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Le jockey champion Jamie Kah révèle l’étendue horrible des blessures causées par une chute à Flemington

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La championne jockey Jamie Kah a révélé l’étendue horrible de ses blessures à la suite d’une chute écœurante, qui lui a laissé une blessure au cerveau si grave qu’elle pensait que c’était presque 10 ans auparavant.

Craig Williams, 27 ans, neuf fois vainqueur du Groupe 1 et co-champion du cerceau, a été impliqué dans une chute horrible lors des Sires Produce Stakes à Flemington le 11 mars.

Kah a été transporté d’urgence à l’hôpital dans un état critique après avoir souffert d’une hémorragie cérébrale, d’une fracture du poignet et du pied cassé. tandis que la liste des blessures de Williams était également longue, avec une clavicule cassée, des côtes et un doigt ainsi qu’une commotion cérébrale.

Elle a été placée dans un coma artificiel pendant près d’une semaine pour permettre à son cerveau de se reposer, et après un séjour important à l’hôpital, elle est retournée dans sa ferme de la péninsule de Mornington à Victoria, envisage enfin un retour à la course dans les mois à venir.

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Mais la route a été très longue pour en arriver là, et Kah a rompu son silence sur les retombées de l’incident qui a conduit « le temps de disparaître » pour elle.

La jockey championne Jamie Kah (photographiée lors du lancement du Melbourne Cup Carnival l'année dernière) a révélé l'étendue horrible de ses blessures après une chute de course en mars

La jockey championne Jamie Kah (photographiée lors du lancement du Melbourne Cup Carnival l'année dernière) a révélé l'étendue horrible de ses blessures après une chute de course en mars

La jockey championne Jamie Kah (photographiée lors du lancement du Melbourne Cup Carnival l’année dernière) a révélé l’étendue horrible de ses blessures après une chute de course en mars

Kah a été transportée d'urgence à l'hôpital après la chute écœurante de mars, qui lui a causé une lésion cérébrale.  Elle a dû rester dans un coma artificiel pendant plusieurs jours pour permettre à son cerveau de se reposer avant de suivre un long programme de rééducation et de finalement sortir de l'hôpital.

Kah a été transportée d'urgence à l'hôpital après la chute écœurante de mars, qui lui a causé une lésion cérébrale.  Elle a dû rester dans un coma artificiel pendant plusieurs jours pour permettre à son cerveau de se reposer avant de suivre un long programme de rééducation et de finalement sortir de l'hôpital.

Kah a été transportée d’urgence à l’hôpital après la chute écœurante de mars, qui lui a causé une lésion cérébrale. Elle a dû rester dans un coma artificiel pendant plusieurs jours pour permettre à son cerveau de se reposer avant de suivre un long programme de rééducation et de finalement sortir de l’hôpital.

«La blessure principale était une hémorragie cérébrale. J’étais dans le coma pendant je pense environ cinq jours », a-t-elle déclaré dans une interview à Channel 7 depuis sa ferme.

«Je me suis cassé le poignet, ce que je n’ai découvert que longtemps après la chute. Et mon pied était cassé, et je pense que mon nez. Mais ce n’était pas vraiment pertinent par rapport à la lésion cérébrale.

«Quand je suis tombé, on m’a dit que je ne pouvais pas respirer pendant environ 20 secondes ou peut-être plus … J’ai été mis dans le coma induit et ensuite je n’ai pas pu me réveiller à cause des médicaments que je prenais, j’ai juste continué à dormir . Il m’a fallu des siècles pour me réveiller.

«Je pleurnichais à l’Epworth (hôpital) à propos de mon poignet, puis ils ont de nouveau passé une radiographie. Ils ont dit : “Tu as le poignet droit, il est cassé !”. Alors oui, j’ai découvert longtemps après que ma main était cassée car l’accent était mis sur ma tête.

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Il est sûr de dire que son cerveau avait subi un traumatisme très important.

Kah n’a aucun souvenir de la chute, ni même d’être sur la piste ce jour-là – en effet, une grande partie du mois suivant l’incident est un “flou” pour la meilleure jockey féminine du monde.

Elle ne se souvient pas de l’hôpital où elle a été transportée en ambulance après la chute – le Royal Melbourne, où elle était du 11 au 20 mars – ou des premiers jours après son transfert à Epworth.

Kah, photographié tenant le trophée Black Caviar Lightning du groupe 1 plus tôt en février, a été mis à l'écart depuis l'automne et n'est pas encore autorisé à se remettre en selle – mais un retour est maintenant à l'horizon

Kah, photographié tenant le trophée Black Caviar Lightning du groupe 1 plus tôt en février, a été mis à l'écart depuis l'automne et n'est pas encore autorisé à se remettre en selle – mais un retour est maintenant à l'horizon

Kah, photographié tenant le trophée Black Caviar Lightning du groupe 1 plus tôt en février, a été mis à l’écart depuis l’automne et n’est pas encore autorisé à se remettre en selle – mais un retour est maintenant à l’horizon

De manière choquante, Kah a révélé que la blessure à son cerveau était si grave qu’elle pensait que c’était près de 10 ans auparavant, lorsqu’elle a commencé son ascension fulgurante vers la célébrité dans son État d’origine, Adélaïde.

“Je me suis réveillée à Epworth en pensant que j’avais 18 ans et que je vivais à nouveau à Adélaïde”, a-t-elle déclaré.

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«Je n’arrêtais pas de dire mon adresse, qui était mon ancienne adresse de chez moi à Adélaïde. Je pouvais m’en souvenir, mais ils m’ont dit que c’était faux, mais je ne pouvais pas me rappeler où j’habitais.

Afin de combler les lacunes importantes de sa mémoire alors qu’elle tentait de reconstituer les éléments de ce qui s’était passé et de la décennie de sa vie qu’elle avait “perdue”, Kah a révélé qu’elle devait se tourner vers une toute 21e option.

“J’ai commencé à chercher sur Google moi-même pour rassembler toutes les pièces. C’était comme une sorte de film. Je ne me souvenais plus de mon âge, alors j’ai écrit mon nom et Google m’a dit : “Oh, 27 ans, pas 18. Et voilà”, a-t-elle dit.

“Beaucoup de choses sont revenues après que je me sois googlé. Je pouvais voir des articles sur ce qui s’était passé lors de la course d’automne.

“Je ne savais pas ce qui m’était arrivé alors j’ai commencé à lire à ce sujet. J’avais compris que j’étais à l’hôpital parce que j’étais tombé de cheval, mais je devais découvrir ce qui s’était réellement passé.

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Kah a déclaré que son partenaire, le champion de cerceau Ben Melham, lui avait dit que sa vision était si mauvaise après l'accident qu'elle marchait dans les murs.

Kah a déclaré que son partenaire, le champion de cerceau Ben Melham, lui avait dit que sa vision était si mauvaise après l'accident qu'elle marchait dans les murs.

Kah a déclaré que son partenaire, le champion de cerceau Ben Melham, lui avait dit que sa vision était si mauvaise après l’accident qu’elle marchait dans les murs.

C’est une révélation surprenante sur la gravité de sa blessure au cerveau, et peut-être que le plus effrayant pour ses proches était le fait qu’elle ne se souvenait pas qui étaient ses parents et son partenaire au début, ou qu’elle ne voyait pas correctement. C’était la pire commotion qu’elle aurait pu avoir.

“Ma vision n’était pas bonne au début. Je ne pouvais rien voir et j’ai continué à marcher dans les murs. Je ne le savais pas jusqu’à ce que Ben (partenaire Ben Melham, également champion jockey) me le dise. Maintenant, ma vision est bonne », a expliqué Kah.

«Quand je me suis réveillé, je ne me souvenais plus qui était papa, ni vraiment qui j’étais, alors il y avait des inquiétudes.

«Ils (les médecins) m’ont dit qu’il y avait une échelle entre 3 et 15, et 3 était le pire. J’avais 3 ans.’

C’était un incident qui a choqué le monde de la course, et l’une des trois chutes graves lors des week-ends de course successifs.

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Cela a commencé avec Ethan Brown souffrant de blessures internes après une chute dans les Guinées australiennes du groupe 1 à Flemington le 4 mars, la chute de Kah et Williams survenant le week-end suivant. Ensuite, Teo Nugent s’est retrouvé avec une vertèbre C1 fracturée et sa monture Florescent Star a dû être euthanasiée.

La neuf fois vainqueur de Groupe 1 admet que même si elle a subi de graves blessures, elle se sent

La neuf fois vainqueur de Groupe 1 admet que même si elle a subi de graves blessures, elle se sent

La neuf fois vainqueur de Groupe 1 admet que même si elle a subi de graves blessures, elle se sent “chanceuse” après la chute écœurante qui a récemment tué son compatriote Dean Holland

Tragiquement, cela a abouti à la mort de la cavalière bien-aimée Dean Holland après une chute «écœurante» dans le pays de Victoria le 24 avril, qui a laissé une Kah encore en convalescence dévastée et se sentant «chanceuse» malgré ses graves blessures.

«Pour être honnête, je me sens juste incroyablement chanceux et béni d’être ici. Je me sens très chanceux. Mon ami et collègue jockey Dean (Hollande) n’est pas là. Je le suis », a-t-elle déclaré à son compatriote natif d’Adélaïde.

“Je le connais depuis très longtemps et c’était un excellent jockey. Mais à part ça, c’était juste une personne incroyable. Il a tant fait pour tant de gens autour de lui.

“C’était une chose absolument horrible qui s’est produite et je suis très triste qu’il soit parti. Nous devons maintenant continuer à faire tout notre possible pour soutenir sa famille. J’ai le coeur brisé pour eux.

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«C’était un très bon ami qui a soutenu tant de jockeys et de gens autour de lui. Il s’occupait de tout le monde. C’était aussi un tel travailleur … il faisait du cheval tous les jours, partout, et il aimait sa famille.

“C’était une personne tellement gentille et il s’amusait toujours bien. Il va manquer très, très tristement à tant de gens. Ça va être très dur lundi (les funérailles de Holland) quand nous devrons tous nous dire au revoir.

Par un tragique coup du sort, Holland n’a remporté son deuxième Groupe 1 – le Newmarket – que quelques semaines auparavant à la suite de la chute de Kah.

Le Newmarket a eu lieu le même jour que l’incident, et avec Kah incapable de monter sur In Secret, Holland, un jockey extrêmement léger, était le seul cavalier capable de monter en selle.

Il a ensuite gagné, mais au lieu de célébrer avec l’enthousiasme et la joie qu’il méritait, ses seules pensées étaient avec Kah et Williams.

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Avant sa mort tragique, Dean Holland a remporté le Newmarket Handicap – sa deuxième victoire en G1 – après avoir remplacé Kah après sa chute plus tôt dans la journée.

Avant sa mort tragique, Dean Holland a remporté le Newmarket Handicap – sa deuxième victoire en G1 – après avoir remplacé Kah après sa chute plus tôt dans la journée.

Avant sa mort tragique, Dean Holland a remporté le Newmarket Handicap – sa deuxième victoire en G1 – après avoir remplacé Kah après sa chute plus tôt dans la journée.

Holland n'a assuré sa course, et le deuxième groupe 1, qu'à Newmarket après que Kah ait été transporté d'urgence à l'hôpital plus tôt dans la réunion par ambulance (photo)

Holland n'a assuré sa course, et le deuxième groupe 1, qu'à Newmarket après que Kah ait été transporté d'urgence à l'hôpital plus tôt dans la réunion par ambulance (photo)

Holland n’a assuré sa course, et le deuxième groupe 1, qu’à Newmarket après que Kah ait été transporté d’urgence à l’hôpital plus tôt dans la réunion par ambulance (photo)

“La dernière chose que je voulais faire aujourd’hui était de continuer – gagner, perdre ou faire match nul – c’est très malheureux ce qui est arrivé à Jamie et Willo (Williams), et mes pensées vont vers eux”, a déclaré Holland à l’époque.

“J’étais juste le chanceux qui a pu rouler léger aujourd’hui et j’ai pris la course sur l’un des meilleurs sprinteurs d’Australie.”

Après sa mort, l’interview est revenue dans la conscience publique comme une preuve éclatante du genre d’homme qu’il était.

«Dean s’est si bien comporté le jour où il a roulé en secret, sur la piste et en dehors. La façon dont il a parlé de moi et de Craig Williams après sa victoire a résumé à quel point il était remarquable et altruiste », a déclaré Kah en deuil.

Kah, Melham et des milliers de personnes du monde de la course se rendront à Flemington pour assister aux funérailles de Holland lundi à partir de 14 heures, qui seront diffusées en direct pour les nombreux fans et amis qui ne peuvent pas y assister.

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La collecte de fonds pour la famille de Holland se poursuit et a maintenant recueilli plus de 1,7 million de dollars pour sa femme Lucy et ses quatre jeunes enfants. Vous pouvez faire un don ici.

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International

Is this a comfort or the creepiest idea you’ve ever heard? AI can take your dead loved one’s social media posts… and turn them into a HOLOGRAM you can chat to in the kitchen

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Side by side, four young cousins chat with their grandmother via a video link. ‘What’s your favourite sport?’ one of them asks Marina Smith as she reclines in a comfy armchair in her Nottinghamshire home. ‘It used to be tennis and hockey and I am also very interested in horse-jumping,’ the 87-year-old replies, before adding: ‘But I don’t ride a horse!’

The response elicits a chuckle from her grandchildren who continue to talk about her likes and dislikes, as well as enquiring what it’s like to be a grandparent.

An everyday scene, in other words. Except for one fact. Several weeks before this perfectly natural-looking inter-generational conversation took place, Mrs Smith had passed away.

That she was still able to talk to her relatives is all thanks to new technology that harnesses the power of artificial intelligence (AI) to bring the dead back from beyond the grave in a virtual form.

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Dubbed ‘grief tech’ or ‘digital necromancy’, a growing number of start-ups are offering services that promise to keep the memories of lost loved ones alive for ever.

New technology is able to harness the power of artificial intelligence ( AI ) to bring the dead back from beyond the grave in a virtual form

New technology is able to harness the power of artificial intelligence ( AI ) to bring the dead back from beyond the grave in a virtual form

New technology is able to harness the power of artificial intelligence ( AI ) to bring the dead back from beyond the grave in a virtual form 

Some, such as that used by Mrs Smith, are based on pre-recorded videos with the subject. Relatives can then ask questions of them, with an AI interface seamlessly and instantly selecting the appropriate response depending on what has been asked.

Though Mrs Smith spoke via a video screen, others using the same technology have re-appeared as talking, moving holograms.

Such is the speed of change powered by the AI revolution that what was once the stuff of science fiction has now become reality.

Indeed it was only a decade ago that an episode of the dystopian drama Black Mirror featured a plot in which a young woman named Martha turns to AI to recreate a digital version of her boyfriend Ash after he is killed in a car accident.

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This is done using all of his past online communications and social media profiles, culminating in the creation of an Ash-like android. While that final step is still some way off, life is already imitating art.

By learning from video footage, photographs and other material such as social media posts and text messages, AI can recreate a version of an individual that looks, speaks or interacts like the real person. The range of grief tech ranges from simple chatbots to sophisticated avatars that imitate the look and sound of the deceased.

After your parents pass away, you can meet them in the cloud through AI technology, to alleviate the pain of the death of your loved ones,’ promises one South Korean company that has already ‘reunited’ a number of bereaved individuals with ultra-realistic video-generated version of their loved ones. ‘Let us use AI to remember our parents’ smiling faces and their warm voices for ever.

‘Live in the cloud through AI, live in the hearts of loved ones.’

Fine in theory but in real-life the roll-out of grief tech is raising ethical questions and dividing opinion. Those who have taken advantage of these new services say they offer a valuable way to preserve and pass on memories and details of lives that otherwise would be forgotten. They also say they can provide comfort to those using them in much the same way that flicking through a photo album or watching a home video would do.

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But among the concerns about the new technology is the worry that in order to maximise profits the tech companies will make their offerings as ‘addictive’ as possible, so that grieving relatives can be charged again and again to see their dead loved ones, rather than simply paying a flat fee.

There are also warnings that the realism of the avatars may make it harder for the bereaved to come to terms with their loss, particularly when younger people are involved.

Suzy Turner Jones, the director of clinical services at Grief Encounter, a charity that supports bereaved children and young people, says much more research needs to be done before their impact can be properly understood. ‘Is this going to prolong despair, or create comfort?’ she asks. ‘Is it going to be enabling in terms of understanding following someone’s death, or cause confusion?

‘At Grief Encounter we ensure that after the death of someone close, language, for example, is clear and concise – that the person is no longer alive and not coming back. AI presents a new set of challenges that could affect this. Memories are something to be treasured, and perhaps not to be re-invented in such a visceral way.’

In 2020, a South Korean documentary called Meeting You featured a mourning mother who had lost her seven-year-old daughter to an incurable disease. The girl had died just a week after being diagnosed in 2016, and her mum did not have a chance to say goodbye.

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The producers of the documentary crafted a digitised re-creation of the child that the mother was able to see through a virtual-reality headset. On the show, the virtual girl ran towards her, calling, ‘Mom.’ Breaking into tears, she replied: ‘Mom missed you so much.’ Elements of that technology are now being harnessed for everyday use – requiring nothing more sophisticated than a smartphone and a willingness to talk.

For example, users of the app HereAfter AI, are encouraged by a virtual interviewer to record themselves talking about different aspects of their lives.

Those audio recordings are organised to create what it calls a Life Story Avatar, a representation of the user that lives on in digital form and can then respond to questions from loved ones.

Packages, linked to usage, cost up to £6.40 a month.

Another service, StoryFile, is centred on video. It is the brainchild of Stephen Smith, whose mother Marina is among those to have recorded their recollections, memories and key life moments.

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The roll-out of grief tech raises several ethical questions. While some say the new services help to provide comfort and preserve memories, others are concerned it could be abused for commercial gain (file photo)

The roll-out of grief tech raises several ethical questions. While some say the new services help to provide comfort and preserve memories, others are concerned it could be abused for commercial gain (file photo)

The roll-out of grief tech raises several ethical questions. While some say the new services help to provide comfort and preserve memories, others are concerned it could be abused for commercial gain (file photo)

In January 2022 she was filmed by her son over a two-day period, answering more than 100 questions ‘I learnt things about her and her interests that I didn’t even know about,’ says Mr Smith, who grew up in Nottinghamshire and now lives in Los Angeles.

Using the material, he then created what he calls a ‘conversational AI video’ of her. While all the answers came from his mother, the AI element of the process analyses what she has said and then ‘listens’ to questions before instantly providing the appropriate video response.

It meant that when Mrs Smith, who was made an MBE in 2005 for her work for Holocaust remembrance, died in June 2022, she was even able to feature at her own funeral, responding to questions on a TV screen.

‘Mum answered questions from grieving relatives after they had watched her cremation,’ Mr Smith said. ‘Relatives were staggered by my mum’s new honesty at her funeral. She had been too embarrassed to reveal her true childhood. A question about it suddenly had her revealing her childhood in India that we knew nothing about.’ A few weeks later, Mrs Smith’s grandchildren also asked to ‘talk to grandma’.

‘It was quite a moving experience, I have to say, because obviously they love grandma a great deal but it wasn’t emotional in the sense they were sobbing about their loss, now it was more about their curiosity,’ he told The Mail on Sunday.

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‘They were learning things about her that they didn’t think to ask when she was still alive.’ And he adds: ‘This is not a tool designed for death, it is a tool designed to document life, much like you would with a photograph album.’

The most basic StoryFile package costs from £40 and involves recording video on your phone, with more sophisticated options costing up to £400. At the top end, the technology exists to preserve the individual as an interactive hologram – but is not yet available to the public.

Another advocate of using tech to remember a loved one is Tracy McInerney. She lost her 56-year-old mother Mary to breast cancer in 2006. In the wake of her loss, she drew solace listening to her mum’s voice on a voicemail message. But two years later she lost access to the messaging service, leaving her devastated. ‘It felt like losing her once again,’ says the 52-year-old, who splits her time between London and Ireland.

‘It was truly gone this time and there was no way to hear her voice ever again. As the years trudged on, the memory and the sound of her voice started to fade.’

Then, in 2019, her aunt gave her a Christmas present – a compact-disc recording she had made of Mary when she appeared on a local radio station. ‘It was the first time I had heard her voice in 12 years and it was such a lovely gift and I thought it would be so lovely if I had more of that, more of her voice,’ she said.

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An app called Autumn Whispers allows people to leave a digital time-capsule for their loved ones (file photo)

An app called Autumn Whispers allows people to leave a digital time-capsule for their loved ones (file photo)

An app called Autumn Whispers allows people to leave a digital time-capsule for their loved ones (file photo)

From that thought was born the idea for Autumn Whispers, an app that allows people to leave a digital time-capsule for their loved ones. Using their smartphone they can record their own thoughts and memories, combined with photos and videos, and create a package that can be downloaded by others when they have gone.

‘Doing research I realised that people may be more comfortable talking but are not always great about going on video,’ she says. ‘So you record as you go and then you curate that material as well. You can go back over it and edit it and leave different folders for different family members if you want.’

All the data is encrypted and saved securely on the cloud, with a relative or friend assigned as a ‘guardian’ to access it when the person has passed away.

The app is due to launch next spring and Ms McInerney believes that it will aid rather than hinder the grieving process.

‘When you lose a parent you kind of think about them every day anyway, regardless of whether you have a recording of them or a photo,’ she says. ‘If I look at a photo of them I don’t go, ‘Oh my God, I’m going back in a grief cycle…’ For me having my mum’s voice was a comfort. There obviously is some bitter-sweetness, but for me it was a comfort.’

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It is a point echoed by Professor Michael Mair, of Liverpool University’s department of sociology, who argues the new generation of AI tools appeal ‘because they chime with things we do anyway’.

‘If you think about religious artefacts or statues of political leaders, the dead are among us in all sort of ways and the photograph was probably a much bigger innovation,’ he says. ‘I have photos of my father who passed away in 2019 downstairs which I look at every day, as many people do. Have I failed in the grieving process because I keep these artefacts? Should we be deleting all of our videos? Who is in a position to say that?’

We do not, he adds, treat videos and messages from loved ones as if those records themselves were our loved ones.

‘Instead, we use them as conduits to their memory, standing in for them as proxies for us to think of or communicate through,’ he adds. ‘To suggest we routinely get confused or delude ourselves about such media is a misconception.’

Some have warned that the cutting-edge technology could change the way our brains process death and disrupt our ability to adapt to loss

Some have warned that the cutting-edge technology could change the way our brains process death and disrupt our ability to adapt to loss

Some have warned that the cutting-edge technology could change the way our brains process death and disrupt our ability to adapt to loss

But others have warned that the new technology could change how our brains process death. According to American psychologist Mary-Frances O’Connor there are concerns that grief tech may be capable of reinforcing and prolonging an attachment to the deceased that could disrupt the usual process of adapting to loss.

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‘It’s one thing to have a photograph and to clearly understand that was the past,’ she recently told the New Scientist. ‘It’s another thing to have an avatar or a hologram or a chatbot that appears to be interacting with you in the present moment . . . you feel like you’re trying to get closer to that relationship, but [the bot] is not the thing that you want.’

The lines that separate the living and the dead are already being obscured. We cannot know how we will handle our grief once the urge to keep our loved ones around becomes too much to resist.

And what of the ‘living memories’ themselves? Will they remain stuck in the hard-set past as the years go by — or will they still be able to learn and have new experiences? That’s a question that places us on the edge of eternity.

What seems almost certain is that once this rapidly developing technology reaches its unnatural conclusion, we will find ourselves living alongside AI-generated ghosts barely distinguishable from our loved ones – as long as we carry on paying the bills to keep them around.

  • Tell us what you think. Email letters@mailonsunday.co.uk
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International

Try buying into this GILTY pleasure to beat the taxman

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As the Government readies itself for a record tax haul on savings, clued-up investors have found a clever trick to shield their earnings from the taxman.

Seven million savers are expected to hand over an all-time high of £6.6 billion in tax on earnings they have made on their savings this year, the tax office estimates.

High interest rates on fixed savings accounts should be a boon for households but many are finding themselves caught in a tax trap and will face a hefty bill on the interest they make for the first time in years. Luckily, there’s a safe way to earn returns on your money without the taxman taking a slice.

Instead of piling into one-year bonds offered by banks, investing in British Government bonds – known as gilts – can have enormous tax advantages.

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Bella Caridade-Ferreira, the investment expert behind comparison website Compare & Invest, says investing in these bonds is a ‘no brainer’ this year. They will be especially useful for higher-rate taxpayers who have maxed out their £20,000 Isa allowance and £500 personal savings allowances this year.

Record haul: Seven million savers are expected to hand over an all-time high of £6.6 billion in tax on earnings they have made on their savings this year

Record haul: Seven million savers are expected to hand over an all-time high of £6.6 billion in tax on earnings they have made on their savings this year

Record haul: Seven million savers are expected to hand over an all-time high of £6.6 billion in tax on earnings they have made on their savings this year

Many investors have already wised up to the loophole. Half of the ten most popular investments in September at stockbroker AJ Bell were Government bonds. Meanwhile, at stockbroker Hargreaves Lansdown, conventional gilt purchases have increased by 538 per cent over the past 12 months.

Those who make the most of the little-known trick can bag returns above 5 per cent post tax. But to truly take advantage, you’ll need to pick the right gilts and hold them until the end of their term.

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF BUYING INTO GILTS?

Savers who have diligently built even modest nest eggs are now getting stung. This is because interest earned on savings is treated as income and taxed at your marginal rate of income tax.

For basic-rate taxpayers, the taxman takes 20 per cent on interest earned above £1,000 a year, for higher-rate it’s 40 per cent above £500 and additional rate pay 45 per cent on everything they earn. These allowances look increasingly miserly as interest rates shoot up.

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Investing in gilts has two big benefits. The first is that Government bonds are safe investments unlike some other types of bonds – namely issued by countries on the verge of bankruptcy. The second is that the returns you make on them are free from capital gains tax which applies to many other investments, such as shares, funds or investment trusts outside of an Isa.

Gilts are simply IOUs that you can buy off the Government. That money can be used to pay for anything from the NHS to Britain’s schools. In return for lending your cash to the Government, you receive a regular payment known as a ‘coupon’. At the end of the bond’s term, when it matures, you get back the original amount you paid for the bond – known as its ‘face value’. 

The only reason you might not get your money back is if the Government goes bankrupt and is unable to pay its debts. This means that investing in gilts – UK Government bonds – is as safe as putting your money into National Savings & Investments (NS&I) accounts, which are also guaranteed by the UK Government, says Laith Khalaf, head of investment analysis at investment platform AJ Bell.

While the interest you earn from gilts is subject to taxation like any other income, any capital gain you make from them is not.

And because gilts are often traded on the secondary market – for example with stockbrokers – at a discount, you can buy them for below the price you will get back when the gilt matures. This means you can make a guaranteed capital gain at the end of the term.

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Jason Hollands, of wealth manager Bestinvest, says that this makes investing in gilts more tax efficient than holding money in cash, particularly for those who have exhausted their Isa allowance and are holding money outside their pensions.

HOW TO UNLOCK RETURNS OF 5 PER CENT-PLUS

The key to success, Khalaf says, is being able to work out how much money you will save in not paying capital gains tax versus how much tax you will have to pay on interest you earn. Once you have mastered this, it is possible to achieve an after-tax yield of over 5 per cent.

His calculations show that a basic-rate taxpayer who has already exhausted his or her personal savings allowance of £1,000 a year could receive a post-tax return of 5.31 per cent on gilts maturing at the end of January 2024.

Higher-rate taxpayers, who only have a £500 savings allowance, will find their return is 5.24 per cent, and additional rate taxpayers 5.25 per cent. In contrast, the best-buy, one-year bond from Metro Bank, which pays 5.8 per cent, would give basic-rate taxpayers a post-tax return of 4.68 per cent, higher rate taxpayers 3.51 per cent and additional rate taxpayers 3.22 per cent.

WHAT ARE THE BEST GILTS TO BUY – AND WHY?

Every gilt will have a different price, coupon and maturity date, which means that you will have to pick carefully.

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Fortunately, the maturity date and the coupon are in the name of the gilt, so it is easy to find out this information.

Some examples of gilts with low yields and relatively imminent maturity dates are: Treasury 0.25% 31/01/2025 or Treasury 0.125% 31/01/2028.

To work out the post-tax return you will get, you also need to know the current price of the gilt. For example, the gilt maturing on January 31, 2025 is currently available at £95.15. This will return £100 at the end of the term.

That means you would receive a capital gain of £4.87 for every £95.15 you spent on this gilt now, or 5.1 per cent of your investment. You would also receive a yield of 0.26 per cent, or 26p for every £100 you invest – on which you would have to pay tax.

According to AJ Bell, the average gilt buyer purchased £129,000 worth of gilts in September.

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If you want to tuck your money away for longer, the sums look slightly different. The gilt maturing on January 31, 2028, is currently available at a price of £85.31.

On January 31, 2028, it will return you £100, so you will receive a capital gain of 17 per cent of your original investment over a period of just over three years. You will also receive a taxable coupon payment.

DAUNTED? HERE’S HOW – AND WHERE – TO BUY

If you have never bought gilts before, the process can seem daunting. You will need to account for the charges for both buying and holding the gilts.

You can buy Government bonds directly through the Debt Management Office, which is the Government’s debt issuer.

It offers a gilt purchase and sale service, meaning that you can buy and sell gilts that are already in the market.

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To use it you must become a member of an ‘approved group’ of investors, and you will be charged 0.7 per cent of the value of the gilts to buy them and the same to sell them, with some reductions if you are dealing with more than £10,000 of gilts at a time.

There is more information about this service at dmo.gov.uk.

Alternatively, you can buy and sell gilts through a stockbroker or online trading platform. Many of them only allow you to buy gilts over the phone although some have a select number that can be bought online.

MAKE SURE YOU USE UP YOUR ALLOWANCES FIRST

While gilts can offer significant tax advantages, not everyone should use this loophole.

Make sure you first use up all your personal savings allowance. If you don’t pay tax on your savings interest, it may be cheaper to use a high interest savings account.

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The same goes if you still have some of your £20,000 Isa allowance to use up. Virgin Money has a one-year Isa at 5.65 per cent.

If you are saving for retirement you may be better off using a pension – the tax relief benefits are too great to miss.

And if the calculations on gilts are too complex, don’t take the risk. Use savings instead.

Some links in this article may be affiliate links. If you click on them we may earn a small commission. That helps us fund This Is Money, and keep it free to use. We do not write articles to promote products. We do not allow any commercial relationship to affect our editorial independence.

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Fascinating map reveals the 16 most in-demand tourist attractions in the world, with a fairytale castle in Germany and the Harry Potter studio tour trumping Walt Disney World

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A fairytale-like castle located in the south of Germany and Machu Picchu in Peru have been named the two most in-demand attractions in the world.

They come top of a ranking of the 16 most in-demand tourist attractions, drawn up by Premier Inn after data was collated from over 100 official online booking systems that revealed how far in advance travellers must book their tickets for top experiences around the world.

The ‘captivating’ Neuschwanstein Castle and the 15th-century Inca citadel must be booked 37 days in advance, according to the British hotel chain. 

This graphic shows the world's most in-demand tourist attractions, according to data collated by Premier Inn

This graphic shows the world's most in-demand tourist attractions, according to data collated by Premier Inn

This graphic shows the world’s most in-demand tourist attractions, according to data collated by Premier Inn

The Harry Potter Studio Tour is the UK’s most desired experience, and comes second globally. While European attractions dominate the ranking – filling 11 slots.

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Scroll down to see the list in full – ranked in reverse order.

 10= Statue of Liberty, U.S

Standing tall on Liberty Island, this copper statue draws intrigue from tourists all over the globe. But Lonely Planet notes: ‘Visiting the Statue of Liberty is not just a case of turning up on the day.’

The Statue of Liberty, located on Liberty Island in New York, ranks joint 10th on Premier Inn's list of the world's most in-demand attractions

The Statue of Liberty, located on Liberty Island in New York, ranks joint 10th on Premier Inn's list of the world's most in-demand attractions

The Statue of Liberty, located on Liberty Island in New York, ranks joint 10th on Premier Inn’s list of the world’s most in-demand attractions

Access is by ferry from Battery Park at the southern tip of Manhattan Island, the website says, and ‘most visitors visit on a loop that also takes in Ellis Island’. 

Ranking in joint 10th position, Premier Inn suggests tourists should pre-book tickets three days in advance.  

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10= The Sistine Chapel, Vatican City

The Sistine Chapel ranks joint 10th on Premier Inn's list - visitors should book three days in advance. Above is Michelangelo's famous ceiling fresco

The Sistine Chapel ranks joint 10th on Premier Inn's list - visitors should book three days in advance. Above is Michelangelo's famous ceiling fresco

The Sistine Chapel ranks joint 10th on Premier Inn’s list – visitors should book three days in advance. Above is Michelangelo’s famous ceiling fresco 

This world-famous artistic treasure is one of the chapels of the Apostolic Palace in the Vatican City, where the pope’s official residence is located.

Its crowning glory is the ceiling, adorned with Michelangelo’s famous fresco, which was painted between 1508 and 1512. 

The Sistine Chapel ranks joint 10th on Premier Inn’s list – and visitors should book three days in advance. When purchasing tickets, Museums Rome recommends purchasing skip-the-line tickets for stress-free enjoyment of the masterpiece. 

9. Walt Disney World, U.S

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In ninth place is Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. Premier Inn says visitors should book their tickets at least four days in advance

In ninth place is Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. Premier Inn says visitors should book their tickets at least four days in advance

In ninth place is Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. Premier Inn says visitors should book their tickets at least four days in advance

Perhaps the most famous amusement park in the world, Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, places ninth on Premier Inn’s list of in-demand attractions.

The enormous resort has four main parks: Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, Epcot and Hollywood Studios – each one filled with rides and attractions. 

Tourists should book their tickets at least four days in advance, according to Premier Inn. To make the most of your time at the theme park, Walt Disney World suggests booking ‘Lightning Lane’ entrances to bypass the queue. 

8= Anne Frank House, Amsterdam, Netherlands

In joint eighth on Premier Inn's ranking is the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam, which attracts millions of people per year

In joint eighth on Premier Inn's ranking is the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam, which attracts millions of people per year

In joint eighth on Premier Inn’s ranking is the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam, which attracts millions of people per year

Located by the Prinsengracht Canal in central Amsterdam, the Anne Frank House is a must-see attraction for most visitors. Ranking eighth on Premier Inn’s list – tourists should book six days in advance. 

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Visitors will learn the story of Anne Frank and have the chance to view the original diary, in a museum that attracts millions of people per year. 

They’ll see the Secret Annex, where Anne Frank hid for over two years during World War II, its website notes. 

 8= The Catacombs, Paris, France

The Catacombs, an underground ossuary in Paris, places joint eighth on Premier Inn's list. If visitors want to see the skull-lined tunnels they should book six days in advance

The Catacombs, an underground ossuary in Paris, places joint eighth on Premier Inn's list. If visitors want to see the skull-lined tunnels they should book six days in advance

The Catacombs, an underground ossuary in Paris, places joint eighth on Premier Inn’s list. If visitors want to see the skull-lined tunnels they should book six days in advance

Beneath the streets of Paris, lies an ossuary holding the remains of more than six million people. Lonely Planet notes: ‘It’s gruesome, ghoulish and downright spooky, but it never fails to captivate visitors.’

The travel guide says the skull-lined tunnels became a resting place for the city’s unburied corpses that could no longer fit in the overcrowded cemeteries in the 18th century – and it’s now one of Paris’s most popular sites. 

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Ranking eighth on Premier Inn’s list, tourists should pre-book tickets six days in advance. 

8= Borghese Gallery, Rome, Italy 

In joint eighth place is the Borghese Gallery in Rome, which is surrounded by 'astonishing' green gardens

In joint eighth place is the Borghese Gallery in Rome, which is surrounded by 'astonishing' green gardens

In joint eighth place is the Borghese Gallery in Rome, which is surrounded by ‘astonishing’ green gardens

Ranking joint eighth on the list of the world’s most in-demand attractions is the Borghese Gallery in Italy, which its website describes as ‘one of the must-visit places during your trip to Rome’.

The ‘elegant palace’ is home to world-renowned artworks, featuring the likes of Caravaggio, Canova and Raphael.

The gallery attracts thousands of visitors a year and is surrounded by ‘astonishing’ green gardens – to secure tickets, visitors are advised to book six days in advance. 

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7= Big Ben, UK

Big Ben ranks joint seventh on Premier Inn's list of most in-demand attractions. Visitors should book their tickets to see the clock eight days in advance

Big Ben ranks joint seventh on Premier Inn's list of most in-demand attractions. Visitors should book their tickets to see the clock eight days in advance

Big Ben ranks joint seventh on Premier Inn’s list of most in-demand attractions. Visitors should book their tickets to see the clock eight days in advance

The Elizabeth Tower, the clock tower known as ‘Big Ben’, is located in Westminster and stands 316 feet (96 metres) tall.

You can visit Big Ben – a name originally appointed to the largest of the clock’s bells – by booking a 90-minute guided tour up 334 stairs to see the clock mechanism room and the Belfry, where the famous bell is located, Visit London says. 

Ranking joint seventh on Premier Inn’s list of most in-demand attractions, visitors should book their tickets eight days in advance.  

 7= The Forbidden City, China

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The Forbidden City in China is the joint seventh most in-demand attraction in the world, according to Premier Inn

The Forbidden City in China is the joint seventh most in-demand attraction in the world, according to Premier Inn

The Forbidden City in China is the joint seventh most in-demand attraction in the world, according to Premier Inn

Lonely Planet says the Unesco-listed Forbidden City ‘is China’s largest and best-preserved collection of ancient buildings’. 

Enclosed by 3.5km (2.17 miles) of walls, it notes: ‘This otherworldly palace was the reclusive home to two dynasties of imperial rule, sharing 900-plus buildings with a retinue of eunuchs, servants and concubines until the Republic overthrew the last Qing emperor in 1911.’

Located in the heart of Beijing, it attracts 16million annual visitors, Lonely Planet notes. Placing it in joint sixth on its ranking, Premier Inn says visitors should book just over a week (eight days) in advance. 

6= The Van Gogh Museum, Netherlands 

The Van Gogh Museum, located in Amsterdam's museum quarter, places joint sixth

The Van Gogh Museum, located in Amsterdam's museum quarter, places joint sixth

The Van Gogh Museum, located in Amsterdam’s museum quarter, places joint sixth

This museum houses the largest Van Gogh collection in the world, featuring masterpieces such as Sunflowers, Almond Blossom, The Bedroom and more. 

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It holds 200 paintings, 400 drawings and 700 letters by the Post-Impressionist artist. This year, the museum celebrated its 50th anniversary with special art festivals and exhibitions. 

Situated in Amsterdam’s museum quarter, it is one of the city’s most popular attractions. Ranking joint sixth on Premier Inn’s list of in-demand attractions, visitors hoping to catch a glimpse of the famed artworks will have to book 10 days in advance. 

6= Santa Maria delle Grazie, Milan, Italy

The Santa Maria delle Grazie, which houses Leonardo Da Vinci's The Last Supper, comes joint sixth

The Santa Maria delle Grazie, which houses Leonardo Da Vinci's The Last Supper, comes joint sixth

The Santa Maria delle Grazie, which houses Leonardo Da Vinci’s The Last Supper, comes joint sixth 

There’s plenty to marvel at on the outside of the Santa Maria delle Grazie (‘Holy Mary of Grace’), but inside is where the true treasure lies. 

Listed as a Unesco World Heritage site, tourists from all over the globe flock to the convent in Milan to take a glimpse at Leonardo Da Vinci’s The Last Supper, a masterpiece created between 1495 and 1497.

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To visit the classic painting, tourists will have to pre-book their tickets at least 10 days in advance. 

5. Mount Fuji, Japan 

Fancy summiting this world-famous volcano? Climbing slots are limited so pre-booking is crucial

Fancy summiting this world-famous volcano? Climbing slots are limited so pre-booking is crucial

Fancy summiting this world-famous volcano? Climbing slots are limited so pre-booking is crucial

An iconic symbol of Japan, Mount Fuji’s perfect cone is a sight to behold.

To embark on the exhilarating hike to the volcano’s summit or simply admire its beauty from afar, visitors should plan their trip and secure necessary permits at least two weeks (16 days) in advance. 

The climbing season is short, and spots are limited, making pre-booking crucial to experience the awe-inspiring wonder of Mount Fuji. 

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4. Sky Garden, London, UK 

The Sky Garden has quickly become one of London's most popular attractions. Visitors should pre-book tickets 22 days ahead

The Sky Garden has quickly become one of London's most popular attractions. Visitors should pre-book tickets 22 days ahead

The Sky Garden has quickly become one of London’s most popular attractions. Visitors should pre-book tickets 22 days ahead

Behold London’s highest public garden and the fourth most in-demand attraction globally.

Sky Garden – at the top of the 525ft- (160m) tall 20 Fenchurch Street skyscraper, aka the ‘Walkie Talkie’ – offers stunning views of some of London’s iconic landmarks and, what’s more, is free to visit.

However, the secret is well and truly out and visitors need to pre-book at least 22 days ahead of their planned visit.

3. Ghibli Museum, Tokyo, Japan

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The Ghibli Museum in Japan, located in Mitaka, ranks third on the list - tourists wanting to visit the animation museum must book their ticket 30 days before

The Ghibli Museum in Japan, located in Mitaka, ranks third on the list - tourists wanting to visit the animation museum must book their ticket 30 days before

The Ghibli Museum in Japan, located in Mitaka, ranks third on the list – tourists wanting to visit the animation museum must book their ticket 30 days before 

For admirers of Studio Ghibli’s animated masterpieces, the Ghibli Museum in Japan is a dream come true. 

Located in Mitaka, suburban Tokyo, the museum itself is a piece of art, with its architecture and exhibits exuding charm and magic. 

From original sketches to life-sized replicas of Ghibli characters, every corner of the museum is brimming with wonder and this appeal is reflected by how far in advance visitors must secure their entry: to embark on a heartwarming journey through the world of Ghibli’s extraordinary storytelling, booking a ticket must be done a month (30 days) in advance. 

2. Warner Bros. Studio Tour London, The Making of Harry Potter, UK

Warner Bros. Studio Tour London, The Making of Harry Potter is the UK's most in-demand attraction and No.2 globally

Warner Bros. Studio Tour London, The Making of Harry Potter is the UK's most in-demand attraction and No.2 globally

Warner Bros. Studio Tour London, The Making of Harry Potter is the UK’s most in-demand attraction and No.2 globally 

The Harry Potter Studio Tour is a dream come true for fans of the famous wizarding world. 

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The behind-the-scenes tour is crammed with the actual sets, props and costumes that the filmmakers used in the making of the eight Harry Potter movies. And they’re housed on hallowed ground – Warner Bros. Studios Leavesden, where much of the filming took place.

Even if you’re not the biggest Harry Potter fan, you are guaranteed to be impressed by the jaw-dropping efforts the production team went to in their bid to bring J K Rowling’s timeless stories to life on the silver screen.

The attraction wows from the off, with visitors greeted in the entrance hall by a 64ft-wide model of the menacing Gringotts dragon, which hangs from the ceiling.

Features also include the sets for Diagon Alley, Dumbledore’s office, the Gryffindor common room, Harry’s four-poster-bed-festooned quarters and the potions classroom.

Visitors will also explore the Forbidden Forest and climb aboard the actual Hogwarts Express.

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Due to its immense popularity, booking well in advance is essential, with visitors advised to secure their tickets at least 34 days ahead of their planned trip.

1= Machu Picchu, Peru 

Machu Picchu in Peru takes joint first place as the world's most in-demand attraction - visitors should secure their tickets over a month in advance

Machu Picchu in Peru takes joint first place as the world's most in-demand attraction - visitors should secure their tickets over a month in advance

Machu Picchu in Peru takes joint first place as the world’s most in-demand attraction – visitors should secure their tickets over a month in advance

Perched high in the Andes Mountains in Peru, Machu Picchu takes joint first place as the world’s most in-demand attraction. 

The marvel of ancient Incan engineering and an archaeological wonder has a limited daily quota for visitors, making timely booking crucial. 

To explore the mystical ruins and experience the magic of this Unesco World Heritage Site, visitors must secure their entry tickets at least 37 days ahead of their desired visit date. 

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1= Neuschwanstein Castle, Germany 

In joint first position is Neuschwanstein Castle in the very south of Germany. Visitors must book tickets to the fairytale-like attraction at least 37 days in advance

In joint first position is Neuschwanstein Castle in the very south of Germany. Visitors must book tickets to the fairytale-like attraction at least 37 days in advance

In joint first position is Neuschwanstein Castle in the very south of Germany. Visitors must book tickets to the fairytale-like attraction at least 37 days in advance

Straight out of a fairytale, joint No.1 Neuschwanstein Castle rises elegantly above the Bavarian landscape, captivating visitors with its romantic allure. 

To wander through the halls of this enchanting castle, reminiscent of a bygone era, travellers must book their tickets at least 37 days in advance. 

The popularity of this architectural masterpiece demands early planning to secure a spot on the guided tours that immerse visitors in its captivating history. 

Sharing tips for travellers to make the most of their experiences, a spokesperson for Premier Inn said: ‘Planning a holiday to visit iconic landmarks can be a rewarding experience, but it requires careful consideration to ensure you don’t miss out on the most beautiful sights. 

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‘To make the most of your experiences, our expert recommendation is that you plan your visit during off-peak seasons when tourist numbers are lower. This can increase your chances of securing tickets and offer a more relaxed experience. If that’s not possible, but your visit timing is flexible, try different schedules to find the days and the times of day with greater availability. 

‘Securing visits during weekdays and in the early morning is often easier. And always plan ahead. Research the attractions you wish to visit before you head there so you can make the most of your time and return from your travels satisfied.’

For more visit www.premierinn.com/gb/en/news/2023/easiest-to-book-attractions.html  

THE MOST IN-DEMAND ATTRACTIONS IN THE WORLD

The world’s most in-demand attractions according to Premier Inn

1= Neuschwanstein Castle, Germany (days needed to pre-book ahead of visit: 37)

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1= Machu Picchu, Peru (37)

2. Harry Potter Studio Tour, UK (34)

3. Ghibli Museum, Japan (30)

4. Sky Garden, UK (22)

5. Mount Fuji, Japan (16)

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6= Santa Maria delle Grazie, Italy (10)

6= The Van Gogh Museum, Netherlands (10)

7= The Forbidden City, China (8)

7= Big Ben, UK (8)

8= Borghese Galleria, Italy (6) 

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8= The Catacombs, France (6)

8= Anne Frank House, Netherlands (6)

9. Walt Disney World, U.S (4)

10= The Sistine Chapel, Vatican City (3)

10= Statue of Liberty, U.S (3)

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The UK’s most in-demand attractions according to Premier Inn

1. Harry Potter Studio Tour, Watford (days needed to pre-book ahead of visit: 34)

2. Sky Garden, London (22)

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3. Big Ben, London (8)

4. Palace of Westminster Tour, London (4)

5= Buckingham Palace, London (2)

5= Windsor Castle, Windsor (2)

6= Westminster Abbey, London (1)

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6= Eden Project, Cornwall (1)

6= Chester Zoo, Chester (1)

6= Churchill War Rooms, London (1)

6= The National Gallery, London (1)

Source: Premier Inn

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Saying ‘good morning’ to strangers and chatting with people you don’t know gives you a major happiness boost, study finds

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Proving the old adage that to give is to receive, it turns out that greeting strangers with a simple ‘Good morning’ and chatting to those we don’t know can boost our own happiness.

Following a study of 60,000 people, including 40,000 Britons, researchers said: ‘Momentary interactions, greeting and thanking, can increase wellbeing.’ They suggest it works by increasing a sense of belonging.

The team analysed data from two groups who had been asked about their interactions with people they didn’t know.

A study of 60,000 people, including 40,000 Britons, showed that those who had more conversations with strangers enjoyed greater life satisfaction

A study of 60,000 people, including 40,000 Britons, showed that those who had more conversations with strangers enjoyed greater life satisfaction

A study of 60,000 people, including 40,000 Britons, showed that those who had more conversations with strangers enjoyed greater life satisfaction

The results, published in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science, showed that those who had more conversations with strangers enjoyed greater life satisfaction.

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Study leader Dr Esra Ascigil, of Sabanci University in Turkey, said: ‘Having a sense of belonging involves feeling like you are accepted and valued by other people – it is often considered a fundamental human need.’

Kate Jopling, an adviser to the Campaign To End Loneliness, said: ‘These things help to make us feel like we belong. They cost so little, but are worth a lot.’

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Deadly knife attack in central Paris, assailant arrested

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One person died and two others were injured after an assailant stabbed passers-by in central Paris near the Eiffel Tower on Saturday evening, Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said, confirming police sources.

Issued on: Modified:

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Speaking moments after his first tweet, French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin confirmed the suspect attacked tourists, killing one and injuring two others.

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“The police have just courageously arrested an assailant attacking passers-by in Paris, around the Quai de Grenelle. One person dead and one wounded treated by the Paris firefighters. Please avoid the area,” the minister first wrote on social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter


The suspect had shouted “Allahu Akbar” (“God is greatest”) before being arrested, Darmanin said, confirming an AFP information. The suspect was known for radical Islamism and to have psychiatric problems, and said he could not bear the situation in Gaza, Darmanin added.

The attacker was born in France and is French, the Paris public prosecutor’s office said.

The anti-terrorism prosecutor’s office said it had not yet put in charge of an investigation.

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“The assailant was neutralised very quickly by police. We tried to save the life of this man. It’s a man who died and they (the people who were attacked) were tourists,” Dr Patrick Pelloux told BFM TV.

French Interior Minister said the man who died was of German nationality.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP & Reuters)

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Drivers warned to use fog lights properly or risk £50 fine – as UK faces -10C freeze this weekend

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  •  Drivers who have their fog lights on during clear weather could be fined £50

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Drivers have been warned to use their fog lights properly or risk a £50 fine, as the UK faces a -10C freeze this weekend.

Motoring company Driving Experience has warned drivers to brush up on their knowledge of when to use their fog lights.

The company said that drivers who have their lights on during clear weather could be issued with fines.

The warning comes as snow and ice cause widespread disruption across the UK this morning with trains and flights cancelled and events postponed due to the weather. 

Flurries of snow fell in Scotland along with the southeast and southwest of England, with icy rails causing a power failure in Kent. 

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Drivers braved the misty weather in Richmond Park, south-west London last week

Drivers braved the misty weather in Richmond Park, south-west London last week

Drivers braved the misty weather in Richmond Park, south-west London last week

Pictured: Ploughed fields shrouded in fog in Keele, Staffordshire

Pictured: Ploughed fields shrouded in fog in Keele, Staffordshire

Pictured: Ploughed fields shrouded in fog in Keele, Staffordshire

A commuter waits in a frozen over bus stop in Low Fell, Gateshead ths morning

A commuter waits in a frozen over bus stop in Low Fell, Gateshead ths morning

A commuter waits in a frozen over bus stop in Low Fell, Gateshead ths morning

Operations manager Dan Jones told the Express: ‘Sometimes it is easy to forget you have put your fog lights on as you can’t see them when driving in lighter conditions.

‘Failing to do so could mean that not only could you dazzle an oncoming driver and cause an accident, you could also be hit with a £50 fine due to breaking the Highway Code.’

According to the Highway Code, drivers should use their headlights when visibility is below 100 metres. 

The website reads: ‘You may also use front or rear fog lights but you must switch them off when visibility improves.’

Mr Jones added that using fog lights can reduce the vision of other drivers in some circumstances.

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He said that 6,000 collisions were caused by ‘external factors’ last year, which includes dazzling lights.

While fog lights are generally switched on and off manually by the driver, some modern cars have automated systems to do this.

With these vehicles, it’s easy to forget the lights are on or to think they’ve automatically switched off when needed. 

The Met Office issued yellow weather warnings for parts of the country this morning as temperatures dropped as low as -10C overnight.

Parts of Britain even experienced snow last night – with heavy snow in Scotland causing Glasgow Airport to suspend all flights.

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Flurries of snow also fell in the southeast and southwest of England, with icy rails causing a power failure in Kent.

This led to the Southeastern service between Dover Priory and Ramsgate to be suspended.

A homeless man was found dead in a car yesterday in Beeston, Nottinghamshire after freezing temperatures swept the country, with the fire brigade called to free his body from the vehicle.

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Backpacker warns against travelling to these ‘expensive and overrated’ popular holiday destinations – but does she have a point?

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An Australian backpacker has revealed the two popular travel destinations she believes are overrated.

Alex, 26, who goes by @alexinsummer on TikTok, is a travel content creator who documents her journey backpacking on social media.

She told viewers: ‘These are the most overrated travel destinations. I’m so sorry if this ruins your travel plans but I’m just here to help’.

Read on to find out the places the TikToker thinks are overhyped and where you should go instead. 

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Alex, 26, who goes by @alexinsummer on TikTok , is a travel content creator who documents her journey backpacking on social media

Alex, 26, who goes by @alexinsummer on TikTok , is a travel content creator who documents her journey backpacking on social media

Alex, 26, who goes by @alexinsummer on TikTok , is a travel content creator who documents her journey backpacking on social media

El Nido, Philippines

Alex explained: ‘The first one is El Nido in the Philippines. Don’t get me wrong, I like the Philippines.

‘It’s beautiful, it’s got some blue a** water but it is crowded and honestly, it all kinda [sic] looks the same.

‘It’s also expensive, I think people going to the Philippines are like ‘oh my God’, it’s going to be this super cheap holiday just because it’s in south east Asia.’

The Australian added: ‘Every person that I have spoken to that have travelled south east Asia has said that the Philippines minus Singapore is the most expensive south east Asian country they have ever travelled to.

‘I’m so happy that the Philippines was the first one I did, like a long trip back in March, because I was like zdamn these prices are kinda [sic] wild for what you’re getting.’

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But if you do go, she recommends exploring Coron over El Nido and is ‘really excited to go to Sirgoa’: ‘I have heard that it is just the most incredible place ever so I’m definitely down to go there.’

Alex, 26, who goes by @alexinsummer on TikTok , is a travel content creator who documents her journey backpacking on social media

Alex, 26, who goes by @alexinsummer on TikTok , is a travel content creator who documents her journey backpacking on social media

Alex, 26, who goes by @alexinsummer on TikTok , is a travel content creator who documents her journey backpacking on social media

One viewer commented: ‘How different are the prices compared to Thailand, like in food activities bike rental, etc?’ to which she replies: ‘Thailand is way cheaper!’

Another added: ‘Currently in Siargao and unfortunately feel it’s super overrated’.

Meanwhile, someone else penned: ‘I personally liked El Nido a lot. Prices were okay too’.

Paris, France  

In the second video, Alex talks about the city of love – Paris.

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She told viewers: ‘Now, I actually used to live in Paris and this place still has a weird, wholesome place in my heart.

‘But it is not this beautiful, idyllic, romanticized place that a lot of people make it out to be.

‘During the winter it is grey, it is cold, it is windy and during the summer I would say it is really beautiful, however it is completely packed.’

She added: ‘There is no air conditioning so have fun on the Metro – there are gonna be some interesting aromas in the air and yes of course it’s dirty, it’s a big city.

‘I would say that Paris, similar to London, is going to give you a very different experience based on how much money you have.

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‘Like I said, I still love Paris and I definitely recommend going. If you’re gonna go, go in like September, October.

‘It’s not too cold, it’s not too hot, it’s not as crowded. It’s really pretty so definitely go but do not be disappointed if it is not everything you made it out to be in your head.’

It comes just after Paris placed near the bottom of the table in the Which? survey of the UK’s favourite European city breaks.

The consumer champion asked more than 1,600 of its members to rate their experiences of 31 popular cities across Europe to create the list.

Each location was rated out of five on seven criteria – food and drink, accommodation, cultural sights and attractions, shopping, ease of getting around, lack of crowds and value for money. An overall customer score was calculated based on overall satisfaction and likeliness to recommend.

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Paris ranks low down in the table, garnering 79 per cent in joint 12th with Athens, meanwhile Krakow, Poland, and Valencia, Spain share the crown with their ‘impressive’ 92 per cent scores.

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International

Guinea-Bissau president calls deadly violence ‘attempted coup’, as soldiers ordered back to barracks

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Guinea-Bissau’s President Umaro Sissoco Embalo on Saturday said this week’s deadly violence involving members of the National Guard was an “attempted coup” as the army ordered them back to barracks.

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The unrest between members of the National Guard and special forces of the presidential guard on Thursday night in the capital Bissau left at least two people dead.

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Embalo, who was in Dubai attending the COP28 climate conference, arrived in Bissau on Saturday and said an “attempted coup d’etat” had prevented him from returning.

“I must tell you this act will have serious consequences,” he added.

Embalo said the coup attempt was prepared before celebrations on November 16 commemorating the anniversary of the armed forces.

Since gaining independence from Portugal in 1974, the small West African nation has seen a series of coups and coup attempts.

Embalo, who was elected to a five-year term in December 2019, survived a failed overthrow in February 2022.

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A military official, speaking anonymously due to the sensitive nature of the situation, said six soldiers were injured in the fighting and evacuated to neighbouring Senegal.

Calm had returned by noon on Friday to the small nation with a history of instability, following the announcement that the army had captured Colonel Victor Tchongo, commander of the National Guard.

On Saturday the security presence in Bissau was reduced, but soldiers were still visible around certain strategic buildings such as the presidential palace, the judicial police headquarters and some ministries.

Some National Guard officers and soldiers fled into the interior of the country, the army said in a statement Saturday, without specifying numbers.

“The General Staff of the armed forces hereby informs them that they must return to their place of assignment,” the statement continued.

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ECOWAS expresses ‘full solidarity’

Regional bloc the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) said it “strongly condemns the violence and all attempts to disrupt the constitutional order and rule of law in Guinea-Bissau”.

“ECOWAS further calls for the arrest and prosecution of the perpetrators of the incident in accordance with the law,” the Abuja-based organisation added in its statement on Saturday.

The regional bloc also expressed “its full solidarity with the people and constitutional authorities of Guinea-Bissau”.

A spokesman for UN chief Antonio Guterres, Stephane Dujarric, had called Friday for calm and urged the security forces and the army “to continue refraining from interference in national politics”.

Members of the National Guard Thursday evening stormed a police station to extract Finance Minister Souleiman Seidi and Treasury Secretary Antonio Monteiro, according to army and intelligence officers.

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The two government members were being questioned about the withdrawal of $10 million from state accounts. They had been detained under orders of state prosecutors, who are named by the president.

Embalo said someone sent Tchongo to remove Seidi from detention and announced that an investigatory commission would be formed on Monday.

The National Guard is under the control of the interior ministry, which, like most ministries in the country, is dominated by the PAIGC party whose coalition won the June 2023 elections.

The two government members were detained again after the army removed them from National Guard control.

Government spokesman Francisco Muniro Conte said Saturday: “We have always opted for the application of the law. A president who is elected must complete his term of office.”

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“We cannot obstruct people who are facing justice, if the law is really respected,” he added.

(AFP)

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International

Mom in Ohio tells Daily Mail her son, 14, was hospitalized with same pneumonia causing ‘white lung’ outbreak in China and Europe: ‘He was crying and couldn’t breathe’

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An Ohio mom has revealed how her healthy teenage son was ‘hours away from  brain damage’ after being struck down by the same pneumonia rising in China.

William McCarren, 14, was rushed to hospital Wednesday after he came home from school ‘crying and grabbing his chest’ saying he could ‘barely breathe.’

‘He was very pale and he could barely stay awake, he was acting like he was going to pass out,’ his mother, Mollee Campbell, told DailyMail.com.

When he arrived at the ER, the doctors told her William’s lungs were so full of fluid it was starving his body and organs of oxygen. 

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‘They said that if he went much lower it could have caused brain damage in some way,’ said Mollee, holding back tears. ‘He was extremely scared. We got really lucky.’

William was diagnosed with mycoplasma, the bacterial infection at the center of pneumonia outbreaks in China and several European countries.

He is one of more than 140 children in the Warren County area of Ohio to fall ill with the lung condition, where doctors say cases are so high they ‘meet the definition of an outbreak’.

William McCarren, 14 and from Middletown, was rushed to hospital on Wednesday after he came home from school crying and saying he was struggling to breathe. He is pictured above in hospital

William McCarren, 14 and from Middletown, was rushed to hospital on Wednesday after he came home from school crying and saying he was struggling to breathe. He is pictured above in hospital

William McCarren, 14 and from Middletown, was rushed to hospital on Wednesday after he came home from school crying and saying he was struggling to breathe. He is pictured above in hospital

William is pictured above with his mother Mollee before he suffered from pneumonia

William is pictured above with his mother Mollee before he suffered from pneumonia

William is pictured above with his mother Mollee before he suffered from pneumonia

Mollee said: ‘They [the pediatricians] said they were overloaded with it [pneumonia] in the last two or three days that that was all they had been seeing and they were just trying to make sure they had all the medicine they needed for al the kids.’ 

‘They did say almost the whole floor was nothing but children with pneumonia.’

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Warren County health officials said Thursday that it has treated an ‘extremely high’ number of children with pneumonia – 145 cases since August.

The average patient is around 8 years old and no deaths have been reported, but the volume of patients is unusual. 

Mycoplasma is a bacterial infection that causes outbreaks every five or so years — but it rarely makes headlines because cases are mild and deaths extremely rare.

The difference this time, experts told DailyMail.com, is that children’s immunity is low following lockdowns, school closures and mask mandates.

The bacterial infection is also believed to be driving the outbreak in China that has overwhelmed pediatric hospitals in the North. 

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It is also driving cases and deaths in parts of Europe, including the Netherlands and Denmark.

But doctors have stressed the outbreaks are not the result of infections being transferred from country to country.

Will is pictured above during happier times

Will is pictured above during happier times
Will is pictured above while in hospital

Will is pictured above while in hospital

Will (left before the illness and right in hospital) had fluid in both of his lungs, doctors said

The above highlights the two locations where rises in pneumonia cases in children have been reported in the US so far. They are Warren County, Ohio, and East Longmeadow, in Massachusetts

The above highlights the two locations where rises in pneumonia cases in children have been reported in the US so far. They are Warren County, Ohio, and East Longmeadow, in Massachusetts

The above highlights the two locations where rises in pneumonia cases in children have been reported in the US so far. They are Warren County, Ohio, and East Longmeadow, in Massachusetts

Clad in hazmat suits, gloves and masks, the staff are shown walking between desks in classrooms, hallways and even outdoors while releasing a mist of sterilising liquid

Clad in hazmat suits, gloves and masks, the staff are shown walking between desks in classrooms, hallways and even outdoors while releasing a mist of sterilising liquid

Clad in hazmat suits, gloves and masks, the staff are shown walking between desks in classrooms, hallways and even outdoors while releasing a mist of sterilising liquid

This cycle of mycoplasma is happening at a time when children’s immunity is weak because they were robbed of vital immunity during Covid lockdowns.

What is causing the ‘white lung’ pneumonia outbreak? Everything we know so far 

What is the current situation? 

The WHO has placed an additional request to China for more information on its outbreak and data showed the country is experiencing an increased number of children sick with mycoplasma pneumoniae – bacteria that causes mild infections of the respiratory system – since May.

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And in signs eerily reminiscent of Covid, Chinese officials have called for masks and social distancing.

While China continues to deal with its own overrun hospitals and children out sick from school, outbreaks have begun to crop up in Europe.

On Thursday, Danish health officials said they were also dealing with a surge in the same type of pneumonia afflicting China.

What is causing the spike in pneumonia cases?

The outbreaks in the US, like China, are not being caused by a novel pathogen and not all of the pneumonia cases are being caused by the same infection.

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Experts say a mixture of several seasonal bacterial and viral bugs are hitting at once, putting pressure on hospitals.

Many patients with respiratory symptoms are testing positive for a bacterium called mycoplasma pneumoniae, a pathogen that causes mild pneumonia.

Positive tests have also returned for adenovirus, a normally benign respiratory infection, and strep.

Dr Amesh Adalja, an infectious disease expert from Johns Hopkins University in Maryland, told DailyMail.com he believes the pneumonia outbreaks cropping up around the world could be due to the ‘cyclical’ nature of mycoplasma.

What is mycoplasma pneumoniae? 

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Mycoplasma pneumonia is caused by a very small, ‘atypical’ bacterium called mycoplasma pneumoniae, which can lead to upper respiratory tract infections and pneumonia.

It causes illness by damaging the lining of the respiratory tract, including the throat, lungs and windpipe and is one of the most common causes of community-acquired pneumonia in the US.

The bacterium causes people with the lung infection to present with ‘atypical’ characteristics compared to those people experience with ‘typical’ pneumonia caused by germs or complications from another illness.

The bacterium spreads through droplets when an infected person sneezes or coughs. It can linger in the nose and throat without making a person sick, but if it spreads to the lungs, people can develop mycoplasma pneumonia.

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Mollee, talking about when Will was rushed to hospital, said: ‘I started crying my eyes out, I was so frantic. Neither one of my kids have ever had a serious illness.’

It came as a major shock after her boy — who ‘loves fishing, wrestling and the outdoors’ — saw his cough develop into an infection leaving him struggling to breathe.

Fighting back tears in an interview, she said: ‘He is always the first one to help you if you need it and he always sticks up for someone who is in trouble or anything like that.

‘He excels in school, is extremely smart and loves history. The Titanic and the Civil War, those are his favorite topics.’

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He came back from school on Wednesday pale, struggling to breathe and coughing up a lot of mucus, his mother said.

Mollee immediately rushed him to hospital where, once she told the receptionist her son ‘couldn’t breathe’, they automatically rushed him through to be seen by doctors.

Tests showed his blood oxygen level had fallen to about 75 percent. At 70 percent, it is considered life threatening.

Mollee added: ‘He was extremely scared. 

‘He kept telling me how thankful he was that I was there by his side and that he was just glad that it wasn’t worse. 

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William was discharged from hospital on Friday, but doctors have told his mother to keep a close eye on him and bring him back if he starts struggling to breathe again.

Giving advice to other mothers, Mollee said: ‘Even when your kid just has a little cough and it doesn’t seem like a normal one, just to go ahead and take them no  matter what even if it is just to check.

‘Like with me, we waited about a day or two when I should have took him earlier. 

‘It was a nightmare and I wish I would have taken him a little bit sooner than waiting a day, but these days you can never tell with kids. If your child doesn’t feel right, just contact somebody.’ 

DailyMail.com revealed Warren County’s pediatric pneumonia outbreak Thursday.

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Parts of Western Massachusetts are also seeing unusually high levels of mycoplasma, sometimes described as ‘walking pneumonia’ because it causes mild illness so patients are still mobile.

But respiratory illnesses across the board are up – as is the case in China. 

Dr Amesh Adalja, an infectious disease expert from Johns Hopkins University in Maryland, told DailyMail.com it was a ‘global’ phenomenon.

He believes the pneumonia outbreaks cropping up around the world could be due to the ‘cyclical’ nature of mycoplasma.

Bacterial respiratory infections usually flare up every five years, normally as people are recovering from a wave of flu or other viral illnesses. 

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Global immunity against seasonal illnesses is also low because pandemic restrictions robbed people of immunity against the infections – especially China, which locked down harder and longer.

‘So what’s happening in China makes sense’, Dr Adalja said, adding: ‘Last year we [the US] was dominated by so much Covid, flu and RSV when we opened up.’

Children are particularly vulnerable because social interaction during people’s early developmental years is crucial.

‘When children are born they haven’t experienced any infectious diseases, so the more of them you have in the population so lower threshold for an outbreak to start.

‘The pandemic allowed the number of these susceptible people to build up over years.’

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Will, who is pictured above on his 14th birthday in October, has now been discharged - but doctors have said he should be brought back if he begins to struggle to breathe again

Will, who is pictured above on his 14th birthday in October, has now been discharged - but doctors have said he should be brought back if he begins to struggle to breathe again

Will, who is pictured above on his 14th birthday in October, has now been discharged – but doctors have said he should be brought back if he begins to struggle to breathe again

Will (middle) is the eldest of three children. He is pictured above with his brother Bryce, 11, and sister Corrah, 3

Will (middle) is the eldest of three children. He is pictured above with his brother Bryce, 11, and sister Corrah, 3

Will (middle) is the eldest of three children. He is pictured above with his brother Bryce, 11, and sister Corrah, 3

His mother Mollee posted about her child's illness on Facebook

His mother Mollee posted about her child's illness on Facebook

His mother Mollee posted about her child’s illness on Facebook

The above graph shows deaths from pneumonia and flu among children aged under 18 years old since the 2019 to 2020 flu season. It shows that despite reports the current season nationwide is ‘not out of the ordinary’

Despite Beijing’s outbreak being linked to mycoplasma, Republican senators are calling on the Biden administration to ban travel from China ‘immediately’ as the outbreak there overwhelms hospitals.

Florida senator Marco Rubio said President Joe Biden ‘must take the necessary steps to protect the health of Americans’. 

He added: ‘That means we should immediately restrict travel between the United States and China until we know more about the dangers posed by this new illness.’ 

But the CDC and World Health Organization say they’ve seen data from China that has been corroborated in other countries – showing the culprit is not a new virus. 

The CDC said it is seeing ‘nothing unusual’ in figures for pneumonia hospitalizations at this time of year.

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The agency is keeping close tabs on the data to look for any spikes in the states.

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International

Ukraine blocks ex-president from leaving country amid alleged plan to meet pro-Putin Hungary’s Orban

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Ukraine’s security service said on Saturday it had prevented former president Petro Poroshenko from leaving the country on grounds that Russia planned to exploit a planned meeting with Hungary’s prime minister to hurt Ukrainian interests.

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Poroshenko’s political party, European Solidarity, said the former president had scheduled only meetings in Poland and the United States and warned the SBU security service against becoming involved in politics.

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Poroshenko was turned away at a border post on Friday.

The SBU said he had planned to meet Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, who maintains ties with Kremlin leader Vladimir Putin and opposes opening talks on European Union membership with Ukraine.

An SBU statement said Russia was preparing a series of “provocations” to discredit Ukraine among its foreign allies as the war against Russia stretches beyond 21 months.

It provided no evidence to support the allegations.

Of the possible meeting with Orban, the SBU said: “Russia planned to use this meeting (like other ‘working meetings with … representative of countries voicing pro-Russian narratives) in psychological operations against Ukraine.”

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The SBU said Orban “systematically holds an anti-Ukrainian position”, was a “friend of Putin” and sought the removal of sanctions imposed on Moscow over its invasion of Ukraine.

Orban, who is open about his friendly ties with Putin, opposes the start of EU membership talks with Ukraine, to be considered at the bloc’s forthcoming summit. He called this week for the creation instead of a “strategic partnership” with Kyiv.

Orban has frequently been at odds with Zelenskiy on several issues related to Ukraine’s EU membership bid. European Solidarity, in its statement, called for dialogue with Orban who, it said, had a veto right over accession talks.

Under martial law, Ukrainian officials must secure approval to travel abroad. Parliament’s deputy speaker, Oleksandr Korniyenko, said Poroshenko’s permission had been cancelled after he had received a letter, which he could not comment on.

Read moreUkraine accuses Russia of poisoning military intelligence chief’s wife

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Zelenskiy’s office has made no comment and Orban’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Poroshenko, president from 2014 to 2019, accused Zelenskiy’s administration on Friday of cancelling the permission and playing politics ahead of elections.

The dispute comes amid slowly growing tensions between government and opposition – mostly over internal matters such as budgets and appointments – in contrast to the near-total unity at the start of the conflict.

Zelenskiy and Poroshenko fought a bitter, often deeply personal battle in the 2019 presidential election, when Zelenskiy defeated the incumbent Poroshenko in a landslide.

Zelenskiy said last month that it was “not the time” to hold a presidential election, which under normal circumstances would be scheduled for March 2024 but is prohibited under martial law.

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(REUTERS)

Read moreThe Dnipro River, a new key front line for Ukraine’s counteroffensive against Russia

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