a>.</p> <p><em>Written by Marion Joppe. Republished with permission of <a href="https://theconversation.com/the-coronavirus-will-hit-the-tourism-and-travel-sector-hard-130872">The Conversation.</a> </em></p>

Cruising

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Cartel offences in Australia: The crime of anti-competitive conduct

<p>Japanese shipping company Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha Ltd – also known as K-Line – was fined $34.5 million over cartel conduct in the Federal Court <a href="https://www.accc.gov.au/media-release/k-line-convicted-of-criminal-cartel-conduct-and-fined-345-million">in August of 2019 </a>. K-Line admitted to engaging in anti-competitive conduct with other shipping companies between July 2009 and September 2012, which amounted to criminal offence under Australian law.</p> <p>A <a href="https://www.accc.gov.au/system/files/Cartel%20conduct%20how%20it%20affects%20your%20business.pdf">cartel exists</a> when two or more businesses illegally agree to work together, instead of competing.</p> <p>Such conduct allows those involved to control and restrict how a market operates, which in turn, drives up profit margins for the companies, whilst maintaining the illusion of competition.</p> <p>The cartel that K-Line was involved in had been operating since <a href="https://www.accc.gov.au/media-release/k-line-convicted-of-criminal-cartel-conduct-and-fined-345-million">at least February 1997</a>. The companies involved were found to be fixing prices on the transportation of vehicles, such as cars, trucks and buses, being shipped to Australia from the US, Asia and Europe.</p> <p>“Cartel conduct, such as that engaged in by K-Line,” <a href="https://www.accc.gov.au/media-release/k-line-convicted-of-criminal-cartel-conduct-and-fined-345-million">said</a> Australian Consumer and Competition Commission (ACCC) chair Rod Sims, “not only cheats consumers and other businesses through inflated prices and costs, but also restricts healthy economic growth and discourages innovation.”</p> <p>The Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions (CDPP) laid the charges <a href="https://www.accc.gov.au/media-release/criminal-cartel-charges-laid-against-k-line">in November 2016</a>. K-Line ultimately pleaded guilty <a href="https://www.accc.gov.au/media-release/second-shipping-company-pleads-guilty-to-criminal-cartel-conduct">in April last year</a>. And on <a href="https://www.accc.gov.au/media-release/k-line-convicted-of-criminal-cartel-conduct-and-fined-345-million">2 August this year</a>, the Federal Court ordered the largest ever criminal fine imposed under the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (Cth) (the CC Act).</p> <p><strong>Federal Court proceedings</strong></p> <p>K-Line was charged with <a href="https://incompetition.com.au/2019/08/heavy-fines-on-the-high-seas-for-criminal-cartel-conduct/">39 counts</a> of giving effect to a cartel provision, contrary to <a href="http://www5.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/cth/consol_act/caca2010265/s45ag.html">section 45AG</a> of the CC Act. The Japanese company subsequently agreed to plead guilty to a single merged (or ‘rolled up’) charge under the section.</p> <p>The maximum penalty for the offence is a fine not exceeding the greater of three options. The first is a $10 million fine. The second is the total value of the benefits gained by the conduct. And the third is 10 percent of the firm’s earnings over the 12 months prior to committing the offence.</p> <p>In the case of K-Line, the third option applied. This meant that the maximum penalty was $100 million. The court held that the company should be fined $48 million. However, due to its early guilty plea, a 28 percent discount was allowed, which brought the fine down to $34.5 million.</p> <p>Federal Court Justice Michael Wigney <a href="https://www.accc.gov.au/media-release/k-line-convicted-of-criminal-cartel-conduct-and-fined-345-million">said that</a> the penalty “should send a powerful message” that “anti-competitive conduct will not be tolerated and will be dealt with harshly”, when it comes before the court.</p> <p><strong>Cartel conduct</strong></p> <p>The ACCC is an independent federal government authority charged with protecting consumer rights, ensuring business obligations and preventing illegal anti-competitive behaviour, which includes investigating cartel activities.</p> <p>The anti-competitive actions of cartels are known as cartel conduct. This includes price fixing, dividing up markets so each participant is shielded from competition, rigging bids and controlling output of or limiting the goods and services available to consumers.</p> <p>The commission states <a href="https://www.accc.gov.au/business/anti-competitive-behaviour/cartels#report-a-cartel-apply-for-immunity">on its website</a> that cartels are not only “illegal and immoral” because they “cheat consumers”, but as well, they “restrict healthy economic growth” through outcomes, such as artificially increasing prices, reducing innovation, increasing taxes and destroying other businesses.</p> <p>Under its investigative powers, the ACCC can compel individuals and companies to provide information regarding any suspect behaviour, it can seek warrants from a magistrate, which can be executed at a company’s premises, and it can notify the AFP about any cartel conduct.</p> <p>On 15 August 2014, the ACCC and the CDPP signed a memorandum of understanding regarding cartel conduct, which sees the commission in charge of investigating serious misconduct and referring it onto to the CDPP for prosecution considerations.</p> <p><strong>Further cartel offences</strong></p> <p>Under the CC Act, along with section 45AG, there’s another criminal cartel offence contained in <a href="http://www5.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/cth/consol_act/caca2010265/s45af.html">section 45AF</a>, which involves a corporation making a contract or agreement that contains a cartel provision as part of it. The same penalties apply as under 45AG.</p> <p><a href="http://www5.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/cth/consol_act/caca2010265/s45aj.html">Section 45AJ</a> of the CC Act makes it a civil offence for a corporation to make a contract containing a cartel provision, while <a href="http://www5.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/cth/consol_act/caca2010265/s45ak.html">section 45AK</a> makes is a civil offence for a corporation to give effect to a cartel provision.</p> <p><a href="http://www5.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/cth/consol_act/caca2010265/s79.html">Section 79</a> of the CC Act provides that an individual who contravenes, or attempts to contravene, the <a href="https://nswcourts.com.au/articles/proving-criminal-charges-main-and-alternative-charges/">criminal offences</a>under sections 45AF and 45AG has committed a crime. And such a person can be sentenced to up to 10 years imprisonment or fined $420,000.</p> <p>The ACCC makes clear that it’s “illegal for a corporation to indemnify its officers against legal costs and any financial penalties”.</p> <p><strong>The Harper reforms</strong></p> <p>The K-Line conviction follows that of another corporation involved in the same cartel. On 3 August 2017, Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha (NYK) <a href="https://www.accc.gov.au/media-release/nyk-convicted-of-criminal-cartel-conduct-and-fined-25-million">was convicted</a> and fined $25 million over its cartel conduct. And there are investigations continuing into other alleged cartel members.</p> <p>The NYK conviction marked the first successful prosecution under the new cartel criminal provisions of the CC Act, which came in as part of the <a href="https://www.australiancompetitionlaw.org/hottopics/harperreforms.html">2017 Harper reforms</a>. These were recommended in the <a href="http://competitionpolicyreview.gov.au/files/2015/03/Competition-policy-review-report_online.pdf">March 2015 Competition Policy Review report</a>.</p> <p>Two pieces of legislation were passed in parliament in late 2017, which amended the CC Act. The reforms simplified local cartel laws in ways that included narrowing jurisdictional reach, extending the provisions to apply to acquisitions of goods and services and increasing the standard of proof.</p> <p><strong>Ongoing prosecutions</strong></p> <p>And the third prosecution under the new laws is now underway. On 23 August, the CDPP <a href="https://www.accc.gov.au/media-release/global-shipping-company-wallenius-wilhelmsen-charged-with-criminal-cartel-conduct">laid charges</a> related to alleged cartel conduct in the NSW District Registry of the Federal Court against Norwegian-based global shipping company Wallenius Wilhelmsen Ocean.</p> <p>The charges relate to the shipping of vehicles to Australia over the period June 2011 to July 2012. This matter has already been investigated and prosecuted in a number of other jurisdictions around the globe, including the United States.</p> <p>ACCC chair Sims <a href="https://www.accc.gov.au/media-release/global-shipping-company-wallenius-wilhelmsen-charged-with-criminal-cartel-conduct">explained in a recent statement</a> that “this is the third prosecution involving an international shipping company engaging in alleged cartel conduct where criminal charges have been laid under the Competition and Consumer Act”.</p> <p>The commission declined to comment further on the case, as it is currently before the courts. And the first mention of the matter was set to be made last Thursday.</p> <p><em>Written by Paul Gregoire. Republished with permission of </em><a href="https://www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au/blog/cartel-offences-in-australia-the-crime-of-anti-competitive-conduct/"><em>Sydney Criminal Lawyers.</em></a></p>

Cruising

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5 things that you should never do on a cruise

<p><strong>Constantly complain</strong></p> <p>There’s no reason to be rude if something doesn’t go your way during the cruise. Polite people never take issues out on crew members, according to Emilie Dulles, an event protocol and etiquette expert. “The crew is there to ensure that every traveller has the best experience onboard possible, yet they are also skilled human beings who should be treated with respect, grace, and kindness,” Dulles says. “Nothing is as tacky as yelling at a server, or complaining at the turn-down staff for forgetting an extra blanket, or hitting on a mixologist after one too many daiquiris.” Pay respect and attention to cruise workers.</p> <p><strong>Drink too much</strong></p> <p>Everyone should enjoy their cruise, and if that means sipping on fruity cocktails, that’s your business. If drinking regularly isn’t something you do, or you don’t know how to handle your liquor, it could lead to lots of rude behaviour. “Inhibitions go down as blood alcohol content goes up, so to avoid embarrassing oneself and disrupting other travellers’ cruise experience, it’s more polite to keep one’s cocktail count in check,” Dulles says.</p> <p><strong>Let kids run wild</strong></p> <p>Many families don’t keep a close eye on their kids while on a cruise, Dulles says. “There are assigned areas for children to run, jump, and be themselves with full energy under the supervision of trained staff,” Dulles says. “The entire ship is not their playground.” Polite people recognise that not all cruise travellers want to see or hear kids all the time. Mind the signs that show what areas are only for adults, families, or kids. “By respecting those boundaries, not only will children enjoy themselves more, but also adults will be able to relax and make the most of their time at sea.” Some cruises are especially for families.</p> <p><strong>Hoard food</strong></p> <p>All-inclusive food is very alluring. It’s easy to take things to the extreme. And although the buffet is tempting, remember not to be wasteful. “When it comes to the all-inclusive aspect of cruise voyages, many travellers will see this as an opportunity of getting as much as possible out of their fare,” Dulles says. “By piling more food than they can consume on their buffet plate and ordering cocktail after cocktail just because they can, travellers can be very wasteful and inconsiderate towards the crew who spends a lot of time and energy putting together the meals and drinks available.” Instead, take enough food for one sitting. You can always choose to go back for seconds, but this is more elegant than throwing away platefuls of perfectly good food.</p> <p><strong>Dress inappropriately</strong></p> <p>During the daytime, there are generally no dress code requirements on cruises. Tsai notes, however, if you plan on a formal dining experience with other guests, dress appropriately for the occasion. Generally, dress code requirements for the evening are in the cruise’s daily program, according to Tsai.</p> <p><em>Written by Emily DiNuzzo. This article first appeared in<a href="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/travel/10-things-polite-people-never-do-on-cruises?slide=all"> Reader’s Digest</a>. For more of what you love from the world’s best-loved magazine, </em><a href="http://readersdigest.innovations.co.nz/c/readersdigestemailsubscribe?utm_source=over60&amp;utm_medium=articles&amp;utm_campaign=RDSUB&amp;keycode=WRN93V"><em>here’s our best subscription offer.</em></a></p>

Cruising

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5 things polite people just don't do on cruises

<p>Cruises are a wonderful opportunity to sit back, relax, and enjoy the water and sun. Don’t let rude people ruin your cruise – better still, before booking a cruise, learn not to be one of those people who ruin someone else’s holiday.</p> <p><strong>Argue in the cabin</strong></p> <p>Especially late at night, be courteous. “Cruise ship rooms tend to have thin walls; therefore you always want to be respectful when you’re walking through hallways so as not to disturb other guests,” says Bonnie Tsai, founder and director of Beyond Etiquette. “This also includes being as quiet as you can when you’re inside your cabin.” Cruisers who really want to avoid as much noise as possible shouldn’t book their room under the gym or pool deck, if possible.</p> <p><strong>Pretend the cruise is a personal yacht</strong></p> <p>The ship is your home away from home for a set amount of time. You should still keep in mind your behaviour and presentation, according to Tsai. “There’s no need to show off your immense collection of expensive jewellery or wear lingerie or PJs in the hallways,” she says. There are plenty of other guests sharing the same space, and they may not want to see your plaid PJs.</p> <p><strong>Hog lounge chairs</strong></p> <p>It’s impolite to save seats for your family and friends, whether it’s by the pool or in the theatre. Tsai says if you must save a seat, do so for only 30 minutes. Ships have a limited amount of seating, so be mindful. Another important tip to keep in mind is if your group wants to sit together, show up at the same time. “If it’s a situation where every lounger is sure to be occupied by 10 am, many cruises allow guests to place towels on loungers for a maximum of 30 minutes before they arrive,” Tsai says. “Gauge the situation and act with consideration for other guests.” Don’t fall for one of the most common cruise misconceptions, either.</p> <p><strong>Spread germs</strong></p> <p>If you’re not feeling so great during your cruise, do your best to keep your germs to yourself. “When one person is sick on a cruise, it’s easy for the whole ship to get infected as everyone’s staying in close quarters,” Tsai says. If you feel a cold coming on, try to avoid being in overly-crowded areas, so you don’t get others sick as well. And always cover your mouth with the nook of your elbow when you cough or sneeze.</p> <p><strong>Skip the tip</strong></p> <p>Many major cruise lines charge a daily fee for tips, but lots of people have confusion about tipping, according to Tsai. Confirm the tipping policy before booking your cruise. “If the cruise line doesn’t include tip in your payment, be sure to factor that into your budget when you plan for your trip,” Tsai says. “If tipping isn’t included and there is a standard tipping policy, then be sure to deliver it to the staff who’s helped you during your trip.” If tipping is expected, it’s customary for room service, dining services, childcare, and any additional alcohol.</p> <p><em>Written by Emily DiNuzzo. This article first appeared in </em><a href="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/travel/10-things-polite-people-never-do-on-cruises?slide=all"><em>Reader’s Digest</em></a><em>. For more of what you love from the world’s best-loved magazine, </em><a href="http://readersdigest.innovations.co.nz/c/readersdigestemailsubscribe?utm_source=over60&amp;utm_medium=articles&amp;utm_campaign=RDSUB&amp;keycode=WRN93V"><em>here’s our best subscription offer.</em></a></p>

Cruising

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What to pack for a cruise – and 6 things not to bring

<p><strong>Cruise essentials</strong></p> <p>Packing for a cruise is a lot like packing for any other holiday. You’ll want to bring comfy walking shoes for sightseeing and to leave your best jewellery at home. But there are other items – beyond seasickness medications – that expert cruisers never set sail without. Here, a few of our favourite professional cruisers tell us what you’ll find in their suitcases.</p> <p><strong>Do: Stash all your pool items in your carry-on bag</strong></p> <p>“You may not see your checked bag until late on your first day on board,” says Gene Sloan, cruise editor of USA Today. “It can take hours from the time you drop your bag off with the ship-side porters for it to arrive up in your room.” As a result, when we asked him what to pack for a cruise, he recommended stashing your swimsuit, sunglasses and suntan lotion in your day bag so you have them available immediately upon arrival.</p> <p><strong>Do: Pack clothing that can be layered</strong></p> <p> “Weather from port to port can vary significantly,” explains Colleen McDaniel, senior executive editor of CruiseCritic.com. “Packing layers can help combat temperature changes, without the need to pack multiple outfits that can take up precious room in your suitcase.” McDaniel adds that this is especially important in places where the weather is unpredictable.</p> <p><strong>Don’t: Leave home without sunscreen and aloe vera</strong> “Chances are you’ll get more sun than you’re used to,” says McDaniel. “And while a good sunscreen can keep you from getting burned, aloe vera will give you some relief if you do.” So when you’re thinking about what to pack for a cruise, remember to buy the sunscreen and after-sun lotion at home – you could end up paying a markup on many ships.</p> <p><strong>Do: Bring a portable charger or two</strong></p> <p>If you’re someone who doesn’t like to unplug during a vacation, this one is a biggie – especially if you have more than one device or spend hours on social media or email. “You won’t have easy access to outlets around the ship,” explains Fran Golden, chief contributor of Porthole magazine. “And there may be a limited number of outlets in your cabin.”</p> <p><strong>Do: Toss your portable mug in your bag</strong></p> <p>Cruise ships often have complimentary coffee, and it’s usually part of the deck buffet. But your cabin isn’t, so many people go up on deck, grab a couple mugs of coffee first thing in the morning, and burn themselves as they walk back to their cabin. Mike Jirout, founder of the Ship Mate App, has this clever suggestion in his blog: If you’re a big coffee drinker, pack a portable mug with a lid in your suitcase. Travelling with kids? You’ll want sippy cups for their morning milk or juice.</p> <p><strong>Do: Throw in some kitchen magnets</strong></p> <p>“Little-known fact for those who haven’t cruised before: Cruise cabin walls are made of steel,” says McDaniel. “Packing magnets – or magnetic hooks – can help keep track of daily programs and other loose papers, or make it easy to hang items that need to dry. We’ve also used heavy-duty magnetic hooks for stashing away cameras, lanyards and even binoculars.”</p> <p><strong>Do: Bring along a marker board</strong></p> <p>If you’re travelling with a group of friends or family, magnetic marker boards are handy to bring along, says McDaniel. “Hang one outside your cabin door so that you can leave notes for your travel companions.” Now, you’ll never miss out on meeting spots or reservation details.</p> <p><strong>Do: Pick up a pashmina</strong></p> <p>Just because you’re heading to a tropical region, doesn’t mean you won’t want to bring a cover-up to use on board. “I always pack a shawl (a tan cashmere is my go-to-these days), even in tropical climates,” explains Golden, “because sometimes the air-conditioning on ships is intense.” Also, as ships reach full speed, the wind on outdoor decks picks up, and you’ll be happy you brought along a wrap.</p> <p><strong>Do: Pack plenty of reading material</strong></p> <p> “Make sure you have a couple of books on your Kindle or iPad, because for once in your busy life, on a cruise ship you will actually have time to read,” says Golden. “Sometimes I’ll even pick novels based on the destination where I am cruising, or a sea theme. If I have a balcony cabin, the balcony becomes my favourite reading spot.”</p> <p><em>Written by Sherri Eisenberg. This article first appeared in </em><a href="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/travel/cruising/what-to-pack-for-a-cruise-and-6-things-not-to-bring"><em>Reader’s Digest.</em></a><em> For more of what you love from the world’s best-loved magazine,</em><em><u> </u></em><a href="http://readersdigest.innovations.co.nz/c/readersdigestemailsubscribe?utm_source=over60&amp;utm_medium=articles&amp;utm_campaign=RDSUB&amp;keycode=WRN93V"><em>here’s our best subscription offer.</em></a></p>

Cruising

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Top 10 murder capitals of the world

<p> </p> <p>For the most part, travelling the world is an exciting, educational and enlightening experience.</p> <p>But beneath all the warmth, hospitality and culture, there can be a very dark side to many cities which goes unnoticed by most wide-eyed travellers.</p> <p>Counting down are the top ten murder capitals of the world, <a href="http://www.businessinsider.com.au/the-50-most-violent-cities-in-the-world-2015-1#10-so-lus-brazil-had-6471-homicides-per-100000-residents-41">based upon the number of homicides per 100,000 people</a>.\</p> <p><strong>10. São Luís, Brazil</strong></p> <p><a href="http://www.lonelyplanet.com/brazil/the-northeast/sao-luis">São Luís</a> is the largest city in the state of Maranhão, Brazil. It is a world heritage listed area, with its famous tiled buildings, and impressive museums and art galleries which entice tourists from all over the world.</p> <p>But the city also has the tenth highest murder rate in the world, with 64.71 homicides per 100,000 residents. In March this year, the city was rocked by a deadly spate of shootings which saw <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/may/06/ten-murders-in-five-hours-one-deadly-night-in-sao-paulos-dangerous-triangle">10 people killed in the space of just five hours.</a></p> <p>The city is also known for high rates of other violent crimes, including assaults, rapes and muggings. The violence is said to be primarily attributable to gang warfare which dominates the region. But locals say that the city’s military police are also to blame – having killed 6,697 people in the city over the past decade.</p> <p><strong>9. Cali, Columbia</strong></p> <p>It’s the capital of salsa music, and even played host to the World Games in 2013, but Cali’s appalling homicide rate of 62.25 people per 100,000 has left tourists thinking twice about exploring its lively streets.</p> <p>But credit should be given where it is due – crime in Cali has been falling since the early 2000s, when the homicide rate reached as high as 90 per 100,000 people.</p> <p>High crime has been attributed to a lack of investment in security, as well as mafia and drug wars, with over 1,700 assassins estimated to be working in the Cali to this day.</p> <p><strong>8. Fortaleza, Brazil</strong></p> <p>Beautiful Fortaleza is the fifth largest city in Brazil and home to incredible beaches and parks, but the drug trade and organised crime has seen the homicide rate skyrocket to 66.55 per 100,000 people.</p> <p>The rise in violent crime has been accompanied by a <a href="http://www.tripadvisor.com.au/Travel-g303293-s206/Fortaleza:Brazil:Health.And.Safety.html">similar increase in petty crimes</a> such as theft.</p> <p>Tourists are frequently warned to exercise caution when travelling to Fortaleza due to the high rate of kidnappings in the city.</p> <p><strong>7. Valencia, Venezuela</strong></p> <p>Valencia is said to be home to some of the most attractive people on earth, including several beauty pageant winners.</p> <p>But it’s also one of the most dangerous places in the world, with 71.08 homicides per 100,000 people.</p> <p>In fact, former Miss Venezuela Monica Spear and her husband were brutally murdered by the roadside just last year.</p> <p>The reason for high crime rates includes easy access to weapons, corrupt officials and police, lax law enforcement and a prison system marked by violence.</p> <p><a href="http://www.economist.com/blogs/americasview/2014/01/violence-venezuela">90% of murders in Valencia go unpunished</a> – meaning that there is little to deter criminals from taking the law into their own hands.</p> <p><strong>6. Maceió, Brazil</strong></p> <p>A quick Google search for Maceió yields postcard-worthy photos of a coastal paradise, but besides its pretty beaches, the city is known for being one of the most violent cities in Brazil, with a homicide rate of 72.91 per 100,000 residents.</p> <p>The area is marked by poverty and an huge disparity between the rich and the poor, which has underpinned violence and crime.</p> <p>In recent years, Maceió has tried to reinvent itself as a tourist hotspot, with the government recently forking out millions for new police resources, and ‘peace lessons’ being rolled out in classrooms to teach children to be less violent. However, many holidaymakers remain perturbed by the high murder rates.</p> <p><strong>5. Distrito Central, Honduras</strong></p> <p>Widely considered to be <a href="http://news.nster.com/426-the-most-violent-cities-in-the-world-by-alex-flux.html?b=4">the most dangerous municipality in Honduras</a>, Distrito Central is largely controlled by street gangs, who are blamed for the high homicide rate of 77.65 per 100,000 residents.</p> <p>These gangs are involved in the distribution of drugs such as cocaine, morphine and heroin throughout Central America.</p> <p>The city is underpinned by extreme poverty; with almost 70% living below poverty line, and by corruption in the army, police and judicial system.</p> <p><strong>4. João Pessoa, Brazil</strong></p> <p>The easternmost city in the Americas is home to large areas of parkland as well as beautiful beaches fringed by palm trees – but the streets on the outskirts of the city are not so nice.</p> <p>With a homicide rate of 79.41 per 100,000 residents, João Pessoa is one of the most dangerous cities in Brazil. Tourists are frequently robbed at gunpoint, with statistics reporting that 135.8 people are robbed per 100,000.</p> <p><strong>3. Acapulco, Mexico</strong></p> <p>Yet another beach-fringed resort city, Acapulco is popular amongst tourists wishing to work on their tan and enjoy the nightlife – but it is also known for having the highest murder rates in Mexico, with a whopping 104.16 homicides per 100,000 residents.</p> <p>Like many other cities on this list, Acapulco is plagued by drug-related warfare and violence, with rival cartels fighting for control of turf following the death of a major cartel leader in 2009.</p> <p><strong>2. Caracas, Venezuela</strong></p> <p>Caracas is the capital of Venezuela – but it is also one of the world’s crime capitals, with 115.98 murders per 100,000 people.</p> <p>High rates of kidnappings, gun crime, drug-related violence and human trafficking make it a dangerous place to live and visit.</p> <p>These problems are compounded by the fact that police and other authorities are plagued by corruption and rarely investigate crime.</p> <p><strong>1. San Pedro Sula, Honduras</strong></p> <p>With an incredible 171.2 people killed per 100,000 residents – or 3 murders per day – San Pedro Sula takes the top spot on our list of murder capitals around the world.</p> <p>The country has faced extreme poverty after Hurricane Mitch destroyed major fruit plantations and factories – leaving many residents with no option but to turn to criminal means to support themselves and their families.</p> <p>The city is now known as a <a href="http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2316843/Horrific-collection-photos-grim-reality-life-San-Pedro-Sula-Honduras.html">major distribution point for illegal firearms and drugs</a>, as well as a hub for cocaine trafficking – and there are frequently deadly fallouts between gangs, police and army personnel.</p> <p><em>Written by Ugur Nedim. Republished with permission of <a href="https://www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au/blog/top-ten-murder-capitals-of-the-world/">Sydney Criminal Lawyers.</a> </em></p> <p><em> </em></p>

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How to keep your grandkids learning while travelling

<p>The school year is over and holidays are upon us. But that doesn’t mean your children’s learning experiences can’t continue.</p> <p>If you’re planning an overseas trip with your family, you’re in for many benefits. Research shows travel has a <a href="https://www.researchgate.net/publication/258161384_Health_and_Wellness_Benefits_of_Travel_Experiences_A_Literature_Review">positive impact</a> on mental and physical health, and family relationships.</p> <p>Travel is also an <a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/0047287513500588">educational opportunity</a>. It’s a rich experience seeing different parts of the world and understanding other cultures. And there are several things you can do to support your children’s learning.</p> <p><strong>How travel educates</strong></p> <p>The way children learn while travelling is in many respects comparable to what educational researchers call <a href="http://www.ascotkindergarten.vic.edu.au/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/Play-based-learning.pdf">play-based learning</a>. Play-based learning and <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/00094056.2001.10521668">travel stimulate children’s minds</a> by boosting their creativity and imagination. Both can also help develop social and emotional skills and encourage language development.</p> <p>Travelling exposes children to new scenarios and problems to solve – such as following a certain route on a map. They explore new food, encounter people communicating in a different language, notice cars driving on the opposite side of the road and billboards showcasing products they have not seen before.</p> <p>All of their senses are challenged as they go through these new experiences.</p> <p>New experiences can provoke some anxiety, which is what sociologist and education professor Jack Mezirow refers to as <a href="https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-94-6300-797-9_7">disorientating dilemmas</a>. He argues such dilemmas are the first step to <a href="https://researchonline.jcu.edu.au/53100/">transformative learning</a>, where the learner’s existing assumptions are challenged and beliefs transformed.</p> <p>Although Mezirow often associates transformation with elements of life crises, <a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/1541344611421491">others</a> suggest transformative learning can happen in different contexts, most notably travel.</p> <p>But transformative learning usually comes at an emotional cost, such as a <a href="https://www.early-education.org.uk/sites/default/files/Helping%20children%20cope%20with%20change.pdf">change of routine</a> which can lead to mixed emotions, especially for children. This is why travelling as a family provides a buffer, as it often promotes a safe environment.</p> <p><strong>What you can do</strong></p> <p>Some of <a href="https://www.legofoundation.com/media/1063/learning-through-play_web.pdf">the richest learning</a>, for a child, can be disguised as exploration and adventure. Parents can maximise such learning during travel by subtly incorporating <a href="https://www.qcaa.qld.edu.au/downloads/p_10/qklg_pd_intentional_teaching_transcript.pdf">intentional teaching</a> to the experience, just as educators do in play-based learning scenarios.</p> <p>Here are some ways to do this.</p> <p><strong>1. Do some pre-reading about the destination</strong></p> <p>This will help you identify where and how learning might occur. You might also engage your children in this. Say you’re going on a cruise to the South Pacific. Prior to departing you might look at a map of the Pacific with your children to identify the various islands located in this part of the world.</p> <p>You could also encourage your children to discover the special landmarks of different places using <a href="https://www.google.com/earth/">Google Earth</a>. Such activities will support the development of your children’s <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/tea.3660300605">prediction</a> skills. This helps children anticipate future experiences which increases their intellectual involvement with them.</p> <p><a href="https://readingstrategiesmsu.weebly.com/predicting.html">Educational research</a> has shown the act of predicting strengthens connections between children’s new knowledge and their existing understanding of the world.</p> <p><strong>2. Learn some of the language together</strong></p> <p>Learning even a little of the local <a href="https://theconversation.com/how-learning-a-new-language-improves-tolerance-68472">language</a> will open up aspects of the culture you may not have otherwise experienced.</p> <p>Together with your children, you can start learning the basics of the new language by downloading some <a href="https://elearningindustry.com/10-best-language-learning-apps-for-kids">interactive language apps</a>. Another fun way to expand your vocabulary and improve your pronunciation is by singing songs in the target language.</p> <p>Knowing a bit of the local language is a demonstration of respect which means people are more likely to open up to you, further supporting learning opportunities.</p> <p><strong>3. Model an inquiring mind</strong></p> <p>By asking and responding to <a href="https://garyhall.org.uk/importance-of-questioning.html">questions</a> with your children, you’re encouraging new knowledge and helping them engage in critical and creative thinking.</p> <p>For example, when you are walking down the street of the city you are visiting, encourage your children to take notice of what is going on around them and engage in <a href="https://carrotsareorange.com/open-ended-questions/">open-ended questions</a> such as:</p> <ul> <li>“How does this supermarket compare to the one we normally go to back home?”</li> <li>“Why do you think the houses are built that way?”</li> </ul> <p><strong>4. Throw in a little reflection at the end of each day</strong></p> <p>Travel will provide so many learning experiences, you will need to allow time for your child to pause and make sense of them. Any teacher will tell you <a href="http://www.ascd.org/publications/books/108008/chapters/Learning-Through-Reflection.aspx">reflecting</a> is often when the deep connections are made between new experiences and existing world views.</p> <p>Some children will reflect of their own accord, but establishing a routine of doing this together will make sure it happens. The traditional travel diary is still a great tool to engage in self-reflection. Others might enjoy looking at photos taken and reflect on the day through family conversations.</p> <p>Learning is a life-long journey that extends well beyond the walls of the traditional classroom. By planning for just a little intentional teaching, you can help your children learn to critically think about and appreciate the world around them.</p> <p><em>Written by Florence Monique Boulard. Republished with permission of <a href="https://theconversation.com/new-cultures-new-experiences-4-ways-to-keep-kids-learning-while-travelling-126202">The Conversation.</a> </em></p>

Cruising

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Damning evidence sheds awful new light on cruise line toddler death

<p>A man who dropped his young granddaughter on a cruise ship “unquestionably” knew the window was open, the cruise operator alleges in a court filing.</p> <p>Royal Caribbean Cruises filed a motion this month asking the federal court in the Southern District of Florida asking to dismiss a lawsuit by the family of Chloe Wiegand, who fell to her death from an 11th floor window on the Freedom of the Seas ship in Puerto Rico in July 2019.</p> <p>The toddler’s parents have accused the cruise liner of negligence in her death by allowing the window in the children’s play area to be open.</p> <p>In the new filing, Royal Caribbean alleged the blame falls on Wiegand’s 51-year-old grandfather Salvatore Anello, who was charged in Puerto Rico with negligent homicide.</p> <p>The company said surveillance video shows Anello leaning out the open window before lifting Wiegand up to it.</p> <p><img style="width: 500px; height: 291.941px; display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7834041/court-document-pic-5.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/95e2e7fdf05b45f390375a75efd666ee" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><em>Source: <span>United States District Court of Southern Florida</span></em></p> <p>“Because Mr Anello had himself leaned out the window, he was well aware that the window is open,” the court motion said.</p> <p>“This is a case about an adult man, who, as surveillance footage unquestionably confirms: (1) walked up to a window he was aware was open; (2) leaned his upper body out the window for several seconds; (3) reached down and picked up Chloe; and (4) then held her by and out of the open window for 34 seconds before he lost his grip and dropped Chloe out of the window.</p> <p>“His actions, which no reasonable person could have foreseen, were reckless and irresponsible and the sole reason why Chloe is no longer with her parents.”</p> <p>The family’s attorney Michael Winkleman said the cruise company’s motion is “baseless and deceptive”, <em><span>The Indianapolis Star</span></em><span> reported.</span></p> <p><span>Anello told <em><a href="https://www.cbsnews.com/news/salvatore-anello-grandfather-charged-in-cruise-ship-death-speaks-out-2019-11-25/">CBS This Morning</a> </em>in November that he is colourblind and did not realise the tinted window was open. “I thought there was glass,” he said then. “I still say it to myself, it's just, I kind of relive it all the time and I just thought there was glass there.”</span></p>

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Cruise line targets “offensive” clothing for passengers

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Carnival Cruise Lines are issuing a new ban on clothing that might be considered “offensive”. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The announcement made in late 2019 has sparked a heated debate on whether regulating clothing worn infringes on “free speech rights” or if it is even enforceable. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Carnival's brand ambassador and senior cruise director, John Heald, released details about the addition to Carnival's dress code on his popular Facebook page, revealing it was added to the FAQ section of Carnival's website "in the past few days."</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The section reads: "All guests are expected to ensure their clothing and accessories are respectful to fellow guests. Specifically, items worn during the cruise should not contain any message that may be considered offensive or contain nudity, profanity, sexual innuendo/suggestions. In addition, clothing/accessories should not promote negative ethnic or racial commentary, or hatred or violence in any form."</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Carnival spokesman Vance Gulliksen said the change to clothing regulations came "after some incidents were reported in the media about other travel sectors where customers were wearing clothing with very threatening messages."</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The reports "started a discussion about how we were prepared to handle such a situation and the need for clarification to both guests and crew."</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Carnival spokesman Gulliksen said that while the line’s crew members are "not onboard to be the clothing or expression police," staff members will still go out of their way to "look out for guests wearing clothes with inappropriate images or language and ask them to change as needed.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">"We will evaluate situations on a case-by-case basis and take appropriate steps as necessary."</span></p>

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6 ways to stay healthy at sea this summer

<p>A cruise can be the perfect summer holiday. But cruise ships, with hundreds, even thousands of people in close quarters, can also be a hotbed of germs.</p> <p>In particular, cruises are somewhat notorious for outbreaks of gastro. One study, which looked at <a href="http://microbiology.publish.csiro.au/?paper=MA17065">close to 2,000 cruises</a> docking in Sydney, found 5% of ships reported they’d had a gastro outbreak on board.</p> <p>If you’re about to head off on a cruise, there’s no need to panic. There are some precautions you can take to give yourself the best chance of a happy, gastro-free holiday.</p> <p><strong>What causes gastro?</strong></p> <p>Viruses are the leading cause of acute gastroenteritis in Australia. Norovirus is the main culprit, causing an estimated <a href="http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ijid.2014.08.006">2.2 million cases</a> of gastro each year.</p> <p>Norovirus is usually transmitted from <a href="https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1708-8305.2008.00200.x">person-to-person</a> via the faecal-oral route, where virus particles found in the stool of one person end up being swallowed by another person.</p> <p>Extremely <a href="https://doi.org/10.3201/eid1410.080117">large numbers</a> of virus particles are shed in faeces and vomit, yet a person only needs to ingest a <a href="http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/jmv.21237">very small number</a> of virus particles to catch the infection.</p> <p>Norovirus is hardy and <a href="https://doi.org/10.3181/00379727-140-36508">can resist</a> acid conditions (like those in the gut) and moderate temperatures (at which we wash clothes or reheat food, for example). Further, many chemicals used in <a href="http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ijfoodmicro.2013.11.018">cleaning products</a> and <a href="http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jhin.2015.02.019">hand sanitisers</a> don’t effectively remove norovirus.</p> <p>The main symptoms of gastro caused by norovirus are diarrhoea and vomiting. Symptoms normally only last for a short period (<a href="http://doi.org/10.1016/j.jcv.2008.10.009">two to three days</a>), and will stop on their own. The main risk is dehydration, which is of most concern for young children and the elderly.</p> <p><strong>Norovirus on cruise ships</strong></p> <p>Generally, a cruise ship will declare a “gastro outbreak” once <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/nceh/vsp/surv/gilist.htm">2-3%</a> of passengers or crew are ill with gastro symptoms. So on a ship of 2,000 passengers, 40-60 people would need to be unwell before an outbreak is declared.</p> <p>An <a href="http://microbiology.publish.csiro.au/?paper=MA17065">Australian study</a> found 5% of cruise ships that arrived in Sydney between 2007 and 2016 reported gastro outbreaks (98 out of 1967). Of the outbreaks with a known cause, 93% were from norovirus.</p> <p>Reports pop up in the news from time to time when there’s a significant outbreak, like when the Sea Princess recorded <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-01-03/two-hundred-sick-as-gastro-hits-sea-princess/9302372">200 cases of gastro</a> caused by norovirus in 2018.</p> <p><strong>How does it spread?</strong></p> <p>You can be infectious with norovirus <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jhin.2004.07.001">before symptoms appear and even after they resolve</a>, so a person might unknowingly bring norovirus onto a cruise with them.</p> <p>On a cruise ship, norovirus is mainly spread directly from <a href="https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1708-8305.2008.00200.x">person to person</a>. This is not surprising as many activities on a cruise involve mixing with other passengers in a reasonably closed space.</p> <p>While a handshake is a normal greeting, it’s a fairly unsanitary practice. A <a href="https://journals.viamedica.pl/international_maritime_health/article/view/IMH.2016.0034/36943">recent study</a> suggested a “fist-bump” should be promoted on cruises, while a modified version dubbed the “cruise-tap” (where only two knuckles are touched) could be even better.</p> <p>The other way norovirus typically spreads is from touching <a href="https://doi.org/10.1080/15459624.2018.1531131">contaminated surfaces</a>. A person with norovirus may not wash their hands properly (or at all) after going to the toilet, leaving many invisible norovirus particles on their hands.</p> <p>When this person touches surfaces (for example hand rails, buttons in the lift, or utensils at the buffet) they leave behind norovirus particles. Other people can then touch these surfaces and transfer the particles to their own hands. Then, if they put their hands to their mouth, they can give themselves the virus.</p> <p>It’s rare to <a href="https://doi.org/10.1017/s0950268803008689">inhale norovirus particles</a> from the air, but it can occur, usually if someone with the virus vomits nearby.</p> <p>While norovirus can be found in food, cruise ships have strict food handling practices to prevent the spread of illnesses such as norovirus. Though this doesn’t mean it’s unheard of.</p> <p><strong>How to avoid catching norovirus</strong></p> <p>It’s impossible to completely eliminate the risk of catching norovirus, but there are some things you can do to minimise your risk:</p> <ul> <li>wash your hands well and frequently, especially before eating</li> <li>don’t rely on hand sanitisers (hand washing is always better)</li> <li>don’t share food, drinks or eating utensils</li> <li>don’t touch food with your hands</li> <li>reduce unnecessary contact with communal surfaces</li> <li>leave the area if someone vomits.</li> </ul> <p>If you do get gastro symptoms on a cruise, it’s important you tell the medical personnel as soon as possible and follow their instructions.</p> <p>You may be asked to stay in your cabin for a short period so as not to infect other passengers; just as you would wish another infected passenger not to spread the virus to you and your family.</p> <p>The sooner the crew can identify a gastro case, the sooner they can start extra clean-up procedures and take further precautions to prevent an outbreak. Also, if you tell medical personnel, they may be able to provide medication and organise appropriate food to be delivered to your room.</p> <p>Above all, to minimise the risk of gastro spoiling your cruise, wash your hands thoroughly and often.</p> <p><em>Written by Leesa Bruggink. Republished with permission of <a href="https://theconversation.com/cruise-ships-can-be-floating-petri-dishes-of-gastro-bugs-6-ways-to-stay-healthy-at-sea-this-summer-126351">The Conversation.</a> </em></p>

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Where exactly does beach sand come from?

<p>There’s more to beach sand than meets the eye. It has stories to tell about the land, and an epic journey to the sea. That’s because mountains end their lives as sand on beaches.</p> <p>Over time, mountains erode. The mud, sand, gravel, cobbles and boulders they shed are washed into streams, which come together to form rivers. As they flow down to the sea, all this sediment is ground up and worn down in nature’s version of a rock tumbler.</p> <p>Big rocks break down into smaller pieces, so most of what reaches the sea is mud. These silt and clay particles are too small to perceive with the naked eye. But you can see individual grains of sand, which are just bigger bits of rock.</p> <p>Next time you’re at the beach, pick up a handful of sand and look closely at it. Are all the grains the same color, or a rainbow assortment? Are they jagged and angular, or smooth and round?</p> <p>Different colors of sand come from different minerals, like khaki <a href="https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/feldspar#/media/File:Feldspar_1659.jpg">feldspar</a>, smoky white <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quartz#/media/File:Quartz,_Tibet.jpg">quartz</a>, green <a href="https://geology.com/minerals/olivine.shtml">olivine</a> or black <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Basalt#/media/File:BasaltUSGOV.jpg">basalt</a>. The mix of colors in beach sand tells you what kinds of rocks produced it.</p> <p>The shape of sand grains also provides clues about where they come from. Angular grains of the same type of sand have not traveled as far as smooth round grains, which have been more worn down. And weak rocks break down to mud faster than hard rocks, so sand tends to be made of the harder types that break down slowly.</p> <p>About a tenth of the supply of sediment that reaches the sea is sand. These particles are between about half a millimeter and 2 millimeters in size – roughly as thick as a penny. These particles are large enough that they don’t flow right out to the deep sea.</p> <p>But the beach is just a temporary stop for sand. Big waves pull it offshore, and smaller waves push it along the coast. So keeping a beach nourished with sand is essential for keeping it sandy.</p> <p>Many beach towns spend millions of dollars to rebuild eroded beaches with new sand.</p> <p>Yet today many beaches are starving. Many dams trap the sand that flows down rivers, piling it up in reservoirs. All in all, human activity has cut off about <a href="http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.1109454">half the sand</a> that would otherwise end up on the world’s beaches.</p> <p>But humans haven’t turned the waves off, so as beach sand washes away and isn’t replenished, the shoreline erodes. That means that many beaches around the world are shrinking, slowly but surely.</p> <p>So next time you dig your toes into beach sand think about the epic journey it took to arrive beneath your feet. Take a moment to think about where the sand came from and where it’s going.</p> <p><em>Written by David R. Montgomery. Republished with permission of <a href="https://theconversation.com/where-does-beach-sand-come-from-126323">The Conversation.</a> </em></p>

Cruising