Travel Trouble

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London’s “worst tourist attraction” closes after just six months

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">A London tourist attraction described as the city’s “worst attraction” </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://travel.nine.com.au/latest/113m-marble-arch-mound-to-close-after-just-six-disappointing-months/5c2b9e30-a534-4724-91a7-c1969dc85c95" target="_blank"><span style="font-weight: 400;">has closed</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> after operating for just six months.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Despite costing a reported $11.3 million (£6 million), the Marble Arch Mound closed its doors on January 9 after becoming a source of widespread mockery online.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Tickets - costing up to $15 (£8) - began to sell for free ahead of its impending closure on the Mound’s official website.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">In a series of posts on Twitter, journalist Jacob Phillips recounted the attraction’s journey from an exciting premise to an underwhelming, unfinished site.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Construction of the ill-fated attraction on the corner of Hyde Park and Oxford Street was overseen by Westminster Council, who hoped it would bring people back to the area, which was struggling due to COVID-19.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">It promised to have sweeping greenery and views of the city, as well as a light exhibition and cafe inside.</span></p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr">In March it was given planning permission with councillors calling the attraction bonkers but it wanted to be bold.<br /><br />Building works started shortly afterwards but by the mound's opening date things weren't looking good <a href="https://t.co/bXKentVISp">pic.twitter.com/bXKentVISp</a></p> — Jacob Phillips (@Jacob_LDR) <a href="https://twitter.com/Jacob_LDR/status/1480501726943887362?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">January 10, 2022</a></blockquote> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">However, the Mound was still unfinished when it opened on July 26. Scaffolding used to construct the attraction was still visible, plants began dying, and the light installation and cafe were noticeably absent.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Visitors soon began sharing their underwhelming experiences online, including a review written by Dan Barker for </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">The Critic</span><span style="font-weight: 400;">, who described the Mound as a little soulless.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Barker also compared The Mound to “that famous Christian Ronaldo statue” - referencing the sculpture of the soccer star which failed to capture any of his features - rather than “Michelangelo’s David”.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Another user shared their experience visiting the Mound, writing that it was “the worst thing I’ve ever done in London”.</span></p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr">Marble arch mound is the worst thing I've ever done in London <a href="https://t.co/njmpOFxrbf">pic.twitter.com/njmpOFxrbf</a></p> — Emma Franklin-Wright (@emmabethwright) <a href="https://twitter.com/emmabethwright/status/1419932605449969665?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">July 27, 2021</a></blockquote> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">According to Phillips, the site closed after just two days after council workers attempted to improve the Mound’s appearance - but their efforts “were in vain”.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“At this stage the mound went viral for being pretty much just a slag heap,” he </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://twitter.com/Jacob_LDR/status/1480503442271576064" target="_blank"><span style="font-weight: 400;">wrote</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">When news of its closure broke, many bid farewell to the Mound while remarking on its cost to taxpayers.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“So farewell then the Marble Arch Mound, / That cost Westminster taxpayers six million pound,” writer and journalist Andrew Scott </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://twitter.com/Otto_English/status/1479462516690497538" target="_blank"><span style="font-weight: 400;">posted</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">, under the pen name Otto English.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Cost £6 million. Attracted 250,000 visitors. (But did even ONE visitor come to London because of it?),” author Edwin Hayward </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://twitter.com/uk_domain_names/status/1479559543885635586" target="_blank"><span style="font-weight: 400;">wrote</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“So that’s £24 a head. Dire expenditure by the local council, despite their protestations.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Despite the many critics, some tried to defend the Mound before its closure.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Tony Devenish, a Conservative Assembly Member for Hammersmith and Fulham and Kensington and Chelsea, said the attraction helped during a dire time.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“The reality of the Marble Arch Mound is that it drove footfall at a time when the West End was trying desperately to protect jobs and recover from the impact of Covid,” he </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://twitter.com/Tony_Devenish/status/1479404291022544908" target="_blank"><span style="font-weight: 400;">said</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">.</span></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Image: @Jacob_LDR (Twitter)</span></em>​</p>

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Prince Harry in legal battle to pay for police protection when visiting the UK

<p dir="ltr">Prince Harry is seeking a review of the decision by the Home Office to refuse him the ability to personally pay for police protection when he is in the UK.</p> <p dir="ltr">Harry lost his taxpayer-funded police security after stepping back from royal duties in 2020 and moving to the United States. He argues that his private security team does not have adequate jurisdiction abroad, and wants to be able to ensure his family’s safety when they are visiting the UK.</p> <p dir="ltr">The application for a judicial review follows an incident in London in July 2021 when Harry’s car was chased by photographers as he left a charity event. A representative for Harry says the legal claim was filed in September "to challenge the decision-making behind the security procedures, in the hopes that this could be re-evaluated for the obvious and necessary protection required".</p> <p dir="ltr">The Duke of Sussex wants to personally pay for police protection, “not to impose on the taxpayer”, the representative said. A statement released to the public said, "Prince Harry inherited a security risk at birth, for life. He remains sixth in line to the throne, served two tours of combat duty in Afghanistan, and in recent years his family has been subjected to well-documented neo-Nazi and extremist threats.</p> <p dir="ltr">"The UK will always be Prince Harry's home and a country he wants his wife and children to be safe in. With the lack of police protection, comes too great a personal risk.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Arguing that his private security team could not replicate the work of local police, with their access to local intelligence and legal jurisdiction, Harry offered to cover the costs of police protection when in talks with the Queen over his future role in January 2020, but the offer was dismissed.</p> <p dir="ltr">Harry and Meghan’s seven-month-old daughter Lilibet has yet to meet her great-grandmother, the Queen, her grandfather, Prince Charles, or other members of the Royal Family.</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image: Pool/Samir Hussein/WireImage</em></p>

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Rowdy passengers stranded in Mexico by airlines

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">A group of rowdy travellers have been stranded in the Mexican city of Cancun after their in-flight conduct saw several airlines refuse to take them home. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The group flew from Montreal, Canada, on December 30th onboard a charter flight organised by “exclusive private group” 111 Private Club. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Videos have since emerged from the party that took place in the sky, showing travellers drinking, smoking and dancing in the aisles, which has caused outrage in Canada. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The incident is being investigated by Transport Canada, with the passengers each facing hefty fines. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he was "extremely frustrated" with the incident.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">"It's a slap in the face to see people putting themselves, putting their fellow citizens, putting airline workers at risk by being completely irresponsible," Trudeau said at a recent briefing.</span></p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr">Passengers flying from <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Canada?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Canada</a> to <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Cancun?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Cancun</a> take to partying during flight 🃏 <a href="https://t.co/BhxPax28QH">pic.twitter.com/BhxPax28QH</a></p> — Public Outsider (@publicoutsider) <a href="https://twitter.com/publicoutsider/status/1479232708479967233?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">January 6, 2022</a></blockquote> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Event organiser and TripleOne president James William Awad took to his blog after the videos from the plane went viral, saying, "I understand why many fellow citizens are upset about the current situation."</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The airline has cancelled the group’s return flight, which was scheduled for January 5th, because the travellers did not adhere to the terms outlined by the airline. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Both Air Canada and Air Transat have refused to fly the group back to Canada, citing the safety of their crew and other passengers had to be taken into account. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Transport Canada said that each of the travellers could face fines of up to $5,000 Canadian dollars for their behaviour on the aircraft, while also facing the risk of jail time if any traveller is caught providing false information on their return to Canada. </span></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Image credits: Instagram</span></em></p>

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TikTok shows bird inside cabin on flight from Europe to US

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">A passenger on a flight from Europe to the US has shared a video of a bird that was trapped inside the cabin during her flight.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Brooke Frazier uploaded a video to TikTok of a bird flying throughout the cabin of the plane she was on, writing, "Bird stuck on our eight hour flight from Europe lil guy about to be so confused.” In the caption, she wrote that the bird had “hopped on” the flight in Belgium and was “going crazy” during the flight to the US.</span><span style="font-weight: 400;"></span></p> <div class="embed"><iframe class="embedly-embed" src="https://cdn.embedly.com/widgets/media.html?src=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.tiktok.com%2Fembed%2Fv2%2F7051627241830403374&amp;display_name=tiktok&amp;url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.tiktok.com%2F%40totallychillfemale%2Fvideo%2F7051627241830403374&amp;image=https%3A%2F%2Fp16-sign.tiktokcdn-us.com%2Ftos-useast5-p-0068-tx%2F7dd3104a4c624e7ebda67ae7affa603c_1641834912%7Etplv-tiktok-play.jpeg%3Fx-expires%3D1642078800%26x-signature%3D26FoJY0C1LvfiLhbFiJa3bTZQBc%253D&amp;key=59e3ae3acaa649a5a98672932445e203&amp;type=text%2Fhtml&amp;schema=tiktok" width="340" height="700" scrolling="no" title="tiktok embed" frameborder="0" allow="autoplay; fullscreen" allowfullscreen="true"></iframe><span style="font-weight: 400;"></span></div> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The video has received almost 12 million views, almost 2 million likes, and over 20,000 comments. Commenters were quick to see the humour in the situation, with one suggesting it was something out of a movie, writing, “Pixar movie. European bird runs away cuz all his family bullied him for being small. now he's raised by a bunch of pigeons from Jersey”. Brooke herself responded with her own movie synopsis, saying, “migrant bird opens a bakery in jersey to show his pursuit of the american dream while going back to his roots with family recipes”. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Another commented “Omg I hope he speaks English,” while another said, “He’s gonna have to learn to fly on the right side.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Brooke posted a followup video once they’d touched down, asking, “Does anyone know if Pfizer protects against bird flu?”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Many users wanted more information on the bird’s fate, with one person writing, “They should provide a free return trip for him”, while another said, “It’s gonna be so lonely without its friends”. Brooke herself commented, “I started tearing up bc it's whole family is in Belgium and it's gonna get off and have to make new friends."</span></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Image: TikTok</span></em></p>

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Outrage over Nazi flag used at funeral

<p>Italian Catholic and Jewish officials have condemned an outrageous act of right wing extremism, as a flag with a swastika was placed on a coffin outside a church after a funeral, as mourners in attendance gave Nazi salutes. </p> <p>Rome's Catholic archdiocese shared a statement that said priests at the parish of St. Lucy in a neighbourhood in central Rome, including the one who presided at the funeral, had no idea the stunt would happen.</p> <p>Pictures have surfaced on the internet of the coffin bearing the body of Alessia Augello, a former member of the right-wing extremist group Forza Nuova, covered by the Nazi flag.</p> <p><span>The diocese statement called the flag "a horrendous symbol that cannot be reconciled with Christianity" and said the stunt was an offensive example of "ideological exploitation" of a religious service.</span> </p> <p>Italian police are investigating the incident as a possible hate crime. </p> <p>The Jewish community of Rome have expressed their outrage and devastation that such events could still happen more than 70 years after the Holocaust and the fall of Italy's fascist dictatorship. </p> <div class="block-content"> <div class="styles__Container-sc-1ylecsg-0 goULFa"><span>"It is unacceptable that a flag with a swastika can still be shown in public in this day and age, especially in a city that saw the deportation of its Jews by the Nazis and their fascist collaborators," the statement said.</span></div> </div> <p><span>The Jewish community statement said the funeral incident was "even more outrageous because it took place in front of a church."</span></p> <p><span>In October 1943, a raid on Rome's Jewish neighbourhood saw more than 1,000 of the capital's Jewish people deported to the </span><span>Auschwitz death camp</span><span> in Nazi-occupied </span><span>Poland.</span></p> <p><span>Only 16 people returned.</span></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images / CNN</em></p>

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“The bed was alive”: Woman issues warning after horror hotel stay

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">An Australian woman has issued a warning to fellow travellers after she was attacked by bed bugs during a mini holiday with a friend.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Justine Martin and Anna McLean were heading out for a getaway to the Gold Coast following Melbourne’s tough lockdowns last year and checked into a “resort-style” hotel after their long trip.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">As the pair were about to fall asleep, Justine said she felt a “crawling sensation” on her neck.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“I noticed the sheets were a little bit sandy down at the feet end, and it was very late by the time we got there, so I tried to drift off,” she told </span><em><a rel="noopener" href="https://travel.nine.com.au/latest/bed-bugs-travel-warning-australia-summer-la-nina/b45cd682-5754-482c-9cda-14da230f6092" target="_blank"><span style="font-weight: 400;">9Honey</span></a></em><span style="font-weight: 400;">.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“I was lying there tossing and turning, and I could hear Anna scratching. Next thing, I felt something crawling on me.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">When she brushed against her face, Justine realised something was biting her neck - a tiny bed bug.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“I turned on the light and there was a wine glass sitting on the side table, so I popped it in the wine glass,” she recalled.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Then we got out the bed and pulled the sheets back… and the bed was alive.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The Victorian women were shocked to find that both of the single beds were covered in dozens of the bugs, while the “sand” Justine thought she could feel at the end of the bed turned out to be sprinklings of bed bug excrement.</span></p> <p><img style="width: 396px; height:223px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7846740/bedbugs1.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/006f2ce30aa548019add5f955070bc68" /></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Justine and Anna found bed bugs and their excrement in their hotel rooms while on a holiday in Queensland. Image: 9Honey</span></em></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">After alerting the night manager, Justine and Anna were moved to a new hotel room - only to find that the queen bed within was just as infested with bed bugs.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“We pulled back the sheets, and it was full of bed bugs as well,” Justine said. “The whole place was infested.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“We both had showers to wash bugs off our skin, and I have long black hair so I was worried it was going to get into my scalp.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Fortunately their clothes were still packed away, protected from the tiny bugs.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">With two strikes against their current hotel, the pair were determined to salvage their holiday, demanding a refund and checking into an expensive hotel along the beach.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“We lost a whole day, we slept for most of the Friday and had to do our washing,” Justine added.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“I’m not being a snob, it shouldn’t matter what you’re paying for a motel or hotel room, the quality of the room should be 100 percent and it should be clean.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Now when I go into a hotel, the first thing I do is pull up the sheets and look for any signs of bed bugs… their excrement or stains on the mattress, because bed bugs will be hiding during the day.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">According to bed and sleep expert </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.news.com.au/travel/travel-updates/travel-stories/expert-issues-warning-to-summer-travellers-as-bed-bug-populations-surge/news-story/344bc7d4c6d68bde43bb57304d4ffadf" target="_blank"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Darren Nelson</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">, December through February are common months to find bed bugs. With increased travel during this period, the bed bugs are able to spread from holiday homes, hotels and campsites to bedrooms at home.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">As for how to combat them, Mr Nelson suggests keeping bedding and sheets clean, and washing sheets separately from clothes to reduce the risk of cross-contamination.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Most people wash their sheets every week or two - but forget about their pillow and doona, going months if not years, between washes,” he explained.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“These are the breeding ground not only for bed bugs, but for dust mites.”</span></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Image: 9Honey / news.com.au</span></em></p>

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Teacher locks son with Covid in car boot

<p dir="ltr">A Texas teacher has been arrested and charged with endangering a child after locking her Covid-positive son in the boot of her car in order to protect herself from exposure to the virus as they drove to a testing site.</p> <p dir="ltr">Sarah Beam, 41, was arrested after a witness called police and told them they heard someone in the vehicle’s trunk on January 3 at a testing site in Harris County, Texas. Beam reportedly opened the boot to reveal the 13-year-old boy lying inside.</p> <p dir="ltr">She explained that her son had tested positive for COVID-19 and that she was taking him to a testing site at Pridgeon Stadium for a second test to confirm the result. She reportedly said that she had placed her son in the boot as she did not want to be infected herself.</p> <p dir="ltr">A health worker told her that no test would be administered until the boy was allowed to sit in the back seat of the car.</p> <p dir="ltr">Ms Beam has been working as a teacher at Cypress Falls High School since 2011, but is now on administrative leave.</p> <p dir="ltr">CY-Fair ISD Police Department said in a statement, "CFPD was alerted that a child was in the trunk of a car at a drive-thru Covid-19 testing site earlier this week. Law enforcement conducted a full investigation, resulting in a warrant for arrest. Thankfully, the child was not harmed."</p> <p dir="ltr">Sergeant Richard Standifer, of the Texas Department of Public Safety, told reporters that the boy could have been seriously injured if the vehicle had been involved in an accident. He added, "I have never heard of somebody being put in a trunk because they tested positive for anything.”</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image: Silvia Bianchini</em></p>

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Flight attendant caught using dead man’s identity for 20 years

<p dir="ltr">A Brazilian flight attendant has been accused of stealing a dead boy’s identity and using it for more than 20 years.</p> <p dir="ltr">Ricardo Cesar Guedes, 49, who works as a flight attendant for United Airlines, has been accused of stealing the identity of William Ericson Ladd, an Atlanta boy who died in a car crash in Washington in 1979. He allegedly used it to apply for a passport in 1998, and has renewed the document six times since then. In addition, he has also been accused of using Ladd’s identity while getting married and taking out a mortgage in Houston. There is no record of him applying for US citizenship or naturalisation using the false identity.</p> <p dir="ltr">Investigators uncovered Mr Guedes’ real identity by comparing fingerprints he submitted for his Brazilian national identity document in the 1990s, and he was arrested at Houston Airport in September after entering a secure area for crew members.</p> <p dir="ltr">William Ladd’s mother Debra Lynn Hays confirmed to investigators last July that her son died in 1979, and she did not recognise the social security number issued to Mr Guedes in her son’s name some 17 years after his death.</p> <p dir="ltr">Mr Guedes has been charged with aggravated identity theft, making false statements on a passport application, and other counts. He allegedly worked on 40 flights for United Airlines in 2020 while using Ladd’s name, and remains detained pending trial.</p> <p dir="ltr">A United Airlines spokesperson confirmed his prior employment, but added that he was no longer employed by the company.</p> <p dir="ltr">Mr Guedes had no prior criminal record, and upon being presented with evidence of his fraud, reportedly told the arresting agents, “I had a dream, and the dream is over. Now I have to face reality.”</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image: Eric Ladd/Twitter</em></p>

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Convenience, comfort, cost and carbon: what’s the best way to travel, save money and cut emissions?

<p>As New Zealanders plan their summer holiday trips, it’s worth considering different travel options and their respective cost, both to the budget and the environment.</p> <p>I’ve <a href="https://www.massey.ac.nz/massey/fms/Research/Transport_article_Conversation_3.pdf">compared several travel modes (with all assumptions made found here)</a> — a small diesel car, electric car, bus, train or plane — for a door-to-door 300km return journey. The process has identified limitations for each mode, which may help policymakers better understand the challenges involved in developing a low-carbon transport system.</p> <p>New Zealand’s annual transport emissions have <a href="https://www.mfe.govt.nz/sites/default/files/media/Climate%20Change/new-zealands-greenhouse-gas-inventory-1990-2018-vol-1.pdf">nearly doubled</a> since 1990 and account for more than a fifth of total greenhouse gas emissions.</p> <p>Emissions from cars, utes and vans have continued to increase even though the <a href="https://www.motu.nz/our-research/environment-and-resources/emission-mitigation/shaping-new-zealands-low-emissions-future/a-timeline-of-the-nz-emissions-trading-scheme/">NZ Emissions Trading Scheme</a> has been in place for 14 years and has added a “carbon levy” of around 10-15 cents per litre to petrol and diesel.</p> <p>The Climate Change Commission has <a href="https://www.climatecommission.govt.nz/our-work/advice-to-government-topic/inaia-tonu-nei-a-low-emissions-future-for-aotearoa/">recommended</a> the government should:</p> <ul> <li> <p>reduce the reliance on cars (or light vehicles) and support people to walk, cycle and use public transport</p> </li> <li> <p>rapidly adopt electric vehicles</p> </li> <li> <p>and enable local government to play an important role in changing how people travel.</p> </li> </ul> <p>But is it realistic to expect governments to change how people travel? Providing information is perhaps the key.</p> <h2>Transport comparisons</h2> <p>A person’s choice of transport mode is based on a mixture of cost, comfort and convenience as well as speed and safety. But most New Zealanders choose their car out of habit rather than from any analytical reasoning.</p> <p>Carbon dioxide emissions are rarely a factor in their choice. Although more people now agree that climate change is a major issue, few have been willing or able to take steps to significantly reduce their transport-related carbon footprint.</p> <p>This analysis is based on my personal experiences travelling between my house on the outskirts of the city of Palmerston North to attend a meeting in the centre of Wellington. It relates to any other similar journey with a choice of transport modes, although the details will vary depending on the specific circumstances.</p> <p>I compared a 1500cc diesel car I owned for ten years with an electric car which has a 220km range and is mainly charged at home, using rooftop solar. The airport is 8km away from the house, the railway station 7km and the bus station 5km. I included “first and last mile” options when comparing total journey time, cost, carbon emissions, comfort and convenience.</p> <p><iframe id="ph0I4" class="tc-infographic-datawrapper" src="https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/ph0I4/8/" height="400px" width="100%" style="border: none;" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <h2>Things to consider before a trip</h2> <p>Travelling by car for one person is relatively costly but has good door-to-door convenience and can be quicker than the bus, train or plane, except during times of traffic congestion. Comfort is reasonable but the driver cannot read, work or relax as they can on a train.</p> <p>Car drivers usually consider the cost of fuel when planning a journey, but few consider the costs of depreciation, tyre wear, repairs and maintenance as included here. Should more than one person travel in the car, the costs and carbon emissions will be lower per passenger.</p> <p><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/437335/original/file-20211213-17-446b2y.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" alt="Woman taking picture from small plane" /> <span class="caption">A short plane journey, if nearly full, can have lower emissions per passenger than one person going by road in a diesel car.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">Shutterstock/Peter Gudella</span></span></p> <p>Taking a short-haul flight over this distance is relatively costly and the journey is no quicker since there is considerable inconvenience getting to and from the airports. The carbon dioxide emissions per passenger can be lower than for a diesel car (with just the driver), assuming the plane has around 80% occupancy.</p> <p>For one person, taking a bus or train can be significantly cheaper than taking a car and also offers lower emissions. However, the longer overall journey time and the hassles getting to and from the stations are deterrents. Infrequent bus and train services, often at inconvenient times, can also be disincentives to choosing these modes.</p> <h2>Going electric</h2> <p><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/437334/original/file-20211213-25-4k5xtx.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=237&amp;fit=clip" alt="Car park reserved for electric cars to recharge" /> <span class="caption">Electric cars offer convenience and low emissions.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">Shutterstock/Ed Goodacre</span></span></p> <p>The electric car has low carbon emissions, especially if charged from a domestic solar system. Coupled with reasonable comfort and convenience and the lowest journey cost per person when carrying two or more passengers, this supports the government’s policy to encourage the deployment of EVs.</p> <p>Travelling by train is perhaps the best option overall for one person making this journey. The total cost is less than half that of taking a car. Emissions are around a third of the diesel car. Comfort is good, with the opportunity to work or relax.</p> <p>Making the whole journey more convenient will help encourage more people to travel by train and help reduce transport emissions. But this will require national and local governments to:</p> <ul> <li> <p>encourage Kiwirail to provide more frequent services</p> </li> <li> <p>electrify all lines</p> </li> <li> <p>provide cheap and efficient “first-and-last-mile” services to railway stations</p> </li> <li> <p>undertake a major education campaign to illustrate the full cost, carbon emissions and convenience benefits resulting from leaving the car at home.<!-- 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; text-shadow: none !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/165526/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> </li> </ul> <p><span><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/ralph-sims-204224">Ralph Sims</a>, Emeritus Professor, Energy and Climate Mitigation, <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/massey-university-806">Massey University</a></em></span></p> <p>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/convenience-comfort-cost-and-carbon-whats-the-best-way-to-travel-save-money-and-cut-emissions-165526">original article</a>.</p> <p><em>Image: <span class="attribution"><span class="source">Shutterstock/Matej Kastelic</span></span></em></p>

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Woman barred from visiting her dying mother

<p><em>Image: Sunrise </em></p> <p>Western Australian health officials have cancelled an approved visit for a woman to say goodbye to her dying mother.</p> <p>Andrea McCourt had been granted an exemption to enter WA after flying in from Texas and was in hotel quarantine when the farewell was scrapped with just 34 minutes notice.</p> <p>Ms McCourt’s trip to visit her mother’s retirement village was cancelled at the last-minute due to COVID-19 concerns after a hotel quarantine guard tested positive for the virus.</p> <p>“I sincerely regret to inform you that following thoughtful consideration, the WA Health Incident Controller has this morning withdrawn support for today’s visit due to increasing concerns regarding the public health risk associated with your visitation request,” an email from health officials read</p> <p>“Accordingly, you will not be permitted to temporarily depart hotel quarantine today.”</p> <p>The emails admits officials know the decision would be “extremely disheartening” but was not made “lightly or without comprehension.”</p> <p>“Moreover, I apologise for the untimely notice, however due to the unpredictable and everchanging nature of COVID-19 pandemic and broader quarantine system it is not possible to foresee such events,”</p> <p>Andrea told 7NEWS that she feels like she has been “treated like a criminal” over the ordeal.</p> <p>“I haven’t even had the heart to call mum this morning and say sorry we can’t come and visit you, because we don’t want her to go downhill,” she said on Wednesday.</p>

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Mafia fugitive caught after being spotted on Google Street View

<p>An Italian mafia fugitive has been found after 20 years on the run after being spotted on Google Maps in Spain. </p> <p><span>Gioacchino Gammino, one of Italy's most wanted mobsters, was handed a life sentence after being convicted of murder in 1989, before escaping prison in 2002. </span></p> <p><span>Following his escape, he fled to a town north of Madrid and changed his name before opening a fruit and vegetable shop. </span></p> <p><span>Despite his new identity, Italian police were hot on his tail after spotting him by chance on Google Street View standing outside a grocery shop named </span>El Huerto de Manu, Manu's Garden.</p> <p class="mol-para-with-font">Gammino had since changed his name to Manuel.</p> <p class="mol-para-with-font">Nearby where he was spotted, police found a listing for a restaurant named <span>Cocina de Manu which had been closed for some time.</span></p> <p class="mol-para-with-font">Despite the restaurant appearing to be closed, the establishment's Facebook page was still active and showed photos of Gammino proudly posing in chef's clothing, with the menu featuring a specialty <span>Sicilian supper, with a design similar to the iconic poster for <em>The Godfather</em> film.</span></p> <p class="mol-para-with-font"><span>Police recognised the images of Gammino on Facebook thanks to a distinct scar on his chin. </span></p> <p class="mol-para-with-font"><span>He was arrested on December 17th, and was baffled at how authorities tracked him down. </span></p> <p class="mol-para-with-font"><span>He said after his capture, "How did you find me? I haven't even phoned my family for the last 10 years."</span></p> <p class="mol-para-with-font"><span>Gammino will now be returned to a jail in Italy were he will see out the remainder of his life sentence for murder. </span></p> <p class="mol-para-with-font"><em>Image credits: Google Maps</em></p>

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Buy a Covid test with brekkie: Customers slam restaurants selling rapid tests

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">With Australians continuing to struggle to find Rapid Antigen Tests (RATs) and <a rel="noopener" href="https://oversixty.com.au/news/news/retailers-criticised-for-outrageous-markups-on-rapid-covid-tests-amidst-shortage" target="_blank">increasing reports of price gouging</a>, some are getting their hands on them in unusual ways.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Some people have found they can order RAT kits alongside their brekkie as restaurants have begun listing the tests for hefty prices.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Some restaurants have been listing two-packs of the tests for as much as $65 - not including the delivery fee or a tip for the rider - according to </span><em><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.news.com.au/world/coronavirus/health/restaurants-convenience-stores-sell-rapid-antigen-tests-at-eyewatering-prices-on-uber-eats/news-story/24b1bcad3949cef8e6ed85bada8a30e0" target="_blank"><span style="font-weight: 400;">news.com.au</span></a></em><span style="font-weight: 400;">.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">One particular venue that has copped backlash for jumping on the trend is South Australian burger joint The Big Grill after selling tests for $50 a pair on the food delivery app.</span></p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr">Not even a joke. RESTAURANTS buying up RATs and selling them on UBER for x5 of the RRP. <br /><br />You should be able to buy a 5 pack for roughly $50, not a single test. <br /><br />Still don’t want to undercut businesses <a href="https://twitter.com/ScottMorrisonMP?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@ScottMorrisonMP</a> when they are PUTTING LIVES AT RISK by this practice? <a href="https://t.co/tO32jJ8Cnf">pic.twitter.com/tO32jJ8Cnf</a></p> — B (@Brodhe) <a href="https://twitter.com/Brodhe/status/1478217346242080771?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">January 4, 2022</a></blockquote> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">After receiving bad reviews online, the business owner shared their own side of the story on social media.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“There has been much confusion in regards to the pricing of our RATs,” the manager wrote on Facebook. “These are priced in accordance to the current market prices.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“We sell a two-pack of rapid antigen tests for $40 in store and we sell a two-pack of rapid antigen tests for $50 through our delivery partners; the price increase is due to their exorbitant fees.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“We are aware of multiple posts being shared with misinformation and in regards to our pricing and requesting people leave poor reviews on our social media and Google.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“We would like to apologise for the confusion caused and hope this resolves any issues and concerns.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">However, customers were left unsatisfied with the explanation, and some questioned why a restaurant would sell tests in the first place.</span></p> <blockquote style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-captioned="" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/CYTCVfsJ_cc/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;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> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/CYTCVfsJ_cc/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank">A post shared by The Big Grill 🍔 (@thebiggrilladl)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“You call that an apology/explanation? Pathetic. Regardless of how you try to manipulate it, you’re extorting people in a pandemic,” one customer wrote.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“You should NOT be selling these tests full stop,” another said. “No one should be capitalising in a pandemic.”</span></p> <p><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.smh.com.au/national/retailers-use-uber-eats-app-to-profit-on-rapid-antigen-test-kits-20220104-p59lto.html" target="_blank"><span style="font-weight: 400;">In NSW</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">, Crystal Mart Waterloo and Canterbury convenience store Ready To Go were advertising two-packs for $59.99 and $65 on Uber Eats respectively, while EzyMart Cronulla was selling them for $55.</span></p> <p><img style="width: 413px; height:401px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7846606/uber.png" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/b820adba724b4104a48530fe773ca43f" /></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Image: UberEats</span></em></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Meanwhile, customers have also found the kits in unusual places, such as Canberra Diamond Blade Suppliers, a tool and machinery shop in the ACT. The store listed the tests for $35 a pair on its website, with a discounted price of $1250 (or $25 a pack) if you buy 50 in a single transaction.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">As of publication, the tool and machinery store has also run out of stock.</span></p> <p><img style="width: 500px; height:259.8551890587289px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7846605/covid.png" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/2c10b4d56fb2449d8cd500bb1defad25" /></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Image: canberradiamondblade.com.au</span></em></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">After receiving more than 100 complaints, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has launched an investigation into price gouging by retailers, announcing it would “name and shame” retailers doing the wrong thing.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“We are seeking information from suppliers about their costs and the current pricing of rapid antigen tests,” ACCC chair Rod Sims said in a statement on Tuesday.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“We are also contacting major retailers and pharmacies seeking similar information and reminding them that they need to be able to substantiate any claims they make to consumers about the reason for higher prices.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Mr Sims said suppliers could generally set their own prices for products, but that retailers must not make misleading statements about the reason for high prices.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“We won’t be shy to name and shame suppliers and retailers we consider to be doing the wrong thing,” he said.</span></p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr">I am COVID+, unwittingly saw my 80 YO dad while infected and now I’m trawling UBER fvcking eats for <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Rats?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Rats</a> for him!! he’s been turned away from 3 separate PCR queues today, he’s lifetime LNP voter disillusioned, angry doesn’t describe how I feel today <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Scomicron?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Scomicron</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/COVID19?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#COVID19</a> <a href="https://t.co/LR94QLwsuS">pic.twitter.com/LR94QLwsuS</a></p> — patsysydneyhk (@patsysydneyhk) <a href="https://twitter.com/patsysydneyhk/status/1478498568105197574?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">January 4, 2022</a></blockquote> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Prime Minister Scott Morrison is also expected to propose financial support for low income earners so they can purchase rapid antigen tests when the national cabinet meets on Wednesday.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The cabinet meeting - which will be held less than a week after the previous one - will see premiers and chief ministers meet with Mr Morrison to discuss the vaccine rollout, testing issues, and the capacity of the health system.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">It is understood Mr Morrison will propose some kind of support for concessional and low income earners to the states and territories at the meeting, likely to take the form of direct cash payments for up to five tests.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">NCA NewsWire</span><span style="font-weight: 400;"> also reported that the Prime Minister will offer additional tests to state-run testing clinics, which are to be handed out for free to people with symptoms or who are close contacts.</span></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Image: @Brodhe (Twitter) / Getty Images</span></em></p>

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"Stuck for hours": Removal of stairs traps woman in her home

<p><em>Image: TikTok</em></p> <p>A woman was shocked to find the stairs for her apartment complex had been removed without warning, leaving her, and other tenants trapped inside. She shared her story on TikTok, shocking over 1.2 million people over the strange decision that left her “stuck for hours”.</p> <p>Olivia Crump thought it was just an ordinary morning, opening her door to start her day, however as she peered outside, she realised something was terribly wrong. The stairs were gone.</p> <p>Olivia lives on the third floor of her apartment building with no way to leave without climbing over the ledge. She grabbed her camera to film the incident, later posting it to TikTok where it went viral.</p> <p>Olivia said in the video: “When your apartment removes the stairs without warning and you’re stuck for hours.”</p> <p>She posted it alongside the song ‘hell to the no’ and comments were quickly encouraging Olivia to contact a fire marshall. In an interview with the<span> </span>Daily Dot, the TikToker explained that “it was impossible to get down without climbing over the ledge with a ladder or scaling the side with a decent drop below”.</p> <p>“My apartment complex didn’t notify any of the residents beforehand (and still hasn’t reached out since this happened),” she said.</p> <p>Olivia revealed that she and her neighbours were stuck for nearly four hours before a worker granted her permission to go down the unfinished steps.</p> <p>The TikToker shared that she called her neighbours and they too were unaware the stairs were being removed. Olivia wrote in reply to a comment, “these complexes run by huge housing companies just mess with people’s lives and get away with it because people need places to live”.</p> <p>Comments were filled with people sharing similar stories and encouraging Olivia to take action.</p> <p>“Definitely a fire hazard. They should have had everyone leave or made a temporary alternative route,” one user wrote.</p> <p>“Building Code, Fire and Lease Violations. Hefty, hefty fines,” another said.</p>

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Furious tradies surround luxury car for pushing in a Covid testing line

<p><em>Images: Facebook</em></p> <p>Despite changes to isolation and testing requirements for most of Australia in recent days, it hasn’t put an end to the huge lines of cars and people at testing clinics around the country.</p> <p>As case numbers spike, thousands of Aussies have reported spending hours in a queue waiting for a PCR test. While they’ve been urged to exercise patience, and treat frontline workers with compassion, not everyone has followed this advice.</p> <p>Facebook page<span> </span><em>Sydney Name and Shame,<span> </span></em>shared a clip of a BMW attempting to cut the line at a testing centre.</p> <p>“We’d been lining up in the covid test line for hours and this guy just pushes in behind me,” the driver captioned the clip.</p> <p>Zooming in on the BMW in her side mirror, she explained: “This guy has pushed in and everyone is so mad, as they should be. We’ve been in line for<span> </span><em>hours</em>, and they’re (the workers) trying to usher him out.”</p> <p>As the BMW tries to advance their way in the queue, a group of furious tradies surrounded the car to stop them from moving any further, and letting the people the car cut off go back in their original place.</p> <p>Despite the confrontation, the driver just would “not go”.</p> <p>“It’s just this guy, he’s just shaking his head, he will not leave the line,” she said.</p> <p>“What a d**k.</p> <p>The footage comes as it was announced that 54 Covid testing sites across Victoria will shut to cope with a backlog of testing due to the overwhelming demand.</p> <p>Private laboratories 4Cyte Pathology, ACL, Melbourne Pathology and Dorevitch Pathology will temporarily close testing centres in the state.</p> <p>“I’m afraid that today four of our private sector laboratory partners have confirmed they are closing, temporarily suspending a number of their testing centres,” Victorian Covid commander Jeroen Weimar told reporters.</p> <p>Mr Weimar said the labs would continue to work 24/7 to process the backlog of tests built up over the last few weeks. In NSW, it’s a similar story, with 28 test sites across the state set to close.</p>

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Space travel may prompt cartilage damage

<p>Space travel may be bad for your joints, research indicates.</p> <p><span style="font-family: inherit;">Mice that spent a month aboard a Russian spacecraft showed early signs of cartilage breakdown, suggesting that the reduced biomechanical forces in space impact on the musculoskeletal system.</span></p> <p><span style="font-family: inherit;">And while it’s too early to translate their finding to humans, researchers from the Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, US, say the evidence was “clear-cut”.</span></p> <p><span style="font-family: inherit;">“We believe this degradation is due to joint unloading caused by the near lack of gravity in space,” says lead author Jamie Fitzgerald, the hospital’s head of musculoskeletal genetics. “If this were to happen to humans, given enough time, it would lead to major joint problems.” </span></p> <p><span style="font-family: inherit;">With funding from NASA, Fitzgerald and colleagues analysed molecular changes in the cartilage of mice that spent 30 days in animal research enclosures aboard an unmanned Russian Bion-M1 spacecraft in 2013. This included performing tissue stains and gene expression studies on the cartilage. The results were compared to mice observed on Earth during the same period.</span></p> <p><span style="font-family: inherit;">Video footage shows the mice floating around in their enclosure during the day, then at night struggling to climb over each other and hang onto the grate inside the enclosure. </span></p> <p><span style="font-family: inherit;">Fitzgerald says the resultant cartilage breakdown was consistent with changes associated with osteoarthritis. In comparison, the mice on Earth showed no discernible cartilage degradation.</span></p> <p><span style="font-family: inherit;">“When there’s no gravity pulling down on the cartilage, it’s not able to maintain its structure, its integrity,” he says. “On Earth, every time you take a step to walk, you’re loading that cartilage. In space, there’s very little of that.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-family: inherit;">With plans to send humans to Mars, NASA is obviously interested to know what precautions it may need to take to protect human knees. </span></p> <p><span style="font-family: inherit;">“You may have some payload specialists and experienced pilots who already have some degree of pre-symptomatic cartilage damage at the time of their flight,” Fitzgerald says. </span></p> <p><span style="font-family: inherit;">“Because cartilage in humans doesn’t readily repair, the return to Earth could potentially bring long-term health problems.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-family: inherit;">The <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41526-019-0063-6" target="_blank">study</a> is published in the journal npg Microgravity. </span></p> <div class="newsletter-box"> <div id="wpcf7-f6-p25312-o1" class="wpcf7"> <p style="display: none !important;"> </p> <p><!-- Chimpmail extension by Renzo Johnson --></p> </div> </div> <!-- Start of tracking content syndication. Please do not remove this section as it allows us to keep track of republished articles --> <p><img id="cosmos-post-tracker" style="opacity: 0; height: 1px!important; width: 1px!important; border: 0!important; position: absolute!important; z-index: -1!important;" src="https://syndication.cosmosmagazine.com/?id=25312&amp;title=Space+travel+may+prompt+cartilage+damage" alt="" width="1" height="1" /></p> <!-- End of tracking content syndication --> <div id="contributors"> <p><em><a rel="noopener" href="https://cosmosmagazine.com/space/space-travel-may-prompt-cartilage-damage-study-shows/" target="_blank">This article</a> was originally published on <a rel="noopener" href="https://cosmosmagazine.com" target="_blank">Cosmos Magazine</a> and was written by <a rel="noopener" href="https://cosmosmagazine.com/contributor/nick-carne" target="_blank">Nick Carne</a>. Nick Carne is the editor of Cosmos Online and editorial manager for The Royal Institution of Australia.</em></p> <p><em>Image: Getty Images</em></p> </div>

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Map drawn from memory helps man reunite with his family after 30 years

<p dir="ltr">A Chinese man who was abducted in 1989 was finally reunited with his family after three decades, thanks to a hand-drawn map of his village drawn from memory.</p> <p dir="ltr">Li Jingwei, who was just four years old when he was lured from his home and sold into a child trafficking ring, shared a video of the map of his childhood village to the video sharing app Douyin late last month. From this, police were able to match the map to a small village and a woman whose son had disappeared around the same time.</p> <p dir="ltr">Following the completion of successful DNA tests, Li Jingwei was reunited with his family in Yunnan province over the weekend. Footage of the reunion showed Li Jingwei and his mother meeting for the first time in over 30 years, with Li Jingwei carefully removing his mother’s face mask to examine her face before breaking down in tears and embracing her.</p> <p dir="ltr">Ahead of the highly anticipated reunion, Li wrote on his Douyin profile, "Thirty-three years of waiting, countless nights of yearning, and finally a map hand-drawn from memory, this is the moment of perfect release after 13 days.</p> <p dir="ltr">"Thank you, everyone who has helped me reunite with my family."</p> <p dir="ltr">Li was abducted near the southwestern city of Zhaotong in Yunnan province in 1989, and sold to a family living over 1800km away. Now living in Guangdong province, he had little success asking his adoptive parents or consulting DNA databases.</p> <p dir="ltr">So he turned to the internet. In the video, Li holds up a rough sketch of his childhood neighbourhood, and says, "I'm a child who's finding his home. I was taken to Henan by a bald neighbour around 1989, when I was about four years old. This is a map of my home area that I have drawn from memory.” The drawing included features such as a building he believed to be a school, a bamboo forest, and a small pond.</p> <p dir="ltr">In 2015, it was estimated that 20,000 children were being abducted in China each year.</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image: Weibo</em></p>

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REVEALED: "Worst" Aussie towns for 2021

<p><em>Image: Getty</em></p> <p>The Queensland city of Townsville has been dubbed Australia’s “supreme s***hole of the year” — stoking a strong reaction from some of its residents.</p> <p>It topped a list in this year’s countdown run by the viral Facebook page<span> </span><em>S*** Towns of Australia</em>, receiving the most votes from the group’s 500,000 followers.</p> <p>Just over 36% of voters listed Townsville as the worst city in the nation, with most blaming high levels of crime.</p> <p>After a year of Covid-19 lockdowns, the entire state of NSW came in second, winning 30% of votes.</p> <p>In third place was the popular beachside suburb of Byron Bay, which received 20% of votes, with Sydney’s Mount Druitt in fourth place.</p> <p>Despite topping the list, some Townsville locals were quick to defend their home town, with one saying “it’s not as bad as what people make it out to be”.</p> <p>“Townsville has a lot to offer. We have the biggest military base here in Australia. We also have a university to further people’s careers,” he said.</p> <p>“There are also some nice beaches where you can camp. You are within an 80km radius to go see a rainforest.</p> <p>“Property values are cheap compared to other places. There’s also a lot of work available if you are looking for a job.”</p> <p>However, some residents actually agreed with the ignominious award — saying crime in the city is out of control.</p> <p>“I would like to formally thank Annastacia (Palaczszuk), Scott (Morrison) and crew for their unfailing efforts in ignoring the crime situation in Townsville,” one resident said. “We could not have won this amazing award without their consistent neglect.”</p> <p>“I love Townsville. Like genuinely have an affinity for the place,” said another Queenslander. “But far out, it is ALWAYS getting on the list for some gronk doing something stupid and getting arrested for it. So I would say that this is probably fair play.”</p> <p>The<span> </span><em>S*** Towns of Australia</em><span> </span>website had this to say about Townsville:</p> <p>“Townsville (or Towntown in English) was named after Robert Towns, a notorious slave trader who was well-known for the practice of ‘blackbirding’, which is Australian for abducting South Sea Islanders and forcing them to work on your sugar cane plantations. In true s*** town fashion, Townsville honoured their namesake with a bronze statue for his services to racism.</p>

Travel Trouble

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New airline rules that come with fines up to $11,000

<p dir="ltr">Travellers are being asked to be considerate of frontline workers, as airlines report their employees have experienced a dramatic increase in abuse since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.</p> <p dir="ltr">A campaign demanding respect for those workers is being launched by four major airlines in conjunction with the Australian Federal Police, the Civil Aviation Safety Authority and airports around the country.</p> <p dir="ltr">Speaking to the ABC, Peter Gibson from the Civil Aviation Safety Authority said there has been a “big increase in the number of incidents in recent months, and indeed, over the last few years”, and urged passengers to behave decently during the holiday season.</p> <p dir="ltr">“It is all sorts of things – it is people being abusive, it is people being physically aggressive, it is people damaging property – all things which are, obviously, unacceptable.</p> <p dir="ltr">“In many cases, they are against the law, and of course can, in flight, put safety at risk.”</p> <p dir="ltr">As for the cause of the approximately 15 per cent rise in incidents, Gibson said, “We think it is related to the pandemic. People are obviously under a lot of stress. Then, you have got on top of that all the restrictions and requirements such as mask wearing and, for some people, that just means that the stress builds up during their travels.</p> <p dir="ltr">“It comes out in bad behaviour. Now, it is kind of understandable, but it is certainly not acceptable.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Mr Gibson said some incidents were triggered by things as small as brushing someone’s back while putting luggage into an overhead compartment. He told the ABC, “We have had ones where cabin crew were moving luggage in the overhead looker to make room for someone to put their bags up and a person has started abusing them for touching their backs.</p> <p dir="ltr">“We have had another where someone was – a crew member – was reminding someone to wear a mask, and was abused, and then physically grabbed for having the temerity to tell them to follow the rules. So, it is really silly behaviour.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Mr Gibson reminded passengers that harsh new measures, including potential jail time, were being considered for passengers who disrupt flights to such an extent that they have to be rerouted. He explained, “If you are disrupting the flight, you are distracting the crew from its duty. The pilots have got to turn the aircraft around and land somewhere else because they have got to offload the passenger who is misbehaving.</p> <p dir="ltr">“That costs tens of thousands of dollars, and people are now on notice that the airlines may well seek to recover that money from you, and of course, when you get off the aircraft, you will be met with the police and you could be met with big fines, or in serious cases, even face the courts and a potential jail sentence.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Harsh penalties for unruly behaviour on an aircraft have been introduced by civil aviation safety regulators, and they include fines that range from “a bit over $1000 to over $11,000”. Mr Gibson added, “If you break those, in serious cases, we could see prosecution.”</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image: James D. Morgan/Getty Images</em></p>

Travel Trouble

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