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Missing 3-year-old found dead at Walt Disney World

<p>The body of a young boy has been found after he went missing from a resort near Walt Disney World in Florida on Thursday.</p> <p>Rakim Akbari, 3, was reported missing from the Sheraton Vistana Resort Villas at Lake Buena Vista earlier that day, after he had wandered away from the resort that morning. </p> <p>Authorities also said that Rakim had autism. </p> <p>The Orange County Sheriff sent out a missing child alert for the young boy before deputies located his body in the water at the resort on Thursday afternoon. </p> <p>“It is with heavy hearts that we must share that our deputies have found Rakim Akbari deceased in a body of water at the resort where he was reported missing this morning. Our detectives are still looking into how this tragedy occurred,” they shared on X. </p> <p>“We are grieving his loss, and our prayers are with his family,” they added. </p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">It is with heavy hearts that we must share that our deputies have found Rakim Akbari deceased in a body of water at the resort where he was reported missing this morning. Our detectives are still looking into how this tragedy occurred.</p> <p>We are grieving his loss, and our prayers… <a href="https://t.co/3huAOOo0u4">pic.twitter.com/3huAOOo0u4</a></p> <p>— Orange County Sheriff's Office (@OrangeCoSheriff) <a href="https://twitter.com/OrangeCoSheriff/status/1814027480782761996?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">July 18, 2024</a></p></blockquote> <p>They didn't provide further details, but the boy reportedly went missing while wearing pyjama pants and a shirt with no socks or shoes. </p> <p>People on X have also shared their condolences to the boy's family.</p> <p>"Deepest condolences to the family of this beautiful little boy. Prayers for the law enforcement that found him, it's hard for them to process as well," one said. </p> <p>"Heartbreaking. Prayers to his family and all who loved him," added another. </p> <p>"God bless his family. Rest in Peace," added another. </p> <p>"My heart goes out to the family," wrote a third. </p> <p><em>Image: X</em></p>

Caring

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Beyond the Barrier Reef: Australia’s 3 other World Heritage reefs are also in trouble

<div class="theconversation-article-body"><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/kate-marie-quigley-1400512">Kate Marie Quigley</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/james-cook-university-1167">James Cook University</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/andrew-hamilton-baird-11285">Andrew Hamilton Baird</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/james-cook-university-1167">James Cook University</a></em></p> <p>The Great Barrier Reef is world famous – it’s the largest coral reef system in the world and home to tens of thousands of species. No wonder it is World Heritage listed.</p> <p>But Australia has three lower profile reefs which are also World Heritage listed –  Ningaloo and Shark Bay in Western Australia, and Lord Howe Island, 600 kilometres off the New South Wales coast, the <a href="https://www.guinnessworldrecords.com/world-records/612288-most-southerly-coral-reef">southernmost coral</a> in the world. Ningaloo has 260km of coral reef, while the reefs of Shark Bay have less coral but are home to ancient stromatolites, vast seagrass beds and iconic species such as dugongs.</p> <p>This month, the World Heritage Committee will meet in New Delhi. On the agenda will be how the world’s natural World Heritage sites are faring. The Australian government will be under increased scrutiny to prove it has upheld its <a href="https://www.dcceew.gov.au/parks-heritage/heritage/about/world/management-australias-world-heritage-listed/managing-world-heritage-australia/protecting-world-heritage#regulation">international commitments</a> to protecting these reefs.</p> <p>Our <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/gcb.17407">new research</a> has found all four of these reefs are in greater danger than we thought – even those in subtropical waters, such as Lord Howe Island. Our two Indian Ocean reefs at <a href="https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/578/">Shark Bay</a> and Ningaloo actually face more species and function loss than the Great Barrier Reef.</p> <p>At 1.5°C of warming, we are likely to lose about 20% of the 400-odd coral species which currently live across these four reefs (equating to about 70 extinctions). At 2°C warming, our modelling of species abundance and ecosystem functions predict an almost complete collapse in reef ecosystems – even for the subtropical reefs. This aligns with <a href="https://www.annualreviews.org/docserver/fulltext/animal/12/1/annurev-animal-021122-093315.pdf?expires=1721002489&amp;id=id&amp;accname=guest&amp;checksum=A9A203CC0F3AEB7D1FE9420F50EDF69A,%20https://backend.orbit.dtu.dk/ws/files/238807594/AGR2020.pdf">predictions</a> by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change for the future of coral reefs.</p> <p>We believe our work adds to the need to consider whether Australia’s four iconic reefs should be <a href="https://whc.unesco.org/en/danger/">on the list</a> of World Heritage sites in danger.</p> <h2>What does it mean when a reef is World Heritage listed?</h2> <p>Declaring a natural or cultural site as World Heritage is done to encourage the preservation of locations of immense ecological and cultural value. Nations have to <a href="https://whc.unesco.org/en/nominations/">nominate sites</a> they think are worthy of protection. Australia has 20 World Heritage sites, <a href="https://www.dcceew.gov.au/parks-heritage/heritage/places/world-heritage-list">of which</a> 12 are natural.</p> <p>When sites are formally listed, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) requires the country’s government to look after it. If the site is degrading, it can be listed as in danger.</p> <p>UNESCO has considered listing the Great Barrier Reef as in danger twice, in 2021 and again in <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/environment/article/2024/jun/24/set-more-ambitious-climate-targets-to-save-great-barrier-reef-unesco-urges-australia">June this year</a>. For the reef to keep its World Heritage status, the government must prove its policies are sufficient to keep the reefs in <a href="https://www.dcceew.gov.au/parks-heritage/heritage/about/world-heritage/outstanding-universal-value">good health</a>.</p> <p>In the debate over the Great Barrier Reef, two things have been missed – first, any mention of Australia’s other World Heritage reefs, and second, whether the federal government’s current policies to cut greenhouse gases are enough to protect the reefs into the future.</p> <h2>What did we find?</h2> <p>Our new results suggest all four reefs are in trouble. Given current warming trends, they will only deteriorate further in the future if we stay on this course.</p> <p>While the Barrier Reef has drawn a great deal of attention, it’s actually the ecosystems at Ningaloo, Shark Bay and Lord Howe Island which are projected to warm the most. When standardised to park boundaries, temperatures here are projected to increase by up to 1.3°C by the end of the century. (This temperature estimate is for sea temperatures, not the overall surface temperature which we use as shorthand when we talk about 1.5°C or 2°C of warming).</p> <p>While that might not sound like much, it will be enough to push many corals to potential extinction. Many coral species already exist within 1-2°C of the maximum temperature they can tolerate.</p> <p>Our modelling shows Shark Bay and Ningaloo actually face a greater risk of species and function loss than the Barrier Reef. It also suggests the ability of our reefs to bounce back will be overcome when warming tips over 1.5°C globally.</p> <p>While these models incorporate the baseline heat tolerance of coral species on these reefs, they don’t yet include their <a href="https://www.annualreviews.org/content/journals/10.1146/annurev-animal-021122-093315;jsessionid=mfIBuwjZ-ru5bkBMhWXDjumNnsvZgxkl02fPAg63.annurevlive-10-241-10-101">potential for genetic adaptation</a>. The question of whether some corals could adapt to this rapid warming is still open. A lot is riding on their ability to do so.</p> <h2>Looming danger</h2> <p>This year, the <a href="https://theconversation.com/sentinels-of-the-sea-ancient-boulder-corals-are-key-to-reef-survival-in-a-warmer-world-223207">Great Barrier Reef</a> and <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2024/mar/06/lord-howe-island-coral-bleaching-moving-south-fears-ocean-temperatures">Lord Howe Island</a> have suffered intense stress from high sea temperatures – the direct result of burning fossil fuels and producing heat-trapping greenhouse gases. This year is <a href="https://www.reuters.com/business/environment/2024-could-be-worlds-hottest-year-june-breaks-records-2024-07-08/#:%7E:text=The%20latest%20data%20suggest%202024,so%20far%2C%20some%20scientists%20said.">on track</a> to again be the hottest year on record, overtaking the previous record holder of 2023.</p> <p>Australia is already in the midst of an extinction crisis. Australia has one of the worst track records for extinctions. Since European colonisation, 34-38 mammal species have <a href="https://www.science.org/doi/abs/10.1126/science.adg7870">gone extinct</a> compared to just one from the contiguous United States, which covers a similar area.</p> <p>You might have read that coral cover – a measure of how much coral there is in an area – <a href="https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00338-024-02498-5">hit historic highs</a> on the Great Barrier Reef last year.</p> <p>Coral cover is a helpful and important metric, but it’s <a href="https://theconversation.com/record-coral-cover-doesnt-necessarily-mean-the-great-barrier-reef-is-in-good-health-despite-what-you-may-have-heard-188233">not perfect</a>. For instance, fast-growing heat tolerant coral species might expand as less heat tolerant species die off. Importantly, relying on coral cover alone can mask significant changes in how the <a href="https://royalsocietypublishing.org/doi/10.1098/rspb.2019.2628">reef is functioning</a>.</p> <p>It’s hard to assess how species in our oceans are doing, given the difficulty of access and the large number of species, including many <a href="https://theconversation.com/the-first-step-to-conserving-the-great-barrier-reef-is-understanding-what-lives-there-146097">unknown to science</a>. If warming continues unabated, we will likely start to lose species before we have even documented them.</p> <p>Our results are based on “moderate” climate models of global surface temperature changes. Australia has committed to cutting emissions by 43% below 2005 levels by 2030. While that sounds good, it’s not enough – this decrease is compatible with <a href="https://environment.govt.nz/what-you-can-do/climate-scenarios-toolkit/climate-scenarios-list/ipccs-ssp-rcp-scenarios/">hitting 3.2ºC by 2100</a>. To limit warming to 1.5ºC or below by 2050, we would need to commit to much greater cuts in emissions – 90% below 2005 levels by 2030.</p> <p>Our results clearly suggest Australia’s four World Heritage reefs will be dramatically affected by warming in the near future. They will no longer qualify as being maintained under “conditions of integrity”. It’s hard to see how they can avoid being added to the in danger list.<!-- 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/234268/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/kate-marie-quigley-1400512"><em>Kate Marie Quigley</em></a><em>, DECRA Research Fellow in molecular ecology, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/james-cook-university-1167">James Cook University</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/andrew-hamilton-baird-11285">Andrew Hamilton Baird</a>, Professorial fellow in coral reef ecology, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/james-cook-university-1167">James Cook 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/beyond-the-barrier-reef-australias-3-other-world-heritage-reefs-are-also-in-trouble-234268">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

Domestic Travel

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"Hero" teens steer bus to safety after driver has a heart attack

<p>Two teenagers have worked together to steer a school bus to safety after the driver had a heart attack. </p> <p>The pair were among 20 other students from Aquinas College, who were on board the bus yesterday afternoon when the 70-year-old driver had the medical episode. </p> <p>A 15-year-old girl, not yet old enough to drive, and Daniel Knight, a year 12 student sprung to action to stop the bus. </p> <p>"We were only going like five [kilometres an hour], 10 k's, so I was like I better just stop the bus before it gets any worse," Knight said. </p> <p>"She opened the door up, she was calming everyone down."</p> <p>Bennet Rogers, a student on the bus  recalled the moment the incident happened. </p> <p>"Us students on the bus, we didn't know what was happening and everyone was screaming," Rogers said. </p> <p>"She had to steer the bus so we didn't crash into a building," he added. </p> <p>Knight and the 15-year-old girl's actions have been commended by the school in a letter to their parents. </p> <p>The bus driver remains in hospital and is recovering from surgery, and the principal has said that there would be an investigation into what happened. </p> <p>Many are calling for the teen girl to be recognised with a bravery award, with Queensland Premier Steven Miles telling <em>Nine News</em> he would personally nominate her. </p> <p>"She's a hero for that, definitely," another fellow student, Brodie Wilkinson, said.</p> <p>"I really hope she gets an award or something."</p> <p><em>Image: Nine News</em></p> <p> </p> <p> </p>

Travel Trouble

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Olympian and former world champ shot dead at 42

<p>South African police have found the body of former Olympian and high jump world champion Jacques Freitag after he was reported missing. </p> <p>Local authorities say that they found the body of the 42-year-old in a field near a cemetery in the city of Pretoria with fatal gunshot wounds, and are treating his death as murder. </p> <p>South African news Netwerk24 reported that a source claims Freitag was allegedly executed, as one of the gunshot wounds was allegedly located in the back of his head.</p> <p>Freitag's sister, Chrissie Lewis, had appealed for help on social media to find her brother, who went missing in the early hours of June 17th after leaving his mother's house.</p> <p>Lewis said he had struggled with drug addiction after his athletics career ended.</p> <p>He was then not seen again until his body was discovered. </p> <p>Freitag won the 2003 world title in Paris and competed at the 2004 Olympics, representing South Africa in high jump.</p> <p>He was among a select group of athletes to win world titles at youth, junior and senior level, as World Athletics called Freitag “a prodigious athlete”. </p> <p>He won the high jump at the 1999 Youth World Championships in Poland, the Junior World Champs in Chile in 2000 and the Senior's in France in 2003.</p> <p>In 2003, he cleared 2.35m at the Stade de France in Paris to win the gold medal at the IAAF World Championships.</p> <p>He retired from sport in 2013 and was said to have in recent times been sleeping on the streets or friends' couches, having been unable to hold down a full-time job.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Hahn Lionel/ABACA/Shutterstock Editorial </em></p>

Caring

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Former Home and Away star admits brutal attack on woman

<p>A former <em>Home and Away</em> star has admitted to bashing a woman during a suspected mental health crisis.</p> <p>Orpheus Pledger, 31, faced Melbourne Magistrates’ Court on Monday via a video link from custody at Ravenhall Correctional Centre. </p> <p>Police prosecutor Fionnuala Kennedy said Pledger attacked the victim repeatedly over a three-month period at a home in Northcote, Melbourne, with one of the attacks captured on a motion-capture camera on March 25. </p> <p>Footage from the camera showed Pledger grabbing the woman's hair, pulling her to the ground and stomping on her head. </p> <p>The court was told that the woman called triple zero at 1.35am to raise concerns Pledger was suffering a “mental health episode", before the line disconnected right after she said “he’s coming.” </p> <p>Officers arrived 15 minutes later and found the woman lying on the floor of her home unable to get up, with Pledger nowhere to be seen.</p> <p>The woman was taken to hospital, where doctors noted that she had bruising on her forehead, a laceration to her cheek, bruising to her right hand and marks on her face and ear.</p> <p>The court was told that he was arrested the following day, but he was unable to be interviewed because of his "erratic behaviour". </p> <p>He was released in April for a court-ordered medical assessment due to concerns for his mental health, but he fled from the hospital on April 23 after a six hour wait. </p> <p>He then returned to the woman's home to collect his things and when asked to leave, he told her: “why, I haven’t done anything”. </p> <p>Police issued a public appeal before he was arrested two days later. </p> <p>Defence lawyer Jasper MacCuspie noted that during that time, his client was unable to get the mental health assessment he required, due to limited resources, saying that it was a widespread issue within the health system.</p> <p>The court heard that there is currently a shortage of ambulance and police resources, which Magistrate Justin Foster labelled as “outrageous”.</p> <p>““The only reason I bailed him at the time was because there was nothing available for him to be  … assessed in a prison setting. And there is no money in the hospital to have these important things assessed,” he said. </p> <p>“There’s a shortage of everything at the moment, it’s outrageous.”</p> <p>MacCuspie also said that his client had begun acting at the age of eight or nine but fell into the wrong crowd, and his drug use escalated in his late 20s when he was declined a role on US TV series <em>The 100</em>. </p> <p>“At the very last minute that fell through. It was a destabilising event,” MacCuspie said.</p> <p>“He aspires towards acting in future, but accepts by virtue of matter that’s a somewhat challenging prospect,” he added. </p> <p>Pledger will be assessed for a community corrections order, but has pleaded guilty to four assault-related charges, and will be sentenced on Wednesday. </p> <p><em>Images: news.com.au/ Channel Seven</em></p>

Legal

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What it's like to play the baddest opera villain in the world

<p>As we mark the 100th anniversary of Giacomo Puccini’s passing, Opera Australia is pulling out all the stops to celebrate the legendary Italian composer with two of his most celebrated works at the iconic Sydney Opera House this winter. Kicking off the season is Edward Dick’s five-star production of <em>Tosca</em>, which had its opening night on June 25.</p> <p>This electrifying new take on Puccini’s action-packed thriller is captivating audiences with its compelling narrative and intense emotional depth. <em>Tosca</em> unfolds over a swift 24-hour period, weaving a tale of passion and power, jealousy and betrayal, love and tragedy. It's a perfect introduction to opera for newcomers and a beloved classic for seasoned fans, promising an edge-of-your-seat experience.</p> <p>Renowned for his ability to breathe fresh life into classic works, Director Edward Dick has assembled an award-winning creative team to deliver a visually stunning production. Tom Scutt's set design brilliantly juxtaposes Renaissance grandeur with contemporary elegance, featuring a suspended gilded dome revealing a breathtaking Renaissance fresco. BAFTA-winning costume designer Fotini Dimou dresses the performers in chic, modern attire, while Lee Curran's stadium-style lighting adds a dramatic flair.</p> <p>The cast is equally stellar. Making her Opera Australia debut, Northern Irish soprano Giselle Allen has taken on the titular role of Tosca, sharing the stage with OA favourite Karah Son, who received critical acclaim for her performance in Melbourne.</p> <p>Joining them is Korean tenor Young Woo Kim, debuting at the Sydney Opera House as the love-struck painter Cavaradossi. The role of the villainous Scarpia will be portrayed for the first half of the show's run by Armenian dramatic baritone Gevorg Hakobyan, also making his OA debut, until award-winning local baritone Warwick Fyfe takes over the role for the second half of the run, beginning on July 31 until the run's conclusion on August 16.</p> <p>Over60 was thrilled to be given the chance to interview Fyfe in the lead-up to his Sydney performance. </p> <p><em><strong>O60: Firstly, by way of an introduction to Warwick Fyfe the Australian Helden bass baritone – can you summarise your career?</strong></em></p> <p><strong>Fyfe: </strong>“In <em>Yes, Minister</em>, Sir Humphrey once – referring to Bernard – used the expression “a low flyer supported by occasional gusts of hot air”. I suppose I’m a bit like that. But I have a single major achievement, to wit: I’m still here! Over several decades I’ve seen hot shots come and go and change careers but I’m still earning a living at singing. Moreover, I think I might at last be getting the hang of it.” </p> <p><strong><em>O60: What is your history with this opera Tosca by Puccini?</em></strong></p> <p><strong>Fyfe: </strong>“I sang the Sacristan in the 1995 Victoria State Opera production. That was the start. The director John Copley was very supportive and taught me a lot. Also, I got to know the great John Wegner, having previously only seen him from the auditorium. He was a great influence even though he and I were very different. I’d watch him every night from the wings during Act 2. Then years later, having done countless Sacristans, I did a Scarpia of my own, taking over from John at the tail end of a season. Then in 2022 I was to sing Scarpia for West Australian Opera. Alas, the season was severely damaged when I caught Covid. I only did the first and last shows and not very well. This current production allows me at last to put my stamp on the role and do it properly. It went well in the Melbourne run.” </p> <p><em><strong>O60: How do you approach learning the role of Scarpia and connecting with a villainous character?</strong></em></p> <p><strong>Fyfe: </strong>“Tosca is very standard repertoire and additionally I was the Sacristan early in my career so that I had an osmotically acquired sense of the thing from early on. Also, the donkey work of learning and memorising the notes and words is a task of only moderate proportions with this role. So one just sits down at the piano and starts hacking away at it. </p> <p>“The other two bits of the equation (which can’t actually be separated) are the singing of the role and the inhabiting of the character. Vocally, it requires that I be at peak form. I can sing it much better than when I was young but it requires much more conscious effort to sustain it. My teacher Christina Henson Hayes has helped me enormously on that front. </p> <p>“Dramatically, it’s almost always possible to find in some dark recess of oneself something which is reflected in the character. Having found this way in, one can push it and stretch it and eventually pop out like a newborn into the new fictional world where that person lives. But equally important, especially for the in-the-round, creaturely and not at all stylised characters of verismo, one needs to have lived and absorbed that which is around one. Read good books, watch great actors – not in an ad hoc sense but generally. Be a cultural sponge. Make reading good books and watching great actors as constant and inevitable a part of life as eating. Read everything, listen to everything, observe everything. If the singer has no cultural hinterland, it is to be hoped that the director is a magician!” </p> <p><em><strong>O6O: You recently performed in this production in Melbourne’s Margaret Court Arena – the first opera to be staged on the tennis court. How did you find that experience and will anything about your performance be different for the Sydney season?</strong></em></p> <p>“Well, it was lovely because all my colleagues were lovely. As well as all my Opera Australia chums, there were people new to me such as Nadine Benjamin and Young Woo Kim – people so warm and friendly, not to mention talented, that one feels almost abashed and instinctively tries in response to be the best colleague one knows how to be. </p> <p>“Nevertheless, I’m a traditionalist who believes that opera will always be better for all concerned in a conventional, properly appointed theatre. Opera singers do not like being miked. For me, however good the technicians, the sense of one’s sound being only partially in one’s own control is uncomfortable. On the other hand, feeling one’s voice commanding a huge space as if one were a Rabelaisian giant is quite thrilling and of course it opens up possibilities for the company commercially.” </p> <p><em><strong>O60: Opera Australia is presenting several Puccini works this year in celebration of the legendary composer as 2024 marks the 100th anniversary of Puccini’s death, so let’s chat about Puccini’s contribution to the world of opera. He was a champion of verismo; can you explain what that means? What should audiences expect from the performance?</strong></em></p> <p>“Verismo is simply realism. Characters presented in the round rather than as two-dimensional types or figures of heightened allegory. In place of a stylised, artificial or high-flown approach, the composers wished to present real people in plausible dramatic settings. Of course this presents an apparent contradiction because in real life we don’t sing at each other. However, in practice you can have your cake and eat it because the genius of Puccini, from a starting point of a verisimilitudinous situation and story, can take it to another plane of intensity and power. But the roots in reality are unbroken. That reality is in the DNA of every cell of the artwork which rises majestically from those roots. Hence the opera feels real despite the built-in artificiality of the art form. By contrast, a composer of another era and school might take his subject away from reality to a more rarefied place. Audiences should expect an intense, purely human drama.” </p> <p><em><strong>O60: Puccini is known for his innovative use of the orchestra and an expansive use of instruments; what should audiences be listening for when they come to Tosca?</strong></em></p> <p>“Different composers have their preferred palettes. This also varies on national as well as individual lines. As Puccini is the supreme figure in verismo, he IS the archetype so that I can answer the question in a circular way by saying that it will sound very Italian, very verismo. Lush, yes, but a Puccinian version thereof rather than a Straussian one. </p> <p>“There are also exquisite touches, sort of musical special effects used judiciously and sparingly enough so as not to seem gimmicky. For example, the bells and spoken Latin of the Te Deum or the distanced effect of the oratorio in Act 2. The arias are of course high points but much of the interest lies in the meat connecting those moments.” </p> <p><em><strong>O60: Which of Puccini’s works is your preferred or do you find one most revolutionary?</strong></em></p> <p>“For brutal intensity, <em>Tosca</em> represents the high-water mark, especially Act 2. I love the kaleidoscopic richness of <em>Turandot</em>. The story is horrible but this is not a negative if one accepts it as a fable which has different rules from those applying to a pungently realistic tale. Also, <em>Turandot</em> is structurally flawed because he didn’t finish it. It is, however, musically astonishingly good. If you said I had to see a Puccini opera tonight but I could choose which one, I’d definitely choose <em>La Fanciulla del West</em>. Not only is it a masterpiece, it doesn’t get done nearly enough.”</p> <p>---</p> <p>Don't miss this extraordinary celebration of Puccini's legacy. Whether you're an opera aficionado or a first-time attendee, this production of <em>Tosca</em> is set to be an unforgettable highlight of the cultural calendar. Get ready to be swept off your feet by the sheer drama, passion, and beauty of Puccini’s masterpiece. Visit <a href="https://opera.org.au/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">https://opera.org.au/</a> for more info.</p> <p><em>Images: Opera Australia</em></p>

Music

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World's best airline for 2024 revealed

<p>The world's best airline has been revealed for 2024, with the winning airline being voted above the rest for quality, customer service and overall flying experience. </p> <p>Qatar Airways, the Doha-based airline, reclaimed the title in the annual Skytrax’s World Airline Awards dubbed “the Oscars of the aviation industry”, returning to the top for an unprecedented eighth time.</p> <p>The 2023 winner, Singapore Airlines, fell back a spot to second place, while Emirates came third.</p> <p>Coming in next on the list was  ANA All Nippon Airways, Cathay Pacific Airways, Japan Airlines, Turkish Airlines, EVA Air, Air France and Swiss International Air Lines in 10th spot.</p> <p>Qatar also took home three other awards: World’s Best Business Class, World’s Best Business Class Airline Lounge and Best Airline in the Middle East.</p> <p>It’s also become the first aviation group to win Best Airline, Best Airport and Best Airport Shopping, in the same year in Skytrax history.</p> <p>“This is a proud moment for Qatar Airways. I am honoured to share this award with my dedicated team,” Qatar Airways group chief executive officer, Badr Mohammed Al-Meer, said at the Skytrax event in London on Monday.</p> <p>“This award is a testimony to our relentless commitment to providing unparalleled service and innovation. We look forward to continuing to serve our customers with the highest level of excellence.”</p> <p>The Skytrax awards are based on the votes of travellers across over 100 nationalities, with any airline in the world eligible to be nominated.</p> <p>In terms of Aussie airlines, Qantas plummeted seven spots to be ranked 24 this year, while Virgin Australia fell from 46 to 54 and Jetstar from 69 to 75. </p> <p>However, Australian regional airline REX climbed from spot 56 to 50.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock </em></p>

International Travel

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The world’s longest cruises

<p dir="ltr">If you’re looking for your next cruising adventure, there are a multitude of time frames you can pick from for your next holiday. </p> <p dir="ltr">While many cruise-goers tend to opt for just a week or two at sea, there are other voyages that can see you spend months travelling the world. </p> <p dir="ltr">Here are ten of the longest cruise journeys that are available for the most dedicated travellers. </p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>Queen Anne - 107 days</strong></p> <p dir="ltr">In 2025, new Cunard ship Queen Anne will embark on her maiden World Voyage which includes her first visit to Australia and New Zealand.</p> <p dir="ltr">The 107-day journey starts with a transatlantic crossing before sailing to destinations in the Americas, Australasia, Asia, the Arabian Gulf and finally the Mediterranean.</p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>Crown Princess - 113 days </strong></p> <p dir="ltr">The Crown Princess is set to embark on an epic around the world cruise next year, and you can get on in Australia or New Zealand.</p> <p dir="ltr">From there, the voyage will visit 49 destinations in 28 countries over 113 days, crossing the equator twice, and sailing 33,500 nautical miles.</p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>MSC Magnifica - 119 days</strong></p> <p dir="ltr">MSC's World Cruise 2026 lasts 119 days, with options to book the entire round-the-world itinerary for the most dedicated travellers. </p> <p dir="ltr">The trip starts in Italy, and takes in the Mediterranean before heading across the Atlantic to the Caribbean and South America, before it then sails to California before crossing the Pacific for Hawaii, New Zealand and Australia.</p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>Seabourn Sojourn - 129 days </strong></p> <p dir="ltr">Seabourn's 2026 World Cruise sets sail on January 6th 2026 from LA, before taking in Hawaii, South Pacific islands, New Zealand, Australia and the Far East and Asia before heading Alaska and concluding in Vancouver, Canada.</p> <p dir="ltr">That's a total of 63 ports in 14 countries with seven overnight stays.</p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>Volendam - 133 days</strong></p> <p dir="ltr">Holland America’s lengthy journey, titled Pole to Pole, takes a round trip from Fort Lauderdale in Florida it visits spots as diverse as Costa Rica, Antarctica, Morocco, France and Canada.</p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>Crystal Serenity - 135 days</strong></p> <p dir="ltr">Crystal's 2026 World Cruise is an epic 135-day journey travelling to 72 destinations throughout 27 countries.</p> <p dir="ltr">Departing Los Angeles, Crystal Serenity will traverse the waters of the Pacific taking in the Marquesas Islands, Bora Bora, New Zealand and Sydney, as well as travelling to Hong Kong, Mumbai and Dubai.</p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>Seven Seas Splendour - 140 days </strong></p> <p dir="ltr">Guests onboard the Regent Seven Seas Cruises will visit 40 countries over six continents, spending 140 nights onboard the luxurious ship. </p> <p dir="ltr">The voyage visits locations such as Panama, Sri Lanka and Spain, visiting 71 ports around the world. </p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>Silver Dawn - 149 days</strong></p> <p dir="ltr">Silversea Cruises' Silver Dawn will explore 80 destinations, covering 35 countries on five continents, including 11 overnight stays. </p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>Viking Sky - 163 days </strong></p> <p dir="ltr">The cruise ship Viking Sky will sail for an impressive 163 days on its World Voyage II, taking in 34 countries, with 79 guided tours. </p> <p dir="ltr">Ports of note include Rarotonga in the Cook Islands, Darwin Australia, Colombo Sri Lanka, Cape Town, South Africa and the Shetland Islands in Scotland.</p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>Oceana Vista - 197 days</strong></p> <p dir="ltr">The 2026 World Odyssey voyage of Vista will circumnavigate the world, visiting over 100 ports across 43 countries.</p> <p dir="ltr">The voyage visits over 80 UNESCO World Heritage sites across 101 destinations, with 11 overnight stays.</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image credits: Shutterstock</em></p>

Cruising

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Winner of the World's Ugliest Dog Contest announced

<p>The annual World's Ugliest Dog contest has unearthed some true diamonds in the ruff, with one long-tongued frizz-ball being honoured with the title of the ugliest dog in the world. </p> <p>At the Sonoma-Marin Fair in Petaluma, California, an eight-year-old Pekingese called Wild Thang was crowned the winner and collected the $5,000 cash prize, after failing to take home the prize five years in a row. </p> <p>"He was a fan favorite … he's kind of like the bridesmaid and never the bride," judge Fiona Ma told the <em>Associated Press</em>.</p> <p>"He really tugged at our heart strings and deserved to win."</p> <p>Wild Thang's strange looks stem from a virus he contracted as a puppy that almost killed him, but instead left him with permanent damage.</p> <p>As a result, his teeth never developed, so his tongue flops out, and his right front leg paddles all the time.</p> <p>"He's never had a hair cut so that is the way he is and [his owner] shaves his stomach and he likes to sleep on ice packs," Ma added.</p> <p>"He is just a sweet dog – I was just holding him and he loves to be held and cuddled. That's part of it, these rescue dogs, they just need forever homes, so please adopt, don't shop."</p> <p>Organisers stressed that the contest is not about making fun of the unusual looking dogs, "but having fun with some wonderful characters and showing the world that these dogs are really beautiful!"</p> <p><em>Image credits: JOHN G MABANGLO/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock Editorial </em></p>

Family & Pets

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Pirates of the Caribbean actor and former pro surfer killed in shark attack

<p>Tamayo Perry, renowned surfer and actor known for his role in <em>Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides</em>, tragically lost his life in a shark attack off Oahu's North Shore on Sunday.</p> <p>The 49-year-old was surfing near Goat Island when the incident occurred, as confirmed by Shayne Enright of the Honolulu Emergency Services Department.</p> <p>Perry, who played a buccaneer in the popular movie franchise, had a distinguished career with appearances in films such as <em>Blue Crush</em> and the television series <em>Hawaii Five-O</em>. Beyond his acting career, Perry was celebrated as a former professional surfer and a beloved lifeguard.</p> <p>Responding to an emergency call just before 1pm local time, personnel from Honolulu Ocean Safety, alongside the city's fire, police and emergency medical services departments, rushed to Malaekahana Beach. The caller reported seeing a man who appeared to have suffered shark bites. Lifeguards promptly brought Perry to shore, but he was pronounced dead upon arrival. In response to the attack, Ocean Safety personnel posted shark warnings in the area.</p> <p>"Tamayo's personality was infectious, and as much as people loved him, he loved everyone else more," said Honolulu Ocean Safety acting chief Kurt Lager at a news conference. "Tamayo was a legendary waterman and highly respected," added Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi, describing Perry's death as "a tragic loss".</p> <p>Perry, alongside his wife Emilia, ran the Oahu Surfing Experience, a business offering surfing lessons. According to his biography on the company's website, Perry surfed professionally for over 15 years, notably winning the Pipeline Master trials in 1999. He began his career as a lifeguard on the North Shore for the City and County of Honolulu Ocean Safety in July 2016. That same year, he appeared in <em>Pirates of the Caribbean</em> and an episode of <em>Hawaii Five-0</em>.</p> <p>Perry's wife Emilia shared a heartfelt tribute to her lost husband on Instagram, writing: "We all want to be the hero of our own story, one of the redeeming characteristics of humanity is our desire to follow our convictions always and without fear. Few of us are able to truly be that hero, Tamayo Perry was is and will be forever.</p> <p>"He was everyone’s big brother, stern and uncompromising with an infectious and kolohe smile. He was your rescuer in time of need, your safety when all things fell apart. He was a knight forged in the fires of the North Shore in the 90’s, his faith in Christ the rock upon which he stood. Few are those who truly follow in the footsteps of Jesus, Tamayo never took his eyes off the path.</p> <p>"Tragic though his passing may be, he left this world doing what he loved where he loved to do it. We find strength in knowing he is in heaven with our Lord Jesus Christ, trading barrels at Pipeline with his friends that have gone before him."</p> <p>The World Surf League also expressed their condolences in a statement: "We are deeply saddened to share that the surf community lost a beloved icon yesterday. A well-known surfer and lifeguard, Tamayo Perry, passed away after injuries from a shark attack that occurred on the East Side of Oahu. Tamayo was a Pipeline/Teahupo’o specialist, freesurfer, former competitor, and member of the WSL for many years. He became a lifeguard for the city and was a big part of the North Shore community. Our hearts go out to Tamayo’s family and friends."</p> <p>Perry's passing has left a profound void in both the surfing and local communities, where he was deeply admired for his skills, charisma and generous spirit.</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/C8nL-QeS5C2/?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/C8nL-QeS5C2/?utm_source=ig_embed&utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank" rel="noopener">A post shared by Tamayo Perry (@oahusurfingexperience)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p><em>Image: Walt Disney Studios | Instagram</em></p>

Caring

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"Fly high, Bette!": World's longest-serving flight attendant dies aged 88

<p>Bette Nash, the world's longest-serving flight attendant has passed away aged 88, after a short battle with breast cancer. </p> <p>American Airlines, where Nash devoted almost seven decades of her life, announced her death on social media on Saturday. </p> <p>"We mourn the passing of Bette Nash, who spent nearly seven decades warmly caring for our customers in the air," they began their post. </p> <p>“Bette was a legend at American and throughout the industry, inspiring generations of flight attendants. </p> <p>“Fly high, Bette. We’ll miss you.”</p> <p>A spokesperson for the airlines confirmed that she was still an active employee at the time of her death. </p> <p>Nash, who was born on December 31, 1935,  began her flight-attendant career with Eastern Airlines in 1957, at just 21-years-old. </p> <p>In January 2022, she was officially recognised as the world’s longest-serving flight attendant by Guinness World Records, after surpassing the previous record a year earlier. She continued to hold the title until her passing. </p> <p>Tributes have poured in from people all over the world on social media, with many praising her for her unwavering dedication and kindness. </p> <p>"Fly high Bette! It was a pleasure being your passenger," wrote one person on X, alongside a selfie he took with her. </p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">Fly high Bette! It was a pleasure being your passenger. <a href="https://t.co/9N63YPB5Ia">pic.twitter.com/9N63YPB5Ia</a></p> <p>— Jon Kruse (@JonKruseYacht) <a href="https://twitter.com/JonKruseYacht/status/1794459429997273423?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">May 25, 2024</a></p></blockquote> <p>"She was flying as a passenger when she sat next to me, pinned her jacket to the bulkhead, gave me a three minute story of her life then said 'So what's your story?'. She was a dynamo. Rest easy," another added.  </p> <p>"She was an absolute delight in my earliest airline life working the USAir shuttle at LGA. Godspeed and eternal silvered wings Bette!" a third wrote. </p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">She was an absolute delight in my earliest airline life working the USAir shuttle at LGA. Godspeed and eternal silvered wings Bette!</p> <p>— Ryan Spellman (@JustJettingThru) <a href="https://twitter.com/JustJettingThru/status/1794480142766531034?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">May 25, 2024</a></p></blockquote> <p>"Rest in Peace Bette Nash," wrote a fourth. </p> <p>"Bette was a class act. Truly a loss for the skies. She was truly an Angel," added another. </p> <p><em>Image: CBS/ X</em></p> <p> </p>

Caring

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Another man dies after fall from world's biggest cruise ship

<p>A passenger has died after he fell from the world's largest cruise ship on the first night of a week-long voyage. </p> <p>The unidentified man allegedly jumped from Royal Caribbean’s new 366 metre-long Icon of the Seas, just hours after it left a port in Miami, Florida on its way to Honduras, according to the US Coast Guard.</p> <p>“The cruise ship deployed one of their rescue boats, located the man and brought him back aboard,” the Coast Guard told the <em><a href="https://nypost.com/2024/05/28/us-news/passenger-dead-after-jumping-off-worlds-largest-cruise-ship/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">New York Post</a></em>.</p> <p>“He was pronounced deceased. Beyond assisting in the search, the US Coast Guard did not have much involvement in this incident,” the agency added.</p> <p>Royal Caribbean told the publication, “The ship’s crew immediately notified the US Coast Guard and launched a search and rescue operation”. </p> <p>“Our care team is actively providing support and assistance to the guest’s loved ones during this difficult time.”</p> <p>At the time of the incident, the cruise ship had only travelled 500km from Florida, and stopped for two hours to help the search and rescue Coast Guard team to locate the passenger. </p> <p>The man was brought back on-board in critical condition before he succumbed to his injuries and died on the ship. </p> <p>The Icon of the Seas, the world’s largest cruise ship, took its maiden voyage in January this year.</p> <p>The Royal Caribbean ship has 20 decks and is nearly the size of four city blocks, holding 7,600 passengers and 2,350 crew members.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Royal Caribbean </em></p>

Travel Trouble

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Heartwarming update for baby stabbed during Bondi attack

<p>Six weeks on from the devastating Bondi Junction Westfield stabbing that claimed the lives of six people, the nine-month-old baby who was attacked is continuing her recovery. </p> <p>Baby Harriet was at the shopping centre with her mother, Dr Ashlee Good, when Joel Cauchi began his crazed attack on shoppers. </p> <p>One of Dr Good's final acts was to thrust Harriet into the arms of strangers begging them to "please help, help". </p> <p>Dr Good, an osteopath, tragically died from her injuries but Harriet miraculously survived and was released from hospital on April 21st.</p> <p>Since the attack, kind-hearted Australians have since donated $830,040 on a dedicated <a href="https://www.gofundme.com/f/Ash-Good" target="_blank" rel="noopener">GoFundMe</a> page to give Dr Good's partner, Dan, and little Harriet "the freedom to go forward into the future without financial burden or worry".</p> <p>"Ash was a ray of sunshine and positivity in every aspect of her life and died a hero saving her little girl from the most unspeakable evil," GoFundMe organiser Steven Foxwell wrote. </p> <p>The donations are still pouring in from friends and strangers alike, often accompanied by heartbreaking messages. </p> <p>"Although I did not know Ashlee, I was deeply touched by her bravery and great maternal love, and my heart goes out to all of you at this difficult time," one person wrote. </p> <p>"I'm so sorry for your horrific loss. I hope the money raised here gives you the freedom to go forward and continue living your lives in a way that would make Ash proud," a second added.</p> <p>"As a mother of two, this really truly caused my heart to ache in a way I haven't felt for a long time," a third said.</p> <p>"I wish for this little girl so much happiness and light in her future. I can't even imagine all the different ways the family are feeling right now."</p> <p>Nicola Britton, the Regional Director for GoFundMe Australia, said that the fundraiser is currently the second-largest in Australia for 2024, trailing only behind another fundraiser focused on humanitarian relief for Gaza. </p> <p><em>Image credits: GoFundMe</em></p>

Caring

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Miss World Australia attacked outside shopping centre

<p>Miss World Australia has taken aim at the lack of police response after she called Triple Zero for urgent assistance when she was attacked. </p> <p>Jasmine Stringer was running a workshop with a group of aspiring young pageant contestants at a Gold Coast shopping centre on Friday night, when a woman lunged towards the group in a random attack.</p> <p>"This person was hurling abuse at the young girls and then charged at me from across the road and punched me straight in the face," Jasmine told <a href="https://9now.nine.com.au/today/miss-world-australia-and-children-attacked-during-gold-coast-shopping-centre-event/cf15799c-99e7-45ee-b143-519bcff1114f" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><em>Today</em></a>.</p> <p>"I fended her off and then she turned her sights to a 14-year-old girl."</p> <p>While doing her best to protect herself and the young girls, Jasmine called Triple Zero for assistance.</p> <p>As the young girls fled from the scene, Jasmine waited for police - or members of the public - to help, and was met with no response.</p> <p>"I guess the most concerning part of this whole story for me is that I called Triple Zero, we are in the Southport CBD of the Gold Coast, less than three kilometres from the police station and in a 15-minute time frame when women and children are being assaulted, there was no one turning up to help," the 27-year-old said.</p> <p>"I stayed there for 20 minutes on the call with the dispatcher and I was starting to get stressed, this woman was still physically attacking these children as they're trying to get into cars and taxis and it was escalating and I asked 'is someone coming?' and they were quite dismissive to me."</p> <p>As part of her Miss World Australia advocacy work, Jasmine has devoted a lot of time and effort into preventing violence against women, and says this attack is the second time within a month that she's called for help from police after witnessing a violent incident and there's been nobody there to help.</p> <p>'I'm going to go to the police station today just make sure that the report is made and hopefully have the person who attacked us charged," she said.</p> <p>"But at this point in time, I've received no follow up from the police and it's been a really distressing situation."</p> <p><em>Image credits: Today </em></p>

Legal

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World No.1 golfer breaks silence after bizarre arrest

<p>World No. 1 golfer Scottie Scheffler has broken his silence after he was arrested and charged by police on Friday, ahead of the second round of the PGA Championships. </p> <p>Scheffler was detained by Louisville Metro police, after he drove onto a curb to try and get around a fatal accident that occurred in front of the Valhalla Golf Club. </p> <p>Earlier that morning, a man who was working  for a vendor at the tournament, was hit and killed by a shuttle bus while attempting to cross the street near the golf club.</p> <p>The tragic incident caused the road to close in both directions, but Scheffler reportedly “refused to comply and accelerated forward” when Detective Bryan Gillis stopped the golfer to give instructions.</p> <p>The police report obtained by <em>ESPN </em>also said that the detective who stopped him “suffered pain, swelling and abrasions to his left wrist and knee." </p> <p>Scheffler was charged with felony assault on a police officer, criminal mischief, reckless driving and disregarding signals from an officer directing traffic and was released almost four hours later. </p> <p>He returned to the golf course and issued a statement on the incident before completing his second round. </p> <p>“This morning I was proceeding as directed by police officers,” Scheffler began.</p> <p>“It was a very chaotic situation, understandably considering the tragic accident that had occurred earlier and there was a big misunderstand of what I thought I was being asked to do.</p> <p>“I never intended to disregard any of the instructions.</p> <p>“I am hopeful to put this to the side and focus on golf today.</p> <p>“Of course, all of us involved in the tournament express our deepest sympathies to the family of the man passed away in the earlier accident this morning. It truly puts everything into perspective.”</p> <p>After completing the second round, he spoke further about the incident and said: “My head is still kind of spinning, I can’t really explain what happened this morning." </p> <p>He also recalled stretching and doing his warm-ups in the jail cell, in attempt to lower his heart rate. </p> <p>“I was never angry. I was just in shock, and I think my body was just -- I was shaking the whole time. I was shaking for like an hour. It was definitely a new feeling for me," he said.</p> <p>An officer even offered him a sandwich. </p> <p>“I was like, ‘Sure, I’ll take a sandwich’. I hadn’t eaten breakfast yet. I mean, they were really kind. I’m grateful that we have such strong police, and they’re our protectors out there, and like I said, we just got into a chaotic situation this morning. That’s really all it was," he recalled. </p> <p>Scheffler’s lawyer Steve Romines said that there was a bit of confusion as the officer directing traffic didn’t appear to be part of the tournament traffic detail “and that’s where the miscommunication arose”.</p> <p><span style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;">He also said that they will be pleading not guilty and told </span><em style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;">The Golf Channel </em><span style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;">that charges against Scheffler “will either be dropped or we will go to trial because Scottie didn’t do anything wrong.</span></p> <p>“We’re not interested in any sort of settlement negotiations or anything like that. It was just a big miscommunication.”</p> <p><em>Images: Twitter</em></p>

Legal

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“I paint the world as I see it": Artist responds to Gina Rinehart's demand

<p>Acclaimed Aboriginal artist <span style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;">Vincent Namatjira </span><span style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;">has found himself at the centre of controversy following criticism from mining magnate Gina Rinehart over his portrait of her displayed at the National Gallery of Australia in Canberra. Rinehart reportedly <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/entertainment/art/gina-rinehart-demands-for-national-gallery-to-remove-her-portrait" target="_blank" rel="noopener">demanded the removal of the painting</a>, which she deemed unflattering, sparking a debate on artistic expression and the portrayal of power in contemporary art.</span></p> <p>Namatjira's artistic style is characterised by caricatures that border on the cartoonish, portraying influential figures such as Queen Elizabeth II, AFL player Adam Goodes and former Prime Minister Julia Gillard. His work challenges viewers to question the societal constructs surrounding power and influence, inviting them to delve deeper into the underlying messages within his art.</p> <p>In response to the removal request from Rinehart, Namatjira released a statement saying:</p> <p>“I paint the world as I see it. People don’t have to like my paintings, but I hope they take the time to look and think, ‘why has this Aboriginal bloke painted these powerful people? What is he trying to say?’"</p> <p>"I paint people who are wealthy, powerful, or significant – people who have had an influence on this country, and on me personally, whether directly or indirectly, whether for good or for bad. Some people might not like it, other people might find it funny, but I hope people look beneath the surface and see the serious side too.”</p> <p>Through his art, Namatjira confronts the complexities of privilege, wealth and authority, presenting a perspective that may not always align with mainstream perceptions.</p> <p>Despite objections raised by some, the National Gallery of Australia has stood by its decision to retain the painting, reaffirming its commitment to fostering dialogue and engagement with art in all its forms.</p> <p>Reports of complaints, including accusations linking the portrayal to political agendas, underscore the broader societal divisions that art can sometimes expose. However, the NGA's refusal to yield to external pressure reaffirms the institution's role as a custodian of artistic expression, providing a platform for diverse voices to be heard and interpreted.</p> <p>Namatjira's exhibition, "Australia in Colour", serves as a testament to the power of art to provoke, challenge and inspire. Through his unique lens, he invites audiences to reconsider notions of power and influence, urging them to look beyond the surface and engage with the deeper narratives embedded within his work.</p> <p>In a world where influence is often wielded unequally, his paintings serve as a catalyst for reflection, inviting viewers to confront uncomfortable truths and embrace the diversity of perspectives that define our collective experience.</p> <p><em>Images: Getty \ X (Twitter) \ National Gallery of Australia</em> </p>

Art

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6 strange wedding traditions around the world

<p>Every country – indeed, every family – has their own wedding traditions and marriage superstitions. Most of us would be familiar with the rule of the newlyweds-to-be not seeing each other before the wedding and the “something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue” rhyme, but what goes on around the rest of the world? Let’s find out.</p> <p><strong>1. Greece</strong></p> <p>If you’ve ever attended a Greek wedding, you’ll know it’s a colourful, fun, family-oriented affair – you’ll also probably be familiar with koufeta. They’re sugar-coated almonds given to guests by the newlyweds as a way to secure happiness, health, wealth, children and a long life. How? The white of the almond is said to symbolise purity, the egg shape fertility, the hardness represents the endurance of marriage and the sugar shows the sweetness of married life.</p> <p><strong>2. Scotland</strong></p> <p>Many modern Scots have done away with this tradition, and we can’t blame them. Essentially, before the big day, the bride (and occasionally the groom) is covered head-to-toe in pungent foods like rotten eggs, curdled milk and fish sauce by her friends. Supposedly, it prepares the couple for the difficulties of marriage and wards away evil spirits. We’d rather give it a miss.</p> <p><strong>3. South America</strong></p> <p>Pearls might be the jewellery of choice for some woman, but you’re not likely to see a single stone on a South American bride. Many Latin cultures see pearls as “tears of the sea” and believe that wearing them on your wedding day could bring sadness into the new marriage.</p> <p><strong>4. India</strong></p> <p>It’s traditional for Indian brides to get henna tattoos on their hands and feet for their wedding day, and there’s often a sweet hidden message in them – the groom’s initials. If he is able to find his initials in the elaborate tattoo on the wedding night, it’s believed the couple will have good luck. Lucky for the bride, if he fails, he has to give his new wife a present. Score!</p> <p><strong>5. Poland</strong></p> <p>Polish brides have to be very careful when it comes to picking out their wedding shoes. According to tradition, open-toed shoes are bad luck since they allow the couple’s future wealth and fortune to escape through the opening. However, there’s also an opportunity for the newlyweds to make a bit of money, too! As they leave the church, their guests shower them with coins, which they then have to collect to secure a happy and prosperous future.</p> <p><strong>6. Germany</strong></p> <p>If you’re a young German woman, you might want to avoid splashing out on porcelain – come the night before your wedding, it’ll all be destroyed. Yep, “polterabend” is a tradition in which wedding guests arrive at the bride’s home the night before and smash anything made of porcelain they can get their hands on. This is thought to bring good luck, and since it’s up to the couple to clean up the mess, it’s also designed to teach them that married life isn’t always easy – but they can work through any challenges they may face.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock</em></p>

Relationships

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Hollywood legend targeted on the street in unprovoked attack

<p>During an increase in unprovoked attacks in New York City, a Hollywood A-lister has been targeted in broad daylight. </p> <p>Actor Steve Buscemi was strolling through Kips Bay in mid-town Manhattan last Wednesday when a man walked up and struck the actor in an attack just before midday.</p> <p>The attack on the 66-year-old star is one of the latest unprovoked assaults in the five boroughs, law enforcement sources told <a href="https://nypost.com/2024/05/12/us-news/boardwalk-empire-star-steve-buscemi-attacked-by-rock-wielding-maniac-in-nyc/" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><em>The New York Post</em></a>.</p> <p>The actor, who starred in <em>Fargo</em> and <em>Boardwalk Empire</em>, suffered swelling to his face and left eye and was taken to Bellevue Hospital for treatment.</p> <p>His attacker fled the scene and is still at large, according to police. </p> <p>“Steve Buscemi was assaulted in Mid-Town Manhattan, another victim of a random act of violence in the city,” Buscemi’s publicist said in a statement to <em>The Post</em>.</p> <p>“He is OK and appreciates everyone’s well wishes, though incredibly sad for everyone that this has happened to while also walking the streets of New York.”</p> <p>A worker in the area who witnessed part of the assault told the publication, “I saw he was with a woman, and then through the corner of the window I saw him trip and fall backwards.”</p> <p>“He right away got up and ran in the opposite direction. I didn’t see who hit him."</p> <p>“It worries me for when we close because we close at 11 and it can get scary around that time,” said the woman.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock / NYCPD</em></p>

Legal

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Adorable Collie sells for world record-breaking price

<p>A border collie has been sold for a world record-breaking amount at the Ray White Rockhampton Working Dog Sale and Trial.</p> <p>Helen and James Parker paid $40,000 for Liz, a border collie who they describe as the "whole package". </p> <p>The couple, who run a wagyu cattle farm in Monto, Queensland are keen to welcome the pup who will help them muster cattle as part of the day-to-day running of the farm. </p> <p>"We leave in the morning early, they might do three to four hours mustering in the morning, then we get the cattle to the yard and then in the afternoon we'll walk them away," Helen said.</p> <p>"Our mustering round's about a week, so all day for a week, so some big days and it's hot up here in summer so they need to be able to travel and follow us on a horse and big days in hot conditions so we can't do the job without them."</p> <p>Liz, who was raised by Joe Leven, is the second dog the couple have purchased from Joe, and they say the price was worth it. </p> <p>"We weren't planning on breaking records but we're happy to have her," Helen told 2GB's Ben Fordham.</p> <p>"She's the whole package, she's got breeding behind her, she has all herding ability, natural instinct. I just think she's a great asset to our team."</p> <p>Although Liz is an unusual name for a cattle dog, it is actually a tribute to the late Queen Elizabeth.</p> <p>"Joe named them and there's a bit of a story behind how Liz got her name. She was born the year that Queen Elizabeth passed away, so she's really upheld her name, she's the queen," Helen explained.</p> <p>The Rockhampton Working Dog trial and Sale was a success for Joe and Cabra Glebe Working Dogs, who managed to sell another dog, Jenny for $38,000. </p> <p><em>Image: Ray White Working dog sale Facebook</em></p> <p> </p>

Family & Pets

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World's most disappointing tourist hotspots revealed

<p>While many travellers tend to flock to must-see tourists attractions while exploring somewhere new on their holiday, it turns out not everyone is impressed with the hype. </p> <p>A host of scathing online reviews have targeted landmarks such as Stonehenge, the Eiffel Tower, the Leaning Tower of Pisa and even Bondi Beach, calling the sites "unimpressive", "boring" and "pointless".</p> <p>According to travellers, there are 15 tourist hotspots that don't live up to the hype, with many leaving the destinations feeling disappointed. </p> <p><strong>Mona Lisa - Paris, France</strong></p> <p>One of the most "disappointing" attractions, according to travellers, is da Vinci's masterpiece the Mona Lisa, which hangs in the Louvre in the French capital city. </p> <p>According to online reviews, nearly four in ten (37.1 per cent) visitors posted negative comments about visiting the work, saying it did not live up to their expectations. </p> <p>One review left on TripAdvisor described the experience as "a bit boring", adding, "The Mona Lisa was very small and not as beautiful as I thought it would be."</p> <p>Several other reviews stated how irritating the experience of actually seeing the artwork was, with one person claiming the Louvre had a "zoo-like atmosphere".</p> <p><strong>The Eiffel Tower - Paris, France</strong></p> <p>Tourists visiting France were double disappointed, after also being let down by the iconic Eiffel Tower, which many described as "not a very special place... it's just an iron building."</p> <p>"It's boring, nothing special about it. You have to wait in a long queue just to go up and take pictures," another person wrote. </p> <p>Others claimed the landmark is nothing but a "tourist trap", claiming it is "seriously underwhelming".</p> <p><strong>Stonehenge - England</strong></p> <p>For many, Stonehenge continues to be a wonder of mystery, as one of the most architecturally sophisticated ancient stone sculptures in the world, but for others, it's just a "big disappointment". </p> <p>One reviewer went so far as to say it was the "biggest disappointment of my life", saying, "I was expecting so much more. Do not waste your time people. The only magical thing about this place is that somehow it has the power to draw people on to look at it."</p> <p>Another person put simply, "It's a pile of rocks. Pointless."</p> <p><strong>The Leaning Tower of Pisa - Italy </strong></p> <p>While many tourists visiting Italy opt to check out the famous leaning tower, others tend to lean away from it, calling it a "tourist trap". </p> <p>One person reviewed the famous landmark, saying, "It's literally just a leaning tower. I wouldn’t make a stop here just to see it. It is overly crowded and hot in the summertime."</p> <p>Others claim they were hassled by countless street sellers, writing, "The whole area is crawling with at times aggressive street hawkers who feel it is OK to keep hassling and trying to sell you tourist crap."</p> <p><strong>Checkpoint Charlie - Berlin, Germany</strong></p> <p>Set up as a reminder of the former border crossing and the partition between East and West Berlin during the Cold War, Checkpoint Charlie is often known as a must-see spot. </p> <p>However, others have been left feeling let down by the historic spot. </p> <p>One traveller rated the site just one star, writing, "The only place in Berlin where we encountered street traders who were deeply unpleasant. The museum is overpriced and very tired. The whole area was uninspiring and a complete waste of our time."</p> <p><strong>The Empire State Building - New York City, USA</strong></p> <p>Every year, thousands of people pay to head to the top of the iconic Empire State Building to catch a glimpse of the New York City skyline. </p> <p>However, given the over-crowding of the observation platform and the hefty cost to enter, many have left feeling "underwhelmed" and "ripped-off".</p> <p>One person reviewed the landmark, writing, "Wow! What a waste of $185 for a family of three to struggle to fight our way to finally see a view obscured by a metal crisscross railing. Long lines, rude staff, cheesy "museum", and overpriced. It's as bad as an amusement park."</p> <p><strong>Bondi Beach - Sydney, Australia</strong></p> <p>A trip to Bondi Beach is often at the top of a tourist's travel itinerary when heading Down Under for the first time.</p> <p>But as the beach gains popularity, travellers have been increasingly underwhelmed by the picturesque beach given the over-crowding. </p> <p>One review read, "The beach is all the hype and show but it's like having a bath with your entire family and a dozen strangers. It's packed on any normal day and should be regulated with a fence line and tickets so it's not like cramming sardines into a can."</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images </em></p>

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