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Why doesn’t water help with spicy food? What about milk or beer?

<div class="theconversation-article-body"><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/daniel-eldridge-1494633">Daniel Eldridge</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/swinburne-university-of-technology-767">Swinburne University of Technology</a></em></p> <p>Spicy foods taste spicy because they contain a family of compounds called capsaicinoids. Capsaicin is the major culprit. It’s found in chillies, jalapeños, cayenne pepper, and is even the active ingredient in <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31334983/">pepper spray</a>.</p> <p>Capsaicin doesn’t actually physically heat up your mouth. The burning sensation comes from receptors in the mouth reacting to capsaicin and sending a signal to the brain that something is very hot.</p> <p>That’s why the “hot” chilli sensation feels so real – we even respond by sweating. To alleviate the heat, you need to remove the capsaicin from your mouth.</p> <p>So why doesn’t drinking water help make that spicy feeling go away? And what would work better instead?</p> <h2>Water-loving and water-hating molecules</h2> <p>To help us choose what might wash the capsaicin away most effectively, it’s helpful to know that capsaicin is a hydrophobic molecule. That means it hates being in contact with water and will not easily mix with it.</p> <p>Look what happens when you try to mix hydrophobic sand with water.</p> <figure><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/H8cj9CpHW7w?wmode=transparent&amp;start=0" width="440" height="260" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></figure> <p>On the other hand, hydrophilic molecules love water and are very happy to mix with it.</p> <p>You’ve likely seen this before. You can easily dissolve hydrophilic sugar in water, but it’s hard to wash away hydrophobic oils from your pan using tap water alone.</p> <p>If you try to wash hydrophobic capsaicin away with water, it won’t be very effective, because hydrophilic and hydrophobic substances don’t mix.</p> <p>Going for iced water will be even less effective, as hydrophobic capsaicin is even less soluble in water at lower temperatures. You may get a temporary sense of relief while the cold liquid is in your mouth, but as soon as you swallow it, you’ll be back where you started.</p> <p>Instead, a good choice would be to consume something that is also hydrophobic. This is because of an old-but-true adage in chemistry that “like dissolves like”.</p> <p>The idea is that generally, hydrophobic substances will not dissolve in something hydrophilic – like water – but will dissolve in something that is also hydrophobic, as this video shows:</p> <figure><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/s5yfs-Pr_y8?wmode=transparent&amp;start=0" width="440" height="260" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></figure> <h2>My mouth is on fire. What should I drink instead of water?</h2> <p>A swig of oil would likely be effective, but is perhaps not so palatable.</p> <p>Milk makes for an ideal choice for two reasons.</p> <p>The first is that milk contains hydrophobic fats, which the capsaicin will more easily dissolve in, allowing it to be washed away.</p> <p>The second is that dairy products contain a protein called casein. Casein is an emulsifier, a substance that helps oils and water mix, as in this video:</p> <figure><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/S4XeQhZRLDE?wmode=transparent&amp;start=0" width="440" height="260" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></figure> <p>Casein plays a large role in keeping the fat mixed throughout your glass of milk, and it also has a strong affinity for capsaicin. It will readily wrap up and encapsulate capsaicin molecules and assist in carrying them away from the receptor. This relieves the <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/36510373/">burning sensation</a>.</p> <h2>OK but I hate drinking milk. What else can I try?</h2> <p>What about raita? This dish, commonly served with Indian curries, is made primarily from yoghurt. So aside from being its own culinary experience, raita is rich in fats, and therefore contains plenty of hydrophobic material. It also contains casein, which will again help lock up and remove the capsaicin.</p> <p>Ice cream would also work, as it contains both casein and large amounts of hydrophobic substances.</p> <p>Some studies have also shown that consuming <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9328490/">drinks with large amounts of sugar</a> can relieve spiciness.</p> <p>What about reaching for that ice cold beer?</p> <p>This is commonly suggested as a suitable approach to stop the burning. At first glance, this may seem a good idea because capsaicin is highly soluble in alcohol.</p> <p>However, most beers only contain between 4–6% alcohol. The bulk of the liquid in beer is water, which is hydrophilic and cannot wash away capsaicin. The small amount of alcohol in your beer would make it slightly more effective, but not to any great degree.</p> <p>Your curry and beer may taste great together, but that’s likely the only benefit.</p> <p>In truth, an alcoholic beverage is not going to help much unless you go for something with a much, much higher alcohol content, which comes with its own problems.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/226624/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/daniel-eldridge-1494633">Daniel Eldridge</a>, Senior Lecturer in Chemistry, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/swinburne-university-of-technology-767">Swinburne University of Technology</a></em></p> <p><em>Image </em><em>credits: Shutterstock</em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/why-doesnt-water-help-with-spicy-food-what-about-milk-or-beer-226624">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

Food & Wine

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Why a cold beer is best – chemically speaking

<p>A quiet moment in a bar has led two researchers to study how alcohol tastes at different temperatures. No, this is real science.</p> <div class="copy"> <p>“Two years ago, Xiaotao Yang and I were drinking beer together. He had just finished his doctorate degree thesis and asked me, ‘what should we do next?’” says Lei Jiang, lead author of a new study <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.matt.2024.03.017" target="_blank" rel="noopener">published</a> in the materials science journal <em>Matter</em>.</p> <p>Yang and Jiang are material scientists at the Chinese Academy of Sciences.</p> <p>“At the time, I was a scientific committee member of one of the biggest Chinese alcoholic beverage companies, and I had the idea to ask the question ‘why does Chinese baijiu have a very particular concentration of alcohol, either 38%–42%, 52%–53%, or 68%–75%?’”</p> <p>Baijiu is a clear grain liquor from East Asia. It’s typically distilled from fermented sorghum (a type of grass), though it is also sometimes made from rice, wheat, barley or millet.</p> <p>“Then we decided, let’s try something, so I put a drop of beer on my hand to see the contact angle,” says Jiang.</p> <p>Contact angle is a measure of surface tension. For example, water has a low contact angle which is why it appears bead-like when placed on a surface. Solutions with high <a href="https://cosmosmagazine.com/health/body-and-mind/debunks-vices-alcohol/">alcohol</a> concentration, however, have a higher contact angle meaning they flatten and spread out.</p> <p>Contact angle also reveals how molecules within the droplet interact with each other and the surface below.</p> <p>After plotting the concentration of ethanol (alcohol) against contact angle, the scientists were surprised with what they found. There is no linear relationship between alcohol concentration and contact angle.</p> <p>Instead, increasing the amount of alcohol leads to a series of plateaus and sharp rises in the plot. Further experiments showed that this arises out of the formation of clusters of ethanol and water in the solutions.</p> <p>At low concentrations, ethanol forms pyramid-like structures around the water molecules. At high concentrations, the ethanol molecules arrange end-to-end in a chain.</p> <p>They also found that these structures change depending on temperature.</p> <p>For example, 38%–42% and 52%–53% ethanol solutions have distinct cluster structures at around room temperature, but this difference disappears at higher temperatures, like 40°C.</p> <p>“Although there is only 1% difference, the taste of baijiu at 51% and 52% is noticeably different; the taste of baijiu at 51% is similar to that of lower alcohol content, such as 38%–42%. So, in order to achieve the same taste at a lower alcohol content, the distribution of baijiu products ranges most within the 38%–42% and 52%–53% categories,” says Jiang.</p> <p>The researchers also found that there is an increase in ethanol chains at 5°C in 5% and 11% ethanol solutions – the concentration range of beer – giving it a more “ethanol-like” taste which is generally preferred.</p> <p>“At low temperature, the tetrahedral (pyramid-shaped) clusters become the low concentration amount, and this is why we drink cold beer,” says Jiang.</p> <p>The researchers say their research could help beverage companies produce the best flavour with the lowest alcohol concentration.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock </em></p> <div> <p align="center"><noscript data-spai="1"><em><img decoding="async" fetchpriority="high" class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-198773" src="https://cdn.shortpixel.ai/spai/q_lossy+ret_img+to_auto/cosmosmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/11/Cosmos-Catch-Up-embed_728x150-1.jpg" data-spai-egr="1" alt="Sign up to our weekly newsletter" width="600" height="154" title="why a cold beer is best – chemically speaking 2"></em></noscript></p> </div> <p><em><!-- Start of tracking content syndication. Please do not remove this section as it allows us to keep track of republished articles --> <img id="cosmos-post-tracker" style="opacity: 0; height: 1px!important; width: 1px!important; border: 0!important; position: absolute!important; z-index: -1!important;" src="https://syndication.cosmosmagazine.com/?id=303282&amp;title=Why+a+cold+beer+is+best+%E2%80%93+chemically+speaking" width="1" height="1" loading="lazy" aria-label="Syndication Tracker" data-spai-target="src" data-spai-orig="" data-spai-exclude="nocdn" /> <!-- End of tracking content syndication --></em></div> <div id="contributors"> <p><em><a href="https://cosmosmagazine.com/science/chemistry/beer-taste-temperature/">This article</a> was originally published on <a href="https://cosmosmagazine.com">Cosmos Magazine</a> and was written by <a href="https://cosmosmagazine.com/contributor/evrim-yazgin/">Evrim Yazgin</a>. </em></p> </div>

Food & Wine

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Aussies lament the end of ancient "Beers for Garbos" tradition

<p>Here in Australia, where rubbish collectors are celebrated annually with a frosty brew (or six), a cherished tradition is facing its untimely demise.</p> <p>Yes, you guessed it right – the legendary "Beers for Garbos" tradition, where grateful locals adorn their wheelie bins with a six-pack of beer as a token of appreciation, is disappearing faster than a cold beer on a scorching summer day.</p> <p>For generations, Aussies have upheld this festive practice, a heartwarming exchange between citizens and their garbage collectors during the most wonderful time of the year. But alas, the tides are turning, and it seems the days of beer-topped bins are numbered.</p> <p>The alarm was sounded when a concerned citizen took to the virtual streets of Reddit to lament the decline of this time-honoured tradition. "I've been doing this for 20 years, only the last two years they don't seem interested. Is this a tradition we are losing?" cried out the desperate Redditor, faced with the heartbreaking prospect of having their VB left unwanted and <span style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;">unclaimed</span><span style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;">.</span></p> <p>Speculations ran wild in the digital realm, with theories ranging from light-fingered neighbours to the outrageous notion that beer might not be as popular as it once was. However, Veolia, the giant among waste management companies in Australia, quickly extinguished the fiery speculations.</p> <p>Veolia's chief operating officer of environment, Tony Roderick, delivered the crushing blow, confirming that the "Beers for Garbos" tradition had taken its last bow. The culprit? Health and safety concerns, the perennial party poopers of workplace festivities. Roderick explained, "Packages of beer become missiles in the cabin of the truck under emergency braking."</p> <p>Picture this: a garbage truck hurtling down the suburban streets, emergency brakes screeching, and inside, a symphony of exploding beer bottles. It's a hazardous scenario that even the most seasoned garbage collector might find hard to navigate. Moreover, Veolia has a company-wide dry workplace policy, dashing hopes of a beer-fuelled trash pickup.</p> <p>But fear not, for Roderick is not entirely Ebenezer Scrooge. He encourages alternative forms of gift-giving. "Should people want to leave a small gift for their local driver, it is possible to leave it at the local depot where the driver can collect it at the end of the shift."</p> <p>So, instead of a six-pack perched on the bin, envision a quaint scene of a garbage collector picking up a thoughtful gift basket at the depot – the stuff of modern Aussie holiday magic.</p> <p>As we bid adieu to the "Beers for Garbos" era, let's raise a glass in fond remembrance. May your wheelie bins be forever adorned with the spirit of giving, even if the contents are now strictly non-alcoholic. Cheers to a new era of sober, yet equally heartfelt, expressions of gratitude for our unsung garbage heroes!</p> <p><em>Images: Facebook</em></p>

Home & Garden

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Not all beer and pokies: what Australians did with their super when COVID struck

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/nathan-wang-ly-1380895">Nathan Wang-Ly</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/unsw-sydney-1414">UNSW Sydney</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/ben-newell-46">Ben Newell</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/unsw-sydney-1414">UNSW Sydney</a></em></p> <p>What happens when people withdraw their retirement savings early?</p> <p>We’ve just found out.</p> <p>During the first year of COVID Australians who faced a 20% decline in their working hours (or turnover for sole traders) or were made unemployed or were on benefits were permitted to take out up to <a href="https://www.ato.gov.au/Individuals/Super/In-detail/Withdrawing-and-using-your-super/COVID-19-early-release-of-super-(closed-31-December-2020)/">A$10,000</a> of their super between April and June 2020, and a further $10,000 between July and December.</p> <p>Five million took up the offer. They withdrew <a href="https://www.apra.gov.au/covid-19-early-release-scheme-issue-36">$36 billion</a>.</p> <p>Most of those surveyed by the Institute of Family Studies said they used the money to cover <a href="https://aifs.gov.au/sites/default/files/publication-documents/2108_6_fias_superannuation_0.pdf">immediate expenses</a>. But definitions of “immediate” can vary.</p> <p>Real time transaction card data appeared to show early withdrawers boosted their spending by an average of <a href="https://www.illion.com.au/buy-now-pay-later-winner-of-stimulus/">$3,000</a> in the fortnight after they got the money.</p> <p><a href="https://www.stptax.com/emergency-super-withdrawal-spent-on-pokies-beer-and-uber-eats/">One interpretation</a> said they spent the money on “beer, wine, pokies, and takeaway food, rather than mortgages, bills, car debts, and clothes”.</p> <p>In order to get a more complete picture, we obtained access to millions of anonymised transaction records of customers of Australia’s largest bank, the <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0313592622001060?via%3Dihub#bfn3">Commonwealth Bank</a>.</p> <p>The data included 1.54 million deposits likely to have been money withdrawn through the scheme including 1.04 million we are fairly confident did.</p> <h2>Who dipped into super?</h2> <p>The data provided by the bank allows us to compare circumstances of withdrawers and non-withdrawers including their age, time with the bank, and banking behaviour before COVID.</p> <p>We find withdrawers tended to be younger and in poorer financial circumstances than non-withdrawers before the pandemic. Six in ten of the withdrawers were under the age of 35, a finding consistent with data reported by the <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-05-25/coronavirus-early-access-superannuation-young-people/12282546">Australian Taxation Office</a>.</p> <p>Withdrawers tended to earn less than non-withdrawers, even non-withdrawers of the same age. Only 17% of withdrawers for whom we could identify an income earned more than $60,000 compared with 26% of non-withdrawers. And withdrawers had lower median bank balances ($618 versus $986).</p> <p>For those with credit cards and home loans, withdrawers were about twice as likely to be behind on repayments as non-withdrawers (9.7% versus 5.8% for credit cards, and 8.2% versus 3.4% for home loans).</p> <p>These characteristics suggest that, despite concerns of the scheme being exploited due to the application process <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-09-03/-are-people-being-allowed-to-access-their-super-without-scrutiny/12618002">not requiring any documentation</a>, most of those using the scheme genuinely needed the money.</p> <h2>Where did the money go?</h2> <p>Compared to non-withdrawers, those who withdrew increased their spending (on both essential and discretionary items), paid back high-interest debts, boosted their savings, and became less likely to miss debt payments.</p> <p>Withdrawers spent an average of $331 more per month on debit cards in the three months after withdrawal, and $126 per month in the following three months.</p> <p>They spent an extra $117 per month on credit cards during the first three months, which shrank to an extra $13 per month in the following three months.</p> <p>The average withdrawer spent 7% more per month on groceries than the average age and income matched non-withdrawer, 12% more on utilities such as gas and electricity, 16% more on discretionary shopping, and 20% more on “entertainment,” a Commonwealth Bank category that includes gambling.</p> <h2>Less debt, less falling behind</h2> <p>In the three months that followed withdrawing, withdrawers also averaged $437 less credit card debt and $431 less personal loan debt than age and income matched non-withdrawers, differences that shrank to $301 and $351 in the following three months.</p> <p>They also became less likely to fall behind on credit card and personal loan payments, a difference that vanished after three months.</p> <p>Our interpretation is that the scheme achieved its intended purpose: it provided many Australians in need with a financial lifeline and helped buoy them during uncertain and turbulent times.</p> <h2>Lessons learned</h2> <p>At the same time, our <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0313592622001060?via%3Dihub#bfn3">findings</a> identify areas of concern. The fact that most withdrawals were for the permitted maximum of $10,000 highlights the need to carefully consider the withdrawal limit.</p> <p>While these sums might simply reflect the true amount of money individuals needed to sustain themselves, it might be that many withdrawers were unsure of how much to <a href="https://cepar.edu.au/sites/default/files/Determinants%20of%20Early%20Access%20to%20Retirement%20Savings_Lessons%20from%20the%20COVID19%20Pandemic_BatemanDobrescuLiuNewellThorp_July21.pdf">withdraw</a> – not knowing how long the pandemic would continue.</p> <p>Another consideration is how to best support withdrawers after they have taken out the money. More than half were under the age of 35, and might find themselves with a good deal less super than they would have in retirement.</p> <p>The government has already introduced <a href="https://www.ato.gov.au/super/apra-regulated-funds/in-detail/apra-resources/re-contribution-of-covid-19-early-release-super-amounts/">tax concessions</a> for withdrawers who contribute funds back into their retirement savings accounts. Super funds might also be able to help, by sending targeted messages to those who have withdrawn.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/190911/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/nathan-wang-ly-1380895"><em>Nathan Wang-Ly</em></a><em>, PhD Student, School of Psychology, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/unsw-sydney-1414">UNSW Sydney</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/ben-newell-46">Ben Newell</a>, Professor of Cognitive Psychology, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/unsw-sydney-1414">UNSW Sydney</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/not-all-beer-and-pokies-what-australians-did-with-their-super-when-covid-struck-190911">original article</a>.</em></p>

Money & Banking

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Return and Earn is a great way to recycle

<p>When you recycle your eligible bottles and cans through Return and Earn, the material that is used to make the bottles and cans stay in use for as long as possible and are turned into new products, rather than ending up in landfill or polluting waterways.</p> <p>The scheme has already more than halved the number of drink containers littering our parks, waterways, or ending up in landfill compared to before the scheme was launched in December 2017.</p> <p><strong>What happens to containers returned through Return and Earn?</strong></p> <p>Have you ever wondered what happens to the containers once they are returned through the scheme?</p> <p>All containers returned through Return and Earn are recycled. The containers are picked up from the return points and trucked to a sorting facility where the containers are processed depending on the material type. Cans are crushed and baled into a giant cube, glass bottles are crushed into small particles called cullet; and plastic bottles are sorted by type and colour and shredded into smaller flakes before being turned into pellets.</p> <p><img class="alignnone size-full wp-image-68727" src="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2023/08/crushed-cans-770.jpg" alt="" width="770" height="500" /></p> <p>The giant cubes of Aluminium cans are melted, rolled into sheets, and sent to manufacturers to be turned into new cans or other products – some even go to make up aeroplane parts!</p> <p>Glass cullet is melted and mixed with raw materials before being blown into a new glass bottle and sent to drink companies.</p> <p>The plastic pellets are melted down, moulded and blown into new plastic bottles, ready to be bought be retailers.</p> <p>The new bottles and cans made from the recycled materials are filled by the beverage companies, labelled, capped, and ready to be consumed.</p> <p>By using the recycled material from Return and Earn, we save water, energy, and landfill, as well as reducing the carbon emissions that would be used if new raw materials were used instead. This conservation contributes to a more sustainable and efficient economy.</p> <p><strong>Keeping materials in Australia</strong></p> <p>The purity and quality of the material from Return and Earn plays a crucial role in establishing local recycling facilities so most of the key materials stay in Australia.  A key milestone was the opening of the Circular Plastics Australia plant in Albury, NSW, in March 2022. This state-of-the-art PET plastic recycling facility is a joint venture between waste industry and beverage industry partners and is the largest of its kind in Australia.</p> <p>The facility reprocesses 100% of the PET (one of the materials that make up plastic containers) collected through the Return and Earn network of over 600 return points and uses the materials to remake new bottles and other food-grade plastic packaging.</p> <p>All glass collected through the Return and Earn network is also being reprocessed in Australia and contributes to the growing demand of locally sourced glass to use in making new bottles and other products.</p> <p>Having facilities in Australia means that the cycle of making a new container from the recycled material is fast. Plastic bottles can be back on the shelf in as little as six weeks and glass bottles in four weeks. Now that’s recycling at its best.</p> <p><img class="alignnone size-full wp-image-68725" src="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2023/08/what-happens-when-you-return-and-earn-journey-image_770.jpg" alt="" width="770" height="846" /></p> <p><strong>Do you recycle?</strong></p> <p>It’s easier than ever to recycle your empty containers through Return and Earn. We have over 600 return points across Australia, and we continue to work with businesses and local councils to identify more sites.</p> <p>Every container counts – recycling is an important way to reduce the load on our natural resources and keep valuable waste on the path to being remade into new products and used again. These small acts can make a big impact.</p> <p>If you’re not interested in returning the containers, consider leaving them out for others in your neighbourhood that are collecting them, or donate them to a charity or community group who is fundraising through the scheme. If you are unable to give them away, place your empty drink containers in your yellow lid recycle bin.</p> <p>For more information about Return and Earn, and to find your nearest return point visit <a href="https://returnandearn.org.au/">returnandearn.org.au</a></p> <p><strong>Case Study: </strong><strong>Sharing the dignity through recycling</strong></p> <p>Semi-retiree Wendy Pluckrose from the far north NSW coast has supported Share the Dignity for years, so when she discovered Return and Earn it seemed an obvious way to raise some extra funds as well as protect the environment.</p> <p>Share the Dignity is a women's charity in Australia, that works to make a real difference in the lives of those experiencing homelessness, fleeing domestic violence, or doing it tough.</p> <p>Wendy has installed bins at home and at local shops and restaurants to collect eligible drink containers.  Most days she collects between 100 – 500 containers, and in the last year has raised nearly $3,500 from around 35,000 containers recycled through Return and Earn.</p> <p>“Return and Earn is just free money!” Wendy said. “It’s a little bit of effort, but it makes a big difference.”</p> <p><img class="alignnone size-full wp-image-68728" src="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2023/08/share-the-dignity-photo-article-770.jpg" alt="" width="770" height="733" /></p> <p>With the containers collected so far, not only is the refund going towards buying women’s sanitary products to women experiencing hardships, but it has also contributed to protecting the environment.</p> <p>By recycling 35,000 containers to be remade into new containers rather than using virgin materials, the environmental savings calculated by the <a href="https://returnandearn.org.au/impact-calculator/">Impact Calculator</a> include 206,000 litres of water; 46 gigajoules of energy that equates to six months of energy consumption for a household; and 2,100 kilograms of material entering landfill. The carbon emissions avoided equates to keeping two cars off the road for 18 months.</p> <p>To learn more about Return and Earn, <a href="https://returnandearn.org.au/">head to their website</a>.</p> <p><em>Images: Return and Earn.</em></p> <p><em>This is a sponsored article produced in partnership with Return and Earn.</em></p>

Retirement Income

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Peter Stefanovic and Sylvia Jeffreys list multimillion-dollar home

<p dir="ltr">TV presenter power couple Peter Stefanovic and Sylvia Jeffreys have listed their Double Bay terrace for sale. </p> <p dir="ltr">The couple placed their home on the market for $4.5 million, as they start the search for a bigger and better family home for them and their two sons. </p> <p dir="ltr">The four-bedroom terrace with two-and-a-half bathrooms in Epping Rd is scheduled to go under the hammer on August 22nd with a $4.5m price guide via Oliver Lavers of The Rubinstein Group.</p> <p dir="ltr">Stefanovic, a co-host of <em>First Edition</em> on Sky News Australia, and Jeffreys, co-host of <em>Today Extra</em> on Channel 9, had bought the home on a 186 sqm block for $2.7m in 2016.</p> <p dir="ltr">In their seven years at the home, the couple have made a range of improvements including adding off-street parking, and created an impressive outdoor entertainment area with inbuilt seating and barbecue in the rear courtyard.</p> <p dir="ltr">The impressive property boasts open plan living areas, polished timber floors, marble finishes in the kitchen, and underfloor heating in the bathrooms. </p> <p dir="ltr">Two master-sized bedrooms open to balconies, alongside a third on the upper floor, and a versatile fourth bedroom could serve as an office.</p> <p dir="ltr">The couple met in 2014 when they were both colleagues at Channel Nine - she was working on <em>The Today Show</em> while he was a foreign correspondent for <em>Nine News</em>, and they bumped into each other in the station’s carpark. </p> <p dir="ltr">Two years later in 2016, Stefanovic popped the question in a French vineyard, and they were married the following year in Kangaroo Valley.</p> <p dir="ltr">The couple have two sons - Oscar, who was born in early 2020 and Henry, who arrived a little more than a year later.</p> <p dir="ltr">With their sons growing up and needing more space, the family are looking for a bigger home in Sydney’s eastern suburbs. </p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image credits: realestate.com.au / Instagram</em></p>

Real Estate

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Returning and Earning for your community

<p>Charities and community groups across NSW are cashing in empty drink containers to support their important work in the community, all with the added benefit of helping the environment. It’s an easy win-win to fundraise through Return and Earn, and it makes donating to a local charity or community group very easy.</p> <p>Return and Earn is the incredibly successful container deposit scheme in NSW, where 10 cents is refunded for every eligible drink container returned for recycling through the network of 600+ return points across the state.</p> <p>Since launching over five years ago, <a href="https://returnandearn.org.au" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Return and Earn</a> has become an important and well used channel for charities and community groups fundraising to support a range of local and broader causes. Groups such as Rotary and Lions Clubs, animal rescue organisations, and fire and rescue services are just a few of the many different cohorts that have partnered with Return and Earn and relied on the generosity of NSW citizens to help them do vital work in their communities.</p> <p>“We’ve seen many groups really embrace the scheme, showing a humbling passion for giving back to the community – whether it’s to help fund an event for a local club, or to donate to a charity,” said Danielle Smalley, CEO of scheme coordinator, Exchange for Change.</p> <p>“Some of these groups have raised a lot of money from recycling drink containers through Return and Earn. Often local residents and businesses are handing over their containers or donating their refunds to support the cause, proving there is enormous goodwill in the community.”</p> <p>The Gerringong Lions Club recently celebrated one million containers collected, raising $100,000 that was donated to a variety of causes including medical research, local sporting facilities, as well as helping both Australian and oversees Lions Clubs provide relief during catastrophes.</p> <p><img class="alignnone size-full wp-image-67811" src="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2023/06/Gerringong-Lions-Club-image-2-for-article-2_RD.jpg" alt="" width="770" height="500" /></p> <p><em>The Gerringong Lions Club are now raising around $20,000 each year.</em></p> <p>The COVID shutdowns and restrictions put a halt to the activities that would normally bring funds to the club. Return and Earn was the only means for the club to generate an income to help the community during this time.</p> <p>As routine users of the scheme, the Gerringong Lions Club are now raising around $20,000 each year, all the while making positive impacts to the environment.</p> <p>Bruce Ray is a past president and active member of the club, and says he gets a sense of satisfaction knowing they are helping the community while also looking out for the environment.</p> <p>“We have the bins at the hotel, the bowling club, and campgrounds. The club also provides the container collection bins for events such as weddings and uses them at local New Years’ Eve events,” said Mr Ray.</p> <p>In Cobar, the local Rotary Club is also using Return and Earn to support the work in their community. They partnered with the local Girl Guides who help the club sort through any drink containers collected. They’ve now raised more than $25,000 since they began in early 2020.</p> <p>Club Secretary Gordon Hill said that one of the benefits for the Girl Guides is the real-world experience in seeing how much locally created waste can be recycled.</p> <p>“It also provides a healthy opportunity for a challenge to see which girls can pack the most containers during a 1.5 to 2 hour session. The record currently stands at 3,080, but the challenge continues,” Gordon added.</p> <p><img class="alignnone size-full wp-image-67813" src="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2023/06/Cobar-Rotary-Club-image-for-article-2_RD.jpg" alt="" width="770" height="500" /></p> <p><em>In Cobar, the local Rotary Club has partnered with the Girl Guides to help with sorting!</em></p> <p>Since Return and Earn launched in December 2017, over $42 million has been raised through donations and return point hosting fees. The funds have made a significant difference to individuals and groups who have received the support.</p> <p>“There are a lot more collection drives in the community that we don’t track, so the total fundraising amount is in fact even higher,” Ms Smalley said.</p> <p>“We encourage all our Return and Earn users to consider donating containers to a local charity or community group either at the nearest Return and Earn machine or using the Return and Earn app.</p> <p>“And if you’re a member of a group looking for an easy and effective way to fundraise, consider Return and Earn where you can double the benefit by raising funds while also helping the environment.”</p> <p>Every Return and Earn machine features a local donation partner, to whom users can donate part or all of their refunds to. The charity listed changes every six months to give as many groups as possible the opportunity.</p> <p>Charities and groups can also elect to be listed on the Return and Earn app, allowing anyone using the app at a machine or automated depot to donate direct to their favourite charity. There are currently over 170 charities featured on the app.</p> <p>When using a Return and Earn machine, select donate, then select which of the charities listed you want the funds to go. If you’re using the Return and Earn app, simply select donation as your payout option and then select the charity or group you would like to donate your refund to.</p> <p>“Contributions don’t need to be big to make a difference. It can be as easy as collecting a few eligible drink containers and donating them to a charity, helping local communities thrive while looking after the environment.” said Ms Smalley.</p> <p>For more information on donating through Return and Earn visit <a href="https://returnandearn.org.au/donate/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">returnandearn.org.au/donate/</a></p> <p><em>Images: Supplied</em></p> <p><em>This is a sponsored article produced in partnership with Return and Earn.</em></p>

Money & Banking

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From Corona beer to the coronation, the crown is branding fit for a king

<p>As a fashion statement or piece of art, crowns are distinguished by their beauty, containing rare jewels, precious metals and velvet in deep, rich colours. As a symbol, crowns are associated with majesty, authority and sovereignty. And as the coronation of King Charles III reminds us, the crown is also a superlative brand. </p> <p>Though images of crowns are often used in royal branding, it is rare for monarchs these days to actually wear crowns. In the western monarchical tradition, the British monarchy is an exception, with kings and queens undergoing a crowning ceremony. </p> <p>In the UK the crown encompasses both the monarch and the government, namely King Charles III and His Majesty’s government. The title of the Netflix drama “The Crown” has made this association clear even to international audiences unfamiliar with British constitutional principles. </p> <p>The reign of late Queen Elizabeth II was represented by a stylised image of <a href="https://www.rct.uk/collection/themes/trails/the-crown-jewels/in-detail-st-edwards-crown">St Edward’s Crown</a>. King Charles III’s reign is represented by an image of the <a href="https://www.college-of-arms.gov.uk/news-grants/news/item/205-royal-cypher%E2%80%99">Tudor Crown</a>, which appears in the king’s royal cypher, coat of arms and the <a href="https://www.royal.uk/news-and-activity/2023-04-04/the-coronation-invitation">invitations for the coronation</a>. In time, it will be seen on state documents, military uniforms, passports and post boxes throughout the UK and the 14 realms where he is head of state.</p> <p>For monarchies, the crown is the quintessential monarchical symbol – something my colleagues and I in the field of corporate marketing research have described as <a href="https://link.springer.com/article/10.1057/palgrave.bm.2550031">“the crown as a brand”</a>.</p> <p>Although the European monarchies of Belgium, Denmark, The Netherlands, Luxembourg, Norway, Spain, Sweden and the Vatican, are known as “crowned heads of state”, they forswear coronations and eschew the wearing of crowns. Still, they all use a crown as the marque (or emblem) to represent themselves – see <a href="https://monarchie.lu/en/monarchy/orders-and-coats-arms">Luxembourg</a> and <a href="https://www.kongehuset.dk/en/the-monarchy-in-denmark/the-royal-symbols">Denmark’s</a> coats of arms.</p> <h2>Crowns of the coronation</h2> <p>The coronation of King Charles III will be a veritable festival of crowns, featuring seven crowns in total. The king will be crowned with St Edward’s crown by the Archbishop of Canterbury, and he wears this crown once. But during his exit from Westminster Abbey, he will wear the lighter <a href="https://researchbriefings.files.parliament.uk/documents/CBP-9412/CBP-9412.pdf">Imperial State Crown</a>. Queen Camilla will also be crowned with Queen Mary’s crown. The last queen consort to undergo a coronation was in 1937. </p> <p>Four other crowns will be present during the coronation, worn by the <a href="https://www.college-of-arms.gov.uk/about-us/heralds-officers">kings of arms</a> – senior officers who regulate heraldry (coats of arms) in the UK and participate in major ceremonial occasions. </p> <p>The three kings of arms from England’s College of Arms will wear crowns decorated with acanthus leaves and engraved with the words of Psalm 50, <a href="http://www.medievalist.net/psalmstxt/ps50.htm">Miserere mei Deus secundum magnam misericordiam tuam</a> – “Have mercy on me, O God.” Scotland’s king of arms from the Court of the Lord Lyon will wear a crown which is a facsimile of the <a href="https://exarandorum.com/2023/04/25/crown-of-lord-lyon/">Scottish royal crown</a>. Heraldry can be viewed as an early form of branding. Many UK universities, for example, have a coat of arms as their <a href="https://link.springer.com/article/10.1057/s41262-023-00316-x">visual identity</a>.</p> <p>An eighth crown – the actual Scottish crown and one of the oldest in Europe – will not be at the coronation, but will be presented to the king at a <a href="https://www.heraldscotland.com/news/23473755.king-charles-coronation-special-scottish-service-planned/">special service</a> later in the year.</p> <h2>Crown brands in business</h2> <p>The exclusiveness and majesty associated with royal crowns has meant that many organisations use a crown as their brand name or logo. The phrase “crowning achievement” refers to an excellent accomplishment. Likewise, a crown in branding communicates quality, status, class and reliability. </p> <p>Some iconic brands, such as Twinings Tea, Heinz and Waitrose, benefit from an official royal endorsement, having been awarded a <a href="https://theconversation.com/royal-warrants-are-good-for-business-and-benefit-the-british-monarchy-too-192115">royal warrant</a> by a king or queen, or other senior royal family members. They may use the royal coat of arms as a type of royal brand endorsement. </p> <p>The <a href="https://www.kongehuset.dk/en/organisation-and-contact/the-royal-warrant-and-copyright/">Danish royal warrant</a> entitles an organisation to display “an image of the crown along with the company’s name on signs”. Carlsberg beer is a prominent example of this. </p> <p>Sometimes permission is granted to use the royal crown as a distinct brand marque as per <a href="https://www.logo-designer.co/the-clearing-creates-new-visual-identity-design-for-ascot-horseracing/">Royal Ascot horseracing</a>, or in a coat of arms such as in the former <a href="https://link.springer.com/article/10.1057/s41262-023-00316-x">Royal College of Science and Technology in Glasgow</a>.</p> <p>Of course, while some brands have an official royal endorsement, most organisations with a crown name or logo do not have a direct association with monarchy. Sometimes the crown brand name is used for its cultural associations – see the many British pubs called “The Crown”.</p> <p>Regal branding has taken hold internationally. Among the companies using a crown name are Couronne (Korean handbags), Crown Bank (USA), Crown Class (Royal Jordanian Airways), Royal Crown Derby (English porcelain), Crowne Plaza Hotels (UK), Crown Royal (Canadian Whiskey), Crown Worldwide Distribution Group (Hong Kong) and Krone (South African sparkling wine). </p> <p>Those with a crown logo include Columbia University (USA), Cunard (UK), Dolce &amp; Gabbana (Italy), Hallmark Cards (USA), Moët and Chandon (France), Ritz Carlton Hotels (USA) and Rolex (Switzerland). </p> <p>The Mexican beer brand Corona, which uses both a crown name and logo, is the most valuable beer brand in the world, <a href="https://brandfinance.com/press-releases/18003">worth US$7 billion</a>.</p> <p>Even in a world of republics, it is clear that the crown as a brand not only endures, but flourishes. The crowning of the king and queen will be the zenith of the coronation service. For producers of Corona beer and other brands featuring crowns around the world, the visual and verbal link of crown and monarchy will be, in a way, a reminder to consumers that their products are fit for a king.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em>This article originally appeared on <a href="https://theconversation.com/from-corona-beer-to-the-coronation-the-crown-is-branding-fit-for-a-king-204409" target="_blank" rel="noopener">The Conversation</a>. </em></p>

Beauty & Style

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The most feel-good way to recycle

<p>Long-time Return and Earner "Scooter Dave" has been a keen participant in the NSW container deposit scheme <span style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;">since the program started, and the Illawarra local has returned 500,000 containers in that time.</span></p> <p>Dave gets about on a scooter and any day when weather and health permits, he completes his route to collect rubbish from Windang Bridge in Shellharbour. Along the way he picks up eligible drink containers from residents and businesses who keep them in their yards ready for his scooter collection service. </p> <p>He has donated all of the $50,000 in refunds to many charities, including the Smith Family, the Sydney Children’s Hospital, and children’s ward in Wollongong, bushfire appeals and the Illawarra Convoy. </p> <p>“It gives me something to do, and I know that I am doing something to help people," says Scooter Dave. "People always say that there should be more people like me. There are, but they aren’t cleaning up rubbish like I am.” </p> <p>In a world that’s becoming more eco-conscious, we’re seeing more and more initiatives implemented to reduce the impact we’re having on the planet – from the single-use plastic bans to adopting reusable packaging and recycling. </p> <p>Recycling remains one of the best ways to help protect the environment. The benefits of recycling include reducing the amount of rubbish that ends up in landfill or as litter in our local environment, and reducing the need to extract raw materials from the earth to create new products such as mining raw aluminium to create cans. And with <a style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;" href="https://returnandearn.org.au/?utm_source=over-60&utm_medium=article&utm_content=native-article&utm_campaign=grey-partnership" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Return and Earn</a><span style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;"> </span><span style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;">there are even more direct benefits for you.</span></p> <p>Return and Earn is one of many drink container return schemes that have been adopted around the world, where customers who return their used eligible drink containers for recycling can collect a refund.</p> <p>“With Return and Earn, you earn a 10c refund for every empty can, glass or plastic bottle, carton, juice box or popper that you return through one of its 600 return points across NSW.</p> <p>“Since the scheme launched five years ago, over 8.6 billion containers have been returned for recycling by the NSW public resulting in over $860 million in container refunds back in people’s pockets,” says Danielle Smalley, CEO of Exchange for Change, scheme coordinator for Return and Earn.</p> <p>The scheme is entirely funded by the beverage industry, aiming to place responsibility for container recycling firmly back with the industry. </p> <p>The scheme targets commonly littered items and includes most 150ml to three litre plastic, glass, aluminium, steel, and liquid paperboard containers. Eligible containers featuring the 10 cent refund mark can be redeemed for the refund.</p> <p>“Return and Earn is an extraordinary example of how individual action can have a collective impact,” says Smalley.</p> <p>The environmental benefits of the scheme have exceeded expectations – reducing the volume of drink container litter by 52 per cent compared to pre-scheme levels and sending over 755,000 tonnes of material to be recycled.</p> <p>Plus the Return and Earn app makes recycling your containers even easier because you can check the map to see where the nearest return points are to your location and make sure they’re open. Another fantastic feature on the app is the container checker which helps you avoid taking containers that are not eligible. Simply scan the barcode on your container and the app tells you if it can be returned for recycling at a return points. If not, they can go straight into your household recycling bin.</p> <p><strong>Choose your recycling experience</strong></p> <p>To return your containers, you can choose from four types of return points, depending on what suits you and what is nearby.</p> <p>There are Return and Earn machines - a self-service option where you return your containers one-at-a time. You’ll receive a receipt which is redeemable for cash at the partner redemption location or payment straight to your bank account by downloading the Return and Earn app. There are also Return and Earn Centres which are larger format indoor locations featuring multiple machines inside.</p> <p> <img src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/2023/01/Tomra1.png" alt="Return and Earn" width="741" height="423" /></p> <p>For larger numbers, heading to your nearest automated depot is your best option. Here staff will take your bags of eligible containers and process them in their automated counting system called a singulator. Once counted, they’ll provide you with your cash refund. </p> <p>Even local businesses are taking part, with some corner stores, newsagents, fruit shops and some Surf Life Saving Clubs able to take your containers and give you your refund.</p> <p>To find your nearest return point, visit <a href="https://returnandearn.org.au/return-points/?utm_source=over-60&utm_medium=article&utm_content=native-article&utm_campaign=grey-partnership" target="_blank" rel="noopener">www.returnandearn.org.au</a>. </p> <p><strong>Top tips for returning and earning</strong></p> <p>When you’re ready to return your first collection of containers, here are some tips to make your experience even easier:</p> <ul> <li><strong>Download the Return and Earn app:</strong> use the app store available on your mobile phone. </li> <li><strong>Sort your containers before you go:</strong> if you’re using a Return and Earn machine, sort your glass containers from your plastic bottles and cans as these are return using separate chutes on the machine. If you’re using an automated depot or an over-the-counter return point, there’s no need to sort. </li> <li><strong>Check if your containers are eligible:</strong> Use the Return and Earn app to check if your containers are eligible for a refund. And make sure they’re uncrushed, with the barcode visible and keep the lid on.</li> <li><strong>Plan your trip:</strong> make sure to check opening times of your nearest return point via the Return and Earn app or website. You can even optimise your trip by checking the busiest and quietest times to visit.</li> </ul> <p>With these tips under your belt, you can make the most of your Return and Earn experience and reap the benefits for your wallet and for the environment.</p> <p><iframe title="YouTube video player" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/OYDROMQIDbU" width="560" height="315" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></p> <p>For more information, visit <a href="https://returnandearn.org.au/?utm_source=over-60&utm_medium=article&utm_content=native-article&utm_campaign=grey-partnership" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Return and Earn.</a></p> <p><em>All images: supplied</em></p> <p><em>This is a sponsored article produced in partnership with <a href="https://returnandearn.org.au/?utm_source=over-60&utm_medium=article&utm_content=native-article&utm_campaign=grey-partnership" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Return and Earn</a>. </em></p>

Retirement Income

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Illegal renting practice to be hauled over the coals

<p dir="ltr">Both Labor and Liberal politicians have backed calls to reform the NSW rental market and rental practices.</p> <p dir="ltr">As the property crisis deepens amid rising rents and dwindling stock, rental bidding in particular has been highlighted as a major issue although the practice is banned in Victoria, Tasmania and Queensland.</p> <p dir="ltr">However, in NSW, agents and landlords can advertise properties without a fixed rate, or just list a range. The practice creates a situation where applicants can opt to pay high rent, outbidding those who can’t afford to.</p> <p dir="ltr">This comes as vacancy rates have dipped to levels not seen since 2003, while prices have increased by 3.2%, recent data has revealed.</p> <p dir="ltr">Speaking with The Daily Telegraph, Fair Trading Minister Victor Dominello said the Department of Fair Trading are currently preparing for a complete overhaul.</p> <p dir="ltr">“This is obviously an area where vulnerable people are exposed and needs reform,” he said.</p> <p dir="ltr">“I have asked my agency to investigate and come back with recommendations.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Speaking to Mr Dominello on Monday morning, <a href="https://www.2gb.com/fair-trading-minister-condemns-dodgy-real-estate-agents/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">2GB’s Chris Smith</a> claimed “dodgy real estate agents” were part of the reason NSW residents are pressured to spend so much to secure a rental property.</p> <p dir="ltr">Mr Dominello said that while some landlords have been forced to increase rents due to rising interest rates, the underlying issue comes down to a lack of rental properties being offered.</p> <p dir="ltr">“That’s the heart of it. It’s supply and demand,” he told Smith.</p> <p dir="ltr">Shadow Minister for Water, Housing and Homelessness Rose Jackson also condemned the trend and welcomed a review into the practice.</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image: Shutterstock</em></p>

Real Estate

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Kate Middleton to face Roger Federer in tennis

<p dir="ltr">The Duchess of Cambridge will go head-to-head with Roger Federer in a tennis match for a special charity event. </p> <p dir="ltr">Kate Middleton will go against the Swiss 20-time Grand Slam tennis champion to help raise money for disadvantaged and vulnerable children.</p> <p dir="ltr">All funds raised will go toward two organisations backed by the Duchess, Action for Children and the Lawn Tennis Association. </p> <p dir="ltr">Children between the ages of 8-15 will have the opportunity to meet the professional tennis player and enjoy a game or two with him. </p> <p dir="ltr">The exciting match, which was reportedly suggested by Kate, will go ahead on September 22 as part of the Laver Cup which was co-founded by Federer. </p> <p dir="ltr">“Her Royal Highness is passionate about supporting grassroots tennis and encouraging young people from all backgrounds to become involved in the sport,” a statement from the Palace read.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">Excited to announce that Laver Cup is partnering with The Duchess of Cambridge this year to raise funds for two incredible charities – @actionforchildrenuk and the <a href="https://twitter.com/LTA?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@LTA</a> Tennis Foundation. Thank you for your support, and I look forward to seeing you in London! <a href="https://t.co/7B82Gkj5EE">https://t.co/7B82Gkj5EE</a></p> <p>— Roger Federer (@rogerfederer) <a href="https://twitter.com/rogerfederer/status/1559843493610246145?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">August 17, 2022</a></p></blockquote> <p dir="ltr">The Laver Cup is a three day tournament which sees six of the best tennis players across Europe go against six of the best tennis players from the rest of the world. </p> <p dir="ltr">Federer is no stranger to the royal family, having played tennis with Prince George, nine, and attended Pippa Middleton’s wedding. </p> <p dir="ltr">"Her Royal Highness is passionate about supporting grassroots  tennis and encouraging young people from all backgrounds to become involved in the sport," the palace said in a statement.</p> <p dir="ltr">The Laver Cup will see Federer’s <a href="https://oversixty.com.au/health/caring/federer-sends-tennis-world-in-a-spin" target="_blank" rel="noopener">return to the court</a> after struggling with his right knee after undergoing three operations to help repair damage to his meniscus and cartilage. </p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Images: Twitter/Getty</em></p>

Beauty & Style

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George Floyd deserved a better life

<p>George Perry Floyd, Jr. was murdered when Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin sank his knee into Floyd’s neck for nine minutes and 29 seconds. Video footage went viral within hours, helping to inspire protests against racism and police violence that lasted all the American summer of 2020.</p> <p>But while the size of the protests was unprecedented, the activism of that summer had <a href="https://theconversation.com/the-fury-in-us-cities-is-rooted-in-a-long-history-of-racist-policing-violence-and-inequality-139752" target="_blank" rel="noopener">deep roots</a>. Journalists across the United States and indeed the world, focused attention on that history of protest, as they had done during the 2014 police killings of Eric Garner, choked to death in New York, and Michael Brown, shot in Ferguson, Missouri.</p> <p>At the Washington Post, reporters and researchers devoted significant resources to a six-part series, <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2020/10/12/george-floyd-america/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">George Floyd’s America</a>. Now, two of those journalists, Robert Samuels and Toluse Olorunnipa, have expanded the work into a book: <a href="https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/703358/his-name-is-george-floyd-by-robert-samuels-and-toluse-olorunnipa/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">His Name Is George Floyd: One Man’s Life and the Struggle for Racial Justice</a>.</p> <p>When Floyd was born in 1973, 200,000 people were incarcerated in the US. By the time of his death, as Samuels and Olorunnipa point out, that number exceeded 2 million. The proportionate rate of growth of that number in <a href="https://usafacts.org/data/topics/security-safety/crime-and-justice/jail-and-prisons/prisoners/?utm_source=usnews&amp;utm_medium=partnership&amp;utm_campaign=fellowship&amp;utm_content=bracketed_link" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Texas</a>, where Floyd grew up, is even worse. <a href="https://www.usnews.com/news/best-states/articles/2021-10-13/report-highlights-staggering-racial-disparities-in-us-incarceration-rates" target="_blank" rel="noopener">African Americans are locked up at 4.75 times the rate of white Americans; Latinos at 1.3 times the rate</a>.</p> <p>This <a href="https://www.sentencingproject.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/intl-rates.png" target="_blank" rel="noopener">extraordinary rate of incarceration</a> is a political choice rather than a reflection of more violent criminals being locked up. Rates of incarceration <a href="https://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download;jsessionid=ED19CF648065ABC51FE1605ED5D77E32?doi=10.1.1.462.6544&amp;rep=rep1&amp;type=pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener">increase</a> with political conservatism and the increased rates of poverty, income inequality and unemployment that accompany that conservatism. Extensive investment in prisons, jails and police forces has created a self-perpetuating system that evolves by producing the very criminals it locks up.</p> <p>This life-and-times biography poignantly depicts the mechanisms by which African Americans, especially male children and adults, become disproportionately the fodder for that system. A long history of racism, it might be said, funnelled George Floyd to prison.</p> <h2>The grandson of sharecroppers</h2> <p>Floyd’s two parents were both born to <a href="https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/sharecropper" target="_blank" rel="noopener">sharecroppers</a> in North Carolina. The cycle of poverty in which they were trapped was not of their own making. Black Americans have been prevented from building wealth from the moment slavery ended.</p> <p>Floyd’s great-great-grandfather, for example, who was born into slavery in 1857, amassed land worth $US30,000 in 1920, but his white neighbours stole it from him by a mixture of fraud underpinned by the threat of violence. That tale is absolutely typical for a majority of Black families in the US South.</p> <p>The knock-on effects have been intensified by government policies that meant for generations, Black Americans had <a href="https://theconversation.com/to-see-the-legacy-of-slavery-look-at-present-day-school-systems-43896" target="_blank" rel="noopener">fewer opportunities for education</a>; <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/25/opinion/sunday/race-wage-gap.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener">earned</a> <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2020/06/04/economic-divide-black-households/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">less</a> even for the same work; and were <a href="https://www.npr.org/2021/11/17/1049052531/racial-covenants-housing-discrimination" target="_blank" rel="noopener">prevented</a> <a href="https://aas.princeton.edu/news/2020-pulitzer-prize-finalist-history-race-profit-how-banks-and-real-estate-industry-undermined" target="_blank" rel="noopener">from buying property</a> that would <a href="https://www.vox.com/identities/2019/12/4/20953282/racism-housing-discrimination-keeanga-yamahtta-taylor" target="_blank" rel="noopener">build wealth over generations</a>.</p> <p>Desperate for a better life for her three children, Floyd’s mother uprooted them to Houston, Texas, when Floyd was four. There, they lived in public housing in the segregated <a href="https://www.gpb.org/news/2020/07/20/george-floyds-third-ward-reflections-on-the-neighborhood-made-him" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Third Ward</a>.</p> <p>Government policies that requisitioned homes from Black residents elsewhere in Houston had forced them into this section of the city. In the Cuney Homes development, known as “the Bricks,” even today the median income is <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/george-floyd-neighborhood-stimulus/2021/04/09/59f57e7c-9623-11eb-962b-78c1d8228819_story.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener">US$15,538</a>, well under half the <a href="https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/MEPAINUSA672N" target="_blank" rel="noopener">national average</a>.</p> <p>Floyd attended the local Jack Yates Senior High School, opened in 1926 when education was segregated by race and never the equal of other Houston schools catering to white children. As Floyd grew to 193 centimetres tall, he learned to offset the alarm that his size and colour induced in people.</p> <p>He became self-deprecating and deliberately easy-going, charming people across generations everywhere he went. Excelling at football, he secured entry to college.</p> <p>But Floyd’s dreams of playing pro football were stymied by his academic achievements. Never good at tests, Floyd fell behind by middle school and struggled to graduate high school. There were just not the resources in the schools to make up for living in poverty in an overcrowded flat with the responsibilities of caring for relatives.</p> <p>After four years at two colleges, Floyd dropped out and returned to Houston. Not long after, he was arrested for the first time for selling drugs.</p> <p>Samuels and Olorunnipa do an extremely good job of showing that at every node along the passage toward being turned into fodder for the prison-industrial complex, Floyd’s chance of escape was significantly less than that of a white man of the same age. Reading how Floyd’s options narrowed, it was impossible not to share his frustration and despair.</p> <h2>Forensic exposé of injustice</h2> <p>Quotas for arrests meant police sought the “low-hanging fruit” of petty drug dealing done on the streets. Misconduct charges for these police officers are common: the cop who arrested Floyd in 1997 for selling drugs was sacked in 2002 after being charged with theft and hampering arrest. The officer who arrested Floyd in 2004 was “later accused of falsifying charges in hundreds of drug cases, including the one involving Floyd.”</p> <p>Chauvin himself had faced <a href="http://complaints.cuapb.org/police_archive/officer/2377/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">29 charges</a> of misconduct and internal investigations prior to murdering Floyd. (Only 18 appear on the city’s police internal affairs records.) But because <a href="https://www.brennancenter.org/our-work/research-reports/state-policing-reforms-george-floyds-murder" target="_blank" rel="noopener">records of “decertification” are patchy</a>, such “wandering” officers can often get themselves <a href="https://www.pbs.org/newshour/nation/wandering-cops-moving-from-department-to-department-is-a-roadblock-to-police-accountability" target="_blank" rel="noopener">rehired</a>.</p> <p>The officers can stay unaccountable by targeting impoverished men who, unable to afford lawyers, are more likely to accept plea deals. Floyd was never tried by jury; he rather accepted eight plea deals.</p> <p>He knew that even if he got to court, the decision was unlikely to be positive because the state of Texas does not provide public defenders. Rather, the court pays for a private lawyer to defend those who can’t afford their own representation. Judges in Harris County, where Houston is located, more often than not will appoint lawyers who had donated to their election campaigns.</p> <p>In 2007, police arrested Floyd for a violent assault on evidence provided by a dubious photo ID process. (It has since been improved.) Facing up to 40 years of prison, a reluctant Floyd accepted a plea deal for five.</p> <p>Claustrophobia made Floyd’s time in prison difficult, and yet he discovered that none of the mental health, drug addiction, or education programs included in legislation such as the notorious <a href="https://www.brennancenter.org/our-work/analysis-opinion/1994-crime-bill-and-beyond-how-federal-funding-shapes-criminal-justice" target="_blank" rel="noopener">1994 Crime Bill</a>, which sloshed billions of dollars into prison building, were available. As the authors point out, it was only after the <a href="https://www.communitycatalyst.org/blog/how-structural-racism-fuels-the-response-to-the-opioid-crisis#.YtX8puxBxqs" target="_blank" rel="noopener">opioid crisis</a> hit white communities that such funds were expended. In short, whereas policymakers declared crack cocaine a crime problem, they saw opiate addictions, more commonly associated with white people, as an epidemic or public health emergency.</p> <p>The man responsible for prosecuting the case against Derek Chauvin, Jerry Blackwell, knew well the racism inherent at every level of what we uncritically call “the criminal justice system.”</p> <p>Blackwell anticipated the defence would claim that Floyd’s drug use or some physical anomaly was the reason he had died. He therefore required an independent medical examiner review the coronial findings into Floyd’s death.</p> <p>That person, and the examiner who worked for the Floyd family in the civil case against the city of Minneapolis (which the city settled before trial for a <a href="https://www.npr.org/2021/03/13/976785212/minneapolis-agrees-to-pay-27-million-to-family-of-george-floyd" target="_blank" rel="noopener">record $US27 million</a>), both questioned whether the autopsy had been conducted correctly. Specifically, they doubted whether the incisions made on Floyd’s body were sufficient to ascertain the cause of death. And, indeed, the defence claimed that Floyd’s drug use and a supposedly enlarged heart had contributed to his death.</p> <p>This was not unique; as the authors report, in 2021 researchers found evidence that medical examiners “had misclassified or covered up nearly 17,000 deaths that involved police between 1980 and 2018”.</p> <p>All this detail might make the book sound dull, but the research is woven lightly through the account of Floyd’s life so as to maintain momentum. We learn too about Floyd’s family, friends, girlfriends, and his young daughter Gianna. The authors bring to life Floyd’s ability to take people as he found them, underpinned by a deep Christian faith in God.</p> <h2>Activism</h2> <p>The final third of the book, which focuses on events after Floyd’s death, is also gripping. Even as we know the outcome, the twists and turns in the criminal case against Chauvin make for heart-in-the-mouth reading. Chauvin was <a href="https://theconversation.com/relief-at-derek-chauvin-conviction-a-sign-of-long-history-of-police-brutality-159212" target="_blank" rel="noopener">convicted of murder and manslaughter</a> and is serving a 22-and-a-half year sentence. And in <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2022/jul/07/derek-chauvin-sentenced-violating-george-floyd-civil-rights" target="_blank" rel="noopener">early July</a> a federal judge sentenced Chauvin to 21 years in prison for violating George Floyd’s civil rights – the sentence will be served concurrently.)</p> <p>Even more striking is the depiction of the bravery of protestors in Minneapolis and of Floyd’s family members, especially his brother, Philonise Floyd, as they seized an opportunity they never wanted – as spokespeople for justice.</p> <p>Joined by the civil rights veterans, the Reverends Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, Philonise campaigned hard for federal legislation to reform policing. Republican opposition to the hardest-hitting sections of the <a href="https://www.congress.gov/bill/117th-congress/house-bill/1280" target="_blank" rel="noopener">George Floyd Justice in Policing Act</a>, introduced to Congress in February 2021 by Rep. Karen Bass, meant the bill foundered – and has still not been passed.</p> <p>Unlike all the earlier sections of the book, the activism around police and legislative reform is not given quite the context it deserves. Although Samuels and Olorunnipa interviewed 400 people for their book, activists who have long campaigned against police brutality and for the <a href="https://www.versobooks.com/books/2426-the-end-of-policing" target="_blank" rel="noopener">dismantling</a> of the entire criminal justice system in favour of a society built on <a href="https://www.teenvogue.com/story/what-is-prison-abolition-movement" target="_blank" rel="noopener">equal distribution of resources</a>, such as <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oVjMNMG6Mxo" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Angela Davis</a> and <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2019/04/17/magazine/prison-abolition-ruth-wilson-gilmore.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Ruthie Wilson Gilmore</a>, do not appear.</p> <p>Nor is there much comment on the <a href="https://www.brennancenter.org/our-work/research-reports/state-policing-reforms-george-floyds-murder" target="_blank" rel="noopener">efficacy of prior efforts</a> to reform the criminal justice system via legislation. Banning choke-holds, for instance, will not end police murders when Black lives are still not regarded as mattering as much as those of white people.</p> <p>This criticism aside, His Name is George Floyd is a monumental achievement – a work of activism in itself.</p> <p>Bringing Floyd vividly to life, it makes an impassioned and persuasive plea for the dignity and preciousness of life. The book’s cover deliberately evokes the <a href="https://www.torranceartmuseum.com/staffpicks/2021/1/7/i-am-a-man-written-by-hope-ezcurra" target="_blank" rel="noopener">posters held aloft during the 1968 workers’ strike in Memphis, Tennessee</a> (when Martin Luther King, Jr. was killed), that proclaimed “I Am a Man.”</p> <p>George Floyd was a man, too, who deserved a better life.</p> <p><strong>This article originally appeared on <a href="https://theconversation.com/george-floyd-deserved-a-better-life-a-new-book-charts-his-trajectory-from-poverty-to-the-us-prison-industrial-complex-and-the-impact-of-his-death-182947" target="_blank" rel="noopener">The Conversation</a>.</strong></p> <p><em>Images: Penguin</em></p>

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“Several of these floods happened on your watch”: Nat Barr slams Liberal Party deputy leader

<p dir="ltr"><em>Sunrise</em> host Natalie Barr has called out Liberal MP Sussan Ley for claiming the Labor government was too slow in their handling of the NSW floods. </p> <p dir="ltr">The Liberal Party deputy leader appeared alongside Labor's Minister for Education Jason Clare on <em>Sunrise</em> on Friday July 8 who were discussing raising the walls of Warragamba Dam to stop future flooding. </p> <p dir="ltr">Ms Barr got the ball rolling, asking Ms Ley why nothing was done when her government was in power. </p> <p dir="ltr">“Sussan what do you think? Because several of these floods happened on your watch and nothing seemed to go ahead did it?” she asked.</p> <p dir="ltr">“It’s heartbreaking to hear from those people who are so affected when they feel yet another flood event,” Ms Ley began before she was cut off by Ms Barr.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Hang on Sussan, the first flood, the big one, was in March last year, then we had March this year, April this year, with all due respect, what did your government do?” Ms Barr questioned.</p> <p dir="ltr">“We worked closely and started a planning process at federal environment level that I was actually involved with. At the moment, the issue is with the NSW Government but a lot of work has been done by the Commonwealth,” Ms Ley said.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Now, this incoming government seems to not know how to pick up that work and continue with it. And that’s my point, at least start with the right minister. It’s waiting there and it needs [NSW]..., but at least start in the right area of the government to get this ball running.”</p> <p dir="ltr">“Nat, I think Sussan’s got a short memory here. Go back to the start of the year, we had a tinny army that rescued people,” Mr Clare said of Morrison’s Government response to the March floods. </p> <p dir="ltr">“People had to hire their own helicopters because rescue services weren't on the way.</p> <p dir="ltr">“We were proactive. We got helicopters ready and soldiers ready before we were even asked.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Ms Ley however then questioned why the government took too long to announce relief payments for the affected areas. </p> <p dir="ltr">“On Monday I raised the issue that payments that could have been made in hours were taking days,” she said. </p> <p dir="ltr">“The floods were on the weekend. It wasn't until Thursday that a signature on a paper was made, coincidentally when the Prime Minister came back from overseas.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Ms Barr snapped at Ms Ley saying: “Well, it may have been a couple of days but it's burnt into our memory that people had to go rescue themselves and their communities.”</p> <p dir="ltr">The residents in the 23 LGAs affected by the severe storms and flooding since June 27, are eligible for disaster relief payments funded by the NSW government and the Commonwealth.</p> <p dir="ltr">The LGAs include Blacktown, Blue Mountains, Camden, Canterbury Bankstown, Campbelltown, Central Coast, Cessnock, Fairfield, Georges River, Hawkesbury, Hornsby, Kiama, Lithgow, Liverpool, Northern Beaches, Penrith, Shellharbour, Shoalhaven, Sutherland, The Hills, Wingecarribee, Wollondilly and Wollongong.</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Images: Sunrise</em></p>

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"Walk the rooms": Inside the house that Johnny Cash built

<p>Johnny Cash's former home has hit the market, with the California property expected to sell for up to $1.8 million.</p> <p>Cash, who passed away in 2003 at the age of 71, shared the property with his first wife, Vivian Liberto, and the home is adorned with the relics of Johnny's love for music.</p> <p>The house features a wood-panelled recording studio, wall-mounted turn tables and a country motif living room.</p> <p>The artist reportedly built the 4,500 sq. ft. home in Casitas Springs, California, back in 1961 as an escape from his demanding lifestyle.</p> <p>Johnny and Vivian, along with their three daughters, spent six years in the homestead retreat, which was rumoured to be built to Cash's exact wishes.</p> <p>According to the listing agents of Douglas Elliman, "Johnny bought the land and built the house to his exact specifications, walking the rooms and deciding on exact placement and layout. He created a secluded sanctuary, unique to this rural small-town enclave. Longtime locals recount stories of Johnny setting up speakers on the hillside outside the house and playing concerts for the townspeople down below."</p> <p>Inside the five bedroom home, most rooms remain original to Johnny and Vivian's vision, with painted ceilings featuring a touch of glitter, an original wall-mounted turntable and intercom system, and curved brick fireplace in the family room.</p> <p>Despite a modern uplift in the his and hers suites, the property is undeniably Cash's with custom wood built-ins, exposed brick walls, natural wooden beams and a country motif living room.</p> <p>The grounds are equally mesmerizing with live oaks, verdant gardens, a sparkling swimming pool, and corrals and fields ready for horses, pigs, goats, chickens or other rural uses.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Douglas Elliman Realty</em></p>

Real Estate

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Greta Garbo's eccentric former home hits the market

<p>Hollywood icon Greta Garbo's former New York home has hit the market for an impressive $7.25 million. </p> <p>The stunning three-bedroom, three-bathroom Manhattan apartment retains many of her personal touches and eccentric furnishings, making it stand out from other luxury homes. </p> <p>The apartment last sold for $8.5 million in 2017 after a fierce bidding war, with many fans of the Swedish-American actress expected to be vying for the property this time around. </p> <p>The home boasts large picture windows with spectacular views of the East River, which was said to have reminded Greta of her native Stockholm.</p> <p>It also includes a newly renovated kitchen, dining room, many living areas, and numerous bathrooms, with most rooms boasting an impressive chandelier. </p> <p>The living room – which was Greta's favorite space – includes a gas fireplace and an attached den, while French doors at the far end open to a lovely balcony cooled by river breezes.</p> <p>The primary bedroom suite features Greta's beloved rose-hued Fortuny silk walls and headboard, while a second bedroom includes a pink-and-green-accented V'Soske rug personally designed by the movie star.</p> <p>Greta, who was best known for her roles in <em>A Woman of Affairs</em>, <em>Anna Christie</em>, <em>Romance</em>, and <em>Camille</em>,  died in 1990 at the age of 85, but retired from acting when she was just 35, leading a private life in her New York apartment for 50 years.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images / Compass Real Estate</em></p>

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