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“Don’t marry him”: Bride-to-be shares wild altercation with her future in-laws over her wedding dress

<p dir="ltr">A woman has been told to “run” from her fiancé after sharing a wild conversation she had with her future in-laws about her wedding dress. </p> <p dir="ltr">The bride-to-be shared that ever since she was a child, she wanted to wear her mother’s wedding dress on her own big day. </p> <p dir="ltr">However, the woman was then confronted by her soon-to-be in-laws, with drama ensuing over her wedding dress.</p> <p dir="ltr">Taking to Reddit’s “Am I The A**hole?” page, the woman explained, "My mother's wedding dress has been passed down for generations and I remember being a little girl dreaming of walking down the aisle in it."</p> <p dir="ltr">Despite her wishes to wear the family heirloom on her big day, she said things went south at a dinner at her sister-in-law’s (SIL) house when she  "tapped her spoon against the glass and said that she had to make a toast."</p> <p dir="ltr">"She then said she would be right back before going into another room and returning with a large plastic bag," the bride continues.</p> <p dir="ltr">"Everyone seemed to be excited but I just felt confused."</p> <p dir="ltr">As she "awkwardly smiled", her SIL opened the bag to reveal her wedding dress from her wedding two years earlier as her in-laws began clapping, as her future sister-in-law announced she wanted the bride to wear her dress at her upcoming nuptials.</p> <p dir="ltr">"I tried to smile but I guess I didn't do a good job of hiding my disappointment and everyone began asking me what was wrong," the bride-to-be continues, adding that she tried to explain that she wanted to wear her mother's wedding dress.</p> <p dir="ltr">At this point, her SIL began to cry and her in-laws began berating her, causing the bride to burst into tears and run outside.</p> <p dir="ltr">"My fiancé didn't even come after me and after crying my eyes out on the steps for what felt like hours, he finally came outside and yelled at me to get into the car," she says.</p> <p dir="ltr">Confused, she got into the car only for her fiancé to berate her for making "such a big scene" leaving him feeling "embarrassed in front of his family."</p> <p dir="ltr">"He sounds so mad and he even said he couldn't believe he chose to marry such a 'bitchy c--t' (his exact words)."</p> <p dir="ltr">The woman tried to explain how important it was to her to wear her mother's dress and that she had already promised her mother she would be wearing it on her big day.</p> <p dir="ltr">"I felt like my fiancé's family planned this and put me on the spot thinking I wouldn't stand up for myself and just agree to wear SIL's dress," she continues.</p> <p dir="ltr">"I don't think I did anything wrong but a part of me thinks I should have just gone along with it and then told SIL in private that I wouldn't be wearing the dress."</p> <p dir="ltr">Hundreds of people were quick to comment on her post, suggesting that she “run” not only from her in-laws, but from her partner as well. </p> <p dir="ltr">"Ma'am you need to leave that whole family behind including your fiancé," one said. "You just had a peek into your future if you carry on with this relationship."</p> <p dir="ltr">"Don't you dare marry that man!!!" another said.</p> <p dir="ltr">"The problem doesn't exist as the wedding shouldn't be happening anymore," another added.</p> <p dir="ltr">One Redditor suggested she "be thankful that he is showing you who he really is before you marry him."</p> <p dir="ltr">"You have just had a glimpse of what your future is going to look like if you go through with your wedding."</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image credits: Shutterstock </em></p> <p> </p>

Family & Pets

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Dutton names future Aussie towns for nuclear power plant locations

<p>Peter Dutton has unveiled a series of locations where he wants to build nuclear power plants if he wins the next federal election. </p> <p>The leader of the opposition has pledged to build at least two nuclear plants between 2035 and 2037 if the Liberal party is elected, with another five on the list to be constructed at a later date. </p> <p>The locations include Gladstone in Queensland, the Liddell power station in the Hunter Valley of NSW, as well as Lithgow in the NSW Central Tablelands, Loy Yang in the La Trobe Valley, Victoria, Callide in Queensland, Muja in Western Australia and Port Augusta in South Australia.</p> <p>The proposal would see the nuclear power plants owned by the government under the same set up as entities such as the Snowy Hydro scheme, in a bid to focus on alternative energy solutions and remain committed to reaching net zero emissions by 2050.</p> <p>Despite Dutton's enthusiasm about the pitch, treasurer Jim Chalmers slammed the idea as “economically irrational” and “fiscally irresponsible.”</p> <p>“Peter Dutton’s nuclear negativity is economic insanity, pure and simple,’’ he said on ABC radio. </p> <p>“Nuclear takes longer, it costs more, and it will squander Australia’s unique combination of advantages. It is the worst combination of economic and ideological stupidity. </p> <p>“It is economically irrational, it is fiscally irresponsible. And it means if it’s implemented, Australia would fail that grab these vast economic and industrial opportunities with a net zero transformation in the most effective way."</p> <p><em>Image credits: DEAN LEWINS/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock Editorial/Shutterstock</em></p>

Travel Trouble

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Worrying pattern of cancellations shows Australian TV's grim future

<p>As the future of free-to-air Australian television continues to be more and more "uncertain", a worrying pattern of dozens of cancelled programs show how the industry has been in trouble for quite some time. </p> <p>In recent years, dozens of seemingly popular shows have been axed across three major networks with thousands of people across the industry preparing themselves for further cancellations, pay cuts, job losses and career changes.</p> <p>According to <a href="https://au.lifestyle.yahoo.com/exclusive-34-axed-aussie-shows-revealed-as-future-of-free-to-air-tv-uncertain-224725084.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><em>Yahoo Lifestyle</em></a>, 34 shows across Seven, Nine and Ten have either been axed, put on an indefinite hiatus, or quietly removed from TV schedules with no mention of it again over the last five years. </p> <p>Many Aussie TV staples such as <em>Millionaire Hot Seat</em>, <em>The Bachelor</em>, and <em>Australian Ninja Warrior</em>, which were all once the highest rated shows on television, have been binned due to declining viewership and dwindling ratings. </p> <p>Channel Ten's <em>The Masked Singer</em> has also become a casualty in the TV wars, as host Dave Hughes <a href="https://oversixty.com.au/entertainment/tv/hughesy-spills-the-beans-on-major-shows-set-to-be-axed" target="_blank" rel="noopener">shared</a> that he simply hadn't received a production schedule for the new season of the show, only to discover it had been shelved. </p> <p>In an attempt to breathe new life into the channels, newer shows like Shaynna Blaze’s <em>Country Home Rescue</em> or Kate Langbroek’s <em>My Mum, Your Dad</em> premiered, but have only survived for single seasons after failing to grab an audience. </p> <p>Even revived classics like <em>Big Brother</em>, <em>Celebrity Apprentice</em> and <em><a href="https://oversixty.com.au/entertainment/tv/channel-10-axes-another-show-amid-ratings-crisis" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Gladiators</a></em> haven’t been able to survive as they now face growing competition from streaming giants like Netflix and Stan.</p> <p>As the list of cancelled shows continues to grow, one seasoned lighting director, who asked to remain anonymous, told Yahoo Lifestyle that job insecurity for casts and crews is a major concern. </p> <p>They said, “Every year the breaks between jobs are getting longer and longer to the point a lot of us (crew) are now leaving the industry. Ten years ago we’d be booked consistently with jobs locked in 12 months in advance for all of the networks, now everyone’s scrambling to try to get on a three-day pilot shoot. Everything is so uncertain.”</p> <p>Below are all of the free-to-air shows from the last five years that haven’t been renewed.</p> <p id="channel-seven"><strong>Channel Seven</strong></p> <p>Big Brother (2001-2008, 2012-2014, 2020-2023)</p> <p>SAS Australia (2020-2023)</p> <p>This Is Your Life (1975-1980, 1995-2005, 2008, 2011, 2022-2023)</p> <p>Blow Up (2023)</p> <p>Million Dollar Island (2023)</p> <p>We Interrupt This Broadcast (2023)</p> <p>The Voice: Generations (2022)</p> <p>Big Brother VIP (2021)</p> <p>Holey Moley (2021)</p> <p>Ultimate Tag (2021)</p> <p>Wife Swap Australia (2012, 2021)</p> <p>House Rules (2013-2020)</p> <p>Plate of Origin (2020)</p> <p>Pooch Perfect (2020)</p> <p id="channel-nine"><strong>Channel Nine</strong></p> <p>Millionaire Hot Seat (2009–2023)</p> <p>My Mum, Your Dad (2022-2023)</p> <p>The Beach House Escape (2023)</p> <p>Rush (2023)</p> <p>Snackmasters (2021-2022)</p> <p>Australian Ninja Warrior (2017-2022)</p> <p>Beauty and the Geek (2009-2014, 2021-2022)</p> <p>Celebrity Apprentice (2011-2015, 2021-2022)</p> <p>Country Homes Rescue (2022)</p> <p>This Time Next Year (2017-2019)</p> <p>Australia’s Most Identical</p> <p id="channel-ten"><strong>Channel Ten</strong></p> <p>Gladiators (1995-1996, 2008, 2024)</p> <p>The Bachelor (2013-2023)</p> <p>Studio 10 (2013-2023)</p> <p>The Masked Singer (2019-2023)</p> <p>The Traitors (2022-2023)</p> <p>Would I Lie To You? Australia (2022-2023)</p> <p>The Real Love Boat (2022)</p> <p>The Bachelorette (2015-2021)</p> <p>Bachelor In Paradise (2018-2020)</p> <p><em>Image credits: Ten / Seven </em></p>

TV

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What is allyship? A brief history, present and future

<div class="theconversation-article-body"> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/wendy-marie-cumming-potvin-542762">Wendy Marie Cumming-Potvin</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/murdoch-university-746">Murdoch University</a></em></p> <p>Despite social change, LGBTQI+ people still face discrimination <a href="https://www.ohchr.org/en/statements/2019/10/inclusion-lgbt-people-education-settings-paramount-importance-leaving-no-one">at school</a> and <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/10304312.2023.2296344">in the community</a>.</p> <p>Language for diverse genders and sexualities is continually changing. LGBTQI+ allyship is part of this change. But what is allyship?</p> <p>Allyship refers to people outside of a group – say, straight people – who actively support and work with people inside a group – say, LGBTQI+ people.</p> <p>It can also mean people from different groups working together to support each other’s goals. A key example of this was at the <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/10304312.2023.2296344">Stonewall riots in 1969</a>, when lesbians, gay men and transgender people joined with Black Panthers and civil rights activists in New York City to protest against police brutality.</p> <p>But defining allyship can be challenging. Some people disagree about who an ally is. Others disagree about what an ally does.</p> <h2>What is an ally?</h2> <p>The term “ally” first appeared in US universities among students <a href="https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED336682.pdf#page=215">in the early 1990s</a>. It was used to describe how majority group members (straight students) helped minorities (gay, lesbian and bisexual students), by advocating to end sexuality-based oppression in higher education.</p> <p>For many years, scholars have seen straight allyship for lesbian, gay and bisexual people as helpful for activism. Straight allies have played important roles in <a href="https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt7pf5j">policy</a> and in <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/19361653.2014.969867">combating prejudice</a> on high school and university campuses.</p> <p>Research has shown university and high school gay–straight alliances <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/19361653.2017.1326867?casa_token=A6nQuWeFBIYAAAAA%3Ad-Tg1edyeiOyRDuHKyeHDcWuvqLLVhAFqyhXMjOe8RtWJH6pdwxUpES759QaY_zacNUS-TtqMXYK">have contributed</a> to more positive campus environments and a reduction in gender- and sexuality-based discrimination.</p> <p>Over many years, gay–straight teacher alliances have <a href="https://go.gale.com/ps/i.do?id=GALE%7CA227011983&sid=googleScholar&v=2.1&it=r&linkaccess=abs&issn=10813004&p=LitRC&sw=w&userGroupName=anon%7E40663b6e&aty=open-web-entry">successfully used</a> inquiry groups to combat homophobia and explore <a href="https://theconversation.com/explainer-what-does-intersectionality-mean-104937">intersectionality</a> (the way different facets of someone’s identity intersect) within their schools. These groups highlighted LGBTQI-themed literature in English class, and encouraged teachers to be outspoken in their support by attending community events, such as pride parades.</p> <p>But allyship can be exclusionary. While early perspectives of allyship focused on helping gay or lesbian university students, transgender or non-binary folk <a href="https://www.routledge.com/LGBTQI-Allies-in-Education-Advocacy-Activism-and-Participatory-Collaborative/Cumming-Potvin/p/book/9781032298832">were often ignored</a>.</p> <p>There is also contention about <a href="https://www.queensjournal.ca/justin-timberlakes-queer-allyship-strips-ally-of-its-meaning/">how much “work”</a> a straight ally has to do to earn recognition. Some people say that for someone to be called an ally they need to actively work for change, not just say they support others.</p> <p>As allies, we are continually learning. And sometimes we get it wrong. When we make mistakes, it’s important to apologise and continue supporting those we wish to serve.</p> <h2>Allyship from within the community</h2> <p>Many current definitions of allyship only encompass allies outside of the group they are supporting. But a broadened definition of allyship would be useful.</p> <p>LGBTQI+ people, especially with leadership roles, can be strong allies in their communities. Laverne Cox uses her stardom <a href="https://ccrjustice.org/home/blog/2019/08/02/evening-activism-laverne-cox">to advocate</a> for her community of transgender women of colour and other LGBTQI+ people. Georgie Stone made medical processes <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/society/2019/sep/07/it-takes-a-lot-of-courage-rebekah-robertson-on-raising-transgender-activist-georgie-stone">easier for transgender children</a> in Australia.</p> <figure><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/-_dpLOXfOUE?wmode=transparent&start=0" width="440" height="260" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></figure> <p>Because identities can shift, identifying who sits inside and outside LGBTQA+ communities can be challenging. Sometimes, there are clear social group insiders. Sometimes, there are clear outsiders. Other times, things are less clear. A person might hover inside and outside minority groups. They may not identify as straight, but they may not live publicly as LGBTQI+. Or a bisexual person may live in a straight relationship for many years.</p> <p>This means allyship is also dynamic. It <a href="https://www.suu.edu/pridealliance/pdf/reynolds.pdf">shifts</a> depending on power, privilege and life experiences. For example, in one social context, a white, heterosexual woman may have power as a LGBTQI+ ally. But in a professional setting where the majority of attendees are white heterosexual men, this same woman may not be as powerful.</p> <h2>An intersectional process</h2> <p>Allyship needs to understand that many people’s gender and sexuality interact with language fluency, class, geography, race, age and disability.</p> <p>This means that despite victories such as marriage equality, LGBTQI+ people who are homeless, transgender or people of colour may face <a href="https://theconversation.com/despite-recent-victories-plights-of-many-lgbt-people-remain-ignored-49273">significant barriers</a> in society. For example, as of May 2024, <a href="https://translegislation.com/">550 anti-trans bills</a> have been introduced in US legislatures.</p> <p><a href="https://www.creativespirits.info/aboriginalculture/people/lgbti-aboriginal-people-diversity-at-the-margins">Because of</a> discrimination, racism and a silencing around Black queer history, LGBTQA+ Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people can receive inappropriate services, for example, <a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/epdf/10.1177/10497323211069682">in healthcare and education</a>.</p> <p>Understanding the multiple identities of LGBTQI+ people will support strong allyship to reduce <a href="https://www.murdoch.edu.au/news/articles/national-survey-reveals-mental-health-burden-on-first-nations-lgbtqa-youth">negative health outcomes</a> for Aboriginal communities.</p> <h2>What’s next for allyship?</h2> <p>Recent Canadian work has grouped researchers, school boards and teacher federations to make <a href="https://trans-affirm.edu.uwo.ca/toolkit/Trans-Affirming%20Toolkit.pdf">ally resources</a> for supporting trans and gender-diverse students in Ontario.</p> <p>This tool kit includes modules for having conversations about gender identity and teaching about transgender policy. The final module introduces action plans for supporting transgender students through whole school approaches.</p> <p>History has shown coming together can lead to social transformation and better outcomes for marginalised groups. In 2016, US President Barack Obama designated the Stonewall Inn <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/jun/24/obama-announces-stonewall-inn-national-monument">a national US monument</a> to celebrate gay history.</p> <p>Apart from acknowledging evolving ideas about gender and sexuality, future LGBTQI+ allyship needs to be intersectional. This means that factors like age, social class, geography, race, language and disability count. And when barriers are broken down across sectors, like healthcare, education and housing, allies become stronger.<!-- 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/220668/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/wendy-marie-cumming-potvin-542762">Wendy Marie Cumming-Potvin</a>, Associate Professor/ Director of Research (School of Education), <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/murdoch-university-746">Murdoch University</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock</em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/what-is-allyship-a-brief-history-present-and-future-220668">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

Caring

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The alarmingly accurate predictions made 100 years ago

<p>A university researcher has uncovered predictions made in 1924 about what the world would look like 100 years in the future, with some of the predictions proving to be scarily accurate. </p> <p>The Canadian professor Paul Fairie shared a selection of headlines and articles made by newspapers in the 1920s on his X account, showing in what ways the world has changed and how it has remained the same.</p> <p>While some predictions made in 1924 hit the nail on the head, others couldn't be further from reality. </p> <p><strong>Accurate predictions </strong></p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>Car speedways</em></span></p> <p>One newspaper clipping claimed that in the future, cars would be travelling on super "speedways" that allowed them to travel faster. </p> <p>While cars first hit the roads in the 1880s, it wasn't until the 1920s that vehicles became more common, with cities quickly trying to build safe roads to accommodate the growth in motor vehicles. </p> <p>“In the city of 2024, this authority predicts there will be three-deck roads; speedways through the heart of town,” the newspaper article predicted.</p> <p>The article also envisaged monorail express services to the suburbs replacing cars and buses and moving sidewalks (similar to airport travelators) that moved people in all directions, “serving all railroad stations and business districts”.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>Women getting tattooed and dyeing their hair</em></span></p> <p>In the 1920s, tattoos were exclusively reserved for sailors, criminals and gangland figures until they became more commonplace. </p> <p>But one 1924 article predicted, incredibly accurately, that by 2024 women would be getting tattoos and dyeing their hair “all the colours of the rainbow”.</p> <p>“Debutantes of 1924 are shingle-haired, sleek-looking maidens with delicately rouged cheeks and provocative red lips,” the article stated.</p> <p>“The 1924 debutante successfully conceals her personality under paint and power."</p> <p>“The debutante of 100 years hence may revert to type and frankly copy her ancestors, who dyed their skins with woad; only, with the modern instinct for progress."</p> <p>“She may go still further and dye her complexion and hair all the colours of the rainbow.”</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>Women becoming stronger</em></span></p> <p>The newspapers of 1924 also predicted that women of the future would be “physically strong, vital and alert.”</p> <p>One article predicted that women would spend more time in the outdoors, participate in sports, and would be “engaging by choice” in activities that were historically restricted to men.</p> <p>Intellectually, women would be “quick at wit and keen of judgment,” while spiritually, she would “radiate love and good will”.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>Remote viewing </em></span></p> <p>One of the most accurate predictions from 1924 was the invention of technology that would allow people to view entertainment "remotely". </p> <p>“Many inconveniences which the touring artist now has to suffer will no doubt be eliminated,” one prediction read.</p> <p>“It will not be necessary to travel great distances. The strain of the concert tour will be dispensed with. Artists may not even have to leave their homes (to perform).”</p> <p><strong>Not so accurate predictions</strong></p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>Horses becoming extinct </em></span></p> <p>One prediction from a 1924 newspaper believed that as cars took over as the main form of transportation, there would be no more use for horses and they would soon becoming extinct. </p> <p>“If a house would decrease in the same ratio as in the last ten or twenty years, it might be easy to tell when the last horse would give up his stall to an automobile,” the prediction read.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>Self-launching beds</em></span></p> <p>Another not-so accurate prediction claimed that beds would soon come with a feature that would override the use for an alarm clock, but would come with a mechanism to launch you out of bed in the morning. </p> <p>Describing this futuristic scenario, the reporter wrote: “My bed turns over automatically and I am deposited on the floor”.</p> <p>“Eight o’clock and the switch operating above the fiendish substitute for an alarm clock is operated from school, so at the moment, I am in the same predicament as the rest of the 450 scholars.”</p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock </em></p>

Technology

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SecondBite's Feed the Future Program: cultivating hope, one meal at a time

<p>In a world where food insecurity continues to plague communities, there shines a beacon of hope in the form of <a href="https://secondbite.org/">SecondBite</a>. Since its inception in 2005, SecondBite has worked tirelessly to rescue and redistribute surplus food, ensuring that no Australian goes to bed hungry. Now, with the launch of their Feed the Future program, they are taking their commitment to combating hunger and waste to new heights.</p> <p>The impact of SecondBite's efforts is truly staggering. Having already rescued and redistributed the equivalent of almost 300 million meals, they have become a lifeline for countless individuals and families facing food insecurity across the nation. But as the demand for their services continues to rise, so too does the need for support from generous donors and supporters.</p> <p>At the heart of SecondBite's purpose is the belief that every Australian deserves access to nutritious food, regardless of their circumstances. Through their Feed the Future program, they are not only addressing immediate hunger but also working towards a future where hunger and food waste are relics of the past.</p> <p>One individual who embodied this spirit of generosity was the late Frank Costa AO, a prominent Australian businessman and philanthropist. His unwavering commitment to giving back to the community lives on through a generous $1 million donation to SecondBite's Future Trust, ensuring that his legacy of compassion and service will continue to make a difference for years to come.</p> <p>“Frank was so passionate about health and the role that nutritious food plays in keeping us healthy,” says his widow, Shirley Costa. “He always said that the best way to preserve your health is to put the right food in your body, in particular, fruit and vegetables. He felt genuinely proud to provide a service to people, but also to contribute to their health and happiness. And he hoped that his gift would allow SecondBite to continue this legacy.”</p> <p><img class="alignnone size-full wp-image-70396" src="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2024/03/SecondBite_Hero_02.jpg" alt="" width="770" height="500" /></p> <p>For those considering leaving a gift to SecondBite in their will, the Feed the Future program offers a unique opportunity to create a lasting impact. By becoming a member, supporters can join a community of like-minded individuals dedicated to building a future where no one goes hungry.</p> <p>Membership in the Feed the Future program comes with a range of exclusive benefits, including a certificate of recognition, a special lapel pin, invitations to events, and even a symbolic apple tree to plant in your garden as a testament to your commitment to ending hunger.</p> <p>But perhaps the greatest reward of all is the knowledge that your gift will help SecondBite continue their vital work, providing nourishment, hope and dignity to those in need. Together, we can create a future where every Australian has a place at the table, and no one is left behind.</p> <p><img class="alignnone wp-image-70420 size-full" src="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2024/04/Cropped-Image_secondbite_770.jpg" alt="" width="770" height="500" /></p> <p>“If you share our vision of a place at the table for all Australians, so that every child, woman and man has access to a regular nutritious food supply,” says SecondBite co-founder Ian Carson, “please consider joining our Feed the Future program and making a gift to SecondBite in your Will.”</p> <p>To learn more about how you can support SecondBite's Feed the Future program and make a difference in the lives of those facing food insecurity, contact their team today at 1800 263 283 or visit <a href="https://secondbite.org/gifts-in-will/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">secondbite.org/gifts-in-will</a>.</p> <p>Join us in cultivating a brighter future for all Australians, one meal at a time.</p> <p><em>Images: Supplied.</em></p> <p><em>This is a sponsored article produced in partnership with SecondBite.</em></p>

Food & Wine

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The easy way Aussie airfares could be halved in the future

<p>A federal taskforce has found that there is a way for Aussies to pay half the amount on airfares, and that is by simply introducing some competition. </p> <p>Early results from their research found that the "mere threat" of rivalry can be enough to lower airfares. </p> <p>Just last year the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) <a href="https://www.smartcompany.com.au/industries/tourism/accc-blames-qantas-and-virgin-australia-duopoly-for-high-flight-prices-and-poor-service/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">found</a> that the duopoly between Qantas and Virgin Australia was a key contributor to the "high prices and underwhelming customer service." </p> <p>The early findings of the Competition Taskforce, which was set up last year, found that having flights serviced by three carriers instead of one can significantly reduce the cost. </p> <p>When serviced by a sole carrier, airfares average 39.6 cents per kilometre - this drops to 28.2 cents a kilometre with a second rival, and to 19.2 cents a kilometre with a third. </p> <p>Assistant Minister for Competition Andrew Leigh said that competition  exerted "significant" downward pressure on airfares.</p> <p>He added that a lack of competition in the aviation industry was problematic for a country that relies heavily on flying to connect cities to reach other parts of the world. </p> <p>"For a resident of Darwin, it is often cheaper to fly from Darwin to Singapore than it is to fly from Darwin to Sydney, even although the international flight is longer than the domestic one,"  he said. </p> <p>Leigh added that more than a dozen airlines operated in Australia before World War Two, but from the 1950s to the 1980s, a duopoly prevailed which kept prices high. </p> <p>"Only with the deregulation of aviation in the late 1980s did flying become affordable for many middle-class families and small businesspeople," he said. </p> <p>"Australia's aviation history shows the value of competition."</p> <p>Just last year the aviation sector came under fire after the government's decided to block Qatar Airway's from running additional flights in Australia, with accusations that the move was made to protect Qantas from competition.</p> <p>The federal government has since issued a review of the  sector - including its competitiveness - and a white paper is expected to be released mid-year. </p> <p><em>Image: Getty</em></p> <p> </p>

Money & Banking

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“I need a future”: New details on boy kidnapped for six years

<p>When concerned motorist Fabien Accidini <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/lifestyle/family-pets/missing-boy-found-alive-after-six-long-years" target="_blank" rel="noopener">happened upon Alex Batty</a> walking along a road in the foothills of the Pyrenees in France, he had no idea of the mysterious and tragic situation he had uncovered. </p> <p>“I said to myself, ‘That’s strange. It’s 3am in the morning, it’s raining, he’s all by himself on the road between two villages,’” Accidini told French news outlet BFMTV.</p> <p>Batty had gone missing from his home in England at the tender age of 11 back in 2017. Now 17, new details have emerged about the extraordinary six-year journey that unfolded since his disappearance.</p> <p>British and French authorities confirmed on Friday that the teenager discovered by Accidini was, indeed, Alex Batty. The initial family holiday to Spain turned into a six-year odyssey across Morocco, Spain and southwest France, as Alex and his family embraced a nomadic, off-the-grid lifestyle.</p> <p>French authorities revealed that Alex and his family moved from house to house, carrying their own solar panels, growing their own food, and living with other families in what the teenager described as a “spiritual community". However, last Wednesday marked a turning point as Alex suddenly appeared on a remote road in rural France, having parted ways with his mother.</p> <p>According to French prosecutor Antoine Leroy, Alex decided to strike out on his own when his mother expressed a desire to move yet again, this time to Finland. Leroy stated at a news conference in Toulouse, “When his mother indicated that she intended to leave for Finland with him, this young man understood that this journey had to stop.”</p> <p>Undeterred by the challenging circumstances, Alex walked for four nights, resting during the days and sustaining himself with whatever he could find in fields or gardens. It was during this solitary journey that Accidini spotted him on the rain-soaked road.</p> <p>Accidini offered assistance, and despite initial suspicion and a false name, Alex eventually opened up during the deliveryman's rounds. “He’d had enough. He said, ‘I am 17. I need a future.’ He didn’t see a future for himself there,” Accidini recounted.</p> <p>In an interview with La Depeche, Accidini shared more details about Alex's arduous journey: “He told me that he had been walking for four days, that he’d left from the mountains. He didn’t really know where.”</p> <p>Showing kindness, Accidini provided the thirsty teenager with water and allowed him to use his mobile phone to send a message to his grandmother.</p> <p>The message read, “Hello grandma, it is me, Alex. I am in France, Toulouse. I really hope that you receive this message. I love you. I want to come home.”</p> <p>Back in the UK, Greater Manchester Police confirmed that Alex had spoken with his grandmother, Susan Caruana, via video call. Assistant Chief Constable Chris Sykes stated, “Whilst she is content that this is indeed Alex, we have further checks to do when he returns to the United Kingdom.</p> <p>“Our main priority now is to see Alex returned home to his family in the UK.”</p> <p>Alex is expected to return to the UK in the coming days, as the investigation into the full circumstances of his disappearance continues.</p> <p><em>Images: Greater Manchester Police</em> </p> <p> </p>

Family & Pets

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“Bed of the future” baffles travellers

<p>People usually don't get confused about how to use a bed, but Virgin Hotel's latest addition has gone viral for just that.</p> <p>The Richard Branson bed, has been named the "hotel bed of the future" and it looks like any other bed, aside from the seat-like nooks attached to the corners. </p> <p>"We're very confused by this thing on the edge of my bed," TikTok user Danielle said in the viral video, which has racked up over 3 million views. </p> <p>"It's not a chair, and it doesn't swivel out," she explained.</p> <p>Danielle then proceeds to come up with a few theories about the feature's function. </p> <p>"It's so you don't bump your knee when you're getting up or going back to bed after going to the bathroom," she said. </p> <p>"Or, we're wondering if it's so you can sit and chat with your friends."</p> <p>Other users were quick to comment and here are a few of their hilarious responses: </p> <p>"That's where you stack your laundry when you don't feel like putting it away," one person wrote. </p> <p>"I thought this was so your dog could have a comfy spot to lay," another commented. </p> <p>"Without getting too graphic … the possibilities are endless," added a third. </p> <div class="embed" style="box-sizing: inherit; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-size: 16px; vertical-align: baseline; color: #323338; font-family: Figtree, Roboto, 'Noto Sans Hebrew', 'Noto Kufi Arabic', 'Noto Sans JP', sans-serif; background-color: #ffffff; outline: none !important;"><iframe class="embedly-embed" style="box-sizing: inherit; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border-width: 0px; border-style: initial; vertical-align: baseline; width: 580px; max-width: 100%; outline: none !important;" title="tiktok embed" src="https://cdn.embedly.com/widgets/media.html?src=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.tiktok.com%2Fembed%2Fv2%2F7296702849298337066&amp;display_name=tiktok&amp;url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.tiktok.com%2F%40danielle_carolan%2Fvideo%2F7296702849298337066%3Fis_from_webapp%3D1%26sender_device%3Dpc%26web_id%3D7142332295764346370&amp;image=https%3A%2F%2Fp19-sign.tiktokcdn-us.com%2Ftos-useast5-p-0068-tx%2F53b6a23d5bbd4af1a1907e2073c2b818_1698896032%7Etplv-dmt-logom%3Atos-useast5-i-0068-tx%2Fo4IRiSlAxEom0dpDDDEQQQFBJAAC3gffEGEA6J.image%3Fx-expires%3D1699570800%26x-signature%3DIMlG9WO44PlRm5CNyVIyayR4AxM%253D&amp;key=59e3ae3acaa649a5a98672932445e203&amp;type=text%2Fhtml&amp;schema=tiktok" width="340" height="700" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></div> <p>One commenter came to the rescue with the answers everyone was looking for, and confirmed that Danielle's second guess was right, and told her to look up the "Richard Branson lounge bed".</p> <p>The bed itself was patented by Virgin Hotels and features two "cubby holes" which allow three people to sit comfortably on the bed and socialise or do their own thing. </p> <p>"Everybody has a cubby hole where they can sit and talk and still work with devices,"  Virgin Hotels CEO Raul Leal explained when the bed was first introduced in 2015. </p> <p><em>Images: TikTok</em></p>

International Travel

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"Devastating blow": Back to the Future star's tragic family news

<p><em>Back to the Future </em>star Lea Thompson, renowned for her role as Lorraine, the endearing mother of Michael J. Fox's iconic character, Marty McFly, has recently shared some deeply saddening family news.</p> <p>The 62-year-old actress opened up about her personal struggle, revealing that both of her older brothers have been diagnosed with Parkinson's disease within a few months of each other.</p> <p>This announcement resonated profoundly with her fans and followers, especially given Michael J. Fox's well-known battle with the condition since his diagnosis in 1991 at the tender age of 29.</p> <p>In an emotionally charged Instagram post, Thompson shared her family's ordeal, writing, "Both of my beloved exceptional big brothers have been diagnosed with Parkinson’s within a few months of each other. It was such a devastating blow."</p> <p>She went on to describe how the disease had stealthily crept into their lives, noting that her brothers had been displaying signs of slowing down, but the true nature of their condition hadn't been immediately apparent.</p> <p>Fortunately, their early diagnosis, made possible by the diligent efforts of researchers supported by the Michael J. Fox Foundation, has offered them access to medications and tools that have significantly improved their quality of life.</p> <p>Accompanying her heartfelt message, Thompson posted pictures of herself with her two brothers during a day of golf, capturing a precious family moment. Another poignant photo showed her brothers with their arms wrapped around each other.</p> <blockquote class="instagram-media" style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" data-instgrm-captioned="" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/Cyz8bCxO9GF/?utm_source=ig_embed&utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="14"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"> </div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <div style="padding: 12.5% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; margin-bottom: 14px; align-items: center;"> <div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(0px) translateY(7px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; height: 12.5px; transform: rotate(-45deg) translateX(3px) translateY(1px); width: 12.5px; flex-grow: 0; margin-right: 14px; margin-left: 2px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(9px) translateY(-18px);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: 8px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 20px; width: 20px;"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 2px solid transparent; border-left: 6px solid #f4f4f4; border-bottom: 2px solid transparent; transform: translateX(16px) translateY(-4px) rotate(30deg);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: auto;"> <div style="width: 0px; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-right: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(16px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; flex-grow: 0; height: 12px; width: 16px; transform: translateY(-4px);"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-left: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(-4px) translateX(8px);"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center; margin-bottom: 24px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 224px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 144px;"> </div> </div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/Cyz8bCxO9GF/?utm_source=ig_embed&utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank" rel="noopener">A post shared by Lea Thompson (@lea_thompson)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p>Thompson's dedication to raising awareness and support for Parkinson's research was evident when she expressed feeling "honoured" to be part of a "public service announcement" for the Michael J. Fox Foundation's gala, sharing a behind-the-scenes photo from the campaign. She also expressed gratitude for the support of scientists, philanthropists, and her "movie son", Michael J. Fox, who has been an unwavering advocate for Parkinson's research.</p> <p>The response from Thompson's fans and followers was heartwarming, as they flocked to the comments section to express their solidarity. Messages of love, hope and empathy poured in from all corners, with many sharing personal connections to Parkinson's disease and the advances in treatment and therapies they have witnessed.</p> <p>Parkinson's disease is a debilitating neurodegenerative condition, and it is the second most common neurological disorder in Australia, with over 100,000 Australians grappling with its impact. Common symptoms include tremors, slowness of movement, and rigidity.</p> <p>Michael J. Fox's diagnosis at the astonishingly young age of 29 stands as a stark reminder of the disease's unpredictable reach, as the average age of diagnosis hovers around 65.</p> <p>Parkinson's disease results from the brain's inability to produce sufficient dopamine, a neurotransmitter vital for controlling movement. Diagnosing Parkinson's is not straightforward; it often relies on clinical evaluation by specialists such as neurologists, who meticulously assess clinical signs and symptoms, as there are no definitive laboratory tests like blood work or brain scans available for diagnosis.</p> <p>Lea Thompson's open acknowledgment of her family's struggle with Parkinson's disease not only shines a light on the challenges faced by those living with the condition but also underscores the importance of continued research and support for those affected. </p> <p><em>Images: Instagram</em></p>

Caring

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5 tips for getting off gas at home – for a cleaner, cheaper, healthier all-electric future

<p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/trivess-moore-12580">Trivess Moore</a>, <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/rmit-university-1063">RMIT University</a></em>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/alan-pears-52">Alan Pears</a>, <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/rmit-university-1063">RMIT University</a></em>, and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/nicola-willand-441807">Nicola Willand</a>, <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/rmit-university-1063">RMIT University</a></em></p> <p>Burning gas in our homes to cook food or heat air and water has become a contentious issue. Gas is an expensive, polluting fossil fuel, and there’s mounting evidence to suggest it’s also <a href="https://www1.racgp.org.au/ajgp/2022/december/health-risks-from-indoor-gas-appliances">bad for our health</a>.</p> <p>Five million existing Australian households will need to <a href="https://grattan.edu.au/report/getting-off-gas/">get off gas</a> within the next 30 years. But for homeowners, the upfront cost can be a major barrier to action. Renters rarely get a say over the appliances installed in their homes. And apartment owners can struggle to make individual changes too.</p> <p>In most cases it’s worth making the switch, for the energy bill savings alone. For example, analysis suggests a household in Melbourne switching from gas to electricity can save <a href="https://theconversation.com/all-electric-homes-are-better-for-your-hip-pocket-and-the-planet-heres-how-governments-can-help-us-get-off-gas-207409">up to A$13,900</a> over a decade.</p> <p>If you’re contemplating upgrading gas appliances in your home, or even disconnecting from the gas network altogether, here are a few handy tips and resources to cut through the confusion.</p> <figure><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/2JuZgXz6zNo?wmode=transparent&amp;start=0" width="440" height="260" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe><figcaption><span class="caption">Homes must switch away from gas by 2050, says policy think tank (ABC News)</span></figcaption></figure> <h2>Tip 1 – Find trusted, independent information</h2> <p>There is no shortage of information on how to make the switch from gas to all-electric appliances. The challenge is finding <a href="https://theconversation.com/we-need-a-lemon-law-to-make-all-the-homes-we-buy-and-rent-more-energy-efficient-204369">trusted and independent information</a>.</p> <p>Not-for-profit organisation <a href="https://renew.org.au/">Renew</a> has compiled a range of <a href="https://renew.org.au/resources/how-we-can-help/efficient-electric-homes/how-we-can-help-going-off-gas/">presentations, guides, case studies and research</a>. <a href="https://www.choice.com.au/">Choice</a> provides independent reviews of household appliances, including operating costs. The Australian government’s <a href="https://www.energyrating.gov.au/">Energy Rating website</a> provides information on appliances to help consumers compare performance. Some <a href="https://www.yarracity.vic.gov.au/services/take-climate-action">local councils</a> and <a href="https://totallyrenewableyack.org.au/">community groups</a> also provide information, support and bulk-buying schemes.</p> <p>You could also visit some of the all-electric homes open to the public for <a href="https://sustainablehouseday.com/">Sustainable House Day</a>. This can help you learn what works from people who have already made the change.</p> <p>The <a href="https://www.facebook.com/groups/MyEfficientElectricHome">My Efficient Electric Home</a> group on Facebook is another active and helpful forum.</p> <p>If you are going all-electric as part of a wider retrofit, consider an independent <a href="https://www.homescorecard.gov.au/">Residential Efficiency Scorecard assessment</a>. This will help you understand what to else you can do to maximise <a href="https://theconversation.com/the-other-99-retrofitting-is-the-key-to-putting-more-australians-into-eco-homes-91231">thermal comfort, environmental benefits and financial outcomes</a>.</p> <h2>Tip 2 – Plan your approach</h2> <p>Once you understand what to do, the next step is planning how to go about it. Think about what is most important to your household. What is driving the change? If it’s your health, you might like to start by eliminating indoor air pollution from the gas stove. Or if you want to save money, start using reverse-cycle air conditioning to heat your home, rather than gas.</p> <p>There are three main ways to go all-electric:</p> <ul> <li> <p><strong>Replace all your gas appliances at once</strong>. Making the change quickly minimises disruption to your home. You may save money on installation costs by doing everything in one go. You will avoid ongoing fixed gas supply charges once you disconnect from the gas network, but you may be required to pay an “<a href="https://energy.act.gov.au/switching-off-your-gas-connection/">abolishment fee</a>” for permanent disconnection. That fee can vary significantly, depending on your location and gas provider. Costs <a href="https://www.smh.com.au/environment/sustainability/would-you-pay-1000-to-get-off-gas-consumer-dismay-over-disconnection-cost-20230223-p5cmw9.html">could be up to $1000 (or more)</a> but some states like Victoria have capped the price a <a href="https://reneweconomy.com.au/fossil-gas-death-spiral-regulator-sets-exit-fee-to-socialise-cost-of-mass-disconnection/">household can be charged at $220</a>. Renters wouldn’t be able to permanently disconnect without permission from the landlord, so they would still be open to paying the daily connection fee even if they found alternative electric options for everything else.</p> </li> <li> <p><strong>Replace your gas appliances one at a time</strong>, as finances allow. However, there will come a point where <a href="http://www.ata.org.au/wp-content/projects/CAP_Gas_Research_Final_Report_251114_v2.0.pdf">financially you will be better off</a> replacing all the remaining gas appliances. This is largely because it will not be affordable to keep paying the daily connection cost for gas if you just have one gas appliance remaining.</p> </li> <li> <p><strong>Just stop using gas appliances</strong> in favour of existing electric appliances that do the same job, such as a <a href="https://reneweconomy.com.au/the-traps-laid-by-the-fossil-gas-industry-for-uninformed-households/">reverse cycle air conditioner for space heating</a>. You may have – or can buy – plug-in electric alternatives, such as a microwave ovens, portable induction cooktops, air fryers and heaters. These can be a good option for renters when landlords won’t make changes.</p> </li> </ul> <p>You could even borrow portable appliances to see how they work before committing to buying your own.</p> <figure><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/tLjWZicC4mE?wmode=transparent&amp;start=2" width="440" height="260" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe><figcaption><span class="caption">Households share their electrification journey (Renew)</span></figcaption></figure> <h2>Tip 3 – Access available rebates and resources</h2> <p>Most states offer various rebates for households to reduce the upfront cost of replacing gas appliances. These could reduce costs by thousands of dollars. Some rebates also target rental housing. Here is a list of key rebates available in different states:</p> <ul> <li><a href="https://www.epw.qld.gov.au/about/initiatives/household-energy-savings-program">Queensland</a></li> <li><a href="https://www.energy.nsw.gov.au/households/rebates-grants-and-schemes">New South Wales</a></li> <li><a href="https://www.climatechoices.act.gov.au/policy-programs/home-energy-support-rebates-for-homeowners">ACT</a></li> <li><a href="https://www.energy.vic.gov.au/for-households/victorian-energy-upgrades-for-households">Victoria</a></li> <li><a href="https://recfit.tas.gov.au/household_energy/energy_saver_loan_scheme">Tasmania</a></li> <li><a href="https://www.sa.gov.au/topics/energy-and-environment/using-saving-energy/retailer-energy-productivity-scheme">South Australia</a></li> </ul> <p>Some not-for-profit organisations (such as the <a href="https://www.bsl.org.au/services/energy-assistance/">Brotherhood of St Laurence</a>) offer financial and other support for lower-income households struggling to pay their energy bills.</p> <h2>Tip 4 – Wait for a sale or negotiate a better deal</h2> <p>It might sound simple but you can always save money by waiting until these electric appliances are on sale. If you are buying multiple appliances you can try to negotiate a better price. Factory seconds outlets offer lower prices as well.</p> <h2>Tip 5 – Know the issues</h2> <p>While the shift to all-electric will likely provide many benefits there are some things you need to consider:</p> <ul> <li>The carbon emissions from electricity are falling fast, and many homes have rooftop solar. Combining <a href="https://grattan.edu.au/report/getting-off-gas/">all-electric with solar panels</a> will maximise returns.</li> <li>You may have to adjust to how new technologies operate and perform. For example, you may need <a href="https://www.theage.com.au/goodfood/tips-and-advice/do-you-really-have-to-buy-new-cookware-all-your-burning-questions-about-induction-cooking-answered-20230810-p5dvd0.html">new, metallic cookware for an induction cooktop</a> and become familiar with their fast response. Additionally, some people find heat from reverse cycle air conditioners to be drier and/or draughtier than gas heating. Floor-mounted units heat more effectively.</li> <li>It is not just the energy performance of appliances that matters. For example, noise from heat pump hot water services can vary across different brands. They can also require more space for installation.</li> <li>Undertaking a wider energy retrofit (for example, increasing insulation in walls, ceiling and underfloor, upgrading windows to double glazing) may mean you can buy a smaller, cheaper reverse cycle air conditioner when replacing gas heating.</li> <li>Electric appliances also need maintenance to make sure they perform optimally. For example, reverse cycle air conditioners have filters that must be regularly cleaned. While this can be done by households, it can be hard for people with mobility issues.</li> <li>Depending on the capacity of your electricity switchboard or wiring, extra electric appliances may require upgrades.</li> <li>For renters, while you could use portable appliances, you may not be able to disconnect from gas completely, meaning you would still have to pay a daily connection fee.</li> <li>Gas and electricity prices can change over time, for many reasons. For example, if fixed gas distribution costs are spread over fewer customers.</li> </ul> <h2>A worthwhile investment</h2> <p>Australian states and territories have started banning gas in new builds. Victoria and the ACT will soon require <a href="https://theconversation.com/cooking-and-heating-without-gas-what-are-the-impacts-of-shifting-to-all-electric-homes-210649">new housing and major renovations to be all-electric</a>. Others are likely to follow.</p> <p>For people in existing housing around Australia, it can be daunting to make the switch. Many of us have grown up with gas in our homes and when one appliance breaks, the easiest thing to do is replace like-for-like. But the weight of evidence shows it’s worth taking the time to look at the alteratives and invest in upgrading to all-electric appliances. The benefits far outweigh the costs. <!-- 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/211261/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. 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More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/trivess-moore-12580">Trivess Moore</a>, Senior Lecturer, School of Property, Construction and Project Management, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/rmit-university-1063">RMIT University</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/alan-pears-52">Alan Pears</a>, Senior Industry Fellow, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/rmit-university-1063">RMIT University</a>, and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/nicola-willand-441807">Nicola Willand</a>, Senior Lecturer, School of Property, Construction and Project Management, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/rmit-university-1063">RMIT University</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/5-tips-for-getting-off-gas-at-home-for-a-cleaner-cheaper-healthier-all-electric-future-211261">original article</a>.</em></p>

Home & Garden

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Tony Bennett: the timeless visionary who, with a nod to America’s musical heritage, embraced the future

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/jose-valentino-ruiz-1293457">Jose Valentino Ruiz</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-florida-1392">University of Florida</a></em></p> <p>In the history of American popular music, there have been few luminaries as enduring and innovative as Tony Bennett.</p> <p>With a career that spanned almost 80 years, Bennett’s smooth tones, unique phrasing and visionary musical collaborations left an indelible mark on vocal jazz and the recording industry as a whole.</p> <p>That his <a href="https://apnews.com/article/tony-bennett-dies-c3b3a7e2360449fb936a38794c7c3266">death at the age of 96</a> on July 21, 2023, was mourned by artists as varied as <a href="https://twitter.com/KeithUrban/status/1682395658395824133">Keith Urban</a>, <a href="https://twitter.com/OzzyOsbourne/status/1682411338340126720">Ozzy Osbourne</a> and <a href="https://twitter.com/HarryConnickJR?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1682411086656557056%7Ctwgr%5E04a78435a793b5246d7bc19e09529f2b2f0bcfab%7Ctwcon%5Es1_&amp;ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fvariety.com%2F2023%2Fmusic%2Fnews%2Ftony-bennett-elton-john-reaction-tribute-1235676405%2F">Harry Connick Jr.</a> should come as no surprise. Yes, Bennett was a jazz crooner. But if his voice was always a constant – even late into his 80s, way past an age when most other singers have seen their vocal abilities diminish – then his embrace of the contemporary was every bit a facet of Bennett’s appeal.</p> <h2>Vocal innovator</h2> <p>Bennett’s journey is a testament to the power of daring innovation.</p> <p>From the early days of his career in the 1950s to his final recordings in the early 2020s, he fearlessly explored new musical territories, revolutionizing vocal jazz and captivating audiences across generations.</p> <p>His vocal style and phrasing were distinctive and set him apart from other artists of his time. He utilized a delayed or “laid-back” approach to falling on the note, a technique known as “<a href="https://www.musictheoryacademy.com/how-to-read-sheet-music/rubato/">rubato</a>.” This created a sense of anticipation in his phrasing, adding an element of surprise to his performances. Through Bennett’s skilled use of rubato, he was able to play with the tempo and rhythm of a song, bending and stretching musical phrases to evoke a range of emotions. This subtle manipulation of timing gave his songs a natural and conversational quality, making listeners feel as though he was intimately sharing his stories with them.</p> <p>Armed with this silky, playful voice, Bennett found fame fairly early on in his career, delivering jazz standards alongside the likes of Mel Tormé and Nat King Cole. By the mid-1960s, he was being touted by Frank Sinatra as “the best singer in the business.”</p> <p>But his musical style fell out of fashion in the 1970s – a lean period during which Bennett <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/history/2023/07/21/tony-bennett-son-life-career-drugs/">almost succumbed to a drug overdose</a>. Then, in the 1990s, Bennett found a new audience and set off a series of collaborations with contemporary musical stars that would become the standard for his later career.</p> <p>No genre of artistry was deemed off-limits for Bennett. “<a href="https://www.tonybennett.com/music-detail.php?id=11">Duets: An American Classic</a>,” released to coincide with his 80th birthday in 2006, saw collaborations with country stars such as k.d. lang and the Dixie Chicks – now known as the Chicks – and soul legend Stevie Wonder, alongside kindred jazz spirits such as Diana Krall. “Duets II,” a 2011 follow-up, saw further explorations with the likes of Aretha Franklin, Queen Latifah, Willie Nelson and Amy Winehouse, in what would become the <a href="https://faroutmagazine.co.uk/amy-winehouse-final-recording-session/">British singer’s last recording</a>.</p> <p>But his cross-generational, cross-genre and cross-cultural appeal is perhaps best exemplified by his <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2023/07/21/arts/music/tony-bennett-lady-gaga.html">collaborations with Lady Gaga</a>, first on the 2014 Grammy-winning album “Cheek to Cheek.” The recording brought together two artists from different generations, genres and backgrounds, uniting them in a harmonious celebration of jazz classics. The collaboration not only showcased each one’s vocal prowess, but also sent a powerful message about the unifying nature of music.</p> <p>Lady Gaga, a pop artist with avant-garde leanings, might have seemed an unlikely partner for Bennett, the quintessential jazz crooner. Yet their musical chemistry and mutual admiration resulted in an album that mesmerized audiences worldwide. “Cheek to Cheek” effortlessly transcended musical boundaries, while the duo’s magnetic stage presence and undeniable talent enchanted listeners.</p> <p>The successful fusion of jazz and pop encouraged artists to experiment beyond traditional boundaries, leading to more cross-genre projects across the industry – proving that such projects could go beyond one-off novelties, and be profitable at that.</p> <h2>Timeless artistry</h2> <p>Bennett’s embrace of contemporary artists did not mean that he abandoned his own musical self. By blending traditional jazz with contemporary elements, he managed to captivate audiences across generations, appealing to both longtime fans and new listeners.</p> <p>One key aspect of Bennett’s success was his ability to embody the sentiment of old America, reminiscent of artists like Sinatra, Billie Holiday and Louis Armstrong, while infusing contemporary nuances that resonated with the human condition of a more modern era. His approach to music captured both the essence and struggle of America, giving his songs a timeless and universal appeal. Moreover, his voice conveyed familiarity and comfort, akin to listening to a beloved uncle.</p> <p>Bennett’s albums stood out not only for his soulful voice and impeccable delivery but also for the way he drew others from varied musical backgrounds into his world of jazz sensibilities. As a producer, he recognized the importance of nurturing creativity and bringing out the best in artists.</p> <p>Meanwhile, Bennett’s approach to evolving his own sound while preserving its essence sets him apart as an artist. Fearless in his pursuit of innovation, he delved into contemporary musical elements and collaborated with producers to infuse new sonic dimensions into his later albums. The result drew listeners into an <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6kNpdLZwetU">intimate and immersive, concert-like acoustic journey</a>.</p> <h2>Depth of emotion</h2> <p>The greats in music have an ability to speak to the human experience. And either in collaboration with others or on his own, Bennett was able to achieve this time and time again.</p> <p>His albums were successful not only due to their technical brilliance and musicality but also because Bennett’s voice conveyed a depth of emotion that transcended barriers of time and culture, touching the hearts of listeners from various backgrounds. There was a universality in his music that made him a beloved and revered artist across the globe.</p> <p>Bennett’s life spanned decades of societal upheavals in the United States. But in his music, listeners could always find beauty in challenging times. And as the 20th- and 21st-century American music industry went through its own revolutions, Bennett’s artistic evolution mirrored the changes, cementing his place as a music icon who defies the boundaries of time and trends.<!-- 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/210244/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><iframe style="border-radius: 12px;" src="https://open.spotify.com/embed/playlist/2UxxnhUE5YLchYgutxKEbJ?utm_source=generator" width="100%" height="380" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" loading="lazy"></iframe></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/jose-valentino-ruiz-1293457">Jose Valentino Ruiz</a>, Program Director of Music Business &amp; Entrepreneurship, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-florida-1392">University of Florida</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/tony-bennett-the-timeless-visionary-who-with-a-nod-to-americas-musical-heritage-embraced-the-future-210244">original article</a>.</em></p>

Music

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Medical Research Future Fund has $20 billion to spend. Here’s how we prioritise who gets what

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/adrian-barnett-853">Adrian Barnett</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/queensland-university-of-technology-847">Queensland University of Technology</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/philip-clarke-1149967">Philip Clarke</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-oxford-1260">University of Oxford</a></em></p> <p>The <a href="https://www.health.gov.au/our-work/medical-research-future-fund">Medical Research Future Fund</a> (MRFF) is a A$20 billion fund to support Australian health and medical research. It was set up in 2015 to deliver practical benefits from medical research and innovation to as many Australians as possible.</p> <p>Unlike the other research funding agencies, such the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), most of the MRFF funding is priority-driven. It seeks to fund research in particular areas or topics rather than using open calls when researchers propose their own ideas for funding.</p> <p>As the <a href="https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/not-how-you-run-a-1b-scheme-science-fund-backers-lead-chorus-for-reform-20230619-p5dhni.html">Nine newspapers</a> outlined this week, researchers have criticised the previous Coalition government’s allocation of MRFF funds. There is widespread consensus the former health minister had <a href="https://www.theage.com.au/politics/federal/a-centre-never-built-and-a-hospital-that-missed-out-the-coalition-s-unusual-20b-research-fund-20230619-p5dhng.html">too much influence</a> in the allocation of funds, and there was limited and sometimes no competition when funding was directly allocated to one research group.</p> <p>The current Health Minister, Mark Butler, has instituted a <a href="https://www.innovationaus.com/billion-dollar-medical-research-grants-process-under-review/">review</a>. So how should the big decisions about how to spend the MRFF be made in the future to maximise its value and achieve its aims?</p> <h2>Assess gaps in evidence</h2> <p>Research priorities for the MRFF are set by the <a href="https://www.health.gov.au/committees-and-groups/australian-medical-research-advisory-board-amrab?language=und">Australian Medical Research Advisory Board</a>, which widely consults with the research sector.</p> <p>However, most researchers and institutions will simply argue more funding is needed for their own research. If the board seeks to satisfy such lobbying, it will produce fragmented funding that aligns poorly with the health needs of Australians.</p> <p>A better approach would be to systematically assemble evidence about what is known and the key evidence gaps. Here, the board would benefit from what is known as a “<a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15484602/">value of information</a>” framework for decision-making.</p> <p>This framework systematically attempts to quantify the most valuable information that will reduce the uncertainty for health and medical decision-making. In other words, it would pinpoint which information we need to allow us to better make health and medical decisions.</p> <p>There have been <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30288400/">attempts</a> to use this method in Australia to help inform how we prioritise hospital-based research. However, we now need to apply such an approach more broadly.</p> <h2>Seek public input</h2> <p>A structured framework for engaging with the public is also missing in Australia. The public’s perspective on research prioritisation has often been overlooked, but as the ultimate consumers of research, they need to be heard.</p> <p>Research is a highly complex and specialised endeavour, so we can’t expect the public to create sensible priorities alone.</p> <p>One approach used overseas has been developed by the <a href="https://www.jla.nihr.ac.uk/">James Lind Alliance</a>, a group in the United Kingdom that combines the public’s views with researchers to create agreed-on priorities for research.</p> <p>This is done using an intensive process of question setting and discussion. Priorities are checked for feasibility and novelty, so there is no funding for research that’s impossible or already done.</p> <p>The priorities from the James Lind Alliance process can be surprising. The top priority in the area of <a href="https://www.jla.nihr.ac.uk/priority-setting-partnerships/irritable-bowel-syndrome/top-10-priorities.htm">irritable bowel syndrome</a>, for example, is to discover if it’s one condition or many, while the second priority is to work on bowel urgency (a sudden urgent need to go to the toilet).</p> <p>While such everyday questions can struggle to get funding in traditional systems that often focus on novelty, funding research in these two priority areas could lead to the most benefits for people with irritable bowel syndrome.</p> <h2>Consider our comparative advantages</h2> <p>Australia is a relatively small player globally. To date, the MRFF has allocated around <a href="https://www.health.gov.au/resources/publications/medical-research-future-fund-mrff-grant-recipients?language=und">$2.6 billion</a>, just over 5% of what the United States allocates through the National Institute of Health funding in a <a href="https://www.who.int/observatories/global-observatory-on-health-research-and-development/monitoring/investments-on-grants-for-biomedical-research-by-funder-type-of-grant-health-category-and-recipient">single year</a>.</p> <p>A single research grant, even if it involves a few million dollars of funding, is unlikely to lead to a medical breakthrough. Instead, the MRFF should prioritise areas where Australia has a comparative advantage.</p> <p>This could involve building on past success (such as the research that led to the HPV, or human papillomavirus, vaccine to prevent cervical cancer), or where Australian researchers can play a critical role globally.</p> <p>However, there is an area where Australian researchers have an absolute advantage: using research to improve our own health system.</p> <p>A prime example would be finding ways to improve dental care access in Australia. For example, a randomised trial of different ways of providing insurance and dental services, similar to the <a href="https://www.rand.org/health-care/projects/hie.html">RAND Health Insurance Experiment</a> conducted in the United States in the 1970s.</p> <p>This could provide the evidence needed to design a sustainable dental scheme to complement Medicare. Now that is something the MRFF should consider as a funding priority.<!-- 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/209977/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/adrian-barnett-853">Adrian Barnett</a>, Professor of Statistics, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/queensland-university-of-technology-847">Queensland University of Technology</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/philip-clarke-1149967">Philip Clarke</a>, Professor of Health Economics, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-oxford-1260">University of Oxford</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/medical-research-future-fund-has-20-billion-to-spend-heres-how-we-prioritise-who-gets-what-209977">original article</a>.</em></p>

Money & Banking

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Promising Alzheimer’s drug offers hope for a bright future in treatment

<p>A remarkable and significant breakthrough in the fight against Alzheimer’s disease is ushering in a new era of hope and possibilities for patients grappling with early onset dementia.</p> <p>Scientists and researchers are celebrating this groundbreaking development, viewing it as a tremendous opportunity to transform the landscape of Alzheimer's treatment.</p> <p>The drug in question, donanemab, developed by Eli Lilly, has shown remarkable success in clinical trials and is anticipated to receive approval from the Food and Drug Administration later this year, according to a report in the <a href="https://nypost.com/2023/07/17/alzheimers-drug-donanemab-lowers-risk-of-dementia/" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><em>New York Post</em></a>.</p> <p>Individuals who participated in the donanemab trials experienced a remarkable 40% reduction in the risk of transitioning from mild cognitive impairment to mild or moderate dementia. This is an extraordinary advancement that brings renewed optimism to those affected by this devastating condition.</p> <p>Donanemab would be the third Alzheimer’s drug to emerge in recent months, following the introduction of Leqembi and Aduhelm. This is just the beginning of an exciting new chapter in the realm of molecular therapies for Alzheimer's, as expressed by Dr. Gil Rabinovici, director of the University of California San Francisco’s Memory and Ageing Centre, in an editorial for <em>JAMA</em>.</p> <p>Dr. Daniel Skovronsky, the chief scientific and medical officer at Lilly, has emphasised the significance of this breakthrough. He states, "This will be a very important and meaningful drug," as quoted in <em>Fierce Biotech</em>. Skovronsky further adds, "[T]here’s a huge opportunity here for patients." Such resolute optimism is inspiring, reflecting the tremendous potential this drug holds for transforming lives.</p> <p>Similar to Leqembi and Aduhelm, donanemab is a monoclonal antibody designed to target plaque in the brain, specifically the amyloid protein. These amyloid plaques are responsible for the propagation of another protein called tau, which contributes to the development of Alzheimer's disease.</p> <p>Notably, the donanemab trial also revealed that the drug slowed cognitive decline by an impressive 35% compared to a placebo in individuals with low to intermediate levels of tau protein in the brain. In fact, donanemab demonstrated superior efficacy in clearing amyloid plaques when compared to Aduhelm and Leqembi.</p> <p>Moreover, unlike Leqembi, which necessitates long-term usage, patients taking donanemab may follow a fixed-duration dosing schedule, potentially allowing some individuals to discontinue the treatment after a certain period. "I expect that many patients will be able to stop dosing even as soon as 12 months," Skovronsky affirmed. This stands as a significant departure from being prescribed a lifelong medication, providing an exciting and meaningful prospect for patients.</p> <p>While it is important to note that these new Alzheimer’s drugs do carry limitations and risks, medical experts remain cautiously optimistic. Donanemab, along with the other emerging drugs, has been associated with brain swelling and bleeding. Tragically, three individuals in the donanemab clinical trial lost their lives due to these side effects.</p> <p>The risk of brain swelling and bleeding is heightened among those carrying the APOE4 gene, which is associated with an increased susceptibility to Alzheimer’s. Furthermore, individuals with more advanced stages of the disease showed minimal to no benefit compared to those who received a placebo.</p> <p>As a result, it is possible that donanemab will be recommended primarily for individuals with low to intermediate levels of tau proteins, indicating milder forms of the disease.</p> <p>Nevertheless, Skovronsky and other medical experts maintain their optimism regarding the FDA's approval, expressing the urgent need for it to come to fruition. Skovronsky highlights, "Every day that goes by, there are some patients who pass through this early stage of Alzheimer’s disease and become more advanced, and they won’t benefit from treatment. That’s a very pressing sense of urgency."</p> <p>While challenges and risks remain, the emergence of donanemab and its potential approval by the FDA represents a beacon of hope for the millions of individuals and families affected by Alzheimer's disease. It symbolises the start of a new chapter in the fight against this debilitating condition, offering renewed prospects for a brighter future filled with effective treatments and improved quality of life.</p> <p><em>Image: Shutterstock</em></p> <p> </p>

Mind

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Quaden Bayles’ hopes for the future after being a victim of bullying

<p dir="ltr">Three years ago, Quaden Bayles went viral after his mother posted a devastating video of her young son coming home from school.</p> <p dir="ltr">In the video posted to Facebook in 2020, Quaden, who was in primary school at the time, pleaded with his mother to let him end his life after being relentlessly bullied. </p> <p dir="ltr">At the start of the five-minute clip, Ms Bayles is heard saying, “I just picked my son up from school, witnessed a bullying episode, rang the principal, and I want people to know this is the effect bullying has. This is what bullying does.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Quaden’s heartbreaking moment touched the hearts of many around the world, including famous faces such as Hugh Jackman, who sent his well wishes to the young boy.</p> <p dir="ltr">Now, three years on, Quaden is in high school and has shared how much his life has changed since the video went viral. </p> <p dir="ltr">Speaking candidly with <em>Australian Story</em>, he said he is still the target of bullies, but he tries to not let it get to him. </p> <p dir="ltr">He said, “I'm just so happy now that I'm in high school like I'm not in primary school. It's finally over.”</p> <p dir="ltr">“I am not sitting on the carpets and grounds; I love high school now.”</p> <p dir="ltr">“But I still get hate here and there, but it's not as bad as it was back then.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Since the video went viral, Quaden has been offered many once in a lifetime opportunities through the people who have supported him, including being offered roles in several films. </p> <p dir="ltr">He said, “I’ve got so many good opportunities when people heard me, that I started to love acting and fashion.”</p> <p dir="ltr">“I’ve done my first movie, <em>Three Thousand Years of Longing</em>. The second one I’ve done is <em>Mad Max Furiosa</em>, and I’ve got another one I'm working on.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Quaden’s foray into the world of film has given him a new sense of confidence, with the 13-year-old saying he wants to keep making movies. </p> <p dir="ltr">“I want to keep going with my journey of acting. That’s what I want my future to be. I cannot wait to see myself on that big screen. I’m just gonna say ‘That’s me everyone!’” </p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image credits: ABC</em><span id="docs-internal-guid-e5ba7d51-7fff-4600-81a7-f36e5a9eef1a"></span></p>

Caring

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Princess Mary's eldest son make surprising announcement about his future

<p>The eldest son of Princess Mary and Prince Frederik has made a surprising announcement ahead of his 18th birthday. </p> <p>Denmark's Prince Christian has broken years of royal tradition, saying he has decided to forego his royal allowance and instead prioritise his education.</p> <p>One he turns 18 in October, Christian will be able to receive his royal allowance and government funding. </p> <p>However, he has decided to put his education first and postpone becoming a full-time royal until he turns 21. </p> <p>A statement posted on the Royal House’s Instagram page explained that his primary focus in the coming year will be completing his upper secondary education.</p> <p>The statement reads, "Prince Christian's main priority in the coming year will be completing high school education. Following this, the Royal House will orient Prince Christian's further youth and education course, when the time comes."</p> <p>"It has thus been agreed with the Ministry of State that support in the Danish Parliament for a law on annual pension will only be sought when the Prince turns 21 or by a possible change of the throne, if it takes place before."</p> <p>The statement further shared that Prince Christian intends to stay away from the spotlight for now, but he will eventually resume public appearances in an official capacity once he has completed his education. </p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p>

Family & Pets

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Understanding legal jargon for your future

<p>Confused by some of the legal jargon you continually come across in getting your affairs in order? If so, here’s some of the most common ones explained.</p> <p>Do you know the difference between a power of attorney and an enduring power of attorney? What about the meaning of an enduring guardianship? Or what an executor does? As you start to get your affairs in order and plan for your future, you’re bound to come across a handful of terms again and again, so it’s best to understand what you’re reading or hearing from your lawyer. Here’s a guide to some of the most common terms you’re likely to come across when planning ahead.</p> <p>Note there are quite a few differences between the States and Territories. Something that is called one thing in Victoria for example, may not be called the same thing in Tasmania.</p> <p><strong>Advance health directive/Advance Care directive:</strong> Also called a living will and in the Northern Territory an Advance Personal Plan, this is a legal document that enables you to make decisions now about your medical treatment if you became sick or injured and you aren’t able to communicate your wishes or consent to treatment. If this happens, this bit of paper would effectively become your voice. Keep in mind, that an advance health directive would only come into effect if it applied to the treatment you required and only if you were unable to make reasoned decisions about a treatment when it was needed. The document could be a general statement of your wishes or it may give specific directions for various medical conditions and types of treatment that you do and don’t want. Medical staff can refer to this document if you were or became incapable of making the decisions yourself. Be aware however that advance directives are only legally binding on doctors in Queensland, South Australia and the Northern Territory.</p> <p><strong>Beneficiary:</strong> A person or institution, such as a charity, who can receive part or all of something from a will or trust. You’ll see this word used quite a bit, particularly when your attorney drafts your will.</p> <p><strong>Enduring guardianship or enduring power of guardianship:</strong> Where an enduring power of attorney allows your attorney to make decisions on your behalf when it comes to your assets, if you lose the capacity to make those decisions yourself, an enduring power of guardianship allows your guardian to make decisions on personal health and lifestyle options. It is another legal document that authorises a person of your choosing to make decisions on your behalf. Your appointed guardian cannot make decisions about your assets and finances. This person can however make decisions about where you live, the support services you have access to and the treatment you receive if you unable to do so yourself. In the ACT the functions of a guardian can be met by an attorney under a Power of Attorney. In South Australia, the functions of a guardian can be met by an Advance Care Directive. In Victoria and Western Australia, a guardian has some limitations on the decisions that he/she can make and can be overruled in relation to medical treatment decisions if you have appointed an enduring power of attorney (medical treatment) (in Victoria) or if you have made an Advance Health Directive (in Western Australia). In the ACT and Queensland, you cannot appoint a guardian, but you can appoint an attorney under a power of attorney who can make the same decisions as a guardian.</p> <p><strong>Estate plan:</strong> Many of you may already know what an estate plan is or have one in place but for those who don’t, it’s basically a plan of where your assets are distributed at your passing. Generally, the key documents that will form your estate plan include: will (which could include one or more testamentary trusts), superannuation death benefit nominations, power of attorney, enduring power of guardianship and advance directive. If you have made a binding death benefit nomination for your superannuation or insurance policies, your nominated beneficiaries will override anyone outlined in your will. There are specific rules however in relation to fee you can nominate to receive your super. An effective estate plan can also pass control of other assets that you may not hold personally, such as assets held by family trusts and family companies.</p> <p><strong>Executor:</strong> A person appointed by your will to administer your estate when you pass away. Basically, this person will make sure all of your debts are paid and that any assets and possessions you outlined in the will go to where you stipulated. The executor is nominated by you and becomes your legal personal representative. More than one executor can be nominated although if you do this, then you need to specify whether those executors must make joint decisions (they all agreed), or can make decisions on their own, or you include some other basis for how decisions will be made (for example by majority vote). An executor’s role generally involves notifying the beneficiaries, paying any outstanding taxes and debts, and distributing your assets as instructed in your will.</p> <p><strong>Intestacy:</strong> This is the word used to describe when a person passes away without leaving a will. The person is said to have passed intestate. That person’s estate would then pass to specified next of kin according to a set statutory order. If no eligible recipients can be found for your estate to be passed on to, then according to the law, the state is entitled to keep everything. Basically, the biggest drawback to not making a will is that you have no say as to who inherits your assets. It’s also more expensive to administer an estate without a will, with the extra cost deducted from your assets.</p> <p><strong>Power of attorney:</strong> If you’re planning on going overseas for a holiday or going to hospital for a month-long stay, it could be a good idea to make a power of attorney. By making a power of attorney you’re basically giving another person the authority to make legal decisions about your assets and finances on your behalf. You can limit the scope of a power of attorney, for example so that it only applies to specific assets or for a certain period of time. If you’re looking longer term when planning for your future, it may be better to make an enduring power of attorney. The difference between a power of attorney (also known as a general power of attorney) and an enduring power of attorney is that a general power of attorney will stop if you lose the capacity to make your own decisions. An enduring power of attorney (as the name suggests) will remain in place even if you lose the capacity to make your own decisions. In the ACT and Queensland, your attorney can also make the same decisions as a guardian in relation to personal health, medical and lifestyle decisions. In Victoria, you can appoint an enduring power of attorney (medical treatment), which will overrule any guardian that you may have appointed, in relation to medical treatment. In the Northern Territory, legislation was introduced starting from 1 July 2014, which means that you can no longer appoint an enduring power of attorney.</p> <p><strong>Testamentary trust:</strong> This is a trust set up inside a will that only takes effect when the person who creates the will, passes away. The main benefit of a testamentary trust is to provide greater control over the distribution of assets which are held by the testamentary trust, to beneficiaries set out in the will. There are also tax and asset protection advantages to testamentary trusts, making them an effective estate planning tool for some people. It differs from a family trust which is created by deed and commences during your lifetime. The testamentary trust will be administered by a trustee who is usually appointed in the will and who must look after the assets for the benefit of the beneficiaries until the trust expires.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em><em><strong>This article is for general information only and cannot be relied on as legal advice. You should seek formal legal advice on your specific circumstances.</strong></em></em></span></p> <p><em><em>Image credit: Shutterstock</em></em></p>

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The public history, climate change present, and possible future of Australia’s botanic gardens

<p>Can we justify maintaining water-hungry botanic gardens in an age of climate change and rising water prices?</p> <p>Perhaps such gardens are no longer suited to Australia’s changing climate – if they ever were.</p> <p>It is easy to argue Australian botanic gardens are imperial remnants full of European plants, an increasingly uncomfortable reminder of British colonisation. </p> <p>But gardens, and their gardeners, aren’t static. They are intrinsically changing entities. </p> <h2>A brief history</h2> <p>Most Australian botanic gardens were established in the 19th century, starting with the garden in the Sydney Domain around 1816.</p> <p>The earliest gardens served multiple functions. </p> <p>They were food gardens. They were test gardens used to establish the suitability of crops and vegetables introduced from Europe and other colonies.</p> <p>Nostalgia, European ideas of beauty and the desire to test introduced varieties meant botanic gardens were planted with trees familiar to British visitors. Oaks, elms and conifers were all planted, along with the kinds of flowers and shrubs naturalised in British private and public gardens. </p> <p>Introduced plants and trees were distributed to settlers as part of acclimatisation – the introduction of exotic plants intended to transform the Australian landscape to a more familiar one and make it “productive”. </p> <p>Botanic gardens also reversed this exchange by collecting, cultivating and internationally distributing Australian native plants deemed potentially useful or beautiful.</p> <p>Finally, and <a href="https://www.mup.com.au/books/reading-the-garden-paperback-softback">most controversially</a>, they were public spaces. </p> <p>Australian public gardens drew on <a href="https://www.jstor.org/stable/1587004">then new ideas</a> from European social reformers and progressive politicians. These gardens were seen as providing healthy air for the citizens of increasingly crowded cities. They were also built on older ideas about commons and provision of shared public space for the recreation of the poorer classes.</p> <p>These different uses sometimes clashed. Ferdinand Mueller, director of the Melbourne Botanic Gardens, was <a href="https://search.informit.org/doi/10.3316/INFORMIT.614393203501639">arguably displaced</a> from his role because his vision of the garden was as an instructional botanical nursery. Public demand had shifted to a desire for a more aesthetic and usable garden. </p> <h2>Facing the climate emergency</h2> <p>Water for trees and decorative plants drawn from very different climates were always an issue for these gardens. </p> <p>As early as 1885, Richard Schomburgk in his role of director of the Adelaide Botanic Gardens <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/034558a0">told Nature</a> about the drought affecting that city and the drastic impact it was having “upon many of the trees and shrubs in the Botanic Garden, natives of cooler countries”.</p> <p>As the climate has shifted, droughts, changes in water table and climate change uncertainty have foregrounded the plight of these thirsty trees, and <a href="https://www.theage.com.au/national/victoria/from-small-acorns-botanic-gardens-looks-to-climate-proof-its-future-20220922-p5bk47.html">some have died</a>. </p> <p>The Geelong Botanic Gardens, established in 1851, <a href="https://www.geelongaustralia.com.au/gbg/about/water/article/item/8cbf37aecae738a.aspx">provide an example</a> of water demand and the work done to retain historic trees, using wastewater to maintain these plantings. The garden also now has a “21st-Century Garden” focused on sustainability, containing hardy natives including <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acacia">acacias</a>, <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eremophila_(plant)">eremophila</a>, saltbush and grasses.</p> <p>Today’s botanic gardens are still test gardens, and are now <a href="https://nph.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/ppp3.10356">important sites</a> for global climate change research. They demonstrate what not to plant, but also that not all introduced plants are unsuited to Australian conditions. </p> <p>Adelaide Botanic Gardens offer a <a href="https://plantselector.botanicgardens.sa.gov.au/home.aspx">plant selection guide</a> where residents can check whether a plant is suited to their local conditions.</p> <p>The Melbourne Royal Botanic Gardens have a <a href="https://www.rbg.vic.gov.au/melbourne-gardens/discover-melbourne-gardens/melbourne-gardens-living-collections/climate-ready-rose-collection/">“climate ready” rose display</a>, a reframing of the decimated species rose collection, which adjusts exotic planting to climate change, without throwing the baby out with the (diminishing) bath water.</p> <p>Some European, Mediterranean, North and South American plants are exactly suited to Australian climates, or are robust enough to adapt to changes which include increased drying and heat in many areas, but also the possibility of increased humidity in formerly arid zones. </p> <h2>Colonial memorials</h2> <p>There has been a <a href="https://australian.museum/learn/first-nations/statues/">recent trend</a> to erase reminders of our colonial past. </p> <p>Do the best lessons come from removing colonial memorials, or from rewriting their meaning? Pull out the giant trees and exotic gardens, or use them to demonstrate and examine the assumptions and mistakes of the past, as well as to design the future? </p> <p>Various garden exhibitions, such as the touring <a href="https://www.smh.com.au/culture/art-and-design/digging-deep-into-the-politics-of-gardens-20210217-p573co.html">Garden Variety photography exhibition</a>, do the latter, foregrounding the problematic history as well as the future possibilities of the space. </p> <p>Many gardens also now include <a href="https://www.rbg.vic.gov.au/learn/secondary-excursions/connecting-to-country/">Indigenous acknowledgement and content</a>: heritage walks, tours, and talks by Indigenous owners to demonstrate the long history, naming and uses of local plants which overturn their colonial positioning. </p> <h2>Shifting landscapes</h2> <p>Australia’s botanic gardens have changed a lot over the past 200 years.</p> <p>Botanic gardens <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2468265917300288">are adapting</a> to climate change, replacing dying and stressed trees and outdated gardens with hardier varieties and new possibilities, conserving endangered species and acting as proving grounds for climate impacts.</p> <p>For decades, state and national gardens like the <a href="https://www.bgpa.wa.gov.au/kings-park/area/wa-botanic-garden">Western Australian Botanic Garden</a> and regional gardens like Mildura’s <a href="https://aibgdotlive.wordpress.com/">Inland Botanic Gardens</a> have installed indigenous, native or climate-focused gardens, as well as or instead of the traditional heritage European style.</p> <p>Botanic Gardens Australia and New Zealand offers a landscape <a href="https://www.rbg.vic.gov.au/initiatives/climate-change-alliance/landscape-succession-toolkit/">succession toolkit</a>: a guide for mapping out what is doomed, what most needs preserving and what adaptations are most pertinent for our botanic gardens of the future. </p> <p>Finally, we don’t need to rip out non-hardy introduced trees: climate change will progressively remove them for us.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em>This article originally appeared on <a href="https://theconversation.com/the-public-history-climate-change-present-and-possible-future-of-australias-botanic-gardens-198864" target="_blank" rel="noopener">The Conversation</a>. </em></p>

Home & Garden

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The future of travel is looking bright … and feeling luxurious

<p dir="ltr">A new report from Luxury Gold, experts in the realm of boutique luxury travel experiences, has shed some insight into what hopeful holidaymakers can expect to find on their next once-in-a-lifetime trip.</p> <p dir="ltr">Whether your interests lie in unique experiences you can brag about at every dinner party for the rest of your life, taking home a special piece of your dream getaway as your own personal treasure, or exploring locations most could only ever dream of setting foot in, Luxury Gold have you covered. </p> <p dir="ltr">And while some may be a little unsure at the prospect of luxury travel during a cost of living crunch, Luxury Gold have actually reported a 150% increase in bookings since 2022, and expect almost one in six Australians over 18 to spend $10,000 on their next big break. </p> <p dir="ltr">With that in mind, it has never been more important to know exactly what you want to get out of your holiday - and where to find it. Luckily for us all, Luxury Gold are experts in the field of Luxury Small Group Journeys, and are on a mission to redefine the idea of the New Golden Age of Travel.</p> <p dir="ltr">As managing director Toni Ambler explained, “a holiday is more than ‘just a holiday’ for modern luxury consumers, especially post-pandemic. Instead, it’s an opportunity to grow, learn and soak in experiences that will change us for the better. It’s travel that’s more purposeful and curated, as opposed to ‘in-and-out’ or flash-in-the-pan holidays.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Our customer base has always expected to have one-of-a-kind experiences on their trip. ‘The New Golden Age of Travel’ report underscores this notion, but also shows that we’re seeing a return to this nostalgic essence of what travel used to be in the golden age, where consumers crave curated experiences, souvenirs that matter, and activities that expand our minds.”</p> <p dir="ltr">And when it comes to <a href="https://www.luxurygold.com/en-au/experience/curated-experiences">those curated experiences</a>, Luxury Gold have noted that consumers aren’t just looking to spend their money on flights and a destination before calling it a day, in a trend they’ve named ‘Touring on Top’.</p> <p dir="ltr">Instead, they want an experience out of it all - one unique to where they’re visiting, and one that ticks every box they could ever want to fill, with a trip and itinerary designed specifically for them and their interests - even the most niche of the bunch. </p> <p dir="ltr">“Post-pandemic, we've seen a lot of change in the way Australians travel and why they are travelling. The rise of the travel advisor is key to this, as clients want end-to-end experiences and touring is the perfect example,” Global Brand and Marketing Director for Luxury Travel Associates Anna Burgdorf said. </p> <p dir="ltr">“Instead of booking flights, accommodation and activities on their own, more and more Australians want this process to be seamlessly managed and that means finding a trusted advisor that can undertake this process of collaboration with them … booking a tour simply takes the guesswork and stress out of the booking process. </p> <p dir="ltr">“Whether visiting Travel Associates or speaking with a travel agent, these experts work closely with the customer to understand their unique needs and <a href="https://www.luxurygold.com/en-au/experience/concierge-services">custom build a package tour</a> that works for them.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Essentially, people want human service, and they want someone who’s going to understand - and respect - every last bit of their holiday desires through the entire planning process. </p> <p dir="ltr">American Express have reported that 59% of people would like to work with a travel agent to get the personalised trip of their dreams, while GWI have found that 77% of luxury travellers would rather spend on an experience - or products for one - that comes hand in hand with a sense of community. </p> <p dir="ltr">A rise has occurred in the number of community-oriented trips taking place in the travel sector - with those seeking both the community experience of those they’re taking with them, and those they’re meeting along the way - as people realise what it is that’s important in life, turning their attention to experience, and not only things. </p> <p dir="ltr">However, it can be hard to come home from any trip - especially when it’s not just the trip of a lifetime, but also one entirely for you. </p> <p dir="ltr">That’s why it can make all the difference to bring a little piece of it with you, especially as travellers are searching for those crucial tangible experiences - or, as Luxury Gold have found, ‘Tangible Nostalgia’. </p> <p dir="ltr">As Toni Ambler explained, holidaymakers used to be able to show off their passports and the various stamps they’d collected within, boasting of their adventures with some proof over where they’d explored in their journey across the world. </p> <p dir="ltr">But now, trends suggest that it’s less is actually more, with Toni noting that “it’s more about the quality and unique experiences we’ve had over volume.” </p> <p dir="ltr">Additionally, people don’t just want something to pop on their shelf and forget about, instead reaching for something that evokes the same feeling as the passport boasts, or throws them right back into a moment from their trip, bringing memories to the forefront every time they’re around their treasured keepsake. </p> <p dir="ltr">For example, The Maker Hotel have released perfumes designed to remind visitors of their time living it up away from home - scents that will keep the good times coming, and won’t see those souvenir funds going to waste. </p> <p dir="ltr">TravelPulse have also revealed that music plays a major part in the travel experience, too. So the next time you’re overseas - or even exploring what’s on offer at home - make sure to compile your very own playlist, so the sounds of your experience will never be far from your ears.</p> <p dir="ltr">And as Planet 9 Private Air believe, remaining true to your destination has never mattered more to travellers, as “from the locavore culinary trend to a focus on locally made crafts and artwork, the luxury travel industry is discovering its preference for high-end goods and services sourced from the destinations they represent.” </p> <p dir="ltr">To read the full report and learn more about Luxury Gold’s six travel trends, visit <a href="http://luxurygold.com/en-au/travel-trends-report">luxurygold.com/en-au/travel-trends-report</a>.</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Images: Luxury Gold [supplied]</em></p>

International Travel

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"Everything comes to an end": Kochie drops more hints on Sunrise future

<p><em>Sunrise</em> host David Koch has disappeared from the Channel Seven morning show just days after making a bold statement about his retirement. </p> <p>Kochie, 67, was noticeably absent from the hosting chair last week as he attended a technology conference in Perth, with Matt Shirvington standing in in his place. </p> <p>Expecting Kochie's return on Tuesday morning, Shirvington was once again in the hosting chair alongside Nat Barr with Kochie nowhere to be seen. </p> <p>Seven told <a href="https://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-11958443/David-Koch-absent-Sunrise-days-hinting-future-breakfast-show.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><em>Daily Mail Australia</em></a> on Tuesday afternoon that Kochie flew to Melbourne on Friday to support Seven Network's annual fundraiser, the Good Friday Appeal, in aid of the Royal Children’s Hospital.</p> <p>The network says he "took time out from his Easter annual leave to be involved" and will continue his absence from <em>Sunrise</em> for the rest of the week.</p> <p>Kochie's disappearance comes just days after he told the <em><a href="https://www.heraldsun.com.au/subscribe/news/1/?sourceCode=HSWEB_WRE170_a&amp;dest=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.heraldsun.com.au%2Fentertainment%2Ffiona-byrne%2Feverything-has-to-come-to-an-end-david-koch-hints-at-sunrise-future%2Fnews-story%2Fc3d7efd25079cf48a37ccd94c88932e2&amp;memtype=anonymous&amp;mode=premium&amp;v21=dynamic-groupb-control-noscore&amp;V21spcbehaviour=append" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Herald Sun</a></em> that he is looking to scale things back, as he starts to look at what life will be like when he retires from <em>Sunrise</em>. </p> <p>"I have been doing it almost 21 years. I love it, I still have a passion for it, but I want a bit more flexibility in my life," he explained.</p> <p>"My wife Libby and I want to enjoy our lives and Channel Seven are happy to help."</p> <p>Kochie signed a two-year contract extension with Seven in late 2022 that will see him stay with <em>Sunrise</em> until at least 2024 - although he negotiated for "greater flexibility" with his working commitments.</p> <p>"Everything has to come to an end. I have got the flexibility to do it on my terms and I am incredibly grateful I have that opportunity," he added.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Sunrise</em></p>

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